Welcome to Plovdiv
But cobblestoned lanes and National Revival–era nostalgia are only part of the story. Bulgaria’s cosmopolitan second city has always been hot on the heels of Sofia, and a stint as European Capital of Culture 2019 seems sure to give Plovdiv the edge. Music and art festivals draw increasing crowds, while renovations in the Kapana artistic quarter and Tsar Simeon Gardens have given the city new confidence. Once an amiable waystation between Bulgaria and Greece or Turkey, the city has flowered into a destination in its own right – and one that should be firmly stamped on any itinerary through central Bulgaria.