Europe’s least visited country, Moldova is an unconventional expat destination. Be that as it may, expats may be surprised by the low cost of living in Moldova and the rich cultural experience on offer in the small eastern European country.
Most expats work for NGOs, embassies or multinational corporations in the capital city and earn relatively high salaries, meaning they enjoy an excellent quality of life in Moldova. That said, landing a job in the country can be difficult, so expats are encouraged to secure a role before moving to Moldova.
Cost of accommodation in Moldova
Renting or buying a home in Moldova is relatively affordable. As is usually the case in most cities, accommodation in the city centres will be slightly pricier and decrease in the outskirts. The standard of modern housing in the country’s capital, Chișinău, is also generally of exceptional quality. Utilities and internet costs in Moldova are also cheaper than in other European countries, such as the UK or Romania. This is another cost expats will have to factor in over and above the monthly rental fee.
Cost of groceries in Moldova
Moldova has a thriving agriculture industry, meaning most of its food is locally produced and largely inexpensive. Expats will find that baked goods, alcoholic beverages and fresh produce are largely affordable. Those who are looking for imported Western products will have to shell out for these conveniences, but expats can keep their grocery bills low by purchasing local items.
Cost of entertainment and eating out in Moldova
The country is also world-renowned for its fantastic and affordable wines, which pair well with the reasonably priced three-course meals served in fine-dining restaurants. As alcohol is reasonably priced in Moldova, expats can easily enjoy a night out in the capital of Chișinău, which is likely to have the highest proliferation of Western-style bars and clubs.
Keeping fit while in Moldova will also not cost expats a fortune as gym memberships are affordable, and the country offers many opportunities for hiking, swimming and cycling. Film enthusiasts will also not be left wanting as movie tickets are reasonable.
Cost of transport in Moldova
Given Moldova’s small size, getting around in the country is fairly straightforward. Public transport in Chișinău is well-developed, efficient and low-cost, but rural areas lack road infrastructure. Regular commuters can purchase a monthly ticket to receive fare discounts and reduce expenses.
Taxis are also readily available in the capital, with decreased prices if expats pre-book rather than hailing one off the street. Walking is another healthy and free way to travel in Chișinău, as the city is situated on seven hills.
Cost of education and schools in Moldova
Expats relocating to Moldova with children may have to budget for the cost of international schools, as public institutions teach in Romanian and have varying standards. International schools tend to be eye-wateringly expensive and typically have space limitations, so expats should begin the application process well in advance.
These schools offer many benefits for expats such as teaching foreign curricula that allows expat children to easily transfer to other schools. International schools are also known for their high educational standards and excellent facilities.
Cost of healthcare in Moldova
Moldova is a developing country, and the standard of public healthcare reflects this. Expats from Western European countries or North America may be disappointed by the facilities available in the country's hospitals, so purchasing comprehensive health insurance with medical evacuation is essential.
The cost of health insurance will vary depending on the cover expats choose based on their family's needs. The health insurance company will also consider their age and lifestyle. Habits such as smoking and a lack of exercise will lead to a higher charge.
Cost of living in Moldova chart
Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Chișinău in November 2023.
|One-bedroom apartment in city centre||MDL 6,800|
|One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre||MDL 5,130|
|Three-bedroom apartment in city centre||MDL 13,000|
|Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre||MDL 10,200|
|Eggs (dozen)||MDL 43|
|Milk (1 litre)||MDL 20|
|Rice (1kg)||MDL 29|
|Loaf of white bread||MDL 10|
|Chicken breasts (1kg)||MDL 93|
|Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)||MDL 45|
|Big Mac Meal||MDL 110|
|Coca-Cola (330ml)||MDL 14.65|
|Bottle of beer (local)||MDL 25|
|Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant||MDL 600|
|Mobile phone monthly plan with calls and data||MDL 122|
|Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)||MDL 182|
|Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)||MDL 4,000|
|Taxi rate (per kilometre)||MDL 5|
|Bus/train fare in the city centre||MDL 6|
|Petrol/gasoline (per litre)||MDL 28.10|
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