Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second-largest city, has a history that dates back thousands of years, offering visitors an interesting mixture of the old and new. With the quaint cobbled streets of the old town rubbing shoulders with the new section of the city, must-see attractions include the Roman amphitheatre and the Roman stadium, which is hidden under the shopping mall.
Straddling the Maritsa river, Plovdiv is not only a worthy holiday destination in its own right, it's also a convenient gateway to other areas of interest, such as mountainous regions, ski resorts and inviting beaches. Car hire in Plovdiv, with pick ups available at Plovdiv Airport (PDP), makes getting around and exploring the location easy and convenient.
You may wish to visit Bachkovo Monastery in the nearby Rodopi Mountains. One of the most popular locations in Bulgaria, the monastery dates back to the 11th century and is complete with a medieval dining hall containing 17th-century frescoes.
Representing the turbulent Bulgarian past is the monument of Alyosha. The statue, which takes the form of a Russian soldier, was raised as a monument to the Soviet army and stands at the top of Bunardjika Hill overlooking the city. Not only is this a little piece of Bulgaria's history, it is a wonderful place to experience panoramic views.
If you intend to travel to Sunny Beach, Bulgaria's largest coastal resort, from Plovdiv car hire makes perfect sense. The perfect resort for families, offering water parks, watersports and the annual Golden Orpheus International Festival of popular song, the beach is three hours away by car.
Back in Plovdiv itself, be sure to explore the pedestrianised Main Street with its outdoor cafés and upmarket clothes stores. Chifte Banya, a 16th century Turkish bath and the 15th century Jumaya Jamia Mosque are also worth visiting. You can also enjoy a break from the town by wandering through Central Garden just off Central Square.
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