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From the picturesque landscapes to the historical sites, Romania has always been an intriguing destination. A common question I often hear is, “What does it cost to live in Romania?”. Well, after a year of residing here, I have gathered a wealth of information to answer just that.
Romania’s cost of living can be summed up in one word: Affordable, especially if you’re earning in US Dollars or Euros. For digital nomads or remote workers being paid in USD or EUR, living in Romania is a dream come true.
The low cost, combined with friendly locals, top-notch safety standards, dependable WIFI, delightful Romanian cuisine, and scenic beauty, makes it a top choice for many. And let’s delve into the big question: What does it cost to live in Romania? Is Romania cheap to live in?
- ROMANIA COST OF LIVING COMPARED TO OTHER COUNTRIES
- WHAT CURRENCY IS USED IN ROMANIA?
- IS ROMANIA EXPENSIVE TO LIVE IN?
- WHAT ARE THE MOST AND LEAST EXPENSIVE ROMANIAN CITIES?
- Wrapping Up: Cost of Living in Romania
- PIN IT
ROMANIA COST OF LIVING COMPARED TO OTHER COUNTRIES
If you’re wondering “Is Romania expensive to live in compared to other countries?”, the following statistics will give you a clearer perspective. Here’s a comparison of Romania’s cost of living vs. US and other popular destinations for expats and digital nomads. The data is sourced from 2020 Numbeo estimates and will give you an idea of where Romania stands.
Average consumer prices in Romania are 46.66% CHEAPER than the United States.
Average rent in Romania is 74.16% CHEAPER than the United States.
Average consumer prices in Romania are 39.69% CHEAPER than in Spain.
Average rent in Romania is 54.01% CHEAPER than in Spain.
Average consumer prices in Romania are 50.36% CHEAPER than in Germany.
Average rent in Romania is 63.46% CHEAPER than in Germany.
Average consumer prices in Romania are 4.66% CHEAPER than in Vietnam.
Average rent in Romania is 23.01% CHEAPER than in Vietnam.
Average consumer prices in Romania are 11.59% MORE EXPENSIVE than in Mexico.
Average rent in Romania is 2.04% CHEAPER than in Mexico.
Average consumer prices in Romania are 5.60% CHEAPER than in Ecuador.
Average rent in Romania is 10.84% CHEAPER than in Ecuador.
WHAT CURRENCY IS USED IN ROMANIA?
Romanians use the Leu (singular) / Lei (plural). The word literally translates to lion / lions. 1 USD is approximately 4 RON (the official currency code – same as lei), 1 EUR is approximately 4.88 RON. For current currency calculations, or to convert from a different currency, visit XE Currency Converter.
While its purchasing power isn’t great, you will find many expats in Romania working remotely for US/UK/AU companies and living very well!
For the purpose of this post and the demographics of TRAVELING TRANSYLVANIA, I will display prices in lei / EUR for apartments, and lei / USD for all other costs.
IS ROMANIA EXPENSIVE TO LIVE IN?
From affordable rents in Romania’s charming cities like Cluj Napoca, Brasov, and Sibiu, to the surprisingly reasonable grocery bills, understanding the cost of living in Romania in US dollars offers an eye-opening perspective. The utilities, like cable and internet, are considerably cheaper compared to Western Europe or the States. Even leisure activities like dining out, movies, or gym memberships are more budget-friendly. If you’re pondering, “Is it cheap to live in Romania?”, these details paint a vivid picture.
Monthly rent in Romania is far less expensive than in many other countries across the globe. Proximity to city centers is a factor in determining the price, as is which city you choose. Most apartments will be listed and paid for in EUR instead of lei.
One great thing about apartments in Romania is that most include a terrace or balcony to enjoy a bit of your own space outside.
My 4-room / 1-bath apartment in Sibiu, situated directly in the gorgeous Old Town, was 300 EUR monthly plus gas & electric, WIFI and cable included. This was when I got ‘stuck’ in Romania due to COVID, and my Airbnb host kindly adjusted my rent in light of the circumstances. I was blown away by the cost of living in Romania when I first arrived!
A little while later, I moved to another city, Cluj-Napoca – one of the most expensive cities to live in Romania (it’s worth it, though because there are SO many things to do in Cluj!). My former 3-room / 1.5 bath apartment in Cluj-Napoca is 430 EUR monthly plus all utilities. My apartment in Cluj was in the Zorilor neighborhood, one of the nicer neighborhoods in the city, a 20-minute bus ride from the Old Town.
Today, after a couple of years (and babies, and another dog) later, we needed a larger house. Now, we rent a single-family house in the Borhanci neighborhood of Cluj-Napoca for 1400 EUR. It’s significantly more expensive, but we don’t have to deal with the noise of apartment living – plus, we have a huge yard for the dogs.
|TYPE OF APARTMENT||AVERAGE||RANGE|
|Studio in City Center||1385 lei / 280 EUR||900 – 2200 lei / 185 – 450 EUR|
|Studio Outside City Center||1000 lei / 200 EUR||690 – 1500 lei / 140 – 300 EUR|
|3 Room in City Center||2400 lei / 590 EUR||1500 – 4000 / 300 – 820 EUR|
|3 Room Outside City Center||1780 lei / 365 EUR||1200 – 2900 lei / 245 – 600 EUR|
|TYPE OF APARTMENT||AVERAGE||RANGE|
|Price per Square Meter in City Center||6650 lei / 1360 EUR||4500 – 10000 lei / 920 – 2050 EUR|
|Price per Square Meter outside City Center||4850 lei / 995 EUR||3400 – 7450 lei / 700 – 1530 EUR|
Utilities in Romania are generally kept in the landlord’s name and paid directly to him (or her). It saves a lot of hassle when it comes to moving into a new apartment and not having to put everything in your own name! Utilities may or may not be included in the price of rent, depending on the specific apartment.
As you can see below, cell phones and home cable / internet are SUPER cheap in comparison with other countries of Western Europe or the States. My cell phone bill at home was never less than $70 USD. Here, you can expect to pay closer to 10 EUR!
|General Utilities (Electric, Gas, Water)||470 lei / 115 USD||300 – 750 lei / 75 – 185 USD|
|Pre-Paid Cell Phone||39 lei / 10 USD||25 – 60 lei / 6 – 15 USD|
|Cable & Internet (60 mbps or more)||37 lei / 9 USD||28 – 62 lei / 7 – 15 USD|
Despite living in a relatively expensive city, groceries are very cheap in Romania compared with the USA and the rest of Europe.
On average, our weekly grocery bill for two people is around $60 USD. My grocery bill also includes a couple of bottles of mid-range Romanian wine and a few six-packs of Heineken. Over the summer, we’d also usually get a bottle of vodka. What can I say, it was during lockdown *shrugs*.
For my fellow Americans – 1 kg = 2.2 lbs
|1 Loaf Bread||6 lei / 1.43 USD|
|1.5 L Bottled Water||2.7 lei / 0.66 USD|
|1 Bottle Mid-Range Wine||20 lei / 4.90 USD|
|6 Pack Domestic Beer||16 lei / 3.92 USD|
|6 Pack Imported Beer||23 lei / 5.63 USD|
|1 kg Onions||2.7 lei / 0.66 USD|
|1 kg Potatos||2.6 lei / 0.64 USD|
|1 kg Apples||4 lei / 0.98 USD|
|1 kg Bananas||5.5 lei / 1.35 USD|
|1 Dozen Eggs||10 lei / 2.45 USD|
|1 kg Local Cheese||24 lei / 5.88 USD|
|1 kg Chicken Breast||23 lei / 5.63 USD|
|1 kg Ground Pork||22 lei / 5.39 USD|
|1 L Milk||4.7 lei / 1.15 USD|
Transportation in Romania, aside from gas prices, is very affordable. In Sibiu, I took a taxi maybe once or twice. I walked everywhere else, and not once in three months did I use a bus or any other form of public transportation (I lived in the Old Town).
Now, living in Cluj-Napoca (a much larger city), I use the bus maybe six times per month, so not really enough to justify a monthly pass. I use Bolt on average once or twice a week. We are still under COVID restrictions, so perhaps once those are lifted I’ll be using the bus more frequently.
Update: We’ve gotten a car since this post was first published. The gas prices here are ridiculous – think 4x the cost of gas in the US. Prices regularly fluctuate between 8-9 lei/liter (which, after all of the conversions, comes to around 6-7 USD/gallon.
|1-Way Bus Ride||2.50 lei / 0.61 USD|
|Monthly Bus Pass||75 lei / 18 USD|
|20-Minute Uber/Bolt Ride||20 lei / 5 USD|
|Taxi Fare per 1km||2.50 lei / 0.61 USD|
|Gasoline per Liter||8.28 lei / 1.81 USD – around $6.85/gal|
I love going to restaurants, and was so excited upon arriving in Romania to find how affordable they are! The average restaurant prices in Romania allow us to go to nicer places and still spend far less money than going to an average restaurant in the USA.
That being said, the prices here have skyrocketed over the course of the past 3 years. My favorite dish at one of the best restaurants in Cluj-Napoca, Rod, was originally 48 lei when we began going. Today the price is 78 lei! Inflation has hit hard here as well.
One aspect of leisure activities in Romania I found to be not much cheaper at all than in the States – gym memberships! Granted, I was going to Planet Fitness back home, so not the most luxurious of gyms.
At our gym in Borhanci, we pay 1800 lei ($394 USD) for 6 months – this includes both indoor and outdoor pools as well as gym access. This breaks down to $66 per month.
|Activity / Item||Average Price|
|Monthly Gym Membership||140 lei / 34 USD|
|Movie Theatre Ticket||25 lei / 6 USD|
|Museum Admission||7 lei / 1.70 USD|
|Meal for 2 at Mid-Range Restaurant (with drinks)||150 lei / 36 USD|
|Fast Food Meal||20 lei / 5 USD|
|Cappuccino||7 lei / 1.70 USD|
WHAT ARE THE MOST AND LEAST EXPENSIVE ROMANIAN CITIES?
The least expensive major cities to live in Romania are Craiova, Arad, Oradea, and Suceava.
The most expensive major cities to live in Romania are Bucharest, Constanța, Timișoara, Iași, and Cluj-Napoca. That being said, even the most expensive cities to live in Romania are among the cheapest cities to live in Europe! More rural areas are obviously less expensive.
Cost of living is a huge draw for many expats and something you need to consider when contemplating moving to Romania!
Wrapping Up: Cost of Living in Romania
When considering a move abroad or just an extended stay, understanding the financial implications is crucial. The question “Is it expensive to live in Romania?” echos the concerns of many. But as outlined above, Romania offers an impressive balance of rich cultural experiences and affordable living costs, especially when compared with virtually any other European country.
With its diverse cities, scenic landscapes, and favorable cost of living in Romania in US dollars, it’s no wonder Romania is increasingly catching the attention of expats, travelers, and digital nomads alike. So, if you’re contemplating a change of scenery without breaking the bank, Romania might just be the place for you.