Many digital nomads and remote workers in Europe are increasingly looking at Romania as a potential base. With some of the continent’s cheapest living costs and fast internet speeds, Romania’s cities are well set should we ultimately see a real long-term cultural shift towards remote working, even once the pandemic passes. In this post, we’ll look at some of the cheapest places to live in Romania and best cities for digital nomads and those able to work remotely.
Table of Contents
- 5 of the Best Cities to Live in Romania & Work Remotely
- What are the Cheapest Cities to Live in Romania?
5 of the Best Cities to Live in Romania & Work Remotely
The Romanian capital Bucharest is likely to attract the largest numbers of foreigners looking at making the country their base. That trend is already underway to some extent with growing numbers of foreign students and workers moving to the city in the final years of the 2010’s.
If you’re somebody who wants to live in a big city and have access to the widest range of options for eating, drinking and activities to do in your free time, then you don’t really need to look any further than Bucharest. It is over five times the size of the next largest city in Romania with a population of around 2 million making it the fifth largest in the EU after Berlin, Madrid, Rome and Paris.
It’s safe to say it is considerably cheaper to live in Bucharest than any of those cities and while there’s not an endless list of cultural attractions, there are plenty of museums, parks and quirky districts to explore. With a mix of Parisian-style boulevards, centuries-old churches and imposing Communist apartment blocks, Bucharest has many faces but it is changing fast and really starting to forge a 21st Century identity for itself and it’s exciting to be a part of that.
Bucharest is also home to more liberal attitudes than you are likely to find in other cities in what is still a very conservative country in many respects, at least compared to a lot of European countries. It is the most accepting place in Romania for the LGBT community but it’s worth noting that being gay was illegal here during the Communist era (1947-1989) and some people still hold negative attitudes towards homosexuality.
Estimated Living Costs (explanation below) – 600-1000 Euros/month
The city of Timișoara frequently ranks as one of the best cities to live in Romania and it’s an excellent base for anyone working remotely.
Timișoara scores well when it comes to a number of important factors for digital nomads. It boasts some of the fastest European internet speeds, an abundance of free wifi options and is a city that’s easy to get around on foot and in the English language. It also has some of Romania’s best options for coworking and lots of cool cafes that are perfect for spending a morning or afternoon working.
Located in the far west of Romania, Timișoara is closer to Belgrade and Budapest than it is to Bucharest, and that also brings with it some nice travel opportunities for those based in the city. While rail links could be better, you can easily do trips into Hungary and Serbia during your time off with the borders to both countries only around an hour away by road.
Estimated Living Costs – 500-800 Euros/month
Home to no fewer than ten universities, Cluj-Napoca is a student city with a youthful energy and overall it’s just a fun place to be with lots of cultural events and nightlife to choose from, even during the week.
It is the second largest city in Romania but is by no means overwhelming with a population of around 300,000 offering some of the benefits of a big city without feeling too large. English is spoken widely and foreigners are largely welcomed in a city that also boasts a sizable Hungarian community making up around 15% of the population.
Cluj-Napoca is another city that really feels like it is going places. After a difficult end to the 20th Century, it has become a key academic, cultural and business centre in Romania and one with a growing international reputation having beaten off competition from nine cities to be named European Youth Capital as recently as 2015.
Estimated Living Costs – 600-900 Euros/month
When you think of the dream digital nomad destination, the mind (not to mention most search engines) will steer you in the direction of idyllic beaches, hammocks and postcard-perfect sea views. In truth, that’s not something any of Romania’s best digital nomad cities can offer and all the other ones featured in this post are several hundred kilometres away from Romania’s small Baltic Sea coastline.
The closest you’ll get to that is Constanta, an ancient port city in the far east of the country with over 2000 years of history, located just 50 km north of Bulgaria, another affordable digital nomad destination. The port of Constanta is the largest on the Black Sea and one of the biggest in Europe and that has had something of a detrimental effect on the city beaches but you can easily get to many nicer ones nearby while using Constanta as your base.
Indeed just north of the city you have the spacious sandy shores of Mamaia, a popular summer resort destination for Romanians and foreigners alike. You could even make that your base, but away from the warm summer months, there’s not much life there and many businesses close so you’ll probably be better off in the city if you’re planning a long stay in the area.
Estimated Living Costs – 550-800 Euros/month
Returning to Transylvania, Sibiu is another option worth considering for anyone looking at the best places to live in Romania. That’s certainly true if you prefer slightly smaller cities and it is comfortably the smallest of the five featured here.
It is also the most affordable. You can find one bedroom apartments to rent for not much more than 1000 Romanian Leu (roughly 200 Euros), a figure that wouldn’t even get you a tiny room in a flatshare in most European cities. That’s slightly lower than the average rent in Romania, and most things in Sibiu are excellent value.
You won’t tire of the beauty of Sibiu’s old town, complete with a fantastic central square and dozens of medieval churches, towers and fortifications. It’s all the more pretty in the winter when the snow-capped peaks of the surrounding mountains provide the perfect backdrop and Sibiu is a great base for lovers of the outdoors with lots of great countryside to explore in the immediate area around the town.
Estimated Living Costs – 500-750 Euros/month
Estimated Living Costs Calculation:
We estimated the cost of living in Romania in the table below using Numbeo’s data on living costs in the country as a guideline. While the figures are based on those of people living in these cities, it’s important to note they are only really designed to be a guideline and useful means of comparison and won’t necessarily reflect what your actual living costs would be in these cities.
The lower figure quoted will be a challenge for most people to stick to. However if you’re primary objective is saving money, and that’s a reason many nomads look at Romania in the first place, it should be realistic if you’re willing to live in a flatshare and aren’t seeking an active lifestyle where you do lots of trips and excursions in your free time, or a lot of partying.
The higher figure in each case will offer you considerably more room for all of that. Renting accommodation is very affordable in Romania so you should easily be able to find your own studio or small apartment in a good area, whilst having plenty of money left over to enjoy your free time.
Most likely, your actual living costs will fall somewhere in the middle although it will largely depend on your personal circumstances, lifestyle, expectations and the kind of accommodation you choose.
What are the Cheapest Cities to Live in Romania?
The following table shows the estimated cost of living (rent + living costs) in the 15 largest cities in Romania in terms of population size:
|Estimated Cost of Living (Monthly in Euros)
The above table ought to give you a very rough idea of how much money you need to live in Romania. As you can see the cheapest cities in Romania include the likes of Braila, Arad and Pitesti where those watching what they spend may even be able to get by on the equivalent of less than 500 Euros per month.
However given even the more expensive cities such as Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca and Timișoara are still very affordable by just about any European standard, most remote workers coming from overseas still prefer the bigger cities which have more to do, more of an international community and are easier to adapt to as a foreign person.
If you’re a digital nomad only planning a short stay of a few weeks or months in Romania, you are also likelier to have a wider range of Airbnb options in the bigger cities. However you will probably need to allow for slightly more than the figures above as you will almost certainly pay more in accommodation costs for a shorter stay than you would with a longer term tenancy.
It’s also worth noting that the currency in Romania is the Romanian leu. At the time of writing (January 2022), 1 Euro is roughly equal to 5 Leu, 1 USD = approx 4.5 Leu and £1 = approx 6 Leu. Consider using digital bank Revolut in Romania for your banking needs as you can carry a Romanian Leu balance and pay for things in the local currency using their app.
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