How cheap is life in Bucharest versus Budapest and Sofia?

Aurel Dragan 29/06/2018 | 09:02

The comparison between cost of living in Romania and Western cities is always in favor on Bucharest. But the differences are not as big when we compare our city with our neighbors. Comparing prices with Budapest, Hungary, and Sofia, Bulgaria, shows that life in Bucharest is not the cheapest.

The cost for maintaining the same standard of living is EUR 1,778 in Sofia, EUR 1,802 in Bucharest and EUR 2,040 in Budapest, according to, a site that covers the costs in many cities around the world gathered from the people living there. 

The prices are very accurate, as everybody can see on the site. Consumer prices in Bucharest are 7.82 percent lower than in Budapest, but 0.61 percent higher then in Sofia. Consumer prices including rent are 1.33 percent lower in Sofia than in Bucharest, but 10.87 percent lower in Bucharest than in Budapest.

Overall, in our Capital only restaurant prices are higher than in Budapest, by 10.04 percent, while versus Sofia only groceries are lower, by 4.2 percent.

For example, a meal for one in an inexpensive restaurant costs EUR 5.18 in Budapest, EUR 6.44 in Bucharest and EUR 5.10 in Sofia. A domestic beer at a restaurant is EUR 1.52 in Budapest, EUR 1.50 in Bucharest and EUR 1.27 in Sofia.

For the bread, something we buy every day, the prices per kilo is EUR 0.61 in Budapest, EUR 0.46 in Bucharest and EUR 0.53 in Sofia. Local cheese is EUR 5.5 in Budapest, EUR 5.18 in Bucharest and EUR 5.47 in Sofia.

Chicken breasts (boneless and skinless, 1 kg) is EUR 4.03 in Hungary, EUR 3.96 in Romania and EUR 4.58 in Bulgaria. And 1 kilo of apples is EUR 1.07 in Budapest, EUR 0.89 in Bucharest and EUR 1.13 in Sofia.

One way ticket for local transport is EUR 1.07 in Budapest, EUR 0.32 in Bucharest and EUR 0.82 in Sofia. A monthly pass for local transport (regular price) is EUR 28.93 in Budapest, EUR 12.88 in Bucharest and EUR 25.49 in Sofia.

As for utilities, the basic monthly pay for electricity, heating, coolling, water and garbage for a 85 square meters apartment costs EUR 149.29 in Budapest, EUR 89.63 in Bucharest and EUR 92.13 in Sofia. For internet (at 60 Mbps, unlimited data, cable or ADSL) the monthly price is EUR 13.48 in Budapest, EUR 8.15 in Bucharest and EUR 10.30 in Sofia.

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