Bulgaria SIM Cards: Everything You Need To Know | 2022
Visiting Bulgaria soon? Make sure to know what to expect when it comes to purchasing a Bulgaria SIM card.
Fortunately, Europe is one of the best places where you can buy a SIM card easily. You should be able to find a cheap SIM card pretty much anywhere in Europe (including Bulgaria). In fact, most data packages are affordable, which makes the whole thing easier!
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In this guide, we’ll explain where to buy a SIM card in Bulgaria in person and online. We’ll also discuss prepaid SIM cards and eSIMs if your mobile supports them.
That said, if you’re traveling to other countries in Europe, you should be able to use the same SIM card because most SIM card providers also offer coverage in other European countries.
Before you read this guide, you may wonder if you actually need a SIM card in Bulgaria. If you don’t mind not having Internet, you’ll likely find free Wifi in restaurants, shopping malls, and hotels.
That said, if you need data to get around, call a taxi, or translate Bulgarian – you may want to get a SIM card for your travels in Bulgaria.
Note that your mobile phone provider may already offer Bulgaria coverage if you’re European. If that’s the case, you won’t need a SIM card for your adventures in Bulgaria.
Best SIM Cards In Bulgaria
If you’re traveling in Bulgaria, we recommend using a SIM card from Yettel, A1, Vivacom, or Airalo. (I’ll get back to Airalo later on, so keep reading to learn more!)
That said, if you’re planning on visiting other countries during your trip to Europe, you might want to make sure to pick an option that offers coverage in other European countries.
How To Buy A SIM Card In Bulgaria
You can either buy a Bulgaria prepaid SIM card in person in some international airports, mobile provider stores, convenience stores, or online.
Usually, you can expect higher costs and low data offers at the airport, so we don’t recommend buying a SIM card at the airport. That said, you won’t necessarily find SIM card shops in every airport, so it’s essential to keep this in mind. And, when you see a shop, you might also have limited options.
For this reason, I’d recommend buying a SIM card directly in the mobile provider store. Note that you may need your passport to buy one. That said, if you don’t speak Bulgarian, it might be hard to find someone who speaks good English in the stores. Ask for someone who speaks English (usually, every store tries to have at least one bilingual staff member).
Although, this means you won’t get data right at your arrival. So, if you’d rather be connected at all times, you could use an eSIM or purchase a European prepaid SIM card online.
Now, let’s take a look at the data plans offered by the top companies in Bulgaria.
Yettel SIM Cards
Yettel offers different types of plans (short-term and long-term). The long-term plans come with contracts and are good options for residents and expats. The shorter plans are prepaid packages that work better for tourists.
The average cost is between BGN 8 and 10 (which is about EUR 4-5).
A1 SIM Cards
A1 offers prepaid plans too, which are ideal for visitors and tourists. They currently have 3 prepaid options for Internet only.
- 30 days, with 15 GB for BGN 15
- 30 days, with 30 GB for BGN 25
- 30 days, with 50 GB for BGN 40
These plans offer a lot more data than Yettel, but Yettel includes phone calls too, which can be helpful if you need them.
Vivacom SIM Cards
Vivacom offers different plans with Internet and phone calls. You’ll need to buy a SIM card and pick an initial prepaid plan. Then, you can top up on the app, and recharge with a plan that suits your needs. I used Vivacom for nearly two years, but the application had a lot of issues, and many top-ups disappeared, so I eventually switched to Yettel.
How To Buy A Bulgaria Prepaid SIM Card Online
If you wish to have your SIM card ready for your arrival, you could purchase it online or on websites like Amazon.
You’ll find different plans on Amazon. Because there are many other options worth considering, have a look and ensure the countries you’re planning to visit are listed (including Bulgaria).
Another option is to purchase a prepaid European SIM card on SimsDirect. This works if you live in the United States or Australia. They currently offer 4 different packages.
- 12 GB, valid for 30 days for $26 – works in 71 countries
- 100 GB, valid for 30 days for $49 – works in 44 countries
- 80 GB, valid for 28 days for $69 – works in 45 countries
- 40 GB, valid for 28 days for $55 – works in 45 countries
Finally, the last option is to buy an eSIM card for Europe, which includes Bulgaria.
How To Buy An eSIM Card For Bulgaria
eSIM is a new concept allowing you to have a virtual SIM card inside your phone. If your mobile phone supports eSIM cards – it’s definitely one of the best options to get data in Bulgaria.
Curious? Learn more about eSIM for travelers.
I started using eSIM as soon as my mobile phone supported it. And I first tried it when visiting my family in Canada. To buy an eSIM, I use Airalo. This website offers many eSIM cards worldwide and special plans for Europe and Bulgaria. I’ve now been using Airalo in Europe for several months.
Here are the options available for Bulgaria only:
- Bultel: 2.5 GB, valid for 30 days for $6.50
- Bultel: 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $7.50
- Bultel: 15 GB, valid for 30 days for $9.50
- Bultel: 30 GB, valid for 30 days for $16
- Bultel: 50 GB, valid for 30 days for $30
Here’s an overview of the options available in Europe:
- 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $5
- 3 GB, valid for 30 days for $13
- 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $20
- 10 GB, valid for 30 days for $37
- 50 GB, valid for 90 days for $100
- 100 GB, valid for 180 days for $185
The options mentioned above are part of Eurolink and include 39 countries, including Bulgaria.
Alternatively, if you’re traveling in other countries that are not mentioned on the list, you can try Discover Global, which offers coverage in 87 countries, including Bulgaria.
Here’s an overview of the options available on Discover Global:
- 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $9
- 3 GB, valid for 15 days for $24
- 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $35
- 10 GB, valid for 60 days for $59
- 20 GB, valid for 180 days for $89
Now, one important thing to note about Airalo is that you’ll need to keep an eye out for the provider in each country. Suppose you ever have trouble connecting to the Internet during your trip. In that case, it might be because you’re connecting automatically to networks and need to select a network manually instead.
When you purchase the eSIM, you’ll get access to the list of networks supported in each country.
Alternatively, you could look at your options on Holafly. You can read our Holafly review to learn more about this eSIM store. I’ve also tried this one, and it worked fine. Their Europe eSIM work in 32 countries (including Bulgaria), and they offer the following plans:
- Unlimited data for 5 days for $19
- Unlimited data for 10 days for $34
- Unlimited data for 15 days for $47
- Unlimited data for 20 days for $54
- Unlimited data for 30 days for $64
- Unlimited data for 60 days for $84
- Unlimited data for 90 days for $99
Final Thoughts On SIM Cards In Bulgaria
As you can see, it’s pretty easy to get a prepaid SIM card in Bulgaria, or even an eSIM for your travels in Bulgaria. You’ll even be able to stay connected wherever you go in Europe without changing your SIM card, especially if you purchase a European SIM card.
I believe the eSIM card is the most convenient way to get data in Bulgaria if you wish to have data upon your arrival. This way, you won’t need to go to a store to buy a SIM card. Obviously, you need to make sure your mobile phone supports eSIM first. That said, as the language barrier can be challenging in Bulgaria, having an eSIM is definitely helpful.
Traveling to Bulgaria soon? Read one of the following blog posts: