Expats will enjoy a low cost of living in Bulgaria, but sadly the salaries are equally low. Many retired expats from Western Europe or the US relocate to Bulgaria as it allows them to purchase property more cheaply while extending the purchasing power of their pensions. This allows expats living in Bulgaria to enjoy a European lifestyle at a cheaper cost. 

The Mercer Cost of Living report for 2020 ranked Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, as the 180th most expensive city in the world out of 209 cities.  

Cost of accommodation in Bulgaria

Compared with the rest of the EU, accommodation in Bulgaria is relatively cheap. As in most countries, accommodation is more expensive the closer one gets to urban centres. 

When securing a lease, expats are expected to pay agent fees, the first month’s rent in advance as well as a refundable security deposit which is usually equivalent to one month's rent. 

Cost of food and entertainment in Bulgaria

Relative to most countries in the EU, eating out in Bulgaria is cheap. Bulgarian produce is excellent and local sourcing makes groceries highly affordable. Naturally, imported foods will be more expensive than buying local. 

Alcohol is also affordable and Bulgaria’s cities have an active nightlife scene. 

Cost of education in Bulgaria

Public school fees are relatively inexpensive and EU and EEA citizens have the right to attend Bulgarian schools for free. As the language of instruction in public schools is Bulgarian, most expats send their children to international schools, which are expensive. Expats sending their children to international schools will find that school fees are their largest expense. 

Cost of transportation in Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s public transport infrastructure is well developed and extremely affordable. Most Bulgarians in cities commute by bus, which is similarly priced to the tram systems that run in some Bulgarian city centres.

Cost of living chart for Bulgaria 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Sofia, Bulgaria for April 2021.   

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

BGN 600 - 1,000

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

BGN 1,000 - 2,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

BGN 400 - 700

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

BGN 800 - 1,300


Dozen eggs

BGN 3.22

1 litre milk

BGN 2.10

Loaf of bread (white)

BGN 1.22

Chicken breasts (1kg)

BGN 9.99

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)



Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

BGN 0.30

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

BGN 21

Basic utilities (average per month for a small apartment)

BGN 204

Eating out and entertainment

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two

BGN 60

Big Mac meal 

BGN 10


BGN 2.62

Coca-Cola (330ml)

BGN 1.80

Bottle of local beer

BGN 3.25


Taxi rate per km

BGN 0.80

City centre public transport fare

BGN 1.60

Petrol (1 litre)

BGN 1.90

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