Arriving by train.
There are two railway stations that can be useful for you, depending on where you are going. The Cental Railway Station ("Centralna Zhelezopatna Gara" in Bulgarian) serves the main line Sofia - Burgas and is probably the most useful one for you. It is situated 10 - 15 min on foot south of the city centre.
There is also the Filipovo Railway Station in the Filipovo area north of river Mariza.
Going to/from Plovdiv by bus.
There are three bus stations which might be of importance for you -
Sever (Northern in English), tel: +359 (032) 953 011
Avtogara Yug (Southern), tel:(032) 626 937
the Rodopi, tel: (032) 657 828, ul. Dimitar Talev, off ul. Makedonia.
You can get to Bachkovo Monastery from the latter one, Rodopi (which is in fact the name of the mountains south from Plovdiv).
Sever is close to Filipovo Railway Station, the other two are close to the Central R. S.
If you click this link you'll come to a page (in Bulgarian) where you can get timetables by clicking the names of the bus stations (in the orange field).
The airport is located 12km south-east of the town. A railway station is located 3km away from the airport and could be easily reached by shuttle bus.
Low cost carrier Ryanair has as of autumn 2012 two lines to/from Plovdiv: London Stansted and Frankfurt-Hahn.
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Rhodopi bus station
Rhodopi bust station is not the largest but is modern .Buses that run from that station go mostly to Rhodopi mountain – Chepelare, Pamporovo, Smolyan and all the little cities and villages in the area.
The station is located on the other side of the underpass of the train station, just behind Billa supermarket on pl. Avtogara Rhodopi 1
In the following link, you can find a picture with the timetable of the bus station but it's only in Bulgarian:
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how to go there
Plovdiv is located on the banks of Maritsa river, about 152km SE of Sofia.
We used train from/to Sofia. Return ticket costs 15leva (about 8euro) and the train ride was 2,5 hours.
There are many different platforms, hopefully there were screens with information about arrivals/departures showing the platforms too.
The station seems very old but it’s very nice, in neo baroque style, not much English spoken (it’s always helpful to have your destination written on a paper in Cyrillic to be sure).
There is an area with luggage lockers (2lv for 24 hours!)
There are numerous buses connecting Sofia with Plovdiv in about 2 hours, most of the buses run every hour but on peak moments there are buses on half an hour. You can just buy your ticket at the bus station (about 14 leva one way)
Plovdiv is also connected with numerous small towns around, depending on the destination you have to go to one of the 3 bus terminals
Avtogara Yug(South) opposite the central train station is the one for Sofia
Avtogara Rhodopi station is behind the central station, very useful for many small towns in Rhodope mountains, we took a bus to Bachkovo from here, for a 35’ ride the ticket was 4 leva one way. We bought the ticket at the station and we went to the sector that they told us and just got into the small bus. The bus station is modern, there were some café to wait and a clean WC (they charge 0,50lev)
Avtogara Sever (North) is a bit out of town (bus 21 will get you there), we didn’t use this but I guess it serves the cities to the north.
Plovdiv Airport is located 12km SE of the city (near Krumovo village on the route Plovdiv–Assenovgrad) with a shuttle bus connecting the airport with a railway station which is 3km away.
I guess most of the people come to Plovdiv from other Bulgarian town by train/bus/car but there are some low cost companies that serve the Plovdiv airport from some European countries.
how to move around
From the bus station or the train station find Ivan Vasov avenue go up till you reach a big square square after about 10-15 minutes, you are already in the city center now. There is a big Information center there, get a free map (the main sites are highlighted on it) and start exploring the city. The old town is just 5’ walk from there, just follow the main pedestrian street.
The city center is compact so you can see everything easily, just walk around, high temperatures and the hills will get you tired of course (the old town is up on one of the hills of the city) so don’t forget to do small breaks, get into some of the museums or stop for a coffee
You wont need any but if so the ticket for the local buses is 1lev(about half euro), there is an inspector in every bus that comes to you and you get the ticket from her (not from the driver!). Local buses run from about 5.30am till about 23.00. We noticed also some mini buses.
We used some local buses to reach the suburbs but we didn’t use any taxi. If you need one don’t forget to check always the rate per km which is always written on the side window.
Bus from Sofia
We traveled to Plovdiv on a daytrip from Sofia, from Sofia the buses left on the hour from 7am-11am and then on the 1/2 hour until 12:30pm. I assume that there are more buses in the afternoon but when we left those were the only times posted, same when we got back. You buy the tickets inside the central bus station in Sofia, there are different booths for each destination so you'll need to know the cyrillic spelling of Ploviv, the booth for Plovdiv was the 1st one we saw when entering from the left side of the station. One way was 13 lev (about $10US) and it didn't seem like you could buy a round trip, the woman selling the tickets didn't speak much English.
Coming back there was at least one bus per hour, currently you can catch a bus from Plovdiv to Sofia at 6:00, 6:30, 7:30, 8:15, 9:00, 9:45, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00, 17:00, 18:00, 19:00 and 20:00, the schedule is posted on the wall inside the station.
The bus ride took 2 1/4 hours to get to Plovdiv, about 2 hours to get back, traffic can be heavy getting in and out of Sofia. There are three bus stations in Plovdiv, the bus station for buses from Sofia is the Bus station "Yug"-South located at 47 Hristo Botev Blvd.
From the bus station to the city center
When we arrived at the bus station, I knew we had a little bit of a walk to get to the old town, I had assumed that it would be marked, I guess I figured it would be a tourist draw but in reality there were few other tourists besides us wandering around the old town. We asked a couple of people around the bus station, asking for old town didn't get us any help but finally when we said city center, someone pointed us in the right direction.
From the bus station, don't cross over the main road, instead find Ivan Vasov and take that into the city's main square where you will find a tourist information center and the road leading to the old town.
Getting To (and From) Plovdiv By Bus
Plovdiv has three separate bus stations each handling buses to and from different parts of the country.
The main central bus terminus is the "Avtogara Yug" (South) which is across the road from the central railway station. This is where services to and from Sofia and the south of the country arrive and depart. The buses depart from well-signposted bays and you can get one of the cheapest coffees in town (50c) from the cafe here. The ticket office is adjacent to the departure area where you can buy tickets for all destinations and companies.
The other main bus station is the "Avtogara Sever" (North). This is a bit out of town, across the river, and can be reached by either local bus #21 or by taxi. I found this one a bit confusing as the bus station itself is set back from the main road and isn't particularly well signposted - it's through the building marked "APTEKA" (Pharmacy!). At the front of this there is what appears to be a bus station but this is just a parking and setting down area. Once you realise where it is it's once again organisedly laid out with the ticket office next to the departure lounge and the buses depart from clearly marked bays.
The third terminus is the "Avtogara Rhodopi" which is behind the main railway station and accessible from it (and the main Hristo Botev Blvd) through the pedestrian underpass. This deals with buses from the Rhodope Mountains and other smaller destinations. I haven't used this one but it too seems well-organised.
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Public transport buses
Plovdiv buses can be used easily but the problem is that there is no information about the schedule and also some of them don’t run frequently. It is absolutely possible for people to wait even half an hour on the bus station.Public transport starts running around 05:30 and stops at 23:00. You must buy tickets from the bus, but not from the driver, there is a ticket collector in every bus.A single ticket costs 1 lev (0.50 EUR). Also there are passes but the shortest period is one month and the price is around 30EUR.
But don’t worry – Plovdiv is explored even easily on foot, the main sightseeings are located in the walking area and the Old town.
Here is a link to the scheme of the buses network, unfortunately is in Bulgarian
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Letishte Plovdiv - Plovdiv Airport
Plovdiv's airport has been recently revamped with its new International terminal being opened in August 2009 at a total cost of about 20 million Euros. At the time of writing (January 2010) the only scheduled flights using it are from Moscow but the airport authorities hope to be able to attract airlines from throughout Europe over the course of the next year or so.
In addition to scheduled flights the airport will still handle regular charter carriers and act as a back-up to Sofia airport.
The terminal is designed to handle a throughput of 1,000 passengers per hour (aiming for 500,000 per year) and the infrastructure is also in the process of being upgraded.
The airport is located just outside the village of Krumovo, about 12 km from the city centre, on the main Plovdiv to Asenovgrad road and railway line. Krumovo railway station too has had a recent revamp, as has the line itself, and the journey time from Plovdiv is now 11 minutes with modern high-speed electric trains in operation.
UPDATE Ryan O'Crapo Air are offering a regular scheduled service from November 2010 - me I'll stick to flying in and out of Sofia or Varna until they get a decent airline.
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How the bus works.
Well, when you get on from a bus stop you just sit down. Then a man or a woman comes to you and let you pay the ticket and then they give it to you. Right now it cost 1 leva to travel all over Plovdiv, and if you shall change bus some where, you have to pay again. Try to have not to bills when you pay, more perfect is to use the left over coins.
Route search of buses
I just discover a web site where you can find buses' routes in Plovdiv. It's not that good as in other countries but it's OK and you could find it useful in some ways. This is completely new for here and it made me happy.
And here you can download the bus map: http://www.stud.uni-karlsruhe.de/~uwarf/home/pic/Plovdiv.jpg
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Plovdiv Bus Stations
There are three bus stations in Plovdiv, servicing the North, South and East-West directions, with some exceptions. Their Bulgarian-language departure lists are here:
Plovdiv Yug (confusingly named South) station next to the train station services the East-West directions, such as Sofia, Stara Zagora, Burgas, etc.:
Plovdiv Rodopi station, behind the train station services southern destinations in the Rhodopes:
Plovdiv Sever (North) station, located here:
services destinations north of the city:
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Plovdiv airport opened its 2-d terminal in 2009. But unfortunately it is not used much. There is a regular line to Moscow and also it services different charters in wintertime because of the close location to the winter resorts.
The airport is located on 12 km south of the city on the route Plovdiv – Assenovgrad. You can go by taxi(around 15 EUR) and the other option is train or bus but the station is around 1 km far from the airport
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