The official language in the country is Bulgarian. Russian is widely spoken by the older generations, while English is popular among younger people.
The national currency of Bulgaria
is the Bulgarian Lev (BGN). It has been tied to the Euro (previously to the Deutsche Mark) by a currency board since 1997 (1 BGN = 1.956 Euro).
If you plan on using your credit card in Bulgaria, it is recommended that you bring your pin code with you as it happens some of the companies nowadays to ask their clients to type in their pin codes in order to authorize transactions and minimise fraud. ATMs are available for cash withdrawals throughout the whole country. Of course you can get cash from any local bank branch as well.
Exchange rates by the Bulgarian National Bank http://bnb.bg/
Tips are almost never included in the price of goods and services in Bulgaria so if you feel satisfied with what you get, don’t hesitate to add an extra buck. Normally, we would advise you to leave a tip that is somewhere in the 10% range.
Oh, and one more thing: the prices of all goods and services in Bulgaria include 20% VAT.
Local time in Bulgaria is +2 (GMT)
The official business hours of most companies and administrative institutions in Bulgaria are from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. This includes banks, ministries, post offices, libraries, etc. However, 99% of the supermarkets, shops and bookstores have longer business hours and are open on weekends as well. Restaurants, bistros and pubs are usually open seven days a week from say 11am until midnight (at least). And please don’t expect the night clubs and discotheques to close before dawn.
Bulgaria is a reasonably safe country. It is recommended to take normal precautions as everywhere else when travelling.
The tap water in Bulgaria is drinkable and tastes fine. We do realize, however, that taste is a highly subjective thing so if you don’t feel absolutely sure about this, you can just opt for one of the many different brands of mineral water sold in the nearby supermarket. Bulgaria’s got hundreds of mineral springs that produce high-quality bottled water, so it is pretty safe to say that you will get the taste you want. We promise.
All power outlets in Bulgaria provide 220 V (50Hz) AC and the Schuko AC power plug and socket system is regarded as the standard one in the country. It is compatible with europlugs.
Country Code: 00359
Area Codes: 00359+
Sofia – (0)2
Plovdiv – (0)32
Varna – (0)52
Burgas – (0)56
Ruse – (0)82
Stara Zagora – (0)42
Veliko Tarnovo - (0)62
When calling from abroad, dial the country code first and then the area code. If you are in the country and you wish to make a long-distance phone call just pick the relevant area code and add a 0 in front of it.
There are three major mobile phone network providers operating on the territory of Bulgaria: M-Tel, Globul and Vivacom.
They all provide decent services but due to their affiliations to different international telecommunication groups the price at which you will get them may vary substantially. So if you intend to use your own cell phone during your stay in the country, make sure you are well aware of the roaming fees you are charged and always pick the cheapest option. This will surely prevent you from getting extremely upset at the end of the month when the mobile phone bill arrives.
Oh relax, Bulgaria offers great Internet services so you will be able to check your mail and update your Facebook status even if you are stranded in the most isolated, godforsaken town
in the country.
Wi-Fi Internet is available in many hotels, cafés and restaurants, as well as in some parks in the main cities. If you don’t have your own laptop computer, you might as well look up for an Internet café.