Bucharest, the vibrant capital of Romania, is beckoning expats with its rich history, stunning architecture, and affordable cost of living. If you’re considering making Bucharest your new home, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the city’s cost of living. In this ultimate guide, we’ll go deeper into the various factors contributing to the cost of living in Bucharest, from housing and transportation to groceries and entertainment.
Also, we invite everyone living in the city to share their experience. All their opinions on the cost of living in Bucharest will be published at the end of the article in the dedicated section for expats and digital nomads.
Get ready to navigate the intricacies of living expenses in Bucharest and make informed decisions for your relocation. Whether you’re a digital nomad, a tourist or a professional seeking new opportunities, this guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to budget wisely and comfortably settle into the Bucharest lifestyle.
What is the average cost of living in Bucharest?
If you are considering relocating to Bucharest, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the average cost of living in the city. Bucharest is the capital and largest city of Romania, and while it offers a high quality of life, it is also known as one of the most affordable European capitals. In this blog post, we will explore the average cost of living in Bucharest, covering essential expenses such as housing, transportation, utilities, food, and entertainment.
Yes, Bucharest is more affordable and safer than many other European cities, but you have to consider all the aspects before moving in.
Housing in Bucharest
The cost of housing in Bucharest can vary depending on the location, size, and condition of the property. On average, you can expect to pay around $400 to $700 monthly for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center. If you are willing to live in the outskirts, the prices can drop to $300 to $500 per month, or even lower.
The cost of purchasing a property in Bucharest is relatively affordable compared to other European cities, with an average square meter price of around $1,700 to $2,200. Yet, the market expects a drop as of November 2023, when we write this post. This is for those who want to wait a bit and purchase their dream house in Bucharest.
Apart from that, expats and digital nomads should understand that for their peace of mind and to abide by the law, the rental contracts should be registered by the owner of the property to the local fiscal administration – ANAF.
We will detail more on Bucharest housing below.
Transportation in Bucharest
Bucharest has a well-developed public transportation system that is both efficient and affordable. A monthly pass for unlimited travel on the metro, buses, and trams will cost you RON 140, around $30. If you prefer to use taxis, the average fare for a 5-kilometer ride is approximately $4. Car ownership in Bucharest comes with additional fuel, insurance, and parking fees.
Public transport is better, and the new buses and trams show that Bucharest is trying to fight traffic jams and pollution by introducing friendlier and more civilized transportation means.
Utilities in Bucharest
The cost of utilities in Bucharest, including electricity, heating, water, and garbage, is relatively affordable. On average, you can expect to pay around $100 to $150 monthly for these expenses in a one-bedroom apartment. However, it is essential to note that these costs can vary depending on your usage and the size of your apartment.
Food in Bucharest
Regarding groceries and dining out, Bucharest offers a range of options to suit every budget. The cost of groceries is generally affordable, with a monthly grocery bill for a single person averaging around $150 to $250. If you prefer to eat out, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs around $5 to $10, while a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant can range from $20 to $40.
Entertainment in Bucharest
Bucharest has a vibrant entertainment scene with plenty of entertaining options. There are plenty of concerts in Bucharest, and all the other events attract many visitors, including international tourists.
The cost of entertainment in Bucharest can vary depending on your preferences. A movie ticket costs around $6 to $8, while a fitness club membership can range from $25 to $50 monthly. If you enjoy going out for a drink, a beer at a local pub will cost you around $2 to $3, while a cocktail at a trendy bar can range from $5 to $10.
Remember that these are average costs and can vary depending on your lifestyle and preferences. However, overall, Bucharest is relatively affordable regarding entertainment and lifestyle compared to other European cities.
What is the cost of basic groceries in Bucharest?
As an expat considering relocation to Bucharest, one of the crucial aspects to factor into your budget is the cost of basic groceries. Understanding the price range for essential food items will not only help you plan your finances but also give you a realistic idea of the cost of living in the city.
We will try to provide you with a comprehensive guide to navigating the bustling markets and supermarkets of the Romanian capital.
Supermarkets: A One-Stop Solution for basic groceries in Bucharest
Most expats residing in Bucharest prefer to shop in supermarkets, which offer a wide range of products and the convenience of one-stop shopping. Popular supermarkets in Bucharest include Carrefour, Mega Image, Lidl and Kaufland.
Here’s an overview of the cost of basic groceries you can expect to find in these establishments:
– Milk (1 liter): $0.75 – $1.10
– Bread (500g loaf): $0.70 – $0.80
– Rice (1kg): $1.2 – $1.5
– Eggs (12): $2 – $3
– Chicken Breasts (1kg): $6 – $9
– Beef (1kg): $9.00 – $15.00
– Potatoes (1kg): $0.9 – $1.3
– Tomatoes (1kg): $1.5 – $1.7
– Apples (1kg): $1 – $1.9
– Bananas (1kg): $1.3 – $1.9
– Pasta (500g): $1.5 – $1.9
– Cheese (1kg): $8.00 – $12.00
– Yogurt (500g): $1 – $1.7
Farmers’ Markets: Fresh and Affordable Produce
For those looking for fresh and locally sourced produce, farmers’ markets in Bucharest are a great option. These markets offer various fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products, and other essential groceries.
The most famous produce market in Europe can be found in Bucharest: Obor Market, the very one featured in the Financial Times. Located in the heart of Bucharest, Obor Market is one of the city’s oldest and most popular outdoor markets. Here, locals and visitors can find fresh produce, vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses, and other specialty items.
More than that, Bucharest Obor is where locals say you find the best Mici (skinless sausages) in the city – one of the best Romanian dishes to try while in the country.
But Obor Market, reachable by Subway or surface lines, is more than just a place to shop for groceries. It’s a lively hub of activity where vendors and customers come to socialize, haggle over prices, and share stories and laugh. Pay a visit to the local produce market (we strongly recommend Obor, but any other local market will do) and blend in the crowd, noticing the locals and their behaviour – you will understand the Romanian people even better.
Prices at farmers’ markets are generally lower compared to supermarkets. Here are some average prices you can expect to find at farmers’ markets in Bucharest:
– Milk (1 liter): $0.60 – $1.00
– Bread (500g loaf): $0.30 – $0.50
– Rice (1kg): $0.80 – $1.30
– Eggs (12): $1.00 – $1.50
– Chicken Breasts (1kg): $4.00 – $6.00
– Beef (1kg): $6.00 – $8.00
– Potatoes (1kg): $0.30 – $0.50
– Tomatoes (1kg): $0.60 – $1.00
– Apples (1kg): $0.60 – $1.00
– Bananas (1kg): $0.70 – $1.20
– Pasta (500g): $0.60 – $1.00
– Cheese (1kg): $4.00 – $7.00
– Yogurt (500g): $0.60 – $1.00
It’s important to note that prices at farmers’ markets may vary depending on the season and the vendor. It is always a good idea to compare prices and quality before purchasing.
Discount Stores: Budget-Friendly Options
If you’re on a tight budget, discount stores in Bucharest can be a great place to shop for essential groceries. These stores often offer lower prices compared to supermarkets and farmers’ markets. Some popular discount stores in Bucharest include Penny Market, Lidl, and Profi. Here are some average prices you can expect to find at discount stores:
– Milk (1 liter): $0.60 – $1.00
– Bread (500g loaf): $0.30 – $0.50
– Rice (1kg): $0.80 – $1.30
– Eggs (12): $0.90 – $1.40
– Chicken Breasts (1kg):$3.50 – $5.50
– Beef (1kg): $5.50 – $7.50
– Potatoes (1kg): $0.30 – $0.50
– Tomatoes (1kg): $0.50 – $0.90
– Apples (1kg): $0.50 – $0.90
– Bananas (1kg): $0.60 – $1.00
– Pasta (500g): $0.50 – $0.90
– Cheese (1kg): $3.50 – $6.50
– Yogurt (500g): $0.50 – $0.90
Discount stores often have sales and promotions, so keep an eye out for those to save even more money on groceries.
Online Grocery Delivery: Convenient and Time-Saving
Another option for purchasing groceries in Bucharest is through online grocery delivery services. This option is particularly convenient for those who prefer to have their groceries delivered to their doorstep. Some popular online grocery delivery services in Bucharest include Carrefour, Mega Image, and Auchan. Prices for online grocery delivery are usually similar to those in supermarkets.
Also, mobile apps like Freshful and Bringo let you order fresh food and vegetables, which is convenient when you don’t look for a particular brand or store. However, keep in mind that there may be additional delivery fees.
What is the cost of housing in Bucharest?
The cost of housing in Bucharest can vary depending on location, size, and amenities. Generally, the most expensive neighbourhoods are located in the city center, while the outskirts tend to offer more affordable options. It’s important to note that rental prices are typically quoted in euros (€) or lei (RON), the local currency. The platform locals access to find rentals is imobiliare.ro. Also, there are Facebook groups for Expats and Foreigners in Bucharest where locals show their properties for rent.
For those looking to rent an apartment in Bucharest, the average monthly cost can range from $400 to $700 for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center. If you are willing to live in the outskirts, the prices can start around $300 per month. For a three-bedroom apartment in the city center, the average monthly rent can range from $1000 to $1700, depending on the location and amenities.
If you are considering purchasing a property in Bucharest, you can expect to pay around $1,500 to $2,500 per square meter in the city center, while properties in the outskirts can be more affordable, ranging from $1,000 to $1,800 per square meter. It’s important to note that these prices are just averages and can vary depending on the specific location and condition of the property. Additionally, prices may be higher in more desirable neighbourhoods or buildings with amenities like parking, security, or a gym.
When considering the cost of housing in Bucharest, it’s also essential to consider additional expenses such as utilities and maintenance fees. These costs can vary depending on the size of the property and the specific utilities used. It’s advisable to inquire about these additional expenses before finalizing a rental or purchase agreement.
To get a better understanding of the housing market in Bucharest, it can be helpful to consult with a local real estate agent or browse online listings on reputable websites. These resources can provide more specific information on available properties and their associated costs.
Overall, while the cost of housing in Bucharest can vary, it offers a range of options to suit different budgets and preferences. By doing thorough research and seeking professional advice, expats can find a housing option that meets their needs and allows them to enjoy all that Bucharest offers.
In conclusion, the cost of housing in Bucharest can vary depending on location and amenities. Rental prices for apartments can range from $300 to $1500 per month, while property prices can range from $1,000 to $2,500 per square meter. By understanding the market and considering additional expenses, expats can make informed decisions about finding a home in Bucharest.
Consulting with a local real estate agent or browsing online listings can provide more specific information on available properties and their associated costs. It’s important to note that additional expenses, such as utilities and maintenance fees, should be considered when considering the overall cost of housing. With thorough research and professional advice, expats can find a housing option that suits their budget and preferences in Bucharest.
What is the cost of entertainment in Bucharest?
Regarding entertainment in Bucharest, expats will be pleased to find that the city offers various options to suit various budgets and preferences. From cultural events and nightlife to dining out and recreational activities, there is something for everyone in this vibrant capital city of Romania.
To give you an idea of the cost of entertainment in Bucharest, here are some average prices:
– Theater tickets: Prices can range from 25 to 150 RON ($6 to $35) depending on the venue and performance.
– Concert tickets: Prices vary widely depending on the artist and venue, but expect to pay anywhere from 50 to 300 RON ($12 to $70) for a ticket.
– Cinema tickets: On average, a cinema ticket costs around 20 to 30 RON ($5 to $7).
Nightlife in Bucharest
– Club entry: Entry fees to nightclubs in Bucharest can range from 20 to 100 RON ($5 to $23), depending on the popularity and exclusivity of the venue.
– Drinks: The cost of drinks at bars and clubs varies, but you can expect to pay around 10 to 30 RON ($2 to $7) for a beer and 15 to 50 RON ($3 to $12) for a cocktail.
Eating or Dining Out
– Restaurants: The cost of dining out in Bucharest can vary greatly depending on the type of restaurant and cuisine. On average, a meal at a mid-range restaurant can range from 30 to 60 RON ($7 to $14) per person.
– Fast food: If you’re looking for a quick and affordable meal, fast food options like McDonald’s or KFC can cost around 15 to 25 RON ($3 to $6) per meal.
– Gym membership: Monthly membership in Bucharest can range from 100 to 300 RON ($23 to $70), depending on the facilities and location.
– Spa treatments: Enjoying a relaxing spa treatment can cost anywhere from 100 to 500 RON ($23 to $115), depending on the type of treatment and spa.
– Outdoor activities: If you’re interested in outdoor activities like hiking or biking, there are plenty of options available in and around Bucharest. Prices for equipment rental or guided tours can vary but expect to pay around 50 to 200 RON ($12 to $46) per activity.
It’s important to note that these prices are averages and can vary depending on the establishment and location. Additionally, prices in Bucharest may be lower than in other major European cities, making it a more affordable option for expats looking for entertainment.
Overall, expats in Bucharest can enjoy a wide range of entertainment options without breaking the bank. Whether you prefer cultural events, nightlife, dining out, or outdoor activities, there is something for everyone at various prices. As an expat, it’s essential to consider your budget and personal preferences when exploring the entertainment scene in Bucharest.
Regarding live performances, such as concerts and theatre shows, ticket prices vary greatly depending on the artist and venue. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from 50 to 300 RON ($12 to $70) for a ticket. Remember that prices for popular and high-demand events may be on the higher end of the spectrum.
For movie lovers, cinema ticket prices are generally more affordable. On average, a cinema ticket costs around 20 to 30 RON ($5 to $7). This can be an excellent option for a relaxed evening out.
Bucharest is known for its vibrant nightlife, with various clubs and bars. Club entry fees can range from 20 to 100 RON ($5 to $23), depending on the popularity and exclusivity of the venue. Regarding drinks, prices vary, but you can expect to pay around 10 to 30 RON ($2 to $7) for a beer and 15 to 50 RON ($3 to $12) for a cocktail.
When dining out, the cost can vary greatly depending on the type of restaurant and cuisine. On average, a meal at a mid-range restaurant can range from 30 to 60 RON ($7 to $14) per person. If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, prices can range from 60 to 150 RON ($14 to $35) per person. However, there are also plenty of budget-friendly options available, where you can enjoy a meal for as low as 15 to 25 RON ($3 to $6) per person.
If you’re a foodie, Bucharest offers a diverse culinary scene with a wide range of international cuisines. Whether you’re craving Italian, Asian, Middle Eastern, or traditional Romanian dishes, you’ll find it all in the city.
For those looking to stay fit and active, there are plenty of gyms and fitness centers in Bucharest. Prices for gym memberships can vary, but on average, you can expect to pay around 100 to 300 RON ($23 to $70) per month. Many gyms also offer discounts for longer-term memberships or off-peak hours.
Also, the largest indoor spa in Europe is in Bucharest: Bucharest Therme, where an annual Sauna Fest is held, waits for its guests to enjoy sea-side-like days indoors and inside the city.
If you prefer outdoor sports, there are several parks and green spaces in Bucharest where you can exercise or relax. The Herăstrău Park, for example, offers jogging paths, bike rentals, and even paddleboat rentals during the summer months.
Regarding shopping in Bucharest, the city has a mix of high-end boutiques, shopping malls, and local markets. Prices for clothing and accessories can vary depending on the brand and location. However, you can find both international and local brands at a range of price points catering to different budgets.
Conclusion: Is Bucharest an Expensive City to Live In?
Whether or not Bucharest is an expensive city to live in depends on your perspective. Compared to other major European cities, such as London, Paris, and Berlin, Bucharest is relatively inexpensive. However, compared to the average salary in Romania, the cost of living in Bucharest can be high.
Here is a breakdown of the average cost of living in Bucharest, Romania, in 2023:
- Rent: A not-good, not-bad one-bedroom apartment in the city center costs around $350-450 monthly. A two-bedroom apartment in the city center costs around $500-700 monthly. Of course, there are all sorts of properties available for rent, but this is an average.
- Utilities: Utilities, such as electricity, water, and gas, cost around $70-120 per month.
- Groceries: Groceries in Bucharest are relatively inexpensive. A family of four can expect to spend around $350-500 monthly on groceries.
- Transportation: Public transportation in Bucharest is very affordable—a monthly pass for public transportation costs around $30, where Subway and Surface lines are included.
- Entertainment: Entertainment costs in Bucharest are also relatively inexpensive. A meal at a mid-range restaurant costs around $10-15 per person. A ticket to the cinema costs around $5-7.
Overall, the cost of living in Bucharest is lower than in most other major European cities. However, it is essential to remember that wages in Romania are also lower than in Western Europe.
Here is a comparison of the cost of living in Bucharest to other major European cities:
|City||Cost of living index|
As you can see, Bucharest is significantly cheaper than London, Paris, Berlin, and New York.
Here are some tips for saving money while living in Bucharest:
- Live in a shared apartment or house. This is a great way to save money on rent and utilities.
- Cook at home instead of eating out. Groceries in Bucharest are relatively inexpensive, so you can save a lot of money by cooking at home.
- Use public transportation instead of driving. Public transportation in Bucharest is very affordable and efficient.
- Take advantage of free activities. There are many free things to do in Bucharest, such as visiting parks, museums, and art galleries.
Overall, Bucharest is a relatively inexpensive city to live in. However, it is crucial to be mindful of your spending and to take advantage of the many opportunities to save money.
Living in Bucharest as an Expat
Are you living in Bucharest as an expat? Then, this chapter is dedicated to you.
We invite all those who want to share their opinion with others to send us their impressions on living in Bucharest as an expat, so we can publish genuine views of life as an expat in our city. All the decent, documented and well-written opinions will appear in this section, citing the name and the occupation of the expat offering it.
Only this way can we find out the actual cost of living in Bucharest and whether or not Bucharest is an affordable city.