Pros and Cons of Living in Bulgaria
Last updated on Nov 27, 2021
Summary: Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what expats and digital nomads have to say about the pros and cons of living in Bulgaria.
What are the pros and cons of living in Bulgaria?If you live in Bulgaria, newcomers to Bulgaria would love to hear your answer to this question:
Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Bulgaria responded:
"Bulgaria is a very historical country. Lots of interesting things to see, but you have to seek them out, so read travel books! Bulgaria is also a very traditional country where traditions are respected. "Martenitsa" is celebrated March 1st all over Bulgaria. Look it up, interesting! The major thing I do not like about Bulgaria is the car drivers who park anywhere and in any position as well as do not seem to respect speed limits. The Bulgarian staff at the U.S. Embassy in Sofia are, for the most part, "snotty", unprofessional, and act as if they are doing you a favor. I guess that living under socialism for so many years had influenced their behavior. I have dealt with embassies in other countries and have not been treated as "shabbily" as the Bulgarian staff at the U.S. Embassy in Sofia. On the other hand, the U.S. citizen employees I have dealt with at the embassy have always been polite, professional and helpful. Fortunately they have never had to live under socialism...yet," remarked another expat in Varna.
"The U.S. Embassy in Sofia! The Bulgarians who work there are "down right snotty"! They give the impression that they are doing you a big favor and are sometimes just "rude". I am a retired U.S. citizen and I pay a lot of income tax, some of this tax goes to pay these embassy employees. So I do not feel that it is too much to expect a more professional attitude from them. However, the Americans I have dealt with at the embassy have been quite the opposite. They are polite, professional, and helpful. And...I continue to thank them. ," explained one expat in Varna.
What do expats in Bulgaria appreciate most about the local culture?
"I do love the nature that surrounds us all. Green and fertile land. Birds and rivers... I also enjoy greeting the numerous locals who ply back and forth on various errands with their wheel barrow of weeds, bags of shopping and time spent weeding and planting along the narrow lanes. They welcome me in as an outsider. There is always a seat for me at the bar. One has taken upon himself to teach me Bulgarian and he far exceeds the two words I know I can master in a day," said another person in Veliko Tarnovo.
"Vinitsa, a "modern" village 12km above Varna is the most delightful place I've lived. #1 is the beautiful simplicity of life. #2 the blue skies and rolling hills overlooking Cherno More. #3 My apartment is like a miniature palace and I feel like a queen in my home. #4 the fresh air #5 the Romani, who in stark contrast to the over-serious Bulgarian are quick to smile, chat, laugh and run barefoot in the rain! #6 the fact that I have every single possible convenience from transportation to veterinarian care; food, restaurants, post, hospital, optician, riding stables, etc..., etc..., etc..., within walking distance - and I mean a few blocks, not kilometers! #7 for me, it is perfect," remarked another expat in Varna.
What do expats find most challenging?
"Initially the Bulgarians do not smile much. They may not have a lot to smile about! But once you get to know them they are very hospitable. A lovely elderly woman who lives across the lane knew I was leaving to go back to the UK. She turned up with salty fried bread, cooked chicken bits in a tray, a glass jar of noodle soup and a small sealed jar of something that had been expertly, I am sure, canned several years before. The written words on the label have escaped translation. I went to wash up a plate in the outside sink only to find that the local cat had eaten the chicken. So it was bread and soup it was! Delicious. The small jar still remains to be eaten, if that is what it is for," remarked another in Veliko Tarnovo.
"Trying to understand Bulgarian "humor" - they seem to have lost that somewhere along the way. :)," explained one expat.
About the Author
Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.
Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.
- What do I need to know before retiring in Bulgaria?
- How do I meet people in Bulgaria?
- What is life like as an expat in your area?
- Is there a lot of crime in Bulgaria?
- Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Bulgaria accepting of differences?
- What are the schools in Bulgaria like?
- Is the cost of living in Bulgaria high?
- What advice do you have for expats having a baby in Bulgaria?
- What are healthcare services like in Bulgaria?
- Is the cost of living in Bulgaria high?
- What type of recreational facilities are in Bulgaria?
- What is the weather like in Bulgaria?
- Are there good restaurants in Bulgaria?
- Where will I buy groceries and do other shopping in Bulgaria?
- What are the visa & residency requirements in Bulgaria?
- Are healthcare and health insurance expensive in Bulgaria?
- What do I need to know when buying property in Bulgaria?
- Are foreigners allowed to own property in Bulgaria?
- What appliances are typically included in a rental?