Most major towns and cities in Bulgaria have a sizeable community of expats, and this number is set to increase as more and more people consider moving and adopting the country as their new home.
The National Health Service is available to all who live in Bulgaria (including foreigners) and is run by Regional Health Centers. The doctors and nurses who work for this healthcare service are extremely well trained and deliver first class medical care, despite the limited facilities that they have.
Everybody who works in Bulgaria, including expatriates, must pay health insurance contributions and can register with the doctor of their choice, so most people choose one nearby their home or one that speaks their native language. In Bulgaria, doctors diagnose and treat where they can, before referring patients to other institutions or professionals within the system.
Bulgaria’s private health system is often staffed by doctors from the state sector, and private clinics and hospitals offer a more modern and pleasant environment. Private medical fees are expensive in comparison to the cost of contributions for state medical treatment, but notably cheaper than fees in other countries.
All modes of transport, including air, railways, roads, and waterways, are well developed, making living in Bulgaria and getting around the country easy.
If you decide to drive, you may use your domestic driver’s license in combination with an international driving permit for up to one year. After that, you will need to get a local license. The drinking limit is virtually zero tolerance and you could be fined for having a blood alcohol limit of as little as 0.05% — so it’s best to avoid alcohol when driving.
Expats in Bulgaria should remember that driving is on the right hand side of the road, with overtaking on the left, and you may not turn right on a red light.
Bulgarian roads are generally in poor condition, and lanes don’t always have markings on them. Local residents can drive a little on the reckless side, at fast speeds and switching lanes without indicating.
In the country, watch out for animals in the road, especially when the harvest is taking place. Horses and donkeys with carts are still a widely used mode of transport — and you’ll see them everywhere, alongside the more modern, top of the range 4x4s, Mercedes, Audis and BMWs.
The road network is made up of limited access highways, first-class roads, second-class roads, and third-class roads. Bus transport is widely available, with express buses serving most of the large towns and cities in the country.
Rail transport in Bulgaria is easily accessible and quite comfortable. The rail network serves all the larger populated places in Bulgaria. Narrower railways have been developed to reach less accessible places and to serve destinations with a smaller number of passengers. Tickets can be purchased at railway stations, at transport offices in towns and cities, and at the tourist agencies. On GBrazpisanie.com, you can find further information on bus and railway routes.
For many people, the lifestyle that comes with living in Bulgaria is the biggest attraction. Relaxing on the beach in the summertime, skiing during winter, playing golf, and walking in the mountains are all leisure activities that you can enjoy. The vast landscape of Bulgaria provides many new opportunities.
Sheep and goats roam freely around fields without fences, and many local residents grow their own produce at home. But, while living in Bulgaria is charming, there are some safety tips to be aware of. Pickpockets operate in city centers and tourist resorts, especially in crowded areas like buses and busy streets. There has also been an increase in burglaries from hotel rooms in popular tourist areas.
It’s important to note that if you need to contact the emergency services in Bulgaria, you should call 112.