Useful Information

Useful Information

It’s always good to be informed when you travel abroad. For that reason, we’ve compiled a list of information you might find useful on your trip to Plovdiv.

On this page we’ll recommend the best places to eat out in Plovdiv, supermarkets, shopping centers, nightclubs, sports centers, the most entertaining establishments for adults and for children. This should also give you more practical information about the location of the city in relation to the most-visited parts of Bulgaria (other than Plovdiv itself), details about airports, the local currency, taxi companies and phone numbers, rent-a-car services in the area, power outlets, the time zone, the weather, tap water, smoking, area codes, emergency numbers and the phone numbers of every foreign embassy in Bulgaria. Finally, we have included a few tidbits that will help you interact with the people you’re going to meet here, such as a short list of Bulgarian words and phrases, our attitude towards haggling, tips, and kissing strangers, and a few head gestures that may not mean what they mean in other countries.

Overview

First a bit of trivia about Bulgaria as a whole: - Bulgaria is a member of the European Union (but does not use the Euro as its currency)

Where Is Plovdiv?

Plovdiv is located in the southern half of Bulgaria. The fastest way to reach Plovdiv from the capital is via the Trakia motorway, an hour and 30 minute-long drive from Sofia (150 km). It is situated in the heart of the Upper Thracian plain, a mere 30 minutes away from the Rhodope mountains. The Trakia motorway leads straight to the seaside, and the drive is only 3 hours long.

Airports

Bulgaria has a total of 4 airports, located in or near 4 major cities. The largest airport in the country – Sofia Airport – is also the most widely used, works 24/7 and takes flights from a much higher number of countries than the rest, making it better suited for international flights.

Plovdiv Airport is 12 kilometers away from the city and works with the following airline companies:

It occasionally accepts charter flights from:

You can check out the airport’s flight schedule on its website at: www.plovdivairport.com

Taxies

While everything in the city Center is within walking distance, you might have to venture further for some of the sights, restaurants and stores, or if you just want to go exploring. The convenience of being able to hire transportation services at a moment’s notice is handy no matter what country you’re in.

Taxis in Bulgaria are easily recognizable by the yellow color of the car (only taxis are typically yellow around here), the black and white checkered stripe on its sides, and the lit up sign on its roof which says “Taxi” on it. Here are a few taxi companies we recommend if you ever need to get around Plovdiv on your own:

Taxis in Plovdiv are cheap. The standard taxi rates within the city are 0.65 BGN/km during the day (6 AM to 10 PM), and 0.75 BGN/km at night (10 PM to 6 AM). The initial fee before the taxi meter starts running is 0.90 BGN.

It is advisable to only use taxis you have called yourself, as the ones that wait at bus stops may be tourist traps. Taxis that aren’t covered in large company stickers are to be avoided.

Safety

Plovdiv, much like the rest of the country, is a very safe place, both at night and during the day. Low population often equals low crime rates, and Plovdiv – the second largest city in Bulgaria – has roughly 350,000 permanent residents. The two things you should be looking out for are illegitimate taxis, described above, and the two ghetto areas near the outskirts, but you’ll have no reason to visit either of them, as they don’t have any sights. Pickpocketing is a risk anywhere, but more so by the seaside than in Plovdiv.

A Few Words and Phrases That Might Come in Handy

The official language of Bulgaria is… well, Bulgarian. It’s a south Slavic language, and as such carries those bold sounds that best convey our enthusiastic friendliness. It is written in the Cyrillic script. In fact, it was invented here! The original Glagolic alphabet was created by the monks Cyril and Methodius, but it was their disciples of the Preslav Literary School who later simplified it to make it more suitable for daily use, and that is how the Cyrillic alphabet was born. It then spread to other Slavic nations such as Russia, Serbia and many others.

Here are a few essential words and phrases you may hear directed at you before the locals realize you are a foreigner and switch to English:

*Bulgarians do not kiss each other as a greeting unless they are very close. Please don’t kiss your new friend. A handshake will do.

Head Gestures

Tourists love this one – head gestures in Bulgaria are reversed. When Bulgarians nod their head, they mean “no”, and when they shake it side to side, it means “yes”. There is even a third motion – a side to side swaying that means “okay”. It gets better! Due to western influence, younger generations mix Bulgarian and western head gestures depending on what version they feel like using at the moment, which means that if someone in their twenties nods at you, it could mean either yes or no. It gets even better. Younger teenagers and children may only use the western head gestures. Basically, disregard all head gestures and listen to what people are saying, and if you need to ask someone to translate their head gestures into words, go ahead. Even we do it.

Coffee in Bulgaria

Bulgarians drink their coffee strong, but not excessively so. People used to more diluted coffee might get caught off guard the first time, but it’s an easy enough taste to acquire. Plovdiv has several establishments that offer genuine Italian espresso and cappuccino. We highly recommend the Dolce Fellini pastry shop, located opposite the Grand Hotel. The Djumaya pastry shop offers Turkish coffee for those who want to try it.

Bulgaria has a sort of café culture that is part of everyday life. Bulgarians often spend their free time at cafes with friends, focusing on enjoying the company in a nice place rather than the drink itself. Plovdiv’s Kapana district is perfect for this sort of outing, as its many cafes emphasize on the décor and atmosphere. Conversely, if you want to drink your coffee on the go, coffee vending machines are available all over the city, right there in the streets.

Where to Eat in Plovdiv

While it’s impossible to taste every dish available in a country, one must do their utmost and try, and the best part is – you don’t even have to fit that into a specific time frame of the day. Bulgarians don’t have a set time for breakfast, lunch and dinner and all local cafes and restaurants serve food at any hour. The one exception is the lunch menu – some restaurants have special daily lunch menus available around noon, freshly cooked and ready to serve with minimal waiting, and at a discount price at that.

Here are our favorite eating and drinking establishments in Plovdiv:

Restaurants

Sometimes you just want to take a break from all of your responsibilities as a tourist and eat something less thematic, but still delicious. Here are Plovdiv’s best restaurants for foreign cuisine:

Of course, no meal is complete without dessert, and few desserts can compete with the mighty cake. Here are a few cake shops we recommend you try during your stay:

Ice Cream

Tipping

Tipping is considered a nice gesture. If you’re happy with the service, a tip would be appreciated.

Cash or Credit?

Most things in Bulgaria are paid in cash. While most large restaurants, retail stores and supermarkets work with credit and debit cards, medium to small establishments only take cash.

It is advisable to convert some amount of money to cover your basic daily needs. The official currency of Bulgaria is the Bulgarian lev, abbreviated as lv or BGN.

1 EUR = 1.95583 BGN 1 BGN = 0.511290758 EUR

You can convert foreign currency to BGN at every bank, but for the best rates we recommend the Tavex Gold and Exchange office on “Knyaz Alexander I” street, right next to the Ancient Stadium of Philippopolis.

Shopping Centers

Whether you want to take a few souvenirs home to remind you of your holiday, buy gifts for your friends, or simply buy clothes on the cheap, we’ve got everything you need:

Address: 29 “Perushtitsa”street, 4002, Western Industrial Zone, Plovdiv

Address: “Ruski” boulevard, 4002, Center, Plovdiv

Address: from “Alexander I Batenberg” to “Vasil Levski”

Address: “Ivan Vazov” street, 4000, Center, Plovdiv (perpendicular to the Main Street, starting from Central Square)

Address: “Otets Paisiy”street, 4000, Center, Plovdiv (runs parallel to the Main Street)

Address: “Stramna” street, 4000, Old Town, Plovdiv

Address: 8 “Rayko Daskalov” street, 4000, Kapana, Plovdiv

Address: 56 “Kapitan Raycho” street, 4000, Kamenitsa 1, Plovdiv

Supermarkets

You may decide to stock up on some snacks, or try out some of that lyutenitsa your new Bulgarian friends keep telling you about. Here are a few chain stores where you can buy them:

2 “Macedonia”street

8 “Rayko Daskalov”street

221 “6-ti Septemvri” boulevard

132 “Dimitar Talev”street

124A “Vasil Aprilov” street

2 “Chereshovo Topche” street

19 “Maritsa” boulevard

78 “Peshtersko Shose” boulevard

56 “Kapitan Raycho” street

97B “Macedonia” street

36 “Peshtersko Shose” boulevard

94 “Tsarigradsko Shose” boulevard

47 “Osvobozhdenie” boulevard

1 “Shipka” street

14-B Trakia

5 “Lev Tolstoy” street

16 “Gerlovo” street

32 “Kapitan Raycho” street

33 “Iztochen” boulevard

97A “Macedonia” street

43 “Osvobozhdenie” boulevard

75 “Pobeda” street

115A “Bulgaria” boulevard

43 “Peshtersko Shose” boulevard

1 “Kostievska” street

Haggling

Stores have set prices that are never up for negotiation. Food stalls don’t leave room for discounts, either. You might have better luck haggling with a street vendor, but no promises.

Seasons

Plovdiv is situated in the warmer part of Bulgaria, but it still has 4 distinct seasons: hot summers (especially in late July, all of August and even a few days into September), cold winters (coldest in February), milder springs and autumns. It is advisable to look up the weather at your destination before travelling. Make sure to dress for the season!

Recreation

When you’re not sightseeing, shopping or filling up your recipe book with ideas for your next cooking endeavor, you can try the rest of what Plovdiv has to offer in terms of entertainment. Here are a few ideas you might like that are available all year round:

Address: Sankt Peterburg boulevard, Lauta, 4000, Plovdiv

Address: Sankt Peterburg boulevard, Lauta, 4000, Plovdiv

Address: 2 “Zlatyu Boyadzhiev” street, Karshiaka, 4003, Plovdiv

Address: 3 “Feliks Kanits” street, Center, 4000, Plovdiv

Address: 6 “Lev Tolstoy” street, 4017, Plovdiv

Bulgaria’s no tropical island, but our summers still get pretty hot. What better way to cool down than by visiting some of our waterparks?

Address: 3 “Teofan Raynov” street, 4023, Trakia, Plovdiv

Address: 97 “Bulgaria” boulevard, 4003, Plovdiv

Sports

The most relaxing kind of recreation is also the healthiest – physical activity! If you really want to let loose on your trip without leaving the confines of the city, check out our suggestions below:

Address: 160 “6-ti Septemvri” boulevard, 4000, Kapana, Plovdiv

All bike rental bookings are made in advance on this number: +359884391411

Nightlife

Plovdiv’s club scene is as colorful and lively as the rest of the city. There’s a nightclub for every taste and fun to spare! Here are a few of Plovdiv’s best clubs:

For Kids

Travelling accounts for a good 50% of the photos in most family albums, and with good reason – aside from being a great bonding experience, it’s just too fun not to share it with your loved ones. Taking children on a trip can be challenging, but rewarding – kids see the world with the kind of wonder adults have only the vaguest memory of, and taking them to faraway places opens their minds to the vast beauty life has to offer. Here are a few places you can take your tiny travelling companions:

In Case of an Emergency

In the unlikely event that you are in need of assistance from the local emergency services, the emergency number in Bulgaria is 112.

Country Code

The country code of Bulgaria is +359. Landline phone numbers in Plovdiv begin with 032, or +35932. You do not need to dial the country or city code before the emergency number.

Driving

Bulgaria has right-hand traffic. The driver’s seat is on the left. If you wish to rent your own vehicle, please consult your home-country driver licensing and vehicle registration department as to whether your driving license is valid in Bulgaria, and whether you require additional permits and documentation.

Parking

The so called Blue Zone is a paid parking area in the streets of the Center of Plovdiv. All clients of Bulgarian mobile phone providers can send the number of the license plate of their car in message to the 1332 as an easy and convenient way to pay for the use of the Blue Zone. It must be sent immediately after parking the car. You should receive an automatic confirmation. It costs 1.50 BGN (0.761 EUR) per hour, in addition to the standard message price as per the mobile provider’s services. Once your time starts running out, you shall receive a reminder to either retrieve your car or send a second message with the license plate number.

Power Outlets

Depending on the country you come from, you may need to use plug adapters to plug your appliances into Bulgarian power outlets – we use type C and type F plugs. Bulgarian power outlets work with appliances that run on 230 volts or are dual voltage. If your appliances don’t fit that description, you will need to use a power converter. Please look up whether your power plugs will work in Bulgaria prior to your trip.

Time and the Local Time Zone

There is only 1 time zone in Bulgaria – Eastern European Time, UTC+02:00. Don’t forget to set your clocks to local time when you land!

It is worth noting that in official settings, we use 24-hour time. If an establishment opens at 9 AM and closes at 9 PM, it will be written as:

9:00-21:00

Tap Water

Tap water is perfectly safe to drink, but while you’re here you have a chance to enjoy the many health benefits of mineral water, drawn from the numerous mineral water springs strewn across the country. Plovdiv in particular is surrounded by several mineral water resorts. All stores and restaurants sell bottled mineral water.

Indoor Smoking

Smoking indoors is prohibited. Cafes and restaurants have designated smoking areas.

Foreign Embassies in Bulgaria

Our agency is here to help you out with anything you might need, but it’s a good idea to know how to contact your country’s embassy in Bulgaria. All of the embassies listed below are in the capital – Sofia – and as such their code is +3592.