Despite the significant economic lag of Bulgaria compared to most EU member states, living in this country has undeniable advantages – from the lowest income tax in Europe, to excellent cuisine and stunning nature. Thanking comfortable parity of the price and quality, living in Bulgaria attracts a great number of foreigners, including citizens of retirement age.

The population of Bulgaria is slightly less than 7 million people. Thus about 85 % of inhabitants are ethnic Bulgarians. In addition, there are many Turks (8.8%) and Roma (4.9%). Other nationalities such as Russians, Armenians and Greeks account for less than 1% of the population.

About prices and costs of living, taxes, specificity of employment, wages, education, medicine, pros and cons of living in Bulgaria in 2024 we will talk further.

Living in Bulgaria

Pros and cons of living in Bulgaria

According to the official data of European authorities, most often the citizens of Turkey, Russia and Ukraine receive residence permits in Bulgaria. Up to 70 percent of the total flow of immigrants. The most attractive cities for living in Bulgaria are the capital of Sofia, as well as Burgas, Sliven, Stara Zagora, Plovdiv and Varna. Highlight the positive and negative aspects of living in Bulgarian territory.

Important. From 2013 Bulgarian authorities give foreigners residence permits for the purchase of property worth over 300 thousand euros, and pensioners may freely live in Bulgaria if they have a notarized statement on the pension accrual for the last 3 months and open an account in a local bank for at least 1,000 euros.

Pros of living in Bulgaria

  • Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, so locals enjoy all the benefits of this association.

  • Life in Bulgaria is much cheaper than in Western Europe.

  • Comfortable climate and beautiful nature, including well-maintained Black Sea coast and mountains.

  • Bulgarians are very friendly and responsive people. By the way, mostly Orthodox.

  • Low tax rates.

Pros and cons of living in Bulgaria

Cons of living in Bulgaria

  • Bulgaria has low wages and a shortage of decent jobs.

  • Many Bulgarian cities have serious environmental problems.

  • Most Bulgarian citizens do not speak English.

  • There is bureaucracy and corruption in government and budget institutions.

  • Bulgaria is one of the poorest countries in Europe.

Prices and cost of living in Bulgaria

The most expensive cities to live in Bulgaria are Varna, Bourgas and Plovdiv. More affordable prices offer Gabrovo, Dobrich and Stara Zagora. According to analysts, Sofia is the cheapest capital to live in the European Union. Generally speaking, to live comfortably in Bulgaria one person needs 700-800 euros per month.

The rent of a studio apartment in the central part of the city will cost about 670 leva (340 euros) per month, and in the far districts it is about 505 leva (255 euros). The price of one square meter of real estate in the center is 3,105 leva (1,585 euros), and 2,135 (1,090 euros) outside the city.

Prices in Bulgaria in 2024

  • Bread (500 g) – 1.79 BGN

  • Milk (0.6 L) – 3.08 BGN

  • Eggs (12 eggs) – 5.80 BGN

  • Chicken Fillets (1 kg) – 12.65 BGN

  • Potatoes (1 kg) – 1.79 BGN

  • Bulgarian cheese (1 kg) – 17.34 BGN

  • Bananas (1 kg) – 3.26 BGN

  • Apples (1 kg) – 2.58 BGN

  • Petrol (1 liter) – 2.73 BGN

  • Cab (1 km) – 1.22 BGN

  • Public transport fare – 1.60 BGN

  • Monthly bus pass – 50 BGN

  • Utilities (85 sq. m.) – 207.02 BGN per month

  • Mobile Tariff Local (month) – 30.25 BGN

  • Internet – 23.30 BGN per month

Note. Prices are quoted in local currency – Bulgarian lev (BGN). The exchange rate of one lev today is 0.6 US dollars and 0.5 euro.

Taxes in Bulgaria

Taxes in Bulgaria

One of the biggest advantages of living in Bulgaria is low tax rate. And it concerns both regular workers and businessmen who do business in the Bulgarian territory. Income and corporate tax is charged at a rate of 10%.

Rates of taxes in Bulgaria in 2024

Corporate tax – 10%

VAT – 20%. Preferential rates – 9% (hotel accommodation) and 0% (international and domestic transport.

Dividend tax – 5%

Interest tax – 10%

Income tax – 10%

Social insurance – 24.7-25.4% (14.12-14.82% for the employer and 10.58% for the employee)

Health insurance – 8% (4.8% for employer and 3.2% for employee)

Maximum monthly insurance base – BGN 3,400

At present there are more than 60 Double Taxation Agreements with other countries in Bulgaria.

Jobs and wages in Bulgaria

In most cases in order to get a legal job in Bulgaria applicants from third countries are obliged to get a work permit. For this purpose it is necessary to have a profession in short supply for the local labour market. Qualified technicians are in the greatest demand in Bulgaria.

Unfortunately, by the level of wages Bulgaria takes the last place in European Union. According to official figures from the local government, the minimum wage in 2024 is 933 leva per month which is equivalent to 475 euros. For comparison, in Luxembourg the figure is 2,570.93 euros. That is 7 times more.

According to the Bulgarian National Statistical Institute, the average salary in Bulgaria in 2024 is 2,123 leva per month (about 1,085 euros). After tax deductions, about 1,647 leva (840 euros) remains at the employee's disposal. Programmers earn the most in the country, on average about 2,255 euros per month.

Higher education in Bulgaria

Higher education in Bulgaria

Many Europeans criticize Bulgaria's higher education system for being backward and bureaucratic. Nevertheless, about 5 percent of students at local universities are foreigners. Programs are offered not only in Bulgarian, but also in English, French, German, and even Russian. There are 30 Universities, 13 specialized higher schools and 8 colleges in Bulgaria.

For admission to Bulgarian higher educational institutions foreigners are usually offered to attend one-year preparatory language courses costing several thousand Euros. Good marks in the secondary education certificate are equally important. Average cost of education in Bulgarian universities is 2-8 thousand euros per year. For Bulgarians and citizens of the European Union the sum is noticeably lower – 300-600 euros.

Medicine in Bulgaria

The Constitution of Bulgaria guarantees the right for medical care to every citizen, but the current health care system is still a complicated bureaucratic structure and requires a number of deep reforms. Since joining the EU in 2007, the situation has improved markedly, but problems with funding and non-transparent drug prices remain.

Bulgaria's health care system is financed by compulsory health insurance taxes and private contributions. When visiting a doctor in public hospitals, there is a token payment of a few euros, but the prices in private clinics are very high. On the other hand, the quality and efficiency of medical services is very good.

In conclusion we would like to note that life expectancy at birth in Bulgaria in 2024 is 75 years, whereas women live approximately 78 years and men 71.

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