From the best neighborhoods to prices
Written by Irina Temnikova, edited by Lina Jarad and Lindsay Martin, photos by Georgi Hristov.
When you rent long-term accommodations in a foreign country, having information about the local area is important. Here is information about where to find rental ads, a general overview of the neighborhoods, and price ranges.
Where to find accommodation ads
There are many sites dedicated to helping you find a rental in Sofia. Keep in mind that if you work with a real estate agent, the standard fee is 50% of one month’s rent, in addition to the rent. However, some agents will try to charge you a higher fee. It’s a good idea to look for a different agent if they charge more than 50%. On many of these sites, you can also post the specific type of accommodation you are looking for.
Real estate websites
Real estate agency websites
General ads websites with a real estate section
Groups that allow real estate agent posts. You’ll pay agent fees for many of these listings:
- Foreigners Sofia Rent / Имоти под наем в София (posts in English, for foreigners – contains a very small number of ads)
- Квартири, наеми и продажби – София (Translation: Flats, rentals, and sales – Sofia)
- Квартири под наем в София (търся/предлагам) (Translation: Flats for rent in Sofia [I am looking/offering])
- Апартаменти в София (Translation: Apartments in Sofia)
- Свободни квартири в София (Translation: Available flats in Sofia)
- Под наем до 700лв. на Квартири, стаи и апартаменти в София (Translation: Rents up to 700 lv of Flats, rooms and apartments in Sofia)
Groups dedicated to homeowner’s posts:
- Foreigners in Sofia & Friends (Ads in English, usually a good balance of price & quality. Only homeowner’s posts allowed. If you post that you are looking for accommodation, you may be contacted by agents)
- Апартаменти и стаи под наем в София (без брокери и комисионни) (Translation: Apartments and rooms for rent in Sofia [without real estate agents and mediator’s fees])
- Имоти БЕЗ БРОКЕР в София и страната (Translation: Properties WITHOUT A REAL ESTATE AGENT in Sofia and in the country)
- Наеми без брокер – София (Translation: Rentals without a real estate agent – Sofia)
- Квартири под наем БЕЗ Посредник – София (Translation: Flats for rent WITHOUT an agent – Sofia)
When renting long-term accommodation in a new city, details about the local neighborhoods are useful to help you find the right location. This may include transportation, reachability, internet providers, grocery stores, restaurants, air quality, and preferability by foreigners.
The Central neighborhoods (Sofia-Center, Lozenets, and Oborishte) are usually the most popular ones as they are the best equipped with transport connections, shops, restaurants, Internet connections. The rents there are often the highest, except for some smaller properties or those with minor issues (e.g. less or older furniture, not recently maintained, etc.). These neighborhoods are the oldest ones, so most of the buildings look old, sometimes do not have elevators, and apartments often have older furniture. Out of them, Sofia-Center is the most hectic and noisy but also has the most vivid social and cultural life. The areas around Central Railway/Coach Station and Women’s market are usually the least preferred for living.
The Southern neighborhoods (excluded Studentski grad), some of the Eastern and North-Eastern ones (Yavorov, Geo Milev, Poduyane) are considered very nice for living and often calmer than living in the central neighborhoods.
Studentski grad is a particular kind of neighborhood, built especially for students. If you like social life and cheap (maybe not so great quality food), this is the place for you.
Some of the Sofia neighborhoods, like Mladost, Druzhba, Liulin, and Nadezhda have a lot of very tall blocks of flats. Among these, Mladost is the most preferred option.
The neighborhoods close to Vitosha mountain (for example, Simeonovo, Boyana, Dragalevtsi, Kniazhevo, Karpuzitsa) have much cleaner air. However, they are usually harder to reach by public transport. They consist of mostly houses with yards. Some of these areas have fewer options with internet providers, slower internet connection, and shops may not be as close. It is also notoriously colder and more humid.
The least popular neighborhoods usually are the northern ones, Filipovtsi, and Fakulteta. Some exceptions are Nadezhda, Suhata Reka, Hadzhi Dimitar, and Poduyane.
For more details about which Sofia neighborhoods are preferred and for which reasons you can read: flipfloppeople.com and kvartali.info (in Bulgarian, input probably mostly by Bulgarians). You can also do a search in the Friends & Foreigners FB group and consult the Sofia traffic map to see the neighborhoods’ connectivity.
Ranges of prices
Last but not least, it’s a good idea to know the current price ranges before renting a property. Some properties may be offered at higher rates, corresponding to better or more expensive facilities.
Note that renting prices vary by neighborhood, size of the property, furnished or not, inside conditions, and simple preferences of the owners.
A room in a shared flat is usually 250-300 leva (450 is usually considered to be high)
A small size (for example 30-40 m²) loft (“atelier”) or studio usually costs between 400 and 550 leva
1 bedroom apartment usually costs 400-550 leva or higher, depending on the apartment size, design, and location.
2-bedroom apartments start from 500 leva. You can find a decent 65 square meters apartment in Lozenets for 650 leva or a 100sqm in Mladost for 700 leva.
A 3-bedrooms apartment could start from 700 leva up. You can sometimes find 120 sqm apartments in the center and Lozenets for 600 leva.
A house starts from 600 leva up. Depending on many conditions, such as size, yard, construction, and design. It’s not uncommon to find houses starting at 2000 leva or higher.
A garage in the center or in Lozenets is usually 70 – 150 leva (200 is considered expensive)
If you want to get a more question-specific answer you can ask in the Foreigners in Sofia & Friends FB group.