A small guide to get started with life in Bulgaria

Burgas Bulgaria

In the Balkan region, touching the Baltic sea coastline and occupying South-eastern  Europe lies Bulgaria. This country may not be among the high prized immigrant destinations from across the world but those who know its richness will surely confess that it has so much to offer.

Being among the oldest states in the entire continent of Europe, a lot of history can be found here especially for those who love to reconnect with the past events. 

We understand the trouble that may come when you have to move to or visit Bulgaria as a newcomer. Everything will literally look strange and each time will be a moment to learn. from culture, attractions, foods, language and basically everything, you’ll be struggling to get your head around so much.

To save you the burden of having to start all from scratch, we’ve curated helpful information to start with as a newly arrived in Bulgaria. We cover important areas including; 

  • Credit card
  • Payday loan
  • Insurance(s)
  • Mobile subscription
  • Electricity/heating
  • Internet subscription
  • Housing/rental
  • Dating in Bulgaria

At least one or several of these topic areas will intrigue you and start you off in your enjoyable journey through living in Bulgaria. With this, you will not be starting as a complete green horn. 

The fancifulness of Bulgaria

For any traveller or immigrant looking to move abroad, there’s always an extent to which a few things play attraction. In Bulgaria, you’ll definitely have quite a share of experiences to behold. If you’re just setting off a new life in the country, be sure to be blown off by the attractive medieval towns and delicious cuisine.

When feeling the need to connect with nature, take a ride to the Black Sea Coastline. Perhaps the rising and breaking waves will sooth your worries off and make you less homesick. . Definitely, you will find something awesome worth the books in Bulgaria. 

You may choose to explore virtually every part of Bulgaria but of course it requires ample time and some budget to fully do it. If you’re lucky to have relocated to the country then you have all the time to experience it all, bit by bit. 

Some of the popular places people go visiting in Bulgaria include; Rila Monastery, Rila Mountains, Bansko, Pirin Mountains, Melnik and many more. Just get your tours and travel agent in Bulgaria or check for reviews and recommendations. Somewhat, you won’t miss an attractive place to visit in the country. 

Getting started with life in Bulgaria

Like any new country, a newcomer often gets overwhelmed with stuff to learn. Sometimes it gets so confusing but arming yourself with the right information makes everything much easier to navigate. 

Over and above the exciting experiences that someone may have in Bulgaria, let’s get down to the very basics. You may ignore a few important things hoping to learn on the go but that may be a big blunder. So let’s help you first settle in Bulgaria, get an accommodation, put your subscriptions in order and if possible, meet your match. The rest will then slowly fall in place. 

Credit Cards in Bulgaria

Credit cards in Bulgaria aren’t just your ordinary cards. When visiting the country, the acceptable credit cards will allow you to pay for accommodation, purchase items at certain stores and basically get your life moving. 

Something with credit cards that make them amazing is the ability to automatically convert currencies and make it possible for you to later check all transactions done. You will also be able to withdraw cash and just experience the true definition of financial freedom. 

A small guide to get started with life in Bulgaria
Get on the go with credit cards in Bulgaria

You also notice that credit cards allow you to borrow and spend effortlessly on the go. When in Bulgaria, you don’t need to bother anyone if your set budget has been overrun. It is possible that you may have under budgeted or just saw a few extra things to buy or places to go. With a credit card, you can continue spending as long as the credit limit isn’t breached. However, beware that being spendthrift may place you in a financial hole. 

As you embark on your trip or relocation to Bulgaria, take all the necessary steps to check which credit card (s) is most acceptable there. One thing with Bulgaria is that it has increasingly opened up its financial transaction space to accept different modes of payment. But as a way to convince yourself, just take a few minutes to uncover the most acceptable credit cards in Bulgaria. 

Should it be that you’ve relocated and plan to live longer in Bulgaria over work or something else, the credit card can help you pay your bills before you can open a Bulgarian Bank account. Typically, a series of credit cards should work for you in Bulgaria. They include; 

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Cirrus
  • Maestro
  • Diner’s Club

Even though you will be able to make most of your purchases using your credit cards, it is important that you carry some cash. This is because some traders in Bulgaria only accept cash payments. It is common in rural areas, not urban areas. 

ATMs are well spread all over the country. You will even find them in the rural areas. Therefore, if credit card payment is not accepted, you can withdraw Bulgarian Lev and make payments. 

Getting a credit card in Bulgaria

All along, we’ve discussed as if you’ll be having a credit card at the time of relocation or visiting Bulgaria. But if you choose to get a credit card in Bulgaria, especially for those that plan to stay longer, a few hits may help you here. 

To get a credit card in Bulgaria, you should meet some specific eligibility requirements. Each credit card issuer gives its own terms but some are general requirements that cut across. For instance, you should have an income. Of course, it is important because how will you pay back the money if you do not have a source of income? 

The other requirement is credit history. Although not all financial institutions consider this, you should have a good credit history. As an expat, the type of residence permit you are holding may also play a crucial role during the documentation process. 

Payday Loans in Bulgaria, your silent double-edged sword 

Payday loans have highly gained popularity in Bulgaria. Have you heard of them? If not, then they came in the form of short term credit usually paid back on the next payday and mostly offered through simple, straightforward steps. 

Unlike regular loans such as car loans or mortgages, payday loans help to sort quick fixes before salary hits your bank account. While nobody will strictly check whatever it is that you want to spend the payday loan on, good discipline requires that you take them out solely to cover emergency expenditures and unexpected expenses. For instance, if your car broke down and you do not have money then they can be the best solution for you. 

A small guide to get started with life in Bulgaria
Save your budget with a payday loan in Bulgaria today

In Bulgaria, the payday loans are controlled by the Financial Supervision Commission and Bulgarian National Bank. They ensure that the financial institutions practice ethical lending. For example, they put a cap on the interest rates. Why should an institution continue increasing the interest rate when they have clearly seen that you are unable to pay. If the institutions are not controlled, one may end up paying over four times of the amount you borrowed. 

One of the main reasons why people opt to take payday loans is their convenience. You can access or rather make an application from anywhere. As long as you have the internet, then you are good to go. Also, the approval is usually done within a day.

In addition, payday loans have flexibility. For example, you may use them for different purposes. If you want to pay the dentist, car repair, or even electricity bills, you may use them.

Unfortunately the convenience of payday loans normally comes at a cost. For instance, they charge a high interest rate as compared to the banks. Maybe one of their reasons is because when taking a loan, no security is needed. Also, there are usually no guarantors. A source of income is enough proof that you can pay back the loan. Therefore, before taking a payday loan, ensure that you know all the costs linked to the loan. 

Some of the popular payday loan lenders in Bulgaria include; 

  • Cash Credit
  • UniCredit Bulbank
  • EU-Credits

Insurance in Bulgaria

Do you want to safeguard your future in Bulgaria? As an expat, insurance is a very significant element that can enhance your financial planning. It may help you to take care of unforeseen events. In Bulgaria, there are different types of insurance including life, car, health, housing, and others. 

In Bulgaria, the only compulsory car insurance is third party insurance. The insurance covers the damage that is caused to the third parties. The damages can include property, death, or injury. As an expat, ensure that your vehicle is registered before you commence driving it. You may top up the third-party insurance or take fully comprehensive car insurance. 

Apart from the car insurance, you may take property and building insurance. The insurance covers your house whether it is rental or personal property. The insurance will cover your house in case of fire, theft, or even floods. 

Although the healthcare in Bulgaria is free. It is underfunded. Therefore, you can opt to take health insurance. With this type of insurance, you can have access to a doctor whenever you want. Besides, you don’t have to go through long waits. 

Some of the known  insurance providers Bulgaria include;

  • Insurance Company Lev Ins 
  • Geico
  • Dzi Life Insurance Ead
  • Progressive
  • Bulstrad Life Vienna Insurance Group 
  • Saglasie Insurance 
  • Euroins Insurance Jsc
  • Generali Insurance 
  • Bulstrad Vienna Insurance Group 

As an expat, would you wish to visit other parts of Bulgaria or countries, then you can take travel insurance. The insurance will cover canceling your flight, lost baggage or personal belongings, travel documents like passport, delayed departure and other things. 

The above-mentioned kinds of insurance are just a few. The other ones that you may take include pet insurance, public liability insurance, self employed insurance, and unemployment insurance. Thye can highly come through for you in time of need. 

Staying Connected with Mobile Subscription in Bulgaria

The world is currently dominated by technology and Bulgaria is not left behind. Besides, mobile subscriptions are part of our daily lives. Almost every part of Bulgaria is well covered with mobile network connection thanks to its government. 

The main mobile providers in the country 

  • Vivaco
  • A1
  • Mobiltel (Mtel)
  • Telenor Bulgaria 

In Bulgaria, just like other countries, mobile subscriptions have different properties. They include internet data, text messages, and calls(voice). Therefore, the services and prices can vary depending on your provider and needs. You can compare the services and prices offered by the different above providers before you make a decision. Also, do not go for a cheap option in which you may end up not having internet access in some parts of Bulgaria. 

Features of Mobile Subscription Plans in Bulgaria

Data package is one of the items you will get in your mobile subscription. There are different packages offered depending on your need. Some offer small data for those who do not use it much. However, for those who need streaming, navigation, and other services, they may make unlimited internet plans. 

In addition, calls and text messages include a few or unlimited minutes as well as text messages. Just like data, your choice will depend on your needs. For some people, they prefer making calls to surfing through the internet. All in all, your choice will enhance your communication with friends and family without worry. 

Apart from the above-mentioned services, ensure that you choose a provider with good service quality as well as customer support. Does the provider have good customer support? Have you asked for reviews from maybe friends of colleagues? Thus, choose one that offers in person help or even a self-service portal. 

As an expat, when choosing the best plan, consider your usage plan. This will help you choose the right amount of data that you may need in a month and minutes. Also, do you want to frequently call home? Then choosing those that offer international calls would be the best choice. 

Electricity and Heating when living in Bulgaria

Utilities including heating and electricity are a significant part of our daily lives. It is almost impossible to do without them. For most of the Bulgarian households, the cost of electricity today (7.March.2024) is approximately $0.123 per kWh (check the current prices here). 

The nation’s electricity sector has gone through different reforms. They had to conform with the European Union regulations. The sources of electricity include renewable energy, natural gas, coal, and nuclear. 

Heating utility 

Heating system in Bulgaria is powered by solar power, wood, oil, gas, and electricity. In most of the rural areas in the country, wood is used. In such cases, there is always a backup which is mostly an electric boiler. However, in the urban areas, district heating helps. 

Heating and electricity costs in Bulgaria is usually based on different factors. Some of the top factors include regional differences, energy sources and the level of consumption. As compared to the Western European nations, Bulgaria has affordable energy prices. However, sometimes, government policies and economic factors can affect the prices. 

Energy providers in Bulgaria 

  • CEZ Bulgaria
  • ENERGO-PRO (previously E.ON Bulgaria) 
  • EVN Bulgaria 
  • Kozloduy NPP

Internet Subscriptions

Apart from mobile subscriptions, you need a reliable internet connection for leisure and work. The Internet facilitates communication, entertainment, education, and work.

If you left your family in another country to come to Bulgaria, then you can easily communicate through them if you have internet access. It is so fast and reliable. 

The top Internet providers in Bulgaria 

  • Vivacom
  • A1 Bulgaria
  • Telenor Bulgaria
  • Net1
  • Blizoo

Before deciding on the type of internet subscription you want, you can make varied considerations. For instance, consider connection type, customer reviews, contract terms, and speed options. The contract term is very important because for some providers you may need to notify them 3 months before you shift to another provider. Read this thorough article about the subject.

Moreover, you can visit the official websites of the providers to compare the services that they offer. Don’t forget to read the customer reviews because some institutions’ customer service is very pathetic. As an expat, you would not want a provider that will not come to your aid when you have a problem. Is it not so?

In Bulgaria, there are different internet plans. One of them is Digital Subscriber Line (DSL). Although it is old school, it is still widely used. The main reason most households use it is because it is cost effective as compared to the other options. 

Cable internet and fiber optic internet are also used in representing the current technology. They are reliable and offer high speed internet connections. However, all that comes at a cost. Because of their reliability and speed quality, they are costly as compared to DSL. 

Housing and Rental: Finding Your Home in Bulgaria

In any country, getting good housing is important. Some of the things people consider when they want to rent or purchase a house include the type of property, location, and budget. In finding your perfect house in Bulgaria, you will choose whether you want an apartment, villa, in the rural areas, or even in the urban centers. As the home seeker, the choice is yours!

There are lots of rental properties in Bulgaria. You can find them on the following websites. 

  • Properstar 
  • Indomio.bg 
  • imot.bg
  • homes.bg
  • bazar.bg
  • 4321 Property

Regarding the cost of the houses, the prices vary depending on different factors. The factors include property condition, location, size, and type. In Sofia, the nation’s capital, the cost of rent is about €800. This is for a 2-bedroomed house. In the rural areas, the cost can be lower. For properties that are bought, you can always bargain the price. However, for the rented ones, it is almost impossible. 

Before you buy or rent a property in Bulgaria, ensure that you have visited the place. Schedule some meetings with the owners to personally inspect them. You can always ask questions and make sure everything satisfies your needs. 

Dating in Bulgaria

As an expat, how do you navigate through relationships and love in a new country? Bulgarians embrace modernity in the dating scene just the way they do in other areas. The nation’s rich culture makes it to be visited by lots of people all over the world. Therefore, as an expat, you do not expect to only get Bulgarians in the dating scene, you may get people from other nationalities also. 

One of the places where you can find love is in dating applications. It is on such platforms that you will find single people like yourself, lol. To get started, you can create a profile then browse through the other profiles. If you find people that impress you, then you can chat with them. Maybe out of 5 people that you will send a message to, 2 or 1 may respond. 

A small guide to get started with life in Bulgaria
Starting off a dating life in Bulgaria

One interesting fact about the country is that the dating culture is highly linked to society values, traditions, and history. They regard relationships in relation to family values and Orthodox Christianity. Therefore, it is important that you understand their culture if you understand Bulgarian culture before deciding to date one. Also, remember, in Bulgaria, engagement is very important. On the first date, speak some Bulgarian vocabularies to indicate that you are committed. 

As an expat, you can meet and connect with the Bulgarians in different places. They include community events, social gatherings, and social circles. Also, you can meet someone that you love through mutual friends. Therefore, before going to the dating apps, ensure that you have exhausted other options. It is not that the dating apps are bad, but in some cases, they may not be helpful. 

Places you can go on a date 

Bulgaria has an exclusive landscape as well as vibrant cities. These places offer romantic scenery for dating. The other places you may take your partner is in the traditional restaurants. A Bulgarian will love this kind of treatment. Th reason is because it is a show that you value the person’s culture. 

The top dating sites in Bulgaria

  • Dating.com
  • Sladur.com
  • loveawake.com
  • Tinder
  • mingle2.com