currency exchange for BGN Lev

Is there any bank or agency,Bulgarian or otherwise,in the U.S. from which one could obtain Lev (BGN)currency pre-trip? I have tried Travelex with no success and searching the internet has not yielded anything helpful. I have called the Bulgarian Consulate and asked the same question. The person at the Consulate told me that the taxi and shuttle service would accept Euros and USD. Otherwise, there would be banks in Sofia which would change currency.
Might I find a money exchange at the hotel?

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

There is no reason to stress ahead of time. Get currency when you arrive - there will be ATMs in Sofia, including the airport. Travel ex, exchange places, and hotels will give you unfavorable rates.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1376 posts

If you are a member of AAA you might ask at your local office if they can get some for you. ATMs are not hard to find in Bulgaria so if you have a debit card tied to your checking account you can get Bulgarian money when you get there. We made good use of ATMs when we were in Bulgaria.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2852 posts

The money advice for Bulgaria is the same as for any other European country. Here are Rick's money tips; read each of the links on this page, and you'll be an expert: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/money-travel-tips.htm In summary: Use credit cards for large purchases, and get cash from ATM's. Do not use credit cards for cash advances except in case of emergency (high fees). Bring some USD to have to exchange in case of emergency. Call your banks and credit cards before you go to inform them of your travel plans (so you cards are not blocked) and to find out the current fees (so you can use the cards with the lowest fees whenever possible). But don't worry too much about the fees - it's still cheaper than other methods, including exchanging cash.

Posted by Frances
San Diego
590 posts

I was in Bulgaria in May and prior to my trip I was not able to find any Lev anywhere. I was told it is considered a "lesser currency" and that exchange houses do not carry it. But, on my arrival in Sofia - I went an ATM in the airport and was able to get what I needed - no problem. I could not change any at the hotels....but found that there is a currency exchange on almost every street. NOTE: I was in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Romania and I found that you cannot change Lev in any of the other 2 countries, same for Serbian Currency and Romanian. None of the countries would accept the other for change at a currency exchange house. I had to change the money to Euros and then on arrival in the new country, I was able to convert the Euros to the local currency... yes, was a hassle. But I found things to very
in expensive, so I didn't have to change much money. Hope you have a great trip.

Posted by Leslie
Colville, WA
252 posts

Just got back from Bulgaria and agree with what the others are telling you. You can not get Lev in the US but it is very easy to use the ATM's. Assuming that you are flying into Sofia, when you enter the arrivals hall, go to the left and there is an ATM on the left wall. If you don't see it, just ask at one of the car rental places. If you are taking a taxi,turn right and in the far corner, you will see the OK Taxi booth. Go to the booth directly and they will get you a taxi - the cost into town was 12 lev though he did tell me in Euros first, so he would have taken those also. Follow Harold's advice about contacting banks and credit card companies about your travels. I had no trouble getting cash in even the smaller cities. Enjoy your visit, it is a beautiful country,