Home » 13 Most Affordable Places To Live In Europe (2024)

13 Most Affordable Places To Live In Europe (2024)

13 Most Affordable Places To Live In Europe

The rising cost of living in the United States has been hitting people incredibly hard. Many US citizens are struggling to make ends meet; one study found that a whopping 59% of Americans were just one paycheck away from homelessness. Cities that were once affordable are now pricing people out and it doesn’t seem to be getting better anytime soon.

While rising costs have become a pain point for so many around the world, gun violence, social justice issues, and political hostility have taken a toll on the overall well-being of many Americans. Instead of seeking the next affordable city within the US, a growing number are now looking beyond our borders for something different. Realizing that there are more affordable places to live—in Europe!

If this is you, you’re not alone. Living in Europe isn’t just for the rich. No matter the reason why you’re trying to ‘escape’ from the US, there’s a place for you in Europe that won’t break the bank. We did some digging and put together this fabulous list of the 13 most affordable places to live in Europe. Are you ready to get the most bang for your buck and live a life of ease?

Are there cheap places to live in Europe?

So, you’ve got your eyes on Europe, but Europe isn’t a monolith. If you’re wondering:

  • Is it cheaper to live in Europe than the US?
  • Which country has the lowest cost of living?
  • What are the most expensive cities to live in Europe?

You’re asking the right questions because not every country on the map is going to fit your budget. Is it cheaper to live in Europe than the US – it can be! Want to know which country has the lowest cost of living – it depends, but we’re covering them all in our list. Last, skip Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Denmark – they’re the most expensive.

But if you want to move to Europe the cost of living isn’t the only thing that you need to think about. As a US citizen you can’t just pick-up and move to Europe because you feel like it, you’ll need a visa–in most countries–to stay there past 90 days.

What are the easiest countries to move to in Europe?

The good news is that you don’t need to be rich, get transferred with a job or marry a European to snag a visa. There are 50+ visas available for the regular American and that’s where our digital book I’m Outta Here! An American’s Ultimate Visa Guide to Living in Europe, comes in handy. Discover the 18 easiest countries to move to in Europe and deep dive into all the visa details.

13 Cheapest Places to Live in Europe

Now, the good stuff – we’ve cherry-picked the 13 most affordable places to live in Europe. We’ve looked at the visa requirements. We’ve looked at the cost of living there. We’ve even included a quick guide to rental prices for an average apartment (not student housing but not luxury). So let’s dive in and find your new home, shall we?

1. Albania

Looking for the easiest route to Europe? Look no further than Albania! Forget the paperwork—US citizens can enjoy a year in Albania with just a passport–no visa needed– making it one of the easiest European countries to move to.

This hidden gem is on the rise, often dubbed the new Croatia and Maldives of Europe for its enchanting golden sands and turquoise sea. Sitting right on the Mediterranean (across the Adriatic Sea from Italy), now is the prime time to call Albania home. It’s one of the most affordable countries in Europe and while it has become an increasingly popular summer destination, the expat population here is still very small. This can be a pro or con depending on what kind of experience you want to have abroad. 

beach ksamil albania

Albania is one of the cheapest countries in Europe–for now. Most foreigners choose to live in the capital, Tirana which is going through a development boom. It’s a relatively safe country, and offers both majestic mountains alongside those breathtaking beaches. If you’re ok with a country that is a little rough around the edges, then Albania may be the place for you.

Rental: 1-bedroom apartment in the city center of Tirana: €400-€700/month

2. Greece

Often associated with honeymoon getaways and ancient civilizations, Greece might not be the obvious choice for long-term living. However, if you’re seeking a warm climate, reasonable cost of living, a welcoming culture, delectable dishes, and abundant character, put Greece at the top of your list. 

Boasting the longest coastline in Europe, there are plenty of idyllic locations to call home. But there is more to Greece than white-washed villages and islands. If you’re looking for vibrant city life, bustling Athens and the gastronomic capital Thessaloniki are the country’s two largest cities and offer endless culture, history, and entertainment. 

Still recovering from the 2008 economic downturn, the cost of living in Greece is still one of the lowest in Europe. It’s a great option for retirees and remote workers. While you do need a visa for Greece, qualified Americans should have no issues getting through the process. The visa financial requirements are reasonable–€3500/month for digital nomads and €2000/month for retirees–making it an easy country to move to. Learn more about moving to Greece as an American

Rental: 1-bedroom apartment in the city center of Athens: €400-€700 a month

3. Czech Republic

This Central European country is the land of castles, beer and a thriving expat community—nearly half a million to be exact. Foreigners flock to the Czech Republic for its magnificent history, bohemian culture and bargain-basement prices. Its small size and central location makes it ideal for exploring the rest of Europe.

czech republic

Czechs know how to have fun; after all, they consume the most beer per capita in the world. From art exhibitions to musical performances, there are plenty of cultural happenings as well as outdoor activities: hiking and kayaking in the summer, mushroom picking in the fall and skiing in the winter. Plus, a relatively easy self-employment visa (or student visa) makes it a great option for English teachers, freelancers and remote workers.

While Prague is the top choice for foreigners, the smaller, less touristy city of Brno—comes in as a close second and with many expats migrating there after a few years in the capital.

Rent: 1-bedroom apartment in the city center of Prague: $700-$1000 USD/month

4. Bulgaria

If you’re interested in living in a European country that is a bit under the radar, then consider the Balkan nation of Bulgaria. This small country has started attracting expats and digital nomads for its low cost of living, friendly people and laid-back lifestyle—not to mention it has a straightforward path to residency for students and retirees.

While digital nomads have created their own hub in Bansko, a town at the foot of the Pirin Mountains, a digital nomad visa does not yet exist. Lacking in wealth and economic opportunities—as well as visa options for remote workers—Bulgaria is best for retirees due to its pensioner visa.

If you’re looking for a big city, there’s plenty to do and see in its capital Sofia, but residents also love the varied scenery, from the rugged mountains to the Black Sea beaches. Bordered by Serbia, North Macedonia (formerly known as Macedonia), Romania, Greece and Turkey, Bulgaria is a crossroads between Europe and Asia, which is reflected in its cuisine, architecture and religious heritage. It’s a unique place in Europe that is still very affordable for foreigners!

Rent: 1-bedroom apartment in the city center of Sofia: $450-$700 USD/month

5. Hungary

Nestled in Central Europe, surrounded by countries of Slavic and Germanic culture, Hungary is one of the oldest countries in Europe. A curious place, it seamlessly blends old European charm with modern allure, a fusion of cultural grandeur and Communist-era grittiness. And despite being the size of Indiana, its uniqueness shines through, from natural hot springs and healing spa cities to rich musical traditions and a paprika obsession. 

hungary photo

While it might not have been on your radar, 180,000 foreigners call Hungary home. And it’s never been easier for US citizens to move to the Heart of Europe with the recent launch of their digital nomad visa. We do want to mention that Hungary is not for everyone. It’s important to note the recent concerns which include accusations of rising xenophobia, nationalism, and controversial legislation affecting the LGBTQ+ community (find out about the best places to live in Europe for LGBTQ expats). Thorough research is crucial before considering a move to this vibrant and complex nation.

Hungary might not be as affordable as it once was even just a decade ago, but you’ll still get a major bang for your buck if you’re coming from the US.

Rent: 1-bedroom apartment in the city center of Budapest: $600-$900 USD/month

6. Croatia

Croatia. Is there anything it doesn’t have? Whether you’re looking for beaches, national parks, or
beautiful buildings, you’ll find it in this country. People have been flocking to Croatia for all of the above and in recent years, to see Game of Thrones filming locations. 

Zagreb, the bustling capital, is where you’ll head if you’re looking for city life. It boasts a great nightlife, traditional Slavic music performances, delicious food and drink (coffee is a way of life in Croatia), and a bustling expat community. Alternatively, you can head to the historic coastal town of Split, which is still great living, but has a much more relaxed way of life.

Croatia

Croatia is often compared to Italy, which comes as no surprise since Italy is just across the Adriatic
Sea. The country offers much of the same landscape that Italy does, including countless islands to
explore, looming mountain ranges, rivers, waterfalls, and forests that stretch as far as the eye can
see. If you love nature, you’ll feel right at home in Croatia.

While it’s relatively affordable, Croatia is not the easiest place in Europe to settle down in. There are time limits on its visas which give you one to two years maximum of residency—and then you have to go. This makes it an ideal spot for digital nomad and those taking a yearlong sabbatical or anyone wanting to test the waters of living abroad. 

Rent: 1-bedroom apartment in the city center of Zagreb: $700-$900 USD/month

7. Poland

Poland might not have the same international draw as other European countries , but it’s worth considering for its rich history, hospitality and affordability. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly spot to escape the expat bubble Poland is a great place.

A very homogenous country, Poland has a rich religious and Slavic-based cultural history. This is on full display in the old towns of major cities as well as across the country, where you’ll find winding rivers, jagged mountains and plenty of helpful locals. 

poland

While you don’t see Poland on too many lists, it’s a country on the up. Whether you prefer a young, dynamic city like Krakow or a bustling, green capital like Warsaw, both are starting to hit the radar of Americans looking for an authentic experience abroad.

It can be a tad difficult for an American to move to Poland, but it isn’t impossible. The country is welcoming to expats, and if you are a retiree or want to go back to school there are fairly straightforward visa options for you

Rent: 1-bedroom apartment in the city center of Warsaw: $900-$1,100 USD/month

8. Romania

If there is one country that looks like it’s straight out of a fantasy novel, it would be Romania. Enchanted forests and castles are scattered throughout and its breathtaking landscapes have been the backdrop and inspiration for horror stories (namely Dracula), as much as it has been for fairytales.

romania

Much of the country remains relatively untouched, making it a nature lover’s dream. However, Bucharest, the country’s capital city, is where most expats move to for its beauty–it is called Little Paris–low cost of living and higher concentration of English speakers. It’s a beautiful city that’s built up a reputation for its nightlife and has also become a tech-hub in southeastern Europe attracting foreigners in the region.

Moving to Romania has become so much easier with the launch of their digital nomad visa. The main requirement is to meet the financial threshold of €3,700 per month.

Rent: 1-bedroom apartment in the city center of Bucharest: $550-$800 USD/month

9. Georgia

Georgia. No, not the US state but, oddly, it is just as easy to move there as an American. Head to Georgia, and you won’t need a visa or a residence permit. As a US citizen you can stay up to one year without either. Literally, you can hop on a plane right now and Georgia will welcome you with open arms once you land.

Now, you might be wondering ‘why would I want to move to Georgia?’, and we admit it not typically on anyone’s short list of European countries to move to. However, Americans that have taken the plunge love it’s beauty, history, people, food and wine. Arguably, the wine here is some of the best in the world. It certainly is has the oldest tradition of winemaking in the world—going back 8000 years.

kazbegi georgia

For a small country, it is surprisingly packed with things to do too. This includes relaxing on the Black Sea beaches (they’re a bit rockier than other beaches), exploring forests, and climbing some mountains. In fact, Georgia has the highest mountains in Europe!

Georgia is not as affordable as it once was, especially for locals—prices have spiked recently, mostly due to the Russian war in Ukraine. However, it is still extremely affordable to live here on a US salary.

Rent: 1-bedroom apartment in the city center of Tbilisi: $650-$850 USD/month

10. Italy

American culture has been heavily influenced by the Italians due to the influx of Italian immigrants in the 19th and 20th century. We love pizza, pasta and who could say no to a fine Italian wine? Given our love affair with Italy it comes as no surprise that the land of la dolce vita tops many American’s relocation lists. 

A stunning country that is rich is history, art, architecture, and culture. And it’s a country of so much variety. If you want to spend your days lounging around on the Mediterranean coastline, then you can. If you want to head up into the snow-capped mountains, then you can. If you prefer to while away the days in a sleepy fishing village or overlooking a grape or olive grove, you can do that too. 

color photo of somewhere in italy

There’s too many incredible places to live in Italy to mention but here are few of the most popular: If you’re looking for a bustling city (which has a dash of history in it too), then you have that with Rome and Milan. Those who want a more laidback Italian lifestyle will want Bologna, Florence.

In terms of visas, there are a few option from a student visa to self-employment and non-lucrative. Unfortunately, Italy does not have a digital nomad visa—yet. Let’s hope this changes in 2024! If you have Italian heritage you may be eligible for Italian citizenship by descent. Learn more about moving to Italy as an American

Rent: 1-bedroom apartment in the city center of Rome: $900-$1200 USD/month

11. Latvia

What comes to mind when you think of Latvia? Probably, not much. But we want to change that! Latvia is a small Baltic nation, but it isn’t hurting for things to do. Four national parks give you access to lakes, beaches, castles, and forests. Head to its cities (especially Riga), and you have ancient buildings, Gothic churches, and great Latvian food—think cheeses, breads, and their local sweet treats.

riga latvia

Latvia is a country that hasn’t had a huge amount of investment over the years, but this works to your advantage. Most of the country is undeveloped. In fact, about 50% of the country is forest. Much of it has now been blocked from any development, meaning that Latvia will remain a natural wonderland. To attract foreign money, Latvia has become especially welcoming to digital nomads. You’ll need to earn at least €2,857 month to qualify for their digital nomad visa.

Finally–like most of Europe, Latvia is safe. It’s actually the safest country in the Baltics and is up there with the safest countries in Europe. If you’re moving on your own, this will give you peace of mind. 

Rent: 1-bedroom apartment in the city center of Riga: $550-$700 USD/month

12. Spain

Now close your eyes and think of Spain. I bet a lot springs to mind! Maybe it’s siestas, sun, sea, and sand. What about wine, tapas, paellas, seafood, and all sorts of other culinary delights.

More than food, Spain is a country where socialization is the name of the game. No matter where you head in Spain, you’ll feel part of a warm community. Even on the weekdays, you’ll wander around the towns and cities of Spain, seeing people of all ages out eating, drinking, and having a good time well into the night. There’s never a dull moment if you choose to live in Spain. 

Spain is diverse too. There’s so much more to it than Madrid, Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea. Every corner seems to have it’s own culture, history, and sometimes language—in addition to Spanish there’s also Catalonia, Galician and Basque! Discover the 12 best places to live in Spain

pueblo blanco spain

Spain is one of the easier countries to move to for American. Whether you want to teach English, study, retire, or bring your remote job with you on a digital nomad visa, there’s plenty of options for long-term living in Spain. 

We do want to point out that the prices in Spain have risen a lot recently, but it is still an affordable country to live in if you’re coming from the US. Just don’t expect to find the deals and steals of the past here anymore in any of the medium to large cities. Learn more about moving to Spain from the US

Rent: 1-bedroom apartment in the city center of Madrid: $1,000-$1,300 USD/month

13. Portugal

Portugal has found its place on every move to Europe list! It’s rapidly become a favorite among Americans—especially due to it’s retirement and digital nomad visas. Similar to Spain you can expect a rich history, stunning beaches, and laidback way of life. However, Portugal is considerably smaller than Spain, making it more compact and easier to explore. 

Aveiro, Portugal

The biggest hubs for Americans are in Porto and Lisbon. And rightly so, both are incredible cities that will take your breath away. Neither is particularly busy (in comparison to other major European cities), so you can enjoy a slower pace of life while also having everything you need on your doorstep. If you don’t feel like living in a major city, then you have more quaint options like Aveiro, Lagos or Braga.

Opting for a smaller city is probably a good idea because housing prices in Portugal have skyrocketed in recent years. No longer are Lisbon or Porto the cheapest places to live in Western Europe. But as we’ve said before, it is still very affordable to live here on a US salary. Learn more about moving to Portugal from the US

Rent: 1-bedroom apartment in the city center of Lisbon: $1,300-$1,500 USD/month

Move to one of the cheapest European countries to live

We hope this list of the 13 most affordable places to live in Europe has given you some food for thought. We want you to see that moving to Europe and escaping the US is not just a pipe dream. It’s a real possibility! Make sure to do your research into these locations before you take the plunge, but with a bit more knowledge, you could be moving to Europe sooner than you think.

If you want more information on how to move abroad, check out our resources:

Share this post

Leave a Reply