After spending a week in Plovdiv, we can say with absolute certainty that no trip to Plovdiv is complete without visiting Old Town. Old Town is one of the coolest neighborhoods in all of Plovdiv, and it is full of beauty and history.
Walking along the steep cobblestone streets, we felt like we had been transported back in time. The narrow streets are lined with historic houses and buildings, each one more beautiful than the next. You could easily spend an entire day here!
Since we loved this part of Plovdiv so much, we decided to put together this ultimate guide to exploring Old Town. In it, you’ll find background details on Old Town, things to do, the best places to eat, and a few tour options.
About Old Town
The aptly named Old Town is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Plovdiv. In this neighborhood, you can see an array of historical sights. The walls of the city were built during Roman and Byzantine rule. There is also a Roman Theatre where you can still catch live performances to this day.
Many of the streets in Old Town are very steep, and that is because Plovdiv is also known as the city of seven hills. Today, there are only 6 hills remaining. One of the most notable hills, Nebet Tepe, is the cause for some of the steepest streets in Old Town. You can even climb to the top of this hill through Old Town and see a beautiful view of Plovdiv from the lookout point.
What To Do
You could easily spend an entire day in Plovdiv’s Old Town and have plenty to do. There are great museums, shopping, historical ruins and restaurants all over the place. Here are some of our favorite things that we did while in Old Town.
Visit a House Museum
We were a bit skeptical when we first heard the term “house museum.” Old Town is full of house museums, so we weren’t sure how unique the experience would be. But after learning that these museums preserved the way of life of some of Plovdiv’s richest merchants, we had to check one out.
We checked out the House-Museum Hindliyan (pictured above), and were amazed by the way of life of the people who used to own this home. It was explained to us that the wealthy merchants were always trying to find new and creative ways to display their wealth. In this house, they built a rose water fountain in the middle of their house!
Catch a sunset from atop Nebet Tepe hill
Nebet Tepe is the hill that much of Old Town is built on top off. You can reach the top of the hill by climbing through the streets of Old Town. The top of the hill offers beautiful views of Plovdiv, especially at sunset! We climbed to the top of the hill one night before sunset and brought a bottle of wine to enjoy the views. It was a wonderful experience.
The top of Nebet Tepe also has historical ruins that date back to hundreds of years ago. The stone walls were once an important part of the fortification system in Plovdiv.
Visit the Regional Ethnographic Museum
The Regional Ethnographic Museum is one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Plovdiv. While it is a museum today, this building was once a house owned by Arghir Kuyumdzhiouglu, a wealthy tradesman from Plovdiv.
Today, visitors can go inside the museum and learn about the history in the region. Clothing, textiles, musical instruments, furniture and more from Bulgaria’s history can all be found inside this museum.
Ancient Theater of Philippopolis
The Ancient Theater of Philippopolis is one of the most well-preserved ancient theatres in the entire world. The theatre was once used by the Romans for theatre, as well as gladiator and hunting games.
Today, you can still catch live theatre and music performances in this theatre. There is a box office located at the top of the stadium where you can check for showtimes and purchase tickets.
Where To Eat
Old Town is full of great restaurants. Many serve traditional Bulgarian food, and others serve everything from Armenian to Turkish food. It’s great that you can pick from such a good variety.
We spotted our favorite restaurant when we were walking up to the top of Nebet Tepe hill. It’s just before you reach the top of the hill, and it’s called Rahat Tepe. They serve some of the best Bulgarian food in Plovdiv, and it’s very reasonably priced.
The food at Rahat Tepe might be delicious, but that’s not why we chose to eat here. We picked it because of its beautiful panoramic views of Plovdiv. The best views from any restaurant in Plovdiv, in our opinion!
Here is a quick list of some of the highest reviewed restaurants in Plovdiv’s Old Town:
- Rahat Tepe: Authentic Bulgarian food with amazing views.
- Restaurant Photo Club: Delicious Bulgarian food in a laid back atmosphere.
- Paldin Restaurant: Highly rated restaurant located in an old monastery.
- Restaurant Alafrangite: Eat a delicious Bulgarian meal on a beautiful, historic patio.
Tours of Old Town
If you want to get some insider information on Old Town, there are a few really great tours that you can do. The first option is the free walking tour of Plovdiv. While this tour doesn’t focus exclusively on Old Town, it covers some great basic info about Old Town. You’ll learn the history of the neighborhood, as well as some cool local spots to check out.
The free walking tour is every day at 11am and 6pm (from May to September) and at 2pm (from October to April) in front of the Municipality building on Plovdiv’s main street. Just show up and get an awesome free tour! A picture from our tour group is above 🙂
The second option is an audio tour focused exclusively on Old Town. To do the tour, just head to Tourist information center, 1, Rayko Daskalov str. where you will receive an audio guide device and a map. It costs only лв 23.94 (approximately $14 USD) and you’ll learn tons of information about Old Town.
Old Town is a great part of Plovdiv, and it’s definitely a must-do if you are planning a trip to Plovdiv. You don’t even have to do that much planning–just wander through the streets and you’ll stumble across hidden gems. Just make sure to wear comfy walking shoes because the cobblestone streets are anything but smooth!
If you’re planning a trip to Bulgaria, don’t forget to check out our other posts to help you plan your trip:
- 21 Amazing Things To Do in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
- 11 Best Restaurants in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
- Guide to Plovdiv’s Flourishing Kapana District: What To See & Do
- 17 Things To Do in the Sofia, Bulgaria City Centre
- Sofia Nightlife Guide: Pub Crawl to Best Bars & Clubs
- How To Take The Train From Sofia to Plovdiv: Train Schedule, Cost & Everything You Need To Know
- Bulgaria Wine Tours: We Went Wine Tasting in Plovdiv, Bulgaria