A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Bucharest vs. Sofia for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Bucharest or Sofia?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Bucharest and Sofia. We’ll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget. So, let's dig into it.

Bucharest

Bucharest is the capital and largest city in the country of Romania. With about 2 million residents living in the city and about 2.4 million in the surrounding urban area, it is also one of the largest cities in Southeastern Europe. As such, it is the economic, industrial and commercial center for the country. As a visitor, you will likely enter Romania by arriving in Bucharest. The city continues to grow and change, and there are ongoing infrastructure projects that continue to modernize the city. It is not uncommon to find historic churches on the same block as modern office buildings and Communist style apartment buildings. There are also many sights around town and the city continues to grow as a trendy and fascinating city.

Sofia

Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria and also its largest city. Some people have tried to compare it to Budapest, but the cities are actually quite different. In Sofia you will find wonderful European style architecture intertwined with Communist style buildings. It's fascinating to see the two dramatically different building styles immediately next to each other. There are also many Orthodox Churches around town, with their beautiful domes and intricate details.

Which city is cheaper, Sofia or Bucharest?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Bucharest is $123, while the average daily cost in Sofia is $57. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Bucharest and Sofia in more detail.



Accommodation

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $112 for a double occupancy room in Bucharest.

For a normal double-occupancy room in Sofia, $72 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Sofia, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $36, such as in a hostel.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Bucharest $56
    Sofia $36
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Bucharest $112
    Sofia $72

Food

The price of a meal in Bucharest can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $52 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $21 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.

The price of a meal in Sofia can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $16 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $6.40 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Bucharest $52
    Sofia $16

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Bucharest

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Bucharest.

  • Bucharest Evening Tour and Traditional Dinner - 3 hours: $80
  • Cooking Class in Transylvania - Day Tour from Bucharest: $199
  • Walking Food Tour in the Old Town of Bucharest: $199
  • Bucharest City Tour & Traditional Home-made Cooking Experience: $223
  • Private Dracula Castle Tour by night and Romanian traditional dinner: $331

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sofia

For Sofia, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Online Traditional Bulgarian Cooking Class: $36
  • Market Food Tour: $44
  • Private Sofia Night Tour with Bulgarian Folklore Show & Dinner: $73
  • Sofia by Night Panoramic Tour with Dinner and Folklore Show: $75
  • Private Bulgarian Cooking Class in Sofia with a Local with Hotel Transfers: $92
  • Private Traditional Bulgarian Cooking in Central Sofia: $98
  • Hiking The Seven Rila Lakes with option for dinner: $111
  • Market Visit and Private Bulgarian Cooking Class in Sofia with Hotel Transfers: $117
  • Private Sofia Evening Tour with Folklore Dinner: $137

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Bucharest is $23 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.

To get around in Sofia, the average visitor spends $7.45 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Bucharest $23
    Sofia $7.45

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Bucharest

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Bucharest:

  • Private Transfer to from Bucharest to Vienna City Austria Price/Car 1-8 Seats: $1,555
  • Private transfer from Bucharest to Istanbul price/car 1-4 seat: $941
  • Private Transfer from Bucharest to Budapest price/car 1-4 seat: $941
  • Private Transfer from Bucharest to Tirana Albania Price/Car 1-4 Seats: $941
  • Private Transfer to Budapest (Hungary) from Bucharest: $746
  • Private Transfer from Bucharest to Budapest: $684
  • Private Transfer from Bucharest to Thessaloniki Salonic GR Price/Car 1-4 Seats: $672
  • Private Transfer from Bucharest to Skopje, Macedonia de Nord Price/Car 1-4 Seats: $672
  • Private Transfer: Bucharest to Bucharest B. A. V. International Airport (BBU): $622
  • Private Transfer from Bucharest to Cluj City Untold and Electric Castle 1-8 Seat: $605
  • Private Transfer to Bucharest from Sofia (BG) with Van, Price/Car 1-8 Seat: $537
  • Private Transfer from Bucharest to Belgrad City Serbia Price/Car 1-4 Seats: $537

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sofia

Also for Sofia, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Airport Transfer from Sofia Airport: $55
  • Airport Transfers to and from Borovets: $63
  • Airport transfer from Sofia Airport to Sofia City center: $20
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Sofia Airport SOF to Sofia City in Business Car: $36
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Sofia Airport SOF to Sofia City in Luxury Van: $44
  • Bansko Shuttle: Transfer from/to Sofia Airport: $30
  • Bansko Transfer from/to Sofia Airport: $174
  • Be Eco: Sofia Airport Transfer with an Electric Vehicle: $36
  • Borovets Transfers from/to Sofia Airport: $102
  • Departure Private Transfer: Sofia City to Sofia Airport SOF in Business Car: $34
  • Departure Private Transfer: Sofia City to Sofia Airport SOF in Luxury Van: $47
  • From Bus Transfer to Rila Lakes: $29

Is it cheaper to fly into Bucharest or Sofia?

Prices for flights to both Sofia and Bucharest change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Entertainment

Bucharest's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $13 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.

In Sofia, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $5.26 per person, per day.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Bucharest $13
    Sofia $5.26

Tours and Activities in Bucharest

Here are a few actual costs in Bucharest for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 1 Day - 4x4 Private Tour in Transylvania: $200
  • 1 Day 4x4 JEEP Tour in Carpathian Mountains: $129
  • 1 Day ATV and Buggy Tour Carpathian Mountains: $181
  • 1 Day Castles Tour - Sinaia and Bran: $149
  • 1 Day Communist Experience: $168
  • 1 Day Private Tour-Slanic Salt Mine, Mud Vulcanos & Wine Testing From Bucharest: $160
  • 1 Day Private Tour-Slanic Salt Mine, Mud Vulcanos - From Bucharest: $187
  • 1 day Cycling Tour from Bucharest - Biking The Roads Of History: $196
  • 1-Day Private Guided Tour: The Story of 40 Years of Communism in Romania: $158
  • 1-Day Private Tour - In the Footsteps of Communism - Execution Museum Included: $188
  • 1-Day Private Tour Constanta: The Ancient City of Tomis, Seaside Tour Included: $222
  • 10 days Small Group Balkans Tour from Bucharest with Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia: $2,115

Tours and Activities in Sofia

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Sofia.

  • First Ladies of Belogradchik 4x4 Safari Tour: 30-Minute Route: $7.46
  • Self-guided tour of Boyana Church: $8.71
  • Self-guided Tour in the Museum of Socialist Art: $8.96
  • Belogradchik 4x4 Safari Tour: The Guardian of the Valley 50-Minute Route: $9.95
  • Small-Group Alternative Tour in Sofia with Treasure Hunt: $12
  • Admission Ticket to the Museum of Illusions in Sofia: $14
  • Communist Walking Tour of Sofia: $14
  • Audio Guide for All Sofia Sights, Attractions or Experiences: $14
  • Self-Guided Tour in Sofia: $15
  • Sofia Sightseeing Tour: $16
  • The Most Affordable Private Sofia Walking Tour: $17
  • Private & Ultimate Sofia 2,5-hour Walking Tour: $19

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Bucharest may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $8.19 per day on alcoholic beverages.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Sofia, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $7.46.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Bucharest $8.19
    Sofia $7.46

Sample the Local Flavors in Bucharest

Also in Bucharest, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Private Wine Tasting at Bucharest's First Wine Bar: $65
  • Bucharest City Tour and Wine Tasting – 2.5 hours: $88
  • Bike & Wine tour in Dealu Mare wineland: $96
  • Wine tasting at the mansion, Dracula's grave from Snagov & Mogosoaia Palace: $100
  • Traditions in Village Museum and Wine Tasting Tour: $100
  • Romanian Wine Tasting: $106
  • Planetarium in salt mine, Wine tasting and Dracula's grave, Private Tour: $124
  • Wine tasting in lord mansions, nearby Bucharesti, the Romans wine road: $124
  • Wine tasting - 1 Day Tour: $129
  • Private Full Day Tour to The Peles Castle & Wine Tasting - 9 Hours: $134
  • Salt Mine, Mud Volcanoes, and Wine Tasting Private Day Tour from Bucharest: $139
  • Constanta and Wine Tasting - Private Day Tour from Bucharest: $143

Sample the Local Flavors in Sofia

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Sofia:

  • Sofia Pub Crawl Tour of The Hidden Unique Bars: $19
  • Tipsy Pub Crawl Sofia: $23
  • An amazing 3 hours of painting and wine tasting: $35
  • Sofia Bar Crawl: $42
  • Sofia Exquisite Wine Tasting: $47
  • Hisarya, Starosel, and Wine Tasting Tour from Sofia: $60
  • From Rozhen monastery and Melnik with wine tasting: $75
  • Rila monastery- Wine tasting - Boyana church: $75
  • Plovdiv and Thracia Valley with Wine Tasting: $81
  • Plovdiv and Perushtitsa Day Trip with Wine Tasting from Sofia: $81
  • Plovdiv, day tour from Sofia and Wine tasting: $87
  • Private Food and Wine Tour - Sofia: $91


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Bucharest and Sofia, we can see that Bucharest is more expensive. And not only is Sofia much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Sofia would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Sofia and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Bucharest would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Bucharest than you might in Sofia.

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Bucharest vs. Sofia Travel Comparison

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