Bucharest is slowly becoming a popular destination for people looking to travel Europe on a budget. Whether you’re a backpacker spending a few weeks abroad or you’re only able to get a few days off of work, Bucharest offers quite a few fun and interesting things to do while still being one of the cheapest capital cities in Europe to visit.
Besides being easy to reach from Budapest and Vienna, Bucharest is a city that prides itself on its nightlife, large urban parks and the recent revival that the city has been experiencing. Between constant renovations, transportation upgrades and an array of other projects currently underway the Romanian capital is changing fast.
The Average Daily Costs for Visiting Bucharest, Romania
In this post I’m going to cover the typical daily costs you can expect when you’re in Bucharest. There is no upper limit to how much you can spend but I’ll detail how much you can get away with spending if you’re travelling on a budget.
The currency used in Romania is called the Romanian Lei. At the time I wrote this blog post the exchange rate from Lei to US Dollars was:
- 1 Lei: 0.26 US Dollars
An Overview of the Typical Daily Costs for Budget Travel in Bucharest
- Museums and special exhibits – $5-$10
- Breakfast – $2-$5
- Lunch – $5
- Dinner $5-$10
- Metro – $0.50
- Uber – $3-$10 for 5-10km of distance
- Hostel shared room – $7-$15
- Hostel private room – $15-$30
- Budget hotel – $25-40
- Airbnb private room – $15-$20
- Airbnb entire apartment $20-$30
Total bare-minimum budget daily cost for travel in Bucharest: $25
Recommended daily cost for visiting Bucharest: $35
Museum and Attraction Prices in Bucharest
Bucharest is an extremely budget-friendly city to travel in and that includes the entry costs to museums and attractions. Here is a list of the popular museum and things to do in Bucharest and how much they’ll cost.
- The Palace of Parliament: $6.50 (including entrance cost and a 1-2 hour guided tour)
- The Romanian National Museum of Art: $2-$3 depending on which exhibits you want to visit
- The Peasant Museum: $2.00
- The Village Museum: $2.50
- The George Enescu Museum: $1.50
- The Romanian National History Museum: $6.25
- Free walking tour: Free but a $2-$5 tip is greatly appreciated
- Private guided tour (not a budget option but still something you should consider if you want an in-depth look at the culture, history and architecture of Bucharest and Romania): $50-$150
Food Prices in Bucharest
After spending a month in Bucharest I wrote a post detailing the best cheap eats in the city which you can find here.
Here is a look at the typical costs you can expect for each separate meal as well as what certain items of food and drink will cost you.
- Check to see if your hotel or hostel has free breakfast and be sure to take advantage of that
- Many local restaurants offer a daily menu for breakfast that includes a juice or warm drink, some eggs and bread: $3.50
- You could also grab some fresh fruit and a bread roll from a local market: $1-$2
- McDonald’s and other fast food joints offer breakfast as well but it’s a bit more expensive: $4-$6
- A coffee from a local cafe or street stand: $0.50 – $1.50
- A warm pastry: $0.50
- A large chicken or veggie sandwich from a local bakery: $3
- Subway 12-inch sub: $5
- Daily lunch menu from a local restaurant: $3-$5
- A bread roll, some protein and veggies from a deli: $3-$4
- Kebap or something similar to eat on the go: $4-$5
- A large salad at a grocery store: $3
- Daily dinner menu including a drink: $6-$8
- Appetizer, main and a drink from a mid-range restaurant: $7-$10
- Kebap or falafel from the Old Town: $3-$5
- Quick Chinese takeaway (noodle or rice plate): $6-$10 depending on the size
- McDonalds and similar fast food options: $5-$8
Snacks & Drinks
- Warm, fresh pretzel(covrigi) from a local bakery: $0.25-$0.75
- Enormous sweet pastry from a high-end bakery (cake, cookies, croissant): $0.75
- Hot dog or a pastry with meat inside: $0.75
- 1 500ml can of beer from a grocery store: $0.75
- Coffee or espresso: $0.50-$2 depending on the location
- 1 can of Coca Cola from a convenience store: $0.50
- 2L bottle of premium water: $0.75
Transportation Costs in Bucharest
With a recent upgrade to the underground metro system and the introduction of Uber to the city it has never been easier or cheaper to get anywhere you need to be in Bucharest. There are busses and streetcars available as well but I recommend avoiding them since they’re usually crowded and don’t have the best heating or air-conditioning systems so they can be quite stuffy.
- 70km of tracks and 51 different stations
- 2 trips ticket: $1.25
- 10 trip pass: $5
- 1 day pass: $2
Remember to validate your ticket before getting on the metro or you could be subject to fines if you’re approached by a ticket-checker.
Using Uber in Bucharest
I was travelling on a budget but Uber in Bucharest is so affordable that it didn’t make sense to take the metro unless it was rush hour. It’s a safe, easy and budget-friendly way to get around the city.
- Plenty of Uber drivers available throughout the entire day
- Pick-up typically in less than 5-minutes
- For trips up to 5km: $3-$5
- For trips up to 15km: $5-$10 depending on traffic
Accomodation Prices in Bucharest
There are plenty of options when it comes to finding affordable and cheap accommodation in Bucharest.
- Bed in a shared room/dorm: $7-$15
There are a variety of hostels in the Old Town and near the city centre where you’ll be able to find a bed in a shared room/dorm for less than $15. Of course, the more you spend the nicer and cleaner place you’ll spend the night at but if you’re travelling on a budget and trying to keep costs down Bucharest hostels are your best choice.
- Private Room: $15-$30
Private rooms at a hostel will cost a bit more but they’re a good idea if you’re travelling with a partner. In the Old Town you can expect to pay around $30 for a private room or even more if you’re travelling in the high season. Otherwise $15-$30 will definitely get you a cozy and comfortable room all to yourself somewhere in the city centre. I found the sweet spot for private rooms to be around the $25 range.
For the best budget hostels in Bucharest I recommend:
- Budget hotel: $25-$40
When you’re travelling Europe on a budget I don’t recommend staying in hotels but in Bucharest there are a few options where you’ll be able to get your own room for between $25 and $40. During the off-season hotels like the Ibis near the Palace of Parliment offer rooms for between $35 and $40.
There are also some budget options further away from the city center where you’ll be able to find a room for between $25 and $35. I recommend researching some rooms on booking.com or your travel website of choice to find the best deal before you visit.
AirBnb is the best accommodation to use for travelling Europe on a budget. There are 3 types of room options available but I tend to stick with the private room or entire apartment options.
- Private room: $15-$20
If you’re comfortable using a private room in someone’s home or apartment as your base during your trip to Bucharest then you’ll definitely be able to find something quite nice for between $15 and $20. This is the best choice if you’re on a budget as you’ll typically have access to a kitchen and you can cook or prepare your own food to save even more money. You also get the chance to interact with your host and meet a new friend in a new city.
- Entire apartment: $20-$30
This is the option I go with nearly 90% of the time. With entire apartments on AirBnb you get all the comforts that you would expect at home and your own private place to stay. For between $20 and $30 there are some good options in the city that are close to the city center and in safe neighbourhoods.