Bulgaria is a beautiful country for digital nomads looking for adventure. The central location within the EU, affordable cost of living, and varied climate make it an intriguing destination for travelers of all interests. Whether you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur, or enjoy a flexible remote schedule, read on to discover if Bulgaria is an ideal destination for you.
Why Become a Digital Nomad in Bulgaria?
Bulgaria provides the optimal location for thrill-seeking digital nomads. The northern region has a continental climate, and the southern half of the country enjoys a Mediterranean climate, making it the perfect mix. Throw in an affordable cost of living, high quality of life, and easy access to other EU countries, Bulgaria is a fantastic location for digital nomads.
In Bulgaria, 85% of residents speak Bulgarian, the country’s official language. However, English is the most commonly known foreign language, with 25% of the population understanding it.
Cost of Living & Taxes
As you prepare to travel, it’s essential to consider the cost of living in Bulgaria to determine how long and where you’ll stay. Depending on what time of year you visit and for how long, you might consider staying outside of tourist-laden spots to save.
You should budget about $750/month (~1400 лв) while staying in Bulgaria. Common expenses include:
- 1-bedroom apartment ~650 лв
- Internet ~25 лв
- Utilities ~215-430 лв (depending on the time of year)
- Coworking ~350 лв
- Meal ~15 лв
- Coffee ~3 лв
- Beer ~2 лв
If you opt for a monthly coworking membership at Coworking Bansko, you’ll be able to save on wifi and coffee.
Digital Nomad Safety
Although Bulgaria is generally safe to travel, traveling as a digital nomad, especially alone, can be unsafe. Visiting foreign countries without proper research can leave you vulnerable to scams and other threats, so it’s always important to do your research before renting an apartment or booking a hostel online. Make sure to get in touch with us, we are able to help you and provide insider knowledge for visiting or travelling in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria is considered very safe, even scoring high marks on the 2020 Global Peace Index. With no political tension and low levels of serious crime, it’s generally a laid-back country.
Be aware of dangers around resort areas as thieves are known to target tourists. As long as you’re alert, you likely won’t encounter any problems in Bulgaria. However, it always helps to have insurance to protect yourself against losses when traveling abroad.
Central Location within the EU
Bulgaria’s central location within the European Union makes it easy to travel to other countries like Greece, Turkey, Serbia, Italy, and Ukraine. While staying in Bulgaria, you can easily make a few short trips to these nearby destinations.
Where in Bulgaria is Best for Digital Nomads
Bulgaria has a few popular cities, including Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, and Bansko. If you’re considering staying in Bulgaria, selecting the right location for your needs is essential. Consider the community aspect of the place where you want to visit, cost of living, distance from other travel destinations, and local activities.
The capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, is the largest city in the country with 1.236 million residents as of 2017. Sofia is rich in history, with incredible landmarks to explore. Cathedrals, churches, monasteries, and synagogues date back to the early 4th century.
As a digital nomad, you’ll find the most co-working options in Sofia, but you’ll have to pay the price in higher rent.
Second only to Sofia, Plovdiv is located on the Maritsa river and is home to over 300,000 people. Home to the Ancient Theater, Plovdiv is another town rich in history. Architecture lovers will enjoy exploring the sights, including the Ancient Bath and Ottoman-era houses.
Located on the easternmost coast of Bulgaria, Varna is a seaport city and the perfect place to go surfing! You’ll also want to dedicate time to check out the Archaeological Museum, Sea Garden, Stone Forest, Retro Museum, and more. There are tons of sights to see and adventures to go on in Varna.
If you love exploring the beautiful wilderness, live an active lifestyle, and delve into a lively community with a family charm, Bansko is the perfect destination for you. Enjoy scenic hiking, mountain biking trails, fabulous spa’s, natural hot springs. Or try ATV adventure rides in the Pirin Mountains. You will always find good company for a hike or group activities. In the winter, you can hit the slopes for some skiing or snowboarding.
Nomad Necessities in Bulgaria
Internet speeds average 50 Mbps (up to 100 Mbit’s synchron, up- and download speed) in Bulgaria, with the fastest internet found in Bansko, Pazardzhik, Rakovski, and Troyan. As a bonus, Bulgaria has a surplus of lovely and affordable coworking spaces, where you can purchase a monthly membership or one-time day pass.
Bulgaria Coworking Spaces
A coworking membership is a great way to tap into the local digital nomad, freelancer, and entrepreneurial community. A few of the top spaces you should check out include:
- Coworking Bansko— several locations in Bansko. The membership allows you to use all their coworking locations, free coffee, and a very lively community with lots of events and activities. This is ideal if you’d like to explore the rural and laid-back country side.
- NETWORKING Premium Coworking Spaces — Locations in Sofia, Plovdiv, and more. Membership at one location allows you to use other coworking locations for up to one week per month, making this ideal if you’d like to explore many offices in Bulgaria.
- betahaus — With two locations in Sofia, free trial opportunities, and flexible membership, betahaus is an ideal option for digital nomads in Bulgaria.
- Innovator — Located in the art neighbourhood of Vaynor, Innovator is a modern co-working space tailored to artists and freelancers alike.
Prepare for Life as a Digital Nomad in Bulgaria
While you always hope nothing will go wrong, it’s wise to be prepared for the worst-case scenario, especially while traveling internationally in a new country. Bulgaria’s healthcare has varying levels of quality, but you’ll get the best care with good insurance. In an emergency, the local number to call is 112.
Be sure to add your emergency contact to your phone and update them on where you are and what you’re doing. Provide contact information for where you’re staying so they can get in touch if necessary.
When looking for insurance, it’s essential to look for prices and coverage for activities in an emergency. Nomad Insurance will cover 185 countries and activities such as skiing, mountain biking or hiking (in Bansko), surfing (in Varna), and personal liability in addition to medical emergencies.
When applying for residency, a one-year policy showing proof of coverage for travel medical insurance is required. With SafetyWing, you can purchase coverage for the year and download a visa letter for your application.
It’s easy to focus on cost only when hunting for travel medical insurance. After all, most digital nomads want to save wherever possible to spend more on experiences while traveling. However, it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for when it comes to insurance, so always look at guarantees, countries covered, and other travel emergencies that could occur (such as personal liability in case coffee is spilled on a co-worker’s laptop.
For these reasons, SafetyWing is a good fit for digital nomads. It works for the visa but also caters to the nomadic lifestyle because the policy holders will have coverage for emergencies in +185 countries.
While only a three-to-six-month residency obligation, Bulgaria is a location digital nomads love to visit. If you’re interested in spending time in Bulgaria, consider getting help with your residency application to ensure you have the best chances possible.