Bulgaria offers an attractive yet wallet-friendly alternative to its Mediterranean neighbours. Renowned as one of the cheapest holiday destinations in Europe, you won’t have to worry about blowing your budget when holidaying here.
Its currency is the Bulgarian lev and converting it to euros in your head is easy peasy – it’s on a fixed rate of 1 euro per 1.96 lev. In terms of Great British Pound, there’s no fixed rate. But, as it stands at the moment, 1 lev equals around 46p*.
So, if you’re due east this holiday season, your horizon just got a whole lot cheaper. Here’s how much you should look to bring on your next Bulgarian adventure.
Dining out in Bulgaria is astonishingly cheap, especially if you’re in a more rural area of the country. Restaurants that are close to markets and within town also tend to offer cheaper price tags, and gradually increase as you get closer to the coast. Meals from inexpensive restaurants will set you back 10 lev or less, while three-course meals at a top-of-the-line spot will cost around 40 lev for two, and that typically includes wine, too.
- Swapping out a sit-down breakfast for pastries on the go is a great way to save a little cash in Bulgaria
- Local delicacies like banica, a cheese pastry, or banitza, another breakfast pastry filled with everything from spinach to cheese and eggs, are usually 1.5 lev or less
- You’ll also find on-the-go nibbles that get the job done for less, like krenvirshka, a hotdog in a savoury bread, or kebabs from street vendors
Bars and pubs
Bulgaria is famous for its bargain alcohol prices, particularly in party hotspots like Sunny Beach. Around these parts, a pint of beer can cost you as little as a lev – the equivalent of 50p – however do expect to pay a little higher in the beach bars.
The same goes for cocktails, which typically cost around four to eight lev, unless you go name brand. Imported alcohol or branded spirits generally carry much higher price tags, so you’re wise to stick with the cheap – and often equally delicious – local stuff.
Because spots like Sunny Beach are so famous for their party scenes, you’d be wise to pinch a few pennies by joining a guided pub crawl. Joining will cost you a flat fee, but with it you’ll typically get free entrance into clubs plus a few free drinks thrown in.
Out and about
Bulgaria’s historic sites are easily accessible, with low ticket prices to match the rest of the country’s affordable holidaymaker amenities.
Individual tickets to museums and sites like Nessebar’s Archaeological Museum or the ancient St Stephens Church will set you back around six lev per adult ticket*. Tickets to waterparks are significantly steeper, with full-day prices clocking in at around 40 lev per adult*, and half that number for kids*.
- In spots like Nessebar where there are a number of small historic sites clustered together you can buy a combo ticket that includes admission to a handful of sites
- As for waterparks, the prices here are typically priced on a time basis, so if you think you’ll only want to spend a few hours at a particular place, you can buy a half-day ticket for less
- To save even more money, you should consider booking a SplashWorld hotel, that way you entry fee to the waterpark is included in your holiday package
As Bulgaria has grown in holiday popularity, its tipping culture has become more evident too. This is especially true with people in the tourist industry – hoteliers, taxi drivers and waiters will all expect a tip, for instance. Quite a few people in the business only earn minimum wage because it’s expected they’ll earn tips, so on the whole, a 10% tip is very appreciated. Extra help or particularly great service generally warrants a little extra.
It’s not just cheap when you get there, Bulgaria holidays are also extremely affordable. Have a look at a few of our favourite deals below.
*Prices correct at the time blog was published and are subject to availability. T&C’s apply.