Cost of Living in Bulgaria: Is Bulgaria Expensive?

Cost of Living in Bulgaria: Is Bulgaria Expensive?

Bulgaria is one of the Balkan countries situated in Southeastern Europe. Bulgaria is a developing country having a cost of living lower than most European countries. Bulgaria is a country you will be proud to call home. It is recognized for its beautiful architecture and friendly people and is committed to providing a comfortable living environment for all internationals.

Whether you’re looking to relocate and work, retire, or seek a holiday home in Bulgaria, it’s important to work out how much money you will need. Different costs apply depending on your circumstances. How can you research and calculate Bulgarian living expenses? There are many factors that you need to weigh up.

And, as with any big decision in life, it’s understandable if you’re feeling a bit stressed out or even intimidated by the sheer number of things you have to take into account. Here, though, I’m going to provide you with up-to-date details on what this country has to offer and how much you can realistically spend setting up your new home here.

Cost Of Living: What Are the Living Expenses Like In Bulgaria?

Bulgaria is one of the cheapest countries in Europe in terms of cost of living. The average living cost in Bulgaria is about 500 Euros/ Month, which makes Bulgaria a great place to live for anyone who comes from a developed country.

Though the average monthly salary is 700 Euros gross, which means that you need to pay for your bills and rent before you start saving any money.

Many people who have been living abroad for a long time and even those who are aspiring or thinking about relocating to Bulgaria ask this very question. Well, is Bulgaria expensive? This can be a tricky question because prices can vary depending on the product and where you live (e.g. the capital city Sofia compared to the more rural areas).

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Living in Bulgaria is cheaper than living in the UK, Western Europe, and Scandinavia. So, if you’re exploring your options for a better quality of life, Bulgaria’s an option worth considering. Its cost of living is still low compared to much of Eastern Europe too. That said, it is by no means a budget paradise.

Bulgaria is a less expensive place to live than most European countries. The cost of living in Bulgaria is 20% lower than in the EU.

ExpensesMonthly Living Cost in USD ($)
Transportation298.96
Clothing and Shoes78.45
Leisure and Sports124.96
Markets723.86
Utilities (Monthly)176.3
Rent Per Month401.19
Restaurants317.4

Currency is one of the factors that determine the nature of a country. Currency determines how much something costs in a given country. Bulgarians have the Lev as their currency. A quick search on google will show you that Bulgaria is inexpensive to live in compared to other countries

The average salary after tax is around 1,382.56 лв ($717.64) per month, which is enough to settle the need of a single person (the average monthly cost is around 1,122.71 лв). However, a small family (4 individuals) needs an estimate of 3,929.33 лв to be comfortable, you need to be skilled, conversant with their language, and experienced to have a nice job that settles the bill when money to spare. 

The most expensive cities in Bulgaria are Sofia, Plovdiv, and Varna. Sofia is the capital and biggest city in Bulgaria with a population of 1,250,000 people.

CitiesCost of Living Index
Sofia42.00
Plovdiv35.64
Varna34.85

Bulgaria, especially the capital Sofia, has a well-developed infrastructure and offers many opportunities for ex-pats. The living expenses are considerably low here but rents in Sofia rival London prices. We have calculated some common expenses to help you estimate your costs of living in Bulgaria.

It is not so difficult to come up with average prices for different services in Bulgaria. The more difficult part is to get the costs of the basic items that you need. This is an area where a lot of ex-pats struggle. They have no clue how much beef, milk, or bananas should cost.

The price of foods and wares differ around the country, with Sofia being the most expensive. The cost of living is one of the lowest in Eastern Europe. So, here is a list of prices for some basic things in the country.

Cost Of A Meal & Restaurants Food Prices In Bulgaria

The average food cost in Bulgaria when eating out is € 7.15 ($ 7.98) per person and that includes a glass of water and bread. So, don’t expect much, but if you are on a tight budget, this may be right for you.

Eating OutPrice in Bulgarian Lev (лв)
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant15.00 лв
Three-course Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant60.00 лв
McMeal at McDonald’s (or Equivalent Combo Meal in a Food Chain Store)11.38 лв
Domestic Beer (0.5L)3.00 лв
Imported Beer (0.33L)4.00 лв
Regular Cappuccino2.82 лв
Coke/Pepsi (0.33L)2.03 лв
Water (0.33L)1.38 лв
Regular Milk, (1L)2.33 лв
Loaf of Fresh Bread (500g)1.62 лв
White Rice, (1kg)3.28 лв
Regular Eggs (12)3.95 лв
Local Cheese (1Kg)13.87 лв
Chicken Fillets (1Kg)11.34 лв
Beef Round (1Kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)17.26 лв
Apples (1Kg)2.63 лв
Banana (1Kg)2.79 лв
Oranges (1Kg)2.44 лв
Tomato (1Kg)4.07 лв
Potato (1Kg)1.49 лв
Onion (1Kg)1.41 лв
Lettuce (1 head)1.47 лв
Water (1.5L)1.05 лв
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)10.00 лв
Domestic Beer (0.5L)1.53 лв
Imported Beer (0.33L)2.49 лв
Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro)6.00 лв

According to various types of research, Bulgaria is one of the countries with lower costs of living. Let us present you with a list of the most necessary goods by price in Bulgaria.

Cost Of Transportation and Commuting In Bulgaria

Bulgaria offers a wide variety of transport for visitors and inhabitants alike. Moving about in the capital city of Sofia is fairly easy, but outside the city limits, plans might need to be a bit different. Although Bulgaria is still ridden with its fair share of corruption and politics, it’s very cheap to get around and comfortable at the same time.

Bulgaria has an extensive and effective transport system that can easily be accessed from anywhere in the country. There are several forms of transportation in this country, each one having its specific purpose for the people of Bulgaria. The Bulgarian air transport, rail transport, bus transport, and road transport systems all work together to provide safe and comfortable passage around Bulgaria for tourists and locals alike

The cost of traveling within Bulgaria is relatively cheap since the country has good transport links to the rest of Europe. Still, tickets are not that cheap, but in comparison with Western Europe are very affordable. if you go from Sofia to another city, expect to pay about 6 leva (2.50 Euro).

Prices vary depending on the city and route, but some basic estimates are available. There are different fares for season tickets, single rides, and group tariffs. Prices depend on the distance traveled to be calculated. You should buy transportation tickets in advance at ticket stations on bus and railway transport or cash desks on tram transport.

Transportation In BulgariaPrice in Bulgarian Lev (лв)
One-way Ticket1.60 лв
Monthly Pass (Local Transport)50.00 лв
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)1.90 лв
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)1.00 лв
Taxi 1-hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)13.20 лв
Gasoline (1L) (1/4 gallons)2.91 лв
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car)40,000.00 лв
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car)38,768.62 лв

Cost Of Basic Utilities In Bulgaria

One of the biggest cost factors for ex-pats living in Bulgaria is their utility bills. Over time utility costs have become a major expense for local and ex-pat residents of Bulgaria. The standard breakdown of your utility costs will include water, electricity, and heating but there are other factors including garbage collection and others that can add up quickly too.

As a foreigner, you might believe that your bills will be cheaper while living in Bulgaria. You’d be right, but only to a certain degree. You see, with the decreasing cost of living comes a decrease in value for your euros, pounds, or dollars.

The costs of electricity and water are relatively low compared to most Western European countries, but there are hidden expenses you will also have to take into consideration when budgeting your monthly bills. Thus, if you decide to move to Bulgaria here is what you need to know about utility bills:

UtilitiesPrice in Bulgarian Lev (лв)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 45m2 Apartment128.74 лв
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment224.84 лв
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans)0.30 лв
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)21.41 лв

Cost Of Entertainment In Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a beautiful country full of many trees and places worth visiting. There are breathtaking mountains, numerous caves, valleys and gorges, and lots of natural springs. Bulgarian nature is rich in different places to explore. Nature lovers can enjoy hiking and trekking which could lead them to some amazing attractions. Bulgarians as well like hiking because it is the best way to see incredible sights in their country.

Your guide to entertainment in Bulgaria is here! You will know everything you need to know before moving to Bulgaria. Whether it’s restaurants, bars, clubs, or a walk along the sea. With all this information you’ll become a local overnight.

Offering a wide range of activities, Sofia is a vibrant capital that offers much entertainment. The city offers great nightlife at top nightclubs, unique visitor attractions, and informative cultural shows with great shopping opportunities between the activities.

LeisurePrice in Bulgarian Lev (лв)
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult47.34 лв
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend)20.55 лв
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat12.00 лв
iPad, Wi-Fi, 128Gb1,135 лв

Cost Of Childcare and Education In Bulgaria

The Bulgarian education system is often praised as one of the most cost-effective and accessible in Europe. That’s only half the story, though, because to enjoy these benefits you need to plan your budget well. School life is the time in life when you want to be able to enjoy yourself, but you still need to keep money in mind at the same time.

Students from abroad who want to study in this country will face a lot of challenges concerning their financial status as well as having to learn a new language. Money shouldn’t be something for you to worry about when living on campus at this university.

TuitionPrice in Bulgarian Lev (лв)
Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child637.55 лв
International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child9,747.96 лв
International High School, Yearly for 1 Child21,000.37 лв
Colleges and University16,000 лв
Monthly expenses (rent, groceries, commuting…) for a Student1,075.30 лв

Cost Of Clothing In Bulgaria

Before you pack your bags and head to Bulgaria, check out the prices of clothing in Bulgaria. It’s important to pay reasonable amounts for your clothing because it is impossible to live cheaply in Bulgaria if you spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month on apparel. While there are no legal defaults for the minimum price for clothing in Bulgaria, there are plenty of stores that will sell you clothing for reasonable rates – if you know where to look.

Clothing in Bulgaria is cheaper than in many other countries. For example, dress shirts cost only US$5 or less, and a suit can be bought for US$75. The same applies to shoes and boots, where you can get all kinds of footwear such as sports shoes, walking shoes, and hiking boots at very attractive prices.

ClothingsPrice in Bulgarian Lev (лв)
1 Pair of Jeans (Levi’s 501 Or Similar)102.93 лв
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …)52.29 лв
1 Pair of Running Shoes (Adidas, Nike…)132.79 лв
1 Pair of Men’s Leather Business Shoes147.03 лв

Cost Of Personal and Health Care In Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s healthcare system offers quality medical care, a complete range of services, and the opportunity for many people to receive care for free. It enjoys one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world and this is partly due to the high-quality services provided.

Bulgaria offers a healthcare system that is accessible to all citizens of Bulgaria. All insurance companies are required by law to offer basic healthcare policies and private health insurance is optional.

Personal care is another important expenditure to be considered, as it can be exorbitant in the most developed of countries. The cost of being truly pampered includes haircuts and coloring, makeup, waxing, manicures and pedicures, facial treatments and massages, nail polishing and removal, body wraps and peels, teeth whitening, and dental work.

Care ProductsPrice in Bulgarian Lev (лв)
Cold Medicine (Tylenol, Frenadol, Coldrex, or equivalent brands) 12.63 лв
 Box of Antibiotics (12 doses)10.92 лв
15 minutes to Private Doctor24.00 лв
 Box of 32 Tampons (tampax, ob, …)8.99 лв
Deodorant, Roll-on (50ml – 1.5 oz.)4.53 лв
Hair Shampoo 2-in-1 (400 ml – 12 oz.)4.45 лв
4 rolls of Toilet Paper2.44 лв
A Tube of Toothpaste3.32 лв
Standard Men’s Haircut in the City33.00 лв
Standard Men’s Haircut in the Suburb26.00 лв

Cost Of Housing and Accommodation In Bulgaria

Accommodation in Bulgaria is mainly for tourists and ex-pats. This is because the only place that has developed since the fall of communism is the tourism industry in Bulgaria. Accommodation in Bulgaria isn’t as expensive or high quality as in the West. It is a fairly cheap country to visit and staying in budget accommodation is easy. The cost of living is far lower than that in Western Europe, while there are fewer expenses here, too.

Bulgarian accommodations come in a multitude of shapes and sizes. They can be inexpensive hostels in the big cities or luxurious villas on the Black Sea coast. Sofia is one of the best cities in Europe for accommodation prices.

Rent prices in Bulgaria vary greatly depending on where you live but there are some places you won’t want to live in. Let’s have a look at the overview of rent prices in Bulgaria.

Rents & AccommodationPrice in Bulgarian Lev (лв)
 Furnished Apartment (1 bedroom) in City653.40 лв
Furnished Apartment (1 bedroom) in Suburb495.02 лв
Furnished Apartment (2 bedrooms) in City1,091.22 лв
Furnished Apartment (2 bedrooms) in Suburb689.91 лв
Furnished Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City1,121.97 лв
Furnished Apartment (3 bedrooms) in Suburb844.33 лв
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City3,177.60 лв
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in Suburb2,141.62 лв

Bulgaria is not as rich as the other European countries but they have a good average salary, education, and a professional environment. Bulgaria offers a wide range of job opportunities within one of Europe’s most promising new destination countries. Whether you want to work in a tourism company, start a business in Bulgaria or work for an international group – there are many options to make your stay as interesting and as rewarding as possible.

Job opportunities in Bulgaria for a foreigner are really good, but there are a lot of things to consider before moving and trying to find a job. Bulgaria has several IT outsourcing companies so being an IT professional is not a problem to find one. Also, it’s quite easy to find a job in English language schools as an English teacher.

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