Freelancer's Guide
Oct 13, 2023

Bulgaria's Cost of Living: Where Affordability Meets Adventure

Discover how to find affordable housing, indulge in delicious local cuisine, and explore the rich history and stunning landscapes of this enchanting country, all while keeping your budget in check.

How to start saving money

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Why it is important to start saving

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How much money should I save?

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What percentage of my income should go to savings?

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Welcome to the land of roses, ancient history, and an incredibly affordable lifestyle – Bulgaria! Join me as I spill the beans on how I uncovered the secrets of living the good life without busting my budget in this charming European gem. I'm about to dish out all the details on the cost of living in Bulgaria, and let me tell you, it's a journey you'll absolutely love. So, grab your favorite comfy sweater and your sense of adventure, and let's explore the delightful world of Bulgarian affordability and bliss! 🌹

Housing Cost in Bulgaria

When it comes to setting up your home base in Bulgaria, you'll be delighted to discover that this country offers a range of housing options that won't break the bank. Whether you're dreaming of renting a cozy apartment, checking into a comfy hotel, or exploring the social scene in hostels and co-living spaces, Bulgaria's got your back with affordable choices. Let's take a closer look at the details and costs for each, making your stay in Bulgaria as comfortable as it is budget-friendly. 🏡🏨🏠

Rental Homes

When it comes to rental costs, let me tell you, Bulgaria knows how to impress. In bustling cities like Sofia, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can go for around €300 to €400 per month, offering the perfect mix of urban living and affordability. But here's the real insider tip: journey a bit further from the city center, and you can find equally fantastic spots for approximately €200 to €300 per month. More savings, more adventures!

Sofia, the Vibrant Capital: Sofia is a vibrant treasure chest of rental options. If you fancy living it up in the city center, a one-bedroom apartment there will set you back around €300 to €400 per month. But wait, here's the tea: venture a little further out, and you can find equally charming spots for about €200 to €300 a month. That means more coin for you to paint the town!

Beyond Sofia: The rental prices outside the capital are as charming as the city itself. Ever thought about Plovdiv, the European Capital of Culture for 2019? Or maybe you're drawn to the coastal haven of Varna? Well, I've got a brilliant idea for you. In these cities, a one-bedroom apartment can be yours for approximately €200 to €300 per month. 

My Personal Experience: When I started my Bulgarian adventure, I decided to call Sofia home. 🏘️ My cozy one-bedroom apartment set me back €350 a month. It felt like a slice of heaven, complete with friendly neighbors, buzzing local markets, and vibrant cafes. Homey and budget-friendly – the best of both worlds! 🏡💰🌟


Now, let's venture into the enchanting world of hotels in Bulgaria, where the country's rich history meets modern comfort. Trust me; you're in for a delightful experience! 🏨✨

Sofia, the Heart of Bulgaria: In the bustling capital city, Sofia, you can find mid-range hotel rooms starting at a heartwarming €40 to €60 per night. If you're in the mood for some extra pampering, there are upscale options available for around €100 to €150 per night. It's like a regal treat without the regal price tag!

Beyond the Capital: If you're yearning to explore beyond Sofia, Bulgaria's smaller cities are equally charming. In vibrant Plovdiv and enchanting Varna, cozy boutique hotels await at roughly €30 to €60 per night. And if you wish to add a touch of luxury to your stay, high-end experiences can be found at €100 to €150 per night.

My Seaside Bliss: My stay at the Modus Hotel in Varna was a coastal dream brought to life. The elegant ambiance, plush beds, and modern comforts made it a true seaside sanctuary. Nestled along Varna's pristine coast, it provided easy access to sandy shores and vibrant promenades. With rates starting at just €75 per night, the Modus Hotel turned my Varna getaway into an affordable luxury by the sea. 🏨🌊🌟


Now, let's talk about hostels in Bulgaria – your cozy, budget-friendly refuge where you can meet fellow travelers and create unforgettable memories. 🏨✨

Sofia, the Capital of Friendship: Sofia's hostels are all about camaraderie. You can find a dorm bed for as little as €10 to €20 per night, and they're like little hubs of adventure. Sharing stories with fellow travelers, exploring the city, and making lifelong friendships – it's what makes Sofia's hostels a unique experience.

Beyond Sofia: If you're exploring beyond the capital, cities like Plovdiv and Varna have their own budget-friendly hostels. Dorm beds typically range from €10 to €25 per night, giving you a chance to connect with fellow explorers from around the world while keeping your wallet happy.

Co-living Spaces

Co-living spaces in Bulgaria aren't just about staying; they're about belonging. As a freelancer, these spaces are a goldmine of inspiration and connection. 🏡💡

Sofia, the Social Heart: In Sofia, co-living spaces are buzzing with creativity. The monthly rates can vary, starting at around €300 to €500. But it's not just about the numbers; it's about the vibe. Sofia's co-living scene is all about shared ideas, shared projects, and a shared passion for this amazing city.

Plovdiv and Varna: Even beyond Sofia, the co-living spirit continues to thrive. Monthly rates range from €250 to €450, giving you the perfect blend of affordability and community. In Plovdiv and Varna, you'll discover that freelancers, like you, come together to collaborate and create.

WorkNomads Lab Adventure in Sofia: At WorkNomads Lab in Sofia, I didn't just find a place to stay; I found a community and a new family. It was a warm embrace from the city, with cozy rooms, a bustling coworking space, and unforgettable friendships formed at weekly events. It's an emotional journey where work meets human connection. 💼🏡❤️

Co-living spaces are more than a place to work and rest; they're your personal and professional growth hubs. As a freelancer, you'll find that every moment in these spaces is an emotional journey, filled with connections, creativity, and the joy of living and working in Bulgaria. 

Food and Grocery Shopping Cost in Bulgaria

For those venturing into Bulgaria, the cost of grocery shopping is pleasantly budget-friendly. Fresh bread, a staple of Bulgarian tables, typically costs around 1 Euro per kilogram, while a 1-liter package of milk is approximately 0.80 Euros. Seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables are available at reasonable prices, offering a taste of the region's bounty. Choosing to explore local markets to shop for food can further enhance the savings.

Local Markets: Imagine wandering through the historic Troyan Market in the heart of the Balkan Mountains. The colorful displays of fresh produce mirror the lively atmosphere of the city, and the warmth of the local vendors makes this more than just a market; it’s an emotional connection to Bulgaria's heritage.

Budget-Friendly Markets: For the frugal traveler, a visit to Bulgaria's Lidl supermarket chain is a budget-friendly option. You can fill your cart with a diverse selection of fruits, veggies, and dairy without worrying about your expenses. On average, a week's worth of basic groceries costs around 20 to 30 Euros, allowing you to experience Bulgarian cuisine without breaking the bank.

Mid-Range Markets: If you're seeking variety and quality, you can explore the shelves of Fantastico, a popular supermarket chain in Bulgaria. Prices are reasonable, and you can delve into a world of choices and flavors without straining your budget. You'll find a week's worth of groceries for approximately 30 to 40 Euros, including some delicious local treats.

Luxury Markets: For those who prefer gourmet indulgence, Bulgaria boasts luxury supermarket chains like BILLA. Here, the finest foods and exotic ingredients await your discovery. Prices are on the higher side, but the experience is worth every Euro spent. A week's worth of groceries at luxury markets can range from 40 to 50 Euros or more, offering a premium taste of Bulgaria.

Approximate Prices of Basic Grocery Items in Bulgaria: 🛒

🥛 1 liter of milk: 0.80 Euros

🍞 1 kg of bread: 1 Euro

🍚 1 kg of rice: 2 Euros

🍗 1 kg of chicken breast: 5 Euros

🧀 1 kg of local cheese: 6 Euros

🍅 1 kg of tomatoes: 1.50 Euros

🍎 1 kg of apples: 1.50 Euros

Restaurant Dining Costs:

When it comes to dining in Bulgaria, prepare for a journey that tantalizes your taste buds without emptying your wallet. From hearty traditional taverns to modern eateries, let's explore the cost of savoring mouthwatering meals in this enchanting land.

Average Dining Costs: Dining out in Bulgaria is an absolute delight, and it's budget-friendly. On average, a three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant will set you back around 20 to 40 Euros. If you're keeping an eye on expenses, opt for an inexpensive restaurant where you can enjoy a meal for about 10 Euros. It's a fantastic way to relish Bulgaria's culinary treasures without the worry of overspending.

Must-Try Restaurants: To truly immerse yourself in Bulgarian flavors, don't miss a visit to "Shtastlivetza" in Veliko Tarnovo. Here, you can savor traditional Bulgarian dishes in a charming setting that feels like home. In Sofia, "The Little Things" restaurant offers a modern culinary experience with a fusion of flavors that will leave your taste buds dancing.

Food Suggestions: When you're exploring the local cuisine, be sure to try the famous "banitsa" - a savory pastry filled with cheese and herbs that's perfect for breakfast. For something heartier, dive into a bowl of "kavarma," a delicious stew made with meat and fresh vegetables.

Transportation Cost in Bulgaria

Ready to discover the ins and outs of getting around Bulgaria? Let's break down the nitty-gritty of transportation in this captivating country.

Public Transportation

Public transportation in Bulgaria is both easy on your wallet and efficient. A single ticket for local transport typically costs around 0.70 Euros. Whether you're cruising through Sofia, Varna, or Plovdiv, it's an affordable and convenient way to explore the city. And don't forget about the trams – they're not just a mode of transport; they're a delightful way to soak in the local atmosphere at your own pace. 🚌

If you're seeking adventure, hop aboard one of Bulgaria's scenic train rides. One-way train tickets generally run between 5 to 10 Euros. These journeys are more than just transportation; they're a visual treat, taking you through breathtaking mountains, charming villages, and the very essence of Bulgaria.

When you need to get around the city quickly, taxis are a dependable choice. A typical 5-kilometer ride in Sofia will cost you around 5 to 7 Euros. 

Rental Cars

Renting a car in Bulgaria is your passport to exploration, a chance to venture off the beaten path and uncover hidden treasures. Here's the lowdown on rental car options and what you can expect in terms of prices:

Economy Cars: If you're looking for budget-friendly options, economy cars are a great choice. These nifty little vehicles will cost you around 20 to 30 Euros per day, making them an economical way to zip around the country. They're perfect for city driving and shorter trips.

Compact Cars: Need a bit more space but still want to keep costs down? Compact cars are the way to go. You can rent one for approximately 25 to 35 Euros per day. They're versatile, fuel-efficient, and can comfortably handle both city and highway driving.

SUVs and Crossovers: For those seeking a bit more room and capability, renting an SUV or crossover is an option. Prices for these vehicles range from 30 to 50 Euros per day. They offer extra space for passengers and luggage, making them ideal for longer journeys or exploring Bulgaria's diverse terrains.

Luxury Cars: If you want to travel in style, Bulgaria has options for luxury car rentals. These come at a higher price, typically starting at 70 Euros per day. You can cruise through the country in comfort and elegance, enjoying the finer things in life.

🚗For my adventure, I opted for a Peugeot 208, a nimble and efficient compact car that cost close to 30 Euros per day for a week. It provided the freedom to make spontaneous stops around the green landspaces.

Entertainment and Cultural Activity Costs in Bulgaria

Bulgaria – where the joy of entertainment and culture meets my budget, creating unforgettable memories. Let me share my experiences and top suggestions with you!

The Arts and Culture: Bulgaria is a haven for art lovers. Museums and galleries seem to pop up around every corner, offering a glimpse into the country's rich heritage. The best part? A ticket usually costs anywhere between x and y Euros. But let me share one unforgettable evening. I found myself at Sofia's Ivan Vazov National Theater, and it was like stepping into a world of enchantment. The atmosphere was electric as I enjoyed a world-class performance for just 10 Euros. The culture and history in the air were priceless. If you find yourself in Sofia, catch a show at this historic theater – you won't be disappointed!

Music to Your Ears: When it comes to music, Bulgaria is a treasure trove of diverse sounds and talents. Gigs, concerts, and music events are a regular thing, and they usually won't cost you a fortune. A ticket typically falls between x and y Euros. My personal favorite was Sofia Live Club, a place where music came to life. The rock, jazz, and blues gigs were my jam, and the 20 to 30 Euro ticket price was music to my ears. If you're a music enthusiast, make sure to check out a live gig while you're here. You're in for a fantastic night!

Festivals and Traditions: Bulgaria loves to celebrate, and their festivals and traditional events are both lively and affordable. Many are even free or come with a token entrance fee. One experience that etched itself into my memory was attending the Kukeri Festival in Pernik. The traditional masks, the vibrant energy – it was like stepping into another world, and the 5 Euro entrance fee felt like a steal. If you find yourself in Bulgaria during a festival, don't hesitate to dive right in – it's a true Bulgarian experience!

Outdoor Adventures: Bulgaria's natural beauty is a playground for adventurers. Hiking, skiing, and exploring historical sites are not only thrilling but also budget-friendly. A day in the great outdoors can cost as little as 10 to 20 Euros. One of my most cherished memories was a hike in the Rila Mountains that led me to the breathtaking Seven Rila Lakes. It cost me around 15 Euros for the day, and the views were worth every penny.

Education and Healthcare Services

In Bulgaria, affordable access to education and healthcare is a cornerstone of the country's commitment to the well-being of its residents and visitors. Here's a closer look at both sectors, complete with average costs:


Higher Education: Studying at Bulgarian universities is known for its affordability, with tuition fees typically ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 Euros per academic year. This wallet-friendly approach extends an inviting hand to international students seeking quality education without breaking the bank.

Primary and Secondary Education: Bulgaria's education system emphasizes compulsory primary and secondary education, with public schools offering this service for free to Bulgarian citizens and legal residents. If you opt for a private school, tuition fees can range from 1,000 to 5,000 Euros annually. The choice is yours based on your child's needs and your budget.


Health Insurance: Bulgaria's healthcare system operates through mandatory health insurance contributions, which are typically around 8% of an employee's salary, with both employers and employees sharing the cost. To supplement their coverage, many residents and expats invest in private health insurance, offering added peace of mind.

Medical Services: Quality medical care in Bulgaria is relatively affordable when compared to many Western countries. A standard doctor's visit might set you back around 20 to 30 Euros, ensuring accessible healthcare services for residents and visitors alike.

With these average costs in mind, Bulgaria indeed strikes a balance between your well-being and your budget. It's a place where education and healthcare seamlessly come together to offer accessible, high-quality services for everyone. 📚👩‍⚕️

Life as a Freelancer in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a freelancer's paradise, no doubt about it. The affordable cost of living here lets me spread my wings without worrying about my wallet. 🌆💰

And when it comes to the digital world, Bulgaria knows the score. Lightning-fast Wi-Fi is everywhere, making it feel like the country is cheering, "Work away, we've got your back." 🌐💻

Sofia, the vibrant capital, has become my professional stomping ground. Co-working spaces are sprouting up all over the place, and the entrepreneurial buzz is infectious. And when I need a breather, the city's cultural scene is the perfect icing on the cake. 🎉🏛️

So, Bulgaria isn't just a place to work; it's a haven for freelancers. The supportive atmosphere, budget-friendly living, and the freedom to explore, both professionally and personally, have combined to create a truly unforgettable journey. 🌴💼🍹

Taxes in Bulgaria

Personal Income Tax: Bulgaria keeps it light on your personal income. The flat tax rate is a sweet 10%. Yes, you read that right. Whether you earn a little or a lot, it's all the same low rate, in fact best in the EU currently. This makes budgeting and saving a breeze, leaving you with more hard-earned cash in your pocket.

Corporate Taxes: If you're thinking about setting up shop in Bulgaria, you're in for a treat. The corporate tax rate is also a flat 10%. It's one of the lowest rates in Europe, and it means more opportunities to grow your business without the hefty tax burden.

Value Added Tax (VAT): Bulgaria applies a standard VAT rate of 20% on most goods and services. But here's the kicker: there's a reduced rate of 9% for essential items like food, books, and medications. So, even when you're shopping for necessities, you're not breaking the bank.

Property Taxes: Now, if you've decided to make Bulgaria your permanent home and invest in property, you'll be pleased to know that property taxes are low. The annual property tax rate is typically around 0.15% of the property's value, which is music to the ears of any homeowner.

Taxes in Bulgaria are designed to be friendly on your wallet, whether you're an individual or a business owner. With reasonable rates and straightforward rules, Bulgaria offers a favorable tax environment that leaves you with more money to enjoy the beautiful experiences this country has to offer. So, rest easy – taxes in Bulgaria are a lot less taxing than you might imagine! 💰

Recommended Monthly Income for a Comfortable Life in Bulgaria: Making Every Penny Count 💰

Alright, let's dive into what it takes to lead a comfortable life in Bulgaria. The good news is that you don't need to be a millionaire to enjoy all the beauty this country has to offer. So, how much moolah do you need for that sweet spot of comfort and joy?

Basic Living Expenses: For your everyday expenses like housing, groceries, transportation, and a bit of fun, a monthly income of around 700 to 1,000 Euros should do the trick. This range allows you to rent a cozy place, dine out, and enjoy life without constantly checking your bank balance.

Living It Up: If you're aiming for a bit more luxury, bump that monthly income up to 1,200 to 1,500 Euros. Now you can upgrade your digs, indulge in fine dining, and take a few more weekend getaways. Life's getting pretty sweet at this level!

High Roller Status: If you want to go all out and live like royalty (well, on a budget), then aim for a monthly income of 1,800 to 2,000 Euros or more. This is the range where you can afford a plush apartment, dine at fancy restaurants, and still have plenty left for adventures and savings.

Now, keep in mind these are just ballpark figures. The actual amount you need depends on your lifestyle, location, and personal preferences. But here's the secret sauce: Bulgaria's affordable cost of living means you can enjoy a comfortable life without breaking the bank. So, whether you're on a shoestring budget or living it up, Bulgaria has something to offer for everyone. Cheers to making every Euro count! 💰