Cost of living in Romania Image Bucharest - Smârdan Street - (CC) Stefan Jurcă
Bucharest – Smârdan Street – (CC) Stefan Jurcă

What is the cost of living in Romania? I was born and raised in Bucharest, so living here was more a natural consequence of my life than a real choice. I just chose not to move! I got so used to staying here so that only after I started to write, I learnt to see the good and the bad in the city.

Until then they were all part of the scenery. But for those coming here for the first time, Bucharest can be amazing or awful. It is an interesting mixture of old and new, beautiful and ugly, modern and classic that won’t leave you indifferent! Some people told me they liked the city very much and others asked me how can I live here. Definitely, Bucharest is not for everybody!

If you plan to visit it for a longer period or even to move here, there are some things you should know before. And the cost of living in Romania is one of them. In a city like Bucharest, the best part is that you can live cheap or as expensive as you want, depending on your budget and wishes

Cost of Accommodation in Bucharest

 Romanian Apartment Houses (CC) Dennis Jarvis
Romanian Apartment Houses (CC) Dennis Jarvis

Those visiting Bucharest for a few days can choose to stay in a rented apartment or at a hotel. You can find good 3* and 4* hotels for a reasonable price. If you want to stay in the city center and consider the 5* hotels, expect to pay around 200 euros per night.

If you plan to move here, the conditions are different. Most Romanians like to have their own property, so they one of their major goals in life is to buy their own house. For those who want to rent a place to stay, their decision has very much to do with transport and the place where they work. Nobody wants to lose time in traffic so the distance to a metro station or to the workplace is a major criterion.

The monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in Bucharest (around 75 m2) is around 500 euro. The closer the apartment is to the city center, the higher is the rent. Also, you pay more for an apartment in a new building than for one in a “communist” block.

There are also good options for those who like luxury apartments and villas. In the north of Bucharest, homes are bigger and more expensive. Monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment (around 200 m2) is around 2000 euro. And for more than 3000 euro per month, you can have a luxurious villa with garden and pool access. It is all about the budget!

The only thing is that almost nobody wants to rent only for a month and the contract must be for a minimum of six months with an extra month as a guarantee.

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Cost of Utilities in Bucharest

When considering the cost of living in Romania, you need to consider the cost of utilities. Usually, the cost of utilities is not included in the monthly rent. Electricity, water, and heating during the summer cost around 50 euro for one month. During winter, heating can triple this cost so for a typical 75 m2 apartment you can pay around 150 euro. And this cost depends of course on the size of the home you choose.

Internet and mobile are around 20 euro per month, with fast Internet.

Cost of Transport in Bucharest, Romania

Of all the public transportation in Bucharest, the metro is the best option. You know it will get you where you want in no time. During the rush hour can be very crowded, but many people prefer it because it is fast. A monthly subscription for the metro is only 15 euro.

Image of Trams in Bucharest, they are a good value
Bucharest Tram (CC) M Marius

The bus or the tram is another option, but considering the traffic in Bucharest, you might want to choose something else especially if you are in a hurry. To use the tram or the bus you need another ticket than the one for the metro. Is a special card that you buy once and load money on it afterward. You can do that at the kiosks in the bus stations, and a monthly subscription is around 11 euro. For the updated map of buses and trams in Bucharest access the official website.

And of course, you can use a rented car. I wouldn’t recommend that if you don’t plan to travel outside Bucharest and the traffic will show you in a few days that you don’t need one. The price of car rental is not very high if you don’t aim for a luxury vehicle, but the gas price is around 1.2 euro/liter.

For those travelling outside Bucharest, a car is a must. You can use the train, but in Romania, it takes longer than any other transport. A car will give you the opportunity to see attractions that are hard to get to otherwise and beautiful villages that will make you fall in love with them.

Dining Out in Bucharest

If you’re on a budget, you can find cooked food at a reasonable price in almost every hypermarket. From Monday to Friday the restaurants have usually “menu of the day” from 12 to 3 pm at a very good price ( for under 10 euro you can have a two-course meal and a drink or a desert).

If you plan to have dinner, the prices are a little higher. Traditional, Italian, Indian or Chinese, choose what you want and go out to find it. Another popular option is to order food at home, and many restaurants also make deliveries.

Indoor Fruit and Vegie Market image for cost of living in Romania
Indoor Fruit and Vegie Market in Bucharest (CC) Tschäff

For those who prefer fine dining, Bucharest has some interesting options: famous chefs, molecular kitchen and gourmet food with a view are just some of them.

Romanian Food Prices

If you prefer to cook at home, you can buy your products from the supermarket. But my suggestion is to visit the local market. In Obor (the biggest local market in Bucharest) you will find fresh fruits and vegetables from peasants, delicious cheese and other dairy products plus meat and fish for a family dinner. And the prices are often lower than in a supermarket.
And an element that makes Bucharest compete with any Italian city and leave behind it the big capitals of Europe is the coffee. Here you will find a coffee paradise: almost every street has a coffee shop, and they have so many types of coffee that you can try something new every day. I love it for that! You can drink good coffee with a price from 1 to 10 euro.

Cost of Entertainment in Bucharest

Bucharest is known for its nightlife and slowly becomes a favorite destination for bachelor parties. The old town comes to life every evening, and other known clubs around the city attract people that want to have fun. You can spend in a club like that 1000 euro in one night, or you can have a drink in a local pub with only 2 euro. Decisions, decisions!

But, Bucharest is not just a destination for clubbers. It has plenty of museums and other attractions. Parliament Palace, the second largest building in the world, can be visited every day for around 10 euro. The other museums (Village Museum, Art Museum, Natural Science Museum) have entrance fees around 3 euro, so they are very affordable. Parks and churches are free of charge, and you can find some interesting options here.

The cost of entertainment is of good value in Romania
Romanian Athenaeum Concert Hall in Bucharest (CC) Francisco Anzola

For classical music lovers, the concerts at the Athenaeum and the Romanian Opera are a delight. The cheapest ticket starts around 5 euro and the most expensive is less than 30 euro. And for this money, you will have a fantastic experience.

Movies are another great attraction if you are here. Every mall has a cinema, and the ticket is around 10 euro. For a family evening with kids is a perfect choice.

And when you think you saw and experienced everything you could in Bucharest, start to explore the attractions outside the city. Mogosoaia Palace, Potlogi Palace or Stirbey Palace are just some options for short day trips. But for them, you will definitely need a car.

What is Like to Live in Bucharest?

Living in Bucharest is first of all challenging. You don’t have time to be bored and you always find something to do, an event to go to, a new attraction in town and most often a new restaurant to try. It is an excellent destination for a city break, but staying longer here will show you new faces of it. It is not hard to find people speaking English, it is a relatively safe destination compared with other big capitals that face different threats, and interesting activities to do can be found every day here. All the expats I know that moved here are thrilled with the city. And if you know where to look and what to search for you will find a nice place to live here. Considering the cost of living in Romania, Bucharest is a city that can adapt to any budget. But as in any other part of the world, if you want good quality, don’t expect it to be cheap. Give it a chance, and you will be charmed!

About the Author: Corina writes on her blog Another Milestone about family travel in Europe, for working moms that want to wander, for fathers in search of new destinations and for curious children. She lives in Bucharest and does also travel consulting and design for those who want to visit Romania. You can follow her blog on Pinterest and Facebook.

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