10 November 2023

Navigating Bulgaria: A Guide for Expats on Dos and Don'ts

Congratulations on your new journey as an expat in Bulgaria! As you settle into your new life and career in this charming Balkan country, it's important to be mindful of the cultural nuances that represent Bulgaria’s daily interactions and social norms. To help you smoothly integrate into Bulgarian society, we've compiled a list of dos and don'ts that will serve as a compass as you navigate your way through this unique and welcoming country. 

1.Do give Warm Welcomes and Genuine Smiles 
Bulgarians hold genuine friendliness in high regard. A simple smile paired with direct eye contact goes a long way in creating positive connections, be it with colleagues or neighbours. 
2. Do dress the Part 
Embrace Bulgaria's disposition for dressing well, especially on formal occasions. Opt for smart and slightly upscale attire, demonstrating your understanding of local customs. 

3. Do dabble in the Language 
A sincere attempt to learn a few basic Bulgarian phrases can unravel smiles and foster a deeper connection with locals. 
4. Do cheers with Heartfelt Toasts 
Improve your dining experience by embracing the Bulgarian tradition of toasting. As you raise your glass, lock eyes with your fellow toasters, sharing a genuine moment of connection. 

5. Do indulge in Culinary Adventures 
Bulgarian cuisine represents a variety of flavours that tell tales of tradition. Let your taste buds enjoy local dishes like banitsa, kavarma, and don't miss the chance to raise a glass of rakia in true Bulgarian spirit. 

6. Do prepare yourself to use BGN (Bulgarian Levs) 
Even though Bulgaria is part of the EU, a different currency is used within the country, called Bulgarian lev. Right now, 1 Euro (EUR) is about 1.96 Bulgarian lev (BGN). 


1. Don’t bring up Sensitive Topics right away 
Politics and religion are like delicate brushstrokes on Bulgaria's canvas. Avoid these topics in initial conversations to cultivate comfortable connections. 

2. Don’t Shake Hands over a Threshold 
When visiting a Bulgarian home, be mindful of the threshold. Refrain from shaking hands, stepping over it, or handing items across it, as this is rooted in local superstitions. 

3. Don’t rest your feet on the furniture 
Uphold respect by not resting your feet on furniture. This subtle yet significant gesture showcases your consideration for local etiquette. 

4. Don’t whistle in the Dark 
Whistling indoors during the evening is believed to summon ill luck. Respect this superstition and let your tunes soar outside the home. 

5. Mind Your Feet 
Pointing the soles of your feet at people or objects is considered impolite. Keep your feet grounded when seated to display cultural awareness. 

6. Moderate Your Gestures 
Expressions are often understated in Bulgarian culture. Avoid overly animated gestures, as they might be seen as excessive or insincere. 


Living in Bulgaria can be very enriching and fulfilling, offering you the chance to explore a unique cultural heritage and form lasting friendships. By taking these dos and don'ts into consideration, you'll be well on your way to seamlessly integrating into Bulgarian society. Remember, embracing the local customs and demonstrating respect for the traditions will not only make your experience more enjoyable, but also help you build strong connections with the people around you. Welcome to Bulgaria, and may your time here be marked by wonderful experiences and meaningful interactions!