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Bulgaria vs Romania: The Battle Between the Cheapest Two Countries in the European Union

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After spending three consecutive summer holidays in Romanian beach resorts, in 2017 we decided that a change in scenery is more than welcome. We decided to visit Bulgaria that year mainly because of its proximity to Romania – but also the fact that many of our friends who went there had nothing but nice things to say.

Today, I will share my experience about Romania vs. Bulgaria and share with you my thoughts regarding the best of the two cheapest (and poorest) countries in Europe.

[Update notice] This article was originally published in 2017, but it got a much needed update in July 2020 to present my current opinion.

If you’re curious to see how our successful vacations went in Romania, you can check out my Hotel Dana in Venus impressions, as well as the story of our cheap stay in Eforie Nord.

It was followed by a stay at the same hotel, but then Eforie Nord was a dud and one of the reasons why I decided that we’ve given one too many chances to Romania’s seaside. For now at least.

In case things are not that obvious already, I am only going to judge the two countries based on what their seaside resorts have to offer. I can’t make other types of judgement since I haven’t visited any other parts of Bulgaria for long enough to get an educated opinion, but since most people look at both countries as cheap touristic destinations, this should be just enough.

Even more so, I guess that looking at an area that’s so important for a country – like tourism is – helps paint a good picture on how everything will be in the rest of the country. I mean, if you can’t treat tourists right exactly in the place where you are supposed to, you can’t have better expectations elsewhere…

Why did we choose Albena, Bulgaria?

Albena Bulgaria
View over Albena. Our hotel is at the bottom right corner

I did a lot of research prior to us leaving to Bulgaria and whoever does something similar easily finds out that Albena doesn’t stand out as one of the most popular destinations in the country. We chose it for two main reasons:

  • it is very close to Romania. We were going to travel by bus from Bucharest and getting to Albena takes about 7 hours. Almost anything else in Bulgaria is way farther and you can’t keep a 4-year-old (our son) entertained for that long. At least not without going crazy yourself, haha!
  • most people described it as a very chill resort aimed mostly at families and older people. We didn’t want to get there to party all night. We wanted silence, we wanted beautiful sea and beaches and opportunities to recharge our batteries. That’s exactly what we got!

Looking in retrospect now, after spending two more years in Bulgaria – one summer holiday in Golden Sands and one in their popular Sunny Beach, I can definitely say that Albena is the best choice.

Actually, we were supposed to be in Albena once more in 2020, but then the world went upside down. We had our vacation paid for early, but decided it’s too risky to go there. I still feel a pain inside my soul writing this and thinking how nice it would’ve been. Maybe next year!

Hotel Kaliakra in Albena vs Hotels in Romania

Hotel Kaliakra, Albena
Hotel Kaliakra, seen from the beach

We went for this hotel mainly because it was an All Inclusive hotel. It also had great ratings on Trip Advisor and its Romanian equivalent, Am Fost Acolo. (Since our visit there, management was apparently changed and the hotel is, sadly, no longer that good).

Our son tends to choose food based on the way it looks (usually in photos in the menu) and then gets freaked out because he doesn’t enjoy eating broccoli with sweet and sour sauce or, even more often, because the dish he gets looks nothing like the photo.

In an All Inclusive deal, he sees the food right in front of his eyes and we can easily get a bit in our plate and let him taste it before making a decision. It was way easier this way (and definitely less expensive).

In Romania, we didn’t choose all inclusive deals and even though the restaurant prices were very low and we cheated breakfast from a nearby Lidl, at the end of the day things were very expensive when we looked at food and drinks costs. The same would happen in Bulgaria, where prices at seaside restaurants are similar to those in Romania.

Hotel Kaliakra frontal sea view room
View from our room in Hotel Kaliakra

I am very happy with our choice, though. Hotel Kaliakra – a 4 star hotel in Albena – is right near the beach, with all rooms offering an impressive sea view. They offer two types of rooms: Superior and Standard, the former being larger.

Hotel Kaliakra Albena Room
Huge bedroom that Baby Romanian really enjoyed. There was also an extensible couch in the room.
Hotel Kaliakra Albena Room 1
Another part of the room and a bit of our amazing view of the sea.

Click here to check out Hotel Kaliakra (and book your stay there)

We chose the Superior Room as I actually had the impression that there are two hotels: Kaliakra Superior and Kaliakra, with the former being the better one since it was a bit more expensive. But I was wrong.

It’s just one hotel, with two different types of rooms – the Superior Room is larger and has a direct view of the sea, while the other rooms have more of a side-view and are smaller, although it seems to be just as spectacular.

There is just one restaurant where everybody gets the same food and you have no other benefits for choosing the “Superior” room. Since we spend so little time inside anyway, we decided that if we are to ever visit again, we’d go for standard instead.

Hotel Kaliakra Pool
One of the beautiful pools, with Hotel Kaliakra in the background

While there’s a lot of room at the pools, with just enough sun loungers, the food isn’t really the best around. I have no reasons to complain though: you definitely can’t go hungry during your stay and there are always a lot of things to choose from.

However, I was a bit disappointed with the quality of the food, although it’s much better and definitely a lot more varied than what you’re normally getting in similar All Inclusive resorts in Romania.

Check out some of the offers below:

Hotel Kaliakra Food
Fruits were always present for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Hotel Kaliakra Food
Although the presentation gets no points for style, the food was actually tasty and varied – this being just a very small offering at dinner time.

Even more, the hotel advertised in many places that the fruits, vegetables and honey were all organic, while the Angus beef was locally grown and fed in a very healthy way. So that was indeed an unexpected bonus!

All inclusive hotels must keep costs low and it is expected for the food to be of a lower quality. However, we never had problems with anything running out and even though in some places – like where they were preparing barbecues or early in the morning with the omelettes – the lines war getting large, everybody got what they wanted.

The same thing happened in all inclusive resorts that we visited in the next two years in Bulgaria: Melia Grand Hermitage in Golden Sands and DIT Evrika Beach in Sunny Beach. The food was great (these were 5-star resorts) and never ran out.

In Romania, you always hear stories about certain, more special dishes not being refilled.

We were treated very well at the hotel by all staff: from the girls at the reception, to the waiters in the restaurants and the maids… everybody did a great job overall.

They were not all smiles and good mood as you’d like all people to be when you’re on vacation, but us people living in the Eastern side of Europe tend to smile a lot less than others… so we knew they weren’t actually grumpy. They were polite and nice, though – no problems here.

In Romania, we were always surprised with the rudeness of the staff. Except for our time in Hotel Dana in Venus, where the staff was very polite, everywhere else – from hotel staff to restaurant staff, things were horrible.

I still remember, shocked, that in one restaurant that we ate at (in Venus, Romania), the waitress was yelling at her customers from behind the counter to take their order or to get details about it. I’ve never seen anything like that – and even though that’s definitely not the norm in Romania – the quality of the service is not that high either.

Hotel Kaliakra themed dinner
One of my dinners during the stay at Hotel Kaliakra. They had seafood themed dinners twice during the 7 nights we spent there.

Overall, I was very pleased with the Kaliakra hotel and everything it had to offer. The other two hotels that we’ve visited in the coming years also left us with a great impression and switching from 4 stars to 5 stars really improved things a lot (while the prices were still relatively low).

Also read: If you’re a fan of comparisons, why not check out my Budapest vs Bucharest article?

Bulgaria Beaches vs Romania Beaches

I didn’t know, before getting there, that Albena was nothing but a very small resort. I thought it was a place where we could find local people, houses and apartments – similar to Romania’s Eforie Nord. Instead, it’s more like Venus or other resorts in Romania. And very small too.

Albena street
Part of the main pedestrian street in the resort

However, it’s extremely nice! The beaches are spectacular. For some reason, unlike the ones in Romania, they are never packed. Our hotel was full and there were many hotels in the resort… but the beaches somehow managed to be airy and extremely nice. It’s always good if you can go take a bath in the sea without rubbing elbows with other tourists…

The photo below shows the most crowded day during our stay there and even though some might consider that crowded, it’s not Romania-style crowded and it definitely felt very airy when you were there.

Albea beach and sea
Beautiful beach and sea

For comparison, here is how beaches in Romania usually look like (photo from our final stay in Eforie):

You can almost feel that it’s a different vibe and style, right?

It was also surprisingly clean. The sand of Romanian beaches and the Black Sea resorts themselves are usually dirty, but for some reasons these were not, despite the fact that there were a ton of Romanian tourists there.

My favorite thing though was the fact that you could actually hear the sea in Bulgaria! Main main problem with beaches in Romania is that they’re filled with terraces and pubs that blast from the speakers hits from the 90s, in a contest to win the award for the loudest possible one.

You have people selling stuff – from sunglasses to all sorts and trinkets and various foods – and they yell like crazy to advertise them. They have rhymes that are usually filled with sexual innuendos and nobody seems to have anything about that. All in all, in Romania, even if you are right in front of a beach, you risk not being able to actually hear the sea.

Another interesting thing that we noticed about beaches is the fact that in Romania, you usually have to bribe the people who handle loungers to “reserve” your front row seats. This is atop of the regular fee that you have to pay and in most cases, it’s the first 2-3 lines that are “reserved”.

While we saw this practice happen in Bulgaria as well, there were always free loungers in the second row, next to the sea – and usually in the first one as well.

In terms of attractions, there’s not a lot to do in Albena. They have a really large Aqua Park which we didn’t get a chance to visit (but heard great things about)… and that would be it. A relatively small pedestrian street with small shops, several restaurants and hotels.

Definitely a place to go and relax, not waste nights in clubs or getting tired exploring the city. (Although there are several attractions nearby that local tour operators or even taxi drivers would love to take you to).

Albena Free Beach Library
They had free beach libraries with books in English, German, Russian and Romanian

In terms of costs, prices are similar to those in Romanian resorts. In other words, not very cheap by Romanian standards, but surely cheap for people coming from the Western Countries.

And there was a lot of them: mostly people from Germany and other Nordic countries, as well as a lot of Russians. Definitely a lot more foreigners (even without counting the armies of Romanians) compared to what Romania gets – probably one of the reasons why the quality standards are a bit higher.

But back to prices, you could get a half liter bottle of soda from street shops for around one Euro, dinner at a nice restaurant was 10-15 Euros depending on what you went for and 1-2 euros for a beer or coffee.

There was a standard rate for taxis (of around 5 Euros) from the bus station to the hotels, which was heavily overpriced – it was an easy 10 minute walk to our hotel and even less to other ones. Probably the reason why most people only took a taxi when they arrived and not when they left, haha.

But price-wise, things are very similar here and you can expect to pay similar amounts in either country.

As I said, the thing that I enjoyed the most though was the silence. In Romania, there are pubs and bars on the beach and there’s loud music playing all day. You can’t hear the sea, you can’t think about anything but the loud music and the sellers yelling all day long (they all have hoarse voices because of that).

The main reason why I visit the sea is to actually hear the waves, relax and recharge my batteries. This is a lot easier done in Bulgaria, by far.

Bulgaria vs Romania: Who wins?

Looking at everything as a whole, the two countries are extremely similar. It’s the same sea, the same water, the same climate, the same vegetation around and most of the hotels (especially the older ones) have that same – slightly outdated – look both inside and outside.

However, Bulgaria managed to adapt better, up their offering and increase the quality of everything they offer, leaving Romania well behind, in my opinion.

From customer service to the clean beaches and clean resort, from the quality of the food and number of real-restaurants available (most in Romanian resorts are self service restaurants with very cheap, but very low quality food), to the hotels themselves… everything beats Romania.

Hotel Kaliakra restaurant view
Pool view from the main restaurant’s terrace

Bulgaria is far from perfect. For example, they are way behind Turkey and way behind the Greece in terms of what they offer, but still well above Romania.

When I went to Bulgaria, I was very afraid. I heard a ton of scary stories – especially on how badly they treat Romanians, but instead I received high quality service and smiles from most of the staff.

Everybody asked us where we were from and as soon as they heard we’re from Romania, they threw a “Buna ziua!” (Good day) or “Ce mai faci?” (How are you?).

At the main restaurant, there was always somebody to greet us in Romanian and wish us good appetite. They did the same with all the other guests, all in their native language.

That would never happen in Romania. That never happened to us in Romania, even though the people there didn’t even have to speak a different language. And I am sure very few people foreigners can say it has happened to them.

So even though it’s the same sea, it’s the same flora – it’s basically the same thing – the small but important elements make the difference.

Contrary to our expectations, we felt much better in Bulgaria than we did in Romania. Even more – and sadder, in my opinion – we felt more welcome. So the winner in this case is obvious. Bulgaria is, at the moment, the better choice. At least when it comes to spending your summer vacation.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Buna ziua Calin,
    Great story and great pictures! I like the way you tell the whole unvarnished truth! Most people would invariably (consciously or unconsciously) tend to be biased toward their own county. Kudos for your honesty!
    What is the temp of the Black Sea? I mean does it set your teeth chattering when you first dive in, or does it elicit an “ahhhh” from the moment of entry? Are there any life guards? Are there dangerous rip currents? Are there any bad aquatic fauna to watch for like sharks, barracudas, or stinging jelly-fish, etc.? What sort of edible fish are there in the sea, and are the fish served at the hotel caught locally? Are there large fishing fleets from the surrounding countries on the sea? Are there ferry boat services which ply the sea between the various countries? Is the Black Sea very salty (briny) or more fresh? Does it provide drinking water for the surrounding countries?
    Did you pay by cc or use the local currency (Bulgarian Lev)? If the latter, how did the ROM compare to the BGN? (Did you lose or gain in the conversion?) And if you used the Euro, it just seems everyone should just convert to it and stop waiting around.;-)
    So, what do you think is the reason for the Bulgarian customer service to be better (at least where you were) than the Romanian? Are the Bulgarians are more consumer-driven society? I am curious from your standpoint.
    For that matter, if you’re still in Budapest, how does the Hungarian customer service there compare to that of the Romanian and to the Bulgarian?
    So, in your travels, do you still find English the best way of communicating? It must be quite interesting with so many nationalities converging on a particular area, for the locals to try to understand, and to be understood!
    BTW: From seeing your “mini-me,” pictured, he can’t be called “Baby Romanian” much longer!;-)
    Thanks for the great read!
    ~Teil (USA)

    • Hello Teil,

      Wow, a lot of questions! 🙂

      I’ll start addressing the Black Sea ones – at least the ones I can: I never found it to be too warm, but it is pleasant during the season. It seems cold when you first get in, but probably anything would after spending a lot of time in the sun 🙂 There were lifeguards present, but I wouldn’t consider it very dangerous. I am not a big swimmer, though, so I can’t really say about current – there’s none where I usually am – knee deep in the water hahaha

      We didn’t see any fishing ships while there and I know nothing of ferries, but there should be some sort of service here and there. I have no idea about the other things, but I doubt that the seafood we ate was from the Black Sea.

      Regarding the currency, we actually exchanged Euros to Levas. You could pay in Euros directly, but the rates were lower than what the exchange offices would give. The rates were similar for Lei as well, but you got the better deal from Exchanging Euros to Leva 🙂

      Romanian customer service is bad by tradition. People coming here will always complain about that. I have no real idea why this is happening, but I believe that the lack of tourism is the reason behind this. Both in Budapest and Albena, most of the people you interacted with were all smiles and made you feel welcome. In Romania, people rarely smile and are, in many occasions rude and seem bored when serving you (I am not only talking about state-owned places, but restaurants and stores as well). People don’t really try to give it their best since they probably don’t have a lot to earn from this. In the other countries, they probably know that smiling and behaving nicely will result in a large tip or something. Just guesses, though… I don’t really know for sure.

      I do have the feeling that people are starting to get educated in this area, but it will take some time. I remember wanting to take a photo during a visit to a local Carrefour in my home city. The employees had badges reading “Today I smile for you” (hence me thinking that companies are working to improve this), but cashier looked like the whole sky fell over her head. It was hilarious, but I couldn’t just pull out the phone and snap a picture 🙂

  2. Love this accounting of your holiday! Very refreshing read because you know how l love to hear the facts, good and bad?. I was cracking up at Baby Romanian and his ordering from the pictures. I can just imagine his face after eating the broccoli???. Nice to know the beaches weren’t very crowded either. I hate crowded ones. I remember the sandy beaches of Malta were like that. Your room looked awesome and the view quite nice. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

    • And he still hasn’t learned the lessons…but at least he might find some new favorite foods… eventually :))

      The beaches were a surprise for us, we were expecting them to be really crowded. It was a nice vacation overall!

  3. Hi Calin,

    Ditto to Kemkem’s remarks! Great story and nice to get the facts, along with the good, the bad and the ugly. “Baby Romanian” is sure getting big now; I figure soon enough he’ll be taking off on his own checking out the girls on the beach next time! It is interesting how such similar tourist spots would provide such a different customer service experience. I suspect there is something more going on here and not simply Romanian resorts and personal are just less friendly than Bulgarian ones. We know it’s not that. So, it is a bit of a conundrum.

    As much as this comparison was interesting, I must say that I may be one of the few folks who would be fine not spending any more time around beaches. Having lived in Florida for the past 30 years, and 8 of those in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area, I yearn to be in the mountains and forests for the rest of my days…lol..
    One way that Romania has a huge advantage over all the surrounding Eastern & Central European countries, including Bulgaria, is the Transylvanian Alps and the Carpathian Mountains. The views and vistas are nothing short of spectacular.

    Btw, that reminds me, if anyone might be interested in where to see wildlife, Rasnov just opened a new observatory, where you can see bears, wolves, wild boar and lynx, for 25 euros per person. Here is an article I saw in Romania-Insider:
    https://www.romania-insider.com/wildlife-watching-rasnov/?ct=t(RI_NL_August_14_20178_13_2017)

    • Just as it often happens nowadays, it seems that I know less and less about the things happening in Romania 🙂 I had no idea about the Rasnov observatory, for example.

      Regarding the beach and the sun, I can totally understand that! I’m still at a point where I hate winters and would do anything for decent sunny weather for the entire year.

      • I hate high heat and humidity, but hate serious winters even more. Recently learned Albania allows Americans(and us only!) to stay a year on a tourist card(then leave for 90 days) and allow us to skip several steps of residency and go to the 5 year one which for us is pretty easy to obtain. By European standards the winter weather, especially on their southern coast, is pretty mild. Heading to the capital Tirana in November. Georgia is just too far away and isolated for me and Albania has a Mediterranean diet with heavy influence from Italy, Greece, and Turkey. And close enough to visit places I want to see including the Carpathians.

      • Hi Calin,
        Well, you can’t be expected to know everything! lol….try as you might! But, mountains, wildlife and such are things of particular interest to me, so I specifically research whatever I can find out about those subjects. Romania-Insider has been a good source for a lot of what’s going on, especially for us outside the country, wanting to know more.

        Also, someone’s experiences with customer service can vary from time to time and place to place. But in terms of friendly locals, I’ve read great stories about Romanians, and bad about Hungarians and Bulgarians, and then the opposite. I’ve read similar of visitors to Florida, some had great experiences and others horrible.

        A few years ago I traveled to Anchorage Alaska, and spent two wonderful weeks exploring the state. I’d heard horror stories about bad service and rude people. My experiences couldn’t have been better, everyone was smiling and helpful, and I had an amazing trip. Sometimes things go wrong and don’t work out, but maybe next time they will. Almost any place can provide a good experience,so always hope for the best.

        • That is true, JC. Foreigners are usually treated preferentially, though and Romanians are considered friendly – which they are. In the end, it doesn’t matter that much at the end of the day if the clerk at the store smiled or not as long as you get nice friends here and you love the area.

  4. A very interesting read, thank you! I was always curious about Bulgaria. Both Bulgaria and Romania were accepted into the EU at the same time, and there seems to be a “competition” between the two to see who catches up to EU standards of living first. Your description of Albena and the friendly Bulgarian employees suggests the Bulgarians might be edging ahead of Romania. I think a very big problem for Romania is the “brain drain” of its most ambitious people to Western Europe where they earn far more than they can get in Romania. Maybe the Bulgarians don’t have this problem to the same extent because Slavs are a little less likely to migrate. The only Romanians left in Romania are the ones beholden to the PSD or retirees nostalgic for communist times. I read an interesting article recently (https://pressone.ro/tara-tara-vrem-romani/) which said there was a labor shortage in Romania. Construction companies, restaurants, meat processors and even wineries were desperate for workers. It told the story of a meat processing company which recruited and trained young Romanians only to see them run off to Germany when their training was finished. Its manager said the only solution was to “cut unemployment compensation for a while so that the unemployed would come back to work.” Romania is a mystery: how can such a beautiful country with so many natural resources and such highly intelligent (and beautiful) people be such a disaster? I have to think the “brain drain” explains it.

    • I am still in Romania – although I won’t lie and say that I wouldn’t like to move somewhere else 🙂

      I recently read a story where some guys who launched an agricultural company in Romania was looking for employees and was offering salaries between 3 to 5,000 Euros per month and he had no applications – I don’t remember what the positions were, but Romania is definitely lacking in many areas.

      Most people are now leaving the country by default. Another interesting article I read claimed that you could put Euros and Lei on par: 1,000 lei in Romania equals 1,000 Euros in Germany, for example. And this could be true: I have a friend in Germany, earning around 1,000 Euros per month and obviously struggling. He’s also sharing a studio with a relative and has a long commute to work. A job he also happens to hate.

      But the reason why he prefers to do this is because in Germany he managed to find a job. He tries to find a better one – if not, he plans to get a second, part time job. He’s there for two-three years now and changed a few jobs, but all were in the same area in terms of wages. However, he has no plans to come back because, as he says, he got fed up with the mentality here and the lack of trust and opportunities. Because while he was here, he tried for 2 years to get hired without any success…

      So it’s a difficult situation. Romania is beautiful if we look at it’s natural beauty. Things are improving, fortunately, and in the past couple of years, there have been reports of nice things happening. There are younger people who still believe in this country and stay here, doing their best to help it proceed. But it’s not easy – and the mentality, the way people act and behave in most cases is what’s killing it.

      For a foreigner, things are not as bad. The circles they’ll be in will most likely be in the more educated and probably more affluent areas, maybe also surrounded by other expats who will balance things out. Romanians tend to be friendly with foreigners and show them more respect. For these reasons, in most cases, it’s much better to be an expat – or just a foreigner in Romania – that a born and raised Romanian. At least for now.

      • I like what you said about putting the Lei against the Euro or any other currency for that matter. My husband is always saying the same thing. He gets miffed when people say a place is cheap because he considers it so IF the people of the country can afford to do things like eating out and having a comfortable life almost if not equal to the tourists. Most places you go, the locals are squeezed. Poland was the first place l felt people (locals) could eat out etc because the costs were low. We didn’t see the same in other places like Lisbon where everyone talks about how cheap it is. Maybe compared to where they came from, but not for the people that live there. 1000 euro wage in Italy and you are struggling just as much as your friend in Germany. Italy is the same, few jobs. His friends moved out of Rome leaving their kids and wives behind and send back money from Denmark, U.S etc. It’s not pretty right now and l am glad l’m older :-).

        • Exactly! Some places might seem cheap for those visiting – or for those not depending on local income. From that point of view, Romania is a great choice. Not so much if you earn your living here, where 1,000 Euros would be considered an amazing wage.

        • Kemkem & Calin,

          I definitely get that about cost of living as a tourist or expat compared to the local populations, and Kemkem, that’s a good litmus test of local spending power if they can afford to dine out a couple of times a week. During my research for countries with low cost of living (based on receiving U.S. retirement income), it’s not hard to find those where your U.S. income goes two, three, even four times farther than moderate to larger cities here at home.

          Sadly, the locals in some of those places are more often than not struggling just to survive week to week. Even in the U.S., there are approximately 45 million or 14% of the population below the poverty line, living week to week. Some are one check away from being homeless. It’s sad.

          That said, it’s understandable why so many retirees are looking for places abroad to make their limited fixed incomes go a little further. Personally, I dealt with unforeseen circumstances where I had to spend a huge portion of my retirement savings helping family members with emergencies and ailing parents with lengthy expensive medical treatments. I wouldn’t do anything differently if I had it to do over, but it has drained my retirement nest egg to a point where I have to be more frugal now, and try to live mostly on S.S. while trying to hold onto whatever savings I have left for emergencies. We all have our own stories, and we just do the best we can with the cards we’re dealt in life.

  5. According to Numbeo Bulgaria is a little more expensive than Romania now. 45% cheaper than the U.S., versus 47% for Romania. These are overall averages with all cities lumped together. Most likely both countries have rural areas that are much cheaper. I’m guessing the popularity of Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast probably accounts for it’s surge in costs. When I first started looking at Numbeo both countries were more than 50% cheaper than the U.S. with Romania the more expensive one. Joining the EU certainly contributes to rising prices.

    • Hello Wade,

      Numbeo shouldn’t be trusted too much. The reality is completely different – at least in Romania’s case (or at least slightly different) than what Numbeo says. However, the good thing about them is that they usually their estimated prices are higher than what you get, so you can only get a pleasant surprise when you see the reality 🙂

      Regarding Bulgaria being more expensive, I can’t really tell – but the prices on the Black Sea coast are definitely higher than what you’d get in Romania.

      • I found Numbeo pretty accurate for Mexico. They have a comments section and for Tirana, Albania several were saying restaurant prices for inexpensive restaurants were too high. I’ve seen some prices for various cities that seemed wrong based on what I had seen on expat forums. Since they base their numbers on averaging reader contributions I guess best you can hope for is a “ballpark” figure. Or knowing someone like you who actually lives in a place! 🙂

  6. Hi JC, I think you’re right about Transylvania, and if Romania ever decides to offer a reasonably priced retirement visa I’m heading there. Albania has some plusses being close to Italy and Greece as well as the rest of the Balkans. But it’s got issues like the rest of them. There’s a Facebook group called Georgian Wanderers that gives a lot of insight into living in Georgia. Most of them complain about living there, while some Albania expat Facebook groups seem to love it there. That’s enough for me.

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