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Small town living in Bulgaria

Property in Bulgarian market towns is attracting attention as buyers perceive the advantages of small town living. Whilst the cities and big towns of Sofia, Plovdiv, Veliko Tarnovo, Sliven, and the like have little appeal for many considering buying, moving or retiring to Bulgaria, most people still need facilities on hand yet want greenery on their doorstep.

There are many small, pretty market towns inland, offering lovely properties and architecture with all amenities, whilst avoiding the downside of city and coastal living.

Lovech, Kotel, Lom and numerous other small towns around the country, have markets plus individual grocers, greengrocers, small cafes, nice restaurants, clothes shops and a good social life. These market towns are increasingly attractive to property buyers and to those making the move full time, offering a good option to the over-priced hotspots in the last few years.

Paul and Martha Gardner, a couple in their early fifties from Norfolk, love living in their small Bulgarian market town. 'It's so much more vibrant than the little villages where there is hardly a soul about and far better than the coast in winter, where most places become ghost towns. In just a couple of minutes I can get a newspaper and fresh bread every day for breakfast. We do our veg shopping in the local market which is on twice a week: although there are two greengrocers open every day with fresh fruit and veg too. There are always people about and a choice of cafes and restaurants. We often sit in the main square with a coffee, just to people-watch. The place is alive and thriving, without the smog and hassle of a city. We can get everything we want here yet have open countryside next to us too.'

If you are considering purchasing a property in Bulgaria, one of these small towns could be just up your street.

Getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city and the coast, yet not as isolating as a small village or hamlet. These towns also frequently offer a number of historic homes which add considerably to their charm.

Suitable for retirees, families and even setting up a business, small towns can offer whopping advantages.

Sick of your kids being stuck in classes that are huge, long queues and traffic jams, air pollution and the anonymity of where you live? A small town in Bulgaria will change all that.

In your typical small town you'll notice straight away how different things are. A few cars dotting the streets but most people are walking! Easy to park if you do decide to take your car though. Lots of green space, nice parks to enjoy. The shops and market are bustling with the town's inhabitants coming and going. They also greet each other as they pass, with people belonging to the community in which they live. At the local school, you'll see the children are happy and playing. Very relaxed and in small groups. Far less students in the schools for a better learning environment. You are bound to find the local clinic, usually with several doctors in attendance, and the docs know their patients by name! Small but super medical care. Anything serious, there is an ambulance to whisk you to the nearest big hospital. Walking out of the centre into the residential areas, you'll find a great mix of homes available, both old houses and new, plus apartments. Plenty of space and nice gardens at affordable prices.

As for work, you can either set up your own business, such as a bed and breakfast, or find something in the nearest large town.

It's a more relaxed way of life but there is always still something going on and a great social life. Modern amenities you would expect and want. Friendly bars and restos. Easy access to broadband internet. Thrice weekly courier services. No fighting the traffic. So you won't be sacrificing anything, only finding a better quality of life and lack of stress.

Affordability will be high on the list for those retiring to Bulgaria - but so will be finding a place where you'll be happy and can to live your life to the full and enjoy yourselves. Many retirees have arrived in Bulgaria and opted for a rural village or hamlet but have later found that this was a mistake as they suddenly realise the isolation.

Health care is also a consideration for those retiring and small towns have doctors, pharmacies and ambulance services to take the worry away. There are usually a number of cultural activities to get involved in. Access to local shops and facilities make day to day living easier, additionally providing a safe living environment with no violence. A more carefree and safter environment. These small communities offer friendly and helpful neighbours and these little gems are not filled with pollution, high rise blocks and busy roads. Hunting, fishing, growing your own vegetables or creating a garden... whatever you would like to do, is available. Many of the 'Museum Towns' in Bulgaria have a wealth of historic homes which add that dash of charm to living. Homes also are not as pricey as in big towns and cities, so your money will go further.

Each market town has its own characteristics - but there are plenty to choose from, so visit several before deciding. They certainly have a great atmosphere and a charm lacking elsewhere. Their communities are small enough for people to know each other and help out if needed, yet without intruding on your every move.

It's a bit like going back in time - when life was not so complicated, there was a lot less stress, kids walked to school on their own, could play outside without fear and people knew their neighbours.