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With its endless supply of natural and man-made wonders, seamless borders, and high quality of life, Europe is perhaps the most sought after destination by digital nomads they seek to venture outside of their own home countries.
On the other hand, despite being more open than it used to be, Europe as a whole has not yet fully embraced digital nomads.
Some countries may have launched category-specific visas, but they usually come with onerous requirements and financial thresholds that many beginners will find impossible to meet.
On top of that, most of the European countries are receiving progressively more expensiveincluding lesser-known places like Montenegro or previously affordable destinations like Croatia, where euroisation and rising prices threaten to drive out budget nomadic travellers.
Luckily for them, not all European nations have fallen victim to the trend, and one in particular, which guards Europe’s borders along its most south-eastern flank, has unexpectedly risen to prominence as one of the centers of most popular digital nomads on the continent.
We are talking about Bulgaria, a much ignored South Slavic nation surrounded by the Black Sea:
Is Bulgaria the new digital nomad capital of Europe?
Bulgaria is one of the oldest nations in Europe. Historically known as the territory of Eastern Thrace, it has been inhabited since time immemorial by warriors, warlords, kings whose names History was relentless in erasing, and Greco-Roman settlers.
Some Bulgarian cities are as old, or even older, than the more famous ancient metropolises of Rome or Athens, and Bulgarian culture stands at the crossroads of the Western and Eastern worlds, and is heavily influenced by Balkan/Orthodox customs and then by other Turkish traditions. .
In sum, it is a fascinating country that many Americans don’t know exists, and re-emerged on the post-crisis scene as a hot spot for remote workers and long-term travelers. You may be wondering why.
Part of the reason it has become so popular with this group is the investments made by both the Bulgarian government and the private sector to develop the country as a nomad-friendly destination.
Every year Bulgaria hosts the Bansko Nomad Fest. As the title suggests, it is an event where digital nomads come together to exchange experiences, learn from each other, and attend workshops with the sole purpose of further developing their skills.
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A festival for digital nomads
The festival is already taking place this year, it started on June 25 and ends on July 2, but in case you don’t travel across Europe and can’t get to Bulgaria on time, there’s always the following year, and it’s getting bigger with each new edition.
Currently, more than 700 digital nomads from more than 40 countries attend the festival, with more than 20% of the participants coming from the United States, which shows that the presence of Americans in Bulgaria is increasing.
Nomads who attend can also learn more about how they can stay ahead when it comes to AI and technology. A significant percentage of digital nomads work as developers or writers, and the AI knowledge provided by Bansko experts helps them realize their full potential in this field.
The selection of Bansko as the digital nomad capital of Bulgaria is it’s not casual either.
Bansko may have the highest concentration of co-working places in the world
It may be a small town of around 9,000 people, but oddly enough, Bansko may well have the highest concentration of coworking spaces. Anywhere in the worldaccording to recent data.
Nomads flock to this retreat in search of tranquility while fulfilling their work obligations, as Bansko lies in the heart of mountainous country, just a short drive from beautiful nature reserves.
Beyond the natural attractions, they are drawn to the region’s surprisingly well-developed nomadic scene, its infrastructure (there are numerous hotel and AirBnB listings to choose from, not to mention work-friendly cafes), and Bulgaria. relatively affordable prices compared to their Western European peers.
Bulgaria is known, along with its neighbor Romania, as the most affordable European country that is a member of the European Union, based on average national salary, cost of living, and daily expenses.
The minimum wage in Bulgaria is currently set at 780 Bulgarians level, or the equivalent of US$437. It’s a reflection of the country’s generally cheaper prices and tempting bargains.
It is natural for Bulgaria to proclaim Bansko as its Digital Nomad Capital and organize one of the biggest Digital Nomad festivals in Europe there.
That is not to say that Bansko is the only notable digital nomad place in Bulgaria.
watch out for sophia
The most underrated digital nomad spot in Europe
Having resided in Bulgaria non-continuously for almost four months, I was pleased to find numerous inexpensive mid-range restaurants with hearty meals, including soup for starters and a pint of beer. ranging between US$12 and US$15 – and much cheaper even.
Staying in Sofia, the country’s capital, for an entire month while working remotely, I particularly benefited from the lowest bed and breakfast rates in the city.
If I remember correctly, my one-month rental agreement was estimated at $480, or less than $500, for a spacious and well-appointed private apartment.
I wasn’t staying in the center of Sofia, where rent is of course more expensive, although still cheap from a dollar-earning person’s perspective, but the closest metro station to me was a short 7 minute walkand there were many tram routes and municipal buses that went to the city.
Best of all, even though she resided away from the busy city center, she still had access to several lovely cafes, beautiful emerald parks to stroll when the weather was warm enough as the hot summer months approached, her usual kebab. stalls and countless convenience stores.
Regarding its attractiveness as a tourist destination, Sofia’s beauty lies in its mix of rich ancient heritage and Soviet-inspired brutalist panoramas..
It was originally settled by Thracian tribes before coming under Roman rule at a time when the Empire was expanding eastward.
Throughout the city, you’ll still find the remains of the Serdica Roman colony, dating back a couple of millennia, well-preserved Romanesque churches, and Sofia’s most interesting architectural feats, its communist-era monuments, scattered across the historic Yellow Pavement. . district.
Although Bulgaria was not formally a republic within the Soviet Union, it was one of its many satellite states, regaining independence and the freedom to hold fair elections only after the latter’s dissolution.
Fortunately, all that remains from that harrowing period are impossibly tall gray apartment blocks and stately government buildings.
Where else in Bulgaria can you live as a digital nomad?
Other popular places for digital nomads in Bulgaria include:
- Plovdivthe second largest city and apparently the longest continuously inhabited settlement in Europe, famous for its 1st-century Roman theater and other archaeological sites
- Veliko Tarnovohome to two of Bulgaria’s most iconic medieval fortresses, spanning two peaks and impressive even in modern times
- BurgasA smaller, more picturesque seaside town on the shores of the Black Sea, it’s Europe’s new hot summer getaway.
- varnaa tourist area and a historic Black Sea port packed with luxury hotels and with a lively nightlife and social scene.
Americans and other non-European citizens can stay in Bulgaria as digital nomads without a long-term visa for up to three months.
While the decision to grant a visa always rests in the hands of an immigration officer, in theory all they need is a valid passport and proof of travel abroad to gain entry when crossing the Bulgarian border.
Find out more about Bansko Nomad Fest here.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com