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Home » Asia, Europe, Expat Life, Middle East, Relocations, Rest of the World, Russia - CIS

6 Things To Know About Bulgarian Laws and Customs

Move One's advice and words of warning about life in Bulgaria.

By Florence Foster
July 15, 2010

Downtown Sofia, BulgariaBulgaria has recently become a prime destination for expatriates of all ages, whether it be for work, leisure or retirement. Most are attracted by the spectacular countryside, charming cities and extraordinary mountain and seaside resorts. Others also make the most of the cheaper cost of living and the attractive housing prices that are a fraction of the cost in comparison to those in other Western countries.

While living in Bulgaria is on the whole described as a wonderful experience, there are some pitfalls to be aware of in order to avoid disappointments and to make the most of your new life in this friendly and charming Eastern European country.

The following list explores some of the potential setbacks you will encounter while living in Bulgaria…

Language is an issue.
Although many locals increasingly speak English, most government officials and police officers still do not speak a second language, or if anything, only Russian. Learning Bulgarian or at least knowing the basic phrases is therefore essential and will come in handy if a problem arises.

On the road in Bulgaria…
Overall, road conditions are improving throughout the country, but bear in mind that there are toll charges. However, it is also not uncommon to encounter badly maintained and light stretches of road in some more rural areas.

Scam alert!
As in many poorer tourist destinations, there is a mark-up when shopping for foreigners, even for those who have lived in the community. Not all expats have experienced this but it’s worth bearing this in mind as there have been reports about taxi drivers charging exorbitant fares for instance.

Although organized crime is an issue in the bigger cities, in nightclubs and casinos in particular, violent crime is relatively rare. But do keep an eye for your belongings, especially in tourist areas, as pickpockets are a common feature in busy city centers and holiday resorts.

“A traveler must report the lost/stolen passport to Bulgarian Migration authorities located at 48, Maria Luisa in Sofia or the local police station if in the countryside” advises Irena Gardevska, Move One’s sales representative in Sofia.

Stringent law enforcement.
Crime and its reprimands are taken seriously in Bulgaria. Indeed, any drug or sex-related crime is seen as a more serious crime than in other countries, while punishments for any form of antisocial behavior are also much harsher.

Emergency services (including police, fire or ambulance) are reached by dialing 112.
Bear in mind that  doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. As a word of precaution, “in rural areas, medical services are generally not equipped and maintained to meet US or Western European standards,” comments Gardevska.

These are by no means words to discourage you from relocating to Bulgaria; on the contrary, these are mere words of warning. Indeed, if you bear these laws and customs in mind, you will find that life in Bulgaria is the promised adventure so many expats boast about.

Move One’s relocation services include city orientation, home and school searches as well as door to door moving services worldwide and cover packing of personal effects, warehousing, pet transportation and fine art shipping.

Should you need help with your corporate or individual relocation needs, or you would like to receive a free quote, do not hesitate to contact us at

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