Money Matters for the new travellers to Bulgaria.

The Bulgarian currency is called the Lev (Лев or лв) or plural Leva (Лева or лв) and is broken down into 100 stotinki (стотинки or ст.) to each lev. The exchange rate is based on the Euro -  1EURO = 1.95583лв (Keep in mind that this is the official exchange rate. The banks can exchange on that rate +/- 0.10лв, but if you go to exchange booths the rate will be much different, perhaps something like 1 EURO = 1.55лв).

Banknotes in current circulation (October 2016) are in 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Lev denominations and coins are in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 stotinka and 1 and 2 Lev denominations. 100 Lev banknotes may be difficult to use in practice in shops for day to day transactions given their high value.

If you want to exchange foreign (non Bulgarian) banknotes in Bulgaria then they should be be clean, no tears or writing or major creases. Be sure to photocopy your passport details before you go, and write your name and hotel name where you are staying. The banks should accept this and you will have no need to remove your passport  from the hotel safe. The golden rule is DO NOT exchange any money on streets or booths. It is likely fake money and the police may not be able to help you. Only carry what you think you need for the day and share it among you so that one person does not carry it all. Travellers Cheques can carry up to 8% charges.

Watch the exchange rates being advertised. Many money changers only advertise the 'sell price' which looks good - you hand over your money and find you get a very low rate. It may seem obvious but look for the 'buy price' - some tourists find the 'Crown' booths to be very fair.