the cost to live in bulgaria retired or expat or digital nomad

The cost of living in Bulgaria: How to survive as a Bulgarian expat

You’re interested in living as an expat in Bulgaria, eh?

Or for all you digital nomads out there, you might be interested in being a mini retired person in Bulgaria for a period of time maybe? Well whichever you are, you’re awesome for that.

Bulgaria has so much less traveled land than the western Balkans, but it still has the perks of being in the EU. So I completely understand why you’re searching for the cost of living in Bulgaria. 

So just how much money do you need to survive as an expat or retired person there? 

In order to help you answer that, I have focused on 7 areas where your money will consistently go each month to examine how much money you need. 

These numbers reflect the costs of living alone in the capital Sofia.  If you are coming as a couple or a family, you can do the necessary multiplications to figure out how much money you need for your specific situation. Also, keep in mind that smaller and less touristy towns will have a lower Bulgarian cost of living. This rule pretty much goes for all the other countries in the Balkans as well. 

Aaaand… here’s where your money will go!

Rent

For a studio apartment or a one bedroom apartment, you are looking to pay between 150-250 euros a month. Of course the smaller and/or less renovated an apartment is, the lower it will cost. And don’t forget, the more centrally located your apartment is, the pricier it will be. So if an apartment is only 150 euros, then it is probably outside of the city, or it is in the city, but it must be very small and probably in an older building with little renovations.  An apartment for 250 euros is bigger with one or two bedrooms, modern amenities and centrally located. 

Utilities 

In the summer months, utilities will cost around 30-40 euros, while the winter can reach up to 80 euros or more, as you will use more heat and electricity. Internet, TV and phone should cost you 15-20 euros per month.  

Transportation

For a monthly membership card, you will have to pay 20 euros, give or take. To take a public bus, it should cost you about 1 euro. 

Going Out

Social life varies from person-to-person of course. If you like trendier clubs, don’t assume they will be as economical as the more modest clubs in Sofia. A nice club might cost you 15-25 euros by the end of the night. Small bars could be 10-15 euros the whole night or even less. Restaurants are a similar story. They can be 15-25 euros in trendier places for a meal and a few drinks, while less trendy restaurants should cost about 10-15 euros. 

Healthcare

As an expat without a resident visa, you can’t receive the public healthcare. Be prepared to pay as little as 15 euros and as much as 30-50 euros to see a doctor. General physicians will be on the cheaper scale of the spectrum than a doctor who specializes in specific or advanced treatments such as a neurologist or a psychiatrist who will of course charge more. So don’t freak out if you have the flu or some common allergies and need to see a doctor immediately.

Groceries

For one person, you should be able to spend only 20-30 euros every week to week and a half. This is where the cost of living in Bulgaria is just awesome!  

Monthly total

Depending on one’s lifestyle and income, an average person can have a decent experience relying on 650 euros a month, but 700-800 euros will allow you to live more comfortably.

I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or have anything you want to say about your experience living in Bulgaria if you have lived there, please do so below!  Also feel free to message me on Facebook or Instagram if you need help with anything. 

Thanks so much to my friend Stefan in Sofia for helping me with this!

Posted in Balkans Digital Nomad, Balkans Expat Guide, Retire in Balkans Guide.

Nwando is an American expat based in the Balkans. She is a musician, blogger (duh!), and youtuber with over a million views on her channel about traveling and life in the Balkans!