The cost of living in Bulgaria in 2024

Close-up of colorful tropical fish swimming peacefully in a coral reef underwater.

We open any rating of the most affordable European countries for expats, and Bulgaria will certainly be in the top five; At the same time, those who have been coming to Bulgaria for a long time from year to year know that the cheapness that was before is no longer there; We figure out how much accommodation will cost today, and how soon joining the eurozone will affect prices.

Стоимость жизни в Болгарии в 2024 году

Bulgaria is known for its natural beauty, ancient monuments, hospitality to tourists, lack of pathos and not at all exorbitant prices. It is not surprising that many foreigners from northern Europe and the CIS choose this warm country, surrounded by greenery and flowers, for moving or seasonal holidays. Pensioners often move to the Black Sea resorts. By the way, it is very easy for them to get a residence permit under a special program.

Russians used to also get their own resort housing and fly in large families for the summer. Today, there is no direct air service between Bulgaria and Russia, and trips have become too expensive both in money and time. Seasonal visitors have noticeably decreased, but there are many who have settled in Varna, Burgas or Sofia for a long time. For example, IT specialists after the relocation of their companies, entrepreneurs who opened a trade representative office (one of the ways to get a residence permit).  

Since April 2024, the Bulgarian residence permit card has gained super strength. Now, after Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen area, it is practically possible to travel freely in the European visa-free space. Practically, because so far passport control still has to be carried out at land borders, unlike airports, where citizens and residents of Bulgaria have already turned on the “green corridor”. In any case, you don’t need to apply for a visa anymore!

Holders of a residence permit have certainly benefited from the innovations, which cannot be said about those who enter the country on tourist visas. The transition to the issuance of Schengen visas in the consulates of Bulgaria is creaking. The acceptance of documents did not start within the stated time frame, and in the beginning the authorities even continued to issue their national visas. Now they do exclusively Schengen visas, but you need to sign up for documents more than 2 weeks in advance (there were no free slots before), and the procedure has become more complicated.     

Already this season, some Bulgarians and immigrants celebrated their entry into Schengen with a trip to Europe. So, a family of Russians living in Sofia went on vacation to Barcelona and, of course, was immediately amazed not only by the incomparable beauty of Catalonia, but also by the very high prices for literally everything. Travelers from Varna faced this problem in Italy, where they had to pay 140 euros for a rather modest dinner for three in a restaurant. “After traveling abroad, you realize how good it is in Bulgaria! Comfortable, calm and cheap.”

Стоимость жизни в Болгарии в 2024 году

The statistics of the European Union regarding Bulgaria are inexorable. The country, according to Eurostat data for 2022, is still in last place in terms of GDP per capita (7,850 euros compared to the EU average of 28,940 euros). In terms of the number of residents approaching the poverty line, Bulgaria is ahead only of neighboring Romania.

Nevertheless, the state is developing, and the incomes of the population are growing. Average salaries from the beginning of 2022 to March 2024 increased from 1,500 (750 euros) to 2,300 leva (1,150 euros), before taxes. But at the same time, the cost of living is also rising. Over the past few years, goods and services have risen in price by 30-60%.

Buying and renting real estate 

Since 2022, housing in Bulgaria has already increased in price by about 30%, and in some places even more, but it is still significantly cheaper than in many European resorts. For example, buying a good studio in Sunny Beach will cost 35,000 euros, a one–bedroom apartment will cost about 45 000 – 50 000 euro, with two bedrooms – from 50 000 – 60 000 euros. Other coastal regions are more expensive. For example, in Varna, good ready-made 1+1s for life (and not for recreation) cost about 100,000 euros. New buildings can be found much cheaper, starting from 65,000 euros.

There are quite expensive offers in elite locations in the capital, but there are also more budget options on the outskirts. Prices in Sofia range from 1,500 to 6,000 euros per sq.m. m depending on the area and the stage of construction, if we are talking about the primary market.

In the mountain resort of Bansko, which was chosen by digital nomads, one-bedroom apartments are sold for 40 000 – 50 000 euros.

The range of rental prices is also large. It all depends on the region, type and condition of housing. In Burgas and Varna, it is worth focusing on 350-400 euros per month for a 1+1 apartment (55-60 sq. m.), in Sofia – 500-600 euros per month. A spacious 2-bedroom apartment in a pleasant, not the most expensive metropolitan area can be rented for 700-800 euros.

Meals: at home and in restaurants

Стоимость жизни в Болгарии в 2024 году

Saving on food in Bulgaria is unlikely to work. Most products cost the same as in Russia or are more expensive. Perhaps only seasonal fruits and vegetables are cheaper. You can buy everything you need both in chain supermarkets such as Lidl, Billa, and in small shops or shops at home, as well as at the market. The prices are as follows: 

  • Milk: 1.3 euros/1 liter
  • Butter: 2.5 euros/250 g
  • Eggs: 2.5 euros/10 pcs.
  • Tomatoes: 2-2.5 euros/1 kg
  • Cucumbers: 2 euros/1 kg
  • Zucchini: 1 euro/1 kg
  • Cherries: 2-2.5 euros/1 kg
  • Strawberry: 2 euros/1 kg (per season)
  • Apples: 1 euro/ 1 kg
  • Bananas: 1.5 euros/1 kg
  • Cheese: 10 euros/1 kg
  • Fish (sea bass): 9 euros/1 kg
  • Pork: 5 euros/1 kg
  • Beef: 10 euros/ 1 kg
  • Chicken carcass: from 3 euros/1 kg
  • Chicken fillet: 7 euros/1 kg
  • Potatoes: 0.75 euros/1 kg
  • Buckwheat: 3 euros/1 kg
  • Rice: 1.75 euros/1 kg
  • Pasta: 1 euro/ 1 kg
  • Sunflower oil: 1.5 euros/1 liter
  • Cola: 0.7 euros/0.5 l jar

Strawberries, cherries, figs, apricots, peaches, grapes, tomatoes, peppers come to the shelves directly from local gardens and vegetable gardens. Cooking with fresh food is a pleasure. But Bulgarians themselves just love to eat outside the house, meet with friends over a cup of coffee in a sweet shop or for a full dinner in a restaurant, more often – inexpensive. There are countless establishments here – and not only in tourist spots. Competition is high, so cafes strictly monitor the quality and do not overcharge. Old–timers claim that Bulgarians’ addiction to public catering also makes economic sense – because of the high cost of electricity and ingredients for dishes, it is cheaper to eat out.

  • Banitsa, ayran or boza and coffee in a banicharnitsa (bakery) or cafe: 5-6 levs (2.5-3 euros).
  • Latte or cappuccino in the cafe: 4-5 levs (2.5-3 euros). Although Bulgarians themselves – coffee fanatics – prefer espresso.  
  • Coffee with cake in a sweet shop (coffee shop): 5-6 levs (2.5-3 euros).
  • A small pizza in a fast food restaurant: 4-5 levs (2-2.5 euros), a slice of pizza, “triangle”: 2 levs (1 euro).
  • Lunch for two in an ordinary restaurant or dining room: BGN 30 (EUR 15)
  • Dinner for two in a good restaurant: 70-100 levs (35-50 euros).

Utilities, Internet, housing maintenance


  • Electricity during the day: 0.26 lv, or 0.13 euro/kWh
  • Electricity at night: 0.15 lv, or 0.077 euros/kWh
  • Water: 4.50 lv, or 2.25 euros/cubic meter
  • Gas: 0.15 lv, or 0.077 euros/cubic meter (not all houses have gas)

Home Internet: 15-18 euros per month

Стоимость жизни в Болгарии в 2024 году

The main cost point is electricity, especially in winter, when you have to turn on the appliances for heating.

The support fee is a fee for the maintenance of the territory and public places in your house. It varies from 5 to 30 euros per square meter. m per year, depending on the size of the complex, the presence (or absence) of a swimming pool, gym, and so on. The simpler the house, the less you pay.

To sum up: the maintenance of an ordinary apartment with an area of 60 sq. m. m on the coast will cost 150-200 euros per month.


There is a metro only in Sofia. The trip costs 0.83 euros.

City buses. Ticket for 60 minutes – 2 levs (1 euro), for 90 minutes – 2.5 levs (1.25 euros), for the whole day – 4 levs (2 euros). Children under 7 years old can ride for free, pensioners get big discounts. 

If you plan to travel by private car, include fuel costs.

  • Diesel: 1.4 euros/1 liter
  • Gasoline: 1.35 euros/1 liter


Foreigners with permanent residence can use the services of government agencies, free of charge or for little money. For example, an appointment with a family doctor will cost a permanent resident 5 leva (2.5 euros), and a temporary or tourist – 10 times more expensive.

In Bulgaria, with any unresolved complaints, patients first turn to a family doctor, who prescribes some kind of treatment himself or sends them to specialists.

In order to use the services of private clinics and not overpay, you need to take out an insurance policy. It costs approximately 80 euros per year.

If there is no insurance, then you will have to pay about 20-25 euros only for a one-time consultation with a dentist or a doctor of another profile.

An option to save a little! On the Grab o publishes discount vouchers for medical, cosmetology services, as well as for sports, entertainment, and travel. All special store promotions can be found in the Catalosi mobile app. Digital discount catalogs are also produced by trading giants such as Lidl. For example, now a special price applies to a vacuum cleaner – 129 levs (65 euros), a mixer – 29 levs (15 euros), slates – 4.99 levs (2.5 euros) and even a reader’s diary for a schoolboy – 2.49 levs (1.25 euros).    


Both pre-school and school education in Bulgaria are free, including for resident foreigners. However, there is a shortage of places in kindergartens in the country, and especially in the capital. Sometimes you have to wait in line for several months. You can arrange a child in a paid kindergarten. It will cost from 250 euros per month.

Some parents prefer to send their children to a private school. Tuition fees in them: on average from 300 euros per month. When paying a year in advance – discounts.


According to the Institute of Social and Trade Union Studies of Bulgaria, as of March 2024, the net cost of living for a family of two working adults and one child under 14 years of age is BGN 2,616 (about EUR 1,308) per month. For example, a typical Bulgarian family from Varna. The husband is a policeman, the wife is a teacher and two children are schoolchildren. Parents earn a total of BGN 3,000 (EUR 1,500) per month, which is how they support themselves and the children.  

For foreigners to live comfortably in Bulgaria, it is better to focus on the amount of BGN 3500-4000 (about 1750-2000 euros).

Стоимость жизни в Болгарии в 2024 году

In general, according to Numbeo, the cost of living in Bulgaria (excluding rental housing) is 31% higher than in Russia.

The country’s transition to the euro is scheduled for January 1, 2025, but in fact the European currency has long been in use on a par with the national one. Prices for everything have already risen, and a new big jump is not expected.

To sum up: for Europeans, Americans, and Israelis, Bulgaria is really a country where you can live quietly and inexpensively. For Russians and citizens of the post-Soviet space, there will be no big, or rather no, savings. But, again, if compared with other places under the sun, Bulgaria is preferable in terms of monthly expenses.

Of the regions, accommodation in Sofia, Plovdiv and large resort centers such as Varna and Burgas will cost the most. On the contrary, the most accessible villages are in the interior of the country. For example, Dobrich, Ruse, Shumen. Prices are lower there, but it’s also harder to find a job.

Thank you for your help in preparing the material:

Evgenia Prokazova, Sales Director of Bulgaria Avenue Agency

Ekaterina Blagireva, a tour guide in Sofia and Varna




Leave a Reply

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. By clicking "Accept", you agree to our use of cookies.