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 survey for 2022 ranked Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, as the 170th most expensive city in the world out of 227 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 fairly cheap. Bulgarian produce is excellent and local sourcing makes groceries highly affordable. Naturally, imported foods will be more expensive than local items.

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 at no cost. As the language of instruction in public schools is Bulgarian, most expats opt to send their children to international schools, which are expensive. Expats sending their children to international schools will find that school fees are their biggest expense.

Cost of transport 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 city centres.

Cost of living chart for Bulgaria 

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Sofia, Bulgaria for October 2022.   

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

BGN 813

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

BGN 1,594

One-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

BGN 611

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

BGN 1,056


Dozen eggs

BGN 4.56

1 litre milk

BGN 2.80

Loaf of bread (white)

BGN 1.91

Chicken breasts (1kg)

BGN 14.02

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)



Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

BGN 0.33

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

BGN 24

Basic utilities (average per month for a small apartment)

BGN 268

Eating out and entertainment

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

BGN 70

Big Mac meal 

BGN 12


BGN 3.40

Coca-Cola (330ml)

BGN 2.22

Bottle of local beer



Taxi rate per km

BGN 1.20

City centre public transport fare

BGN 1.60

Petrol (1 litre)

BGN 3.25