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The 2023 Ultimate Guide To Being A Digital Nomad In Bulgaria

The 2023 Ultimate Guide To Being A Digital Nomad In Bulgaria

Photo by Pixabay

When you think about being a digital nomad in Bulgaria, what images come to your mind? Is it another European city with preserved architecture, or nature plains?

Did you know that Bulgaria is an up-and-coming destination for digital nomads?

So what does the oldest country in Europe have to offer for those wanting to become a Bulgaria digital nomad?

I will go into detail about why Bulgaria should be next on your list, from local delicacies you should try and cities to check out as well as the best places to stay in and work from.

In this article, I will cover these topics:

When Is The Best Time To Visit Bulgaria?

Bulgaria is a continental with dry, chilly winter and hot summer climate.

The best time to visit Bulgaria depends on the purpose of your visit.

It is recommended to visit Bulgaria from April to June and from September to October, to experience a mix of good hot and humid weather. And cheaper flight tickets!

If you are into the 35°C temperature, sweltering heat and long summer, June to August is the best time to visit Bulgaria. Hiking the mountain is perfect during this time as it gets cooler.

Perfect to run the slope when the temperature drops to -5°C during winter. Many remote villages are closed, so there is not much that you can explore.

I love to recommend these winter activities for you to enjoy in Bulgaria:

digital nomad Bulgaria

Book your next stay with Coliving.com

Looking for all the best places to stay, specially catered for digital nomads with great wifi and all the necessities that we need?

Coliving has properties in Bulgaria curated for us nomads! Get 2.5% off your first month’s rent with my discounted link.

Here are a few useful facts about them: 

  • Secure payments
  • Verified properties and guests
  • Flexible lease (from one week to one+ year)
  • Largest coliving booking platform
  • Lowest price guarantee
  • Free cancellation (within 24 hours after booking)
  • Advanced search
  • Verified guests and hosts

5 Best Places To Stay In Bulgaria

Some of the best parts about being a digital nomad in Bulgaria are meeting like-minded nomads and networking as well as discovering new places (with great WiFi) to work from.

Here’s a list of ideas for where to stay and work in Bulgaria:

Coliving in Bulgaria

1. Four Leaf Clover

coliving in bulgaria
Coliving in Bansko, Bulgaria

This coliving space in Bansko offers studios and apartments fully furnished for daily and monthly rentals, perfect for visitors and digital nomads.

  • Price: $422 for the Studio and $511 for the Studio Plus. The minimum stay is 30 days.
  • Room Type Feature: The Studio has a fully furnished kitchen box, a TV, a bed sofa, or a double bed, a bathroom, and a balcony with a stunning view. Great for one or two people.
  • Room Type Feature: The Studio Plus has a fully furnished kitchen, a TV, bathroom, a working sofa with a table, a balcony, Indoor living room, Wooden veranda, Working Table.
  • Amenities: BBQ, Cable TV, Chill Out Area, Cleaning, Fast Wifi, Kitchen, Outdoor Space, Parking (on property), Projector, Table Tennis, Terrace, Toilet Paper, Towels, Iron, Bikes, Coworking, Heating, Linen, Shampoo, Skype Room, Soap, Swimming Pool, Yoga.
  • Book using this link to get 2.5% off your first month’s rent 

2. Namasa

Operating as both a coworking and coliving space, Namasa is Sofia’s first coliving space. 

A stay at the 3-storey house will ensure you have a well-balanced mix of work and play, as the residents of Namasa can hook you up with the best sights and food around the city.

3. Coworking Bansko

Apart from coworking space, Coworking Bansko offers coliving packages to freelancers and entrepreneurs seeking a close-knit digital nomad community in Bulgaria.

A stay in this coliving space gives you access to networking events and volunteering opportunities. You can even conveniently escape for a quick ski break, as the slopes are right by your doorstep.

Choose from the weekly package from €399 ($477) or monthly deals from €549 ($656) for a stay in Bulgaria’s famous ski town. 

4. RisingSoul

What a better place to unwind and work from than nearby the Balkan Mountains? 

RisingSoul is a coliving community that helps you to reconnect with nature without compromising on productivity. 

With sustainability as the core of its operations, RisingSoul ensures its residents are catered with responsibly-sourced local produce from the surrounding villages and is perfect for fellow vegetarians and vegan nomads.

Choose from options of dorm, ensuite and twin room. With prices from €10/night ($12), €105/fortnight ($125) and €165/month ($197), you’re guaranteed a desk space, high-speed WiFi, breakfast and access to their daily meditation and yoga practice. 

5. Studentski Grad

This coliving space in Sofia offers a coworking space on the 11th floor of the same building, equipped with plenty of desks and meeting rooms available for private calls. Exactly what digital nomads need.

  • Price: $853/ month (Iglooo – Twin bed), $853/ month (Igloo – King bed), $853/ month (Teepee – Queen bed), $1224/ month (Yurt – Twin bed), and $1224/ month (Yurt – King bed). The minimum stay is 30 days.
  • Room Type Feature (Igloo – Twin bed): The Iglo room has twin bed, private bathroom, WiFi, door lock, desk/ workspace, chair, air-conditioner, hair dyer, kitchenette, closet/ drawers, iron, and heating.
  • Room Type Feature (Igloo – King bed): The Iglo room has king bed, private bathroom, WiFi, cleaning service, door lock, desk/ workspace, chair, air-conditioner, hair dryer, kitchenette, closet/ drawers, iron, and heating.
  • Room Type Feature (Teepee – Queen bed): The Teepee room has queen bed, private bathroom, WiFi, TV, cleaning service, door lock, desk/ workspace, chair, air-conditioner, hair dryer, closet/ drawers, and iron.
  • Room Type Feature (Yurt – Twin bed): The Yurt room has a twin bed, private bathroom, WiFi, cleaning service, door lock, desk/ workspace, chair, air-conditioner, hair dryer, kitchenette, closet/ drawers, and iron.
  • Room Type Feature (Yurt – King bed): The Yurt room has a king bed, private bathroom, WiFi, cleaning service, door lock, desk/ workspace, chair, air-conditioner, hair dryer, kitchenette, closet/ drawers, and iron.
  • Amenities: Fast WiFi; communal kitchens; a coworking space with a projector, meeting room and Skype room on the 11th floor with a terrace overlooking the Vitosha mountain, city; a restaurant on the 12th floor with a lounge area for playing board games or reading; dining area; elevator; gym/ fitness studio; living area; chargeable meals; cleaning service; wheelchair-friendly; air-conditioner; dishwasher; washer; paid laundry service; yoga; property parking; and arranged parties.
  • Accessibility: Studentski Grad is 7 km away from city center. There are nearby shops, local markets, pharmacies, clubs, pubs, student campus, and metro stations. You can ride the route taxis and regular bus number 94 and 280 to the city.
  • There are metro stations and two regular bus lines number.
  • Book using this link to get 2.5% off your first month’s rent 

Digital Nomad Bulgaria

Why Become A Digital Nomad In Bulgaria?

Bulgaria is an eastern European country strategically located overlooking the Black Sea, covered in an expanse of mountainous plains, hot springs and stunning nature. 

Here are 5 reasons to be a digital nomad in Bulgaria:

  1. Low Cost of Living
  2. Nature Haven
  3. Hearty Food
  4. Fast Internet Speed
  5. Cheap Coworking Space Rental

1. Low Cost of Living

If you didn’t know already, Bulgaria has a low cost of living compared to the rest of Europe, making it an exceptionally affordable destination.

You’ll be surprised to find out the minimum amount that can get you by as a digital nomad in Bulgaria. I will explain this in detail in the article later on.

2. Nature Haven

Photo by Pixabay

If you’re a nature enthusiast, I’ve got great news for you.

Aside from being historically rich in culture, Bulgaria is also blessed with a naturally diverse landscape, consisting of pristine rivers, majestic mountaintops and serene springs.

In between work, you’ll spend time discovering divine sceneries and (quite literally) chasing waterfalls.

3. Hearty Food

The climate in Bulgaria has led to various dishes to accommodate your cravings, regardless of the weather. I can guarantee that you would never go hungry in Bulgaria.

From sweet and savoury treats to cold soups, you will find that meals are ever-fulfilling.

Dieci Boutique Restaurant in Targovishte, Bulgaria is a worthy for a visit Michelin-starred Bulgarian and Italian fusion restaurant. This restaurant is a restored 100 years old villa, located at the Bulgaria countryside, enriched with history and mesmerizing nature.

Digital Nomad Bulgaria

4. Fast Internet Speed

  • Bulgaria has fast WiFi speed.

To ensure reliable internet access from anywhere in Bulgaria, you can buy the prepaid SIM card with various data plans from the telecommunication service providers:

  • A1: $10/ month
  • Telenor: $10/ month
  • Vivacom: $10/ month

The best provider is A1, with the best coverage in the country.

5. Cheap Coworking Space Rental

Bulgaria is often overlooked by tourists. Despite that, Sofia, Bulgaria has increasingly becoming a digital hub for remote workers.

While coworking spaces have sprung up all over Europe in recent years, the concept has rarely blown up in quite the same way as it has in some Bulgarian cities. This is linked to the overall cheapness of real estate in the country which makes it easier for people to set up coworking spaces.

That in turn leads to lower costs for remote workers looking to rent a desk or office space and these are major factors which have contributed to the growth of one of Eastern Europe’s biggest digital nomad communities. There are some great coworking spaces in Sofia catering to both local and international nomads, while Bansko is also widely regarded as a real hub for digital nomads with an array of affordable coworking options.

Bulgaria Cost of Living

Digital nomads in Bulgaria enjoy a very affordable cost of living in Bulgaria. It has one of the lowest cost of living in Europe

To put things into perspective, $1500-$2000 could easily get you by every month!!

1. Rent and Utilities

For example, the rent prices in Sofia start from as low as $289 for a studio outside the city centre and about $722 for a similar property near the city centre.

On the other hand, for $541/month, you can get a spacious apartment in central Varna.

Utilities will add another $80-$100 on top of your rent.

2. Food

It’s no surprise if you spend considerably less than you usually do on food, as it’s very affordable in Bulgaria. You will spend at most $250 for monthly groceries, and that’s including the occasional snacks and alcohol. 

Dining out in Bulgaria is fairly cheap so you can squeeze in a few meals now and then.

3. Weather

Bulgaria has a continental climate, which means it has mild to warm summers and cold winters.

Thanks to the natural diversity surrounding the country, there are plenty of activities you can take part in as a digital nomad in Bulgaria, whether you’re there during the summer or winter.

skiing in Bulgaria

Winter Activities in Bulgaria

  • Hit the ski slopes in Bansko
  • Indulge in hot spring spas in Velingrad
  • Check out the annual Surva Festival

Summer Activities in Bulgaria

  • Hike up one of Bulgaria’s national parks
  • Take a tour and marvel at Bulgaria’s historic architecture
  • Get your tan on by Kabakum Beach in Varna 
Digital Nomad Bulgaria

Digital Nomad Visas In Bulgaria 

If you’re an EU national, you can stay visa-free in Bulgaria for up to three months.

List of countries whose citizens can stay for up to 90 days without a visa

If you need a visa to stay in Bulgaria, here’s how to go about it. Getting a digital nomad visa for Bulgaria is a bit complicated and lengthy, but not impossible to get.

Before applying for a Visa D (long-term stay visa), you will first need a freelance activity permit. Apply for this permit through Bulgarian Employment Agency.

Once you receive your permit, here’s how to get the Visa D.

Set up an appointment at one of the local diplomatic or consular missions of Bulgaria in your country of residence

Documents you are required with your application include:

  • Passport-sized photos
  • Proof that you can financially support yourself (eg. bank statements)
  • Medical Insurance
  • Rental contract as proof of accommodation
  • Background check

Your application will take between one to two months.

Once your visa is approved, you are allowed to stay in Bulgaria for either six or twelve months and may be renewed for an additional year.

Depending on the given period of stay, the Visa D application may cost up to €200 ($241) per application.

The list of required documents for each permit and visa application may vary between countries. Please check with the consulate in your country of residence for a comprehensive list and further guidance.

Digital Nomad Bulgaria

4 Top Destinations For Digital Nomads In Bulgaria

As an up-and-coming digital nomad hub, Bulgaria has a multitude of hidden gems to offer.

These are some of the cities which are popular with digital nomads in Bulgaria.

1. Sofia

The capital of Bulgaria is the centre of the country’s cultural hub. With over 20 museums to visit and architectural monuments to marvel at, Sofia is perfect for those who prefer a culturally-enriching life in the city.

Check out architectural and cultural sights such as the National Art Gallery, Bulgarian Archeological Museum and the iconic Cathedral Saint Aleksandar Nevski for a taste of Bulgaria’s historic essence. 

Despite its status as a city, there is an abundance of natural wonders that you can take a tour of! 

Here are some of the suggestions for a quick getaway from the city when you need it:

2. Bansko

Over the years, this town in Bulgaria is known as the go-to skiing spot. Nowadays Bansko, Bulgaria is a digital nomad hub that is rising to become one of the top destinations for digital nomads in Bulgaria.

Affordability of luxury living, tax benefits, easy visa renewals and the expanse of nature is what makes Bansko an up-and-coming digital nomad hub. 

Other than that, the prevalence of Bansko among digital nomads is highly enticing to those wanting a one-of-a-kind nomad experience.

So, what other places can you see and things to do in Bansko?

You can:

Digital Nomad Bulgaria

3. Varna

Varna has a reputation as the seaside capital of Bulgaria, as tourism contributes a huge chunk to the city’s economy. It encapsulates the coexistence of entertainment and culture.

Photo by Pixabay

From art and ballet theatres to beautiful parks, Bulgaria’s third-largest city offers a multitude of experiences for those seeking it.

Also known as ‘The Pearl of the Black Sea’, Varna is exceptionally appealing for nomads looking to let loose as the nightlife and entertainment are some of the best available for digital nomads in Bulgaria. 

Here’s a quick guide if you’re staying in Varna:

4. Plovdiv

For digital nomads in Bulgaria, Plovdiv is the equivalent of Chiang Mai in Europe. As Bulgaria’s business and tech hub, the city is well on its way to becoming Europe’s next tech capital, thanks to lower operation costs and the rise of fintech companies in Bulgaria.

5.

Photo by Pixabay

Not only that, but Plovdiv was also crowned as one of European Capitals of Culture in 2019, attributed to the long list of preserved cultural treasures, some of which you cannot miss while being there.

These include (but not limited to):

Digital Nomad Bulgaria

4 Cool Co-Working Places For Digital Nomads In Bulgaria

Now, for one of the most frequently asked questions — where is the best coworking spot in Bulgaria?

I’ve summed up the top coworking spaces for digital nomads in Bulgaria. Check out some of these coworking spaces in Sofia, Bansko, Varna and Plovdiv:

1. Sofia

2. Bansko

3. Varna

4. Plovdiv

coliving Bulgaria at Namasa

Notable Cafes in Bulgaria with Great WiFi

Need a change of view? I’ve got a list of cafes with excellent WiFi for days when you need a creativity boost.

Bulgarian food

Best Food (and Drink) To Try In Bulgaria

  • Bulgarian Yoghurt is the base of a lot of Bulgarian dishes and they are extremely proud of it.
  • Rakia, unique fruity alcohol native to the Balkan nations, is a must-try drink in Bulgaria.
  • Tarator (cucumber soup) is a type of cold soup, usually eaten to help you cool off from the summer heat.
  • Sarmi is vegetarian-friendly finger food, which are stuffed cabbage leaves filled with rice and yoghurt. Meat-filled sarmi is another variation. 
  • Banitsa, a flaky Bulgarian pastry made from natural yoghurt, eggs and brined cheese.
  • Lyutenitsa, a relish mixture of tomatoes and roasted peppers with added garlic, cumin and onion, often spread on toast or eaten as chutney.
  • Shkembe may not be for everyone. The Bulgarian tripe soup is a unique delicacy for foodies with an adventurous appetite. 
  • Parlenka is a traditional Bulgarian bread filled with feta cheese and garlic.
  • Mekitsa takes food to the next level as the dough is made with yoghurt, which is then deep-fried.
  • Sirene is brined feta cheese exclusive to Bulgaria, which is made from either cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk. 
  • Shopska salad is made with combination of chunky and diced cucumber, tomatoes, onion, and pepper with grated sirene cheese and parsley as toppings.
  • Gyuvech is a rich meat and stock stew cooked in an earthenware, together with aubergines, beans, peppers, and additional spices for kick.

Getting Around Bulgaria

Thanks to tourism and its rise as the next digital hub, the transportation system in Bulgaria has improved significantly.

Nowadays, you can conveniently get around the country in several ways:

  • Car
  • Bus 
  • Train

1. Car

It is better for you to rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle or drive your own 4WD vehicle on the right side of the road during heavy snow in winter.

The LIMA app is useful to tell you about the traffic and road conditions in Bulgaria.

You will lose your driving license and have to serve jail time if you drunk-driving (0.05% blood-alcohol limit).

Bring your driving license, ID card or passport, registration card, insurance documents and vehicle inspection card together with you when driving.

Book your next car rental with TripAdvisor.com

Looking for all the best car rental services to rent affordable cars that suit your budgets and all the necessities that we need?

Trip Advisor has car rental services in Bulgaria curated for us travelers, digital nomads and remote workers!

You can choose your pickup locations anywhere in Bulgaria.

Here are a few useful facts about Trip Advisor:

  • World’s largest travel guidance platforms in 43 markets and 22 languages
  • Secure payments
  • Verified car rental services and renters
  • Offers amazing deals
  • Free cancellation (Up to 48 hours before pickup)
  • Free amendment
  • Unlimited mileage

2. Bus

The preferred way to travel between cities in Bulgaria is by its extensive network of buses. With plenty of daily journey schedules and route options, it is also cheap (less than BGN 15 ($15) per single journey!)

You can book your bus tickets in advance from EtapGroup, a one-stop platform for tickets for trips around Europe.

3. Train

Photo by Unsplash

Trains are operated by BDZ, Bulgaria’s biggest railway company. 

Although it costs a lot cheaper than buses, taking the train is also time-consuming.

However, you do get a more comfortable and scenic journey. So if you’re not in a rush, sit back and soak in the breathtaking Bulgarian panorama. 

Digital Nomad Bulgaria

Things and Tips You Should Know as A Digital Nomad in Bulgaria

Whether you’re stopping by in another country or staying there for a few months, it’s important to be aware of local customs and mannerisms.

Here are some of the few to take note of when in Bulgaria:

1. Part of the EU, but not the Schengen Area

Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, but is not part of the Schengen Area, nor is it part of the Eurozone as they use their own currency (Bulgarian Lev).

Nomads of non-EU nationals and Schengen Visa holders have the option to travel between Bulgaria and the Schengen zone alternately, as technically, they are only allowed to stay for a maximum of 90 days.

2. Yes Means No, and No Means Yes

Nodding one’s head usually means ‘yes’ and shaking the head means ‘no’. In Bulgaria, it’s the opposite.

It may be confusing at first to see people shaking their heads when they mean to say ‘yes’, but that’s how they roll in Bulgaria.

3. Fake Taxis

Beware of fake taxis, especially in big cities like Sofia. 

These fake taxis usually use fake stickers to appear legitimate. They tend to charge travellers double the actual fare price, too!

Having taxi-booking apps such as Yellow! and TaxiMe will help you stay on the safe side. You’re guaranteed a smooth ride with legitimate taxis, at a reasonable fare too!

4. Rose Valley

Did you know that rose oil is mostly produced in Bulgaria

The Rose Valley is a sight to behold — with up to 12 kilometres of Rosa Damascena lining the main Kazanlak Rose Field, it’s become a significant part of Bulgaria’s identity.

The roses are typically harvested between May and June, during which the climate is most suitable. 

Be part of the experience and check out the annual Kazanlak Rose Festival.

5. Cyrillic Script

Bulgaria uses the Cyrillic script as part of their national language. 

This writing system is also used in over 50 other languages, including Macedonian, Serbian, Kazakh and Russian.  

Is Bulgaria Safe To Visit By Tourists And Digital Nomads? [Insider Tips]

Yes, Bulgaria is fairly safe to visit by tourists and digital nomads.

However, please do be more cautious on your surroundings when travelling to avoid being mugged or pickpocketed as there are some targeted robberies at certain tourist areas.

Fret not! Violent crimes are rare here. Local authorities are generally helpful to tourists.

Places that should be avoided by tourists and digital nomads in Bulgaria (Insider tips!):

  • Sveta Nedelya Square, Sofia: Widely known as black area for crimes especially at night.
  • Near Pliska Hotel (Red light district area): Red light district areas, strip clubs and night clubs have high violent crime rate.
  • Narrow alleys and dimly lit roads after dark: Please avoid the narrow alleys and dimly lit roads during dark hours. Just stick to the main streets.
  • ATM machine located areas: Bulgaria predominantly prefers cash during business transactions. During your travel, you usually have to withdraw and exchange the money currency several time. Be alert! You may be watched or followed.
  • Sunny Beach Resort, holiday resort areas and mountain ski resorts: Scammers and pickpockets tend to aim these areas as luxurious holiday accommodations and activities attract people with money. Watch your belongings!

2023 Guide On Taxes For Expatriates/ Digital Nomads In Bulgaria

  • Bulgaria has the lowest flat rate tax in whole EU. Only 10% are charged as personal and corporate tax rates.
  • The attractive low tax burden in Bulgaria, makes this country perfect for expatriates/ digital nomads who want to kick start their home base businesses or internet-based businesses.
  • Personal income tax is only applicable if you operate as freelancer. It is flat 10% regardless of the annual revenue.
  • The actual amount of the personal income tax is a bit lower since Bulgarian law considers the “legally recognized costs”.
  • Corporate tax is only applicable if you register as an entity in Bulgaria.
  • Corporate tax in Bulgaria is set to 10% from the company profit, paid annually.
  • VAT in Bulgaria is fixed at 20% rate monthly. For companies based in other EU countries, as a digital nomad, you have to invoice them and apply for VAT. It is not needed to apply for VAT when sending invoices to companies outside of EU.

Tips: The flat tax rate for digital nomads and freelancers in Bulgaria is reduced by at least 25% and can reach up to 60%, making the tax rate is about 7.5%.

You can register for a company in Bulgaria and pay yourself a freelancer income, to achieve to good tax optimization.

Expatriate/ Digital Nomad 2023 Guide To Open A Bank Account In Bulgaria

  1. It is possible, yet challenging task to open a bank account for non-resident in Bulgaria. You will have to bring a translator or a lawyer that can speak Bulgarian language.
  2. Postbank and DSK Express bank are recommended as Bulgarian banks for expatriates/ digital nomads looking to open bank accounts.
  3. Without Bulgarian residency, it is highly likely that you will be offered only a debit card, rather than a credit card. 
  4. You will be asked to provide the proof of income, being paid into the bank for up to six months.
  5. For expatriate pensioners that are interested to buy a property in Bulgaria, you will need to open a Bulgarian bank account first.
  6. Up to 14 days are required for your application to be approved, before you can open the bank account.
  7. The minimum deposit differs depending on the bank branch area. You are allowed to withdraw the deposit once the paperwork is done.
  8. BONUS info: To set up companies in Bulgaria while working at coworking spaces, the digital nomads need to apply for residency ID. It only takes a few days to sort all these out.

FAQs on Being A Digital Nomad In Bulgaria

Conclusion

Bulgaria is a refreshing take for digital nomads looking for a distinctive experience and a change in perspective. 

As an easy-on-the-pocket destination rich in history, good food and culture, you may eventually find yourself travelling as a digital nomad in Bulgaria.

 You’ll get to live by the famous adage ‘work hard, play hard’ thanks to the preservation of natural wonders amidst the meticulous progression in cities.

Have you been to Bulgaria, or planning to head over soon? Share your experience, tips and questions in the comments below!

DISCLOSURE:The links on this page may be affiliate links, from which I earn a small commission if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA COST to you. Hope you find the information here useful. Thanks!

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The 2023 Ultimate Guide To Being A Digital Nomad In Bulgaria