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Currency and Cost of Living

Bulgaria - Currency and Cost of Living

Bulgaria's national currency is the lev, which is divided into 100 stotinki.

During the communist era, the lev was not convertible into foreign currency, so could only be used for domestic transactions. Bulgarians could not enter or leave the country carrying levove. Since 1999 the lev has been fairly stable against Western currencies and is now tied to the Euro at a fixed rate of 1 Euro = Lv 1.955.

Notes are available in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 leva.

Coins come in denominations of 1 and 2 leva, plus 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 stotinki.

Images of notes and coins in circulation can be found here. Living costs are relatively low in Bulgaria, but expected to rise when Bulgaria joins the EU in 2007. Prices have risen in Sofia, Plovdiv and along the coast, but the essentials are still inexpensive.

Using public transport is cheap - flat fares are about 0.40 dollars per journey.

Eating out is also good value - an average evening meal and drink costs about 10 dollars. Bulgarian wine is about 3 dollars, and spirits 5 dollars a bottle. A coffee costs about 0.6 dollars.

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