Bulgarian Currency: Everything You Need to Know
If you’re planning a trip to Bulgaria, one of the most important things you’ll need to know is the country’s currency. Bulgaria’s currency is the lev, which has been the official currency since 1999. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the Bulgarian currency, including its history, value, and where to exchange it.
History of the Lev
The lev has a long and complex history, dating back to the late 19th century when Bulgaria was still under Ottoman rule. At the time, the Bulgarian currency was the Ottoman lira, which was replaced by the Bulgarian lev in 1881.
The lev went through several transformations over the years, including being replaced by the German mark during World War I and being pegged to the Soviet ruble during the communist era. In 1999, the lev was reintroduced as the country’s official currency following a period of hyperinflation.
Value of the Lev
As of 2021, one euro is equal to approximately 1.96 Bulgarian leva. The lev is divided into 100 stotinki, and coins are available in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 stotinki, as well as 1 and 2 leva. Banknotes come in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 leva.
The Bulgarian National Bank is responsible for setting the exchange rate for the lev, which can fluctuate based on a variety of factors, including global economic trends and political instability.
Where to Exchange Currency
If you’re traveling to Bulgaria, you’ll want to make sure you have some Bulgarian leva on hand. The good news is that exchanging currency is relatively easy in Bulgaria, and there are plenty of options available.
One option is to exchange currency at a bank, which typically offers the best rates. However, be aware that banks may charge a commission for exchanging currency. Another option is to use an ATM, which will typically give you a better rate than exchanging currency at a hotel or exchange bureau.
If you do decide to use an exchange bureau, make sure to compare rates before making a transaction, as rates can vary widely from one bureau to another. Also, be aware that some exchange bureaus may charge a commission or have hidden fees.
Using Credit Cards and Traveler’s Checks
Credit cards are widely accepted in Bulgaria, particularly in larger cities and tourist areas. Visa and Mastercard are the most commonly accepted, although American Express is also accepted in some places. However, be aware that some smaller businesses may not accept credit cards, so it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand.
Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted in Bulgaria, so it’s generally not recommended to rely on them as a primary form of payment. If you do need to use traveler’s checks, be aware that you may have difficulty finding a place to cash them.
Tips for Using Bulgarian Currency
When using Bulgarian currency, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience. First, always double-check your change to make sure you’ve received the correct amount. Also, be aware that some businesses may not accept damaged or torn banknotes, so it’s a good idea to handle them carefully.
When using an ATM, be sure to check the exchange rate before making a transaction. Also, be aware that some ATMs may charge a fee for using a foreign card, so it’s always a good idea to check with your bank before traveling to Bulgaria.
In conclusion, the Bulgarian lev is a stable and reliable currency that’s widely accepted throughout the country. Whether you’re exchanging currency at a bank or using an ATM, it’s important to compare rates and be aware of any fees or commissions. Credit cards are also widely accepted, but it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand for smaller businesses or emergencies.
If you’re traveling to Bulgaria, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the lev and its value before your trip. Knowing the exchange rate and having a basic understanding of the country’s currency will help ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience when purchasing goods and services.
Ultimately, the Bulgarian currency is just one aspect of this fascinating and beautiful country. Whether you’re exploring the rugged mountains, soaking up the sun on the Black Sea coast, or discovering the rich history and culture of Sofia, Bulgaria is a destination that’s sure to capture your heart and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.