Frequently asked questions
Can I use my bank card in Bulgaria?
If you plan to stick to big cities like Sofia and Varna, or tourist-friendly areas like Sunny Beach and Plovdiv,
you'll find most places will let you pay by credit or debit card. Your bank will normally charge you a fee for
using your card abroad, so make sure you're aware of any potential charges.
Outside of major cities and tourist hubs, you'll need to bring some travel money. ATMS are rare in rural towns,
and smaller shops usually prefer cash payments, so you'll need some lev to pay for your Bulgarian souvenirs.
Can you use other currencies in Bulgaria?
As you head towards the Turkish border, you may find a few petrol stations that accept
Turkish lira. However, you'll need to pay in Bulgarian
lev everywhere in Bulgaria.
If you're paying by card, some larger businesses may let you pay in British pounds (GBP) but always best to pay in
Bulgarian leva. By paying in GBP, you may get hit with an unfavourable exchange rate that costs you more.
You can use our currency calculator to exchange your GBP to BGN.
Do you need a visa to visit Bulgaria?
In most cases, you won't need a visa to visit Bulgaria.
Whether you're there for a holiday or for business purposes, you'll be able to stay in Bulgaria for up to 90 days without a visa.
You'll need to apply for a visa if you want to stay longer or if you want to work. If you're planning to visit Bulgaria from 2024
onwards, you'll need ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) to travel. While ETIAS isn't a visa, it will be
mandatory for entry into all EU countries - including Bulgaria.
Other passport holders should check the entry requirements with your country's embassy.
You should always research the most up to date visa guidelines before planning a trip.
Should I tip in Bulgaria?
Cash tips are quite common in Bulgaria, so make sure you have some spare lev on hand. In some restaurants, your tip will be
included in the bill as a 10% service charge. For bills without a service charge, a tip between 10% and 15% of the total bill
It's also customary to tip taxi drivers and hotel cleaning staff, though the amount you choose to give is up to you. If you're unsure,
most workers will appreciate a tip of about BGN10.
What languages are spoken in Bulgaria?
The only official language of Bulgaria is Bulgarian, with the majority of the country speaking it. Bulgaria has no official
minority languages, but Turkish and Romani are fairly common. You'll likely hear Romani all across Bulgaria, while you'll hear
Turkish the further south you are.
Bulgarian also has a high degree of mutual intelligibility with Macedonian. If you can understand Macedonian, you'll understand a
lot of Bulgarian.
What is the latest government travel advice for Bulgaria?
Before going to Bulgaria, make sure you get some travel insurance. Bulgaria is fairly affordable, but you'll still have to pay for
any medical treatments or hospital trips. Medical costs can set you back, so make sure you're covered if the unexpected happens.
You can also visit the
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the
latest government travel advice for Bulgaria.
What is the best time of year to visit Bulgaria?
With stunning Black Sea beaches and ski resorts nestled in forested mountains, Bulgaria is quickly becoming a
holiday hotspot all year round.
June to August is peak tourist season thanks to hot weather and long days. If you're a beach lover, this is the perfect time to head
to the Black Sea to relax, swim, and sunbathe. Resorts like Sunny Beach are well-equipped for the tourist season too, and you'll find
plenty of restaurants and hotels along the coast.
If you enjoy winter sports, visit Bulgaria between December and March. During winter, ski resorts such as Bankso and Pamporovo offer
excellent conditions for skiing and snowboarding. Snow covers many of Bulgaria's mountains in winter as well, creating beautiful
scenery for your outdoor activities.