What currency is used in Bulgaria?

The Leva is the national currency. It is pegged to the Euro at a rate of 1,95583 Leva to €1. This provides a high degree of currency stability for foreign investors wishing to invest in the country.

What are the country's key statistics?

Bulgaria has a population of just over 7.5 million people. Unemployment is at 7% nationwide (August 2007). The Bansko area boasts zero unemployment. Bulgaria is a member of NATO and a full member of the E.U. since January 2007. GDP Growth exceeds 5%, p.a. and this looks set to continue. GDP per capita is 8,200 Euro and the average industrial wage is 179 Euro per month. While its exports of clothing, footwear, machinery, steel and iron have underpinned its economic success, its future economic stimulus will come from tourism at its magnificent mountain ranges and at its 450 km of beautiful unspoilt coastline along the Black Sea.

Is it easy to acquire Property?

Yes. Foreigners can purchase property (without land) with the same level of ease as exists in Western countries. The purchase of land (or property with land) requires the formation of a Bulgarian company which can be fully owned by foreigners. A law passed in February 2005 has eased this restriction, but a seven year transition period will apply.

Are title deeds formally registered and recognised?

Yes. Bulgarian law requires all property transactions to be recorded and registered before a Government appointed Notary. Such transactions are then filed in the Land Register.

What additional costs exist when purchasing a property?

A Property Transfer Tax between 2% and 4% is payable, depending on where you buy. VAT in Bulgaria is chargeable at a rate of 20%. Purchasers need to determine if quoted prices include or exclude VAT.
Notary fees are also payable on contract completion.

Are funds free and easy to withdraw from Bulgaria?

Foreigners can request their bank to transfer funds out of the country, but must provide appropriate certification that all local taxes have been paid before the transfer can occur. From 2007 onwards, current E.U. norms will apply.

Is there a market for property rental?

Yes, this is a very fast growing service sector within the economy. Today's investors in prime locations in Bulgaria could reasonably expect 15% capital growth p.a. and rental income of not less than 10% p.a. Ardmore Properties will be happy to arrange and advise clients on such issues.

Are Bulgarian retail prices attractive?

Absolutely. A pint of excellent Bulgarian beer will cost between €0.45 in a friendly tavern to €1.5 in a top-grade hotel. Eating-out is similarly priced. The cost of living is much cheaper than in Ireland or the UK.

What are the Bulgarian people like?

Probably as warm, generous and friendly as one will find anywhere in the world.
Their love of song, dance and music rivals even that of Ireland!! Most taverns and restaurants in the resort areas have live music.

What is the local cuisine?

Bulgaria is a renowned producer and exporter of wine to more than 70 countries in the world. In Bulgaria there are lots of wineries producing a variety of excellent wines. Bulgarian food is close to traditional European cuisine. A traditional Bulgarian menu includes bread, yogurt and fresh milk, cheese, tomatoes, paprika, potatoes, onions, beans and fruits, grappa and red or white wine.

Food specialities include:

  • Shopska salad - prepared from diced tomatoes, fresh cucumbers, green peppers, topped with feta cheese and seasoned with olive oil and parsley
  • Mlechna salad - prepared from strained yogurt seasoned with olives, crashed walnuts, finely diced garlic and parsley
  • Tarator - cold served soup from yogurt, fresh cucumbers, seasoned with walnuts, garlic and dill
  • Sirene po Shopski - feta cheese, diced tomatoes and onion topped with egg and cooked in pottery
  • Kebapche - minced meat rolls seasoned with traditional spices and fine herbs and barbequed
  • Kuyfte - minced meat balls seasoned with traditional spices and fine herbs and barbequed
  • Shish Kebab - grilled skewered meat, onion and paprika
  • Banitsa - baked pumpkin pastry filled with cheese or meet
  • Crème Caramel - delicious dessert prepared from fresh milk, eggs and caramelized sugar, similar to the classic French crème brulee.

Do I need a passport and visa?

Tourists to Bulgaria from many countries do not need a visa - only a valid passport is required.
At present, E.U. Citizens can travel to Bulgaria for up to 90 days without a visa. Should you need to stay longer than this, you can apply for a long-term visa, which depending on the category, can permit you to stay up to one year. Up-to-date information on visa requirements and prospects for longer-term residency can be found at the Bulgarian Embassy, London. website:

What are the climatic conditions like?

Bulgaria has a variety of terrains with different climates. Generally, the summers are very hot with temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius and winters can be very cold, especially in the mountains, where temperatures can plunge to -20 degrees Celsius. Along the Black Sea coast, winters are usually mild without great extremes. The areas close to the Greek border can have almost a Mediterranean climate. In Bansko the average winter temperature is about -5 degrees C (in January). The summer temperatures are usually between 18 and 28 degrees C.
The actual snow forecast for Bansko can be found at www.snow-forecast.com

Live webcams from the ski pists and weather conditions are at www.banskoski.com


Local time is GMT +2 (GMT +3 from April to September).


Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. European two-pin plugs are in use.


Bulgarian is the official language, which uses the Cyrillic alphabet, but English, German and French is spoken in resorts, hotels and some restaurants.

Is it better to change my money at home before travelling?

No. There are lots of change bureaus everywhere. Most of them have extremely competitive rates. To make sure just read their currency table which is required to be displayed outside. ATMs, where you can draw local currency, are also widely available.

Are there any "unusual" customs ?

Foreigners should be aware that a shake of the head means 'yes' and a nod means 'no', although allowances are often made for visitors!!!!