The cost of living in Bucharest can be comparable to the one in other major European cities, while the average salary is 2300 lei (around 500 euro).
Local dairy products and produce are relatively affordable compared to the prices in Western Europe. Lunch menus are usually cheap, but dining in a restaurant is significantly more expensive. A main dish, a side and a beverage can cost between 60-100 lei (14-22 euro) per person, depending on the quality of the restaurant.
Clothing, electronics, or furniture are often more expensive than in other European countries.
During the past few years, the retail sector in Romania has developed exponentially, with a variety of malls opened throughout the city, making up for the previous lack of adequate shopping alternatives.
Most shopping is done in shopping centers, with few options for street shopping, flea markets or speciality shopping. Nevertheless, Bucharest is one of the most dynamic cities in Europe, and changes may be seen in the not-so-distant future.
Shops are open Monday to Sunday, generally form 10:00 to 22:00, with shorter hours on Sunday.
Romanian specialities and souvenirs include wine and traditional crafts such as painted eggs, embroidered blouses, ceramics, rugs and wooden artifacts. There aren't many shops that sell souvenirs in Bucharest, and they can be found mostly around the city's old center, Lipscani.
The most important shopping areas in Bucharest are Piața Unirii, Calea Victoriei, Bulevardul Magheru and Calea Dorobanților. However, keep in mind that the offer is rather limited, and few internationally recognized brands are present in these areas.
Shopping is done in commercial centers, most of them opened in the past decade, that boast a wide range of options and the presence of world-class brands. Many are located in the North of the city, where most the most upscale neighborhoods are.
Băneasa Shopping City - The most important mall in the North of Bucharest, particularly suited for upscale fashion lovers.
AFI Palace Cotroceni - Located in the center of the city, it offers a variety of shops, cinemas, a skating ring, climbing walls and other entertainment options.
Cocor Store - One of the oldest shops in the center of Bucharest, now recently refurbished and redesigned. It is the only one still functioning as a department store.
Plaza Romania - A modern shopping center in the Western part of the city.
București Mall - Vitan - Opened in 1999, it is the first shopping mall opened in Romania. It is located in a residential neighborhood in the South-East of Bucharest.
Promenada - A shopping mall in the Floreasca business district in the North of the city, geared towards people with a contemporary lifestyle.
Grand Arena Berceni - The biggest shopping center in the South of Bucharest, it has a diverse offering aimed at families.
Auchan Titan - A shopping center opened in 2008 in the Titan residential neighbourhood.
Liberty Center - A shopping center in the Western part of Bucharest, with a broad array of shopping and entertainment options.
Mega Mall - The newest shopping center in the North-East of Bucharest.
Sun Plaza - One of the biggest shopping centers in Bucharest, it boasts a variety of fashion and other shopping options, as well as cinemas, fitness centers, pubs and cafes.
Jolie Ville - A shopping mall located in the Pipera-Băneasa business district.
Fruit and vegetable markets offer the best alternative to grocery shopping, and they may be the only alternatives for buying products from farmers and small producers.
Markets are usually open Monday to Saturday from 8:00 to 16:00, but some may have longer opening hours. There are around 59 fruit and vegetable markets scattered throughout the city. For a full list, refer to the map of grocery markets in Bucharest.
There are no permanent markets for gourmet or organic products, second-hand clothes or vintage objects in Bucharest. However, the Romanian Peasant´s Museum (Muzeul Țăranului Român, Șoseaua Pavel Kiseleff 3) periodically organizes such markets as standalone events or with other festivals. Make sure to check their event schedule periodically.
Supermarkets are easy to find in many formats, rom large hypermarkets to small neighborhood supermarkets. The opening hours are generally 8:00 - 22:00 every day, but there are some that are open 24h a day.
The main supermarket chains are: