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Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest, Romania

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 02, 2023

Summary: The approximate population of Bucharest, Romania is 1,883,425 people. People describe Bucharest as a vibrant city with a unique mix of old and new, with a rich cultural heritage and a lively nightlife. Expats love the affordability of living in Bucharest, the great food, the friendly people, and the easy access to the rest of Europe. The weather in Bucharest is generally mild, with temperatures ranging from an average low of 33°F (1°C) in the winter to an average high of 79°F (26°C) in the summer. The average cost of living in Bucharest for an expat is around $1,000 per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment is around $400-$500 per month, and a two bedroom apartment is around $600-$700 per month.

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What do I need to know about living in Bucharest?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Bucharest, they said:

"- Know the cost of living in Bucharest to help plan your budget. Research in advance the quality of health care and availability of private health insurance. - Learn about Romanian government benefits and retirement schemes. Ensure that you will be able to access your pension and other social services when moving abroad. - Become familiar with the local environment in Bucharest. Knowing the transportation system, language, culture, housing options and other social activities that you can participate in could help with your transition in settling in Bucharest. - Research and plan the type of Visa that is necessary when moving to Bucharest. Understand the regulations of immigrating to Romania before relocating to ensure that you have the required documents required for staying in the country. - Locate a safe area to live in and consider the healthcare facilities nearby. Also look into the different shopping and recreational venues available in Bucharest. - Think about the preservation of your rights when retiring. It is important to understand your rights and be aware of the taxes and legal implications for retirement in Romania. - Find out about the visa requirements when traveling to and from Romania from different countries. Plan in advance for any necessary travel and medical documents that may be needed when visiting other countries," added another expat in Bucharest.

"My advice would mostly depend upon the person's situation. Most single men I know love Bucharest. Most families with small children like Bucharest because of the affordability of domestic help. Nursery schools are plentiful and inexpensive. But the life in Bucharest can wear on you. I know many people who have spent their life living overseas and are frustrated by this city. The traffic and the blatant disregard of the rules of the road are frustrating. While the traffic here is no worse than any major city (and certainly not worse than WDC or New York City), the drivers seem to care only about where they need to go and what they need to do to get there. Lane patterns, the color of stop lights, pedestrians in the road, tram tracks all mean nothing to most Romanian drivers. Service in restaurants is unbelievably slow. At some point you get used to being ignored. Trying to find someone to help you in a store with a question you have is impossible. The general attitude of seeming to not care is frustrating. Yet Romanians are genuinely nice people, which seems to contradict all of what I have just said. They have big hearts if you have a relationship with them," remarked another expat who made the move to Bucharest.

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What do I need to know before moving to Bucharest?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Bucharest, they said:

"Prior to moving to Bucharest, it is important to be aware of the people, climate, culture, and economy of the city. Bucharest is a multicultural city with a diverse population, including Romanians, Hungarians, Roma, and more. The climate is a temperate continental climate with cold winters and hot summers. Bucharest is a vibrant city with a culture that is heavily influenced by its historical ties to the Western world. The economy of Bucharest is stable with a low unemployment rate. It is also important to acquire information about the cost of living, the transportation system, and the housing market in the city. Additionally, making sure to acquire the proper visas or permits for residence is also essential before moving to Bucharest," commented one expat who made the move to Bucharest.

"I enjoy the Obor area, because it has all I need, including the biggest grocery market in the city, but has fair prices for the accommodation. I would suggest searching for a place both next to metro stations and parks. Because public transport is doomed to be trappet in rush hour trafic and parks, such as Herastrau, grant an escape from the busy streets, especially for those who come from smaller cities. The far North of the city, above Herastrau park, has the richest area with new apartments. The rest of the city is filled with communistic buildings with simple flats," remarked another expat living in Bucharest, Romania.

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How do I find a place to live in Bucharest?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"Finding a suitable place to live in Bucharest depends on many factors such as budget, desired location, and required facilities. The most common way of finding accommodation in Bucharest is by searching online. There are many websites such as Airbnb, Spotahome, Homeaway and Booking.com that offer convenient and affordable housing for any requirements or preferences. Additionally, there are a variety of private listings including Facebook groups, Magazine classifieds and online forums. Real estate agents can also be contacted to find appropriate accommodation in Bucharest. Additionally, free accommodation can be found by participating in homestay programs and exchanges," remarked another expat living in Bucharest, Romania.

"Through aquaintances. Met some international exchange students and kept in contact with them shrough social networks," added another expat in Bucharest.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Bucharest?

"Expat homes and apartments in Bucharest are typically modern and well-maintained, with many new developments offering high-quality amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, and communal areas. Common features include an open plan layout, spacious bedrooms, and balcony or terrace areas. Many apartments and homes feature cutting-edge technology and a modern, stylish interior design. Most homes are located near parks, shops, and restaurants, making them ideal for expats seeking a convenient yet culturally rich city lifestyle," remarked another expat living in Bucharest, Romania.

"I live in a rented flat on the 9th floor. It's a renovated 3-room apartment in a communistic block and I share it with 2 other expat, one of which is a colleague of mine, the other - a firend of a colleague. It's quite typical to share apartments, because most expats work in a more or less international environment with other expat folks. Also, compared to food prices at a market, for example, I find apartments to be disproportionately expensive. Especially when renting a studio," added another expat in Bucharest.

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What is the average cost of housing in Bucharest?

If you are thinking about moving to Bucharest, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The cost of housing in Bucharest varies depending on the area and type of property. Generally, apartments in the city centre cost more than those outside of the centre, with prices ranging from around €400-€1,000 per month for apartments, and €500-€2,000 per month for houses," commented one expat who made the move to Bucharest.

"The housing costs are a little higher than in Latvia. The cost for a studio is the same. But a multiple room apartment outside the city center in Riga should be a bit cheeper. Even if there isn't a big difference in the price, the salary rates vary a bit more for the disadvantage of Bucharest... We pay a monthly fee of 2100 lei - 470 Euro for rent+utilities for a simple 3 room apartment between the downtown and outskirts. Simple studios are around around 250 - 350 Euro," remarked another expat living in Bucharest, Romania.

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How do I meet people in Bucharest?

When we asked people living in Bucharest about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"There are plenty of ways to meet people in Bucharest! You can start by joining local groups or clubs in the area that focus on activities you are interested in. Taking a class or signing up for a group activity can also help you meet new people. If you're interested in exploring the nightlife, attending events or joining a pub or bar crawl can offer a great opportunity to socialize. Attending festivals, exploring parks and public spaces, or taking a walking tour are also great ways to meet people. Making a profile on sites such as Meetup or Couchsurfing can also help you connect with locals and other people who came to the city," remarked another expat living in Bucharest, Romania.

"The International Women's Association is a great place to meet female expats from all walks of life, including from the host country. IWA is extremely involved in charity work and hosts an annual bazaar in December, which is the highlight of the organization's year. Moms with small children have several baby groups from which to choose, both in the suburbs by the American school and in the city," added another expat in Bucharest.

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What should I bring when moving to Bucharest?

People living in Bucharest were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"When moving to Bucharest it is important to pack warm clothing, since the weather can be quite cold during colder seasons. Having an umbrella and waterproof clothing is also recommended in case of unexpected rain. It is a good idea to take some essential toiletries, medical supplies, and any items you may need for daily life. Additionally, the necessary documents and paperwork such as passport or visa will be needed. Will you be bringing any furniture? Be sure to secure proper transportation for your belongings if need be. Do not forget to pack any electronic adapters needed for charging electronic devices, and ensure that you identify any language/cultural information you may need," explained one expat living in Bucharest, Romania.

"WISH I HAD BROUGHT: More books in my language (there are none here), computer mouse (spending more time alone made me use my laptop more), ice skates. WISH I HAD LEFT AT HOME: Creams and all those body care products, A dress that I hoped to get into again after miraculously loosing some weight, suit," said another expat in Bucharest.

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Where should I setup a bank account in Bucharest?

We asked expats in Bucharest what banks they use and there advice about banking. They advised:

"In order to set up a bank account in Bucharest, you will need to visit a local bank branch in the city and speak to a representative. Generally, you will need to provide proof of identification, address, and other supporting documentation in order to begin the process. Typically, you can find a suitable bank through internet searches or by asking around for local recommendations. Once you have all the necessary documents, you can start the paperwork for setting up the bank account," wrote a member in Bucharest.

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Will I be able to find a job in Bucharest?

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Bucharest, they reponded:

"It is possible to find a job in Bucharest. The city is the Romanian capital and is home to a variety of large and small businesses, as well as a vibrant start-up scene. Many jobs are available in the services and financial sectors, as well as in manufacturing and IT. Expats with specialised skills may have an easier time finding work, but there are many opportunities available to those from all backgrounds. In addition to searching online for jobs, it is also possible to secure employment through networking, attending job fairs and reaching out to employers directly," remarked another expat living in Bucharest, Romania.

"Bucharest is mainly filled with affiliates of large, international companies. French is a popular language here, it is tought in scools. If you also take into accout the low labour costs, you get a perfect arial for supportive affiliates, such as for IT and customer support," added another expat in Bucharest.

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What is life like in Bucharest?

When we asked people living in Bucharest what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Living as an expat in the area is generally a positive experience. The people are friendly and welcoming, making it easy to meet locals and make friends. The cost of living is relatively low, though some things—like real estate—can be expensive. English is widely spoken, especially by the younger generation, making it easy to communicate with locals. The area offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities—hiking, biking, swimming, etc—and has a rich cultural heritage. There are a variety of vibrant cities, towns and villages to explore, as well as plenty of world-renowned tourist attractions. In short, living in the area as an expat is a great way to immerse yourself in a new and fascinating culture," added another expat who made the move to Bucharest.

"Expats are here because of work, period. I don't know anyone who comes to Bucharest because they love the city. Having said that, most people here have good travel schedules. While travel in Romania is difficult because of the poor condition of the infrastructure, Romania is a short and relatively inexpensive plane ride from nearly all of Europe. Direct flights are available to nearly every European capital, as well as some of the larger Asian and North African capitals as well. On weekends, Bucharest's clubs are full of young people who love to stay out dancing until 4 a.m. The restaurants continue to open and improve by the week. There are a lot of good ones from which to choose, and that are not too expensive," explained one expat living in Bucharest, Romania.

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What do expats in Bucharest appreciate most about the local culture?

"Expats in Bucharest often appreciate the diversity and hospitality of the local culture. From the welcoming and friendly locals to the vibrant street food culture, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The city is steeped in Eastern-European history, yet has a contemporary flavour. From the beautiful art galleries and renowned architecture to the vibrant music and nightlife scene, Bucharest has a very tolerant and diverse atmosphere that many expats enjoy. Additionally, its affordability and relatively low cost of living compared with other European cities make it ideal for those who want to live an expat life in Europe," remarked another expat living in Bucharest, Romania.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"Expats often find settling in and adjusting to a new culture challenging. This includes adopting new customs and familiarizing themselves with laws and regulations. In addition, mastering the language and learning the basics of daily life in a new country can be difficult for those who do not speak the language. Furthermore, expats can struggle to make friends and find ways to build a support network. Establishing trust with colleagues and finding a job can also be a challenge, especially if they are unfamiliar with the local job market. Social isolation, a lack of cultural understanding, homesickness, and a lack of access to services they are accustomed to are all potential sources of difficulty," remarked another expat living in Bucharest, Romania.

"Trash everywhere, Strays dogs (they killed my beagle puppy) and the way the drive (dear lord, they drive crazy)," added another expat in Bucharest.

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Is there a lot of crime in Bucharest?

We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"Crime is an issue in Bucharest, particularly in certain neighbourhoods. Although violent crime is rare, petty theft and pickpocketing are fairly common, especially around major tourist attractions and public transportation hubs. As in any city, vigilance and common-sense safety measures should be exercised when travelling in Bucharest," remarked another expat living in Bucharest, Romania.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Bucharest accepting of differences?

"Bucharest is a vibrant, diverse city, with a majority Romanian population, sizeable Hungarian and Romani minority populations, as well as expatriate communities from countless countries around the world. People in Bucharest are generally open-minded and accepting of diversity; however, there are some areas of the city that may be less open, so it is important to be aware of one's environment," commented one expat who made the move to Bucharest.

"Romanians are not the most accepting of other cultures. That is not to say they are prejudiced--my personal belief is that they don't have a lot of knowledge about other cultures because this society was completely closed for 40 years under Communist rule. With Romania's new president, Traian Basescu, I imagine Romanian society will gradually become more accepting to people from all walks of life," remarked another expat living in Bucharest, Romania.

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What are the schools in Bucharest like?

"Schools in Bucharest vary widely in terms of size, curriculum, and facilities.Public schools in Bucharest are state-funded and free to attend, and most offer general and vocational education in English, French and German. Private schools in Bucharest include international schools catering mainly to expatriates, private day schools and boarding schools, as well as other private institutions. Many of these schools provide a multicultural learning environment and follow an international curriculum such as the International Baccalaureate (IB). In addition to their regular classes, some schools also offer extracurricular activities like sports and music," remarked another parent with kids at in Bucharest.

"Make an appointment and take the whole family along - the children will give you feedback about their views. Have questions ready in advance and ask lots of them. The school has a policy of honesty so do not expect 'soft' answers adapted to your own circumstances. The school knows what it does and does it well," explained one expat living in Bucharest, Romania.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Bucharest, Romania

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