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A budget-seeker's guide to Bulgaria


No need to scrimp and save when you’re away on holiday – welcome to Bulgaria, where frugal fun is always on the cards! Here are our top tips on how to do Bulgaria on a budget…

Think fun-packed beach holidays are a thing of the past? Think again. Over in the Balkan beauty of Bulgaria, you won’t have to worry about the strain on your wallet when out and about enjoying yourself in the sun.

The country regularly tops lists of budget-friendly holiday destinations. And most recently, it came in at number two in the Post Office Holiday Money Report 2022, which looked at 36 destinations worldwide and compared the prices of meals, drinks and other essentials that British holidaymakers buy while they’re on their jollies! We’re talking everything from a pint of local beer to a bottle of sun lotion.

What’s more, the exchange rate from pounds to Bulgarian lev is generally really good, so you can help those holiday spends stretch even further. Ten Bulgarian lev is equal to around £5 which could cover a small meal or a couple of drinks!

Ready to get more bang for your buck in Bulgaria? Here’s why it’s the perfect choice for those on a budget…

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Brilliant beach days

Much of the Black Sea Coast in lined with glorious golden beaches and hidden-away coves, but it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to kick back and relax on them.

Take Sunny Beach’s main stretch for example, dotted between the rows upon rows of loungers and umbrellas, you’ve got huge swathes of sand that are open to the public and completely free to use.

Top tip: Why not grab your towels, pack up a picnic and head down for a beach day? Pick up drinks and snacks from a supermarket, then you won’t have to stray from the sands.

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Eating and drinking

There’s a great selection of cuisines on offer in Bulgaria, and in the most popular resorts like Sunny Beach and Nessebar, you’ll find plenty of British-style pubs and restaurants serving up all our English faves. And a sit-down, three-course meal for two comes in at around £25!

Like to grab food on the go? This can make things even cheaper! Local street food stalls serve up some delicious favourites like banitsa, a crispy cheese pastry, and giant slices of pizza for as little as one or two lev.

Keep an eye out for happy hours in pubs and bars, as once this allotted time comes around, prices of beer, cocktails and soft drinks are slashed!

Top tip: Grab a bite to eat at the local bakeries which you’ll find dotted across the whole country. They serve sweet and savoury pastries and at just a lev or two each, they’re cheap and cheerful and will set you up for the day.

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Soak up the culture

Bulgaria’s jam-packed with historical sights and culture-stuffed attractions but exploring them and delving a little deeper doesn’t have to break the bank.

If you’re staying in Sunny Beach, UNESCO-stamped Nessebar Old Town is right and your doorstep. It’s free to roam around and bob in and out of the quaint shops. You can snap pictures of the labyrinthine Old Town and admire time-worn churches and buildings.

Top tip: Look out for free walking tours, discounted entry to top sights and free events and concerts on some of the country’s national days of celebration.

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On the hunt for local souvenirs and trinkets? You’ll have plenty to choose from here. From grand shopping malls to tiny street markets, there is all sorts on offer.

Bulgarian crafts can be snapped up for pennies, including wooden toys, lacework and colourful embroidery and ceramics. Bartering isn’t always an option but it’s worth asking if the seller is willing to negotiate on price.

Top tip: Stray from the busier tourist hotspots and the prices will start to go down. A handmade necklace on the resort’s main Strip may be twice the price of one in a hidden-away boutique down a side street.

Want to grab a bargain in Bulgaria?

Posted: 4th Aug 2022. Updated: 19th Mar 2024. Jet2 Holidays Jet2 City Breaks Jet2 Villas