Data Roaming in Bulgaria & Alternatives to Get Internet 2024: Which Option to Choose?

Data roaming in Bulgaria allows international travelers to stay connected while visiting the country.

This article is for travelers going to Bulgaria who will use mobile data there. In Bulgaria, using your phone’s data can lead to high costs if you don’t know the local rules and prices. This blog post will explain how data roaming in Bulgaria works, how to turn on roaming on your device, and other ways to avoid big bills and keep using your phone in Bulgaria.

everything about data roaming in bulgaria

I. Overview of Data Roaming in Bulgaria for Tourists

Bulgaria is ideal for tourists, offering multiple data roaming options to stay connected. Explore historic towns, relax by the Black Sea, or hike the mountains smoothly with an understanding of data roaming. Here’s what you need to know about data roaming in Bulgaria:


  • Data roaming prices in Bulgaria vary by provider and plan.
  • Big carriers offer roaming deals for Bulgaria, typically €5 to €15 a day for set data.

Roaming Rules:

  • Since Bulgaria is in the EU, the “Roam Like at Home” rules are in play. This means you can use your regular data plan without extra charges, but keep an eye on how much you use.
  • Some providers might have a fair-use policy, so it’s a good idea to check with them first.

Turning on Roaming:

  • Your phone will automatically connect to a Bulgarian network for roaming.
  • Enable roaming in your device settings or contact your provider.
  • Consider a temporary roaming plan for Bulgaria from your provider.

II. How does Roaming in Bulgaria work?

how roaming in bulgaria works

Being part of the European Union means Bulgaria doesn’t charge extra for roaming to EU people. This means you can use your phone in Bulgaria without paying more, just like at home. But, there are some important things to remember about roaming in Bulgaria:

For EU/EEA People:

  • No extra charges for roaming in EU/EEA, including Bulgaria.
  • Use your phone data, make calls, and text at home prices in Bulgaria.
  • Your home phone company might limit how much data you can use while roaming.

For People from Outside the EU/EEA:

  • You’ll still get charged extra for using your phone in Bulgaria.
  • Check your phone company’s charges for Bulgaria before you go.
  • Buying a Bulgarian SIM card could be cheaper for data and calls.


  • Tell your phone company you're going to Bulgaria so your phone works well there.
  • Use Wi-Fi when you can to save on data and costs.
  • Look for special roaming deals from your phone company to save money.
  • Watch your data use, as roaming can get expensive for those from outside the EU/EEA.

III. Roaming Charges in Bulgaria – Is It Expensive?

is roaming charges in bulgaria expensive

YES, roaming in Bulgaria can be costly, particularly for data, depending on your operator and plan. You’ll find 3 main types of roaming in Bulgaria:

  • Call roaming: Make and receive calls using your home network.
  • SMS roaming: Send and receive texts.
  • Data roaming: Access the internet and use apps on your phone.

Below is a summary of estimated roaming rates in Bulgaria for major operators. Note these are rough estimates and may vary with your plan and network.

A1CallLocal Outgoing~0.20/min
Local Incoming~0.10/min
International Outgoing~1.00/min
International Incoming~0.50/min
SMSLocal & International~0.15/SMS
VivacomCallLocal Outgoing~0.25/min
Local Incoming~0.12/min
International Outgoing~1.20/min
International Incoming~0.60/min
SMSLocal & International~0.18/SMS
TelenorCallLocal Outgoing~0.22/min
Local Incoming~0.11/min
International Outgoing~1.10/min
International Incoming~0.55/min
SMSLocal & International~0.16/SMS


  • Rates can vary. Check with your network for roaming costs.
  • Local SIMs or data passes might be cheaper in Bulgaria.
  • Data roaming can be expensive. Use Wi-Fi and monitor your data to avoid high bills.

Recommendation: As a tourist to Bulgaria, you can consider other connectivity options like prepaid SIM cards, prepaid eSIMs, portable WiFi as alternatives to roaming. Pocket WiFi for Bulgaria travel is useful if you want to share Internet for multiple devices. But it is quite pricey and requires effort to bring along. On the other hand, prepaid Bulgaria SIM cards/eSIMs are more affordable and flexible. Therefore, if your phone is carrier-unlocked and compatible, consider using these options as alternatives to roaming.

IV. How to Activate Roaming Service for Bulgaria in Your Cell Phone?

To activate roaming services, you just need to take 4 steps:

Step 1: Choose your preferred service provider

A1, Vivacom, and Telenor are the top mobile network operators in Bulgaria. Check with your provider for roaming partners. Fees vary by network agreements, so verify rates.

Step 2: Activate the roaming function

Each mobile network carrier has a different way to activate roaming service.

Eg: For Vivacom: Log into your Vivacom account online or via the Vivacom app > Select ‘International Roaming’ > Choose Bulgaria from the list of countries > Activate roaming.

Step 3: Buy a mobile package with roaming

Most providers have daily, weekly, or monthly roaming packages for short trips. Check your provider’s website for options.

Step 4: Turn on your phone’s roaming

  • For Android, go to Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile network > Roaming. Toggle the switch on.
  • For iPhone, go to Settings > Mobile Data > Mobile Data Options. Toggle roaming on.

Note: Roaming charges can add up fast. Turn off roaming when unnecessary to prevent bill shock. Most providers offer usage limits and alerts.

V. How to Avoid Roaming Charges To Save Money When Traveling to Bulgaria?

There are several things you can do to avoid expensive roaming charges when traveling to Bulgaria.:

  • Turn off data roaming to prevent mobile data use abroad.
  • Prefer WiFi for internet and apps like WhatsApp to avoid cellular data.
  • Stop automatic app updates that consume data in the background.
  • Opt for a local SIM card or eSIM, ensuring your phone is unlocked or eSIM-compatible by checking this list
  • A prepaid data package for your local SIM or eSIM is ideal for short Bulgaria trips, offering affordable connectivity.

A local SIM or eSIM is the best way to avoid roaming fees. Just make sure your phone can use them by checking the compatibility list.

VI. Bulgaria eSIM – Alternative to Data Roaming in Bulgaria to Get Internet

If you’re traveling to Bulgaria, you’ll want to stay in touch with friends and family back home via messaging apps or get internet access to browse the web. Normally this means paying very high data roaming charges. However, there is an innovative choice – using an eSIM.

What is eSIM Bulgaria?

eSIM is a digital SIM that works with certain smartphones, letting you use it without needing a tiny physical SIM card. So what happens when we compare an eSIM vs roaming?

AspectRoamingeSIM Bulgaria
CostHigh rates per MB of dataAffordable flat daily/weekly rates
ConvenienceStill need physical SIM cardNo SIM card needed, just scan QR code
CoverageSame as home networkWorks anywhere in Bulgaria
Data usageUnlimited rates apply after low-cost quotaClear data quota and rates stated upfront

As the table shows, eSIM for Bulgaria has clear benefits over roaming in terms of upfront pricing, ease of setup and full local coverage.

Gigago – The Best eSIM Provider for Bulgaria

For reliable eSIM service in Bulgaria, travelers can purchase a plan from Gigago – one of the ideal and reputable places to buy eSIM. For Bulgaria, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1GB/day for 3 days with $3.50 .

esim bulgaria gigago

What is great about Gigago’s Bulgaria eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, varying between $3.50$125.98 . Thus, it does not matter how many Internet users you are and how long your trip is in Bulgaria, there is always an option for you with Gigago. 

VII. How to Turn Off Data Roaming When Traveling in Bulgaria?

Here are the steps to turn off data roaming when traveling in Bulgaria:

1. Turn off international roaming on Android

how to turn off international roaming on android
  • Open Settings
  • Tap Connections
  • Select Mobile network
  • Toggle off “Data roaming”

2. Turn off international roaming on iPhones

how to turn off international roaming on iphone
  • Go to Settings
  • Tap Cellular > Cellular Data
  • Toggle off

VIII. FAQs about data roaming in Bulgaria

Will I get texts in Bulgaria if I have to roam on?

Yes, you can send and receive texts normally in Bulgaria with roaming on. MMS might depend on your phone company.

Is there a limit to how much data I can use in Bulgaria with roaming?

Yes, phone companies usually have a daily limit between 500MB and 2GB when roaming to keep costs down. If you use more, it’ll cost more.

Can I use WhatsApp in Bulgaria without a roaming plan?

No, you need data for WhatsApp and other apps, which will cost extra without a local plan. WiFi calling might be an option if your phone supports it.

Do I have to pay extra taxes on roaming in Bulgaria?

Yes, roaming fees include Bulgaria’s VAT/sales tax, which could add about 20% more to your bill. Check with your phone company.

IX. Conclusion

In short, data roaming in Bulgaria can be expensive. It’s okay for quick, important tasks but not for everyday internet use on your trip. It’s smarter to buy a local SIM card or eSIM with a data plan before you get there. This way, you get cheap internet without scary high fees. Planning this before your trip means you can use the internet without worrying about big bills.