Bulgaria lifestyle guide for expats



Located in the heart of the Balkans, Bulgaria offers a very diverse landscape: the north is dominated by the vast lowlands of the Danube and the south by the highlands and elevated plains. In the east, the Black Sea coast attracts a large number of tourists all year round. Plus, Bulgaria is one of the oldest states in Europe – it was founded in 681 AD!


Expat Clubs


A community of foreigners, who live in Bulgaria. This platform will give you the chance to express yourself and share your experience online. Furthermore, starting in the middle of March, we will organize regular offline meetings of the active members of this club. In this way, you will be able to communicate, network and socialize in the real world.

www.bulgalien.com | www.facebook.com/groups/6219643970/

Expats Bulgaria

Expats Bulgaria is the On-line community of expatriates living in Bulgaria! Expats Bulgaria is a member of Expats Pages, a portal group dedicated to support expatriates all over the world.


International Schools 

American College of Sofia

The American College of Sofia is an independent, highly selective, co-educational not-for-profit secondary school. 

Address: Sanders Hall, Floyd Black Lane, MLADOST-2, Sofia 1799, Bulgaria

Tel: +359 2434 1008 | +359 24341010 | +359 24341011

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.acs.bg | www.facebook.com/americancollegeofsofia


American English Academy

AEA is an international school established in 1992 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Address: 4th Floor, 150 School, Deliyska Vodenitsata, Druzhba 2, 1582 Sofia, Bulgaria

Tel: +359 29731222

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.aea-bg.com | www.facebook.com/AEAsofiaBG

American University in Bulgaria

AUBG is a private American-style liberal arts university located in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria.

Address: 1 Georgi Izmirliev Sq., Blagoevgrad 2700, Bulgaria

Tel: +359 73888306

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.aubg.bg | www.facebook.com/AUBGcurious


The Anglo-American School of Sofia

The Anglo-American School of Sofia is a diverse and friendly school which provides a vibrant high quality education preparing students to be responsible global citizens and lifelong learners.

Curriculum: Seeks to combine elements of the American and British programs.

Address: Siyanie Street 1, Pancharevo, Sofia 1137, Bulgaria

Tel: +359 29238810/11

Website: www.aas-sofia.org | www.facebook.com/AngloAmericanSchoolSofia


Zlatarski International School

Zlatarski School has become a leading high school, which offers both Bulgarian and international students a rigorous, exciting and challenging program of studies.

Curriculum: Integrates Bulgarian national curriculum with the international curriculum of the International Baccalaureate and the British secondary school curriculum.

Address: 49 Kilment Ohridski Blvd, Durvenitsa, 1756, Sofia, Bulgaria

Tel: +359 29743666

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.zlatarskischool.org | www.facebook.com/zlatarskischool.org

Local News in English

The Bulgarian News Network


The Sofia Echo


Standart News




Country Information 

Full name: Republic of Bulgaria

Population: cc. 7.2 million

Location: Europe

Capital City: Sofia

Other Important Cities:

Currency: 1 Bulgarian Lev (Lv) = 100 stotinki

Language(s): Bulgarian, Turkish, Roma

Religion(s): Eastern Orthodox, Muslim

Calling Code: +359

Internet TLD: .bg

Electricity: 230V 50Hz

Time zone: GMT +3

Emergency Numbers:

          European: 112

          Ambulance: 150

          Police: 166

          Fire Brigade: 160

Lifestyles and cultures in Bulgaria have developed over thousands and thousands of years. It is located at the crossroad between Europe and Asia, and its lands have been populated since antiquity. Thus, Bulgarian customs are deeply rooted and closely tied to the country’s history and particular expression of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. For instance, dancing on live coals is an ancient Bulgarian ritual that is still practiced in a few villages in the Balkan Mountains.

The holidays that are most honoured by Bulgarians are undoubtedly Christmas and Easter, when the generations celebrate together, united by a feeling of belonging to the harmonious Bulgarian family. The first and second Sunday’s before Lent, Mother’s Day, All Soul’s Day and Lent are also highly honoured.

The country’s national costume is an intrinsic part of Bulgarian lifestyle and culture, and folk music and national dances – such as the horo – are key to its culture. Additionally, various museums preserve valuable collections of domestic, cultural and military articles, statues, monuments, masks and mosaics among many other precious exhibits. 

Embassy Information


Residents Visa and Work Permit information

Since 2007, the Republic of Bulgaria has been a member of the EU and so enforces the General Visa Policy of the European Union, in keeping with the conditions of the Accession Treaty.

Visas are issued by the diplomatic and consular representatives of the Republic of Bulgaria, or by representatives of another member state of the EU for which Bulgaria has an agreement with.

The following visa types are available:
  • Airport transit, type A
  • Short-term stay, type C
  • Long-term stay, type D

Fees are charged for the issuance of visas.

When applying for a visa application, you need:

  • A photocopy of the first page of the foreign travel document
  • A photocopy of the last Bulgarian and Schengen visas or visas for the UK and the US, if any
  • A colourful passport-sized photograph
  • Medical insurance valid for the EU member states for the whole period of the trip
  • Tickets or ticket booking confirmation
  • Copy of the technical passport of the car of the trip
  • For children travelling without their parents or trustees, the following is needed:

            o   A copy of the birth certificate

            o   Original and photocopy of a power of attorney notary certified by both parents/trustees or by one of each, that they agree their child can travel unaccompanied by them

The following persons are exempt from having to present proof of subsistence, accommodation and transportation:

  • Members of the families or households of EU, European Economic Area and the Swiss Confederation citizens
  • Persons applying for a visa for a long stay in view of gathering their families, in relation to a refugee status or asylum in Bulgaria
  • Holders of service and diplomatic passports

The following persons are exempt from presenting an insurance policy:

  • Members of the families or households of EU, European Economic Area and the Swiss Confederation citizens
  • Holders of service and diplomatic passports
  • Seamen who meet the criteria of Convention No. 108 of the International Labour Organisation when submitting applications for short-stay visas with the purpose of transit
  • Persons who can be deemed to be insured or can cover expenses in unforeseen circumstances due to their social or service status

The following persons are exempt from fees for visa application processing:

  • Foreign citizens who as of the date of the visa application are under 6 years
  • Members of Bulgarian and EU citizens’ families

More information can be found at www.mfa.bg


Finding a nice place to live is always difficult. Bulgaria is no exception - getting the right accommodation can be hard, especially in large cities. Expats have options of renting apartments, flat shares, townhouses and villas in Bulgaria, and can also buy properties if they wish.

Here are some useful links used by expats to get you started:

Driving License

The rules of the road and regulations follow the provisions of the Conventions on Road Traffic. Drive on the right, and overtake on the left. Priority belongs to vehicles travelling on main roads indicated as such by signs and trams have right of way other road users. In built-up areas, drivers are prohibited to sound their horn between 22:00 and 06:00 hours, and between 12:00 and 16:00.

National driving licenses that conform to the 1949 Convention or the European Communities’ model are accepted. If the national driving license does not bear the photo of the holder, then the visitor must have an International Driving Permit. Additionally, a foreign driving license does not entitle the holder to drive a car in Bulgaria until the age of 18 years old.

When driving in the country, the following documents should be carried:
  • Full, valid driving license (with counterpart)
  • Proof of insurance/green card
  • Proof of ID
  • Proof of ownership
  • International Driving Permit

You are also required to carry the following as by law. Large on-the-spot fines can be issued for failing to carry the following:

  • Headlamp beam deflectors
  • Warning triangle
  • Reflective jacket
  • Fire extinguisher/first aid kit
  • For motorcyclists: must wear a crash helmet

Alternatively, air, rail, taxis and water transport services are all well developed in Bulgaria. There are also four international airports in Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv and Burgas.


Bulgaria has compulsory common healthcare insurance, meaning, all insured persons in Bulgaria select their family doctor or general practitioner, whom they visit when necessary. If the GP is incompetent to treat the illness, they provide written permission for the patient to visit a specialist, also working with the National Health Insurance Fund. Uninsured persons must pay the full cost for provided medical care.

There are a large number of specialized private offices and medical facilities available in the country. On receiving consultation or treatment, patients pay the entire amount for the examination or treatment, regardless of them having health insurance.

More information is available about the healthcare and conditions of using healthcare services paid by public funds in the country by visiting the Ministry of Health:

Insurance Companies

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will enable you to access state-provided healthcare in Bulgaria at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free.


The National Heart Hospital

Sofia | www.hearthospital.bg | 02 921 1264

Lozenetz (Governmental) Hospital

Sofia | www.lozenetz-hospital.bg | 02 960 7681

Tokuda Hospital

Sofia | www.tokudabolnica.bg/en | 02 403 4112

Hospital “Vita” (Private)

Sofia | www.vita.bg/indezen.php | 02 943 4398

University Alexandrovska Hospital (Medical Academy)

Sofia | www.alexandrovska-hospital.org | 02 923 0613


Sevlievo | 06 753 4502

“Saint Anna” Hospital (formerly District Hospital)

Varna | 052 229 498

“Saint Marina” Hospital

Varna | 052 302 875

Hospital “St. Georgi”, University Hospital

Plovdiv | 032 264 170

Hospital “Plovdiv” (former Regional Hospital)

Polvdiv | 032 482 567

MBAL Burgas AD

Burgas | www.mbalburgas.com | 0888 893 340


Dr. Ivo Petrov, Tokuda Hospital Sofia


02 403 4330

Dr. Gergana Lazarova, Lozenetz Hospital


02 960 7362

Dr. Ivan Botev


02 962 5532

Assoc. Prof. Maria Balabanova


0887 208 418

Dr. Todor Shirov

Ears, Nose & Throat

02 943 2552