Currency of Bulgaria: Your Bulgarian Currency Guide

In this article, we’re exploring the official currency of Bulgaria, which is the Bulgarian lev.

This will include answering common questions we receive about the lev, the future of the Bulgarian lev, and insights into the best way to spend money when traveling to Bulgaria.

This article is part of our free series on foreign currency bank accounts which you can access here.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. Currency of Bulgaria
  2. The Best Way to Get Bulgarian Currency?
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?

Currency of Bulgaria

The official currency of Bulgaria is the Bulgarian lev with the ISO 4217 code BGN. The lev has been legal tender in Bulgaria since 1881. However, it has taken various forms over its 142 year existence. 

The Bulgarian lev is scheduled to be replaced by the euro in 2025. This will result in Bulgaria’s central bank effectively becoming a branch of the European Central Bank, which will then handle Bugarian monetary policy along with the rest of the Eurozone. This will include the issuing and distribution of euro notes and coins in Bulgaria.

As a result, Bulgarian monetary policy will no longer be solely impacted by Bulgaria, or its central bankers. Instead, the Bulgarian monetary system and Bulgarian currency exchange will rely heavily on the European Central Bank.

That said, Bulgaria has experienced a number of changes in its official currency over the years, including four different variations of the Bulgarian lev since 1881 alone. In fact, the most recent (and current) form of the Bulgarian lev has only been around since 1999.

The Best Way to Get Bulgarian Currency?

The best way to get Bulgarian lev is through currency exchange at a commercial bank or currency exchange counter in Bulgaria. That said, you can also use foreign-issued credit and debit cards in Bulgaria

Foreign Credit Cards

Foreign-issued credit cards are widely accepted at both retail locations, restaurants, transport services, and elsewhere in Bulgaria. That said, depending on your credit card issuer and country of issuance, it is possible that your credit card provider will charge both a foreign transaction fee and a premium on top of the foreign exchange fee.

Bulgarian Exchange Rate

If you prefer to spend cash while in Bulgaria and you are traveling from a neighboring country or another country that happens to have Bulgarian lev available for exchange, you may want to change your currency before traveling. Converting before entering Bulgaria can sometimes result in more favorable exchange rates, though this is not always the case.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are two of the most common questions that we receive from people looking into the currency of Bulgaria. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.

Can I Use Euros in Bulgaria?

No, you cannot officially use euros in Bulgaria. However, certain tourism operators, hotels, restaurants, and retail locations will accept euros. That said, this is usually in densely populated areas with a high concentration of foreign visitors.

Besides the Bulgarian Lev, Are There Any Other Currencies in Bulgaria?

No, besides the Bulgarian lev, there are not any other currencies in Bulgaria. That said, you may be able to spend major international currencies like USD, EUR, and GBP at certain tourist operators, hotels, restaurants, and retail locations in areas that specifically cater to tourists.

What Is the Currency of Bulgaria?

The official currency of Bulgaria is the Bulgarian lev. The lev has had several iterations since first being introduced in 1881. This includes the “first lev” which existed from 1881 until 1952. This was followed by the “second lev” which existed from 1952 to 1962. The second lev was then followed by the “third lev” from 1962 to 1999. And then in 1999 the “fourth lev” was introduced and it remains the official currency of Bulgaria today.

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GlobalBanks Team
GlobalBanks Team

The GlobalBanks editorial team comprises a group of subject-matter experts from across the banking world, including former bankers, analysts, investors, and entrepreneurs. All have in-depth knowledge and experience in various aspects of international banking. In particular, they have expertise in banking for foreigners, non-residents, and both foreign and offshore companies.

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