Last updated on January 24th, 2023 at 01:54 am
Are you an adventurer at heart? Do you love to travel? If you’ve ever been to Europe, you know there’s a lot to love, and maybe you’ve even considered moving there.
With its picturesque countrysides, charming historic cities and villages, incredible food, and rich culture, it’s no wonder so many people are considering a move to Europe–if not full-time, at least part-time. And, a growing number of US citizens are including Europe in their retirement plans.
Today, we’re sharing some of the top European countries that are not only beautiful and rich in culture, but are also the most budget-friendly for those coming from the United States.
But before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about exactly why so many people are making the move to Europe in the first place.
Why Are Americans Moving to Europe?
The cost of living in many European countries is significantly lower than in the United States, especially if you’re moving from a city like New York, Los Angeles, or any other large metropolitan area.
Imagine being able to afford an apartment in the city center of a historic, walkable city or a charming little cottage in the countryside. It is possible, depending on where you go. No, Paris and London are not inexpensive cities, but there are plenty of beautiful towns and cities that are quite affordable.
Another reason people are flocking to Europe is for the unparalleled access to history, art, and culture. Because it’s so easy to travel within Europe, you can hop from one country to the next and experience all the continent has to offer–from wherever you’re based.
From the historic streets of Paris to the stunning architecture of Prague to the beaches of Portugal or the Swiss Alps, there’s always something new to discover and explore.
Many people, including myself, also love the slower pace of life and the strong sense of community you find in many parts of Europe. I could go on and on…if you love art, history, architecture, trying new foods, and learning about the world around you, you will find yourself drawn to Europe.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what to consider if you’re seriously thinking about making a move. We’ll also discuss some of the top European countries that are both budget-friendly and are amazing places to live.
What to Consider Before Making A Move
In order to determine the best, affordable countries to add to your list, it’s smart to first think about why you want to move, especially if you’re on a budget.
Before you purchase that plane ticket and pack your bags, look ahead, at least to the next few years, and decide what you want in a new home and a new country. Gather information, and narrow down which city or town you want to settle in. Research each of these locations thoroughly, and ensure they offer all the amenities you’ll need to feel comfortable in your new home.
Next up, the paperwork. Every country has different requirements regarding work eligibility, proving a source of income (whether from work, retirement, etc.), and how to obtain legal residency.
Ask yourself a few questions. Are you moving for work or are you looking for a new adventure? Do you have enough money to retire or to not have to work?
The answers to these questions are vital. Your employer will likely take care of much of the red tape if you have a job offer. However, if you’re just looking for adventure, a change of pace, or somewhere to spend your retirement, you will have to figure out how to get a long-term visa and residency.
Some European countries make the process more manageable, as with the golden visa in Portugal. However, these “golden visas” tend to require the applicant to make a substantial investment to be considered. But, if you are able and want to invest in a country that offers a golden visa, you’ll enjoy many advantages, like the right to travel visa-free within Schengen countries. You may also discover some tax benefits for your first few years of residency (particularly in the case of Portugal).
Learning about what’s required in the country you’re planning to move to is vital. If you move without making preparations to become a legal resident, you’ll find that regardless of how affordable a country is, you won’t be able to establish yourself.
Once you feel you’ve made a decision based on research, visit the city–for an extended period of time, if possible. Living in your potential new home for an extended period and trying to live like a local is the closest you can get to seeing what it will be like to actually set up a household in your new country.
So with all of this in mind, let’s move on to our list of six of the best and most affordable countries!
Portugal is an affordable, but wonderful choice for those who want to live in Europe. Compared to countries like France or Germany, the cost of living in Portugal is typically around 30% lower.
Prices on food, transportation, and housing are typically much less than in other European countries too, making Portugal one of the cheapest places to live in Western Europe.
In addition, Portugal has a lot to offer; gorgeous beaches, stunning cities, and breathtaking countrysides make this country popular with visitors and ex-pats alike.
You’ll find other ex-pats all over the country, from the capital city of Lisbon (known for its colorful buildings and traditional cobbled streets) to the Algarve region with it’s warm climate and beautiful beaches to Porto, further north.
And, we have to mention that Portugal has some of the world’s most renowned wine regions, including Alentejo, where most of the world’s corks happen to be made.
If you’re moving with a young family, you’ll have access to a wide range of world-class educational institutions. Portugal is also known for its high-quality healthcare.
Bulgaria is a wonderful, “off the beaten path” European country to consider if you’re looking for affordability, great food, and friendly people.
When it comes to the cost of living, you can expect low prices on everyday necessities like groceries, public transportation, and quality medical care (you’d be surprised at how good it actually is).
If you’re a nature lover, you’ll enjoy the unspoiled lakes, mountains (fantastic for skiing), beaches, and forests that Bulgaria has to offer. And if you’re into history, there are ancient ruins and medieval castles scattered throughout the country.
Nevertheless, while Bulgaria is undoubtedly one of the most exciting places to lay down roots, you will have to come to terms with how they nod or shake their head to say yes and no (quick tip, it’s the opposite of what you do now!)
Some popular cities to consider are Sofia, the capital, which has a great mix of old and new, or Plovdiv, a charming city with Roman ruins and a well-preserved old town. Another great option is the coastal city of Burgas, which is ideal for beach lovers.
Poland is one of the cheapest but most advanced countries in Central Europe and has a wonderful quality of life. The country has a rich history and culture, and the cost of living is considerably lower than in the US.
The essentials are much cheaper than in other European countries too, making Poland an excellent option for students, digital nomads, or anyone looking for an affordable place to live.
Nature lovers will find beautiful forests, mountains, and lakes to explore. And, If you’re into history, Poland has plenty to offer, from the beautiful medieval old towns to historic World War II sites.
Some of the most popular cities to consider if you’re thinking of moving to Poland include Warsaw, the country’s capital, which is a vibrant and modern city with a rich history, Krakow (a UNESCO World Heritage site), which is known for its beautiful old town, or Gdańsk, a charming port city.
Because of Poland’s location and proximity to Western Europe, you have easy access to the rest of the continent too.
There’s a lot to love about Poland.
The communist days of Czechoslovakia are long gone, and thanks to the Velvet Revolution, the Czech Republic now exists as a standalone entity.
The currency of the Czech Republic is called the Czech Koruna, which is significantly devalued compared to many other currencies. This makes renting or buying property very affordable. In fact, food, utilities, and public transportation are all affordable, since prices have stayed low (even with the tourist influx in recent years).
Nonetheless, since they are preparing to adopt the Euro, you might consider moving within the next few years if the Czech Republic is on your radar. That way you can take advantage of the current low housing costs.
The overall quality of life here is also outstanding. You’ll find the modern amenities you expect, such as quality internet and excellent healthcare, which are on par with the US, but at a fraction of the cost.
The Czech Republic definitely deserves your consideration if you want to explore beautiful medieval towns, sample delicious food, and visit historic landmarks. The country also has plenty to offer if you like outdoor activities, like hiking and skiing.
When it comes to deciding where to live, the Czech Republic several great options. The capital, Prague, is a must-see city known for its wealth of culture, stunning architecture, charming old town, and beautiful river views. Be warned though, Prague is busy during tourist season!
You might also consider the city of Brno, known for its beautiful historic center, great food, and lively student scene. Or, for a charming smaller town atmosphere, the picturesque town of Český Krumlov is definitely worth a visit.
Overall, the Czech Republic provides an outstanding balance between affordability and lifestyle options, so it could be just what you’re looking for as your next home away from home!
Thanks to its recent government policies, Hungary has been getting a lot of attention, but don’t let a little politics put you off this European gem that’s known for the beautiful Danube river, a rich culinary culture, and the architectural wonders of Budapest.
And, that’s not all! Hungary is also known for its natural hot springs and thermal baths, which are a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
Even with all it has to offer, Hungary is one of the cheapest countries in Europe to live in. It’s especially attractive for retirees and digital nomads because you can comfortably live on as little as $1,000 per month with a moderate lifestyle.
When it comes to choosing a city, there are lots of options. You’ll at least want to make a trip to Budapest, even if you don’t settle down there. This must-see city has stunning architecture, an historic old town, and of course, the Danube River.
Another great option is the city of Szeged, known for its beautiful historic center, great food, and large student population. And if you’re looking for a smaller town, the picturesque town of Eger is worth considering. It’s known for its vineyards and castle.
In terms of living expenses, Lithuania has everything you need for an affordable lifestyle. From groceries to electricity bills, monthly costs are low compared to the United States–and compared to other European countries.
You’ll find plenty of free entertainment opportunities too, like free concerts, parks, and nature preserves, where you can enjoy outdoor activities on your own schedule.
However, being a Baltic state, you will need to put up with pretty frigid temperatures during the winter months. Luckily, these tend to give way to balmy summers.
Lithuania has a rich history, with some of its most well-known landmarks being the Old Town of Vilnius and the Hill of Crosses, which represents Lithuania’s unique national and religious identity.
To wrap up, living in Europe can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be, if you know where to look! In fact, if you’re looking for an adventure, whether for a year or a lifetime, you can find a great place to live, experience a new culture, and maybe even save money.6 of the Best & Cheapest European Countries to Live In | #travel #Europe Click To Tweet