Cost of Living in Romania: Our 5 Week Budget Breakdown

If you’re considering a move to this country, the first question that will come to mind (if you’re anything like me) is “What is the cost of living in Romania?”

Daniel and I spent five weeks in the charming town of Sibiu, exploring the northern part of the country called Transylvania. We found the cost of living in Romania to be incredibly affordable, but of course that term is subjective. So, here’s our complete budget breakdown for five weeks in Romania.

 

Accommodation in Romania

If you’re planning an extended stay in Romania, you’ll end up somewhere in Transylvania. It’s the most beautiful part of the country, and much better than the capital of Bucharest. We chose the quiet and colorful town of Sibiu.

Here, our Airbnb for five weeks cost a total of $700, which makes it $617 per month.

This was a great deal because the studio was in a restored historical home. It was super spacious, had high ceilings, and was just steps from the main square, bus station, and supermarkets.

The amazing location definitely bumped this price up, so if you don’t mind living in the suburbs, you can bring this cost down significantly.

 

Food, Drink & Fun Money

Outside of rent, this is where most of our money goes.

Sibiu has two big grocery stores outside of the center, Carrefour and Kaufland, so getting good food at good prices wasn’t a problem. We spent $50 per week on groceries. For five weeks it totaled $250 (which was wayyy less than we were paying in our Colombia and Peru budgets!)

Eating out is a different story… we kind of just ate and drank what we wanted, when we wanted too as long as we stuck to the budget we set for ourselves. We spent extra money to try craft beer in Sibiu and eat in the best Sibiu restaurants recommended by the locals. So keep in mind that if you practice a little more self control than us or seek out restaurants and bars outside of the city center you can cut this category big time.

In total, we would spend about $50 during the week and $180 on weekends. So, excluding the weekend trips to Brasov and Bucharest (counted below) our total food/drink/fun money spent in our 5 week Romania budget was about $800.

 

Transport Costs

We were so close to everything we needed that we took a total of four taxis during our stay in Sibiu. So, the cost of that was about $30 for five weeks. Nice!

Bus and train costs for longer trips are included in the category below.

 

Travel and Weekend Getaways

We spent one weekend in Brasov and a second in Bucharest on our way to our next stop in Sofia, Bulgaria. Otherwise, all of the things we did were in Sibiu or day trips from the city.

Weekend in Brasov

Bus to Brasov: $7.50 per person / $15 total
Accommodation at Mountain Tale Hostel: $56 for two nights in a dorm
Fun Money: $120 for food, drinks, transport, entrance fees
Train back to Sibiu: $5 per person / $10 total

Weekend in Bucharest

Train Sibiu to Bucharest: $18 per person / $36 total
Accommodation at Cloud 9 Living: $70 for two nights in a private room
Fun money: $95 for food, drinks and ubers in the city
Bus Bucharest to Sofia: $32 per person / $64 total – get more details on how to get from Bucharest to Sofia.

Other Day Trips and Travels

Day trip to Corvin Castle and Cisnadioara: $26
Volunteer in Sibiu at Sibiu Animal Life: Free
Rent a Bike to Explore the City: $7 for two
Visit the ASTRA Museum: $19 for two with transport and beer

 

Miscellaneous Expenses

The only miscellaneous expense I can think of for our Romania budget is the cost for our phone plans. I cancelled my Sprint phone plan and have had nothing since entering Europe, and Daniel is using Google Fi. Unfortunately with extra data usage and international call fees that came out to $60 for the month 🙁

I guess I can include our health insurance here to, which runs us $280 per month for a US plan that we can’t even use… yeah. So for five weeks that costs $350.

For Americans no visa is necessary and we were able to stay in Romania for 90 days every six months for free.

 

Total Cost of Living in Romania: $2,681

This is a basic breakdown of what we spent during five weeks in Romania. However, there’s some things to keep in mind.

First of all, a budget like this will let you drink at bars, live in the city center, eat at the more expensive restaurants, and take weekend trips (while double paying for accommodation).

If you’re trying to cut costs, it’s possible to reduce this significantly by taking advantage of more of the free stuff to do in Sibiu, living farther from town, eating out and drinking less, and skipping visits to places like Brasov and Bucharest. Also, not paying ridiculous US health insurance costs would definitely help!

Finally, this cost reflects the number for a couple, and it’s important to note that we work during the weeks. If you’re trying to fill every single day of your stay as a vacation, this budget estimate probably isn’t for you and I would expect you’ll spend more.

 

Anyway, let me know if you find this helpful, and if you spend time in the country comment below with your own cost of living in Romania!

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How to Get From Bucharest to Sofia

There are two main options to get from Bucharest to Sofia.

First you need to decide if you want to go by train or by bus. After careful research Daniel and I found that the bus is the best option for most people simply because the train is two hours slower.

So, if you’re ready to go from Bucharest to Sofia by bus, here’s everything you need to know to make the journey!

 

Cost: 125 lei / 32 usd / 27 euro per person

Location: Filaret Station at Strada Doctor Constantin Istrati 1, București, Romania

Time: 7.5 hours

 

Timetable for the Bus from Bucharest to Sofia

Busses leave from Bucharest to Sofia at 6:30 am, 1 pm, 4 pm, and 10:30 pm.

Daniel and I took the 1 pm bus on the TPAHC 6 brand (which doesn’t seem to have a website) and it was a small but comfortable minibus. The 10:30 pm bus is also TPAHC 6.

The 6:30 am and 4 pm buses, on the other hand, are run by a company called the etap Group and Grup Plus – for them, I don’t know what size of bus, stops, or timeline you can expect.

 

Timeline: Bucharest to Sofia

1 pm – Board the bus and leave the station.

2:30 pm – Cross the border into Bulgaria (we stayed in the van and gave the driver our passports, crossing the border took 10 minutes).

2:45 pm – Stop at Pyce Station in Bulgaria for one hour. There are restaurants here where you can get food and drinks.

3:45 pm – Leave Pyce Station.

6 pm – Stop at Pleven Station for 20 minutes.

8:30 pm – Arrive at the Sofia Central Bus Station.

 

Important Information

You can’t buy bus tickets for this route in advance. Daniel and I went to the station a day early and the lady just waved us away and told us to come back tomorrow… so don’t waste your time.

That being said, there’s no reason to. When we arrived at the station again 30 minutes before departure there was only one other person waiting to board it with us, so don’t worry about tickets selling out.

Also, make sure you change some money into Bulgarian levs before you leave Bucharest. We forgot and were unable to buy any snacks, food, or drinks once we crossed the border (which is only 1.5 hours into the trip). Luckily, they at least let us use Romanian money to pay for the toilets.

Once you arrive in the Sofia Central Bus Station, you can walk about 20 minutes to the center or take a taxi for around 4 levs (Uber was banned in Sofia, but you can download the TaxiMe app to make sure you don’t get ripped off).

 

Honestly, I thought the ride from Bucharest to Sofia would be way worse than it was.

The minibus was comfortable and didn’t feel too crowded, and the views were really nice in the last two hours leading in to Sofia. Just make sure you have some Bulgarian money and download a few new episodes on your Netflix app, and you’ll be good to go!

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The Top 3 Bars for Day Drinking in Sibiu

The beautiful Transylvanian town of Sibiu really lends itself to day drinking.

Daniel and I spent a carefree Saturday on Cinco de Mayo enjoying the city, and that definitely included indulging in a few day drinks. We’ve visited quite a few of the bars during our month here, and these are definitely the top three bars for day drinking in Sibiu!

 

The Rabbit Hole

Location: Piata Mare nr.11 (the main square)
More Info Here

Start your day drinking in Sibiu here. The main square is perfect for people watching and the Rabbit Hole has an extensive menu of mixed drinks, beer, and liquor. I recommend the Tokyo Tea, a light and refreshing way to begin your day for only 15 lei each.

 

day drinking in Sibiu at the rabbit hole

 

Enzo Ristorante

Location: Strada Nicolae Bălcescu 21 (the pedestrian street)
More Info Here

A 45 lei bottle of wine? Don’t mind if I do!

It’s always nice to try a local wine, and the ice that came with it cooled us down as the sun just got hotter. Sitting in the shade on the central pedestrian street is a perfect place for day drinking in Sibiu, and the price and location at Enzo Ristorante is definitely right.

 

day drinking in Sibiu at Enzo Ristorante

 

Cafe Wien

Location: Piața Albert Huet 4,
More Info Here

Cafe Wien is the last stop on your day drinking tour through Sibiu.

Walk through the tunnel on the left of the restaurant and you’ll find a beautiful hidden patio, shaded with leafy trees and lined with blooming flowers. It’s cozy, it’s quiet, and it’s the perfect place to order a cheese plate and bottle of wine while enjoying a nice view over Sibiu.

 

 

PS After you’re nice and buzzed, stop for a delicious dinner at one of these 6 Sibiu restaurants the locals recommend!

 

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Want to Work as a Digital Nomad in Romania? Read Our Review First

Is Romania a good country for digital nomads? Daniel and I spent five weeks in the Transylvanian town of Sibiu and the answer couldn’t be more clear… YES!

In fact, I love being a digital nomad in Romania so much that I’m already planning to return for three more months in 2019.

If you’re considering a move to the country, here’s everything you can expect from life as a digital nomad in Romania.

 

Fast Internet

Did you know Romania has the 5th fastest internet in the WORLD? I know, I was shocked too.

Moving here was like stepping into heaven after 12 months in Latin America. Just to put it in perspective, in Peru the average upload speed is 6 mbps, and at our apartment here in Sibiu we get over 100 mbps. Pretty crazy.

If your work involves uploading photos and videos, Romania is definitely the place to be.

 

Low Cost of Living

I’ll just come right out and say it: life as a digital nomad in Romania is incredibly cheap. We have a beautiful studio apartment in a historical home only five minutes walking from the main square in SiIbiu, and the rent is only $617 per month. Because we use Airbnb, that price includes all utilities and internet as well.

Groceries here are also way cheaper than they were in South America, and Daniel and I can get away with spending only $50 a week or less to feed us both. Additionally, a fancy meal out with a bottle of wine in the center will generally only run us around $10 each, and beers even in the main square only cost $2.50 for 500 ml.

 

Sibiu, Romania

 

Easy International Travel

Another reason why Romania is great for digital nomads is because international travel is easy. I know I keep comparing Romania to South America, but because Medellin is such a hot digital nomad destination (and we spent 6 months there) I feel like it makes sense.

From Romania, we can easily take buses to a lot of nearby destinations. This year, our route includes Sibiu, Sofia, Belgrade, Zagreb, and Budapest, with vacations in Macedonia, Albania, and Turkey, all without catching an expensive flight.

When we were in South America, on the other hand, we spent 6 months in Colombia and 4.5 in Peru because international flights on the continent are really pricey (around $300+) and buses can be up to 24 hours just to get from one city to the other. In Romania, international travel is MUCH easier.

 

Visa Length

Another reason why Sibiu is a great digital nomad destination is because Romania is outside of the Schengen Zone. This category only applies to non-Europeans, but as Americans Daniel and I can only stay in the entirety of (most of) the EU for 90 days every six months.

In Romania, we can stay for 90 days in the country and then move on to Bulgaria, Belgrade, and Croatia and get three more months in each, All of them are outside of the Schengen zone, so we can completely avoid the annoying “Schengen shuffle” that a lot of remote workers have to be careful with.

 

Convenient Timezones

The timezone in Sibiu is good for remote work. Daniel and I have modified our daily schedule to work from 12 pm to 8 pm, so we can overlap with the US schedule for a few hours without too much hassle.

Southeast Asia, anther major digital nomad destination, has a 12 hour time difference with the US so it’s completely off the table for us at the moment. For Europeans, Romania is an even more convenient choice.

 

Sibiu, Romania

 

Great Food and Drinks

The food game is strong is Romania. Sibiu, the city we’re staying in, was even named a European Region of Gastronomy for 2019!

I’ve been happily surprised to have some very memorable meals in this small town, all thanks to the recommendations from a local friend. Check out these six restaurants when you’re here and you won’t go wrong.

If you’re huge into partying, Sibiu and the Transylvania area won’t be for you (although Bucharest might). However, if you like chill pub nights you’ll love Romania. This country is really quiet and relaxed, and Daniel and I have had some great nights exploring the craft beer scene in Sibiu and trying some new brews with new friends.

 

There’s So Much To Explore

There is SO MUCH to see and do in Sibiu and the surrounding area. In fact, Daniel and I had five weeks here and I still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. If you’re wondering what your weekends and evenings would look like as a digital nomad in Transylvania, check out this list of 24 things to do in Sibiu to see all that the area has to offer!

 

Sibiu, Romania

 

Day to Day Life

Daily life in Sibiu as a digital nomad is just so damn relaxing. There’s really no other word for it. This town is ultra-quiet and peaceful, super clean, easily walkable, full of cafes and restaurants, lively in the evenings… just perfect in every way.

There are gyms within walking distance of the center (I use Bebeselea and recommend it), big supermarkets with everything you need, and cheap public transport options. Life here in Romania is just really good, and I can’t recommend it enough!

 

Life as a Digital Nomad in Romania

If remote work in Romania is on your radar, I highly suggest making a move to Sibiu. It’s beautiful, peaceful, and has a great quality of life. Get fast internet, a low cost of living, and plenty of things to see and do all wrapped up in one quaint, colorful package!

I can’t wait to return to Romania again next year, and if you have the chance, I think you should check it out too!

 

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These 14 Photos of Transylvania Will Convince You to Visit Now

I’m not gonna lie, Daniel and I got a lot of questions and a few raised eyebrows when we told people we were moving to Romania. The truth is, the country is NOTHING like you may expect, and these photos of Transylvania are here to prove it.

Transylvania (the northern part of Romania) is full of German architecture, idyllic countrysides, and beautiful castles. In fact, the place is so beautiful that the Transylvanian town of Sibiu was even named the European Culture Capital in 2007.

If you’ve never considered visiting Romania, these pictures may just change your mind. Check out my 14 favorite photos of Transylvania, and then book a flight to see this lovely part of the country for yourself!

 

View of Sibiu

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ice cream in Brasov

Ice Cream in Brasov Historic Center

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The Small Town of Cisnadioara

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Cobbled Streets in the Sibiu Historic Center

 

 

Traditional Romanian Meat & Cheese Plate

 

 

Sunset in the Sibiu Historic Center

 

 

Volunteering at Animal Life Sibiu

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Corvin Castle

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Colorful Cafes in Historic Sibiu

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Train from Sibiu to Bucharest

View from the Train: Sibiu to Bucharest

 

 

Sibiu Historic Center

 

 

View of Brasov from the nearby mountain

Hiking in Brasov

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Sunny Days in Sibiu

 

 

Bran Castle

Visiting Bran Castle

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For me, five weeks in Transylvania wasn’t enough. Daniel and I are already planning to come back again in 2019, because there’s so much left to see and discover in this unique part of the world.

So, have these photos of Transylvania convinced you to add it to your bucket list as well?

Comment below and tell me what you think!

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How to Volunteer in Sibiu: A Peek Inside The Sibiu Animal Shelter

Do you want to volunteer in Sibiu? If so, I have a great recommendation.

As Daniel and I move into year two of life on the road, we’re trying to change some bad habits we’ve fallen into. One of those is working on being more social, and another is making time to volunteer. In Sibiu, we found the perfect place: Animal Life Sibiu.

This dog shelter in Sibiu is run by the awesome Andrea, who started it as a dream 12 years ago. We signed up on the Animal Life Sibiu website and soon got a call back to schedule our time. Then, Andrea picked us up for a half day of volunteering at the Sibiu dog shelter.

 

Blue, a husky we met while volunteering at Sibiu Animal Life

 

It’s only 15 minutes driving from Sibiu, and along the way Andrea shared a lot of the struggles and joys that come with running one of the only no-kill animal shelters in Romania. As with most non-profits, finances are always the biggest concern.

Right now, Animal Life Sibiu:

  • Spays or neuters any animal that needs it.
  • Covers the vet bills for families who can’t afford them.
  • Is home to over 50 dogs in the shelter.
  • Organizes adoptions in Romania and Germany.
  • Supports a second farm in the countryside with overflow dogs, cats, donkeys, and horses.
  • Finances surgeries to nurse sick dogs back to health.

And so much more… all of it done with only ONE full-time employee!

One of our first tasks at the shelter was unloading liter upon liter of water from Andrea’s car, because the shelter had to build a new well months ago and still can’t afford the final pieces to connect it. Until then, they have to do without running water.

Andrea explained that although we could help with the usual daily tasks, she thinks the best use of volunteers is to play and socialize with the dogs to give them something that’s unfortunately always lacking in a shelter: attention.

She definitely didn’t need to ask us twice!

 

 

First, we met Tom, a stray who was found with a serious head injury. He might be a little slower than most dogs but his ultra-calm and cuddly personality made him my absolute favorite of the bunch. It took all the willpower in the world not to adopt him on the spot!

We went outside and played with the dogs as they took turns being let out of their cages to run around. Here we met Blue, a high-energy husky with a missing tail, Sam, a super fluffy golden-mix recovering from a hit and run, and many other amazing personalities.

Andrea told us the small dogs get snapped up quickly, and that’s why the shelter was mostly full of large breeds still waiting for adoption. Unfortunately, some have been there for years, and there’s nothing more they can do except wait for their forever home.

It’s sad to think about, but the dogs are lucky to be in a place where they’re so well cared for.

Finally, Daniel and I rounded out our experience volunteering in Sibiu with a few long walks in the woods behind the shelter, and then said our final goodbyes to the dogs. We only spent a couple hours with them, but it was still harder than I expected!

 

 

I’m so glad Daniel and I were able to volunteer at the Sibiu dog shelter, and if you’re traveling in the area I recommend that you do too.

The team at Animal Life Sibiu works hard to make a difference in the lives of these dogs, and it feels amazing to be a small piece of that. Andrea works almost full-time at the shelter while also supporting her family with projects on the side. Her passion and love for the dogs were evident, and her ability to turn the shelter into a reality despite many setbacks was seriously inspiring.

If you want to volunteer in Sibiu consider spending a few hours helping out (and hanging out) at Animal Life Sibiu!

Sign Up or Donate Here Today!

 

PS Visit our Romania page to learn more about Sibiu and the surrounding area. Find 24 Things to do in Sibiu, read about 6 Sibiu Restaurants the Locals Recommend, and so much more!

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