The cost of living in Bucharest is cheap in comparison to most expat destinations. Although 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 city's reasonable prices, and expats earning in a foreign currency will find it even easier to meet expenses.

Ranking 158th out of 227 cities in the 2022 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Bucharest is slightly more expensive than neighbouring capitals, such as Sofia, Bulgaria (170th) and Budapest, Hungary (180th), but is much friendlier on the pocket than London, UK (15th) and Vienna, Austria (21st).


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 months.


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 generally affordable, although maintaining a car can be expensive.  


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 for the 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 goods in 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 and particularly more so than in North America. Clothing also tends to be more expensive 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 that the prices are on the higher end. 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 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 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

RON 4,200

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

RON 2,800

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

RON 2,300

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

RON 1,630

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

RON 15

Milk (1 litre)

RON 8

Rice (1kg)

RON 8

Loaf of white bread

RON 5

Chicken breasts (1kg)

RON 29

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

RON 23

Eating out

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

RON 220

Big Mac Meal

RON 27

Coca-Cola (330ml)

RON 8.40

Cappuccino

RON 12.80

Bottle of beer (local)

RON 11

Utilities/household

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

RON 0.38

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

RON 40

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

RON 600

Transportation

Taxi rate/km

RON 3

City-centre public transport fare

RON 3

Gasoline (per litre)

RON 7.20