Money & Shopping in Bulgaria
Money & Shopping in Bulgaria
Shopping in Bulgaria is unique. All items in the nation may be classified as imported or indigenous. The prices of imported apparel, cosmetics, and fragrances are extremely expensive, however shopping in Bulgaria is still much cheaper than in other European nations. Local items are inexpensive and limited in variety. While resort towns are mostly known for their beachwear, they do have multiple retail complexes with a reasonable selection. Bulgarian shops remain open until 6 p.m., while big shopping malls remain open later. Small businesses, particularly in small towns, often operate on a cashless basis.
The ability to haggle for a better price is a fundamental component of Balkan culture. However, attempting to get discounts at major retail complexes with set prices is utterly improper. The custom has persisted only in marketplaces. You may request a discount at a tiny souvenir store, but locals may decline. Sofia, Varna, and Burgas provide the finest shopping choices. Additionally, resorts have a variety of intriguing items. There is a diverse selection of souvenirs available in beach stores, many of which are handmade by locals. Such things are really unique, and as such, you should surely get something for yourself during your seaside enjoyment. Additionally, you should check at local marketplaces and bazaars. There you may discover one-of-a-kind goods at absurdly low costs.
In Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, the most costly and attractive shops are situated in the center section of the city, just across from the Palace of Culture. On Vitosh Boulevard, you’ll discover clothing from the world’s most renowned designers. Pierre Cardin, Mango, and Ecco are all available in local retailers. Additionally, on Boulevard Vitosh, is the capital’s biggest outlet mall, „Sofia center,“ where you may purchase items at a 50-70 percent discount. Another important retail mall is located on the Sinyatkovo avenue, where you can discover models from both current and earlier collections. You may discover things for every pocketbook at the complex „Serdika.“ Not only can you purchase clothing, perfumes, cosmetics, and home products in the shopping and entertainment complex Paradise, but you can also unwind in a theater or one of the restaurants.
Retail enthusiasts should surely pay a visit to Varna’s two main shopping centers: „Grand Mall Varna“ and „Mall Varna“. The „Grand Mall“ has shops from well-known European designers; shopping in this shopping complex is fairly broad, since it features retailers from a variety of categories. Special emphasis is placed on the store Dafne, which sells clothing from Bulgarian designers. The selection of merchandise is fairly limited in the „Mall.“ However, it has a diverse selection of sports, casual, and business attire. The Vladislav Varnenchik Boulevard is densely packed with businesses selling international and domestic brands.
Additionally, Varna offers a number of shopping complexes and streets where you may purchase clothing and items from both European and local companies. „Bourgas Plaza“ is one of the biggest. A stroll around the Alek Bogorodi and Aleksandrovsk retail districts will be rather intriguing. You may purchase things from Bulgarian companies here, including clothing, footwear, accessories, and cosmetics. Bulgarian footwear is often constructed of leatherette and is quite affordable in comparison to European versions. Refan is one of the greatest local cosmetic businesses. Additionally, the Bulgarian textile is worth noting. It is recognized for its low price and superior quality.
You may carry wood carvings as a memento from Bulgaria. Local artisans provide a diverse assortment of ceramics to visitors. Bulgarian ceramics are of exceptional quality and are highly regarded across the globe. Textiles embellished with traditional „Shevici“ needlework will also be good purchases and make lovely souvenirs from the trip. Almost every city in the nation has a street of craftsmen where you can get one-of-a-kind copper items. Genuine copper Turks, in which you may boil the most delectable coffee, require special attention. Another traditional Bulgarian product is rose oil and rose water. And, of course, while leaving Bulgaria, one cannot pass up the opportunity to purchase local treats along the way. They are properly maintained, without losing their flavor, due to the recipe’s features.
Money in Bulgaria
The Bulgarian currency unit is the Lev (лев, abbreviated „лв“, plural: Leva), which comprises one hundred Stotinki. The Lev is pegged to the euro at 1.95583 Leva to the euro (which is the same rate as the old Deutsche Mark, to which the Lev was previously pegged at 1 to 1).
Traders and other businesses in Bulgaria generally do not accept foreign money, although many accept the euro. In rural areas, Bulgaria remains a predominantly cash-based economy, but in the larger cities credit cards are generally accepted.
In most cities, there are many exchange offices which are signposted with „CHANGE“ signs. Most are legitimate, but some can rip you off. For example, they advertise a very competitive rate on the outside, but on the inside there is a small sign with „official“ rates, and these are much worse – so always make sure you ask how much leva you will get for your money before you actually hand it in, and calculate for yourself (for example, using your mobile phone) how much money you expect to get. If you now refuse the transaction because the rate has suddenly changed, they will make all sorts of unjustified claims (for example, „I’ve already entered it into the computer, it can’t be stopped“), but if you threaten to call the police immediately while raising your voice so that other tourists look in your direction, they will usually let you go immediately.
It is much safer to exchange your money in a bank. Banks charge little or no commission and generally offer good rates, although they are slightly lower than those charged by (non-criminal) exchange offices. Higher commissions may apply to traveller’s cheques. Old, dirty or heavily worn banknotes may be refused. Never change money in the street. Beware of people on the street who offer high exchange rates or who may ask you to give them change.
In recent years, the network of ATMs in Bulgaria has grown considerably, making it relatively easy to obtain cash from the numerous ATMs in Sofia, as well as in all other major cities and seaside resorts. The national credit/debit card circuit BORICA [www], to which all ATMs in the country are connected, accepts VISA/Plus, Visa Electron, MasterCard/Cirrus, Maestro, American Express, Diners Club and a number of other cards.
Prices in Bulgaria
Prices for some items in Bulgaria are about half those in Western Europe, and it is possible to get good deals on shoes and leather goods as well as other clothing. Note that clothing from major international brands, perfumes, electronic equipment, etc. are often more expensive than in other parts of Europe.
Supermarkets in Bulgaria
In Sofia and some major cities you can find branches of international hypermarket chains such as Kaufland, Hit, Billa, Metro, and others. There are also many local supermarket chains such as Fantastiko, Familia and Piccadilly. All Bulgarian supermarkets sell European quality products.