Flights to Plovdiv
Plovdiv is Bulgaria’s second largest city and one of the oldest cities in Europe with a history spanning the course of 6,000 years. Located just south of the centre of Bulgaria, Plovdiv is a major tourist destination with its 200 or so archaeological sites.
The Plovdiv Airport (airport code: PDV) usually handles only charter flights to Plovdiv, usually from the UK and Europe. For scheduled flights to Plovdiv from South Africa, you’ll have to fly to Sofia Airport (code: SOF) and either drive or take the bus for the 150km trip to Plovdiv. This is probably easier than booking a connecting flight to Plovdiv from the UK because you may have to change airports in London. Lufthansa flies to Sofia with one stop in Munich, and South African Airways makes a connection in Frankfurt. British Airways has their transfer point in London. On average, most flights are around 16 hours long.
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The Tourist Attractions of Plovdiv:
In the 6,000 or so years since Plovdiv was first inhabited the city has been controlled by numerous civilisations, many of whom have left their mark. The Romans really helped to make Plovdiv what it is today, but you’ll also see evidence of the Ottomans and later the communist times. Plovdiv’s main sights include:
The Roman Theatre
Commonly called an amphitheatre Plovdiv’s most famous landmark is actually a traditional Roman theatre so it’s often known as Plovdiv Antique Theatre. However you refer to it this is an impressive Roman ruin that’s been somewhat restored and now hosts plays and musical shows during the summer. The theatre originally dates back to the 2nd century AD and was only discovered following a landslide in the 1960s when part of the theatre was uncovered.
The Roman Stadium
The Roman Stadium of Plovdiv is in some way even more impressive than the theatre though only part of it has been excavated. The rest of it remains underground and has been built over in the 1800 hundred years or so since it was first constructed and to dig it up now is not really feasible with the city streets and buildings that stand on top of it. The whole of the stadium would have been 180 metres long and had a capacity of more than 30,000 people and it would have been used as a stadium for sports.
Other Roman Ruins in Plovdiv
Plovdiv is also home to a second smaller theatre, called the Roman Odeon, and this can also be seen. There’s a Roman forum which would have been a popular meeting place back in Roman times, and the remains of an impressive Roman aqueduct to see in Plovdiv too.
Plovdiv Old Town
The whole old town of Plovdiv is a nice place to visit with its old world charm. There are quaint cobblestone streets and an assortment of buildings constructed during different periods. A couple of Ottoman era mosques stand here for example and there are several 19th century churches. Elsewhere in the city is the Cathedral of St Louis, the largest Roman Catholic church in Plovdiv.
There are a number of very good museums to visit in Plovdiv too, where you can find out more about the city’s varied history. There’s the Archaeological Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, the Historical Museum of Plovdiv, the Museum of Aviation, and the Art Gallery of Plovdiv.
When Should You Visit?:
Plovdiv has a temperate climate that’s influenced by the Mediterranean, so summers are usually a little hotter than many other temperate cities. The average high in July is 32C, but the difference between summer and winter is big as the average high in January is only 5C.