If you are wondering where should go next, wonder no more and book your ticket to Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The city is about to become a Cultural Capital of Europe and trust me, it deserves its title. Not only it’s over eight thousand years old and surrounded by beautiful mountains, but also it is a new hispter destination, filled with cozy cafes and many hidden gems.
Italians call it “dolce far niente” and Plovdivians call it “ailyak”. It is the main activity that you should engage yourself when you are in Plovdiv. “Ailyak” is this perfect stage of peacefulness and complete tranquility when you cannot be bothered by anything around you. “Ailyak” is something that many people of Plovdiv try to achieve daily and associated themselves with. Imagine yourself sipping a cold beer on a hot night, surrounded by friends or reading your favorite book under the sun. Well, this is how “ailyak” feels like.
However, no examples or words can explain “ailyak” good enough because it should be felt. For that reason, packing the right things with you when going to Plovdiv is essential. You don’t want anything to disturb your vacation and stand on your way of achieving this highest stage of tranquility, “ailyak”.
Fun fact: The world “ailyak” became such a significant part of the millenial Plovdiv culture that there is a locally brewer beer called like that. It has experienced a huge success when it was released and can be found in many hipster bars around town. Of course, as it can be expected, it is a little bit overpriced but definitely worth the try.
MUST-DOS IN PLOVDIV:
- Take a walk in the Old Town and wound up in the prehistoric age.
A signature site of Plovdiv is of course its the Old Town with the Ancient Roman Amphitheater. Filled with cobblestone streets and ancient architecture , it will make you feel like you have traveled back in time and wounded up in the pages of your history textbook. If you follow the signs that point you to the Ancient amphitheater, you will see one the world’s best-preserved theaters from the Roman era. For a modest fee you will be able to go inside and walk around. Since, it is a functioning theater you might even get a chance to see a play or a concert on the wooden, old stage.
2. Get lost in the streets of the creative district “The Trap”.
The Trap is an alternative district filled with countless works of street art, accompanied by coffee shops, hipster pubs and local boutiques. It is called like this because the streets are so narrow and look-a-like that you actually feel like you have walked into a trap. However, getting lost there is completely worth it as you will spend quite some time immersed in a creative atmosphere, surrounded by young and artful people. In the night, the place becomes even more alive. You can meet young people of different nationalities there and grab a nice locally brewed beer.
3. Dive into the graffiti covered streets.
In the past couple of years, street art has emerged on the streets of Plovdiv. Many graffiti artists got the chance to express their creativity on the walls of old buildings, making them one of the city’s main attraction. This has made Plovdiv more colorful and created many photo worthy places.
4. Take a break and have a coffee in one of the cozy cafes.
If you are a fan of cute and cozy coffee shops, Plovdiv is the place for you. You can see such hotspots on every corner and the quality of drinks will rarely disappoint you. The most famous cafe is called The Monkey House. Chai lattes, homemade lemonades, almond cappuccinos are only a small part of their famous menu. And the interior is so unique that you won’t be able to resist not to take a photo for your Instagram.
5. Look at the whole city from a top of a hill
One of the things Plovdiv is famous for are the many viewpoints that it has to offer. There are six hills in total that are definitely worth climbing on sunset or sunrise. Of course, if you don’t feel like engaging in an intense workout and climb all the way to the top, there is an amazing viewpoint that will take you just 10 minutes to reach and will give an incredible view of the whole downtown area of the city. Don’t worry, finding it will be as easy as climbing it , hence it has a huge sign saying pLOVEdiv.
I LOVE PLOVDIV BECAUSE…
There are many reasons why someone would love Plovdiv. Some, simply love it because it is their home, others, have more unique reasons to do so.
Twelve people from different parts of Bulgaria and the world were asked why they love Plovdiv. They have visited the city, lived there at some point of their lives or currently live there. Their task was to record themselves from where they feel most comfortable, with no time limit, in order to be as genuine as possible, and this is the result: