Sofia is very welcoming towards foreigners. Find out in this article how to find accommodation there.
Sofia, the Bulgarian capital city, is very welcoming toward expatriates. In fact, it has been attracting them in large numbers for many years, not only for the numerous opportunities it provides but also for its cultural aspect. Indeed, Sofia is a very popular destination thanks to its places of interest as well as its ancient architecture and many cultural events which are held there.
Sofia also provides a range of accommodation options for those wishing to settle there, whether on a long or short term. Hence, you should not have much trouble in finding the housing unit which best suits your needs and budget. Nevertheless, take the time to inquire on its different neighborhoods and on any special features, especially if you are looking forward to settle near the city-center.
Sofia consists of many neighborhoods, the most popular ones being Lozenets, Dragalevtsi, Simeonovo, Boyana, Oborishte and Vitosha. Lozenets is considered as being the most modern part of the city with huge and mostly new buildings. This neighborhood is well served by the public transport network, including trams and buses. It also hosts many corporate offices and shops, etc.
Dragalevtsi and Simeonovo, for their part, are mostly residential neighborhoods, hosting large houses and small apartment buildings. However, these are not accessible by public transport and have only a few shops. You will need a car if you wish to settle there. Moreover, Boyana is very popular with expatriate families for its huge houses.
Closer to the city-center, Oborishte mostly provides old apartments in buildings which are not even equipped with a lift. This neighborhood might be ideal for singles or couples who do not have children and who are working nearby. Finally, in Vitosha, you will find apartments and medium-size houses at affordable rates.
Your stay in Sofia will mainly depend on the type of lifestyle you have chosen, whether in its urban or rural regions. In fact, you are likely to find big houses along with a swimming pool at the mountain foot, and even new and tall buildings downtown. However, you should consider certain criteria before actually taking a decision.
In fact, it can be very difficult to find parking space in some areas. Moreover, electricity and gas bills can be quite expensive in some neighborhoods, especially in winter. You are therefore advised to inquire about these before signing the lease contract. On the other hand, some apartments are not equipped with a heating system until the building reaches a certain quota of tenants.
Sofia is also deemed to be a student city thanks to the presence of universities and other higher education institutions. Hence, room and flat sharing have become a common practice over the years. Some housing websites are also specialized in flat-sharing.
In general, rent prices are quite high in Sofia, but these vary from one neighborhood to another. Hence, you can rent a studio or a single-bedroom apartment in the city-center for some 500 to 900 leva per month respectively. In other neighborhoods, same can cost around 350 and 650 leva per month. As regards more spacious and luxurious housing units, rent prices are much higher.
Given the size and importance of the city and its neighborhoods, you are highly advised to seek the assistance of a real estate agency during your housing search. These will help you find accommodation according to your criteria, give you appropriate advice and assist you during negotiations and the signing of the lease contract. Note, however, that you will have to pay agency fees which are generally equal to a month's rent.
You can as well view housing offers on the Internet and in classified ads in local newspapers. If you can read and understand the Bulgarian language, you can also purchase the офийски имоти, that is the “Sofia Properties” newsletter which will give you an idea of the rental and real estate market trends.