What to spend your lev on
Cappuccino in a local café
One day card for all public transport in Sofia
Entrance to the Museum of Natural History, Sofia
Three-course meal for two
Guided day tour of the 1,000 year-old Rila Monastery
Must-sees in Bulgaria
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A whole lotta lev
After redenomination in 1999, a new series of coins and notes were introduced – the fourth version of the lev since its birth in 1881. There are 100 stotinki to each lev; the coins denoting 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 or 50 stotinki are in frequent use.
As with many European nations not currently part of the euro, when Bulgaria might adopt the currency has been talked about ever since it became an EU member in 2007. Due to this, there are some establishments here and there – typically hotels in the bigger cities, that will accept payment in euros, but they’re not widely accepted.
Tipping taxi drivers is considered courteous, and you need only give 1 or 2 lev for a short journey. For tour guides, try to avoid giving them smaller coins as a tip, since this is sometimes taken as a rude gesture – again, 1 or 2 lev should be fine. The same amount can be given to bar staff (unless your service was poor), and 10% is a fairly common tip in a restaurant.
Frequently used banknotes
While the 1 lev banknote is still in use, it is slowly being replaced by the 1 lev coin, so the note form is not in common usage anymore. The 2 lev coin is expected to be introduced later in 2015, with the aim of replacing the 2 lev note.
Notes you are likely to use are the 5 (pink), 10 (olive), 20 (purple), 50 (brown) and 100 (green) lev notes. Keep plenty of 1 and 2 lev coins to hand so you can settle your smaller bills easily.
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