Skip to Content

Currency in Bulgaria – Info about Bulgarian Lev, ATMs and exchange rates

Currency in Bulgaria – Info about Bulgarian Lev, ATMs and exchange rates

Want to know more about the currency in Bulgaria? They use the Bulgarian Lev (BGN), and here’s more info about ATMs, money and exchange rates before your trip.

I will also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about money and currency in Bulgaria.

Quick facts about the Bulgarian Lev (BGN)

  • Name: Lev (singular) or Leva (plural)
  • Date of introduction: 1999.
  • Coins: 1 lev
  • Subunit: 1 stotinka and 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 stotinki
  • Banknotes: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 leva
  • Abbreviation: Bl
  • Currency Code: BGN

Bulgarian currency

Can you pay by card in Bulgaria?

Card payments are still not accepted everywhere, but most larger hotels, restaurants as well as international shops will accept debit- and credit cards by VISA and Mastercard. For smaller purchases, taxis, public transportation, local restaurants, etc you will need cash. 

Can you pay with Euros in Bulgaria?

Yes, Euros are widely accepted in Bulgaria, but the rate you will get is not very good, and you’ll lose money by paying in Euro. It’s much better to use the local currency – Bulgarian Lev. 

Should you exchange money before your trip?

Generally speaking, it’s not recommended to exchange money before your trip because the rate you will get from banks or exchange offices will not be favorable, and you’ll end up paying more than necessary for your Bulgarian Leva. 

It’s much better to take out cash from a local ATM upon arrival, especially if you use a travel card without any fees. 


Exchange currency in Bulgaria

If you want to exchange currency in Bulgaria, I suggest that you go into one of the banks. They will charge a commission, but usually, offer better rates than the exchange bureaus. Foreign-exchange offices are not allowed to charge a commission, but some will try anyway, or give you a less favorable exchange rate. 

With that said, it’s much better to pay by card when possible and take out cash from a local ATM. 

There is also a black market where money changers might approach you in the street, especially in Sofia and other tourist areas. This is illegal, and you also end up risking changing your money, only to receive counterfeit Leva.

Bulgarian Money

ATMs in Bulgaria

Bulgarian ATMs can be found in all major cities as well as smaller towns. They are quite straightforward to use, and when inserting a foreign card, it will display instructions in English or your local language. 

  • Bulgarian ATMs are usually available 24/7 and accept all major debit- and credit cards. 
  • Always choose to be charged in the local currency without conversion. NEVER use Euronet ATMs. 
ATMs in Bulgaria

Photo: Sergey Kohl / Shutterstock.com

More about Bulgaria’s currency (BGN)

Since 1999, the Bulgarian Lev is the official currency in Bulgaria after replacing the former currency with the same name but a different currency code (BGL). At the time of the change, 1 new Lev was equal to 1000 of the old Lev. 

It is the Bălgarska narodna banka – BNB that gives out the currency, and they have their headquarters in Sofia.

The Bulgarian currency is available both as banknotes and coins, although the only coins are 1 Lev and the subunit stotinka, which is the Bulgarian equivalent for cents. The rest of the Leva is in banknotes and ranges from denominations from 1 to 100 Leva. 

Since 2005, the Bulgarian Lev is pegged to the Euro with a fixed exchange rate of 1.95583 leva = 1 Euro. This is the official rate and not the same as you will be given in banks and exchange bureaus. 

Bulgarian money in various denominations

  • Coins: 1 lev
  • Subunit: 1 stotinka and 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 stotinki
  • Banknotes: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 leva

Bulgarian coins

Frequently asked questions about money in Bulgaria

Is Bulgarian lev fixed to the euro?

Yes, since 2005 the Bulgarian Lev has been pegged to the euro with a fixed rate of 1.95583 leva = 1 Euro.

Are credit cards widely accepted in Bulgaria?

Most larger hotels, restaurants and international shops will accept credit cards. But there are still many smaller shops, public transportation, taxis, local restaurants, etc that don’t accept card payments. 

What is the currency in Sofia Bulgaria?

The currency in Sofia is Bulgarian Lev, but Euros are widely accepted as well, although the rate is usually not very good.

Can I use my debit card in Bulgaria?

Yes, all establishments that accept card payments will let you use your debit card. Just make sure that your local bank doesn’t have any restrictions for usage abroad.

Can you use US dollars in Bulgaria?

No, you can’t use US dollars in Bulgaria. But they can be changed in banks and exchange bureaus. 

What is the best currency to take to Bulgaria?

If you want to exchange money in Bulgaria, then Euro is the best currency to take to Bulgaria, and then US dollars along with other major currencies. 

What is the Bulgarian money called?

The Bulgarian currency is called Bulgarian Lev in singular, and Leva in plural but most people just say Lev. 

What is the currency in Sunny Beach?

The currency in Sunny Beach is Bulgarian Lev, but Euros are widely accepted as well, although the rate is usually not very good.

Why is the Euro not the currency in Bulgaria?

Bulgaria became a member of the European Union in 2007, and there have been plans for the country to join the Eurozone. First, it was projected to join in 2015, and now in 2019, but it still doesn’t fulfill all requirements to become a member of the currency union.

The Bulgarian people were also more positive to join in the beginning, but in recent years there has been a steep decline in those who are in favor of replacing the Lev with Euro. 

Currency in Bulgaria


Do you have more questions about the currency in Bulgaria? Leave a comment below!

currency in Romania
Currency in Romania – Info about Romanian leu, ATMs and exchange rates
← Read Last Post
Love bridge near Cape Greco
Love Bridge in Ayia Napa - How to get there and more info
Read Next Post →