If you are looking for information about budget destinations around the world where you can maintain a very good standard of living but without spending too much money, you will probably encounter articles about Portugal, Turkey, Costa Rica or Thailand.
It is true, they are all in the list of countries where you can live pretty good if you have a regular income from pension, property rental or business.
However, one of the most budget destinations in the world usually goes unnoticed as a result of its weaker popularity.
Bulgaria is the cheapest place in Europe to live
Bulgaria is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. At the same time, it is one of the least popular destinations on the continent.
It’s hard to find another country in the world with such an incredible natural beauty and so low popularity.
In this respect, the Balkan country is the most underrated destination in Europe, whether for living or tourism.
But how much cheaper it actually is to live in Bulgaria than in your own country?
Pack your things because once you have realized how low prices in the small Balkan country are, you’ll probably want to move there for permanently!
With €1,000 you can have everything
Bulgaria is the only country in Europe where with €1,000 you can have a better living standard than the average of the inhabitants of countries such as Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Sweden and Norway, which are among the richest countries in the world.
This money will be enough for you to buy quality food, to go outside with friends for a drink or to eat something, to pay the rent, to cover your monthly bills for electricity, water, internet, cable TV and mobile phone, to buy clothes, to pay for a gym card and to go to cinema regularly.
With this money in Bulgaria you will be even able to save some money every month without efforts.
Cost of living in Bulgaria
Rents in Bulgaria (information for Sofia and Varna)
Rents in Bulgaria are the lowest in the entire European Union. For prices between 200 and 300 euros you can easily find a large number of attractive offers, even in the most expensive Bulgarian cities Sofia and Varna.
But don’t worry – you won’t regret. For this price you can rent a good looking furnished apartment in a good neighborhood.
Of course, bills such as water, electricity, telephone and internet are not usually included in the price.
Typically, most people prefer to pay their rent month-to-month, but it is possible and probably it won’t be a problem to negotiate another deal with the property agent, if you or your landlord want that.
Food in Bulgaria (information for Varna)
Like rents, food prices in Bulgaria are among the lowest in Europe too. For example, in large supermarkets you can find a whole grilled chicken for the prices of around 3 to 3.50 €, freshly baked bread for about 0.50 to 0.60 €, bananas and oranges for about 1 – 1.50 € / kg, high quality potatoes for 0.50 to 0.60 € / kg.
Local Bulgarian tomatoes, which are considered to be the most tasteful and fragrant in the world, are around 0.60 to 0.80 € / kg during the summer season.
Fresh eggs are available for prices from about 0.13 to 0.15 € each. A bottle of mineral water (0,500 ml) is under 0.30 €, and about 1.25 € is a bottle of beer of 2.5 liters.
If you love white cheese, then prices range between 2.50 and 5.50 € per kilo, depending on whether you buy a cheaper or the most expensive brand.
A liter of milk in the big supermarkets is mostly between 0.80 and 1.20 €, and a pot of yogurt is about 0.40 to 0.50 €. Prices of the most popular brands of chocolate are usually below 1 € .
Restaurants in Bulgaria (prices are for Bourgas and Varna)
Have you ever wondered what is the place in Europe with the lowest prices in the restaurants? The answer is Bulgaria.
If you visit a cafe in the city center of Varna or Burgas, you will probably enjoy prices of around 1 – 1.50 € for coffee, around 1.50 € for a beer, 3.50 € for a large pizza or about 5 – 8 € for a portion of fish with vegetables, depending on whether you love mackerel or salmon, for example.
Of course, if you decide to visit an expensive restaurant prices could be quite higher but they still will be among the lowest in Europe.
If you visit some of the Chinese restaurants, then for the price of around 3 to 3.50 € you could order a large portion of rice and beef, pork or duck that almost certainly you won’t be able to eat it completely.
Don’t forget, however, that prices in the resorts are higher than these you see here.
Utilities in Bulgaria
Internet bills in Bulgaria are among the lowest in Europe. Here, for the prices of about 8 € you can get unlimited high-speed fiber optic internet of around 40 or 50 Mbit/s.
Water bills can vary a lot from one family to another. However, if you are moderate in the usage of water for showers, laundry, dishwashing and others, you can expect something like 15-20 € per month, or about 8-10 € per person.
Here we would like to say one more time that it strongly depends on what your personal needs are.
Electricity bills are traditionally one of the largest household expenditures for an average Bulgarian family.
Given that the majority of people use electricity for heating, and in the period from December to March is usually difficult to live without heating, in this part of the year is possible your electricity bills to reach and in some cases even exceed 100 €!
However, it all depends on what type of heating device you have in your home and how sensitive to cold you actually are.
Transport services are among the cheapest in Europe
There is hardly another country in Europe with so cheap transport services. In most Bulgarian cities is very easy, comfortable and cheap to get from one point to another.
In Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv, Burgas, Ruse, Veliko Tarnovo and other major Bulgarian cities there is a dense network of bus lines, and the system of public transport is very well developed.
In Sofia are also available trams and metro. Ticket prices for public transport are different in different cities, but in all cases are among the cheapest on the continent.
For example, since June 1, 2016, a bus ticket in Sofia will be 1.60 leva (about 0.82 euros), which is the most expensive ticket for a public transport in Bulgaria.
On the other side, the same ticket in Varna is 1 lev (about € 0.51 ). Buses are in good condition, and the network in every major city is very well developed.
For this reason, you can reach from one place to another very quickly and convenient. In addition to public transport, in Bulgaria it is very easy and cheap to travel by taxi.
For example, if you live in Varna and you choose to travel by taxi from the downtown to the St. Constantine and Helena resort, which is located 8 km north of the city, you can reach the resort for about 5 or 6 €. The problem is that there is always some risk of incorrect drivers.
Services in Bulgaria are very cheap
All kinds of services in Bulgaria are generally very cheap, and the reason for this is basically the low cost of living in the country. To cut your hair at a good hair salon, you can expect to pay something like 5 €.
However, if you are on a budget, you can always find the same service for 2.50 €. Dental services also should be mentioned here because of their good prices.
At the same time, the quality is not lower than that of any country in Western Europe. Here you can easily fix and treat your cavities in a good dental clinic for less than 25 euros.
Taxes in Bulgaria are the lowest in the European Union
Although the country is not often mentioned about that, the taxes in Bulgaria are actually the lowest in the European Union and among the lowest in the world.
This is good to know, especially if you are planning to work or to start your business, because a significant part of our incomes usually goes to taxes.
The personal income tax in Bulgaria is flat and is 10%. Over the last years the country has become a very attractive place for doing business as well as a great place for startups.
Moreover, if you are an owner of luxury cars, yachts and real estates, in Bulgaria your taxes will be much lower than in most European countries.
The properties in Bulgaria are the cheapest in Europe
If you are considering the idea to buy an apartment instead of paying rent, then you can find thousands of great deals.
First of all, you have to know that the property market of Bulgaria offers mostly apartments while good offers for houses appear more rarely. The majority of the apartments vary between 20 and 50 thousand euros.
Usually in the lower price range are the properties in the resort center of Sunny Beach and Bansko where you can easily find interesting suggestions for about 20 or 30 thousand euro. The reason for the low prices is largely the huge number of properties available in these destinations.
In Varna and Burgas you can find an impressive number of good offers for apartments in pleasant areas to live for about 30-40 thousand euro and sometimes even cheaper.
If you are looking for a larger apartment in the downtown of Sofia, Varna or Burgas, then you can expect prices of around 50-70 thousand euro or even higher. Usually furnished and ready to move in apartments are considerably more expensive.
It is important to be very careful when choosing an apartment because sometimes the prices of two comparable properties in the same area of a city can dramatically vary, depending on the estate agent that offers the apartment.
Furthermore, the properties in the luxury residential buildings are often quite expensive, although not always in a good neighbourhood.
Other advantages of Bulgaria
Of course, Bulgaria is much more than just a budget destination where you can get a lot of cheap goods and services.
There are many things to do and see. Bulgaria is a country of beautiful beaches and incredible mountains.
As one of the oldest European countries, it is a place of numerous cultural and historical attractions to visit.
Bulgaria has superb beaches
Bulgaria has approximately 200 km of golden sandy beaches, which are considered among the most beautiful in Europe.
They are very different from the predominantly pebble beaches of most Mediterranean countries and rather reminiscent of the golden beaches of Costa Brava or Costa Dorada.
Fabulous beaches you can find practically everywhere on the Bulgarian coast but here we would like to mention the most popular of them.
Amazing beaches there are in Varna, Albena, Golden Sands, St. Constantine and Elena, Sunny Day, Shkorpilovci, Obzor, Burgas, Sunny Beach, Nessebar, Pomorie, Primorsko, Ahtopol, Sozopol and many others.
Outside the urban and resort areas there are some very beautiful wild beaches which are not very popular among tourists or expats but are rather visited by local people.
Among the lesser-known beaches of this type are Karadere and Rakitnika where golden sands are bordered by dense forests.
Unlike most of the Mediterranean, the coast of Black Sea in Bulgaria is very green, except of course if you are staying or living in some overdeveloped area.
The combination of beaches and forests allow you to quickly find a nice, cool shade to relax when you get too tired from the hot sun.
Bulgarian mountains reminds of the Alps
If you are a nature-lover and like beautiful landscapes, you should know that some of the most amazing and breathtaking sceneries in Europe can be seen in Bulgaria.
Over the last years, many young people, whose business is based on Internet, have left the noisy and stressful big cities in searching of quiet mountainous villages to developing their online business undisturbed.
When it comes to living, then probably the first place belongs to the Rhodope Mountains.
Bulgarian mountains offer magnificent views, dense pine and deciduous forests, beautiful mountain lakes and waterfalls, fresh air, no stress and pleasant fresh climate.
Moreover, here you can you can find amazing medieval monasteries, which have remained unchanged over the last few centuries.
The country is full of history, rich culture and beautiful architecture
No doubt that for a civilized person is very important whether the country they are living in offers enough options for personal development from a cultural point of view.
In this respect Bulgaria, which is one of the oldest countries in Europe, is very rich and if you wish, you can visit thousands of places that will enrich you emotionally and culturally.
In every major city in Bulgaria you can enjoy artifacts from Roman times, not to mention the medieval monasteries and majestic forts and palaces.
One of the oldest cities in Bulgaria is Plovdiv, which has been named European Capital of Culture 2019. It is known for its old Bulgarian architecture and ancient Greek amphitheater.
Other ancient cities are the two largest cities of Sofia and Varna, which date back to Roman times and offer the opportunity to experience the real contact with thousands of years old ancient ruins.
Veliko Tarnovo is the old capital of Bulgaria and is famous for its fortress Tsarevets, which proudly towers over the surrounding hilly countryside.
Bulgaria possesses an impressive wealth of monasteries, among which the most famous are the Rila Monastery, Bachkovo Monastery, Dryanovo Monastery and others.
Cuisine and food
The food is an important part of our lives. If you live in a place where you don’t like the food, it could become a problem very soon. A nice meal is among the greatest pleasures of our everyday life, or at least if the meal is cooked properly.
In this respect Bulgaria is just blessed.
The local cuisine is an incredible mix between the traditions of all the other countries in the region and is particularly influenced by the culinary wealth of Greece and Turkey.
In addition, Bulgarian cuisine has its own characteristics that distinguish it from all the other countries in Europe.
The local cuisine is very healthy and if you follow a traditional Bulgarian diet, this would be great for your health and good shape.