The cost of living in Bucharest is cheap compared to most expat destinations. Although salaries in Bucharest are much lower on average than many expats from Western Europe or North America may be used to, this is offset by the city's reasonable prices. Expats earning in a foreign currency will find it even easier to meet expenses.

Ranking 142nd out of 227 cities in the 2023 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Bucharest is slightly costlier than neighbouring capitals, such as Sofia, Bulgaria (168th) and Budapest, Hungary (161st). Still, it is much friendlier on the pocket than London in the UK and Vienna, Austria.

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, the cheaper accommodation becomes. Most expats in Bucharest rent apartments or houses, with the cost of rent being dependent on the size of the home and whether it is furnished.

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

Cost of transport in Bucharest

The metro is the most popular means of transport in Bucharest. It's possible to buy bundled tickets or tickets valid for a period of time rather than a set number of trips, making travelling on the metro cheaper.

Taxis are inexpensive in Bucharest. Those who commute will find that cars are largely affordable, although maintaining a car can be expensive.

Cost of groceries and goods in Bucharest

Food in Bucharest is relatively inexpensive on an expat's salary. Everything from meat to dairy is reasonably priced, while fresh produce is also accessible depending on the season. Imported Western goods and organic produce will cost significantly more.

Conversely, electronics and luxury products can be pricier in Bucharest than in other European cities, and particularly more so than in North America. Clothing costs also tends to be steeper in Bucharest.

Cost of entertainment and eating out 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 the prices are higher. Prices at a neighbourhood bar or restaurant can be half the cost. Movies are reasonably priced, and many concerts and museum exhibitions have only a nominal admission fee.

Cost of education in Bucharest

Schooling in Bucharest can range from free (for public schools) to costly (for international schools). As the language of instruction in public schools is Romanian, most expat parents don't choose this route for their children unless they plan to stay in the country long-term.

Bucharest boasts several international schools. The fees for these schools vary but tend to be expensive, and there are usually extra costs such as lunch, bus fare or uniforms. Expats relocating should consider these costs when accepting a job offer.

Cost of healthcare in Bucharest

Healthcare in Bucharest is free for all expats legally working in Romania, but expats must also secure private health insurance to receive their visas. Although Romania offers free healthcare, standards vary across public facilities. As such, most expats use private facilities.

The cost of private healthcare facilities will depend on the level of coverage expats choose and their age and lifestyle habits. It's worth shopping around to find the most comprehensive cover at the most affordable rate.

Cost of living in Bucharest chart

Note that prices may vary depending on location and service provider, and the table below is based on average prices for Bucharest in April 2024.

Accommodation (monthly rent)
Three-bedroom apartment in the city centreRON 4,430
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centreRON 3,120
One-bedroom apartment in the city centreRON 2,620
One-bedroom apartment outside the city centreRON 1,760
Food and drink
Dozen eggsRON 15
Milk (1 litre)RON 8
Rice (1kg)RON 9
Loaf of white breadRON 6
Chicken breasts (1kg)RON 30
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)RON 26
Eating out
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurantRON 250
Big Mac MealRON 35
Coca-Cola (330ml)RON 9.40
CappuccinoRON 14.40
Bottle of beer (local)RON 14
Mobile phone monthly plan with calls and dataRON 43
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)RON 42
Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)RON 700
Taxi rate/kmRON 3
City-centre public transport fareRON 3
Gasoline (per litre)RON 7.10

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