This trip is going to take you a bit further, into outer space, through a movie screening on the ceiling of the Planetarium in Plovdiv. There are a few movies shown but you should ask in advance for a screening in English. The Planetarium is housed in the building of the Natural History Museum of Plovdiv where you can continue your indoor exploration of the city, in the hall with live butterflies.
Don’t be afraid of the rain – put a pair of comfortable shoes on and explore the cobblestone streets of the Old Town where many of the historical houses, today turned into museums, will shelter you from the bad weather. You can spend hours rambling from room to room, stepping on the wooden, squeaking floors and exploring the carved wooden ceilings – no two ceilings in the old houses are the same because it was a matter of prestige for the wealthy merchants who lived there, to show originality. If you want to see only the most impressive ones, put the Ethnographic Museum, the Renaissance Museum, and the Balabanov House on your list (addresses and opening hours are available here).
Escape rooms (or puzzle rooms) have gained immense popularity for the last couple of years in Bulgaria and if you like solving riddles, then you should see if you could escape a room within an hour using your logic. There are several escape rooms in Plovdiv and each has several games. Usually, a minimum of two people is required but you have up to five. Try Mental Gap, Escape Zone (with a kids’ version too), or Domus Rebus.
No matter if you want to taste the local cuisine or to try the bold mixtures that some chefs create from traditional and international dishes, Plovdiv has a vibrant restaurant scene. If you want to have lunch in Kapana art district, try the fresh approach to traditional dishes offered by Pavazh. If you crave some Mediterranean cuisine, go to the bohemian Hemingway.
Art lovers will be happy to know that Plovdiv is one of the cities with the richest art life. You can start from the basics with a visit to the Icon Collection (to get an idea of the religious art in the country) and the City Art Gallery (showing precious examples of Medieval, Revival, and contemporary Bulgarian art) and then see some contemporary works from Bulgarian artists in Philippopolis (a complex comprising a private art gallery-museum, a restaurant with a beautiful view over Plovdiv, and a hotel – all set in a traditional old house in the Old Town of Plovdiv).
There are a few places in Plovdiv created for book lovers – cafe bookstores and cafe reading rooms where books and good coffee are equally precious. Visit the cozy book cafe Chitalnyata, meaning The Reading Room, near the mosque in the city center to curl up in an armchair and read among shelves full of books up to the ceiling.
Kapana, a cozy art district with pedestrianized streets, is a good place to explore fashion boutiques of Bulgarian designers but if you are into world brands, head for Mall Plovdiv or Mall Markovo Tepe where you can also see a movie.