The cost of living in Romania is a relative bargain for expats. Ranking 158th out of 227 cities in the 2022 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Bucharest is more affordable than Calgary in Canada and Ljubljana in Slovenia, but more expensive than Zagreb in Croatia and Sofia in Bulgaria. 

Rural areas and smaller cities such as Pitești, Cluj-Napoca and Iași are cheaper than the larger urban areas that are more popular with expats, including the likes of Timișoara, Sibiu and Brașov. Bucharest is significantly more expensive than any of these but, as it’s also where most opportunities and infrastructure are centred, most expats settle here.


Cost of accommodation in Romania

The cost of accommodation in Romania is not as low as expats may expect. Many of the blocks of apartments in cities such as Bucharest are old and in need of repair, so expat families with children often prefer to live in more expensive gated communities consisting of new-build houses.

In addition to rent, expats will need to include the cost of utility bills in their budget. On the upside, most foreigners can afford a cleaner and/or babysitter, as domestic help is relatively plentiful and cheap. 


Cost of groceries in Romania

Locally sourced food, such as fruit, vegetables and dairy is affordable, but the kind of produce available is seasonal. Conversely, branded Western goods, which are often stocked in supermarkets, can be expensive.


Cost of entertainment and eating out in Romania

The cost of eating out and entertainment in Romania can vary depending on the type of establishment and location, but generally speaking, it is relatively cheaper compared to most Western European countries. Alcohol is also relatively cheap in the country, but drinks in tourist areas can be more expensive.

As for entertainment, Romania has a vibrant cultural scene with a rich history, and expats can expect to find a variety of cultural activities and events. Bucharest is known for its thriving nightlife, with many bars, clubs, and music venues to choose from. Additionally, there are also cinemas, theatres and museums to visit, as well as parks and outdoor spaces for relaxing and enjoying the city's scenery.


Cost of transport in Romania

Expats who choose to live in a rural area and commute to town to save on accommodation costs may find that the transport costs of such a choice can be higher than anticipated. The state of Romanian roads is sub-par and petrol is only slightly cheaper than in most of Europe.

On the other hand, Romanian public transport is inexpensive, routes are fairly extensive and there are many options in the form of buses, trains and taxis.


Cost of healthcare in Romania

Expats working in Romania have free access to public healthcare services. Despite this, expats are also required to have private medical insurance in order to secure their residency status. Although private care incurs a variety of small and possibly trivial costs, it's still cheaper than many other European countries, as well as the US. 


Cost of education in Romania

New arrivals with children who speak Romanian may benefit from sending them to a Romanian public school, which is free for all residents. 

As the language of instruction in these schools is Romanian, most expats send their children to international schools. Tuition for these schools is expensive and often doesn't cover extra expenses such as uniforms and school books. Education may form the highest expense for expats in Romania.  


Cost of living in Romania chart

Note that prices may vary depending on location and service provider, and the table below is based on average prices for Bucharest in February 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

RON 4,100

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

RON 2,700

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

RON 2,200

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

RON 1,610

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

RON 15

Milk (1 litre)

RON 7

Rice (1kg)

RON 7.79

Loaf of white bread

RON 4.98

Chicken breasts (1kg)

RON 32

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

RON 22

Eating out

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

RON 200

Big Mac meal

RON 25

Coca-Cola (330ml)

RON 8.03

Cappuccino

RON 12.55

Bottle of beer (local)

RON 4.07

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 460

Transportation

Taxi rate/km

RON 2.70

City-centre public transport fare

RON 3

Gasoline (per litre)

RON 8