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One of the first questions that arise when traveling to Bulgaria's where I change money because although Bulgaria belong to the European Union, It has not yet adopted the euro as their currency, It has its own currency, he “Lev” (“takes” in plural) and the official abbreviation for Lev is “BGN”.

lev currency

Coins and notes “lev”

Changing the lev to the euro is easy to calculate because it is 1,96 BGN per Euro, therefore it can be approximated by multiplying 2 if we go to the Euros takes the divide by 2 if the contrary.

In Spain you can make change money before traveling to Bulgaria but this involves making a special request to our bank, expect to receive the money, etc, and are tedious steps, In addition to doing the bank applies a commission that we can avoid if we change directly in Bulgaria, but there begins the dilemma where change money in Bulgaria ?…

 

Off the plane on Sofia airport you're going to have 2 possibilities, exchange offices and bank offices, in exchange offices you will apply a less favorable change in bank offices, so we recommend change at the airport banks, although the exchange offices are faster and the bank may have to wait, That's because each decision, but we talked about the office that change is a 5% more expensive than bank office, for instance, if we change 100 €, We are losing about 5 € exchange office in regard to do so in the bank!! Another issue we must consider is that the office hours change is broader than the bank, In fact the airport banks have the same schedule as the city, that is to say, usually close to the 16:30 from 17:30, so if we later find only open exchange office, and worse, if you arrive at dawn, as with several flights of lowcost companies, you will meet both closed, both the bank and exchange office.

 

cambio dinero en Bulgaria

One bank from Sofia Airport and ATM

Our recommendation is as follows: if you arrive at opening time bank is best exchanged at banks (by the way, closed on Saturdays and Sundays all day, except those within large shopping centers do open on weekends) . Make an estimate of what you spend in the next few days and change off the plane as the first bank you see the airport open. Changing money for a good time is lost, between wait their turn, the cashier count the money received and delivery, to sign a paper that does not understand anything because it is in Bulgarian except the figures should reflect what you give and what you get…therefore it is not a good idea to have to go daily by a bank to change small amounts each day of your trip, It would be a waste of time. At the end of the trip if you have left you do the opposite operation and resolved, if you ever do on a bench just you lose in the operation 0,005 cents for every euro you return, which it is negligible.

If when you get to Sofia the bank is closed you can change a small amount in exchange office, just enough to take a taxi and reach the hotel and the next morning go through a bank to make the change of principal money. Calculate the taxi between Sofia Airport and the center of Sofia can cost between 6-7 euros, that is to say, 12-14 takes. And do not skimp pennies the driver, Give him a round figure, if the counter mark 12,20 takes, dale 13,00 takes, although most of the time taxi drivers and waiters, already they awarded themselves the tip and gives back the change after staying without asking them a few cents, Do not be surprised, It is its usual policy… after all the taxi is very inexpensive compared to the costs that have (fuel costs the same as in Spain), therefore it is understandable…

If you arrive early in the morning, your only option is to go to the ATM's in the airport office bank, also shows a small amount as you were recommending in the previous paragraph because although it depends on what your bank, generally they apply a high commission for taking abroad and also because they make the currency change automatically and they charge it to you as it does the exchange office. Note that the language of the default ATM is Bulgarian, so you have to switch to English to understand something, and an important detail, to get out of your checking account and no credit or other formulas, in English, select giving out money option “withdraw” Cashier and not others…

Let us now in the worst case: What happens if you arrive early in the morning and the next day is Saturday or Sunday? because you'll find bank city offices closed… but do not despair, Luckily the benches inside the big malls open on Saturdays and Sundays!!! on regular schedule until 16:30 from 17:30 hours according to the bank in question. There are malls in downtown Sofia city, You can check your location in advance and not have to move outside. By the way there call “Mall” as Americans and not “shopping center”. yes, employees of the airport banks usually speak English but they are getting at the offices of the city assumes that only speak Bulgarian, So to make money exchange have to make you understand how you possible…

 

Centro comercial en el centro de Sofía

shopping mall in downtown Sofia

 

There are also exchange offices scattered around Sofia that are open every day including weekends, although the commission is superior to banks, I recommend resort to them if it is the only option…

When returning to Spain remembers back without “takes” since it will be very cumbersome change in Spain and especially spend those coins not even the will change in Spain… Maybe this whole operating on where you change money in Bulgaria prove tedious, But remember this: thanks to Bulgaria maintains its own currency, among other reasons, it helps maintain low prices for your purchases!!

If you have difficulties with the language and do not handle well in English we recommend hiring one of our Spanish-speaking local guides, They will help not only with the efforts of changing money, but with others such as hotel registration, airport-hotel transfers, and of course as a tour guide for the country, after all the holidays are to enjoy them, not to get stressed out with banal efforts, true?…

You can contact us and we will offer a package of tourist services to your needs with Spanish-speaking guide. info@senderismoeuropa.com

7 comments

  1. Marta Reply 4 July, 2018 at 8:43 am

    Hello good day,

    Next week I go 4 days Bulgaria. Looking for information on changing money at the airport I stumbled upon your page…And it is still very useful.

    But I have a question. See if you can solve my.

    I have pounds and dollars (both currency and banknote) I have left over from other trips …and I'm not sure if the currency (1 pound etc) the support to change it there at the airport.

    Please, you could say me whether I will accept or not the?

    Thank you very much in advance and greetings,

    • Luis Car Reply 9 July, 2018 at 5:47 pm

      Hello, Martha, Yes, pounds and dollars are common currency, and Sofia Airport (both T1 and T2) there is a money exchange office and bank offices you can also change pounds and dollars. Just check out their opening hours to the public if you run non-business hours…

  2. Olga Reply 18 August, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Useful information

  3. Carlos Paniagua Reply 11 September, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Hello, I arrived on Thursday T2, about the 16 45, I need the bus to take me out 18 30, I will take time to change the taxi and bus, or I can pay it in euros even if you lose 1 O 2 euros? a greeting

    • Luis Car Reply 10 May, 2019 at 11:28 pm

      From the airport to the bus station can be reached by 20 minutes by taxi. We believe that it will give you time to change money. The taxi can accept euros but the bus ticket is bought at the station must pay in cam or card, no euro.

  4. CORAL Reply 21 March, 2019 at 8:13 am

    Good Morning.

    I wonder where change in Spain Euros A BGN (LEV) because we arrived on Saturday and are closed banks.
    Where can we make the change in Spain ? Thank you.

    a greeting. Coral

    • Luis Car Reply 10 May, 2019 at 11:35 pm

      In Spain you'll have to ask your bank and take some time to have it, Apart from an important commission. Even if you arrive on a Saturday, please remember what we say in the article: ” you will find banks open in malls in Sofia” and there are also some exchange offices open weekends in Sofia.

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