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Bulgaria: 6 Best eSIMs Compared + Discounts (2023)

Bulgaria – known for its opera singers, folk dances & John Atanasoff (inventor of the first digital computer).

It is also a popular travel destination because it is relatively inexpensive (especially compared to the Nordics).

But Bulgaria also has a lot to offer in terms of sights and attractions.

Sunny Beach is a beach well-known throughout Europe.

Those who love nature always recommend the Seven Rila Lakes.

And those in love with churches head to the Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila or Saint Alexander Nevsky Patriarch's Cathedral.

You should not be bored in Bulgaria.

While the country may be cheap, international roaming certainly will not be cheap.

Instead, if your phone supports eSIM, you may want to go with a travel eSIM to skip the queues in Bulgaria and avoid the SIM card registration bureaucracy.

So, how much do Bulgarian (travel) eSIMs cost?

You can get an eSIM for Bulgaria for as low as 5.50 USD up to 99 USD from Airalo (with Bultel), Holafly & Nomad, offering between 1 GB and truly unlimited data.

Not too bad, right? And unlimited data!?

The Bulgarian mobile operators do not offer unlimited data plans to prepaid customers.

How cool is that!? Anyway…

In this guide, I will go over the eSIM options offered by the Bulgarian mobile operators (if available), Airalo, Holafly & Nomad. Let's get started.

Buying an eSIM for Bulgaria Guide (logos of Airalo, Holafly, Nomad & Bultel)

Original publication: 30th of July 2022. Last updated: 29th of November 2022.


Table of Contents

eSIMs offered by the Bulgarian Mobile Operators

In order to get the best performance out there, it is often recommended to go directly with the local mobile operators because you will get a higher priority on the network compared to roaming.

Unfortunately, none of the mobile operators offer eSIMs to prepaid customers in Bulgaria (yet).

Note that the Bulgarian mobile operators require your identification (ID for EU/EEA travelers and passport for anyone else) for eSIMs and physical SIM cards as part of Bulgaria's SIM card registration requirements.

And some travelers do not want to deal with any of that for privacy reasons.

Luckily, there is a way to avoid this registration scheme: by roaming (super expensive) or using a travel eSIM (affordable AND can be cheaper than local SIM cards in many countries).

Travel eSIM providers Airalo (with Bultel), Holafly & Nomad offer attractive eSIMs for Bulgaria, allowing them to be set up before arriving in Bulgaria and activating them as soon as you land.

Very convenient, right? And I have used eSIMs from Airalo, Holafly & Nomad before, and I can assure you they work well!

Phone Travel Wiz Approved Seal

So let's check out all the options, shall we?


Airalo eSIMs for Bulgaria (Bultel)

Bulgaria Bultel eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

Airalo eSIMs are my favorite travel eSIMs out there because they are always good value for money compared to other travel eSIM providers (especially travel eSIMs not mentioned in this guide).

And the same can be said for the Bultel eSIM – 50 GB of data is available for only 30 USD.

You should know that for whatever reason, the Bultel has the most generous data allowances than any other European eSIM offered by Airalo.

Interesting, is it not? 🤔 Anyway…

The Bultel eSIM uses the A1 Bulgaria network (formerly Mtel Bulgaria), which is the best overall Bulgarian mobile operator (coverage and speed-wise).

A1 Logo
© A1

So even if you go to some remote Bulgarian town, you will still have reception with the Bultel eSIM.

Alright, you have five Bulgaria Bultel eSIM options:

  1. Bulgaria/Bultel 2.5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 6.50 USD
  2. Bulgaria/Bultel 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 7.50 USD
  3. Bulgaria/Bultel 15 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 9.50 USDmost popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers)
  4. Bulgaria/Bultel 30 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 16 USDvery popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  5. Bulgaria/Bultel 50 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 30 USD

When I say that the 15 GB variant is loved by Phone Travel Wiz readers, 64% of the readers that buy a Bultel eSIM get the 15 GB variant.

So yeah, it is really popular.

The Airalo links will automatically get you the available Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers – a code is unnecessary.

Honestly, the Bultel eSIM gives you the best bang for your buck, and it is the eSIM I recommend the most for Bulgaria.

Airalo Bultel eSIM Pros

So, why should you get the Bultel eSIMs? Well, because of the following:

But it is not all good news with Airalo though – there are some disadvantages.

Airalo Bultel eSIM Cons

So, why should you not get the Bultel eSIM?

  • The Bulgarian mobile operators have much more generous data allowances
  • While you get access to A1 Bulgaria's (formerly Mtel Bulgaria) network, the best in Bulgaria, your speeds will not be as fast as going with A1 Bulgaria (formerly Mtel Bulgaria) itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
  • There is no 5G NR access with the Bultel eSIM
  • You cannot call or text with the Bultel eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
  • You cannot get in-person support (Airalo gets back to you by email fast, but you cannot visit an Airalo store because there are none)

Airalo Bultel eSIM Overall Thoughts

Overall, the Airalo Bultel eSIM is a great eSIM offering a lot for the money you pay (especially compared to many non-EU countries).

You get fast speeds and access to the best Bulgarian network (A1 Bulgaria, formerly Mtel Bulgaria) without standing in queues or dealing with SIM card registration bureaucracy.

But if making actual phone calls and sending real text messages are important to you (so not through an app like WhatsApp), you may want to buy a Bulgarian SIM card instead.


Holafly eSIMs for Bulgaria

Holafly Logo
© Holafly

The second eSIM provider I recommend is Holafly.

It started something revolutionary in June 2022.

Holafly offers unlimited data plans for Bulgaria many other European Union member states & a few other countries.

From what I know, Holafly is the first to offer unlimited data plans for so many countries WITHOUT a Fair-Use Policy.

And that is super exciting!

Now, I have to say that the unlimited data plans offered by Holafly are more expensive than the Airalo Bulgaria eSIM or the eSIMs sold by Nomad.

But if you do not want to worry about data allowances, Holafly is the one to go for.

The Holafly eSIMs use the Vivacom Bulgaria network.

Vivacom Bulgaria Logo
© Vivacom Bulgaria

Together with A1 Bulgaria (formerly Mtel Bulgaria), Vivacom Bulgaria has the best fastest speeds.

And the coverage between the three Bulgarian mobile operators is similar – just so you know.

You have the following seven options with Holafly:

While I do not know which variant Phone Travel Wiz readers go with, I can tell you that the Holafly eSIMs are popular with those who simply do not want to worry about data caps.

And based on the emails I have received, the 20-, 30- & 60-day plans are popular because those who buy Holafly eSIMs tend to stay in Bulgaria for a prolonged period to explore the country.

As I recently started my collaboration with Holafly, it offers 5% off each purchase whenever you use code PHONETRAVELWIZ – how cool is that?

Holafly Travel eSIM Reviews by Phone Travel Wiz

Of course, there are some pros and cons with going with Holafly, so let's go over them.

Holafly Bulgaria eSIM Pros

So, why should you get the Holafly eSIMs? Well, because of the following:

  • You can purchase and set up your Holafly Bulgaria eSIM before arriving in Bulgaria (and activate it upon landing)
  • You can skip Bulgaria's SIM card registration requirements
  • You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access on the A1 Bulgaria network (formerly Mtel Bulgaria) – one of the best networks in Bulgaria
  • You do not have to deal with data caps because you get unlimited data
  • You get unthrottled 4G/LTE data (90 GB – here I come!)
  • You can avoid expensive international roaming fees

But it is not all good news with Holafly though – there are some disadvantages.

Holafly Bulgaria eSIM eSIM Cons

So, why should you not get a Holafly Bulgaria eSIM?

  • While the Bulgarian mobile operators do not offer unlimited data plans (yet), their plans are much cheaper than Holafly
  • While you get access to the A1 Bulgaria network (formerly Mtel Bulgaria) – the best network in Bulgaria – your speeds will not be as fast as going with A1 Bulgaria itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
  • There is no 5G NR access with the Holafly eSIM
  • You cannot call or text with the Holafly eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
  • You cannot get in-person support (Holafly gets back to you by email fast, but you cannot visit an Holafly store because there are none)
  • Holafly is the most expensive travel eSIM provider in this guide

Holafly Bulgaria eSIM Overall Thoughts

Overall, the Holafly Bulgaria eSIM is an excellent eSIM for those who hate data caps and just want to use data the way they want.

You get fast speeds and access to the A1 Bulgaria network (formerly Mtel Bulgaria), which has the best 4G/LTE network in Bulgaria.

However, Holafly is the most expensive option in this guide and may not be the best for budget travelers.

Luckily, we still have one more Bulgaria-specific travel eSIM to go through, which is cheaper than Holafly.


Nomad eSIMs for Bulgaria

Nomad eSIMs Logo
© Nomad

The last eSIM provider I recommend is Nomad.

Nomad is just in the middle.

But that does not mean Nomad is bad – not at all.

The Nomad Bulgaria eSIM uses the Truphone network, which is active in any country you can think of.

In Bulgaria, it uses a combination of networks, allowing your eSIM to automatically switch to the network with the best reception.

This way, you will always be connected!

Nomad is a bit more expensive than Airalo's Bultel eSIM but cheaper than Holafly.

That is because, unlike the other two eSIM providers, the Nomad Bulgaria eSIM uses a combination of several Bulgarian networks (A1 Bulgaria (formerly Mtel Bulgaria), Yettel Bulgaria (formerly Telenor Bulgaria) & Vivavom Bulgaria), allowing you access to the best network at your location.

And for this feature, you pay a little more than Airalo, which only uses A1 Bulgaria.

You have the following four options with Nomad:

  1. Bulgaria 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 9 USD/9 EUR/7.5 GBP/12 CAD
  2. Bulgaria 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 17 USD/17 EUR/14.5 GBP/22 CAD
  3. Bulgaria 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 18 USD/18 EUR/15 GBP/23.5 CAD
  4. Bulgaria 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 26 USD/26 EUR/22 GBP/33.5 CAD
Bulgaria eSIMs Nomad

By the way, you can get 3 USD off of your first Nomad purchase by using code ADU123 – how cool is that?

Nomad Travel eSIM Reviews by Phone Travel Wiz

Of course, going with Nomad has some pros and cons, so let's go over them.

Nomad Bulgaria eSIM Pros

So, why should you get the Nomad eSIMs? Well, because of the following:

But it is not all good news with Nomad though – there are some disadvantages.

Nomad Bulgaria eSIM Cons

So, why should you not get a Nomad Bulgaria eSIM?

  • While you get access to three networks, your speeds will not be as fast as going with the Bulgarian mobile operators themselves because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
  • There is no 5G NR access with the Nomad Bulgaria eSIM
  • You cannot call or text with the Nomad Bulgaria eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
  • You cannot get in-person support (Nomad gets back to you by email fast, but you cannot visit a Nomad store because there are none)
  • Airalo is cheaper than Nomad with all variants

Nomad Bulgaria eSIM Overall Thoughts

Overall, the Nomad eSIM is a great premium eSIM offering.

You will always have the best reception because the Nomad because it automatically switches to the best network at your location.

However, just like the other travel eSIMs mentioned in this guide, you do not get a (local) phone number with the Nomad Bulgaria eSIM.

Furthermore, Nomad's data rates are not necessarily cheaper than the Bulgarian mobile operators.

Moreover, Nomad is not the cheapest option out there (that would be Airalo).


Best eSIMs for in Europe (not just Bulgaria)

So what if you plan to visit neighboring Greece? North Macedonia? Romania? Or any other country in the European Union?

Unfortunately, you cannot use your Airalo Bultel, Holafly Bulgaria, or Nomad Bulgaria eSIMs in any country than Bulgaria.

However, the three eSIM providers do have eSIMs covering all of the European Union and European Economic area + some other countries.

I highly recommend these Europe eSIMs if you plan to visit multiple European countries to save money!

Airalo Eurolink Europe eSIM

Eurolink Europe eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

The Eurolink eSIM is the most popular Airalo eSIM, per Phone Travel Wiz readers.

Most readers tend to visit multiple European countries, so they would rather have a travel eSIM covering multiple countries than just one (like Bulgaria).

The Eurolink eSIM can be used in 39 countries in Europe, including all nations in the European Union (EU).

The eSIM can be used from Iceland to Ukraine and Norway to Spain.

Below is a complete overview of countries the Eurolink eSIM works in:

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Austria 2
  • Belgium 2
  • Bulgaria 2
  • Croatia 2
  • Cyprus 2
  • Denmark 2
  • Estonia 2
  • Finland 2
  • France
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar 1
  • Greece 2
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland 2
  • Italy 2
  • Latvia 2
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg 2
  • Malta 2
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland 2
  • Portugal
  • Romania 2
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain 2
  • Sweden 2
  • Switzerland 2
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom 2

1 on 3G only
2 (limited) 5G NR availability at no additional cost!

With the Eurolink eSIM, you can save a lot of money by skipping the initial SIM card costs per country you visit – averaging 10.78 USD/country in Europe (and get 5G NR access at no additional cost)!

Below is an overview of how much each Eurolink eSIM costs:

  1. Europe/Eurolink 1 GB eSIM for 7 day, costing 5 USD
  2. Europe/Eurolink 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 13 USDvery popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  3. Europe/Eurolink 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 20 USDmost popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  4. Europe/Eurolink 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 37 USDvery popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  5. Europe/Eurolink 50 GB eSIM for 90 days, costing 100 USD
  6. Europe/Eurolink 100 GB eSIM for 180 days, costing 185 USD
Eurolink Airalo eSIM

Honestly, the Eurolink eSIM is my favorite Europe travel eSIM out there. Affordable, extensive & good value for your money.

I also used it during my 1-month tour throughout Europe in 12 countries.

Airalo Eurolink eSIM Review by Phone Travel Wiz

So yeah, you can say I have some experience with the Eurolink eSIM 😏.

Holafly & Nomad eSIMs for Europe

Holafly and Nomad also have eSIMs covering all of the European Union (and more).

But honestly, the Eurolink eSIM is superior (but you can consider the Holafly Europe eSIM if you want unlimited data in 30+ countries – just do not forget about code PHONETRAVELWIZ if you go with Holafly).


Overview of the Best eSIMs for Bulgaria (Airalo vs. Holafly vs. Nomad)

Unfortunately, the Bulgarian mobile operators cannot be bothered allowing prepaid customers to use eSIMs at this time.

But that is fine – we discussed several other options in this guide!

In terms of the travel eSIMs, this would be my recommendation order:

  • Airalo's Bultel Bulgaria eSIM (best value for money)
  • Airalo's Eurolink Europe eSIM (best value for money when also visiting other European countries)
  • Holafly Bulgaria eSIM (truly unlimited data plans at premium prices)
  • Nomad Bulgaria eSIM (switches to the best network, allowing for excellent reception at all times)
  • Holafly Europe eSIM (truly unlimited data plans when also visiting other European countries at premium prices)
  • Nomad Europe eSIM (the best of both worlds in terms of pricing and performance)

Remember to use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for Holafly eSIMs and code ADU123 for Nomad eSIMs – a code is not necessary for Airalo eSIM purchases.


Buying a SIM Card in Bulgaria

Want to just use a SIM card but not your current one because roaming will be criminally expensive?

Consider getting a Bulgarian SIM card instead – local SIM cards are the cheapest way to stay connected abroad.

Buying a SIM Card in Bulgaria Guide (logos of Yettel, Vivacom & A1)

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