Bulgaria Practical Information

What to Expect – Day to Day Experiences

Bulgaria is one of the most interesting and overlooked countries in Europe, with a wide variety of activities to experience. Its beauty lies in its unspoilt national parks teaming with flora, fauna and birdlife, and its spectacular mountain ranges such as Rila, Pirin, Rodope, and Balkan Mountains. The mountain ranges lend themselves to a range of different all year round adventure activities for families, couples and small groups just wanting to enjoy the scenery and culture that Bulgaria has to offer.

The exchange rate is extremely favourable because Bulgaria has held on to its own currency: the Lev (Leva is the plural)in spite of being in the European Union.This makes travelling to Bulgaria excellent value for money, no matter what one chooses to experience here: adventure sports (horse riding, fishing, white- water rafting and skiing to name a few activities), trekking in the forests and mountains, eating out, cultural visits or just relaxing for a beach holiday on the black Sea.

Visas

Visas are not required for visitors from the EU and EFTA member states. Other nationals should check in their own country with the Bulgarian embassy.

Time

Eastern European Summer Time is 2 hours ahead of GMT (+ 1 extra hour in summertime – which is offset by BST)

Currency & Money

Bulgarian currency is called Lev (the currency code:BGL), the plural is Leva. One Lev is made up of 100 stotinki.

Changing money

Money is easily exchanged at most banks and at the larger exchange bureaus. Hotels and airports tend to give less favourable rates, so if you have large amounts to change it is worth a trip to a bank. Exchange bureaus are not allowed to charge commission for money exchange services but build their cost into the rates, so check rates carefully. It is not advisable to use the black market and change money with anyone who stops you on the street and offers you a better rate.

Credit Cards

Hotels, shops and restaurants in the larger towns and cities will all accept credit cards, but this is not the case in the smaller towns and rural areas where cash is the accepted form of payment. So it is worth keeping some small notes on you when travelling off the beaten track in Bulgaria. All major European and North American debit cards and credit cards are accepted.
ATMs/Cash machines
Cash machines are widely available in most cities and towns and dispense Lev.

Insurance

Adequate travel insurance is mandatory for everyone who participates in a Pioneer expedition. Please bring a copy of your insurance policy and contact numbers to give to your expedition leader in case of illness or accident.

Environmental & Responsible Travel

We are committed to running our business and tours in a way that is environmentally, culturally and socially responsible.

Crime

The most common crimes in Bulgaria are pick-pocketing, mugging and car theft. As with all countries, be careful in city centres, and touristy areas and keep to well-lit areas at night and avoid walking in parks in the dark. Make sure your bags are well zipped up and if you are carrying a ruck sack in a town or city be extra vigilant and be alert to crimes where you may be distracted by someone only to be pick-pocked by someone seemingly not connected to them but actually working with them as part of an theft ring. Do not leave your luggage unattended to and keep your valuables in a hotel safe where ever possible.

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