Bulgaria is one of the oldest countries in Europe and the oldest Orthodox Slavic church is located in the country.. Foreigners moving to Bulgaria will be amazed to find out how beautiful this country is when it comes to natural diversity and climate. Bulgaria is one of the top three countries with the biggest number of archaeological treasures in the world.
Bulgaria is a former Soviet satellite state that still have troubles with ensuring political and economic stability despite its memorable ancient history. Interesting fact is that this Balkan country is one of the few that has not change its name since it was first established in 681 AD. The Bulgarian army is the only force in the world that has never lost a single flag during its active participation in wars.
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Moving to Bulgaria
Moving to Bulgaria can be a pleasant experience given the fact there is a lot to see and discover in this rich in traditions country. The unique products produced in Bulgaria that make the country popular in the world cannot be find anywhere else. Such are the famous Bulgarian rose oil which is used for making some of the most popular and expensive perfumes in the world; Bulgarian yoghurt is the only one that contains Lactobacillus Bulgaricus bacteria that can only be found on the territory of the country. Bulgaria is also one the reputable world- class wine producers in the world.
Expats should be advised that Bulgarians use Cyrillic alphabet and learning basic Bulgarian would help to overcome the language barrier. English is not widespread although the English speaking population tend to be growing. Along with Bulgarian, Turkish is one of the most spoken languages because of the Turkish minorities living on Bulgarian territory. In 2007 the country has been accepted to the EU and due to the low costs of living in comparison to other European countries, the Balkan country attracts retirees from other EU countries who prefer to relocate to rural or coastal areas because of the relaxed way of life present in those areas. Young foreign investors tend also to make significant investments in some sectors due to the cheap labour that can contribute to the business development of the investors. Unemployment rates are still high, making the emigration to Western countries a common practice for Bulgarians.
Accommodation in Bulgaria
One of the driving forces behind expats’ moving to Bulgaria is property investment. Purchasing holiday homes on the Black Sea Coast or any other rural area could cost as low as three-four months’ salary of some European country nationals. Generally, the standards of living could be considered as low, or at least not as one could expect from an European Union member state. Newcomers could be shocked to see how difficult the situation of some Bulgarians is. Elderly people’s minimum pension rate is approximately BGN 140 (EUR 70) monthly and child benefits that parents receive is as low as EUR 25 per month. Bearing in mind those numbers, one could expect that food and other expenses would also be as low, however, a surprising fact is that food, medicines, electricity and fuel are very expensive in contrast to salaries or governmental benefits.
If you relocate to the capital Sofia, or other major cities that are well developed, you could get by without having a car, however, the transport options and connection in the rural areas are not well maintained. Buses and trains are the two possibilities expats relocating to rural areas need to choose from, however, trains are not the ones Europeans are used to travel with back in their home countries. They are slow and very old, although in the recent years there are few, connecting major cities, that are new and relatively fast. Being aware of this expats may find it a lot easier to use their own car when travelling around the country.
Expats moving to Bulgaria with the idea to find a job once settled, are recommended to apply to international companies operating in major cities. Salaries tend to be very low in Bulgaria and unless you are highly skilled with years of experience, it could be quite difficult to get a job that meets your requirements regarding financial contribution.
Renting House in Bulgaria
Renting a property in Bulgaria can be a pretty easy process even if you are a foreigner. Hiring an experienced and trustworthy real estate agent could be essential if you do not speak Bulgarian. Most young people would be able to speak basic English, so are many real estate agents. Other than that, there are endless opportunities for expats who want to rent property in this Balkan country. The types of accommodation could strongly vary depending on the location expats choose to settle in. From super luxurious penthouses and designer to small or spacious houses on the countryside, there are many options available for rent or for sale.
The income inequality rates in the country are quite visible. Despite the fact that there are a lot of people living on the edge of poverty, there are many others who enjoy their super high standards of living. Undoubtedly, expats relocation to Bulgaria will get in touch with both extremes.
Foreigners with long term plans for their move to Bulgaria tend to buy properties on the countryside that they rebuild depending on their own preferences. There are also options to rent these properties, however, since the prices are quite affordable expats prefer to buy them. If you have special requirements in terms of interior design and furnishings, you might encounter difficulties to find what you are looking for. That is why you might consider your furniture and personal effects to be shipped to your new home. To ensure a hassle free process and a secure shippment of your belongings, obtaining assistance from international removal companies is crucial. Experienced movers could offer you services such as packing, loading, customs clearance and off-loading of your goods. For these services including shipping your goods to Bulgaria, the moving companies will usually provide you with specific prices. If you wish to pack your furniture by your own with the aim to save money, you might want to keep in mind, that the international movers usually do not insure goods they did not pack. Working with international moving companies enables you to save time, money and most importantly, you receive your goods in an efficient way.
Foreigners who prefer renting property in major cities, could do so without putting much effort in house hunting. There are many websites available who offer different types of rental properties in almost every town of the country. Generally, new properties come fully furnished with air conditioning, pools, gyms and other facilities, when it comes to more expensive options. If you rent property in smaller towns or the countryside, you should keep in mind that unfurnished or semi furnished apartments and houses are commonplace.
As for the prices, they are extremely reasonable for the offerings. A two bedroom fully furnished apartment that has a net area of 156m2 in the second largest city of Bulgaria, Plovdiv could be rented for EUR 450 per month excluding the utility bills. In the capital Sofia, the prices are higher but still very affordable for expats relocating from Western European countries. An ultra-luxurious three bedroom apartment in one of the best areas of the capital city with all possible facilities such as a gym, a swimming pool, a sauna, a jacuzzi, lift, a porter, parking space, a garage, wi-fi, heating and air conditioning, secure entry system and many more could cost EUR 1.800 per month.
Buying House in Bulgaria
Buying a property is usually a preferred option among those moving to Bulgaria. There are many options foreigners could choose from depending on their wants and needs as well as their financial situation. In the rural areas properties can be purchased for EUR 10.000 as well as for EUR 70.000 depending on the location and whether it is a new constructed property or a house that needs to be renovated. In the major cities the options are many more and there is no surprise that the prices are higher. Usually they are quite similar to the ones in other European countries and the standard of the properties is equally high.
Most of the foreigners who prefer buying rather than renting property in Bulgaria, are either investors or retirees who opt for old houses in villages. That is because rural areas offer good possibilities to relax while enjoying the beautiful nature of the Balkans. Old houses in rural areas are usually very inexpensive in comparison to EU standards. More often than not, expats rebuild these old houses in accordance to their own taste. With little effort and less money they become owners of beautiful houses surrounded by amazing nature.
The process of buying property is very straightforward no matter whether you receive assistance from real estate agents or arrange it together with the seller. Do keep in mind that many people living in rural areas do not speak English. In this case, expats might want to receive assistance from a professional translator.
If you decide to relocate to Bulgaria and want to avoid confusions, it is important to know that nodding in Bulgaria means “No” and shaking the head means “Yes” or expresses approval. Those who move to this beautiful Balkan country will surely be fascinated by the amazing nature and the slow pace of living while using every possibility to explore new places around the country.
Shipping Container to Bulgaria
Thanks to Bulgaria’s central position on the Balkan peninsula, almost all international removals to and from Asia are understaken through the country. Shipping container to Bulgaria is quite complex and if right international removal companies are not contacted, it could turn out to be a nightmare. As many other procedures, shipping container could require quite some time and a good preparation. Although international removal companies are familiar with all difficulties that at times might occur, it is in one’s own advantage to conduct a research before the shipment. Bulgaria is still battling with corruption, therefore a special attention when choosing realible international removal companies might be required.
International moving companies with previous experience in removals to Bulgaria will certainly be helpful, especially when it comes to customs clearances. Most of the problems when shipping container to this beautiful country occur by customs clearance often because of customs officers. The right international moving companies are well aware of that and therefore know how to proceed. Expats need to pack up with a little bit of patience when shipping container to Bulgaria. Once relocated, expats can enjoy an amazingly beautiful nature, small villages inhabited by loving people and a relatively easy way of living.