Expats will enjoy a low cost of living in Bulgaria. However, salaries in Bulgaria are equally low. Many retired expats from Western Europe or the USA relocate to Bulgaria as it allows them to purchase property more cheaply while extending the purchasing power of their pensions. This allows expats living in Bulgaria to enjoy a European lifestyle at a cheaper cost. 

The Mercer Cost of Living report for 2019 ranked Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, as the 177th most expensive city in the world out of 209 cities, indicating that Bulgaria is a relatively inexpensive country for expats to live in.  

Cost of accommodation in Bulgaria

Compared with the rest of the EU, accommodation in Bulgaria is relatively cheap. As in most countries, accommodation is more expensive the closer one gets to urban centres. 

When securing a lease, expats are expected to pay agent fees, the first month’s rent in advance as well as a refundable security deposit which usually consists of one month's rent. 

Cost of food and entertainment in Bulgaria

Relative to most countries in the EU, eating out in Bulgaria is cheap. Bulgarian produce is excellent. Local sourcing makes groceries highly affordable. Naturally, imported foods will be more expensive than buying local. 

Alcohol is also affordable. Bulgaria’s cities have an active nightlife scene. 

Cost of education in Bulgaria

Public school fees are relatively inexpensive and EU and EEA citizens have the right to attend Bulgarian public schools for free. As the language of instruction in public schools is Bulgarian, most expats send their children to international schools, which are expensive. Expats sending their children to international schools will find that school fees are their largest expense. 

Cost of transportation in Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s public transport infrastructure is well developed and extremely affordable. Most Bulgarians in cities commute by bus which is similarly priced to the tram systems that run in some Bulgarian city centres.

Cost of living chart for Bulgaria 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Sofia, Bulgaria for November 2019.   

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

BGN 730

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

BGN 1,300

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

BGN 560

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

BGN 910


Dozen eggs

BGN 3.50

1 litre milk


Loaf of bread (white)

BGN 1.15

Chicken breasts (1kg)

BGN 9.90

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

BGN 5.60


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

BGN 0.30

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

BGN 21.20

Basic utilities (average per month for a small apartment)

BGN 183

Eating out and entertainment

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two

BGN 50

Big Mac meal 



BGN 2.40

Coca-Cola (330ml)

BGN 1.70

Bottle of local beer

BGN 2.70


Taxi rate per km

BGN 0.80

City centre public transport fare

BGN 1.60

Petrol (1 litre)

BGN 2.30

Expat Health Insurance


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