Expat Exchange
Free MembershipSign In

Pros and Cons of Living in Bulgaria

AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers

By Betsy Burlingame

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?

Live in Bulgaria? Answer 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," said 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. ," remarked another expat in Varna.

"I like living in Bulgaria, for the most part. It is not an old country...it is an "ancient" country with a rich history. Walking and traveling through this country is a real experience and I do it often. My only negative experience is when I have to visit the U.S. embassy. The American citizens who work there are helpful, polite, and professional. However, the Bulgarian citizens who work there tend to be quite the opposite. Some are "downright snotty". For the most part, they are unprofessional and act as it they are doing you a favor. This is irritating to me as I still pay a lot of income tax which pays the salaries of these people. On top of that, I always felt that visiting my embassy was like visiting the land of my birth," explained one expat in Varna.

"My biggest complaint is with traffic and parking. Regardless of the posted speed limits, they drive as they wish. Parking is anywhere and in any way even on the sidewalks. Banking seems to take longer than I would expect. Likely because I have U.S. dollars sent to my bank here which seem to take longer to withdraw. Also, one branch bank I have used, which is closer to my home, many times does not have dollars. Then I have to go downtown to the main bank. Try to find a parking space, then I take the dollars and go to a currency exchange where I always get a better rate than at my bank. Banking in Varna is not a big problem but at times it is irritating," said another expat in Varna.

"The worst problem is the pollution from the oil refinery, it seems to affect most of the city and suburbs. There aren't enough waste bins or public toilets, leading to rubbish around and people defecating in public. There are many pavements that need repairing. The sewer system isn't good as you can very often smell sewage near the manholes. The beaches are not cleaned as regularly as necessary. Many of the apartment buildings are not well maintained. Many people just discard their rubbish anywhere and the worst offenders are smokers, cigarette butts can be found everywhere. Some people allow their pets to defecate on pavements all around the city and suburbs. The people don't seem to be proud of their surroundings. The Sea Gardens are beautiful as is the centre of the city. There are a lot of improvements being made to facilities. The people are generally very helpful. It's very safe at all hours (compared to other places I've lived). The internet is good and cheap, and the service is excellent. ," remarked another expat in Burgas.

"Qualty of life ,cost of living, very inexpensive. Locals are very friendly and helpfull. Climate much better than my home country," explained one expat living in Burgas.

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

What do expats in Bulgaria appreciate most about the local culture?

Live in Bulgaria? Answer this Question

"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," added another person living 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," explained one expat living in Varna.

"The traditions that are observed most of which are centuries old. One of which is "Martinitza" (probably not spelled correctly). March 1st which celebrates the coming of spring and you wear something red and white. Everyone seems to participate even the dogs and cats. Coffee shops...Bulgarians love to sit inside or outside, talk and drink coffee...very good coffee," said another in Varna.

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

What do expats find most challenging?

Live in Bulgaria? Answer this Question

"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," explained one expat.

"Trying to understand Bulgarian "humor" - they seem to have lost that somewhere along the way. :)," said another person in Varna.

"Putting up with terrible drivers. Streets in many cities are very narrow and cars are parked every which-way on sidewalks or wherever. Speed limits for the most part are not observed and very seldom enforced. I will admit that the new government is trying to crack down on speeders with cameras," remarked another expat in Varna.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame 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.

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Bulgaria GuideBulgaria Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria Forum Bulgaria Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Bulgaria on our Bulgaria forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Bulgaria Index Bulgaria Index
An index of all of our site's Bulgaria information.

Contribute to Bulgaria Network Contribute
Help others in Bulgaria by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Bulgaria.

Expat Healthcare Advice in BulgariaHealthcare & Health Insurance in Bulgaria

Expats in Bulgaria offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Bulgaria.

Real Estate in BulgariaReal Estate in Bulgaria

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Bulgaria.

Guide to Real Estate in BulgariaGuide to Real Estate in Bulgaria

Advice for people renting and buying real estate in Bulgaria.

Pros Cons of Living in BulgariaPros & Cons of Living in Bulgaria

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what digital nomads & expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Bulgaria.

10-Tips-for-Living-in-Bulgaria10 Tips for Living in Bulgaria

Expats living in Bulgaria can have all kinds of experiences while living abroad there. The capital city of Sofia offers a much different experience compared to what expats will experience in a Bulgarian village. These tips will help you understand what it means to live as an expat in Bulgaria.

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Bulgaria GuideBulgaria Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria Forum Bulgaria Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Bulgaria on our Bulgaria forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Bulgaria Index Bulgaria Index
An index of all of our site's Bulgaria information.

Contribute to Bulgaria Network Contribute
Help others in Bulgaria by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Bulgaria.

Expat Healthcare Advice in BulgariaHealthcare & Health Insurance in Bulgaria

Expats in Bulgaria offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Bulgaria.

Real Estate in BulgariaReal Estate in Bulgaria

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Bulgaria.

Guide to Real Estate in BulgariaGuide to Real Estate in Bulgaria

Advice for people renting and buying real estate in Bulgaria.

Pros Cons of Living in BulgariaPros & Cons of Living in Bulgaria

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what digital nomads & expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Bulgaria.

10-Tips-for-Living-in-Bulgaria10 Tips for Living in Bulgaria

Expats living in Bulgaria can have all kinds of experiences while living abroad there. The capital city of Sofia offers a much different experience compared to what expats will experience in a Bulgarian village. These tips will help you understand what it means to live as an expat in Bulgaria.

Guides to Cities in Bulgaria
Varna
Country Resources
Health Insurance Moving & Shipping More Resources

Copyright 1997-2022 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal