Generally speaking, Romania is rather cheap. The average net salary is around 500 €, therefore the cost of living is lower than in countries like Germany, United Kingdom or Italy.
Having said that, do not expect EVERYTHING to be much cheaper than in other European countries. For instance, diesel in Romania is only slightly cheaper than in Germany (around 1,20 € compared to 1,25 € at the time of our trip).
Imported products are also more pricey than you would expect and campsites, although significantly cheaper than in countries like Italy, are not what you would define “cheap”. Eating out is normally cheap, as long as you stay away from touristy restaurants, where prices are in line with many other European countries.
The costs below are an example of what we have paid while travelling around Transylvania. Please note that prices might be different in other locations (e.g. in Bucharest or on the coast).
Grocery shopping at supermarket (Kaufland):
Loaf of fresh white bread: 2 -3 RON (around 0,50 €)
Packet of toast bread (600 gr.): 1,39 RON (0,30 €)
Milk (1 litre): 4,5 RON (around 0,95 €)
Bananas (1 kilo): 5 RON (1,10 €)
Cantaloupe melon (0,5 kilo): 8,49 RON (1,80 €)
Courgettes / zucchini (0,4 kilo): 2,66 RON (0,60 €)
Bottle of local red wine (0,75 l): 16,89 RON (3,60 €)
Drinks in Cisnădioara (black coffee + small bottle of orange juice + 0,5 l bottle of water at kiosk): 8 RON (1,70 €)
Lunch in a touristy restaurant in the centre of Sibiu (2 pizzas, one beer, one fruit juice): 80 RON (17 €)
Artisan ice cream in the centre of Brașov: 9 RON (1,90 €)
Lunch at Viseu de Sus during steam train trip (grill platter, cheese pie, one hot chocolate, one beer): 41 RON (8,75 €)
Dinner at Poiani Camping in Săpânța (steak with potatoes and salad, polenta with cheese, aubergine salad, beer, juice, 2 shots of local spirit, pancakes with jam): 100 RON (21 €)
ASTRA Museum in Sibiu: 25 RON per person (5,30 €)
Bear Sanctuary: 55 RON per person (11,70 €)
Rupea Citadel (Cetatea Rupea): 10 RON per person (2,15 €)
Viscri: 10 RON per person (2,15 €)
Mocăniță (steam train): 59 RON per person (12,60 €)
Ieud Wooden Church: 3 RON per person (0,65 €)
Campsites (prices for 2 people and 1 motorhome/truck):
Camping Ananas: 80 RON (17 €)
Alpin Ranch: 14 €
Vila Franka Camping: 100 RON (21,30 €)
Parking of Mocăniță: 50 RON (10,65 €)
Camping Poiani: 48 RON (10,22 €)
Camping Ananas to Sibiu downtown: 35 RON (7,50 €)
Sibiu downtown to ASTRA Museum: 20 RON (4,30 €)
ASTRA Museum to Camping Ananas: 25 RON (5,30 €)
Vila Franka Camping to Sighisoara Citadel: 20 RON (4,30)
Looking for inexpensive presents for family and friends back home?
I would highly recommend Topoloveni, a kind of jam made from very ripe plums of different varieties, which is the first Romanian product registered in the EU system protecting geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products. It is delicious and only costs a few euros!
If you are travelling with your own vehicle and weight and space are not an issue, how about a nice bottle of wine? Very few people know that Romania is the 5th largest European wine–producing country (after Italy, France, Spain, and Germany).
A bottle of wine will only set you back 5 to 10 euro, depending on the quality of the wine.
Of course Țuică is another great option: it is a traditional Romanian spirit prepared only form plums. However, be aware that it contains ~ 24–65% alcohol by volume (usually 40–55%), therefore it might not be everybody’s liking.