Bulgaria is like most other countries in Europe, it’s perfectly safe so long as you are sensible. In busy cities and resorts there will always be some crime so just be aware and make sure your belongings are secure. If you do find yourself in any trouble the emergency phone number is 112.
Most people speak English in the major cities so you don’t have to worry about learning Bulgarian, unless you want to! If you do want to learn and you live in Bulgaria, contact us as we can recommend some great teachers!
There’s a global networking site for expats called Internations and they hold an event every month in Sofia where people from all over get together and exchange contacts. These events always take place in a nice bar over a few drinks!
Almost every newsagent serves really good coffee, good to know if you want a quick coffee at a cheap price! On most news stands or in convenience stores a cup of coffee or cappuccino will cost you something between €0.30 and €1.00. You will also find Starbucks and Costa here where a large coffee will cost around €2.00.
Driving around in Bulgaria
Driving in the cities is a little bit crazy and you need to take extra care when crossing the streets as cars will still turn into a street even if their traffic light is red! Also note if you are driving that day time head lights are compulsory in Bulgaria at all times, even when it’s sunny!
Some minor issues
There are a lot of stray dogs in Bulgaria. The dogs are usually docile and will not bother passers by, however it’s not recommended to go close to them or stroke them as they can become vicious, particularly if they are very cold and hungry. This is a problem that is improving and hopefully, in time, we will see less and less dogs on the streets.
International money transfers
Don’t use your bank to send money home or anywhere abroad, check out Transferwise. It’s safe, reliable and fast and, the best part is, you don’t have to pay bank charges!
Culturally specific things you should know!
You may have already heard that in Bulgaria a head shake means yes and a nod means no. Keep it in mind when talking to locals as it can get a little confusing! Another interesting habit Bulgarians have is looking each other in the eye when saying cheers. You can find out why here.
You may hear many people (including us) refer to Bulgarian prices in Euro but it’s important to remember that the local currency is the lev. You can’t spend euros in all the shops here and those who accept them may charge you more. There are however many change bureaus in the cities who will give you a good exchange rate if you haven’t managed to change any cash before you arrive. Most large hotels, restaurants and shops accept cards however smaller places are likely to ask for cash only so be prepared.
Bulgaria is part of the EU so if you have an EU passport you will not require a visa to visit Bulgaria. All other passport holders should check with their embassy before making travel arrangements.
Don’t mix up milk and yogurt, the packaging looks exactly the same! It’s a simple mistake to make but when you buy a carton of Domlian yogurt instead of milk it really spoils your morning coffee! Joking aside, Bulgarian food is delicious and you will be spoilt for choice.