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 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 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 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 provide world-class education but tend to be eye-wateringly expensive and typically have space limitations, so expats should budget carefully and 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 March 2024.

Accommodation (monthly rent)
Three-bedroom apartment in the city centreMDL 14,400
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centreMDL 11,300
One-bedroom apartment in the city centreMDL 7,400
One-bedroom apartment outside the city centreMDL 5,400
Food and drink
Dozen eggsMDL 36
Milk (1 litre)MDL 17
Rice (1kg)MDL 29
Loaf of white breadMDL 9.52
Chicken breasts (1kg)MDL 54
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)MDL 48
Eating out
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurantMDL 600
Big Mac MealMDL 122
Coca-Cola (330ml)MDL 14.25
CappuccinoMDL 30
Bottle of beer (local)MDL 21
Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)MDL 1.16
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)MDL 172
Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)MDL 3,100
Taxi rate/kmMDL 5.25
City-centre public transport fareMDL 6
Gasoline (per litre)MDL 27

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