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The currency in Bulgaria is called Lev (plural Leva). One lev is divided into 100 stotinki (singular, one stotinka). The Bulgarian currency will be replaced with the Еuro several years after Bulgaria joins the EU and once it has fulfilled the economic criteria for entering the eurozone. Now the exchange rate for 1 Euro is 1.955 Leva. For exchanging money there are exchange offices everywhere in towns and cities, with stands advertising their exchange rates. You can also exchange currency in banks, but the rate will be lower. Avoid changing money at the airports, as the rates are usually extremely bad. It is also very unwise to change money on the street, no matter how good rate you are promised. Credit cards are accepted in the larger stores in the major cities, petrol stations, hotels and restaurants. Traveler’s Checks can be exchanged for cash in some banks (but not all), though expect to pay commission rates up to 5 %.

The cost of living in Bulgaria is significantly lower than in Western Europe. Most things are 2-3 times cheaper, though there are exceptions. For example, mobile phone bills can work out rather expensive, due to the fact that there is less competition between operators. The cost of food and drink is substantially cheaper. Here are the prices for some products: Loaf of bread – 0.30 Euro, Box of milk 1L – 0.75 Euro, Cheese 1 kg – 3.50 Euro, Potatoes 1 kg – 0.50 Euro, Tomatoes 1 kg – 0.50 – 1 Euro, Rice 1 kg – 1 Euro, Eggs carton of 6 – 0.50 Euro, etc. The highest household bills are usually electricity – 200 – 220 Euro annually, gas – 105 Euro annually, and telephone. Fuel in Bulgaria is about 1 Euro for 1 liter.

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