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Best Tourist Sim Cards in Bulgaria in 2024

Choosing a sim card is hard. We've analysed the best tourist sim cards in Bulgaria across pricing, coverage and data. Find out the best pick!

If you’re planning a trip to Bulgaria, having a sim card is essential to stay connected. Having access to the internet while travelling makes exploring new cities a breeze.

You can easily find the top restaurants, navigate to your accommodation, book a taxi, and share your travel moments with your loved ones on the go. While roaming is an option, the international fees can quickly add up. Therefore, we highly recommend either an eSIM or a local sim card to enjoy the benefits of local phone rates.

Luckily, obtaining either an eSIM or a local sim card in Bulgaria is incredibly simple. To help you make the best choice, this comprehensive guide will provide you with up-to-date pricing and help you choose the perfect sim card for your needs.

Table of Contents

Best Sim Card in Bulgaria for Tourists

The best sim card in Bulgaria is the standard sim card with 20GB data offered by Vivacom. The coverage and reliability of their network is the best in Bulgaria and the prices are generally a bit better than their competitors for the same amount of data. 20GB is a lot of data and more than most people would require for their time in Bulgaria.

That said, Yettel and A1 also offer reliable sim cards for a similar price so any of the three will work for you.

eSims in Bulgaria tend to be a few dollars more expensive for a similar amount of data, however, we believe the convenience of an Airalo eSim to be well worth it. We recommend this to everyone visiting Bulgaria now.

Bulgaria Sim Card Prices

A Tourist Sim Card in Bulgaria costs around 10 BGN and includes EU roaming for free in June 2024, however, the exact price will often depend on the store you visit and the plan you choose.

Alternatively, an eSim in Bulgaria will cost between $6.50 USD and $30 USD. This, again, depends on how much data you require and which eSim provider you choose.

I generally recommend this Airalo plan for most tourists visiting Bulgaria which includes 5GB of data which is valid for 30 days and costs $7.50 USD.

Bulgaria Sim Card Providers

In Bulgaria, three main sim card providers dominate the market: Vivacom, A1 Bulgaria, and Yettel. Vivacom is known for its extensive coverage and reliable network, offering various data and talk plans tailored to different user needs. A1 Bulgaria, formerly known as Mobiltel, is another popular choice, providing competitive tariffs and high-quality service across the country. Yettel, on the other hand, is a relatively new player but has rapidly gained popularity for its affordable rates and flexible plans. All three providers offer 4G and 5G connectivity options and a range of additional services, such as international roaming and special bundles.

Vivacom Tourist Sim

Vivacom is a prominent telecom company in Bulgaria known for its reliable network and services. They offer tourist sim cards, catering to the needs of travelers visiting Bulgaria. These sim cards provide affordable data, voice, and text options, ensuring seamless connectivity during the trip. With widespread coverage and competitive rates, Vivacom tourist sim cards are a convenient choice for staying connected while exploring the scenic beauty of Bulgaria.

Vivacom Bulgaria Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Vivacom tourist sim card in Bulgaria is 10 BGN..

The plan offered by Vivacom stores includes 20GB data valid for 28 days.

A1 Bulgaria Tourist Sim

A1 Bulgaria is a leading telecommunications company in Bulgaria, providing reliable and high-quality services. Their tourist sim cards are perfect for travelers visiting Bulgaria, offering convenient and affordable options. With a wide network coverage, tourists can stay connected throughout the country. A1 Bulgaria’s sim cards provide fast internet speeds, unlimited calls and texts, and various data packages to suit every traveler’s needs. Stay connected and explore everything Bulgaria has to offer with A1 Bulgaria’s tourist sim cards.

A1 Bulgaria Bulgaria Tourist Sim Price

The price of a A1 Bulgaria tourist sim card in Bulgaria is 15 BGN.

The plan offered by A1 Bulgaria stores offers 15GB data valid for 30 days.

Yettel Tourist Sim

Yettel is a leading provider of tourist sim cards in Bulgaria. Their reliable and affordable sim cards offer seamless connectivity to visitors exploring this picturesque Balkan country. With extensive network coverage and high-speed data, travelers can easily stay connected, navigate maps, and share their experiences online. Yettel’s sim cards also provide competitive international call rates, making it convenient for tourists to communicate with loved ones back home. Discover Bulgaria hassle-free with Yettel’s reliable and feature-rich tourist sim cards.

Yettel Bulgaria Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Yettel tourist sim card in Bulgaria is between 8 and 10 BGN..

The plan offered by Yettel stores includes 6GB data valid for 30 days.

How to Get a Sim Card in Bulgaria

Identify mobile providers: Vivacom, A1 Bulgaria and Yettel are your best options in Bulgaria.

Find your nearest store: Locate a store or retailer by searching on Google Maps for your nearest store or asking at your hotel reception. I’ve never had issues finding a store as they can usually be found in major cities, shopping centers, or tourist areas. If possible, I always recommend to to avoid airports and head in to an official store in the city.

Bring the necessary documents: It is always a good idea to carry your passport or identification documents for sim card registration purposes. We’ve found most providers will need to confirm your identity to provide a sim card and it can be a major hassle to head to a store only to have to come back again later with your passport.

Choose your plan: Either request the plan you are after or consult with the staff in the store to select the right plan for you. My recommendations at the beginning of this guide are a good starting point, but the staff will usually be able to suggest the best option.

Pay and activate your card: Pay for the SIM card and plan, and the staff will activate it for you.

Test: It’s always a good idea to check that you can access the internet before you leave the store. I always search for something on Google then refresh my Instagram feed to check it’s working fine.

Where to Get a Sim Card in Bulgaria

At the Airport

Buying a prepaid sim card for Bulgaria at the airport is usually considered the most convenient option for travellers arriving by plane.

However, airport stores selling sim cards are almost guaranteed to charge inflated prices, so if you are a cost-conscious traveller then you should definitely buy your sim card from a store in the city center.

In addition to this, we would argue that buying physical sim cards at all aren’t particularly convenient now that most people use esim compatible phones. If you are looking for the most convenient option, then buying an esim before you arrive or with the airport wifi is much easier and will save you having to queue up or communicate with staff.

If you must purchase a sim card at the airport in Bulgaria then you will be in luck. All major international airports in Bulgaria have stores selling sim cards. Despite the prices being higher than normal, the staff are knowledgable and will be able to get you set up with the correct sim card relatively quickly.

In Stores

If you want to avoid the inflated sim card prices you’ll find at the airport and your phone isn’t esim compatible, then you’re going to need to head in to a store to buy your sim card.

I recommend visiting one of the official retail stores of the mobile internet operators such as Vivacom, A1 Bulgaria and Yettel. Your best option is to enter their names into Google Maps and find the branch closest to your hotel or accommodation. Typically the staff in the official stores in Bulgaria are knowledgable and helpful which means you can ensure you’ll walk away with a functioning sim card.

Despite this, it’s always a good idea to check your internet is working before you leave the store by loading a Google search results page and your preferred social media app. You should also ensure you always bring your passport with you when purchasing a sim card in case they need to register it.

Online

If you like to be prepared and would prefer to arrive in Bulgaria with your sim card all sorted and your phone ready to connect to the internet immediately then you should look into purchasing a sim card online.

The first option is to buy your sim card in advance via SimOptions, which is a company that will prepare and ship a sim card directly to your door. It’s a reliable and effective service, but with the invention of eSims it’s becoming obsolete.

The better option is to purchase an eSim online. We’ve written more on that below!

Bulgaria eSim

An eSim is a digital version of a traditional sim card and is most likely the future of connectivity for mobile devices. The convenience of no longer visiting a store, handing over your passport and purchasing a physical sim card is quickly making physical sim cards obsolete in favour of eSims.

We recommend Airalo’s eSim when travelling to Bulgaria. The Airalo Bulgaria eSim offers fast internet speeds, wide coverage and extremely competitive prices making it a far more compelling option than purchasing a physical sim card from any of the local sim card providers.

In order to get set up with an Airalo eSim, all you need to do is visit Airalo here and purchase the eSim online (the $7.50 USD plan is suitable for most travellers). Once you’ve purchased the sim card Airalo will email you instructions and a QR code. Following these instructions should take just a couple of minutes, then you’ll have a sim card in Bulgaria without having to venture outside.

Airalo Bulgaria

Our preferred eSim provider in Bulgaria is Airalo. We used them, alongside a local sim card on another device, for our most recent trip to Bulgaria and found the service to be equal to the local sim card but without the hassle of acquiring a sim card in a store.

Airalo’s Bulgaria eSim uses the A1 network to provide data and connect users to the internet. You can expect very good coverage and reliability with the A1 networknetwork as they are amongst the best mobile internet operators in Bulgaria.

Here are the plans and prices for Airalo’s Bulgaria eSim:

2.5GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $6.50 USD
5GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $7.50 USD
15GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $9.50 USD
30GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $16 USD
50GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $30 USD

For most travellers we recommend the 5GB data plan for $7.50 USD which is valid for 30 days. Some travellers may prefer a larger plan, whilst travellers visiting for just a couple of days may be fine with a smaller plan.

Holafly Bulgaria

An alternative eSim provider we can recommend is Holafly.

Holafly’s eSim is a suitable option for travellers who require large amounts of data, such as digital nomads and people who work online while they travel. All of Holafly’s Bulgaria eSims offer unlimited data.

Holafly’s Bulgaria eSim uses the Telenor Bulgarianetwork to provide data and connect users to the internet. This network will provide reliable speeds and coverage while in Bulgaria

Here are the plans and prices for Holafly’s Bulgaria eSim:

Unlimited data valid for 5 days – Price: $19 USD
Unlimited data valid for 7 days – Price: $27 USD
Unlimited data valid for 10 days – Price: $34 USD
Unlimited data valid for 15 days – Price: $47 USD
Unlimited data valid for 20 days – Price: $54 USD
Unlimited data valid for 30 days – Price: $64 USD
Unlimited data valid for 60 days – Price: $87 USD

What is an eSim?

An eSIM, or embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card that is permanently installed in a device like a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. Unlike regular physical SIM cards, an eSIM doesn’t require physical insertion or removal from the device.

Instead, the eSIM is incorporated into the device’s hardware and can be remotely activated and programmed by a mobile network operator. This allows users to switch between different mobile networks or plans without the hassle of physically swapping SIM cards.

eSIM technology provides convenience, flexibility, and user-friendly experience, especially for frequent travelers or individuals who often switch between mobile networks or travel internationally. It eliminates the need to buy and insert physical SIM cards, making it easier to manage multiple mobile connections on a single device.

To activate an eSIM, users can either scan a QR code provided by their mobile network operator or manually enter the activation details. Once activated, the device can connect to the chosen mobile network and enjoy voice, data, and messaging services just like a regular SIM card.

Why Use an eSim?

Using an eSIM can be beneficial for several reasons. Firstly, it offers convenience as there is no need to physically insert or remove a SIM card when switching between mobile networks or plans. This is especially useful for frequent travelers who may need to switch networks or use local SIM cards in different countries.

Secondly, eSIM allows for dual SIM functionality on your device, meaning you can have two active mobile numbers on the same device. This can be useful for separating personal and work numbers or for managing multiple phone lines.

Thirdly, eSIMs are space-saving as they are embedded within the device, eliminating the need for a physical SIM card slot. This creates more space within the device, enabling manufacturers to make devices smaller or utilize the extra space for other components.

Fourthly, eSIMs enable remote provisioning, which means activation and management of mobile plans can be done remotely over the air. This eliminates the need for a physical SIM card or store visit when activating or switching to a new mobile plan. It offers greater flexibility and convenience for managing your mobile connectivity.

Lastly, using an eSIM-compatible device ensures future-proofing as more mobile networks and service providers offer support for eSIMs. By utilizing eSIM technology, you can take advantage of new services and offerings as they become available.

In conclusion, eSIM technology provides flexibility, convenience, and future-proofing for mobile connectivity, making it an appealing choice for many users.

eSim Supported Phones

eSIM technology is becoming increasingly popular and is supported by a growing number of smartphones and other devices. Here are some examples of eSIM-compatible phones:

Apple iPhone series (iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, etc.): Apple was one of the early adopters of eSIM technology and offers support for eSIM on various iPhone models.

Google Pixel series (Pixel 3, Pixel 4, Pixel 5, etc.): Google’s Pixel smartphones also support eSIM functionality, allowing users to activate and use eSIMs.

Samsung Galaxy series (Galaxy S22, Galaxy Note 20, etc.): Many of Samsung’s flagship devices now come with eSIM support, enabling users to utilize eSIM technology.

OnePlus devices (OnePlus 7, OnePlus 8, etc.): OnePlus has included eSIM support in some of its smartphone models, offering users the flexibility of using eSIMs.

Motorola Razr (2020): The latest iteration of the iconic Motorola Razr features eSIM compatibility, enabling users to use eSIMs for cellular connectivity.

These are just a few examples, and the list of eSIM-compatible phones continues to expand as more manufacturers embrace this technology. There’s a very strong chance your phone supports eSims so if you’re unsure we recommend looking it up on our list of eSim supported phones.

How to Use an eSim

Using an eSim is new for many travellers, however, the good news is it’s surprisingly easy to get set up – even for the technologically challenged!

Here’s a general guide on how to use an eSIM:

Check eSIM Compatibility: Ensure that your device supports eSIM functionality. Many newer smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and other devices are eSIM compatible including all iPhones produced since 2018.

Obtain an eSIM: There are multiple ways to acquire an eSIM. You can purchase an eSIM online from a provider like Airalo (which we recommend) or directly from a mobile network operator. Some devices also allow you to scan a QR code provided by your carrier to download the eSIM profile.

Activate the eSIM: Your eSim provider will send you instructions to activate the sim. This will usually involve scanning a QR code, entering an activation code, or downloading the eSIM profile directly onto your device.

Set up the eSIM: Once activated, your device will guide you through the eSIM setup process. This typically involves selecting the eSIM as your preferred mobile plan, configuring settings like data roaming, and entering any necessary authentication details.

Enjoy the Connection: Once the eSIM is set up, you can use it as you would with a physical SIM card. Make calls, send messages, browse the internet, and use data services as needed. You can also switch between eSIM profiles if you have multiple eSIMs installed on your device.

Mitchell

Mitchell

Hi, I’m Mitchell. I’m a full-time traveller, explorer and travel blogger. I've travelled all around the world, using and testing countless travel sim cards along the way. I'm the founder of and writer for Travel Sim Expert where I write guides to help travellers stay connected all around the world.

Hi, I’m Mitchell. I’m a full-time traveller, explorer and travel blogger. Travel Sim Expert is a blog dedicated to helping you find the best sim card for you, no matter where you are or what your budget is. 

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