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ATMs and Currency in Bulgaria

I'm strongly considering the Bulgaria tour for next year. One question, if anybody can answer-

How easy is it to access cash through an ATM in the country? This seems a tad more "rustic" than many of the RS tours. Rick doesn't even have a guidebook for the country. Just wondering what pitfalls might be out there if I sign up for this tour.

Posted by
12040 posts

I had no problems getting cash at ATMs in Sofia in 2001. I can only imagine that's it's now even easier.

Posted by
865 posts

I haven't been yet, but my Lonely Planet "Romania & Bulgaria" guidebook (pub. May 2013) says: "ATMs that accept major credit cards (ie Visa, MasterCard and American Express) are common, found in all sizeable towns and cities. The total amount you can withdraw depends on how much your bank will allow and on how much is in your account; the maximum allowed per day by most Bulgarian banks is usually 200 lv."

Posted by
127 posts

Thanks for the replies.

I think I'm going to take the plunge! I can't get over the details of this tour's itinerary. I just like to know what I'm getting myself in for and Bulgaria is a lot more off the beaten path than my other travels.

Posted by
16866 posts

If any particular town will be an issue, your guide will try to warn you and to suggest a budget. There may not be an ATM near the Rila monastery, but that is your first night after leaving Sofia, where you'll have plenty of options.

Posted by
2788 posts

I took the RS Bulgaria Tour in June and July of this year and had no trouble finding ATMs for getting their local currency which is not Euros. I use a debit card tied to a checking account at a local credit union where I notify them in advance of my travel plans - places and dates.

Posted by
4 posts

I was in Bulgariya for 2 times, I adore this country. Had no problems with currency! It is rather cheap to travel there!

Posted by
12546 posts

We have traveled in Bulgaria on two occasions now. The last was a cross country fly fishing road trip ending in Istanbul in June 2014. This is a fantastic country with incredible sights and good people. The ATM's worked fine and my T-Mobile had service every time i checked. We will most likely be heading back in 2016.

Posted by
1 posts

My wife is Bulgarian and I've been there 6 times since 2006. I have never had a problem using the ATM but you should contact your bank before you going so they can set up a travel alert. Some banks fraud alert will prohibit you from accessing funds.

Likewise, Visa/Mastercard are widely accepted but as with the rest of Europe - you should have a 'chip card' and contact your bank to set up a travel alert. American Express is accepted at major hotels but is not widely accepted (again, you should have a chip card).

I did have problems exchanging travelers checks - many banks refused to exchange them (Plovdiv, Sofia). There were some places in Nesebar that exchanged them.

Also, banks would not exchange any currency (Euros/Dollars to Lev) with any kind of wear or tear - even small tears.