Cost of Living in Bulgaria: A Complete Guide

Cost of Living in Bulgaria: A Complete Guide

According to cost-of-living indexes, Bulgaria is significantly less expensive than most other EU member states. The cost of living, however, continues to rise as the cost of necessities like power and some types of food. Also, the cost of living in Bulgaria is higher in major cities than in smaller towns. The term “cost of living” refers to yearly expenses incurred, including housing, utilities, food, transportation, entertainment, etc.

This complete guide will give you a full picture of Bulgarian expenses and other related details. We hope you find it useful.

Is Bulgaria expensive?

Bulgaria is a member of the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe. 

Living costs in Bulgaria are significantly lower than in the rest of Europe because the country is still developing. You may feel good about calling Bulgaria your home. 

Also, its commitment to creating a pleasant atmosphere for all international residents has earned it widespread acclaim for its stunning buildings and welcoming locals.

Furthermore, it is crucial to calculate how much finance you will need, whether you are moving to Bulgaria to work, retire, or buy a second property for vacations. 

As with any life-altering choice, there are a lot of factors to consider, and it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. 

But we’ll tell you what this country is like now and how much it will cost to settle down here, so you can make an informed decision.

How much does it cost each month to live in Bulgaria?

Bulgaria has a relatively low cost of living compared to other European countries. With a monthly cost of living of around 500 Euros, Bulgaria is a fantastic option for anyone from a developed nation.

Even if 700 Euros is the average gross monthly earnings (average salary), you still need to cover your living expenses like rent and utilities before you can consider putting any money away.

Here are some of the most important living costs in USD:

  • Transportation $298.96
  • Restaurants $317.4
  • Rent Per Month $401.19
  • Leisure and Sports $124.96
  • Utilities (Monthly) $176.3
  • Clothing and Shoes $78.45
  • Markets $723.86

Is it expensive to visit Bulgaria?

This is a common concern among ex-pats who have been away for some time and those who hope to make Bulgaria their permanent home. The question is, is it costly to visit Bulgaria?

The answer depends on where you are travelling from. From most other western countries, your money will make it fairly inexpensive to visit Bulgaria. However, if you are coming from somewhere where the currency is weaker, you may find it to be expensive.

Comparing with other EU countries

The cost of living in Bulgaria is significantly lower than that of the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, and other European countries. 

Bulgaria should be on your list of destinations if you want to improve your living standards. Living costs are still quite inexpensive compared to the rest of Eastern Europe.

Living costs in Bulgaria are significantly lower than in the rest of Europe. Bulgaria has a 20% cheaper cost of living than the European Union.

The currency

A nation’s character can be gleaned from its currency. The value of a country’s currency is the primary factor in establishing prices there. 

The Lev is the currency of Bulgaria. So, finding out how cheap life is in Bulgaria only takes a few clicks of your mouse.

After taxes, the average monthly income of 1,382.56 лв ($717.64) is sufficient to meet the needs of a single individual, who incurs expenses of about 1,122.71 лв each month. 

Nonetheless, a four-person family requires an estimated 3,929.33 лв to live comfortably. 

The major cities

Bulgaria’s three most costly urban centres are Varna, Sofia, and Plovdiv. Over 1.2 million people call Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital and largest city, home.

Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, particularly, has a modern infrastructure and many job prospects for foreign workers. 

The latest cost of living index of the primary cities of Bulgaria is as follows:

  • Sofia 42.00
  • Varna 34.85
  • Plovdiv 35.64

While rentals in Sofia are on par with those in London, living expenses overall are far lower. So that you have a better idea of what it costs you to live in Bulgaria, we have done the math on some typical monthly outlays.

Also, the minimum wage in Sofia, Verna, and all other cities is BGN 3.92. Similarly, it is the bottom line of the minimum wage in the whole country.

Finding the average cost of various services in Bulgaria is relatively easy. The trickier part is finding out how much the necessities you need will set you back. Many ex-pats need help in this respect. They must understand the cost of staples like beef, milk, or bananas.

Food and goods are more expensive in Sofia than in other parts of the country. 

Here is a rundown of how much some staple items cost nationwide.

Cost of living in Bulgaria – Reviewing all elements of life

We have already discussed that living in Bulgaria is significantly cheaper than living in most European countries. Here is a detailed overview of Bulgaria’s transportation, food, apparel, medical, and other living costs. 

Price of Essential Services in Bulgaria

Utilities are a major expense for foreigners in Bulgaria. The cost of utilities has steadily risen over the years, becoming a significant burden for Bulgarians and foreigners living in the country. 

Water, power, and heating will make up most of your utility expenditures, but other aspects like rubbish collection and landscaping can also add up.

You, the foreigner, may have the mistaken impression that your monthly utility costs will be lower in Bulgaria. 

To an extent, you’d be right. A lower cost of living means that your money goes further in a country with a lower exchange rate.

While utilities like energy and water are lower than in many Western European countries, you must also factor in other, hidden charges when estimating your monthly expenses. 

So, if you’re considering relocation to Bulgaria, here’s some information you’ll need to understand about your monthly utility costs:

  • Utilities (heating, electricity, gas, etc.), on average, for a month for a two-person household in an 85 sq. ft. Monthly Cost = 227 лв

Food Costs – Four estimated monthly costs of food types

If you’re willing to do some of your own cooking, the food costs in Bulgaria are very low. 

Food necessities such as bread, dairy, and eggs are cheap, and a quality mid-range restaurant meal can be had for roughly 10 лв. 

Again, if you want something other than a mid-range restaurant and something fancier, you should expect to spend a higher price.

Keep in mind that the standard of food varies widely throughout Bulgaria. 

Some food choices may leave you dissatisfied if you’re used to eating organic, high-quality fare. 

In any case, if you’re willing to make some concessions in terms of quality, you may eat well in Bulgaria without breaking the bank.

Furthermore, food prices vary widely among different types of foods. Here is the estimated cost of four main types of food:

Fruit and VEG

Fruits and vegetables that are in season in the area are relatively inexpensive. However, you should visit outdoor markets or a supermarket chain to avoid buying them in resort stores. 

Cherries, apricots, peaches, and apples all have the same price per kilo: one to two лв. When the season for veggies arrives, prices drop even further.

Fruits and vegetables should make up the bulk of your diet in Bulgaria, supplemented by the exquisite dairy products made in the country. Lastly, this diet is not only tasty but also very low-cost.

Dairy products

Also relatively inexpensive in the region are dairy products. Cheese and buttermilk are not typically found in Bulgaria and cost more than the locally produced varieties. 

Bulgarian local cheese is substantially more affordable than imported cheese. A bucket of regional yogurt will set you back anything from 0.50 лв and above.

Other edibles (average prices)

Pasta ranges in price from $0.60 for 400 g (made from soft wheat varieties that turn sticky when boiling) to $2.50 to $5. Prices for regular rice start at 2 лв. 

Also, sugar costs 1.3 and 1.6 лв per kilo, whereas a kilo of standard flour costs just over 1 лв.


In the supermarket, a whole chicken in the fridge will set you back at least 5 лв, and if you catch it on sale, it might only cost you 3 лв. 

Beef and mutton cost at least 10 лв more per kg than other meats.

Various meat specialties are available, and they’re all cheap. 

The low costs, however, can be explained by the fact that there is so little actual stuff there.

Apparel costs

Check Bulgaria’s apparel cost before you pack your belongings and jet over there. 

You can’t afford to live frugally in Bulgaria if you are a big spender on clothing.

Despite the lack of set minimum clothing prices mandated by law in Bulgaria, savvy shoppers can find many outlets that offer quality garments at fair prices.

Bulgaria has some of the lowest clothing prices compared to western Europe and the world. Shirts suitable for work can be purchased for as little as $5, and suits for around $75 if you shop in the right places. 

Similarly, you may get a wide variety of shoes and boots, including running shoes, comfy shoes, and hiking boots, at extremely reasonable costs.

Average prices of the most common clothing are:

  • Jeans 102.93 лв
  • Formal/Business shoes 147.03 лв
  • Jogging/sports shoes 132.79 лв
  • Summer dress 52.29 лв

Healthcare/Personal care

The healthcare system in Bulgaria is comprehensive, provides high-quality treatment, and allows many individuals to access care at no cost to themselves. 

It’s vital to remember that Bulgaria has a universal healthcare system, which will reduce the overall cost of medical care. 

This means that medical care in Bulgaria is provided at no cost to its residents. But there are a few cases where this is different. If you want to see a professional or undergo surgery that the public health system does not cover, you will have to pay for it yourself.

Additionally, the great care available contributes to the country’s long life expectancy.

All people of Bulgaria have access to a high-quality healthcare system. Private health coverage is not needed by law, yet many people still choose to have it.

Expenditures for one’s own personal care are also crucial, even for those living in the most industrialized nations. 

Haircuts, dye jobs, cosmetics application, waxing, manicures, pedicures, facials, massages, removal of old nail paint, body treatments, and dental treatment all add up to a hefty price tag for those who want to indulge in the full spa experience.

  • Medicine for the Common Cold 12.63 лв
  • Antibiotics tablets 10.92 лв
  • Half-hour private doctor consultation 48 лв
  • Shampoo 4.4 to 5 лв
  • 4 rolls of Toilet Paper 2.5 лв 
  • Toothpaste 3 to 4 лв 
  • Male normal haircut 26.00 to 35 лв

Education costs

It is widely acknowledged that the Bulgarian educational system is among Europe’s most reasonably priced and easily accessible. 

A well-planned budget is also essential if you want to reap these rewards, but that’s just half the story. Enjoyment and financial responsibility go hand in hand during college years.

Those who choose to enrol in this country from other countries will have to overcome significant obstacles, including financial hardship and the necessity of learning a new language. When attending a school, you should be fine with money. Here is an estimated overview of the tuition fees:

  • University [cost may vary with course] 16,000 лв
  • Kindergarten one kid [Monthly] 637.55 лв
  • Monthly fees for students [travel, groceries, etc.] 1k to 1.1k лв
  • Primary School [yearly] 9k to 10k лв

Accommodation and Housing Costs in Bulgaria – Monthly costs

Foreign visitors and ex-pats make up the bulk of Bulgaria’s lodging market. This is because the tourism business in Bulgaria is the only sector to have flourished following the fall of communism. 

Bulgaria’s living quarters are less expensive or of lower quality than those in the West. It’s simple to find inexpensive lodgings all around the country. Compared to Western Europe, the cost of living in Bulgaria is far more manageable.

There is a wide variety of lodging options available in Bulgaria. They can range from bare-bones dorms in the city to five-star mansions on the coast of the Black Sea. 

Also, to stay in a comfortable place at a reasonable price, Sofia is among Europe’s best cities.

Furthermore, at a minimum wage, you can afford a decent apartment a bit away from the posh areas.

The cost of rent in Bulgaria varies widely by region, but there are definitely areas you should avoid. Take a look at this survey of rental rates in Bulgaria.

  • Price per month for a 900 square foot (85 square meters) fully furnished decent apartment in a prime location – Monthly Cost = 1,309 лв
  • A normal one-bedroom apartment can cost you from 250 to 1100 BGN. The rent greatly depends on its site and other amenities.
  • In a typical neighborhood, you can expect to pay $900 monthly for a fully furnished 85-square-meter (1,000-square-foot) apartment – Monthly Cost = 840 лв
  • For a fully equipped studio measuring 45 square meters (about 480 square feet) – Monthly Cost = 858 лв
  • For a 480 sq. ft. studio apartment in a typical neighborhood – Monthly Cost = 554 лв

Recreation costs

Here is your complete resource for fun things to do in Bulgaria! After finishing this guide, you will be prepared to move to Bulgaria. Everything from going out to eat or drink to going to a club or taking a stroll by the ocean. You’ll feel at home in no time after reading this.

Bulgaria is a stunning country with plenty of parks and other attractions. 

In addition to the beautiful mountains, there are many caves, valleys, gorges, and springs. There is a great diversity of natural areas to visit in Bulgaria. 

Those who love being outdoors can go on hikes and treks that may lead them to spectacular sights. Hiking is popular in Bulgaria, and for a good reason: it’s the greatest way to take in the country’s jaw-dropping scenery.

In addition to its many attractions, Sofia is a lively city with plenty to do. Nightlife at the city’s best clubs, interesting sights, and entertaining cultural performances, all interspersed with excellent shopping options, make this city a must-visit destination.

Furthermore, an individual with an average monthly salary can easily enjoy entertainment worthy of European continent standards in Bulgaria.

  • Movie ticket 12 лв
  • Gym 45 to 50 лв
  • One soda (coca cola) 1.5 лв
  • A pack of Marlboro cigarettes 5.81 лв

Cost of living in Bulgaria – skimming the cities

Compared to countries in the EU’s central and western regions, Bulgaria has a remarkably cheap cost of living. 

The cost of living, including lodging, food, and entertainment, is low. The cost of living in Bulgaria is remarkably low compared to the rest of Europe and the rest of the globe, even though the country is a popular tourist destination and has all the amenities one would expect from a European country. 

Furthermore, hundreds of international students are attracted by the mix of all the factors above and the outstanding level of graduate courses.

Larger cities typically have higher prices than their smaller-town counterparts. 

Varna, Bourgas, and Plovdiv have the highest average housing costs in Bulgaria. Gabrovo, Dobrich, and Stara Zagora all have lower prices. 

Finally, analysts have determined that Sofia, Bulgaria, is the most cost-effective capital in the European Union. Generally, a person requires 600-700 EUR a month to live well in Bulgaria.

Living in Gabrovo

Due to its proximity to the mountains, abundance of historical and ethnographic sites, and cultural landmarks, Gabrovo is a popular tourist destination. The quantity of flora and animals in the Gabrovo area lends credence to the claim that it is among the most environmentally stable places in Bulgaria. Red deer and bears are among Europe’s most prized hunting trophies, and the area is rich with both.

Gabrovo, Bulgaria, is a major electronics producer of processed foods, textiles, and footwear. There is also a thriving cultural scene, with numerous professional theatre, music, and folklore ensembles, a puppet show, a pantomime theatre, the Gabrovo chamber orchestra, and much more. Tourists can enjoy the Art Gallery, National Museum of Education, and Historical Museum.

Also, you can expect one bedroom apartment near the city center to cost 200 to 350 € per month. Compared to other cities, it offers you really reasonable prices on the monthly rent.

Gabrovo is best recognized as the epicenter of Bulgarian humor and satire. The House of Laughter and Satire is home to several rotating arts and ethnic exhibitions and collections, including works on canvas, amusing writings, photographs, carnival masks, and costumes worldwide. 

Finally, in May each year, thousands of the best-known humorists from over 150 nations gather for the annual Celebration of Humor and Satire.

Living in Dobrich

Dobrich, Bulgaria, is situated in the Danube plain’s easternmost area, known for its low, rolling hills and expansive valleys.

Good asphalt roads link Dobrich to the Black Sea coast and Romania and to the international highways in Poland, Ukraine, and Russia. The town has train connections to the rest of Bulgaria and to Romania.

Dobrich has a cost of living average of $647, placing it in the leading 23% of the world’s least expensive cities.

Also, in some parts of Dobrich, you can live your life even with very little money. It is because of its really reasonable prices for various necessities of life.

Other reasons to stay in a city like Dobrich are:

  • It is a peaceful neighborhood ideal for raising a family.
  • The “St. George” Park in Dobrich is regarded as one of the country’s loveliest green spaces.
  • Third, this is one of the most fertile regions in Bulgaria, which feeds millions of people daily.
  • There are no backups in traffic.
  • It is less than 40 kilometers from Albena, Balchik, etc., and is less than 5.50 kilometers from Varna Airport.
  • Also, you can expect one bedroom apartment near the city center at 250 to 350 € per month.
  • You can get long with very little money.

Living in Stara Zagora

Located in the southern part of Bulgaria, Stara Zagora has a continental climate with cold winters and summers.

Stara Zagora is well-known for its pristine architecture and the fact that it was once home to famous poets like Petko Slaveykov.

Also, it enjoys cold winters and warm summers due to its excellent location on the map. 

Stara Zagora also has a rich cultural heritage that visitors can appreciate. The Roman Amphitheater in the city’s core is all left of the ancient Roman settlement of Augusta Traiana. 

Stara Zagora is home to the remnants of two of the world’s oldest buildings, and ex-pats can visit the Neolithic Dwellings Museum. 

Also, you can expect one bedroom apartment at 300 BGN to 600 BGN per month.

Finally, the cost of living here is cheaper than in most of the other Bulgarian cities. 

Living in Sofia

Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, is one of Europe’s oldest cities, is rich in history and culture, and has enough to offer its visitors. 

It’s the country’s largest and most appealing city because of its location, size, history, and cultural diversity.

How much, then, will you need to live pleasantly and conveniently in Sofia and make the most of your time there? To be expected, as a foreigner, you will wish to see more of the city and experience its many attractions. Remember, your monthly expenditures may differ marginally from those of a typical resident.

If you’re looking for the highest monthly salary in Bulgaria, you are likely to find it in Sofia. Because of this, many experts from other countries flock to the city and Bulgarians from all over the country.

Living in Sofia is much cheaper than in other cities like London, Paris, Budapest, or Barcelona. If you are a professional, you will have no trouble finding a high-paying job in the capital, where you can relax and enjoy life.

Also, you can expect one bedroom apartment near the city center at 450 to 1100 € per month.

If you want to settle in Bulgaria, Sofia is a wonderful option. The city has the potential to be an exciting experience for people of all ages. It has all the advantages and disadvantages of any major metropolis, including a wealth of options and a lively cultural scene.

Furthermore, most international university students prefer to enroll here due to the good monthly salary, cheap public transport, and good food.

Sofia, compared to other neighboring capitals, is both inviting and inexpensive. A stable income is relatively easy to come by in the city, whether you work for a local or international business.

Gains from a Bulgarian Lifestyle

Quite a few factors make Bulgaria an attractive place to call home. One of the main draws is the low cost of living compared to other Western European countries. 

Bulgaria has a much cheaper cost of living than the United Kingdom, by around 30 percent.

Additionally, Bulgaria provides a high standard of living. The people are warm and welcoming, and the land has a rich cultural past and breathtaking natural landscapes. 

Numerous hiking trails, ski resorts, and mountain bike trails are available for outdoor enthusiasts. Moreover, the Black Sea shoreline features more than 200 kilometers of sandy beaches, perfect for sunbathers.

If you’re looking to save money and still maintain a high quality of life, moving to Bulgaria is a great option due to the country’s cheap cost of living. The average salary, health insurance, and accommodation costs are great here. You can easily cover living expenses, get health insurance, and cover accommodation costs at an average salary.

In summary, Bulgaria is a good option if you’re seeking a low cost of living without sacrificing the quality of life.

Bulgaria’s GDP

With a GDP of $52.15 bn, Bulgaria ranks as the world’s 100th-largest economy. The $5,200 GDP per person is quite low compared to other countries. But the cost of living is also inexpensive in Bulgaria. A typical restaurant lunch will set you back around $5.

World Bank has put Bulgaria’s GDP at $80.85 billion for 2022. Even if it’s a relatively small number compared to other European countries’ GDPs, that’s still a lot of money. 

Unlike Western European countries, Bulgaria has a low cost of living. But there are still lots of expenses to consider.

How is Bulgaria compared to western Europe?

The primary western European countries are:

  • Germany.
  • Luxembourg.
  • France.
  • Belgium.
  • Austria.
  • Switzerland.
  • Netherlands.
  • Monaco.

In most cases, Bulgaria is certainly not richer or larger than these countries. However, living costs in Bulgaria will cost you significantly less than in all of these countries. 

Bulgaria offers you a European standard of living at reasonable prices. 

Finally, it is among Europe’s cheapest travel destinations, thus increasing its tourism revenue.

How much do you need to live comfortably in Bulgaria?

It all depends on how you choose to live your life.

Location is also crucial, but only insofar as it affects rent and, perhaps, transportation expenses.

The bottom line is that if you want to live comfortably in a major city, you’ll need a net income of around 2200 to 2500 BGN.

While rent plays a significant role, it’s vital to remember that major city dwellers also benefit from better pay.

Approximately 100 BGN each week will be spent on food;

Whether a school is public or private, the number of students enrolled, the institution’s tuition policy, and other factors all contribute to the overall cost of an education.

Entertainment options… well, let’s say you’d better be capable of swimming in an ocean.

The minimum NET wage required to work legally in Bulgaria is 3000 BGN. A net salary of at least 4000 BGN is necessary if you have a household and children but just one employed parent.

How much do you need to retire in Bulgaria?

European countries like Romania and Bulgaria are a paradise for retiring people. They are cheap, and a person with enough savings and a regular pension can live life fully. 

Because of Bulgaria’s low cost of living, retirees can enjoy their golden years without financial stress. A Bulgarian Pensioner D visa is required to retire in Bulgaria.

Living costs in Bulgaria are low, so a vacation there won’t break the bank. On the other hand, you could spend around $108 monthly on utilities.

Bulgaria has some of the most affordable home costs in Europe, making finding a place to stay a breeze.

A one-bedroom apartment in a non-central location in the city will cost you between $160 and $410, while a two-bedroom would cost you between $300 and $650. (three bedrooms).

A comfortable monthly budget for a single individual in Bulgaria is $530 (not including rent).

So, you need at least $1200 a month to live an easy life in this country, but that is only if you are a small spender.

Why do people prefer to retire in Bulgaria?

In retirement, you should consider relocating to Bulgaria for the following reasons:

Inexpensive living conditions

In terms of cost, a trip to Bulgaria is reasonable for anybody. As a result, you can enjoy a luxurious retirement on a budget and have the time of your life.

Extensive past and present-day culture

The Balkan nation is steeped in tradition and heritage. Visitors worldwide go to Bulgaria to see the country’s many historical sites and beautiful landscapes.


The country of Bulgaria is very secure. It is peaceful, with a low crime rate and no major political unrest.

Beautiful, mild weather

Bulgaria has a climate that strikes the ideal balance between warm and chilly. All year long, you may look forward to freezing and snowy winters and long, hot summers.

The folks in the area are quite nice.

Bulgarians are known for their warm hospitality and friendliness. It will be easy for you to make friends in your new community.


While Bulgaria’s economy is not as prosperous as those of other European countries, the country nonetheless offers a competitive average income, excellent educational opportunities, and a welcoming business culture. Bulgaria is one of the newest promising destination countries in Europe, and it offers various career prospects. You can make the most of your time in Bulgaria by working for a tourism firm, launching your own business, or joining an international organization.

Foreigners have excellent career prospects in Bulgaria, but they must consider several factors seriously before moving. IT professionals in Bulgaria have their pick among various outsourcing firms. Moreover, employment as an Arts teacher is plentiful in concerning institutes. Finally, the cost of living in Bulgaria suits most of you. In Europe, Bulgaria is certainly one of the most favoured options.

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