Your guide to being an expatriate in Bulgaria

Caffeinate Your Bulgaria Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today!

Bulgaria, officially known as the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Bordered by Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, and Turkey, Bulgaria covers a land area of 110,915 square kilometers. The capital city, Sofia, is Bulgaria's largest city and cultural hub. Bulgaria gained independence from Ottoman rule in 1878, and became a republic in 1946. The country is a member of the European Union since 2007.


Expat destinations in Bulgaria

Demographics of Bulgaria:

Ethnic groups

Bulgarians make up the largest ethnic group (84.5%). Turks are the second-largest ethnic group (9.4%), followed by Romani (3.2%) and others (2.9%).


Bulgarian (official) 96.2%, Turkish (2.3%), Romani (0.1%).

Religion Overview

Bulgaria's traditional religion is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, with around 82% of the population following it. Islam (12.2%) and other religions (5.7%) make up the remainder.

Major Religions


Bulgaria experiences a temperate continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters. In the north, temperatures frequently fall below -10°C during winter, while summers can reach highs of 40°C in the south. Bulgaria's central location within the Balkan Peninsula exposes it to a mixture of influences, including Mediterranean, continental, and alpine.

Economy Overview

Bulgaria's economy has been steadily growing since the 1990s. The country's embrace of market reforms, combined with a strategic geographic location, has attracted foreign investment and boosted trade. Key industries include agriculture, machinery and equipment, textiles, and IT services. Bulgaria formally joined the European Union in 2007, and is a member of NATO since 2004.

Key Industries

  • Agriculture
  • Machinery and equipment
  • Textiles
  • IT services

Major Companies

  • American Express International Inc.
  • Colgate Palmolive Bulgaria d.o.o. EOOD
  • Danone Bulgaria AD
  • The Coca-Cola Company Bulgaria EOOD
  • ExxonMobil Bulgaria EOOD

Culture and Language Overview

Bulgarian culture is known for its unique traditions, including folk dances, music, and handicrafts. Foods such as banitsa, gyuvech, and shopska salad are revered as national dishes. Various cultural festivals are celebrated throughout the year, including: Kukeri Carnival, Rosa Damascena Festival, Ivanovden, and Christmas.

Cultural Highlights

  • Kukeri Carnival (January/February): A week-long festival featuring colorful masks, live music, and dances meant to scare away evil spirits.
  • Rosa Damascena Festival (May/June): A bloom festival celebrating Bulgaria's iconic rose plants.
  • Ivanovden (January 14th): A national holiday commemorating the baptism of Saint John the Baptist.
  • Christmas (December 25th): The most beloved of Bulgarian holidays, with many traditional foods and festivities such as caroling and church services.

Geography and Landmarks Overview

Bulgaria's topography ranges from lowlands to mountains, including numerous lakes and rivers. Natural landmarks include the Rila Monastery, Betrothed of God, and Rhodope Mountains. The country's sandy Black Sea coastline and scenic Danube River also make up an integral part of Bulgaria's geography.

Notable Landmarks

  • Rila Monastery: An ancient Orthodox monastery founded in the 10th century, located in the Rila Mountains.
  • Betrothed of God: A hill near Varna with one of Bulgaria's most significant archaeological finds - the gold treasures and artwork believed to be from the Rhodope culture.
  • Rhodope Mountains: Bulgaria's second-largest mountain range with numerous peaks, and the symbolic heartland of Bulgarian customs and traditions.

National Holidays

  • New Year's Day (1st January)
  • St. Stefan Day (24th December)
  • Orthodox Christmas Day (7th January)
  • Liberation Day (3rd March)
  • St. Alexander Nevsky's Day (2nd May)
  • Bulgarian National Revival Day (24th May)
  • Education and Science Day (28th September)
  • Unity Day (6th September)
  • Independence Day (22nd September)
  • St. Nicholas the Miracle Worker's Day (19th December)
  • St. St. Cyril and Methodius Day (14th May)
  • Bulgaria's Liberation from the Ottoman Rule Day (3rd March)

Political Stability

Bulgaria's political scene has undergone a transformation since the fall of Communism in the 1990s. The country's democracy has shown some signs of corruption and political instability, but with the adoption of the European Charter of Local Self-Government and ongoing reforms in its judicial branch, Bulgaria is making strides towards becoming more transparent and democratically accountable.

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