Posted by Josh Jeffery on March 22nd, 2018.
If you’re making a move to Europe and want to keep your costs under control, discover what nations have the lowest living costs!
If you’re hoping to begin a new life abroad in one of Western Europe’s most affordable nations, you should act – and act soon! There are so many things that make Portugal an appealing place for those looking to move abroad, but its soaring popularity means that prices are climbing.
Portugal is still widely seen as the cheapest country to live in in Western Europe, but its desirable status means it is becoming pricier. It’s not a difficult nation to move to and most expats in Portugal believe it was a worthwhile move.
Outside of Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, rent is still very reasonable. In fact, it’s not too hard to find places where you can easily live on a budget of under €1,000 per month if you look outside the most popular cities.
Portugal is also a very convenient place to live. Travel is efficient and most services and consumer goods are cheaper than in much of the rest of Europe. Furthermore, food is of a high quality and English is widely spoken.
Portugal is also one of the safest choices on our list, being the 3rd safest place in the world according to the UN, making it an ideal choice for families and retirees.
If Portugal doesn’t tickle your fancy then Spain might be more your taste. Portugal’s much bigger and slightly more expensive next-door neighbour is also an appealing option for people seeking an affordable place to live in Western Europe.
Spain is the most expensive country to live in on this list, but if you’re still of working age it makes up for it by having relatively high wages. This makes it ideal for those looking to build their career abroad, and it’s a great place for retirees too.
Many places along Spain’s coast are surprisingly affordable to live in. Of course, as a well-known tourist destination and one already popular with expats, it should be no surprise that Spain is famed for its weather, its food, and its beaches. What’s more, Spain is packed with natural wonders, UNESCO sites and cultural hotspots, meaning you’ll never be short of new places to explore if you move there.
It’s a relatively safe nation as well, meaning you can enjoy peace of mind in your new home.
Putting Prague to one side, you’ll find the rest of the Czech Republic is extremely affordable. And, in fact, even Prague is a cheaper place to live than many of the bigger European cities such as London or Paris. Provincial cities, like Brno, are far more affordable and the cost of living in most of the nation is generally low.
If you avoid the capital, you can cover pretty much all basic living costs on just €800 a month.
But what makes the Czech Republic so appealing? There are a combination of factors, including picturesque towns and villages, with plenty of great food and drink, culture galore and friendly people. What’s more, the Czech Republic is ranked 6th on the UN’s Global Peace Index ranking, meaning it is a very safe country to be in.
While the nation has cold winters, it also has many great places to go skiing so it’s ideal for those winter sports enthusiasts. In fact, the Czech Republic is perfect for lovers of the great outdoors, being filled with forests and rivers.
Many say that the Czech Republic’s standard of living is comparable to Germany’s – despite being only around half the price. And speaking of Germany, the Czech Republic is smack bang in the middle of Europe – meaning trains going to and from other European nations pass through the country, making it a great travel hub.
Although it’s not the most popular destination for wannabe expats, Bulgaria is one of the most affordable. It’s a popular tourist spot due to its location, its natural wonders and its outdoor sports (such as climbing and skiing), but it’s often overlooked as an expat destination.
This is largely due to the nation lagging behind its EU peers in terms of a developed infrastructure. But these issues have seen big improvements in recent years and Bulgaria is a great place to buy a very affordable home.
In terms of living expenses your monthly budget can be as low as €600 per month in Bulgaria, and it’s easy to find a fairly large house to rent for under €500 a month. In fact, if you can afford €1,000 a month you can enjoy a luxury lifestyle and have a higher standard of living than the average person in Switzerland or Germany. The capital, Sofia, is very affordable, but in some parts of the countryside it’s even cheaper, with houses costing less than a used car. Yes, really!
Bulgaria also has some of the cheapest food and drink in the EU, as well as services including fibre internet and travel that won’t break the bank. One thing worth keeping in mind though; while it is indeed an EU nation, it is outside the Schengen Area, meaning different rules may apply for EU and non-EU citizens wanting to move there.
Similar in some ways to Bulgaria, Romania is one of the less salubrious nations in the European Union. The country has seen improved development in recent years due to government spending and tax deductions – so with Romania’s economy accelerating now might be a good time to move to this intriguing nation.
Romania is steeped in history and has famous tourist areas, such as the Black Sea coast.
It’s extremely easy to start up a business in this nation with some of the fastest internet speeds anywhere. What’s more, it’s very easy to get on the property ladder considering housing and the cost of living is still super low despite the growing economy – potentially making it ideal for younger people.
Whether or not you’re an EU citizen, getting Romanian citizenship is not too difficult as it’s not in the Schengen Area. It’s easy to live comfortably on €600 per month too, although the nation is not part of the Eurozone.
This does of course change depending on your location, so it’s up to you whether you prefer the modern capital of Bucharest or picturesque regions in the north of the country. A word of warning though, English is not very widely spoken, so you’ll need to learn some of the local lingo.
The definition of ‘affordable’ of course differs from person to person. Countries like Portugal and Spain may be enticing for those with slightly deeper pockets, but for those looking to live well for very little somewhere like Bulgaria or Romania may be more appealing. Or perhaps a happy medium, such as the Czech Republic, would suit you fine.
But these are far from the only options available if you want to find somewhere affordable to live in Europe. Italy is worth looking into as (similarly to Spain) it can be surprisingly cheap it you avoid the most popular towns and cities. Germany’s Berlin is also significantly cheaper than London, Paris or Barcelona.
Even more under-the-radar places like Malta are worth considering. This small island nation is a friendly place where English is commonly spoken and foreigners report a good quality of life can be had for a comparatively small cost.
Hopefully this brief overview of Europe’s most affordable nations has inspired you to keep planning your move abroad!
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