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Early Retirement in Bulgaria

No work, put your feet up and relax.. the dream of many a Brit buying a property in Bulgaria for early retirement. A few months on and you discover that there is only so much you can do in the garden or only so long that you can lie by the pool. Life becomes boring and you're longing to do something.


It's easy to tumble into a way of life which is not at all healthy, ending up doing next to nothing, drinking too much cheap booze and becoming totally fed up.

The answer is to keep yourself busy

Bulgaria offers lots of opportunities to keep yourself amused, with its great climate and low cost of living, particularly for those who are retired and are on more limited funds. There is plenty to do to while away those long hours.

To remain happy, get yourselves out and about. Even short journeys in your local area will allow you to explore and see different places and meet others. If you fancy something a bit more than just generally going out and about, then why not take a look at something else?


Bulgaria is a great place to play golf for quite a considerable part of the year. You can either join a golf club with a paid up membership or just take advantage of pay an play to suit yourself. New courses are opening now. Fees are different at each course, depending upon the standard and time of year. The Ihtiman golf course also has expat charity events from time to time where you can meet like-minded people over a round or just for a chin-wag.

Walking and Hiking

There is a plethora of walking and hiking trails throughout the whole of Bulgaria. Not that you may want to be doing marathons!

But there are easy walking tracks with terrain which is ideal for those who want to just stay healthy. The countryside is one of the most breathtaking aspects of Bulgaria and this is a fantastic way to appreciate the wildlife and nature of the country. Get to know the real Bulgaria. The more adventurous can try rock-climbing, mountaineering and caving. Even in the height of the summer with soaring temperatures, walking in the mountain ranges, such as the Rhodopi, offers a cooler option than just wondering from the house to the pool. You could even organise a group of expats in your region to meet up and do a group walking / biking tour or just go with the Bulgarian locals on one of their trips. It's a good way to make friends.

If walking on your own is not your thing, you don't want to be in a large group yet you are in need of a bit of company, why not get a dog. A dog is wonderful for making you get up and do things - you'll not become bored.


You can fish in lakes and rivers all over Bulgaria. A local permit is easy and cheap to obtain if required. You could even combine this with a walking or camping trip and ask some friends along.


Amidst the mountain ranges horse-riding is very popular and there are now several centres offering horse riding. For those who have never tried a blast on horseback along the beach, now is the time to give it a go. If you've never tried horseriding before you can find beginners classes or simple rides in the countryside. Longer trips can be taken, some over several days; with accommodation either in tents or bed and breakfasts along the way. This is a wonderful experience, off the beaten path and exploring ancient villages along the way.

Water sports

The Black Sea coast offers many opportunities to try out water sports. Diving is particularly popular as the sea is very calm. You can also just simply go for a swim or extend yourself to snorkelling and windsurfing. The mountain areas offer white water rafting and canoeing for the adventurous.


Skiing is abundant and very reasonable. Wherever you live in Bulgaria, you'll never be that far from a ski piste. Plenty of opportunity to meet others too.


That river you pass every day and see all the litter dumped... why not organise a group to clear it up? It might seem like hard work but what rewards when everyone in the village sees the difference. It's surprising how the Bulgarians will copy you if you start doing something.

You could offer your services to your local school and set up a small English language class for young children. Go and visit children in a nearby orphanage or perhaps try some other charity work. What a great way to give something back to your new community.

Probably the most important thing of all in retirement is to socialise. It might not be what you would consider an activity but it is one of the key things to a happy expat life. Be it just with neighbours, over a coffee, via sports or whatever, socialising allows you to share your life with others.

Don't slip into the "expat booze trap" - get out there, start doing and meeting others.