Cost of Living in Bucharest

The cost of living in Bucharest is generally much cheaper overall than most major Western European capitals, but there are many bars, restaurants and shops that charge similar prices to their Western European counterparts. 

Salaries in Bucharest are much lower on average than what many expats from Western Europe or North America may be used to. This is offset by the low cost of living in Bucharest. 

Bucharest was ranked 176th out of 209 cities in the 2018 Mercer Cost of Living Survey. Bucharest has the highest cost of living in Romania so prices anywhere outside of the city are generally cheaper. 

Cost of accommodation in Bucharest

In terms of accommodation, rent for a one-bedroom or studio apartment in Bucharest is typically lower than in other European cities but is expensive by Romanian standards.

Property prices can vary greatly depending on the area and type of home. As with most cities, the further away from the city centre one goes, the cheaper accommodation becomes. Most expats in Bucharest rent apartments and houses, with the cost of rent being dependent on the size of the apartment or house and whether it is furnished or not. 

A further expense is the cost of utilities, which is generally not included in rental agreements and which varies between the winter and summer months.

Cost of transport in Bucharest

The metro is the most popular means of transport in Bucharest and expats can buy daily, bi-weekly or 62-trip cards, which make travelling on the metro cheaper. 

Taxis are inexpensive in Bucharest, while those having to commute will find that cars are affordable, although maintaining a car can be expensive.  

Cost of schooling in Bucharest

Schooling in Bucharest can range from free (for public schools) to very expensive (for international schools).

Cost of goods Bucharest

Food in Bucharest is relatively inexpensive on an expat salary. Conversely, electronics and luxury products can be more expensive than in other European cities, but particularly more so than in North America. Clothing also tends to be more expensive in Bucharest.

Cost of entertainment in Bucharest

The cost of entertainment in Bucharest depends entirely on where one goes. The old city centre caters to many tourists, expats and well-to-do locals, meaning that the prices are at the higher end. Prices at a neighbourhood bar or restaurant are generally half the cost. Movies are reasonably priced and there are many concerts and museum exhibitions, many taking only a nominal fee for admission.

Cost of living in Bucharest chart

Note that prices may vary depending on location and service and are based on average prices in Bucharest in July 2018.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

RON 2,200

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

RON 1,500

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

RON 3,700

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

RON 2,600

Food and drink

Milk (1 litre)

RON 4.60

Dozen eggs

RON 10.50

Loaf of white bread

RON 2.20

Rice (1kg)

RON 4.60

Pack of chicken breasts (1kg)

RON 19

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

RON 17

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

RON 19


RON 8.50

Three-course meal at mid-range restaurant

RON 60


Mobile call rate (minute-to-minute)

RON 0.60

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

RON 38

Utilities (average per month for a standard household)

RON 415

Hourly rate for a domestic cleaner

RON 25


City centre bus fare


Taxi rate per km

RON 1.70

Petrol (per litre)

RON 5.50

Matt Our Expat Expert

Matt is a Canadian expat living in Transylvania, Romania. He moved to Romania because of his job but was actually returning to the country of his birth. Matt loves life in the tranquil city of Cluj-Napoca and has found that he was able to rediscover his culture by interacting with the warm and friendly locals.

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