Plovdiv and Asenovgrad
Hotel check-in times around noon usually persuade us not to arrive in a new town too early. This makes the first day for us in Plovdiv a half one and because traveling can be energy draining we choose to spend the rest of the day strolling around in the city center. Finding the local supermarket for breakfast the next morning and something to drink for the night. The second day we visited the old town of Plovdiv. Here buildings are hundreds of years old and great views of the city can be seen due to it’s elevated situation.
Only by visiting the various museums that are in the old town can you make a full day out of it. We however were done by lunch which was ok because that left us some time to catch up with some work and plan the next day.
The center of Plovdiv is full of international cuisine restaurants and cafes. Tourists and Bulgarians themselves love to relax at one of the many terraces in the city center.
The entire length of the main shopping street has a recently discovered roman theater under it which is currently being excavated by geologists. At both ends of the shopping streets there are finished excavation sites on display. Halfway the shopping street inside the H&M you can see some more parts of the old Roman structure in the basement of this department store.
We also went to a market where you can buy fruit, nuts and vegetables. Very nice place to go to in the morning with a lot of locals selling their own produce. They also sell homemade honey and jam.
The third day we hopped on the train to Asenovgrad for a visit to a fortress that is beautifully built on a hill surrounded by bigger mountains thus creating a “w” shaped valley. From the trainstation it’s a 3 kilometer walk to the fortress with steep elevation. The road is not very wide but a lot of people walk up and down on this road so be careful when driving there. We chose to stick out our cheeky thumbs and the very first car that passed gave us a ride all the way up the hill. The path is marked with how many meters you already walked.
The fortress itself is not very big or exciting, but the views of the valley and surrounding mountains is. From here there are several hiking trails you can follow, or head back to town for a nice meal at Dzhordani restaurant with a terrace that overlooks the river. A one-way ticket by train from Plovdiv to Asenovgrad cost us 1,30 leva (€0,65). Admission to the fortress is 4 leva (€2). Parking your car costs 2 leva.
Where to sleep in Plovdiv
Again we slept in an Airbnb. This time we chose one in the city center of Plovdiv only 5 minutes walking to the main street. The apartment was very big with high ceilings and a very large living room. Unfortunately it had no kitchen due to a flooding. It had an airco but that was not really working.
We would recommend this apartment only for it’s location but in summer the air conditioning should work and we very much value a kitchen. So once the kitchen is rebuild this would definitely be a perfect place to stay. The place is called “A spacious central apartment” on Airbnb.
This Airbnb costs 123 leva for 3 nights (41 leva per night, 21 euro per night).
Where to eat in Plovdiv - Asenovgrad
Plovdiv = Fresh Pasta. This place is highly recommended to eat a homemade pasta. The pasta is freshly made and very good in flavor. Despite being a little bit outside the city center you should go here for diner. 6 leva for fresh spaghetti Carbonara. Facebookpage Fresh Pasta Plovdiv
Asenovgrad: Dzhordani restaurant. Very nice restaurant in the center of Asenovgrad along the river. A good portion of spaghetti 4 cheeses costs 6 leva (a bit oily though). If you order rakia maybe you need to say one because otherwise you get served a double portion. Only downside is that the menu is only in Bulgarian language but as Maarten can read that a bit it was not a problem for us and one of the waitresses spoke a bit of English.