Planing a Trip to Bulgaria - Hotels, Car Rental, Things to Do, Places to visit and Let's Buy a House There

Planing a trip to Bulgaria is a round up post to keep track and save useful links before our first trip to Bulgaria.

In this article you will find my basic findings on basic things like - booking a hotel in Sofia and Plovdiv, car rental at Sofia international airport.

Also I will list some of the travel destinations I would love to visit while in Bulgaria. At the end of the article you will find my findings about buying a real estate in Bulgaria.

In fact, we just returned back home to Georgia from a 10 day trip to the United States, we swore not to travel anytime soon. Let me explain - for the past years we have been traveling a lot, in fact during last three years we have visited 15 countries, some of them more than once. Traveling is cool, but could be a really tiring thing. I really don't love to travel by air, I feel it uncomfortable. Traveling by air takes a lot of time (arriving 2 hours earlier to the airport, airport security checks, sometimes flights are delayed  and so on)

But as it might happen with us, and as it might happen in Georgia, it took us just some 5 days after our return and here I was -  wondered around Facebook to notice a group - Living in Bulgaria. My attention was drawn to the cheap real estate prices in Bulgaria - Com'on, some can buy a nice two storey fully remodeled rural house in Bulgaria for EUR 20,000?  

There are two things that made our future trip to Bulgaria possible  - I have a featured section on blog - Living in Georgia, were I share my expat experience about Georgia and for the second year I have been involved in home remodeling works in another, third country - Latvia. 

I quickly sent a Facebook message to an American acquaintance living in Bulgaria, and ... and started to ask all those questions travelers usually ask me about Georgia, like I started with following -  Bulgaria sounds cool, too cool to be true an so on. I wondered are there direct flights from Georgia to Bulgaria.

I was so impatient, that I didn't even waited for the reply and find a Wizzair website to book a direct flight from Kutaisi to Sofia for less than $50 round trip for two persons. Agree $50 for two persons, round trip is super cheap not to say free. Wizzair sometimes has some really cheap flights. Make sure you check them out.

Now it was time to start wonder- what to do, what to visit and probably arrange some real estate buying tour.

My knowledge about Bulgaria before this trip is short - I know there is one of the lowest average salaries in European Union. I obliviously feel educated well enough to know that Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria. It is one of the former communist countries and I found that Bulgaria might be pretty much similar to Georgia - southern hospitality, toasts and raki. And probably some horse ridden carriage in the countryside. I'm not at all into drinking or partying. I believe my next trip to Bulgaria should be a cultural and learning something new

Some time ago a friend of mine offered to me to became an owner of land property in Bulgaria (as he doesn't hold European Union citizenship, he told there are some laws made in Bulgaria, which forbids to own a land in Bulgaria for the third country citizens) - after a short thinking I refused his offer as I don't like to be involved in the schemes, definitely not in the schemes in countries I have never been to. 

So,yes I know some persons buying and developing real estate there. But still have never been there, yet.

Anyhow - I feel that Bulgaria should be an easy country, just as Georgia,  I don't feel afraid or concerned - at this stage I'm like looking just to spend about 7 days in an easy atmosphere (we are traveling at the end of March, 2017) - make some photography and visit some ancient sites.

My acquaintance told me that she recommends me to visit and spend some time in Plovdiv as it's more European and filled with cultural experience. Ahh, you know those crazy Yanks, they always think if there is an table outdoors and coffee is served from a small cup - that should mean - European. Ha ha.

About car rental in Bulgaria.

Seems there is a Sixt car rental office at Sofia international airport, for our 7 day trip we could get an economy class car for about $250, compact for about $310 or intermediate for about $350. Which actually is way more for car rental if compared to Spain or Italy for example.

The good thing, seems there is a firefly car rental in Bulgaria, for our dates (week long travels) it seems we could get a decent car in a price range EUR 100-150. Which is Amazing. 

About hotels in Sofia

Sofia doesn't seems an expensive city, so far for our travel dates a luxury 5-star hotel in Sofia are in range of about $100 - $150. I'm not the  5-star hotel person, but speaking of Sofia I could definitely afford them. Time will show will I choose a 5-star hotel there or I will stick with some cheaper boutique hotel.

About Hotels in Plovdiv

Hotels in Plovdiv seems cheaper than in Sofia. So far I have found one 5-star hotel there for the price of $90. There are plenty of hotels in the price range about $50-60 per night. Seems nice.

About Sights in Bulgaria

This time I'm looking for natural reserves, waterfalls, caves you name it. TheCultureTrip have listed 5 national parks in Bulgaria. From the listed there would love to visit all of them (time will show).

From the activities in Sofia I would love to visit Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and go hiking on Vitosha. There is a great article I got inspiration for this - 8 tourist activities to make the most of the capital Sofia.

As a hiking and a church photography person - I find I could get some spiritual inspiration in Sofia.

Speaking of Plovdiv - seems we will have a chance to enjoy those small cups of coffee at charming, so called, European style city with 1.7 km long(!sic) pedestrian walking street. On the other hand Plovdiv is one of the oldest living cities in the World, there should be something special. 10 Things To Do In Plovdiv, Bulgaria. From special sights I would love to visit in Plovidv I can name the Roman Amphiteatre

I will update this list as I will learn.

About buying a property in Bulgaria

Seems there are zillions of offers, starting Facebook groups ending countless developer websites. There are more than 10 million search results on a query Real Estate in Bulgaria. Bulgarian Properties ranks #1 (at least in Georgia) and seems is run by the British expats in Bulgaria. As my American acquaintance told me Brits are one of the most visible group in Bulgarian real estate market. 

Prices vary a lot - yes, there are cheap rural houses in countryside for about EUR 20,000 and you can buy even for less than EUR 5,000.

But if you are looking for a property in beaches or skiing resorts - price may go well above half million EUR for luxury villas. For a budget buyer like me (At this stage I'm not actually considering to buy a property in Bulgaria)  - I'm more interested in rural areas, not mandatory with a direct access to the sea. On Bulgarian Properties there are more than 2,000 offers (as of January 2017) with listings under EUR 20,000 with nice remodeled houses in different areas of Bulgaria (mostly in villages)

The Bottom Line: 

Bulgaria for me seems very similar to Georgia. I'm still very surprised about cheap real estate prices there. It's not that you can not buy a cheap rural property in Georgia, you can, it's just not so developed here. If there were possibility to buy a nice remodeled rural house in Georgia for EUR 20.000 I would buy it immediately. 

Speaking of relocating to Bulgaria I believe it's should be considered as a nice gateway for pensioners from Western countries (no wonder Brits are there) or digital nomads like me. As it might be tricky to find a job to supply yourself at the level as it is in the Western countries.

This article will be updated as I will learn. Now, are you an expat in Bulgaria, leave me your thoughts about real estate there. Can you give me some advice on travel destinations? I will be happy to hear. See you soon in Bulgaria.