After living in a few cities across the globe, Sofia is definitely one of my favorite ones! It’s a great place for digital nomads, it’s pretty, but most most importantly: it’s cheap! Nothing beats a nice cheap city.
How did we end up choosing Sofia over any other place? We used the same pattern we do with most places: we found an apartment that suited our needs in here. We didn’t know much about the city before coming here. We had a bit of a bad experience with our apartment, which we thought was pretty nice, but didn’t end up being. But that was a good thing, since we were able to find a second apartment much much nicer than the one we originally booked, for the exact same price! So everything was good in the end.
But if I loved experiencing Europe during the fall and exploring the city, what I loved the most is how it didn’t empty my bank account!
Note that the currency exchange at the time was 1.76 Bulgarian Levs for $1US
Getting to Sofia
Since we were coming from Greece, we decided to take the a train and a bus to Sofia instead of flying. It was both for the lower price and the experience that we went with that choice, and I don’t regret it! The train part from Athens to Thessaloniki cost us around 80 euros ($89US) while the bus from Thessaloniki to Sofia was 40 euros ($45US). All in all, it costs 120 euros for the two of us instead of approximately 180 euros. The different is not that bad, but we wanted to experience the train and see a bit of the countryside!
Since we’re in Sofia during the low season (since September), we were able to find an apartment for cheaper, since there’s less demand. We did have to email a lot of people, but someone eventually offered us a great deal! And that’s how we ended up with a great place for only 500 euros ($555US). If we’d known that sooner, we would have left Greece earlier! 🙂 The location is amazing, as we’re only a minute away for the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and five minutes for the Vitosha Boulevard. I couldn’t have been happier with the second apartment we found!
In Greece, all the food was expensive (except the kebabs). In Sofia, we feel so much lighter not having to look at our credit cards daily to see how much we spent and how our banks account are going down too fast! We can finally breathe and afford all the food we want to eat. Eating out is also incredibly cheap, but we decided to save where we could since we’re going to Paris soon and that’ll be expensive!
During our first month, we spent around 875 Bulgarian Levs ($500US) on food, including restaurants. If I break it down, it’s approximately 175 levs ($100US) on restaurant and the other 700 levs ($400US) on groceries. It’s definitely a lot more in our budget than Greece ever was.
So every month, we spend on average $1 050US on food and rent for two people. I don’t count transportation or any kind of touristic activity in that price. Only what comes back every month.
- Full Cooked Chicken: 7.99 levs ($4.55US)
- Mushrooms (500g): 2.19 levs ($1.25US)
- Tomatoes: 1.69 levs/kg ($0.95US)
- Bananas: 1.99 levs/kg ($1.13US)
- Carrots: 0.96 levs/kg ($0.54US)
- Oignons: 0.79 levs/kg ($0.45US)
- Sliced Bread: 0.65 levs ($0.37US)
- Potatoes: 0.99 levs/kg ($0.56US)
- French Baguette: 0.99 levs ($0.56US)
- Buns (7): 1.50 levs ($0.85US)
- Barilla Spaghetti: 1.19 levs ($0.67US)
- Pasta Sauce (350g): 3.45 levs ($1.96US)
- Barilla Pesto Sauce (190ml): 5.25 levs ($2.99US)
- Ketchup Heinz (1kg): 8.79 levs ($5.01US)
- Olive Oil (1L): 18.99 levs ($10.82US)
- Flour (1kg): 1.29 levs ($0.73US)
- Rice (1kg): 2.99 levs ($1.70US)
- Butter (250g): 3.45 levs ($1.96US)
- Tea Bags (20): 2.75 levs ($1.56US)
- Coke (2L): 1.89 levs ($1.07US)
- Milk 1.5% (1L): 1.89 levs ($1.07US)
- Water Bottle (1.5L): 0.85 levs ($0.48US)
- Orange Juice (2L): 5.99 levs ($3.41US)
- Activia Yogurt (280g): 1.29 levs ($0.73US)
- Mozzarella (400g): 7.39 levs ($4.21US)
- Eggs (6): 1.69 levs ($0.96US)
- Sausages (8): 3.49 levs ($1.98US)
- Salami: 4.99 levs ($2.84US)
- Somersby Apple Cider: 1.55 levs ($0.88US)
- Black Ram Whiskey: 9.99 levs ($5.69US)
- Concerto Chardonnay & Viognier (750ml): 5.99 levs ($3.41US)
- Buteo Cabernet Sauvignon (750ml): 10.69 levs ($6.06US)
- Absolute Vodka (700ml): 20.99 levs ($11.96US)
- Dishwashing Soap: 1.49 levs ($0.84US)
- Toilet Paper (8 rolls): 6.35 levs ($3.61US)
- Sensodyne Toothpaste: 6.35 levs ($3.61US)
- Nivea Chapstick: 2.99 levs ($1.70US)
I hope this helps you plan your trip! If you have any questions or would like the info about anything, send me an email and I’ll be happy to help you!