In recent years, many expats and digital nomads have chosen Bulgaria as their base and place to live for most of the year. They prefer it because of the relatively low cost of living compared to a number of large European countries, the beautiful and diverse nature and undoubtedly the history that is part of the appearance of many cities and towns in the country.
And here are some useful guidelines from the team of the only digital bilingual guide under the hills, if you are headed to the Plovdiv area.
What should I know before moving to Bulgaria?
Find a place where people seem helpful and friendly. You don't have to get completely comfortable - it's an adventure, but still try to find familiar things that remind you of home: a similar landscape, a nearby coast, a big/small town, and great cuisine. Explore everything you can. You can’t always get a sense of the spirit of a place from photos, so take some time before making a decision to immerse yourself for a day, two, even a week in the atmosphere. Also, try to find a local who can help you. Search the internet for expat communities in your locality and integrate with them to gain a better insight into life through their eyes.
At what level are the health services in Bulgaria?
In Bulgaria, health services are both public and private. The public health system is largely free, based on national and regional health policies that guarantee health rights to all citizens and residents. In general, public health services in Bulgaria are of good quality and provide care for both acute and chronic diseases. Foreigners living in Bulgaria, including expats, have access to public healthcare, although they aren’t always entitled to free services in non-emergency situations. In such situations, your option is to book an appointment for a specialist privately for an average examination fee of between 30-50 BGN. There are also a number of private clinics in the larger cities, which have a large number of specialists, as well as the possibility of staying.
Do I have to speak Bulgarian?
In the big cities, including Plovdiv, a large part of the population speaks English fluently, especially younger people. They will understand you both in shops and in restaurants, but you may have a problem in some institutions.
It is still good to have a vocabulary of some basic expressions and words for everyday life. The language is not easy and has a number of peculiarities, so it requires dedication.
How do I find a place to live in Plovdiv?
Anyone's first tip would be to use a broker. It's a good start, but don't forget to take the initiative yourself and walk around the neighborhoods to get an idea of things like infrastructure, availability of shops, gardens, schools, green spaces and any other amenities that may be of personal use to you.
There is also a very helpful and knowledgeable expat community on Facebook, which has set up various groups where you can get help and advice on choosing housing and all the paperwork and procedures you might need when moving to the city, as well as job options for foreigners. In one of our previous articles, we examined in more detail the possibilities for living outside Plovdiv and what is offered in the surrounding villages.
What is the average price of a house in Plovdiv?
It usually varies by neighborhood and size. There are areas with fairly high rents and correspondingly high purchase prices. These are usually the places around the Medical University, because of the constant influx of international students, as well as the central city area.
The further you go into the small streets of the city, the more inexpensive property you can find to buy or rent.
The average price of rent in Plovdiv is around 350-400 euros for an apartment, and when buying around 1000-1100 euros per square meter. Of course, these are average numbers that can actually vary by degree of completion and square footage.
Should I buy or rent a home in Plovdiv?
Keep in mind that in Bulgaria a large percentage of people are owners and prefer to have purchased at least one home. However, before you decide to own a property in Bulgaria, we recommend that you first live as a renter and carefully consider the pros and cons of the chosen city.
If you are sure that you want to stay in the country, buying is the best option, and it can also be seen as an investment for the future, especially if it is in an attractive and communicative place. On the other hand, renting allows you to be flexible and try out different locations. Be sure to go through the process with a lawyer to make sure all legal issues are settled.
These are just a few of the initial stages to take, but it is important to structure them well and approach them with care.