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

Should you visit Bucharest or Sofia?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as 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, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Where Should I go: Bucharest or Sofia?


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 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.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Bucharest, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Romania, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Bulgaria, and The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Bulgaria.

Which place 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 $138, while the average daily cost in Sofia is $65. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Bucharest and Sofia in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Bucharest $63
    Sofia $40
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Bucharest $126
    Sofia $80
Compare Hotels in Bucharest and Sofia

Looking for a hotel in Bucharest or Sofia? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Bucharest

Hotels in Sofia

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.

Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Bucharest Hotel Prices and Sofia Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Bucharest $26
    Sofia $8.42

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Bucharest

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Bucharest:

  • Transfer From Bucharest Airport To Sofia Bulgaria: $291
  • Bucharest to Tulcea - Private Guided Transfer - Driver and Car : $284
  • Bucharest to Mihail Kogalniceanu Airport Constanta - Private Guided Transfer : $284
  • Bucharest (Romania) to Veliko Tarnavo (Bulgaria) - Private Guided Transfer : $284
  • Bucharest to Galati - Driver and Car - Private Guided Transfer : $273
  • Bucharest to Brasov - Private Guided Transfer - Car and Driver: $273
  • Bucharest to Constanta or Mamaia Beach - Private Transfer - Car and Driver: $273
  • Private transfer Constanta to Bucharest or back: $262
  • Private Transfer from Bucharest to Sibiu City Price/Car 1-4 Seats: $259
  • Bucharest Otopeni Airport to Constanta private transfer: $252
  • Bucharest to Craiova - Private Guided Transfer - Car and Driver: $251
  • Private transfer from Bucharest Otopeni Airport OTP to Chisinau KIV: $250

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sofia

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

  • Airport Transfer from Sofia Airport: $48
  • Airport Transfers in Bulgaria: $65
  • Arrival Transfer: Sofia Airport SOF to Sofia in Luxury Car: $86
  • Bansko Transfer From/to Sofia Airport and Hotels: $262
  • Be Eco: Sofia Airport Transfer with an Electric Vehicle: $53
  • Borovets Transfers from/to Sofia Airport: $104
  • Departure Transfer: Sofia to Sofia Airport SOF in Luxury Car: $86
  • Departure Transfer: Sofia to Sofia Airport SOF in Luxury Van: $75
  • Private Airport Transfer from/to Sofia Bulgaria: $55
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Sofia Airport to Bansko: $175
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Sofia Airport to Plovdiv: $131
  • Private Departure Transfer from Bansko to Sofia Airport: $131

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.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Bucharest $58
    Sofia $18

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Bucharest

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

  • Dinner inside the Museum of Communism & private tour: $53
  • Bohemian Bucharest Markets and Mahallas Traditional Food Tour: $60
  • Cooking Class traditional food: $65
  • Bucharest Historical Food Tour in Old Center: $71
  • Unhealthy Food Tour of Bucharest – 4 hours: $75
  • Bucharest Evening Tour and Traditional Dinner - 3 hours: $86
  • Historical and Cultural Tour with Romanian Cuisine dinner: $141
  • Cooking Class in Transylvania - Day Tour from Bucharest: $182
  • Bucharest City Tour & Traditional Home-made Cooking Experience: $228

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sofia

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

  • Half-Day Sofia Evening Walking Tour with Vegetarian Dinner: $49
  • Sofia by Night Panoramic Tour with Dinner and Folklore Show: $97
  • Private Sofia Night Tour with Bulgarian Folklore & Dinner: $108
  • Sofia by Night Panoramic Private Tour with Dinner, Folklore Show: $131

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Bucharest $15
    Sofia $5.95

Tours and Activities in Bucharest

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

  • Bears Sanctuary, Dracula's Castle, Brasov Day Trip Private Tour from Bucharest: $249
  • Bucharest Panoramic Sightseeing - Private City Tour: $93
  • Transylvania Heritage Tour at Peles Bran and Cantacuzino Castles: $93
  • Walking Tour - Delightful Bucharest (Old Town & Victory Avenue): $14
  • 1 Day 4x4 Tour in Carpathian Mountains: $173
  • 2 Hour Photoshoot Experience Near Bucharest Architectural Charms: $98
  • 2 Hours Private Walking Tour in Bucharest City: $87
  • 2-Hour Private Walking Tour in Bucharest: $22
  • 2h Bucharest Private Tour by Car : $87
  • 2h Bucharest Private Walking Tour: $55
  • 3 Hours Private Walking Tour in Bucharest City: $98
  • 3-Days Private Tour with Personal Guide in Bucharest: $211

Tours and Activities in Sofia

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

  • Rila Monastery: Monastery & Museums Self-Guided Audio Tour 7 lang: $5.46
  • Self-guided Tour in the Museum of Socialist Art: $7.86
  • Sofia Audio guide Tour offers available in 7 languages: $14
  • Self-Guided Tour in Sofia: $15
  • Private Kayak Tour on the Pancharevo Lake: $16
  • E-guide for Any Sight, Tour, Trip or Experience in Bulgaria: $16
  • Rila Monastery History Walking Tour: $16
  • Communist Walking Tour of Sofia: $18
  • Pokémon GO Private Tour of Sofia: $19
  • The Most Affordable Private Sofia Walking Tour: $21
  • Private & Ultimate Sofia 2,5-hour Walking Tour: $21
  • Europe eSIM Unlimited Data For Tourist And Travel: $22

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Bucharest $9.21
    Sofia $8.43

Sample the Local Flavors in Bucharest

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

  • Bucharest Pub Crawl in the Old Town: $25
  • Pub Crawl in the Old CIty and Rooftop Hopping in Bucharest: $44
  • Wine Tasting in Bucharest: $49
  • Private Romanian Wine Tasting in Urlați: $51
  • Bucharest VIP Bar Crawl in Lipscani 'Old Town': $59
  • Private Bar Crawling in Bucharest Old City: $60
  • Wine tasting in Bucharest Old town - bonus cheese platter: $95
  • Bike & Wine tour in Dealu Mare wineland: $105
  • Traditions in Village Museum and Wine Tasting Tour: $119
  • Prahova Salt Mine & Wine Tasting - Private day tour from Bucharest: $151
  • Private Wine Tasting in Cellar and the Winemaking process : $152
  • Salt Mine Private Day Tour, Wine Tasting, Dracula's Tomb Visit: $153

Sample the Local Flavors in Sofia

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Sofia:

  • Sofia Pub Crawl Tour of The Hidden Unique Bars: $20
  • Wine Tasting in Heart of Sofia: $33
  • Sofia Bar Crawl: $53
  • Sofia Exquisite Wine Tasting: $75
  • From Rozhen monastery and Melnik with wine tasting: $98
  • Private Sofia City Tour with Wine Tasting: $109
  • Hisarya, Starosel, and Wine Tasting Tour from Sofia: $115
  • Private Cheese and Wine Tasting Experience in Sofia: $119
  • Plovdiv and Thracia Valley with Wine Tasting: $120
  • Rila Monastery Tour from Sofia - Lunch, Wine Tasting & The Unique Stob Pyramids: $140
  • Full-Day Private Thracian Valley Wine Tour Experience from Sofia: $151
  • Full-Day Private Melnik Wine Tour Experience from Sofia: $152

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.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Bucharest Expensive? and Is Sofia Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, Bucharest or Sofia?

Bucharest has a larger population, and is about 63% larger than the population of Sofia. When comparing the sizes of Bucharest and Sofia, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.