Table of Contents
1. What currency does Bulgaria use?
Although Bulgaria is a country part of the EU, it is not part of the Eurozone. The Eurozone is a group of countries that use the euro as their currency. Bulgarian Lev (BGN), or Leva (plural) is the national currency of Bulgaria.
One lev is equal to 100 stotinki. The subsequent notes which are currently available are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 leva (BGN).
The subsequent coins (stotinki) which are currently available are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 stotinki and 1, 2 leva.
Some prices are often published in euro, but this is simply to make things easier for visiting foreigners.
Transactions are always done in Leva/BGN/. The taxi drivers, restaurants, hotels, bars and shops accept payments in Bulgarian Lev only.
It is easy to make a calculation because the local currency is fixed to the EURO at a rate of 1 EUR = 1,95 BGN.
2. Money Exchange
Money Exchange Cash machines are easily accessible within the larger cities and bigger towns.
You can get up to 400 BGN at a time from one cash machine.
All major European, North American and Japanese debit and credit cards are well accepted.
Foreign money can also be exchanged safely at exchange bureaus, or at most banks.
We would advise you to use banks first, or reputable exchange bureau, which must display clearly exchange rates on large tables, with the sign “No Commission”.
Exchange bureau is no longer allowed to charge a commission for money exchange but always check first.
Airports and hotels also offer money exchange, but they usually tend to allow less favourable rates.
Our advice is to never change money with anyone who stops you at the street, offering a better rate.
Although money exchange scams are not as common as they were before, we advise exchanging money only in reputable places.
It is always better to familiarize yourself with the local currency prior to arrival to Bulgaria. You may check the link to the Bulgarian National Bank official site.
Bulgarian Lev to Euro, US Dollar and Pound Sterling
Fixed at 1 EUR = 1,95 BGN, the Bulgarian Lev is pegged to the Euro.
The current exchange rates in February 2020 are 1 US Dollar = 1.80 BGN, Pound Sterling = 2.34 BGN, but please note exchange rates fluctuate on a daily basis.
3. Credit Cards
Quality hotels, restaurants, bar and shops in the major cities accept credit cards.
It isn’t the same in smaller towns or villages across the country.
Cash is a widely accepted form of payment in Bulgaria and it is always better to keep some cash with you.
Don’t forget to call your credit card companies to let them know you’ll be using your cards in Bulgaria. Sometimes your company will see charges on your card in a different place and block your account.
Travellers’ cheques: We would advise you to go to a bank for cashing your cheques. Banks charge a small commission as a minimum of 1%.
4. Safety and Security
Bulgaria is a safe country to travel to. For many visitors who live in the European countries will find Bulgaria safe.
Most frequent crimes to be mentioned are – pickpocketing, mugging and car theft.
We advise you to bring all valuable things or money close to your body or leave them at the hotel’s safe.
If you use public transportation or walking around crowded places be extremely cautious because pickpockets are very active there.
They usually hang around in the places most popular with foreigners! Be careful if a group of well-dressed women gather on you in the street. They are often Roma pickpockets.