In recent years, travel has become such an integral part of our lifestyle that more and more people are booking their itineraries and choosing to travel alone. And while women have been slower in exercising this right on a global scale, today they enjoy complete freedom to be where they decide on the globe. Of course, there are some places where it is advisable to have a company and even to hire a professional guide, but Plovdiv is definitely not one of them.
We have repeatedly described how you can get to the City under the hills. Even if you land in Sofia, there is always regular transport from the capital. For times when this is not available, it is safe to order a taxi or transfer. Larger taxis, for the most part, are already equipped with GPS tracking systems, so the headquarters will know which car is where. Our only advice here is to be careful not to get in an illegal taxi. Registered drivers have stickers with prices in a conspicuous place as well as ones of the municipality in which they work.
Only the capital has a subway, which is much quieter than most European capitals. In Plovdiv, you will most often be on foot or by bus. A cluster of people is observed only in rush hours (07-09 am and 5-6:30 pm). Then, danger can be pickpockets who take advantage of the crowd and the lack of attention in fuller vehicles. Keep your purse in front of you and there is nothing to worry about.
We recommend that if you want to avoid public transportation/taxis, choose a place to stay downtown. Within walking distance are some large hotels as well as cozy rooms and suites. When staying in remote areas outside of hotels, it is a good idea to know the area in advance. Sometimes the many small streets can be quite confusing, but don't hesitate to ask.
Talking to strangers
In Bulgaria and Plovdiv in general, the locals are friendly. The slightly older people probably only know certain words in Russian, but the younger ones speak English. There is no problem starting a conversation and they will certainly welcome you. Bulgarians are very attentive to tourists and rest assured that they will flood you well with thousands of questions about what you think about the city, the country, the atmosphere and so on.
There is a large community of people in Plovdiv who have chosen the ancient city for their home and some of whom we have already introduced. Their Facebook group is very helpful and quick to answer any questions - what to see, where to go and everything you might need while staying here.
What to avoid
Plovdiv is no different than any major European city, and in some respects, it is even calmer. It is not overpopulated like Rome, Athens, Florence and there is no endless waiting on queues. Except for mass events, there are rarely large crowds but at the same time, it is lively enough. What we can give as advice to solo tourists is to watch out for pickpockets, to stick mainly in the central part or to a familiar place in the evening and not be aggressive.
There are no restrictions for the ladies and they can safely sit alone in restaurants, bars and have a conversation without thinking that this can be seen as wrong. You don’t have to prepare special clothing and leave your short skirt at home. The only places where it is advisable to cover your shoulders and legs are religious temples. Plovdiv has been a multicultural city in the past, with many different religions and ethnicities successfully living together for years, so you will never feel threatened on the basis of gender, race, religion.
In case of a crisis, contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country or the embassy/consulate in Bulgaria (emergency telephone number for Bulgaria: 112).