Money and duty free for Bulgaria
Currency and Money
Lev (BGN; symbol лв) = 100 stotinki. Notes are in denominations of лв100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 (this is rarely used). Coins are in denominations of лв1 and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 stotinki.
Note: (a) The Lev is tied to the Euro at a fixed rate; €1 = лв1.955. (b) Notes dated 1997 and earlier are now out of circulation. Euro coins will replace the lev once the convergence criteria are fulfilled.
American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted in large cities, in larger hotels and car hire offices, and in some restaurants and shops, mainly in Sofia. However, Bulgaria is still a country that operates mainly on cash.
ATMs are widespread, although it is best to check with the relevant bank/card provider prior to travel. Not all Bulgarian bank machines accept every overseas credit or debit card; it may take more than one attempt to withdraw cash successfully.
Accepted in major hotels and restaurants, although cash is far more common. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars, Pounds Sterling or Euros.
The import and export of local currency is prohibited. The import of foreign currency is unlimited, provided it is declared on arrival. The export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared upon arrival.
Visitors are advised to exchange money at banks, at large hotels and at independent currency exchange offices, where the rates are clearly displayed. Travellers should not be tempted by a 'better rate' offered at unofficial sources on the street. It is illegal for commission to be charged when changing money at official offices. No store, bank or bureau de change will accept mutilated, torn or excessively dirty foreign currency.
Bulgaria duty free
Bulgaria is within the European Union. If you are travelling from the UK, you are entitled to buy fragrance, skincare, cosmetics, Champagne, wine, selected spirits, fashion accessories, gifts and souvenirs - all at tax-free equivalent prices.
If you are travelling from within the EU, there is no limit on the amount or value of goods you may import, providing your goods are for personal consumption.
If you are arriving from a non-EU country, the following goods may be imported into Bulgaria by persons over 17 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco (if arriving by air).
• 40 cigarettes or 20 cigarillos or 10 cigars or 50g (if arriving overland).
• 4L of wine and 16L of beer and 1L of spirits over 22% or 2L of alcoholic beverages less than 22%.
• Other goods up to the value of €430 for air and sea travellers and €300 for other travellers.