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Life in Bulgaria and What is it Like?

Life in Bulgaria has been covered here in many articles during the past, but for many expats living here, there will obviously be several differences of opinion as to how they now perceive a country which has been changed from the communism years to what is becoming a modern and fast growing westernised member of the European Union. Most cities now have state of the art shopping malls, supermarkets which are comparable with what most of us are accustomed to, and luxury style restaurants serving both local and international cuisine.

 

Why Bulgaria?

Ask expats why they chose Bulgaria to live out their new life, or to own a second home and you are sure to get a variety of answers from ‘I like Bulgarian people',' I love the life in Bulgaria' and ‘I want to live in a warmer climate' but the most common and important factor for most is Bulgaria's low cost of living and above that, the extremely low cost of property which is affordable to more of us who want to live our lives overseas.

There is no doubt about it that Bulgarian people in general are very warm and welcoming if not slightly curious to us foreigners. Village life in particular is a good example of this where it is normal to be invited to your neighbours home to drink rakia or wine which in most cases is home made. This will help wash down the home made banitsa or salad.

As crime rates are forever increasing in most countries around the world, it is no wander that many of us opt for a new life in Bulgaria. Crime here is increasing in some sectors but is still much lower than some of its western counterparts.

Where are the Expats?

Expats enjoying the life in Bulgaria are spread virtually all over the country now with very few cities, towns and even villages without at least a property owned by a Brit.

The so called ‘built up' areas as far as British, Russian and other nationalities are residing on a permanent or semi - permanent basis are all along the Black Sea Coast in eastern Bulgaria, from Varna in the northeast to Burgas in the southeast. North Central Bulgaria has the former ancient capital city of Veliko Turnovo which has a very large population of expats, especially British residents. Sofia, the capital is very much an international city and is home to Bulgarian based businesses from all over the world. Plovdiv, Ruse and the Yambol province, in particular the town of Elhovo has a very large British community including some food shops and restaurants owned by the expats themselves.

Conclusion

Bulgaria, just like any other country in the world has its problems, and some of these can annoy the life out of us; Bureaucracy has to be close to the top. Day to day living can be great until it's time to sort a problem out. Maybe you have a problem with your energy provider(s) or you need a lawyer or accountant, well this is when life in Bulgaria can be a really slow and tiring drag! All of a sudden you may be faced with a person who does not speak a single word of your language and vice versa. Be prepared and do your homework, take an interpreter, just ask your neighbour and they will normally be glad to help or they will know somebody that will.

Life in Bulgaria can be whatever you make it and if you integrate then it's more likely to be a happy life. If you decide that you just want to be involved with people of your own nationality then will be harder. As in all countries where expats reside, you could find that for whatever circumstances, your new best friends might have to pack up and head home, so if this is the way of life you want then be prepared.

The low cost of living and property prices are one thing, but don't forget the friendliness of the locals, the wide open beautiful landscape that the country has, the healthier living and the climate when deciding if life in Bulgaria is for you.