Affordable or Not? Cost of Living in Bansko Bulgaria as Digital Nomads in 2023

Traveling as a digital nomad can get quite expensive if your moving from place to place quickly. Since we slow travel on a budget we are always looking for destinations that provide an affordable cost of living. We found just the place living in Bansko, Bulgaria. We made Bansko our home for almost 3 months in the summer of 2022. It was our first time out of the United States since 2017 and our first big journey since selling our house and everything we owned at the end of 2019

We loved our Bansko summer experience so much that we returned in 2023. This time, we decided to arrive a bit earlier, making our way there from Albania the first week of June and staying in Bulgaria for the full three months allotted to us as American passport holders.

Read about Digital Nomad Life in Bansko

To make things even more exciting, Bansko Nomad fest was happening again in June 2023. This meant that many of our fellow travel friends were also headed to Bansko. It was the perfect opportunity to reunite with the friends we had made last year and catch up on all the incredible adventures they had been on.

In this article we are going to break down our expenses like accommodations, grocery costs, dining out, transportation, experiences and our fixed costs like travel insurance and our phone plan.

Quick note: All prices were converted from Bulgarian leva (Bgn) to U.S. dollars as of August 2022 and August 2023.

Four Leaf Clover Entrance in Bansko Bulgaria
Four Leaf Clover Coliving and Coworking © Joel Hartz

How Much is it to Rent an Apartment in Bansko, Bulgaria

Since Bansko is a ski town, prices can fluctuate between winter and summer. The great news is you can find some really great deals in the summer like we did. 

We stayed at a Coliving and Coworking Apartment on the edge of town called Four Leaf Clover. We loved our stay there and got to meet some really great people that make it a wonderful community. 

The reason for the price difference in rent and accommodations between 2022 and 2023 is because we decided to rent a larger apartment in 2023. We opted for a maisonette apartment, which had one bedroom and two bathrooms, and offered a fantastic view of the mountains.

July 2022August 2022June 2023July 2023August 2023

**We stayed in Bansko for 18 days in August so the number is prorated.

Learn more about our stay at Four Leaf Clover Coliving and Coworking.

More accommodation options in Bansko:

wide image of Billa Grocery store in Bansko Bulgaria
Grocery Store in Bansko, Bulgaria © Joel Hartz

Grocery Costs in Bansko, Bulgaria?

So what is the grocery situation in Bansko? Bansko has a bunch of little corner markets all over town perfect for snacks and drinks but they are not the best for groceries. 

Our grocery costs mostly include breakfast, snacks, adult beverages like beer or wine and also included household items like toilet paper, detergents and the like. You will see a little bit of a difference between July and August as we ate out a lot more in July. Bansko is quite an affordable place to dine out which you will see in a moment. 

grocery shelves with food items  in bulgaria
Shelf of food in Bulgaria © Joel Hartz

Grocery Stores

For most of our grocery needs we shopped at the new Billa grocery store at the bottom of town. There’s also a couple of mid-sized grocery stores in the Gondola area that are open as well during the summer. A lot of locals with cars also shop at the Lidl in Razlog, which is a town just a few minutes from Bansko. Lidl has some different offerings than the Billa but we didn’t notice a really big price difference.

Grocery Delivery

During our time in 2023, we were pleasantly surprised to discover the convenience of grocery delivery in Bansko. Yes, you heard that right! Even though Bansko is a small town nestled in the Bulgarian countryside, you can have your groceries delivered right to your doorstep through

We found ourselves using this service quite a bit and the prices were just as affordable as the local grocery stores. It’s incredibly convenient, especially if you’re short on time or simply don’t feel like lugging heavy bags back to your apartment. The selection is great too, especially if your looking for vegan options.

Farmers Market on off the Square

Every Sunday there’s also a farmers market just off the town square in Bansko. You can pick up lots of fresh local produce at affordable prices. You can even get some home made wine and Rakia. We refer to the home made wine as “trunk wine” as it is often sold out of trunks on the side of the road. Our friend described it best, “it tastes like chips”, you have been warned. Nonetheless the farmers market is a great way to support the farmers in the area and mingle with the locals.

July 2022August 2022June 2023July 2023August 2023
Groceries (Includes beverages, snacks, breakfast and household)$271$234$571*$431$246**

*June of 2023 was quite a bit higher due to purchasing household items that would last us for the full three months.

** Prorated 18 days

How much did we spend Dining Out in Bansko?

We did an experiment to see what the costs would be if we ate out nearly all of our meals in July 2022. Now this may seem like a lot but we actually ate out nearly every single day, sometimes even twice a day. Keep in mind this also includes tax and tips

If your not familiar with Europe’s VAT (value added tax), it is a flat tax that is built into the price of goods and services. We found that tipping in Bulgaria is not always expected at restaurants like in the United States. The general rule of thumb for tipping in Bulgaria usually ended up being around 5-10% of the total bill.

Our totals also include adult beverages, as we usually had wine or beer with our meals. It is nearly impossible to sort those separately so we included it all together. 

July 2022August 2022June 2023July 2023August 2023
Dining Out (Meals & Drinks out)$644$471*$522$409$351**

* We scaled back our eating out and mostly just did dinners out with and a few lunches.

**18 days

shelf of whiskey bottles in bansko Bulgarian store
Some of the good prices in the local grocery store in Bansko. Those prices are in BGN or about 1/2 of USD © Joel Hartz

To give you an idea of some drink costs, beers at restaurants were between $2 -$3 for a half liter and wine was $2.50 – $4.25 for a healthy pour. Easily 5-6 oz. pours or around 150ml to 200ml.

Whereas at the grocery store you could easily find a liter of local beer for $.80-1.40. A 750mm bottle of wine could be bought for $3-$6. We even found some tasty Bulgarian boxed wine for $6-$9 for 3 Liters!

Some other quick foods costs while dining out:

  • Pizza (26cm) at a restaurant averaged around $6 -$8
  • Shopska Salads were also $5 – $6
  • Duck Margaret with peach and cranberry sauce was $10 (2022) and $20 (2023)
  • Chicken Shashlik (big skewer), shopska salad, garlic flat bread and three glasses of wine $27 with tip
  • Chicken Burger with fries $5.50

Transportation Costs

Getting to Bansko from Sofia was really easy. There are several options available but we took the bus which was really affordable. Read about how to get to Bansko here.

Once in Bansko we barely used any local transportation as we prefered to walk everywhere. The town is super walkable and it only took 30 minutes to get all the way across town. 

Occasionally we got a ride up to the gondola area from one of our fellow coliving members who had a car. Any transportation that was part of an experience we include in those costs.

July 2022August 2022June 2023July 2023August 2023

Our Bus from Sofia cost $21 for the both of us in July 2022 and $19 in August 2022 (more favorable exchange rate) each way. Where as our tickets from Sofia to bansko i 2023 were $28.48 for the two of us.

Taxis were about $5 one way to get around Bansko and the local bus that takes you up the mountain costs $6 per person each way to get to Vihren Hut.


This is our category for all of the activities that we partake in where we are staying. Depending on where we are, we try to book experiences that will let us see and explore our surroundings. 

Sometimes we find cool experiences talking with other nomads or on facebook groups. But we often find experiences on Viator or Get Your Guide

We went on an amazing wine tour to the Melnik region of Bulgaria in 2022 which you can read about here. Since we love Bulgarian wine and wine tours, we participated in another epic wine tour in June of 2023 with friends. Our 2023 tour was put together by two our fellow digital nomad friends and visited four different wineries in the Melink region of Bulgaria along with an amazing gourmet lunch and dinner. It was EPIC!

A line of riders in helmets sitting on ATV's in Bansko
Our fantastic group riding with Bansko ATV Image: © Bansko ATV

During our time in Bansko we have visited some local hot springs, went on a fun ATV tour, visited a the beautiful Rila Monastery, hiked in the Pirin National Park, had a Bulgarian Traditional experience with baba Deshka and took the gondola ride up to Banderitsa Hut where Joel slid down Europe’s longest water slide!

Our total Experiences costs for both of us were:

July 2022August 2022June 2023July 2023August 2023

Our stay in Bansko was actually pretty chill as we are focused on our work life balance, which is the main reason we are travel like we do. Work, Play, Repeat.


We know a lot of nomads enjoy using coworking spaces while they travel. They are great for meeting other people and getting the lay of the land. We ended up using the coworking at Four Leaf Clover in 2022 and mostly worked from our apartment in 2023.

There are a lot of great co-working spaces in Bansko and coworking alternatives too. Read about those and more: Living as a Digital Nomad in Bansko.

The costs of Co-works in Bansko have increased from 2022 to 2023. Most of the coworks will run you around $160 or more a month a per person in 2023. Our co-work in our Co-Live was running a summer special! Be sure to check the latest prices to see if it is a good value for your budget.

Learn more about our stay at Four Leaf Clover Coliving and Coworking.

June 2022July 2022June 2023July 2023August 2023

Our Fixed Costs while Traveling

We have a couple of fixed costs that we will include that are directly related to our travels and time in Bansko.

Travel Medical Insurance

Starting with our Travel Medical Insurance that we each carry. We use Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing which provides travel coverage plus medical benefits worldwide. You can read our article about it here.

The Nomad Insurance from SafetyWing cost us $136 for both of us every 28 days in 2022 and 2023. If you’re younger than 40 it starts at just $45 a month per person in 2024. Oh to be under 40 years old again!

June 2022July 2022June 2023July 2023August 2023
Travel Medical Insurance$136$136$136$136$136

Mobile Phone Service

Next we have a fixed cost with our mobile phones. We have so far chosen to keep our U.S. based mobile service since it offers quite a bit coverage as well as includes our Netflix, and appleTV. We don’t really make a lot time to watch all of these but its included in the price. 

On a coworking related note, check out We Crashed on AppleTV!

Our phone service is through T-Mobile and we have the Magenta Plus plan and since Joel is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force we get a discount! 

Our coverage includes free wifi calling to the States, texting and 5 gigs of high speed mobile data each month. Joel went over his 5 gigs of data in August 2023 and it slowed down to 3g speeds. 3g is pretty slow for any web browsing on y0our phone, however it was just fine for using google maps.

Sim Cards and E-Sims

We can definitely get local sim cards or e-sims and save money on our phone service, but right now it’s just more convenient to keep our U.S. plan. We may change this later if we find ourselves in one place for longer.

Of course getting a local sim card is the cheapest way to make local calls in Bulgaria. You can easily find sim cards in Bansko for phone service only or with data as well upto 50GB. A prepaid sim card with minutes and 15gb data could be had for around $9 at Yettel. Also look at Vivacom or A1 in town.

We used WhatsApp most of the time if we needed to contact local business or ask someone to place call for us. There are quite a few businesses in Bansko that have WhatsApp Numbers which is super convenient.

You can also purchase an esim for data coverage in Bulgaria, certain regions or even globally. Esims provide a set amount of data which is great for everything except local calls in which case you could use an app like WhatsApp for local calls using data. You can purchase an esim for Bulgaria online for as little as $6.5 for 2.5gb which is good for 30 days. Just make sure your phone supports esims.

July 2022August 2022June 2023July 2023August 2023
Mobile Phone & Internet$168$101$112.50$120.44$122.72

Our July 2022 costs were a bit higher because we purchased new phones so that reflects some of the initial costs. But generally our service runs us $112 a month for the two of us in 2023 without making any long distance calls. 

Total Cost of Living in Bansko as Digital Nomads

Alright now for the total cost for us to live in Bansko, Bulgaria as digital nomads. Again your costs will vary based on your accommodations, dining out and the experiences you partake in. You can definitely spend a lot less than we did, especially on dining out! 

Obviously our costs as digital nomads will be higher than locals, expats or retirees who gain cost advantages to being in place for years at a time. 

So our total costs for 2 people living in Bansko, Bulgaria were:

July 2022August 2022June 2023July 2023August 2023
Total Costs$1,737$1,419$1991$1603$1226*

* 18 days in Bansko

As you can see our costs of living in Bansko in 2023 were higher than 2022. Some of that is due to inflation and the rest is from us just spending more overall. We noticed nearly everything cost more in 2023 vs. 2022 in Bansko and Sofia as well. Overall we saw about a 5% increase across the board for most everything.

Wrap up

Finally there are other costs costs of living that we are not including like replacing a pair of pants or makeup, as those are pretty specific to your situation. We are also not including airfare and our business costs.

We hope that this gives you a good idea of the cost of living in Bansko as a digital nomad. You can see just how affordable Bulgaria can be especially when compared to the United States. When you look at the quality of life we were able to achieve during summer Bansko we think it is a really great place to come as a digital nomad, an expat or even a retiree.

Bansko, Bulgaria is a great place for us to get some work done and also have a lot of fun for a reasonable cost of living. 

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Happy Wandering!

Joel and Michelle