Bulgaria is a country that offers a diverse range of attractions, from rich history and stunning architecture to breathtaking natural landscapes. One of the most vibrant and historically significant cities in Bulgaria is Plovdiv, situated in the heart of the country. But Plovdiv is not just a destination in itself; it also serves as an excellent base for exploring the surrounding areas.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the nine best day trips from Plovdiv. These day trips will allow you to immerse yourself in the beauty and cultural heritage of Bulgaria, while still returning to the comfort of your accommodation in Plovdiv at the end of the day.
Whether you are interested in exploring ancient fortresses, monasteries, or natural wonders, these day trips from Plovdiv have something for everyone. So pack your bags, put on your hiking boots, and get ready to embark on a journey of discovery.
Before we dive into the day trips, it’s important to note that Plovdiv is well-connected to the rest of Bulgaria by road and public transport. This makes it easy to plan and embark on day trips without any hassle. Additionally, there are several tour operators and travel agencies in Plovdiv that offer guided day trips, providing you with professional guidance and insightful commentary along the way.
Now, without further ado, let’s explore the nine best day trips from Plovdiv.
The Rhodope Mountains
The Rhodope Mountains, located in southern Bulgaria, offer a perfect escape for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. This sprawling mountain range is known for its lush forests, pristine lakes, and picturesque villages that showcase the rustic charm of Bulgarian rural life.
From Plovdiv, you can easily access the Rhodope Mountains by car or public transport. The journey takes approximately 1.5 hours, making it an ideal day trip destination. As you enter the mountains, you’ll be greeted by breathtaking views and a tranquil atmosphere that will transport you to a world of serenity.
One of the most popular attractions in the Rhodope Mountains is the Wonderful Bridges, a unique natural phenomenon consisting of two rock formations connected by a stone bridge. You can hike through the surrounding trails and admire the stunning landscapes, or even venture inside the caves for an added adventure.
Another must-visit spot in the Rhodope Mountains is the village of Shiroka Laka, known for its well-preserved traditional architecture and rich folklore traditions. Take a stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets and soak in the authentic Bulgarian atmosphere. You can also visit the Ethnographic Museum, which offers a glimpse into the region’s cultural heritage.
If you’re seeking a more active experience, the Rhodope Mountains also offer excellent opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. There are numerous trails catering to different skill levels, allowing you to explore the mountains at your own pace. Keep an eye out for the diverse flora and fauna that call this region home, including rare plant species and elusive wildlife.
For a truly unique experience, consider visiting the Yagodina Cave, one of the longest caves in Bulgaria. Embark on a guided tour to explore the mesmerizing underground chambers adorned with impressive stalactites and stalagmites. Immerse yourself in the mysterious atmosphere and learn about the geological history of the region.
When it comes to dining, don’t miss the opportunity to savor traditional Rhodopean cuisine. Indulge in hearty dishes like kachamak (a cornmeal-based dish), patatnik (a potato-based dish), and the famous Rhodopean yogurt. You can find cozy taverns and restaurants in the villages, where you can enjoy a delicious meal while admiring the panoramic views of the mountains.
As the day comes to an end, take a moment to sit back, relax, and bask in the tranquility of the Rhodope Mountains. The scenic beauty and peaceful ambiance will leave you with lasting memories and a renewed appreciation for the natural wonders of Bulgaria.
Located just 29 kilometers from Plovdiv, Bachkovo Monastery is one of the oldest and largest Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Bulgaria. This architectural gem is nestled in the picturesque setting of the Bachkovo Gorge, surrounded by lush greenery and towering cliffs.
The monastery dates back to the 11th century and has played a significant role in the spiritual and cultural life of Bulgaria throughout the ages. Its stunning frescoes, intricate wood carvings, and ornate iconostasis make it a must-visit destination for art and history enthusiasts.
Upon arriving at Bachkovo Monastery, you’ll be greeted by the impressive main gate, adorned with vibrant murals. As you step inside, you’ll be transported to a world of tranquility and spirituality. Explore the various buildings within the complex, including the main church of the Virgin Mary, the refectory, and the monastic cells.
One of the highlights of Bachkovo Monastery is the Church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, which houses a collection of exquisite religious artifacts and icons. Admire the stunning architecture and take a moment to light a candle and soak in the peaceful atmosphere.
Outside the main complex, you’ll find a beautiful courtyard and a picturesque chapel built into the rock face. Take a leisurely stroll through the serene gardens, where you can admire the colorful flowers and ancient trees. Keep an eye out for the natural spring in the vicinity, believed to have healing properties.
For those seeking a bit of adventure, a short hike from the monastery will lead you to the Eagle’s Eye viewpoint. From here, you can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the stunning Bachkovo Gorge below. It’s a breathtaking sight that will leave you in awe of Bulgaria’s natural beauty.
After exploring the monastery and immersing yourself in its history and spirituality, take the opportunity to taste some of the local specialties at the nearby restaurants and taverns. Don’t miss trying the famous Bachkovo beans, a traditional dish that is sure to tantalize your taste buds.
Visiting Bachkovo Monastery is not only a journey into Bulgaria’s religious and cultural heritage but also an opportunity to connect with the tranquility of nature. The serene atmosphere, stunning architecture, and breathtaking views make it a day trip from Plovdiv that you won’t want to miss.
Situated approximately 20 kilometers south of Plovdiv, Asen’s Fortress is a remarkable historical site that showcases the medieval glory of Bulgaria. Perched atop a rocky hilltop, the fortress offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and a fascinating glimpse into the country’s rich past.
Asen’s Fortress was originally built in the 13th century as a defensive stronghold during the Second Bulgarian Empire. It played a crucial role in protecting the region from invasions and served as the residence of Bulgarian kings and nobles. Today, the fortress stands as a testament to Bulgaria’s turbulent history and architectural prowess.
Upon arriving at Asen’s Fortress, you’ll be greeted by its imposing stone walls and well-preserved towers. As you venture inside, you can explore the remnants of the royal palace, churches, and residential buildings. Marvel at the intricate stonework and architectural details that have withstood the test of time.
One of the highlights of the fortress is the Church of the Holy Mother of God, renowned for its stunning frescoes and intricate iconostasis. Step inside and admire the vibrant colors and religious motifs that adorn the walls and ceiling. It’s a truly mesmerizing sight that showcases the artistic brilliance of the era.
As you walk through the fortress, step onto the various observation points to take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding Rhodope Mountains and the nearby Asenovgrad town. The strategic location of Asen’s Fortress made it an ideal vantage point for monitoring the surrounding area and defending against potential attacks.
Outside the fortress walls, you can explore the charming town of Asenovgrad, known for its traditional houses and rich cultural heritage. Take a stroll through the narrow streets, visit the local museums, or sample the delicious regional cuisine in the cozy taverns dotted throughout the town.
For hiking enthusiasts, a scenic trail leads from Asen’s Fortress to the nearby Bachkovo Monastery. This hike takes you through the picturesque Bulgarian countryside, passing by lush forests, meandering rivers, and charming villages. It’s a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and explore the region’s beauty.
Asen’s Fortress is not just a historical site; it’s a destination that allows you to step back in time and relive Bulgaria’s glorious past. Its impressive architecture, stunning views, and rich historical significance make it an essential day trip from Plovdiv for history buffs and culture enthusiasts alike.
Tucked away in the scenic Rhodope Mountains, Devin is a tranquil town known for its natural mineral springs and healing spa resorts. Just a short distance from Plovdiv, this picturesque town offers a perfect day trip destination for those seeking relaxation, rejuvenation, and a closer connection with nature.
Devin is famous for its mineral water, which is believed to have therapeutic properties due to its high mineral content. Many visitors come to Devin to indulge in the healing benefits of the hot springs and take a dip in the mineral baths. The town is dotted with modern spa resorts that offer a range of spa treatments, massages, and wellness therapies to pamper and revitalize your body and mind.
Aside from the spa experiences, Devin also boasts breathtaking natural landscapes. Explore the surrounding mountains through the various hiking and biking trails, with routes catering to different fitness levels. As you venture into the lush green forests, you’ll encounter pristine waterfalls, picturesque meadows, and stunning viewpoints that will leave you in awe of nature’s beauty.
A must-visit attraction in Devin is the Devil’s Bridge, an architectural marvel that dates back to the 16th century. Spanning the crystal-clear waters of the Arda River, this stone bridge is adorned with legends and folklore. Take a leisurely stroll across the bridge and soak in the serene ambiance of the surrounding countryside.
If you’re interested in learning more about the local history and cultural heritage, pay a visit to the Museum of History in Devin. The museum showcases artifacts and exhibits that shed light on the town’s past, including its role as a strategic military and trading center.
After a day of exploration and relaxation, satisfy your taste buds with the local cuisine in one of Devin’s traditional taverns and restaurants. Sample mouthwatering dishes such as rodopsko chomlek (a meat and vegetable stew) or rodopska kukla (a traditional Rhodopean pastry). And don’t forget to accompany your meal with a glass of the locally-produced Devin mineral water.
Whether you’re seeking relief from the stresses of daily life or simply want to immerse yourself in the splendid beauty of the Rhodope Mountains, Devin offers a delightful escape from the bustling city life. It’s a place where you can rejuvenate, rediscover your inner peace, and embrace the healing powers of nature.
Nestled in the Sredna Gora Mountains, Koprivshtitsa is a charming historic town that preserves the rich cultural heritage and architectural beauty of Bulgaria. Located approximately 110 kilometers east of Plovdiv, it makes for a memorable day trip that transports you back in time.
Koprivshtitsa is renowned for its well-preserved 19th-century houses, reflecting the unique architectural style of the Bulgarian National Revival period. As you stroll through the cobbled streets of this open-air museum town, you’ll be captivated by the colorful facades, ornate balconies, and intricately carved wooden details of the houses.
Many of these historic houses have been converted into museums, offering a fascinating glimpse into the lives of Bulgaria’s revolutionary heroes and cultural luminaries. Visit the Oslekov House, a prime example of Bulgarian Renaissance architecture, and explore its beautifully furnished rooms and preserved artifacts.
Koprivshtitsa was also a significant center of the April Uprising of 1876, a crucial event in Bulgaria’s struggle for independence. The Birthplace of Todor Kableshkov Museum-House provides insight into the uprising and the life of one of its leaders, Todor Kableshkov.
The town is also known for its vibrant folklore traditions. If you happen to visit during the Koprivshtitsa National Festival of Bulgarian Folklore, held every five years, you’ll be treated to a lively showcase of traditional Bulgarian music, dance, and colorful costumes that will leave you in awe.
While exploring Koprivshtitsa, take a moment to relax and enjoy a cup of traditional Bulgarian coffee at one of the cozy cafés in the town. Indulge in some local delicacies such as banitsa (a cheese-filled pastry), mekitsi (fried dough), and rakia (a traditional fruit brandy).
For nature lovers, Koprivshtitsa is surrounded by the beautiful Sredna Gora Mountains, offering opportunities for scenic hikes and outdoor exploration. Take a rejuvenating walk in the countryside, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and soak in the peacefulness of the natural surroundings.
With its rich historical significance, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural traditions, Koprivshtitsa is a hidden gem that showcases the grandeur of Bulgaria’s past. A visit to this picturesque town is not just a day trip; it’s an immersive experience that allows you to step into history and soak up the authentic Bulgarian spirit.
In the northwestern part of Bulgaria, near the town of Belogradchik, lies a natural wonder that will leave you awe-struck – the Belogradchik Rocks. This incredible formation of sandstone and conglomerate rocks creates a surreal landscape that has captivated visitors for centuries.
The Belogradchik Rocks are not only a geological marvel but also a site of rich historical and cultural significance. Overlooking the rocks, you’ll find the Belogradchik Fortress, an ancient stronghold perched on a hilltop. The fortress has stood the test of time, witnessing centuries of battles and serving as a strategic defense point. Take a walk through its walls and towers, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
As you explore the rocks, you’ll be mesmerized by their unique shapes and formations. They resemble various objects and figures, giving rise to names such as “The Madonna,” “Adam and Eve,” and “The Mushrooms.” It’s a photographer’s paradise, offering countless opportunities to capture stunning images of nature’s artistry.
For an immersive experience, follow the marked trails that wind through the rocks, allowing you to get up close and personal with these magnificent formations. Marvel at the intricate textures and colors of the rocks as you navigate through the narrow paths. Keep an eye out for the hidden caves and crevices that add to the allure of this natural wonder.
While visiting the Belogradchik Rocks, make sure to explore the nearby village of Belogradchik. This charming settlement offers a glimpse into traditional Bulgarian rural life. Take a walk through the cobbled streets, visit the local shops, and interact with the friendly locals. Don’t miss the opportunity to try the delicious local cuisine at the cozy taverns, featuring hearty dishes such as kavarma (a meat stew) and sarmi (stuffed cabbage rolls).
If you’re a history enthusiast, a visit to the Belogradchik Museum will deepen your understanding of the area. The museum showcases artifacts and exhibits that highlight the historical and cultural heritage of the region.
As you explore the Belogradchik Rocks, you’ll feel a sense of wonder and admiration for the beauty that nature has sculpted over millions of years. The combination of breathtaking landscapes, intriguing rock formations, and a glimpse into Bulgaria’s past makes the Belogradchik Rocks a must-visit day trip destination from Plovdiv.
Perched high in the Rila Mountains, about 120 kilometers south of Plovdiv, is the magnificent Rila Monastery. This UNESCO World Heritage site is not only a spiritual center for Bulgarian Orthodox Christianity but also a cultural and architectural gem that attracts visitors from around the world.
The Rila Monastery was founded in the 10th century by the hermit St. Ivan of Rila, who sought solitude and spiritual enlightenment in the rugged mountain landscape. Over the centuries, the monastery expanded and developed into a symbol of Bulgarian national identity and religious devotion.
Upon arriving at the monastery, you’ll be greeted by its impressive fortress-like walls and stunning architectural details. The exterior is adorned with vibrant frescoes, intricate wood carvings, and colorful patterns that depict religious scenes and stories from Bulgarian history.
Step inside the main courtyard of the monastery and you’ll be greeted by the awe-inspiring sight of the Nativity of the Virgin Church. Its interior is equally mesmerizing, with its beautifully painted walls and ceiling, glittering chandeliers, and golden iconostasis. Take a moment to observe the peacefulness and spiritual beauty of this sacred place.
Explore the various chapels, museums, and residential quarters within the monastery complex. The Ethnographic Museum provides insight into the traditional way of life in the Rila region, showcasing artifacts and exhibits related to folk culture, craftsmanship, and daily activities.
Outside the monastery walls, you’ll find a serene and picturesque landscape. Take a walk in the surrounding area, breathing in the fresh mountain air and enjoying the scenic beauty of the Rila Mountains. If you’re up for a hike, the nearby Seven Rila Lakes offer an unforgettable alpine experience amidst breathtaking natural scenery.
After a day of exploration, head to one of the local restaurants near the monastery and savor traditional Bulgarian dishes. Indulge in delicacies like banitsa (a cheese-filled pastry), kavarma (a meat and vegetable stew), and the famous Rila Monastery bean soup.
A visit to the Rila Monastery is not only an opportunity to admire its architectural splendor but also a chance to connect with Bulgaria’s rich religious and cultural heritage. The combination of spiritual significance, historical importance, and natural beauty makes this day trip from Plovdiv an unforgettable experience.
Tucked away in the Pirin Mountains, Bansko is a picturesque town that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, rich history, and thrilling outdoor activities. Situated approximately 150 kilometers south of Plovdiv, Bansko is a popular day trip destination for those seeking adventure and relaxation.
Bansko is most renowned for its world-class ski resorts, making it one of the top winter sports destinations in Bulgaria. The ski season typically runs from December to April, attracting skiers and snowboarders of all levels. With its snow-covered slopes, well-groomed trails, and modern ski facilities, Bansko offers an exhilarating experience for those who love the thrill of winter sports.
During the summer months, Bansko transforms into a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The surrounding area is a playground for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Explore the scenic trails that wind through lush forests, alpine meadows, and crystal-clear mountain streams. Don’t forget to pack a picnic and enjoy a peaceful moment amidst the captivating beauty of nature.
Aside from its natural attractions, Bansko boasts a rich historical and cultural heritage. Take a stroll through the old town area and admire the traditional Bulgarian Revival architecture. You’ll find historic houses, cobblestone streets, and charming taverns serving up delicious local cuisine.
A must-visit attraction in Bansko is the Holy Trinity Church, a stunning example of Bulgarian Renaissance architecture. Step inside to admire the beautiful frescoes and intricate wood-carved iconostasis. If you’re interested in learning more about the local history, the Bansko Museum Complex has a fascinating collection that reflects the town’s past.
After a day of outdoor adventure and exploration, indulge in Bansko’s culinary delights. The town is known for its hearty cuisine, featuring dishes such as kapama (a slow-cooked meat and vegetable stew) and banski stew (a traditional bean stew). Pair your meal with a glass of the local plum brandy, rakia, for a true taste of Bulgarian hospitality.
Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping activities or a serene retreat in nature, Bansko has something to offer. Its stunning mountain scenery, year-round outdoor pursuits, and cultural heritage make it a day trip destination from Plovdiv that will leave you with unforgettable memories.
Nestled in the Thracian Valley, approximately 165 kilometers east of Plovdiv, Hisarya is a charming historic spa town known for its ancient Roman ruins and healing mineral springs. This hidden gem offers a serene retreat for those seeking relaxation, wellness, and a glimpse into Bulgaria’s rich past.
Hisarya has a rich history dating back to the Roman times when it was known as Augusta. As you walk through the town, you’ll encounter well-preserved Roman ruins, including the Roman Fortress Wall, which once protected the ancient city. Take a leisurely stroll along the wall and imagine life in this bustling Roman settlement.
A highlight of Hisarya is its abundance of natural mineral springs, famous for their healing properties. The town’s numerous spa centers and wellness resorts offer a wide range of treatments and therapies, allowing visitors to rejuvenate their bodies and minds. Immerse yourself in the mineral-rich thermal waters and experience the ultimate in relaxation.
Aside from its healing waters, Hisarya also boasts beautiful parks and gardens, perfect for leisurely walks or picnics. Visit the picturesque Central Park, home to an enchanting rose garden and a relaxing atmosphere. Take a seat on a bench and enjoy the tranquility of this serene green oasis.
The Archaeological Museum of Hisarya is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. The museum features a fascinating collection of artifacts, including statues, jewelry, and household items, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the region.
For a unique experience, venture outside the town to explore the Thracian tomb of Starosel. This ancient burial mound is the final resting place of a Thracian nobleman and is believed to be over 2,500 years old. Explore the subterranean chambers and learn about the mysteries of the Thracian civilization.
When it comes to dining, Hisarya offers a variety of restaurants and cafes serving both traditional Bulgarian dishes and international cuisine. Indulge in local specialties such as kachamak (a cornmeal dish), bob chorba (bean soup), and the renowned Bulgarian yogurt. Pair your meal with a glass of the local wine and savor the flavors of the region.
A visit to Hisarya is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the history, culture, and rejuvenating atmosphere of this enchanting spa town. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, exploration, or a combination of both, Hisarya offers a unique day trip experience from Plovdiv.
From the majestic Rhodope Mountains to the ancient ruins of Hisarya, the day trips from Plovdiv offer a wealth of experiences that showcase the beauty, history, and culture of Bulgaria. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, spiritual insights, or a relaxing retreat, these day trips have something to offer for everyone.
Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Rhodope Mountains, with its stunning natural landscapes, charming villages, and unique rock formations. Explore the architectural wonders of Bachkovo Monastery and Asen’s Fortress, where history comes alive through intricate frescoes and formidable stone walls.
Indulge in the healing powers of mineral springs in Devin and Hisarya, where wellness and rejuvenation take center stage. Marvel at the traditional houses and cultural heritage of Koprivshtitsa, and explore the stunning rock formations of Belogradchik.
Pay a visit to the spiritual haven of Rila Monastery, where centuries of devotion and artistic brilliance converge. And in Bansko, find the perfect balance of outdoor adventure and traditional Bulgarian charm, all against the backdrop of breathtaking mountain vistas.
Whether you’re an avid history buff, a nature lover, or a seeker of relaxation, these day trips from Plovdiv promise to leave you with unforgettable memories and a deeper appreciation for the diverse and captivating beauty of Bulgaria.
So, pack your bags, set out from Plovdiv, and embark on a journey that will take you through time, nature, and the essence of Bulgarian culture. These day trips await, ready to weave their magic and create experiences that will stay with you long after you’ve returned to the vibrant city of Plovdiv.