How Cheap is Sofia, Bulgaria?

September 4, 2015

Amy Trumpeter

Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria is increasingly becoming popular as a hub for bloggers and digital nomads.

What are the Advantages of staying in Sofia?

Let’s look at the advantages….it’s close to England, so if you are UK based it is easy to get home. Easy Jet now do regular flights to Sofia, and if you travel outside of school holidays, you can pick up a bargain. It is easy to travel around the city with two metro lines and it has some historical and religious buildings including the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.

And, if you are an EU citizen, no worries about the visa situation, you won’t need one ūüėČ

Alexander Nevski Cathedral Sofia
Alexander Nevski Cathedral Sofia – one of the beautiful and also free attractions of Sofia.

How Cheap is Sofia?

But, the bottom line is this – it’s damn cheap! If you were to ask me ‘how cheap is Sofia?’ I would answer extremely cheap! The Metro is cheap, food is cheap, accommodation is cheap!

If you are looking for a cheap holiday or a pace to settle for 6 months to a year as a digital nomad, then I highly recommend Sofia. Because the cost of living is amongst the lowest in Europe, this allows you to work online for a profit and save for your next big trip!

To put you in the picture, I spent £100 in 9 days including accommodation in a dorm room in a youth hostel (Crosspoint) and eating out at least once a day. This did not include excursions, as they were sponsored by Rila Shuttle and Traventuria, but it does include public transport.

The current exchange rate is 2.75 leva to the £1. Check on www.xe.com for the current rate.

How Cheap is Sofia? Basic Costs

I looked at the main bulk of my spending and tried to summarise it for you. Please bear in mind that the coffees and pizzas were take out from stalls, and the restaurants where I ate in were Italian style or Bulgarian style standard (nothing fancy).

Coffee/hot chocolate Р0.50-1 leva Рabout 18p-40p (to go) or up to 2/3 leva in a cafe Рabout £1.

Hot Chocolate

Croissant/Chocolate Pastry – 0.50 leva – 18p (great for breakfast!)

Pizza from a stall/stand Рaround 1.80-2.50 leva Рabout £1-2

Meal out in standard restaurant or pizzeria (main with drink) around 10 leva or about £4

Dorm in a Youth Hostel Р18 leva Рabout £6.55 a night

Metro – 1 leva per journey – 36p

Metro Ticket Sofia Bulgaria

Beer Р1.5-3 leva 70p-£1.30

Taxi within the city centre of Sofia Рshould not exceed 10-15 leva (between £4-£6)

Bike hire РFrom 10-15 leva for 3 hours Рaround £5.

How to live for Cheap in Sofia

  1. Use the Metro – It’s easy – look for the big Blue M. Just 1 lv per journey. Put the coins in the machine and out comes your ticket.

photo 1

2. Shop at the Supermarket for lunches and some evening meals Рthey have a Carrefour which is on the corner of Petko R. Slaveykov.

3. Go on the Free Sofia Walking Tour. They meet at the Palace at 11am every morning, and it won’t cost you a penny, unless you want to give a small tip.

Free Sofia Tour

4. If you are staying for a longer period of time, rent a flat instead of staying in a dorm – it will be cheaper (and offer you cooking facilities).

5. There are some beautiful parks to explore for free –¬†Borissova Gradina and Yuzhen Park, as well as many smaller parks. Daytime only, as incidents have been reported to happen sometimes at night.

Borissova Gradina Park Sofia
Borissova Gradina Park. Sofia

Do you have any tips or advice for living in Sofia? How cheap have you found things to be in Sofia? If you have any questions about Sofia, please post below.

Where to Stay in Sofia

If you are on a budget and solo travelling, I highly recommend the Art Hostel. It’s a great location and there’s a really cool bar where you can meet other travellers. I visited this place on the New Sofia Pub Crawl and it was so cool!

Should you have a more generous budget, consider the Metropolitan Hotel or the Novotel. There are also extensive options on Air BnB, which include apartments and homestays so that you can live like a local.

You might also like to read about my visit to Plovdiv and Koprivshtitsa.