Pros and Cons of Living in Bulgaria

William Russell Expat Health Insurance

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?

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," explained one 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. ," said 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," remarked another 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," explained one expat living 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. ," said another expat in living in Burgas, Bulgaria.

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

Need health insurance in Bulgaria? 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

Need health insurance in Bulgaria? 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?

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Italy, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and the Living in Panama Guide. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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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.

Bulgaria Forum Bulgaria Forum
Meet other expats and talk about living in Bulgaria.

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Real Estate in BulgariaReal Estate in Bulgaria

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Bulgaria.

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

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