City of Iași – best areas to live as an expat

In terms of area and number of inhabitants, the city of Iași is estimated to be the second biggest city in Romania after Bucharest. The city has grown a lot in recent years, becoming the undisputed center of economic development in the region of Moldova. All statistics and studies place Iași among the top five Romanian cities in terms of speed of economic and social development, as well as potential for future development.
city of Iași

City of Iași is located in the eastern part of the Moldavian Plain (please see map below), and it was the capital city of the Moldovian region in the past. The city is crossed by three watercourses – Bahlui river, Nicolina river and the Șorogari brook. Similar to city of Rome, Iași is a city that spreads on seven hills. The hills’ heights range from 40 to 400 meters, and each of them has a name: Cetățuia, Galata, Copou, Bucium-Păun, Șorogari, Repedea and Breazu.

The hills divide the city and set natural borders for each of the neighborhoods. In the last 10 to 20 years, the urban development spread so much that it reached the localities around the city as well. In all this time, the city of Iași developed equally toward all Cardinal points.

city of Iași_on Romanian map
Iași on the map of Romania

According to last statistics, Iași has a population slightly exceeding 500,000 inhabitants.

Also, according to information published by the Romanian Institute of Statistics, Iași is ranked on the first place among the big Romanian cities in what regards positive internal migration. More exactly, this means that the city attracted the largest number of new inhabitants from other Romanian cities and rural areas. This is also due to the contribution of its well developed university and cultural centers.

On the economy side, the city’s metallurgical industry has been under continuous growth, together with machine building industry, chemistry (the drug producer, Antibiotice Iași, is well known in its industry), aerospace industrial equipment and other. Iași has also been historically a center for the textile industry, and also for the construction materials sector.

The city’s economic development has also been sustained by big international technology companies opening regional centers in Iași. This trend has a significant impact in all the city’s social aspects. Big international companies, such as Continental, Amazon, Oracle, Bentley Systems, Bitdefender and Xerox, have all extended their presence in Iași. They have significant local presence here, and centers from which they manage their regional activities.

But economic progress has also accelerated pollution level of the city. Given the heavy industry’s presence, Iași is one of the most polluted cities in Romania according to most recent studies. And similar to other Romanian cities as well, it has real traffic and infrastructure problems, which were generated also by the reckless urban development lacking any structure.

Choosing the best neighborhood for living

When considering a move to Iași, it’s essential to choose a neighborhood that not only suits your lifestyle and preferences. But which also offers the convenience and amenities that can make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. Iași, being one of Romania’s largest cities and a major cultural, economic, and educational center, offers a diverse range of neighborhoods that can cater to various needs.

Of course, criteria for choosing the best neighborhood for living in Iași depend a lot on your lifestyle and your daily needs. But you may do this much simpler if you start from the modern urban principles that objectively define living standards in any city. These are generally indicators that include: location, structure and size of the housing, neighborhood, access to public transport and schools for kids, and services such as supermarkets and drugstores nearby, etc.

Also, very often “good housing” may include convenient infrastructure, environmental quality (physical, social and economic), low degree of noise pollution, as well as sanitation and safety of the area.

In terms living costs, Iași is not a cheap city where you can buy or rent a house in Romania. Actually, according to latest surveys it ranks in the top five most expensive cities in the country in terms of price per square meter built. The real estate market in Iași is effervescent, and according to the number of real estate transactions, the city is on the fourth place after Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca and Timișoara.

In recent years, more than 50 residential projects have been started or completed everywhere across the city, which include studios, double studios, two, three and four-room apartments.

The pace of house building in Iași during last 5 years has contributed to keeping the value of the price per built square meter stable. Thus, by maintaining a balance between offer and demand, it kept the growth trend smooth, while the competition between developers generated some advantages for buyers – parking spaces, video surveillance of the residential domains, better quality for interior finishes.

Most wanted neighborhoods to live in Iași

Establishing a top of the best neighborhoods is always subjective of course, because it is very much connected to the requirements and conditions of evolution of the real estate market.

A top of the best neighborhoods of Iași starts from the need and interest of each individual, but here is a top of the best areas where you can live in Iași:

Independenței area

One of the well-rated areas in Iași is the downtown area, or as it is also known, the “Independenței area”, located next to the boulevard of the same name. The area is one of the most sought after especially for those who want to rent. The advantages of this area are the means of public transport. The area is very close to all the major shopping malls in the city and the important medical centers.

Copou neighborhood

Located in the northern part of Iași, the Copou neighborhood is one of the most picturesque. In this neighborhood there are many green areas, including the famous Copou Park, the “Anastasie Fătu” Botanical Garden and the Exhibition Park. Most of the offers and requests to buy and rent are in new residential complexes, whether they are individual houses or apartments in blocks of flats.

Copou neighborhood is also very good in terms of infrastructure and has a generous offer of grocery stores and restaurants.

Another plus of the neighborhood is the high degree of safety, as well as the large number of kindergartens, schools and high schools in the area, to which are added three institutes of higher education.

The picturesqueness of the neighborhood also comes from the urbanism strategy adopted, old buildings, of historical importance or with representative architecture are highlighted and enrich the overall image.

Tătărași Nord

The neighborhood is a kind of Băneasa of Iași. Tatarasi is one of the most desirable areas for those looking to buy or rent a home in Iași. One of the main reasons is that the offer in North Tatarasi is very generous and covers all the needs, both in terms of price and in terms of living space. In addition, it is very close to Iași International Airport.

As a result of the recent development, the real estate investors being attracted by this part of Iași, the area is in full urban expansion. The most sought after are the apartments in the new blocks of flats, both for the comfort they offer, for the generous surface of the apartments, but also for the good price of the apartments offered for rent.

You can also read:

Nicolina 1 and Nicolina 2 neighborhoods

The name comes from the river that crosses the southern part of Iași. In recent years, the Nicolina neighborhood has undergone an extensive process of urban regeneration. The strategy has borne fruit in many other cities in Europe and Romania and consists in returning the disused industrial areas to the inhabitants. The workers’ blocks built before 1990 are completed with the silhouettes of the new ones. The main benefit is the proximity to the center, in the conditions of a living area that offers all the necessary facilities.

Nicolina is currently in full development, with over 50,000 people from Iași already living here. One of the most pleasant features of the neighborhood are the constructions made in terraces, the structure of the land and the smooth slopes of the hills offering this possibility, used by architects and builders.


Located in the northwest of the city, Pacurari includes the adjacent areas Canta, Capăt Păcurari, Popas Păcurari, Rediu and Valea Lupului and is one of the neighborhoods with the most comfortable homes. The characteristics of the new complexes that have been completed or are under construction are the organization and urban optimization, with wide streets (the central artery has six lanes, three in each direction), generous parking, green spaces and playgrounds for resident children. of the area, as well as the vicinity of some traditional leisure areas of Iași, modernized in recent years.

Another element specific to the area is the generous offer of shopping centers and the very good road connections that lead to Copou and the city center.

Iași is a lively city, which is evolving spectacularly and has an important development potential. The best proof is that the number of those who choose to settle here is constantly growing, Iași being the city with the largest demographic increase in the segment of the active population in Romania.

Making your choice

When choosing where to live in Iași, consider factors such as:

Proximity to work or university

Reducing daily commute times can significantly enhance your quality of life. Iași is a hub for education and technology, home to several universities, including the renowned Alexandru Ioan Cuza University and the Technical University “Gheorghe Asachi” of Iași. It also hosts a thriving IT and business sector, with many companies located in business parks and offices throughout the city.

For students: Living near your university campus can drastically reduce commute times and enhance your academic experience. Areas like Copou are adjacent to several university campuses, making them ideal for students.

For professionals: If you’re moving to Iași for work, consider neighborhoods near your office. The city center and areas like Păcurari and Tătărași are good choices for those working in IT or business sectors, as they offer a mix of residential and commercial properties.

Amenities and services

Depending on your lifestyle, you might prioritize access to shops, restaurants, parks, or educational facilities.

Shopping and dining: The city center, with its abundance of shops, restaurants, and cafes, is perfect for those who enjoy a vibrant dining and shopping scene. Palas Mall and Iulius Mall, located in the center and Păcurari respectively, offer extensive retail and entertainment options.

Parks and recreational facilities: If you prefer green spaces, Copou and Bucium offer easy access to parks and recreational areas. Copou Park is a historic and beautiful green space perfect for relaxation and outdoor activities.

Educational facilities: For families with children, the proximity to reputable schools is crucial. The city center and surrounding areas like Copou and Tătărași offer a range of educational institutions, from kindergartens to high schools.

Public transport and connectivity

If you rely on public transport, living near bus, tram, or trolleybus lines can be a major convenience.

Iasi’s public transport network encompasses buses, trams, and trolleybuses, facilitating easy movement across the city.

Public transport hubs: Living near major transport lines can significantly ease daily commutes. The city center is the most connected in terms of public transport options, with multiple lines serving the area.

Ease of commute: Areas like Tătărași and Păcurari, though slightly removed from the center, enjoy good public transport connections, making them attractive for those relying on public transit.

Community and lifestyle

Think about whether you prefer a lively, urban atmosphere or a more laid-back, suburban setting.

Urban vs. suburban: If you thrive in a bustling urban environment, the city center or Tatarasi might be your preferred choices. These areas offer a lively atmosphere with easy access to cultural and social activities. For a quieter, more laid-back setting, consider Bucium or parts of Copou, which provide a more suburban feel.

Expat communities: Some neighborhoods are known for having established expat communities, which can be a great support network for newcomers. Engaging with local forums or expat groups can provide insights into which areas are most favored by international residents.

Picture of Iulia Serban

Iulia Serban

Travel guide and advisor

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