Ask anyone who’s been to Bulgaria recently and they’ll tell you there’s no other place like it – it’s a country blessed with natural resources, a country with a thriving economy and a booming property market, a nation with a rich historical and cultural heart and a country with an air of excitement and expectation – is it any wonder then that more expatriates are choosing life in Bulgaria over life in any other Eastern European country at the moment?
One of the most significant reasons that life in Bulgaria is so appealing particularly to Western European and Northern American expatriates is because the Bulgarians manage to seamlessly combine a fantastic social life with a good working life, so much so that life in Bulgaria can seem like one long social excursion even for those who have to work for a living!
The majority of expatriates who arrive in Bulgaria looking for work end up in Sofia, the capital city or on the Black Sea coast or in the mountain ski resorts for which Bulgaria is becoming increasingly famous. Jobs for expatriates in the latter two locations are mainly restricted to positions in the tourism industry or in estate agencies. In Sofia the job vacancies are broader as more international firms establish operations in Bulgaria, but it’s fair to say that having at least a working knowledge of Bulgarian is an advantage to securing employment away from the main tourism areas.
In terms of the cost of living in Bulgaria accommodation is affordable with the main towns and cities having an abundance of apartment property to rent. Prices for properties for sale in Bulgaria have been increasing strongly in the most popular areas over the past three years especially, but still they remain affordable.
Those who shop in local markets and small supermarkets in Bulgaria will find they can buy everyday goods far more cheaply than they ever could back home and as long as fruit and vegetables are bought in season and from local producers the quality is generally exceptionally good and the value is great. For those who prefer to eat out, restaurants are in abundance with prices away from the main tourism haunts surprisingly affordable for food and drink. Naturally enough those living and working in Bulgaria and existing on local wages may feel the pinch a little more than those working for Western rates of pay as the minimum wage in Bulgaria is still very low.
Nightlife in Sofia and in the ski and sun resorts, particularly in season tends to be great – there are an abundance of bars, cafes and some nightclubs as well as cultural offerings such as cinemas, theatres, opera, concerts and exhibitions to visit and experience. Life in Bulgaria is what you make of it though – those who come to work hard and play hard will find plenty of opportunity to do both. On the other hand an increasing number of retiring or semi-retiring expatriates are establishing themselves in Bulgaria and seriously enjoying the peace, quiet and laid back lifestyle achievable.