Home Moving Abroad on a Budget – 6 of Europe’s Cheapest Capital Cities

Moving Abroad on a Budget – 6 of Europe’s Cheapest Capital Cities

Posted by on February 22nd, 2016. Connect with us on .

Moving to Prague

With the cost of eating out, housing, transport and practically everything else in London going through the roof these days, you’d be forgiven for thinking that all of Europe’s capital cities are similarly inhospitable to those looking to live on a budget.

However, as it turns out, living in a capital city doesn’t always mean having to re-mortgage to pay for your morning latte.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most affordable capital cities in Europe to live and work.

Moving to Vilnius Lithuania capital

Move to the Baltic – Vilnius, Lithuania

To start with, we’ll swing by Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania. Located on the coast of the Baltic Sea and bordered by Latvia, Belarus, Poland and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, Lithuania is part of the EU and the Eurozone, although it only picked up the single currency in 2015.

Since breaking away from the fragmenting USSR in the 1990’s, Lithuania has hit the ground running, with rapid integration with the EU fuelling a boom period during the mid-2000’s. The recession hit the country hard, but thanks to some prudent policy measures and a commitment to emerging opportunities, the nation is on the mend. Despite this, there remains a low cost of living in the capital.

Although capital-status implies a centralised position, Vilnius is actually located in the south east of the country, close to the Belarusian border. Thanks to the focus on the future, renewable energy is one of Vilnius’ brightest industries and solar technology developments have the potential to be game-changers when it comes to switching from previous fuel dependencies.

Roman Catholicism has been prevalent in Lithuania since its conversion to Christianity in the Middle Ages and as such, Vilnius is dotted with superbly sculpted white and redbrick churches and cathedrals. In addition to the business opportunities and impressive architecture, Vilnius presents poignant dedications to its past, in the form of museums depicting the city’s history during occupation.

So, how much does it cost to live in Vilnius, Lithuania?

According to Numbeo, the below are average prices you can expect to pay for everyday goods and services in Vilnius:

Restaurant Meal for One: £3.88

3 Course Restaurant Meal for Two: £23.30

Big Mac Meal from McDonalds: £3.50

Cappuccino: £1.41

1 Litre of Petrol: £0.86

Rent on 1 Bed Apartment in City Centre: £335.88

 

Prague

Castles and Affordable Houses Galore – Prague, Czech Republic

Heading south west now, we get to the Czech Republic and its capital city, Prague. The country is entirely landlocked and shares its borders with the more pricey neighbours of Germany, Poland, former-constituent Slovakia and Austria. The country is a small but stalwart member of the EU but retained its own currency, the Czech Koruna, due to strong public opposition to switching over to the Euro.

To summarise the nation’s history, since the First World War the Czech Republic and Slovakia were the single country of Czechoslovakia, which was alternately taken over by Germany during World War 2 and part of the Warsaw Pact until the 1990s, when the Soviet influence was shrugged off and the nation was split into two.

Considered by many to be a rival to Paris, Prague is immediately recognisable due to its incredible architecture and abundance of museums, castles, spires and other cultural constructions and artefacts. In terms of employment, services make up the majority of the city’s output, with countless attractions providing plenty of choice for those with service-sector experienced.

As a perfect blend of old and new, Prague is one of Europe’s most stable cities and the Czech Republic as a whole has repeatedly posted record low unemployment rates.

So, how much does it cost to live in Prague, Czech Republic?

According to Numbeo, the below are average prices you can expect to pay for everyday goods and services in Prague:

Restaurant Meal for One: £3.45

3 Course Restaurant Meal for Two: £17.24

Big Mac Meal from McDonalds: £3.45

Cappuccino: £1.27

1 Litre of Petrol: £0.90

Rent on 1 Bed Apartment in City Centre: £398.66

Moving to Budapest Hungary

Never be Afraid to Learn New Things – Budapest, Hungary

Heading in a virtually straight line south east from Prague, you’ll soon get to the next city on the list, the ever-affordable Hungarian capital of Budapest. Actually named as a sandwich of Buda and Pest, two formerly separate cities on the western and eastern sides of the Danube, Budapest is a something of a Rome of the east, containing as it does renowned businesses, universities and architectural flourishes.

The city is crammed full of centres of learning, making it a great place to settle for the academically inclined. For some serious R&R, however, Budapest also garners attention for the large number of thermal baths that have been established across the city, made possible by the criss-crossing network of hot springs that run beneath the ground.

As it borders Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria, Hungary has managed to absorb aspects of these nations while retaining the uniqueness of national character, defined by broad interests and an overall hybridisation between past, present and future.

The country is a part of the EU but like the Czech Republic has kept hold of its domestic currency, in this case the Hungarian Forint.

So, how much does it cost to live in Budapest, Hungary?

According to Numbeo, the below are average prices you can expect to pay for everyday goods and services in Budapest:

Restaurant Meal for One: £3.75

3 Course Restaurant Meal for Two: £20.01

Big Mac Meal from McDonalds: £3.75

Cappuccino: £0.97

1 Litre of Petrol: £0.87

Rent on 1 Bed Apartment in City Centre: £265.27

Move to Bucharest_Romania

You May Need to Shout in the People’s House – Bucharest, Romania

Making another beeline to the south east, you eventually get to the capital of Romania, Bucharest. Romania counts among its neighbours Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary and unlike most of these landlocked nations, has access to the Black Sea.

Romania sits in the same boat as Hungary, having joined the EU in the late 2000s but retaining its historical currency, the Romanian Leu. Unlike some other EU nations, however, the government may be looking to convert to the Euro over the next 5 years. Citizens from the UK are able to travel to and stay within Romania without a visa for three months.

The capital itself is in the south, close to the Bulgarian border, and is considered by many to be a rival to the most enlightened western-European cities. As a solid all-rounder, Bucharest offers top-class educational facilities, historic buildings on virtually every corner and a comparatively prosperous economy.

Bucharest’s entry on this list as an affordable city is somewhat ironic, however, given that it contains the Palace of the Parliament, a gargantuan reminder of the inflated ambitions of tyrant Nicolae Ceausescu. With the Romanian government only utilising around a third of the colossal interior today, the ‘People’s House’ has the dubious honour of being one of the largest and heaviest buildings on the planet and consumes as much energy as a medium-sized city simply in electricity and heating bills.

So, how much does it cost to live in Bucharest, Romania?

According to Numbeo, the below are average prices you can expect to pay for everyday goods and services in Bucharest:

Restaurant Meal for One: £4.35

3 Course Restaurant Meal for Two: £17.40

Big Mac Meal from McDonalds: £3.13

Cappuccino: £1.30

1 Litre of Petrol: £0.93

Rent on 1 Bed Apartment in City Centre: £259.84

Move to Sarajevo capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Building a Brighter Future – Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Swinging back westwards we reach Sarajevo, the capital of the only non-EU country on the list, Bosnia and Herzegovina. This nation borders Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro and has a coastal border with the Adriatic Sea.

While not part of the European Union and still in retention of its currency, the Bosnia and Herzegovina Convertible Mark, it is nonetheless possible for UK citizens to travel to the country to get a feel of the place for up to 90 days without applying for a visa.

While it retains a degree of infamy for being the starting point of the First World War and was battered during the chaotic Bosnian war of the 1990s, Sarajevo has made a triumphant comeback onto the European stage and now stands as one of the busiest producing cities in Eastern Europe.

Although it is nestled in an out-of-the-way position among hills and highly ski-able mountains, Sarajevo has still become famous for the diverse range of traditional crafts still practised across the city, as well as its many coffee houses. Both the city and its people have repeatedly managed to rise against past hardships and emerge as representatives of the multicultural inclusivity and can-do attitude that form the character of Europe.

So, how much does it cost to live in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina?

According to Numbeo, the below are average prices you can expect to pay for everyday goods and services in Sarajevo:

Restaurant Meal for One: £2.78

3 Course Restaurant Meal for Two: £15.87

Big Mac Meal from McDonalds: £3.17

Cappuccino: £0.92

1 Litre of Petrol: £0.77

Rent on 1 Bed Apartment in City Centre: £160.36

Moving to Athens capital city of Greece

The City of Antiquity, Ready to Rise Again? – Athens, Greece

For the final capital and country on the list, we move far away from the UK to the edge of Europe, reaching Greece and its capital, Athens. Bordering Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and the continental part of Turkey, Greece has a triple-sea border of the Ionian, Aegean and Mediterranean Seas.

In the distant past, Athens was envied across the ancient world as a bastion of learning and culture, filled with creativity and craftsmanship that greatly benefited the Greek people. Since then, Athens has been the two-time host of the Olympic Games and still boasts a number of spectacular ruins from time gone by.

In the present day, Athens is something of a wildcard, having made the news for social unrest and governmental requests for financial aid from international sources.

While the situation is undeniably turbulent at the present time, it cannot be supposed that the Greek capital, or the country itself, will continue in this state of upheaval indefinitely. Like people, cities are capable of miraculous recoveries and rediscoveries and Athens is no exception.

Costs are currently low for those from abroad within the city and while it is no guarantee, there is still a very real possibility that a property purchase or cleverly timed investment in the short term could reap dividends in the future when the capital and the nation find themselves on the road to recovery once again.

So, how much does it cost to live in Athens, Greece?

According to Numbeo, the below are average prices you can expect to pay for everyday goods and services in Sarajevo:

Restaurant Meal for One: £7.77

3 Course Restaurant Meal for Two: £27.87

Big Mac Meal from McDonalds: £4.66

Cappuccino: £2.33

1 Litre of Petrol: £1.11

Rent on 1 Bed Apartment in City Centre: £200.03

London Houses

Living in London – The Priciest Capital City

And how do the costs of goods and services in these capital cities compare with London?

Well, Numbeo gives the following average prices for the UK capital:

Restaurant Meal for One: £15.00

3 Course Restaurant Meal for Two: £50.00

Big Mac Meal from McDonalds: £5.00

Cappuccino: £2.59

1 Litre of Petrol: £1.12

Rent on 1 Bed Apartment in City Centre: £1673.90

 

If any of these cheap capitals have piqued your interest, remember that getting to grips with the national language can make settling in any overseas location immeasurably easier. Good luck if you’re planning a move overseas in 2016!

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