Travel tips: Bulgaria

Heading away from home We’ve gathered some tips to make sure your trip is the smoothest it can be.

About Bulgaria

Bulgaria (Bulgarian: България, romanized: Balgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria (Bulgarian: Република България, romanized: Republika Balgariya, IPA: [rɛˈpublikɐ bɐɫˈɡarijɐ]), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and North Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. The capital and largest city is Sofia; other major cities are Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas. With a territory of 110,994 square kilometres (42,855 sq mi), Bulgaria is Europe’s 16th-largest country.

Using your debit and credit card

Do I need cash in Bulgaria, or can I use my card everywhere?

Cards are widely accepted in Bulgaria.

Most shops do generally accept Maestro but sometimes transactions are denied by the payment terminal. Contactless MasterCard payments work, but chip payments not anymore (January 2020). 

What currency do they use here?

The currency here is Bulgarian lev. The symbol is лв or BGN.

Which ATM’s can I use for free?

Free withdrawals at these ATMs.

  • DSK Bank
  • Central Cooperative Bank
  • United Bulgarian Bank
  • Fibank
  • SG Express Bank
  • Piraeus Bank Bulgaria
  • Eurobank
  • Postbank
  • ProCredit Bank

If I want cash, how much should I take out of an ATM?

40 BGN should be enough for a few days, since you can use your card for nearly everything.

Should I choose local currency or Euros when paying?

If you’re asked to choose between local currency and Euros, always choose local currency.

Staying connected

Can I roam, or should I get a local SIM?

All EU mobile plans should let you roam for free.

If you don’t have an EU plan, you can learn about your local SIM card options here.

Useful things to know

How does tipping work?

It is common to leave a 10% tip.

How much does a 0.5L beer cost?

€ 1,00

How much does an average meal cost?

€ 5,00

What’s the emergency number?


What type of plug do they use?

This one! It’s the standard European plug.

What side of the road do they drive on?

They drive on the right side of the road here.

How do I navigate my way around?

Google and Apple Maps both work well here.

Otherwise, we recommend Rome2Rio as the best way to find out how to get anywhere. It even tells you the cost of each option.

Any other good tips?

Try the Banitza, a traditional Bulgarian pastry, filled with butter and cheese.

If you’ve been to Bulgaria share your experience! The following would be really useful for others to know:

  • Which ATMs are free to use? 
  • What card should I use and where?
  • Any other info you think may be useful.

Share your experience with us in the comments below! 

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