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Comparison: Living in Sofia vs Plovdiv as an Expat

The most frequently asked question we receive is what is the best city to live for an expat?Plovdiv or Sofia? Our research will help you decide:

Although it is impossible to say one city is better than another, we can compare it based on different factors. It becomes even more difficult to recommend one over the other when comparing Sofia and Plovdiv. In case Bulgaria is your destination, we are confident you will love both cities. If, however, you have a very firm mindset about living costs, crime rates, modernity or accessibility, then one city will have a slight advantage over the other.

Statistics website 'Numbeo' provides user generated data, as well as comparisons and facts, indicating living quality in many cities. We have pulled the most recent data from there and summarized it for you to get an idea before you make a final decision. As we live in Plovdiv and have many friends in Sofia, we made small updates to the data wherever we didn't agree with the given numbers. This guide has been created in list format to make it easier to digest rather than a lengthy article. Lastly, we chose USD as a currency because most expats are familiar with it. As of the time of this posting, 1 BGN equals 0.58 USD, or 1 USD equals 1.71 BGN.

General Cost Averages:

A single person's estimate of monthly costs without rent is 504.43$ (864.05lv) in Plovdiv.

The cost of living in Plovdiv is 9.32% less expensive than in Sofia (without rent).

On average, rent in Plovdiv is 34.82% lower than that in Sofia.

Consumer prices in Sofia are 10.28% higher (without rent) than those in Plovdiv.

In Sofia, consumer prices include rent are 17.97% higher than in Plovdiv.

Sofia rent prices are 53.42% higher than in Plovdiv.

Sofia's restaurant prices are 24.80% higher than those in Plovdiv.

The price of groceries in Sofia is 7.07% higher than in Plovdiv.

Sofia has a local purchasing power that is 22.38% higher than Plovdiv


Criminal Activity:
Plovdiv: Low - 24/100     Sofia: Moderate - 42/100

Concerns about home breaking and items being stolen
Plovdiv: Low - 30/100     Sofia: Moderate - 45/100

Afraid of getting mugged or robbed:
Plovdiv: Low - 20/100     Sofia: Low - 34/100

Safety when walking alone at night:
Plovdiv: High - 65/100     Sofia: Moderate - 55/100

Theft of a car worries:
Plovdiv: Low - 21/100     Sofia: Moderate - 43/100

Health Care: 

Medical staff expertise and competency:
Plovdiv: High - 60/100     Sofia: High - 62/100

Modern diagnostic and treatment equipment:
Plovdiv: Moderate - 51/100     Sofia: Moederate - 55/100

Satisfaction of patients with the level of responsiveness:
Plovdiv: Moderate - 47/100     Sofia: Moderate - 40/100

Cost-related satisfaction:
Plovdiv: Moderate - 50/100     Sofia: High - 62/100


Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility:
Plovdiv: High - 69/100     Sofia: High - 73/100

Satisfaction with garbage disposal:
Plovdiv: Moderate - 52/100     Sofia: Moderate - 41/100

Air Quality:
Plovdiv: Low - 31/100     Sofia: Low - 23/100

Light and noise pollution:
Plovdiv: Moderate - 45/100     Sofia: Moderate - 54/100

The quality of parks and green spaces:
Plovdiv: High - 66/10     Sofia: High - 62/100

More Details on Pricing:

One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 
Plovdiv: 0.58 $ (1.00 лв) Sofia: 0.93 $(1.60 лв)

Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)
Plovdiv: 0.58 $ (0.99 лв) Sofia: 0.90 $ (1.54 лв)

Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85 m2 Apartment
Plovdiv: 96.58 $ (165.46 лв) Sofia: 119.73 $ (205.13 лв)

Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend)
Plovdiv: 10.25 $ (17.56 лв) Sofia: 15.89 $(27.23 лв)

Apartment Rent (1 bedroom) in City Centre
Plovdiv: 318.72 $ (546.04 лв) Sofia: 465.31 $ (797.17 лв)

Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre
Plovdiv: 234.21 $ (401.25 лв) Sofia: 351.06 $ (601.43 лв)

Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax)
Plovdiv: 663.64 $ (1,136.95 лв) Sofia: 965.36 $ (1,653.86 лв)

Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant
Plovdiv: 5.84 $ (10.00 лв) Sofia: 8.76 $ (15.00 лв)

Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course
Plovdiv: 29.18 $ (50.00 лв) Sofia: 35.02 $ (60.00 лв)

This list should give you some insight into your next move regarding relocating into one of these cities. Numbeo.com contains more statistics for Plovdiv & Sofia, as well as comparisons to other cities. You can also contribute your own numbers to the website in order to improve the accuracy of the information. Feel free to comment on this stat down below if you have anything to say.

Enjoy Bulgaria!


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