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Discovering Plovdiv’s Quirky Charm – 8 Unconventional Adventures in Bulgaria’s Hidden Gem

Pretty little Plovdiv is absolutely full of surprises! Unfortunately, it is often skipped in favour of its bigger sister Sofia, shame on you. In this guide, we’ll be diving headfirst into the eccentric heart of Plovdiv, exploring its most unconventional attractions and offbeat experiences. From ancient theaters to bizarre museums, prepare to be enchanted by this city’s eclectic charm and offbeat allure.

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Pharmacy Museum Hippocrates

Housed within a historical pharmacy dating back to the 19th century, the Pharmacy Museum Hippocrates is a treasure trove of vintage medical equipment, apothecary jars, and ancient remedies. As you wander through the museum’s rooms, you’ll be transported back in time to an era when potions and elixirs held sway over the realm of healing.

One of the highlights of the museum is its meticulously preserved interior, which retains the ambiance of a bygone era. With its ornate wooden shelves, antique glass bottles, and faded parchment labels, it’s like stepping into a time machine.

So whether you’re a history enthusiast, a budding pharmacist, or simply curious about the mysteries of the human body, don’t miss the chance to explore the wonders of the Pharmacy Museum Hippocrates in Plovdiv.

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Visit Central Perk Café

Calling all “Friends” fans! Make your way to Central Perk Café, where you can sip on coffee just like Ross, Rachel, and the gang. With its cozy atmosphere and iconic orange couch, this café is a must-visit for any Friends enthusiast. Is a Friends themed café bizarrely out of place in Plovdiv? Absolutely, but that’s what makes it great!

Central Perk Café is obviously themed after the show, but besides that, it is a really great place to chill out with friends and play board games. It is located in the mega-trendy Kapana district, with their iconic branding, you can’t miss it!

Museum of Natural Sciences

Prepare to be amazed at the Museum of Natural Sciences, also known as the Regional Natural History Museum of Plovdiv. From dinosaur skeletons to the creepiest of crawlies, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the natural world.

There is plenty to see in the former town hall, with exhibits on geology, zoology & botany and even an aquarium. Enjoy nosing through hundreds of crystals, to butterfly exhibits, to taxidermized animals of different shapes, sizes and species. Given the wide variety of unusual things on display, this is one of the quirkiest things to do in Plovdiv.

Plovdiv Graffiti Tour

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Take a walk on the colorful side with a graffiti tour of Plovdiv. Explore the city’s vibrant street art scene as you wander through alleyways adorned with larger-than-life murals and thought-provoking graffiti.

Where do you find street art in Plovdiv? Well you won’t have to look far, as everything is fair game for street artists in Plovdiv. Everything from electrical boxes and shutters to underpasses and even garbage containers in Plovdiv have been licked with coats of colour.

An excellent place to check out high quality street art in the Kapana area. Apparently, this now ultra-cool Kapana district used to be more than a little bit rough around the edges. Thanks to artists like Stern, who treated this district like his own personal canvas, these streets are now a living,  breathing gallery.

Another great spot is the back of the Plovdiv Drama Theatre. Thanks to Street Art Fest in 2013, this formerly normal, unassuming street was transformed into a colourful wonderland. At the time, 9 Bulgaria street artists spent a whole week filling this space with colour and creativity. As is the way with graffiti, over time many other people have added their own flair, with new tags and images popping up all the time.

This free graffiti tour is one of the quirkiest things to do in Plovdiv.


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Watch a live performance at the Ancient Theatre of Philippopolis

 Experience a magical live performance at the Ancient Theatre of Philippopolis. Built in the 1st century AD, this well-preserved amphitheater hosts concerts, plays, and other cultural events, many of which are free (primarily in the summer) against a backdrop of ancient ruins.

Carved into the natural slope of the hillside, the theater boasts impressive acoustics and stunning views of the surrounding landscape. But the Ancient Theatre is more than just a venue for ancient dramas and gladiatorial contests – it’s a symbol of resilience and perseverance. Despite centuries of wear and tear, including earthquakes and invasions, this architectural marvel has endured, thanks to ongoing restoration efforts and a deep reverence for history. You need to do this while you are in Plovdiv.

Visit the Extravagant Hindliyan House

The Hindliyan’s were an extremely wealthy family that lived in Plovdiv during the 19th century. I’m going to start this with what I think is the most bizarre thing. When Mr Hindliyan was entertaining guests, he would whip out his rose water fountain as a lavish display of how wealthy he was. It wasn’t enough that ornately detailed paintings adorned the walls and ceilings, or that the house itself was an architectural masterpiece, nope, Mr Hindliyan just needed add that extra sprinkle of pizazz.

Now a museum, The Hindliyan House Museum was built in the 1830s during the Bulgarian National Revival period, basically like a post-Ottoman Bulgarian Renaissance. The house is lavish, opulent, and oh so over-the-top, you have to visit it when you are in Plovdiv.

Bonus Fact: The owner’s original name was Stepan Manuk. He earned the nickname Hindliyan because he spent some time in India as part of his job as a successful trading merchant.

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Eat mind-blowing Doughnuts

Didn’t you know that Bulgaria is famous for doughnuts? Just kidding, that’s a straight up lie, but Bluestone Doughnuts is genuinely putting Plovdiv on the map for foodies.

The entire process of making the doughnuts is done by hand. Plus, they change the flavours regularly, from Boston cream to maple bacon  – In my opinion, that’s the perfect excuse to go multiple times. It is also a top notch café for people that don’t like desserts, (I know you’re out there) that want high-quality coffee in a relaxing atmosphere.

They usually have live music on Sundays, so check in advance to see if there are any free events being held. Trust me, you’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t visit this place while you’re in Plovdiv.

Witness the flashy singing fountain

Nestled in the heart of Tsar Simeon Garden Park, this quirky landmark is sure to bring a smile to your face.

As day turns into night, the fountain comes alive with a symphony of colors and melodies, choreographed to perfection. Jets of water dance gracefully to the rhythm of classical compositions and modern day bops, creating a really celestial atmosphere.

You probably already have Tsar Simeon Garden Park on your list of things to do in Plovdiv, so why not take a stroll in the evening to finish off your trip?