What are the cheapest countries to live in Europe?
Are you someone who’s seeking adventure, or merely looking to restart your life on fresh terms? Or, are you simply a digital nomad, young student or professional scouting for relevant opportunities to grow and evolve? If any of these conditions apply to you, then you may want to consider Europe. Pleasantly surprised?
Known as one of the most culturally diverse continents with abounding touristic sites and experiences to herald, there are several cheap countries to live in Europe, boasting of an amazing quality of life and character, charming its way through every wanderer’s heart.
Now just imagine living amidst this unbridled magnificence? Yes, you heard that right! Read on to learn about some of the cheapest countries to live in Europe.
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Travel on a Budget: Cheapest Places To Live In Europe
We all know that moving to a different country or even continent is no mean feat. Leaving the excitement and adventurous spirit to venture into the unknown aside, as an expat, one of your main criteria will undoubtedly be the ability to communicate. Keeping that in mind, I’ve put together a list of some of the best places to live in Europe for English speakers.
Sitting along the River Sava in the northwestern region of Croatia, Zagreb is an important transport hub. It connects several European regions. Its versatile economy expands to the sectors of trade, chemicals, food processing and textiles. Declared as one of the cheapest countries to live in Europe, and the world, Zagreb is vastly known for its sporting activities, entertainment, museums and cuisine. Other facts worth knowing are:
- Its monthly accommodation costs come up to 198€ (too good to be true, isn’t it ?). Basic groceries like milk, bread and eggs costing under a euro.
- For all you beer and coffee lovers, here’s your treat – it costs less than 2.00€, with a hearty meal costing around 6.00€. Furthermore, with around 80% of its population speaking English, Zagreb is one of the best places to in Europe for English speakers.
- Some of the famous tourist hotspots worth exploring include the splendid Upper Town, cobblestoned-laden streets, St. Mark’s Church and the Museum of Broken Relationships, which houses possessions of ex-lovers.
Donji Grad and Kaaptol are popular neighbourhoods among foreigners to settle in due to their connectivity. They are also home to some famous sites such as the open-air fruits market.
The Balkan capital, Sofia has emerged as a hotspot for migrant digital nomads due to its low cost of living. It’s truly one of the cheapest places to live in Europe. With a population spanning over 1.3 million people, this majestic historic and economic hub is located at the edge of Mount Vitosha. Nearby you can find the Iskar River and the Black Sea for day trips. Check out the best itinerary for a 7-day road trip in Bulgaria I did in 2021.
Some more fun facts about Bulgaria’s largest city:
- You can comfortably stay in rental apartments starting at 220€ per month.
- Famous for its lip-smacking cuisine, a hearty meal inclusive of alcohol will cost you less than 6€ with bread and eggs costing you about a euro.
- Enjoying a humid continental climate, Sofia definitely has a lot of fun things to do. Whether you’re in the mood to explore its heartlands or soak in the experience, there is something for everyone!
- A few of their tourist spots are: the ski resorts situated at the foothills of the snow-clad Mount Vitosha; the Orthodox church of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral that was built in the 19th century; and the Vitoshka Boulevard consisting of dainty cafes, restaurants and luxurious boutiques.
Furthermore, this city also boasts of buzzing arts and entertainment scenes, and their walking tours are splendid.
Considered as an emerging technology hub with a flourishing entrepreneurial culture, the cosmopolitan city of Bucharest is brimming with abundant natural beauty. Situated amongst Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, this “little Paris” is well known for its gothic architecture and cultural heritage.
Touted as one of the cheapest places to live in Europe, Bucharest clearly has a lot to offer for expats and digital nomads. Since Bucharest is my hometown, I like to say that I was born in the perfect place to be a digital nomad 🙂
- The monthly cost of living for a single-occupancy apartment generally costs about 290€, with basic groceries such as bread and milk costing less than a euro.
- Relished for its outstanding gastronomy, there are several eateries and pubs. Coupled with the hospitality of the locals, Bucharest is a great place to network.
- Providing magnificent opportunities to travel, its numerous parks are a marvel (check out Herastrau and Cismigiu). Wouldn’t want to enjoy a relaxed afternoon, right?). Well, well! The Cismigiu Park is truly magical! Bucharest’s own historical paradise, the Revolution Square will take you back in time through its monuments. And to all our ardent admirers of classical music, the enchanting Romanian Athenaeum is your magical haven.
- Seemingly, an exciting beginning, the Northern suburbs make for one of the best neighbourhoods in the city.
With an influential Baltic, Scandinavian vibe and a high human development index, Vilnius is one of the most reasonable places to live in Europe. Located in Southeastern Lithuania, this “Jerusalem of the North” is the second-largest Baltic State, which has a prosperous historical legacy.
A major economic, research and technology hub, Vilnius was declared as the “most forward-thinking nation with the greatest potential in the world” in 2021. A massive cultural hub, Lithuania is celebrated for its literature, music theatre, crafts and architecture.
- A top contender amongst digital nomads, the cost of living in this city amounts to 393€ with basic groceries being available for under 2.00 euros.
- Simply melting into your mouths, the flavoursome local food mainly consists of potatoes and beets. A wholesome meal at a restaurant can cost you up to 8.00€.
- A culture lover’s paradise, a few of their tourist attractions are exploring the Lithuanian Diaspora Art Museum, St. Anne’s and Bernardine Church Complex and taking a tour around the Presidential Palace.
- Be it closer to nature Antakalnis or the artsy Užupis, none of these neighbourhoods are forgettable.
Lying on the Gulf of Riga, this city lies at the junction between River Daugava and the Baltic Sea. With its historical centre being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Riga is known for its unique architecture. In terms of communication, locals generally converse in Latvian, the country’s official language.
This social and economic capital is the perfect place for historic and cultural patrons. The 2006 NATO World Summit and several pioneering sporting events held in this primate city, have made Riga prominent in world affairs. Being one of the cheapest places to live in Europe,
- The average cost of renting an apartment equal to 400€, with healthcare and groceries such as fruits and vegetables costing under 1 euro. Furthermore, a meal in an average restaurant can cost you anywhere between 5.00-9.00€
- Constituting the essence of any place, its main tourist attractions include the Freedom Monument, St. Peter’s Church and the Town Hall Square.
- The vibrant Old Town (Vecrīga) and Avotu iela are the best streets to live in due to their easy accessibility.
Interweaving ancient architecture with modern structures makes this juxtaposing backdrop simply resplendent! Situated in Northern Estonia on the Gulf of Finland, this capital city is revered as the primary industrial, cultural and financial centre of Estonia. Enjoying warm summers and chilly winters, the country’s E-residency programs make nomadic migration easy. Check out the top things to do and see in Tallinn, Estonia.
Moreover, with the locals being super friendly and helpful, it is a delight to soak in the inherent culture of this inland. Furthermore, it is also one of the best places to live in Europe for English speakers as a majority of the population communicate in the same.
Yes, I know you’re itching to know more!
- An average apartment is rented out for 402€ per month. Like other countries all groceries are priced under a euro.
- Their international cafés (hello coffee lovers!), co-working joints and cheap, sprawling dining options with an intriguing nightlife and arts scene, tempts us to devour their appetizing local cuisines and craft beers for as low a price of 5.00€? Isn’t it too good to be true? Well, wait there’s more!
- Availing of their walking or biking tours, you must definitely check out the Town Hall Square which has captivated all its endless historic treasures. The flower filled Kadriorg Park and the Russian Orthodox styled Aleksander Nevski Katedraali screams of the region’s cultural legacy.
- A history buff’s paradise, the thumping Old Town Square and the more rustic, rural Kadriogg are hands-down the preferred neighborhoods to settle in.
An ideal combination of picturesque locales, art and tumultuous history, this European region is more than what meets the eye. One of the cheapest places to live in Europe, this metropolitan city is located in east-central Poland by the banks of River Fistula, housing around 1.8 million people. It has proven to be a dynamic political, economic and cultural frontier in this region. Moreover, its Old Town Square was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Waking up to such an exquisite backdrop seems like a dream, doesn’t it? Let us further bewitch you with the following facts:
- The average cost of living for a single person amounts to around 425€, with a fancy dinner or basic groceries, and beer costing very little.
- While most people in the City Centre areas can communicate in English, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with their local dialect.
- Often compared to a phoenix being reborn, a walk down Krakowskie Przedmiescie takes you back in time. Another famous tourist attraction is the home of King John III Sobieski, the Willanow Palace, and the Museum of the History of Polish Jews- the site where Jews were constricted during Holocaust.
- Apt for a city lover, Śródmieście or downtown is the go-to area for expats to relocate to.
Haven’t we fantasized about visiting this historical gem at least once in our lifetime? Located in Central Hungary, Budapest is not only one of the safest and cheapest places to live in Europe, but is also a frontrunner in the economic, entertainment and financial domains. Oozing with congenial locals, Budapest truly is one of the best places to live in Europe for English speakers.
Enjoying a subtropical climate, coupled with numerous travel highlights, this vibrant city has a happening nightlife that will never leave you bored.
- The average cost of living in this cultural hub amounts to 438€ a month.
- Your basic utilities, including groceries will cost you under a euro, with a nice meal costing you less than 5.00 €
- Primarily thriving on tourism, sometimes I feel awe-struck by its beauty! The world-renowned Szechenyi Bath is a must visit attraction. Designed with mosaics, sculptures and chandeliers, it provides a relaxing space to unwind. Showcasing the country’s royal legacy, the Buda Palace is another hotspot, along with the charming Margaret Island.
- From the quiet, suburban life in Buda to enjoying the colourful atmosphere of Belváros, Budapest caters to one and all.
This enchanting landlocked country houses numerous natural parks, UNESCO sites and castles. Its capital, Bratislava bustles with fascinating history, art and culture. Surrounding the River Danube, this capital city boasts of great interconnectedness with its neighbouring countries. Also, deemed as one of the English-friendly locales, it has seen a surge in the number of immigrants in recent years. For a swiftly-expanding economy, it flourishes on banking, telecommunications and trade.
- With a monthly accommodation price going up to 450€ a month, Bratislava is unsurprisingly one of the cheapest places to live in Europe, offering a high standard of living at lower prices.
- As with other budget-friendly European cities, basic groceries are available for under a euro.
- Apt for beach and mountain lovers, this country tends to all our preferences.
- Some of the tourist attractions of this scenic wonderland include the four-tower Bratislava Castle, the Slovak National Theatre that hosts operas and dramas, and the Kamzík TV Tower, perched atop the Kamzik Hill. With a chance to explore several lush green hiking trails leading up to the tower, you can enjoy amazing views and sunsets from its top deck.
Prague, Czech Republic
Appraised as one of the cheapest places to live in Europe, Prague is an amalgamation of old-world charm and modernization. Brimming with pretty surroundings, this city has seen an annual rise in the number of foreigners settling here due to its appealing work/life balance norms.
Located at the Vlatava River, one can heavily see the influence of the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque ages. From transport and pharmaceuticals to finance and exports, Prague has emerged as a glorious employment hub. People generally prefer to converse in their local language. Additionally,
- The average cost of living in Prague equals 583€, with basic groceries costing up to 1-2 €. Furthermore, known for its cheap beers, a decent meal in Prague costs between 5-10€.
- Known for its mouthwatering food, you can sign up for one of their culinary tours.
- A delight for a history lover, there are several stupendous scenes, which wonderfully depict the country’s rich heritage. Our top pick would be walking the grounds of Prague Castle, and enjoying colorful illuminations by the night sky; adorning the old town square and larger than life Astronomical Clock, along with spending time at the Prague Zoo.
- Efficiently connected through their tram service, Malá Strana and Vinohrady are popular areas to live in.
Ola, lovelies! Living up to the claim of the ‘sunny side up’ life, this Atlantic coastal city is situated by the bank of the River Tagus, and Monsanto Forest Park, replete with rich wildlife.
As the largest city of Portugal, this capital plays an important role in propagating finance, media, arts, commerce and the other economic sectors in the country. Showing off its plethora of beaches and rivers, the eclectic Lisbon Metropolitan area is touted as one of the best places to live in Europe for English Speakers. And, its fantastic cuisine and nightlife, warm, friendly locals and diverse job opportunities make it every nomad’s dream. If you’re an expat moving to this wonderland, then don’t fret- you’ll feel at home soon!
- Slightly expensive in its rentals, a one-bedroom apartment costs around 600 € per month, whilst basic groceries go up to 2.00€, which is balanced through the average wage rate and employment opportunities.
- Barring its sandy white beaches, one must definitely visit their glorious landmark, Castelo de São Jorge; the 16th century built Mosteiro dos Jerónimos honouring the region’s ‘Age of Discovery’, and the Oceanário de Lisboa- the famous aquarium. Furthermore, their efficient transportation systems make weekend getaways to sun-kissed places such as Algarve noteworthy.
- Considered as one of the safest places for expats, Baixa and the nightlife-friendly Bairro Alto are the most revered neighborhoods to reside in.
Ready to live in Europe?
Now, now! With this comprehensive guide, I hope I’ve contributed to making your decision process easier. Wherever you decide to move, always remember one thing- it is of paramount importance to do thorough research on the country your wanderer’s personality takes you to, while respecting, embracing and accepting their culture completely.
In conclusion, all I’d like to say is be fearless in your move, and hustle hard! The digital world has rightly given us wings to soar!
PS. If you ever need more inspiration or you’re looking to move to another cheap country in Europe, check out the official stats on Statista.