Of all the places we’ve been so far, there isn’t one that screams ‘Digital Nomad’ more than Sofia. If you want to work online and want to stay far from the beach and the humidity, Sofia is where you need to be.
As a European city, Sofia is absolutely affordable. We were able to find a great apartment on Airbnb right in the center of the city for only 500 euros. Trust me, that’s not something you find very often in Europe. The food is also almost half of what we were paying in Greece, which is an amazing improvement. You can get a delicious kebab for only a few Bulgarian levs and most restaurants have meals under 15 levs.
The Internet is Blazing Fast
If you’re tired of your internet disconnecting all the time, having to restart the router every day and crying when it takes 3h to load Facebook, then you’ll be happy to know that Bulgaria has an average connection speed of 6.7 Mbits/s. I’ve been able to download HD movies in minutes, which I would never have been able to do in a third-world country. It also makes being productive a lot easier, when you don’t have to wait 30 seconds for something to load.
The City is Beautiful
If you love architecture, you’ll love Sofia! As long as you stay in the downtown area, the city is absolutely beautiful. There are plenty of buildings of different styles, from the byzantine churches to Empire style buildings. There is a lot to see and to explore. On top of that, there are parks everywhere! It definitely helps being more relax and not feel so much in a city.
If you go to any major European city, you have to look out for your bags, because there are theft everywhere. That’s what happens when there are a lot of wealthy tourists flooding a city. Sofia doesn’t have that problem, as it’s not such a popular destination. So your chances of getting mugged or attacked are way lower!
It’s A Friendly City
People are kind and helpful, which is always nice! They won’t snob you or be too busy going to work to help you. We didn’t have to ask our way to many of them, but the ladies at the grocery stores are very kind to us, even though they don’t really speak much English.
You Can Get Around with English
And finally, you can get by with English, even though the official language is Bulgarian. To be honest, the fact that they use a different alphabet makes it hard to read products and street names, but there’s always someone who speaks a bit of English around that can help you. Most people know enough to either give you directions or take your order at a restaurant. You can still learn basic Bulgarian to be polite, but you won’t have to hand-sign everything!
It’s Outside of the Schengen Area
For all non-EU nomads, the Schengen Area is a tricky one. If you want to stay in Europe for more than three months, then you have to get out of the zone, spend three months in a non-Schengen country and come back in after. Because the UK is too expensive, and Croatia doesn’t have the best internet, which makes Bulgaria an excellent choice in that matter! You can stay there for a full three months before going back in the zone. But it won’t be for too long, though, as the country is supposed to join in the next few years… So make sure you check it out while you can!
Whenever we’ll come back to Europe and have to leave the Schengen Zone (or simply need a cheap place to stay in Europe), Chris and I will definitely come back to Bulgaria! Or at least to Eastern Europe, which isn’t nearly as popular as it should be. There are so many things to discover when you decide to take the path less travelled… And sometimes it’s also the best way to give your wallet a rest 😉