One of the most interesting and unique hostels I have stayed in has to be Hostel Old Plovdiv.
On my second visit to Bulgaria, last summer, we opted to stop at Plovdiv for a couple days before continuing onto Sofia. We arrived on the night bus from Istanbul, I would call it the sleeper bus but it really wasn’t.
Upon arrival we found a taxi and gave the driver the address of the hostel. After speeding along the empty tarmac roads we turned a corner and suddenly hit cobbles. The driver undoubtedly knew they were coming but for us in our sleep deprived state it was something of a shock. As we bumped along the cobbled roads the buildings grew older and more colourful and we knew we had made it to the old town part of the city.
Hostel Old Plovdiv, our chosen accommodation for the next couple nights, is housed in a beautiful old renaissance building. The fascinating history of the building was later explained to us over our free breakfast by Hristo the owner.
Built in 1868 the house was owned by one of the richest local tobacco merchants. Constructed at great cost with materials brought in from all over the world. Two large wooden columns made from Lebanese Cedar are still present the today and you can also find marble and granite from Greece and Turkey respectively.
When communism became prevalent the house was repossessed and used as an outpost for many years until the collapse of communism in 1989. The house fell into a state of complete disrepair. Eventually it was reclaimed from dilapidation by the Hristo and his wife who lovingly renovated it and turned into what it is today. Taking great care to return the building to its once former glory and replacing the furntiture with local antique items. The building is a registered National Monument of Culture and it’s not hard to see why.
At this point I was travelling with two other friends so we opted for a “4 Bed Deluxe Room”. Deluxe was a more than fair description, the rooms were as impressive as the rest of the house. Our room contained four large vintage beds, 4m high ceilings and beautifully ornate wardrobes. It was quite different from the usual hostel setup we’d become accustomed to.
At the rear of the hostel was a beautiful leafy courtyard. There were tables scattered about, a relaxing water feature and a breakfast area/bar. We ate our free (and I should say generous) breakfast here every morning before heading out for the day and when we returned we drank beer and played cards here most evenings, socialising with the other guests.
The hostel location was perfect, in the heart of the old town it’s within easy walking distance of all the main tourist attractions and many of the more ‘local’ attractions too. With helpful and friendly staff to give advice and help it was a welcome break from the hussle and bussle of Istanbul
Hostel Old Plovdiv is a unique hostel located in Bulgaria’s second largest city.
Plovdiv is located in central Bulgaria. It can be reached from Sofia via a 4 hour train or from other areas of Bulgaria via bus or train. If you’re travelling through Bulgaria from Istanbul or Bucharest it’s definitely worth a visit.
Recently making it into “Lonely Planet’s top 10 best value stays for 2014” you do get a lot for your money with beds starting at 12 euros a night, which includes breakfast.