Here, to the best of our knowledge, are some practical information and tips.
Entry Visas: Visa’s are not required for citizens of the EU. For all other citizens, please contact the Bulgarian Consulate of your country of residence.
Insurance: Standard travel insurance policies do not provide coverage if you are travelling for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment. We recommend that you opt for a specialised ”enhanced medical” insurance policy. You can find out more here.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC): All EU citizens in case of unexpected illness are entitled to any medical treatment that can’t wait until their return home. We strongly recommend that European citizens always have their EHIC card when travelling abroad as it will entitle you to a free emergency medical care in a state hospital. In the case of not having such, you will not be refused treatment, but may have to pay upfront and claim reimbursement once you have returned home.
Currency: Bulgarian Lev (BGN).
- Current banknote values: 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 BGN.
- Current coin values: 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Stotinki and 1 and 2 BGN.
- Exchange rates: Since 1997, the value of the Bulgarian Lev has been pegged to the Euro, at a fixed rate of 1 EUR equal to 1.95583 BGN (1 BGN is equal to 0.511292 EUR). Exchange Rate for GBP as per 12.10.2015 is 1 GBP is equal to 2.642660 BGN (1 BGN is equal to 0.378407 GBP). Please keep in mind that it will be very difficult to exchange BGN outside Bulgaria.
Banks: Bank opening times vary depending on the bank. Some branches have extended working hours as well as opening times at the weekend.
Credit Cards: Credit cards are widely accepted in most hotels and major shops.
ATMs: ATMs are very popular, and the majority of credit and debit cards are accepted on the high street.
Time zone: Bulgaria is in the Eastern European Time Zone (GMT+2). During the period from March to October, it is “summer time”. There is a change of time twice a year. On the last weekend in March, clocks switch from winter to summer time and are turned forward by one hour. On the last weekend in October, clocks switch summer to winter time and are turned backwards by one hour.
Electricity: In Bulgaria, the voltage is 220-240V. You will need a standard European double plug. UK customers need to bring adapters (3 pin plug to 2 pin plug).
Telephone: You will have no problem using your mobile phones in Bulgaria. In the event you need one, you can always obtain a phone with a free of charge SIM card from Bulgaria Medical Travel Partner during your stay in Bulgaria. We will, as well, assist you to purchase credit vouchers for that card. We will provide you with the 24-hour telephone numbers of your Bulgaria Medical Travel Partner personal assistant.
Doctors: In the case of medical emergency, please contact your Bulgaria Medical Travel Partner personal assistant. Alternatively, you can always call the European emergency number 112, free of charge.
Medications: You will find all types of medication in all our pharmacies, but you are advised to bring your usual medicines as well as prescriptions for any particular treatment.
Water: Tap water is drinkable.
Shops: Shops are generally open from 09.00 to 19.00. There are numerous shops, including grocery, that are open till 22.00 on weekdays and have shorter working hours on the weekends. Some supermarkets are open 24h.
Internet: Bulgaria offers one of the fastest internet speeds in the world. All hospitals and vehicles we use have free wireless internet. The Internet is also available in most of the restaurants, bars, cafeterias, shopping malls and some public places.
Language: English is spoken in all the hotels. On your way around you may not always find people speaking perfect English, but you will always find friendly people willing to help. The Bulgarian alphabet is Cyrillic. All the major streets and squares in Sofia have Latin transliteration.
Weather: Bulgaria has a temperate-continental climate with moderate features which are characteristic for Central Europe, with hot summers, cold winters and distinct four seasons.
Transportation: A single public transport, including metro ticket, cost 1.60 BGN. There are a variety of cards offering cheaper transportation. When using taxis in Sofia it useful to note that the price per kilometre before getting in. The prices are separated into two tariff plans – a day plan usually from 06.00 till 22.00 and a night plan from 22.00 till 06.00 in the morning. The prices may vary depending on the taxi company but tend to be around 0.79 BGN per km for the day tariff and around 0.90 BGN per km for the night tariff. There is also an initial charge of 0.70 BGN when you get in the taxi and a charge 0.22 BGN for a 1-minute waiting time. Again these tariffs may vary depending on the taxi company. Even though taxis with higher rates than the above mentioned are not illegal, it is wise to be careful, as the final bill can become quite large.
Emergency: 112 is the European emergency phone number, available everywhere in the European Union, free of charge.
Valuable items: We advise that you keep your valuables at home and only travel with essentials. If you bring any valuables, it is recommendable to keep them in safe.