Bulgarian Currency: An Easy Guide For Beginners

There seems to be some confusion when people are searching for Bulgarian currency. Many people search for the term Bulgaria currency, however, to say Bulgaria currency isn’t quite correct and may not get you what you are looking for. Instead, search for Bulgarian currency! The official currency in Bulgaria is called the Bulgarian lev. If you have more than one lev, it’s called leva. However, you’ll find most people simply use the Bulgarian currency ‘lev.’

The Historical Meaning Of The Bulgarian Word Lev

The word ‘lev’ actually originates from an archaic Bulgarian word that means ‘lion.‘ When you visit Bulgaria, you will see lions all over the place, such as on the nation’s coat of arms, sculptures, monuments, gargoyles, and as symbols. Lev, or lion, represents the braveness of the Bulgarian nation and its people.

The national Bulgarian currency denominations come in both coin and banknote form.

Bulgarian Lev Coins

The Bulgarian currency uses a lot of coins. The most popular coins are the 1 and 2 leva coins. These are very similar to the pound or dollar as 1 lev is comprised of 100 cents or pence, which in Bulgaria is referred to as stotinka.

1 Lev Coin Bulgarian Currency
2 Lev Coin Bulgarian Currency

Coins are the most popular form of currency in Bulgaria and coins are used to pay for the majority of things, showing just how affordable Bulgaria is as a country to visit.

In Bulgaria, all coins are referred to as stotinki coins. Stotinki comes in the forms of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 stotinki (cents or pence).

2 and 5 Stotinki Coins Bulgarian Currency
10 and 20 Stotinki Coins Bulgarian Currency
50 Stotinki Coin Bulgarian Currency

Bulgarian Banknotes

The Bulgarian currency is also denoted in banknote form. Bulgarian lev bills come in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. It’s not recommended to use or accept 50 or 100 lev notes. Most places will not accept such large denominations because they won’t have enough change. The 2 lev banknote is also hardly used anymore since the introduction of the 2 lev coin which has become very popular.

5 Leva Bulgarian Currency
10 Leva Bulgarian Currency
20 Leva Bulgarian Currency
50 Leva Bulgarian Currency
100 Leva Bulgarian Currency


How to Read Or Say Numbers In Bulgarian

When dealing with an unfamiliar currency, it may be useful to know how to read or say numbers in Bulgarian. Use this chart to help you when you’re shopping or exchanging money while in Bulgaria.

Numbers In Bulgaria:

1 / едно / edno11 /  единадесет / edinadeset
2 / две / dve12 / дванадесет / dvanadeset
3 / три / tri13 / тринадесет / trinadeset
4 / четири / chetiri14 / четиринадесет / chetirinadeset
5 / пет / pet15 / петнадесет / petnadeset
6 / шест / shest16 / шестнадесет / shestnadeset
7 /  седем / sedem17 / седемнадесет / sedemnadeset
8 / осем / osem18 / осемнадесет / osemnadeset
9 / девет / devet19 / деветнадесет / devetnadeset
10 / десет / deset20 / двадесет / dvadeset

What Is The Currency Symbol For Bulgarian Money?

The Bulgarian name for their currency, lev, is symbolized using the Cyrillic alphabet, which is what the Bulgarian language is based on. The official currency symbol is ‘лв’. However, on bank exchanges, the currency code is BGN.

Quick Facts About The Bulgarian Currency

Name: Lev (Leva for plural)
Coins: 1 lev, 2 lev
Stotinki: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 stotinki
Banknotes: 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100
Symbol: лв
Currency Code: BGN

Does Bulgaria Use The Euro?

This is a common question for visitors. Bulgaria is an EU country, yet the nation has chosen not to adopt the Euro. This often causes confusion for visitors planning to travel to Bulgaria. For visitors, further confusion may be caused as many market and store prices are shown in Euros. This is done to help Europeans understand the equivalency of what they are paying, however, all purchases are actually made using Bulgarian lev.

That’s not to say you can’t use Euros in Bulgaria. You can, but you’ll be getting poor rates and end up paying more for goods and services than you would if you’d paid with the Bulgarian lev. 

Say hello to Bulgarian currency, as it’s the best option to pay for local commodities. Always try to pay in the Bulgaria currency to get the best deals and save your money!

Best Ways To Exchange Currency In Bulgaria

Exchanging money in Bulgaria is very easy. There are exchange stands and banks that make it easy to make quick exchanges. Nowadays, most people simply use ATMs to make currency exchanges in Bulgaria. Note that ATMs are typically only found in larger towns and cities and are a rarity in the countryside. In the countryside, you’ll want to make sure you have cash.

Remember not to accept 50 лв or 100 лв notes as those will not be easily changed later on.

Another good tip for exchanging money is to avoid doing so at airports or hotels. They often markup the exchange rates they use and may charge hidden fees.

How To Communicate When Exchanging Money In Bulgaria

Here are some tips and phrases you may find useful when speaking with a currency converter when trying to convert money to Bulgarian lev.

In EnglishIn BulgarianPronunciation
Where is the nearest bank?Къде е най-близката банка?Koo-de e naai-bliz-ka-ta-bank-a?
Where can I exchange money?Къде мога да обменя париWhere can I exchange money? Къде мога да обменя пари Koo-de mo-ga-da-ob-men-ya-par-ee?
Can I have smaller banknotes please?Мога ли да получа по-малки банкноти, моляMore-a-lee da po-loo-cha-po-mal-kee-bank-no-tee, mol-ya?
Do you take (insert your country’s currency here) money?Взимаш ли ___________ париVee-zee-mash-lee____________par-ee?

Not sure about how to pronounce these words and phrases? If you’re thinking that Bulgarian is hard to learn, then the good news is that it is not!

Get the Ling the app where you can listen to and practice pronunciations in Bulgarian and sound like a local in Bulgaria!

How Much Is 1 Bulgarian Lev Worth?

Since 2005, the rate of the Bulgarian Lev has been pegged to the Euro. It has a fixed exchange rate of 1.95583 leva to 1 Euro. However, this is the official exchange rate and not the same rate as you will be given in banks and exchanges.

Use this currency converter to search for the currency code (BGN) to find out how much your money is worth in Bulgarian lev and check the daily exchange rate. Be aware that these are the best exchange rates available and often banks and exchange stalls will offer a lower rate so always make sure you are getting the best rates and value for your money.

How To Spend In Bulgaria

While most places accept Bulgarian currency in cash form, you can also freely pay by major credit cards or debit cards. Always make sure to inform your bank before you travel abroad to avoid any issues accessing your money. Make sure to pay attention to prices – they may be posted in Euros but remember to always pay in the local currency (lev or leva) to save money.

Is this your first time traveling to Bulgaria? Check out these helpful travel hacks now.


Learn More Bulgarian To Help You On Your Travels In Bulgaria

Now that you’ve mastered the Bulgarian currency, we’d love to help you learn simple phrases and vocabulary to ensure you have the best experience in Bulgaria. You’ll not only know about the currency but also learn how to speak your country name and nationality in Bulgarian when introducing yourself.

Loved by millions, the Ling app provides a fun and easy way to learn Bulgarian. In fact, Ling offers over 60 languages to learn! Our app is unique because not only will you learn to read and write a new language, but you will get to listen to real conversations and master local pronunciations of words. Check out Ling now and start learning!

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