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Sofia, Bulgaria - urban view

If moving to a new country is one of your future goals, you can easily consider moving to Bulgaria. The country is known for the hospitality of its people, the affordable lifestyle, the beautiful nature, and last but not least, the rich historical past, making it an enticing home for any lover of ancient traditions and culture. In addition, it can become a wonderful home for remote workers, as it is among the countries with the best internet connection.

Bulgarian: A language that has preserved the past

"Hayde, hayde!" is a phrase you will hear many times if you move to Bulgaria. With these words, the locals probably want to tell you to hurry up or encourage you in a particular venture. We are also saying "Hayde, hayde", rushing to bring you the most useful information related to moving to Bulgaria.

Bulgarian is the official language in Bulgaria. It comes from the group of Indo-European languages and is the earliest documented in writing Slavic language. In fact, if you want to get a better idea of what Bulgarian sounds like, recall what Russian sounds like. Many describe the two languages as close, and that's because they are descended from Old Bulgarian, which until the end of the 17th century was the official language of the Principality of Moscow, which today's Russia derives from.

According to a 2021 survey, 80% of the Bulgarian population has a basic knowledge of a foreign language. Among the most common are English, Russian (especially among the middle-aged), and German. Foreign language proficiency is largely determined by the jobs available on the Bulgarian labour market. In case learning Bulgarian and Cyrillic are difficult for you, don't worry. Bulgarians, especially the younger generation, won't mind communicating with you in English.

However, if learning Bulgarian is one of your goals after moving to Bulgaria, we recommend learning the language locally—at a private school or through direct communication with locals. The latter would best introduce you to the different slangs and dialects that are widespread in different parts of the country.

Moving to Bulgaria and finding a new home

Real-estate prices in Bulgaria are currently rising due to increasing inflation. However, construction in the country is intensified. According to data for the second quarter of 2023, the number of residential buildings currently under construction is over 1 500. Over the last 5 years there has been an upward trend for that number. According to this data, finding housing after relocation in Bulgaria would not be a challenge. But what about rental prices in the Balkan country?

Rents in Bulgaria vary according to the location of the home, its size, and the building it is in. In larger cities, such as Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas, rents are higher. The most attractive homes are in the central parts of the cities. However, their monthly prices are also the highest. This is because of the convenience they offer in terms of access to transport, services and other key urban points. Rental prices for a one-bedroom apartment amount to:

  • Sofia: 300-500 euros
  • Plovdiv: 220-370 euros
  • Varna: 260-350 euros
  • Burgas: 250-350 euros

Of course, if you move to Bulgaria, there are also options for living in smaller towns and villages. They are recommended for lovers of nature and a relaxed lifestyle. In fact, although big cities offer more career options, it is not rare for people (including young families) to live in rural or suburban areas.

Living costs are relatively low compared to the European average. According to Eurostat data from 2022, the index of household expenditure per household in Bulgaria is 58.7 against a European average of 100. That means the country is among the most affordable on the Old Continent. Foreign food store chains are widespread in Bulgaria. However, a large part of the population relies on its own production of fruit, vegetables, local and dairy products - a fact that will hardly leave you unmoved by the local cuisine, which combines traditional Balkan dishes. Among the most famous Bulgarian delicacies are banitsa, traditional shopska salad, moussaka, chutney and sarmi. Folk medicine is also typical for Bulgaria—many herbs, oil crops and medicinal plants are grown in the country.

Career development after moving to Bulgaria

Finding a good job is one of the main prerequisites for a successful move to Bulgaria. The country's labour market is characterised by a shortage of highly qualified staff, a phenomenon caused by high rates of emigration and a lack of good skills among the workforce. It is for this reason that the country welcomes foreign professionals.

The most in-demand personnel are in the fields of information technology (a sector with some of the highest salaries in Bulgaria), medicine, education, outsourcing companies, administrative services, and tourism. The average gross salary for June 2023 is:

  • Hospitality and catering - BGN 1 185 (EUR 605)
  • Agriculture: BGN 1 467 (EUR 750)
  • Construction: BGN 1 517 (EUR 775)
  • Culture, sport, and entertainment: BGN 1 561 (EUR 798)
  • Financial and insurance activities - BGN 2 876 (EUR 1 470)
  • Creation and dissemination of information and creative products - BGN 4 706 (EUR 2 405)

In recent years, the minimum gross wage has been rising, currently at BGN 780 (EUR 400). Many foreign companies offer jobs in the country, so make sure that before moving to Bulgaria you’ve researched whether your current employer operates in the country or has links with companies where you could start work. The most common ways to search for jobs are through online platforms such as LinkedIn (especially for English listings) and other local websites, as well as through recommendations. Most jobs in the country require foreign language skills (particularly English), which would make it easier for expats to find a suitable workplace.

Bulgarian landscape

Moving to Bulgaria with kids: Mission possible

Although young people in the country speak English and communication between the children and their new friends would not be a problem, we recommend that after moving to Bulgaria you enrol your child in Bulgarian lessons. This way, they will integrate successfully and feel more at ease when it comes to everyday communication.

The education system is divided into three levels - primary, secondary, and higher education. There are both public (most of the schools) and private schools. Usually, children stay at school until noon. However, schools offer afternoon classes and activities, free of charge (first to fourth grade) and paid as well. There would also be costs if you decided to send your child on a school trip or camp. Secondary education starts when students turn 14-15, and schools are divided into language and vocational schools, the former focusing on learning usually 2 foreign languages (German, English, Spanish, French and Italian are the most common), and the latter on mastering a particular profession (such as cook, tailor, technician, or athlete). Admission to a high school depends on the results of a matriculation examination.

Enrolment in higher education in Bulgaria also depends on students' grades. More and more universities in the country are removing the requirement to pass an entrance exam and using the success of young people in high school as a benchmark. Again, there are both public and private universities, usually located in larger cities. Higher education fees are one of the most affordable in Europe. Among the most popular majors are those related to medicine, information technology, law, communications, and economics and business.

Nurseries and kindergartens are available for the smallest. However, admission to these is usually difficult due to the large waiting lists. Private kindergartens are easier to get into, however, they are quite expensive—around 500 euros a month (in Sofia, the capital). In case you are working, you may need to hire a babysitter, which costs between 5 and 10 euros per hour. An additional way to aid their integration is by encouraging children to take part in extracurricular activities such as different sports, drama schools, or additional language courses.

Relocation to Bulgaria with pets

When moving to Bulgaria with a pet (dog, cat, or ferret), the EU rules apply: the animal must be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. When travelling from another EU country or Northern Ireland, the animal must have a valid European Pet Passport. If travelling from outside the EU—an EU veterinary health certificate. This should be issued by an official vet in the country of departure no more than 10 days before the pet's arrival date in the EU. Don't forget the 5-day rule that if the pet is travelling separately from its owner and a third party has been authorised to transport it, the pet should arrive to you within 5 days of the move. There are no prohibited breeds of pets in the country. Bulgarians are increasingly friendly towards four-legged friends. However, be aware that riding them on public transport is not looked upon with a kind eye. Animals are not allowed in most indoor areas of restaurants.

Driving after moving to Bulgaria

If you move to Bulgaria from another EU country, you do not need to reissue your licence. It will be recognised as valid. However, if you wish to replace the document voluntarily, you must be a permanent resident and meet the requirements relating to your age, physical fitness to drive and the absence of serious offences committed in the country you are coming from.

The cases in which you must replace your Bulgarian document are: if your driving licence is damaged, stolen, or lost; after 2 years of normal residence (if you have an unlimited licence); if you commit a traffic offence in the country.

Recognition of a driving document issued outside the EU depends on whether the country you are coming from has signed the:

  • The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic of 1968: the licences of movers from countries that have signed the Convention are recognised as valid in Bulgaria if the document meets the information requirements set out in the Convention.
  • Geneva Convention on Road Traffic of 1949: the licences of movers from countries signatory to the Convention shall be recognised as valid within one year after the issue of a residence document in Bulgaria.
  • Countries which are not signatories to any of the Conventions: the licences of those arriving from the Convention countries are recognised as valid within one year after the issue of a residence document in Bulgaria. The validity period of the licences reissued in Bulgaria is 10 years.

Healthcare for expats in Bulgaria

When moving to Bulgaria, people arriving from EU countries can use their European Health Insurance Cards in case they need health care. After obtaining a residence permit in the country, they will be able to use health services through the local health insurance system. This generally operates through public and private health insurance. Public insurance is provided through monthly contributions by an employer or through self-insurance by the individual. Some companies in the country also insure their employees through private funds - most often providing care in better equipped hospitals and reducing waiting times for examinations.

After moving to Bulgaria, it is imperative that you make an appointment with a GP to take care of mandatory immunizations, required checkups, prescriptions, and referral to a specialist if necessary. The quality of health services in private hospitals is considered to be higher. Health care facilities are mainly located in large cities and access to them in smaller settlements is difficult. The pharmacy network is well developed in large cities. 

Bulgarian nature and climate

Bulgarian nature is fascinating, and the climate is relatively mild, with features of continental, Mediterranean and Black Sea influence. Average annual temperatures are between 10 and 13 degrees and those living in the country enjoy four seasons. Tourism in the Black Sea and mountain resorts is well developed, offering recreational opportunities to locals and visitors alike. The spectacular scenery is certainly one of the things that will fascinate you the most after moving to Bulgaria. Many historical monuments, ethnographic villages and spiritual temples have also been preserved—proof of the country's cultural richness. Among the most famous natural attractions in Bulgaria are:

  • The Rocks of Belogradchik
  • The Marvelous Bridges
  • The Madara Rider
  • The Seven Rila Lakes
  • Krushuna falls
  • Strandzha Nature Park

Well, did we managed to convince you that moving to Bulgaria is worth it? Although small, the Balkan country has plenty to fascinate adventurers who decide to settle in a foreign but affordable country. And for more information and answers to specific questions about your move, don't hesitate to contact us, the Movega Removals team. We will advise you in the best way, based on our many years of expertise in transport services throughout Europe. Contact us right now via the available contact form and chatbot feature.

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