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Brits in Bulgaria: Past and Present

When the earliest Brits in Bulgaria arrived and settled they were met with surprise from Bulgarians, as it was something new to them.

Though they were used to foreigners' visiting the country as it has long been a popular holiday destination catering for sea and ski holidays - most don't stay. Bulgaria is a country with a completely different culture to that of the U.K, and for many Bulgarians they simply can't understand why the Brits living in Bulgaria and other foreigners come to their country and set up home.


British expats in Bulgaria generally fall into those who live permanently or own a holiday home and make regular visits. Brits live all over Bulgaria, some areas have more expats than others and it is down to personnel taste to where is best. The cheaper cost of living is generally cheaper and a deciding factor for expats, as well long hot summers, striking scenery and space.

The British who live permanently in Bulgaria mostly choose villages as property is cheap, and there is a more laid back lifestyle and the chance to integrate. But, infrastructure depends on the size of the village and can be poor which means always having to drive out to a nearby town or city for Doctors, post office, bank, shops, schools and entertainment. Life can be challenging. Coping with the bad weather winters are often extremely cold with snow and wind depending on where you live. This can cause damage and bring down power lines and cause water shortages, and property damage as well as prevent deliveries of wood and food deliveries. Usually these areas attract retired people searching for peace and quiet, and who can live off state and private U.K pensions. Others though in the minority are younger expats, fed up with the rat race of the U.K, who can support themselves financially with funds from renting a U.K property, working for other expats in the building trade, holiday home management, rural tourist business or internet marketing.
Bulgarians are confused when Brits arrive in villages, and have their own opinions of why they are there. Some locals think it is great that the Brits are contributing to the financial support of the village and using local shops and amenities. In addition spending money renovating run down properties can make villages look less dilapidated.

Others are not so accommodating and think Brits are too poor to live in the U.K and are hiding for various reasons in the village. Younger Bulgarians themselves want out of the villages because there is no work. They will move to towns and cities and even neighbouring countries for work opportunities. Villages tend to have an aging population living in them, and many retired Bulgarian's struggle on the extremely low Bulgarian monthly pension. It can be an eye opener to how locals manage. Yet these people can be very generous presenting new neighbours with eggs, vegetables, homemade bread and rakia. This for many Brits pull on their heartstrings to how generous Bulgarian villagers can be who have so little!

The Brits in Bulgaria who need to work often reside in Sofia and Varna where most of the work is for foreigners. Towns and cities have usually better amenities which can make life easier. Most large cities have exclusive shopping malls with trendy designer shops and a huge choice of western food chains. Most major towns and cities have a good choice of electronic stores and large supermarkets. Cities and in particular Sofia is vibrant with plenty of to do and see. There is a vast wealth of historical monuments, theatres, opera, amusements, trendy bars, international restaurants and lavish hotels.

Work opportunities in Bulgaria for British and other nationalities are better here due to foreign investors setting up here. Cities though are busier and can be very busy and similar to that of the U.K. Property prices can be a little more expensive, but still cheaper than the U.K. It is more common to live in an apartment than a house in cities.

If you are considering a move do your home work and visit several times before you decide to buy. A good idea is to rent for a 6 months to a year first to make sure. In the past Brits have purchased and had bad experiences and regretted it at a price. Like every where there is good and bad conducts in business so it is essential you do as much research as is possible. Many new regulations in the legal and real estate business are being introduced making it a safer option. If contemplating a new life in Bulgaria learn the language. English is widely spoken in certain areas but not all, and life can be hard day in day out getting by. Problems can be hard to sort as there is a more laid back attitude in certain areas of the country. Today a high number of Brits in Bulgaria as well as many other nationalities have set up new lives and made new friends and enjoy a new lifestyle.

If any British expat living in Bulgaria wishes to do a Quest Bulgaria interview please contact us.