20 Best European Cities To Live For Expats


Are you searching for the best European cities for expats? Look no further. Our guide provides a straightforward rundown of the top cities where job markets are booming, costs of living match your budget, and expat communities welcome you. Whether you prioritize career growth, cultural experiences, or an affordable lifestyle, this list empowers you with the information needed to make an informed move.

Key Takeaways

  • London is a diverse metropolis with thriving job opportunities across various industries, high standards for minimum wages, and a vibrant cultural scene.
  • Porto provides a comfortable coastal living experience with affordable prices, a supportive expat community, and a variety of activities and attractions.
  • Stockholm combines economic prosperity, a high standard of living, and ample opportunities for English speakers while emphasizing public service, safety, and quality of life.

1. London, United Kingdom: A Diverse and Vibrant Metropolis

London, the capital city of the United Kingdom, is a city that never sleeps. It’s a place where history and modernity collide, where every street corner tells a story. It’s one of the largest and most cosmopolitan cities in the world, offering a wealth of cultural experiences that attract expats from across the globe.

From the iconic London Eye to the bustling city center, from the charming Notting Hill to the historic Tower of London, the city offers a diverse culture and a vibrant atmosphere that is hard to resist.

Job Opportunities in London

London’s job market is thriving if you’re a professional looking to advance your career. The city is home to numerous international companies, offering a wide range of employment opportunities. Whether you’re an expert in consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, finance, or even if you’re starting, there’s a place for you in this city.

With London’s adherence to annually updated national minimum wage standards, you can expect competitive salaries that can make your expat life comfortable and rewarding, including the average monthly wage.

2. Porto, Portugal: Coastal Living with Affordable Prices

If a coastal city is more your style, then Porto, Portugal, might be your place. Known for its charming ambiance and breathtaking coastal beauty, Porto offers a more relaxed alternative to the hustle and bustle of the big cities. But don’t let its size fool you. Despite being smaller than other European cities, Porto has a lot to offer and is considered one of the best European destinations.

From its vibrant expat community to its affordable living costs, this city promises a lifestyle that is as comfortable as it is exciting.

Cost of Living in Porto

One of the most attractive aspects of living in Porto is its affordability. Here are some examples of the cost of living in Porto:

  • Renting a room can be as low as €450 (approximately $480)
  • Renting a studio apartment may reach up to €1,340 (approximately $1,430)
  • The average price of buying property is approximately €3,387 (around $3,600) per square meter

These prices are significantly lower than those of other European coastal cities, making Porto an ideal destination for expats looking for a budget-friendly lifestyle.

But the affordability doesn’t stop at housing. The cost of utilities in Porto is also reasonable, with average monthly expenses ranging from €105 to €200 (approximately $112 to $214). This covers everything from electricity, heating, and water to services like internet and TV. As for groceries, residents typically spend between €150 to €200 (approximately $160 to $214) per month, depending on their preferences. Even public transportation is economical, with a single journey costing €1.20 (approximately $1.28) and monthly passes priced between €30 to €40 (approximately $32 to $43).

Living in Porto, a beautiful port city, you can enjoy the perks of city life without breaking the bank.

Expat Community in Porto

Living in a new country can be daunting, but in Porto, you’ll never feel alone. The city boasts a growing expat community where cultures converge and friendships flourish. Cultural venues like museums, galleries, and theaters provide excellent networking opportunities.

The city’s numerous food festivals, celebrating everything from wine to oysters, offer unique occasions for expats to meet and bond over shared interests. So whether you’re a young professional, a digital nomad, or a retiree, you’ll find a warm welcome and an instant sense of belonging in Porto.

Activities and Attractions in Porto

But life in Porto isn’t just about work and socializing. The city also offers many activities and attractions to keep you entertained. With its rich historical ambiance and stunning architecture, Porto is a city that’s just waiting to be explored. As a central part of Porto’s social fabric, the city’s wine culture offers expats a chance to explore Portugal’s famous wine heritage.

And if you’re the outdoorsy type, you’ll be pleased to know that outdoor activities in Porto are not only abundant but also budget-friendly. From dining options like ‘menu do dia’ to affordable gym memberships, there’s never a dull moment in this vibrant city.

3. Stockholm, Sweden: Booming Economy and English-Speaking Opportunities

If you’re looking for a city that combines economic prosperity with a high quality of life, look no further than Stockholm, Sweden. Despite the cold winters, Stockholm boasts a booming economy, a thriving job market, and a high standard of living. The city’s strategic approach to economic progress through local engagement and administrative collaboration has resulted in sustainable growth, unity, and equal opportunities for all residents.

And if you’re an English speaker, you’ll find ample employment opportunities here, making Stockholm an ideal destination for expats.

Job Opportunities in Stockholm

In Stockholm, job opportunities are as diverse as they are abundant. The city hosts a wide range of industries, providing job openings for English speakers in fields such as:

  • technology
  • personal assistance
  • finance
  • education, including international schools

Major companies, such as tech start-ups, customer support associates, and financial institutions, are always looking for skilled professionals.

With the establishment of a youth tech center in a less affluent district, the city is also making technology and education accessible to all, especially the younger generations, connecting the community with ICT companies and providing valuable employment opportunities.

Quality of Life in Stockholm

But work isn’t the only thing that makes Stockholm attractive to expats. The city also strongly emphasizes quality of life. Stockholm bolsters its public services with a dedicated social investment fund to improve employment and boost adult educational opportunities, especially for less-trained people. The city’s focus on safety and urban design further contributes to the well-being of its citizens, making Stockholm one of the safest capital cities in Europe.

In Stockholm, residents enjoy:

  • a high standard of housing, complete with modern amenities and regular maintenance services
  • a strong sense of work-life balance, supported by ample vacation time and a culture that values family life
  • accessible and affordable healthcare services, albeit with a little patience required for non-Swedish speakers to navigate the system

Overall, the quality of life in Stockholm is hard to beat, making it a top choice for many expats.

Winter Lifestyle in Stockholm

Let’s not forget about Stockholm’s unique winter lifestyle. The city often experiences sunny, snowy days during the long winters, providing perfect conditions for winter sports. Residents and expats alike take advantage of the winter season by participating in skiing, ice skating, and sledding. With an abundance of parks and open spaces in this green city, outdoor winter activities are not only abundant but also accessible.

So, if you’re someone who loves the cold and enjoys outdoor activities, Stockholm is the place to be.

4. Vienna, Austria: Ornate Beauty and Liberal Atmosphere

If you’re an art and architecture enthusiast, Vienna, Austria, is the city for you. Celebrated for its beautiful cityscape adorned with ornate buildings, Vienna is a visually stunning city that will capture your heart. But beyond its physical beauty, Vienna offers:

  • an open-minded and liberal atmosphere
  • a diverse and multicultural community
  • a thriving arts and culture scene
  • a high quality of life
  • excellent public transportation

All of these factors make Vienna an appealing destination for expatriates from all over the world.

So, whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or just someone looking for a friendly and liberal city, Vienna has something for everyone.

Cultural Experiences in Vienna

Vienna is both a historic and a modern city. It is steeped in history and has a myriad of historical sites, including a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that expats can explore to connect with the city’s past. From grand palaces to ancient cathedrals, Vienna’s heritage is a testament to its rich history. But it’s not all about the past.

The city’s museums offer diverse cultural experiences, ranging from classical art to modern exhibitions. And let’s not forget about Vienna’s rich music scene. From classical operas to contemporary performances, there’s always something to enjoy, no matter your musical preference. And with the city’s excellent public transportation system, these cultural experiences are just a short ride away.

Expat Community in Vienna

Vienna hosts a vibrant expat community where newcomers are warmly welcomed and quickly integrated into the local culture. This community is fostered through numerous social groups and networking events, where expats can connect and build lasting relationships. Whether you’re attending a cultural event at a museum or gallery or bonding over shared interests at a food festival, these gatherings provide a platform for support and networking among international residents in Vienna.

So, if you’re considering moving to Vienna, you can rest assured that you’ll find a supportive and vibrant community waiting to welcome you in this welcoming country.

Cost of Living in Vienna

While Vienna offers a high standard of living, it does so at a reasonable cost. In comparison to other major European cities, the cost of living in Vienna is relatively affordable. Here are some examples of the reasonable prices in Vienna:

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Groceries
  • Transportation

These affordable prices make Vienna an attractive choice for expats.

Even though cash is still widely used in Austria, many establishments are beginning to accept card payments, adding to the convenience of living in this city. So, if you’re looking for a city that offers a great quality of life without breaking the bank, Vienna could be the perfect choice.

5. Bordeaux, France: Wine Country Living with a Focus on Food

If you’re a food and wine lover, then Bordeaux, France, is the city for you. Located in a picturesque wine country, Bordeaux offers a relaxed atmosphere and a lifestyle centered around gastronomy. This city is a haven for foodies and wine connoisseurs, with a culinary scene that celebrates local specialties and innovative gastronomy, and a wine culture that is second to none.

So, if you’re looking for a city where you can indulge your taste buds and enjoy the finer things in life, Bordeaux is worth considering.

Culinary Scene in Bordeaux

In Bordeaux, food and wine are more than just a part of life – they’re a way of life. The city’s culinary scene is as diverse as it is delicious, with local specialties like canelés, entrecôte à la bordelaise, and Gâteau des Rois taking center stage. But it’s not just about traditional dishes. Bordeaux also celebrates innovative gastronomy with unique methods like the Eclade technique for barbecuing mussels.

And for wine lovers, a visit to Bordeaux would not be complete without a tour of the scenic vineyards. Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or a curious beginner, the city’s wine tours offer an intimate experience of Bordeaux’s wine-making excellence.

Outdoor Activities in Bordeaux

Living in Bordeaux is not just about food and wine. The region near Bordeaux provides opportunities for a range of outdoor activities. With the Atlantic coast within easy reach, you can enjoy beach outings and indulge in various watersports.

So, whether you’re a sun worshipper, a water sports enthusiast, or just someone who loves the great outdoors, Bordeaux has got you covered.

Job Opportunities in Bordeaux

As a city known for its wine and gastronomy, it’s no surprise that Bordeaux’s job market offers numerous opportunities related to these sectors. From wine tours that highlight the local food, wine, and cultural heritage to roles in the wine production industry that promote the region’s vineyards and wine-making expertise, there are plenty of ways to turn your passion for food and wine into a career.

But it’s not just about wine and food. Bordeaux’s job market also extends to the education sector, offering opportunities for professionals in this field. So, whether you’re a wine expert, a culinary enthusiast, or an education professional, Bordeaux has a place for you.

6. Zurich, Switzerland: High Quality of Life with a Price Tag

Zurich, Switzerland, is a European city that offers a high quality of life, but it comes with a high price tag. As the most expensive city in Europe, Zurich is not for those on a tight budget. From the cost of housing and utilities to groceries and public transportation, everything in Zurich comes with a premium price tag. While it may not be among the best European cities for budget travelers, its high quality of life is undeniable.

But despite the high cost of living, many expats are drawn to Zurich for its high standard of living, its pristine environment, and its high wages. So, if you’re someone who values quality over cost, Zurich might be the city for you.

7. Munich, Germany: Safety and Nightlife in a Historic City

Munich, Germany, offers a mix of rich history and modernity backed by a strong economy. Known for its safety and vibrant nightlife, Munich is a city that knows how to work hard and play hard. Whether you’re exploring the city’s historical landmarks during the day or immersing yourself in its lively nightlife scene after dark, Munich is a city that never fails to impress.

From its bustling beer gardens to its enchanting Christmas markets, Munich offers a lifestyle that is as exciting as it is safe.

8. Copenhagen, Denmark: Happiness and High Wages

If happiness is a priority for you, then Copenhagen, Denmark, might be your ideal city. Known for its high happiness score, Copenhagen is a city where contentment is a way of life. But that’s not all. The city also offers high average wages, making it an attractive option for expats searching for better remuneration in their careers.

And let’s not forget about work-life balance. In Copenhagen, a healthy work-life balance is not just encouraged – it’s a part of the culture. So, if you’re looking for a city that values happiness, high wages, and a balanced lifestyle, consider making Copenhagen your new home.

9. Prague, Czech Republic: Affordable Living and Rich Culture

In contrast to the high cost of living in cities like Zurich and Prague, the Czech Republic offers an affordable alternative for expats. Known for its low cost of living, Prague allows you to enjoy a European lifestyle without the hefty price tag. From cheap rent to low overall living costs, Prague offers a lifestyle that is as budget-friendly as it is comfortable.

And it’s not just about affordability. Prague also boasts a rich cultural scene, adding to its appeal for expats from around the world.

10. Helsinki, Finland: Safety and Work-Life Balance

Safety and work-life balance are two things that Helsinki, Finland, does exceptionally well. With a safety score of 75.21 out of 100 and Finland’s position as the world’s happiest country, it’s no wonder that many expats are drawn to this city. But it’s not just about safety and happiness.

Helsinki also offers a high quality of life, focusing on family welfare and social benefits. From its extensive paid holidays and generous family leave policies to its affordable public childcare, Helsinki ensures a well-rounded family welfare system.

11. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Canals, Culture, and Creative Spirit

If you’re looking for a city that’s as open-minded as it is beautiful, consider Amsterdam, Netherlands. Known for its tolerant culture, beautiful canals, and vibrant arts scene, Amsterdam is a city that embraces diversity and creativity.

Whether you’re cruising along the city’s famous canals, reveling in its vibrant arts scene, or just enjoying the friendly atmosphere, Amsterdam offers a lifestyle that is as relaxed as it is stimulating.

So if you’re an expat looking for a city that values freedom, creativity, and diversity, Amsterdam could be the perfect fit for you.

12. Berlin, Germany: Where History Meets Innovation

Berlin, Germany, is a city that’s as diverse as it is dynamic. Known for its rich history, vibrant nightlife, and affordable living costs, Berlin offers a lifestyle that’s as varied as its residents. Whether you’re exploring the city’s historic landmarks, enjoying its diverse culinary scene, or just soaking up its dynamic atmosphere, Berlin is a city that’s full of surprises.

13. Geneva, Switzerland: Global Living with Alpine Charm

If high salaries and picturesque landscapes sound appealing to you, then Geneva, Switzerland, might be your ideal city. Known for its high salaries, Geneva is a city that values its workforce. But it’s not just about the money. Geneva also offers picturesque landscapes that are sure to take your breath away.

From its stunning lakes to its majestic mountains, Geneva is a city that’s as beautiful as it is prosperous. With a global community as diverse as its landscape, Geneva offers a cosmopolitan lifestyle that’s hard to resist.

14. Madrid, Spain: Vibrant Culture and Endless Sunshine

If you’re a fan of warm climates and rich history, then Spanish cities like Madrid, Spain, could be the city for you. Known for its lively atmosphere, rich history, and vibrant nightlife, Madrid is a city that’s always buzzing with energy.

Whether you’re exploring the city’s historical landmarks, soaking up the sun in one of its many parks, or just enjoying the vibrant nightlife, Madrid offers a lifestyle that’s as warm as its climate. So, if you’re an expat looking for a city with a mix of history, culture, and a lively atmosphere, Madrid is worth considering.

15. Lisbon, Portugal: Coastal Charm and Bohemian Vibes

If affordability and beautiful weather are high on your list, then Lisbon, Portugal, might be your city. Known for its affordability, beautiful weather, and friendly locals, Lisbon is a city that’s as welcoming as it is beautiful.

Whether you’re strolling along its picturesque streets, soaking up the sun on its beautiful beaches, or just enjoying the friendly atmosphere, Lisbon offers a lifestyle that’s as relaxed as it is affordable. So, if you’re an expat looking for a city that offers a mix of affordability, beautiful weather, and a friendly community, Lisbon could be the perfect fit for you.

16. Barcelona, Spain: Where Art, Architecture, and Beaches Converge

If you’re a beach lover with a cosmopolitan spirit, then Barcelona, Spain, might be your ideal cosmopolitan city. Known for its beautiful beaches and cosmopolitan atmosphere, Barcelona is a city that offers the best of both worlds.

Whether you’re sunbathing on its beautiful beaches, exploring its bustling city center, or just enjoying the cosmopolitan lifestyle, Barcelona offers a lifestyle that’s as dynamic as it is relaxing. If you’re an expatriate in search of a locale that perfectly blends the allure of beachside serenity with an urban, cosmopolitan vibe, Barcelona might be your ideal destination.

17. Oslo, Norway: Nature’s Playground in the Heart of Scandinavia

If you’re a nature lover with a taste for adventure, then Oslo, Norway, might be the city for you. Known for its strong economy, stunning fjords, and outdoor activities, Oslo is a city that’s as adventurous as it is prosperous.

Whether you’re exploring its stunning fjords, taking part in its numerous outdoor activities, or just enjoying the strong economy, Oslo offers a lifestyle that’s as exciting as it is prosperous.

If you’re an expatriate seeking a blend of outdoor adventure and a robust economy, Oslo might be your ideal match.

18. Dublin, Ireland: Where History, Music, and Hospitality Meet

If you’re a sociable person who values a strong job market, then Dublin, Ireland, could be the city for you. Known for its strong job market, lively pubs, and friendly locals, Dublin is a city that’s as welcoming as it is prosperous.

Whether you’re exploring job opportunities, enjoying a pint in one of its many pubs, or just enjoying the friendly atmosphere, Dublin offers a lifestyle that’s as sociable as it is prosperous. If you’re an expatriate seeking a locale that perfectly blends a robust job market with a vibrant social scene, Dublin might be your ideal destination.

19. Brussels, Belgium: Multicultural Hub at the Heart of Europe

If you’re a professional looking for international exposure, then Brussels, Belgium, could be the city for you. Known as a hub of many international institutions, Brussels is a city that’s as diverse as it is international. Whether you’re working in one of its international organizations, enjoying its diverse population, or just enjoying the international atmosphere, Brussels offers a lifestyle that’s as diverse as it is international.

So, if you’re an expat looking for a city that offers a mix of international exposure and a diverse community, Brussels could be just the place for you.

20. Hamburg, Germany: Maritime Heritage and Modern Sophistication

If you’re a culture lover with a taste for maritime life, then Hamburg, Germany, could be the city for you. Known for its maritime heritage, strong economy, and diverse cultural offerings, Hamburg is a city that’s as cultural as it is maritime.

Whether you’re exploring its maritime heritage, enjoying its strong economy, or just enjoying the diverse cultural offerings, Hamburg offers a lifestyle that’s as cultural as it is maritime. So, if you’re an expat looking for a city that offers a mix of maritime life, a strong economy, and diverse cultural offerings, Hamburg could be the perfect fit for you.

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Whether you’re moving to the bustling streets of Berlin or the serene landscapes of Porto, we tailor our services to meet your specific needs, ensuring a smooth transition. With years of experience in international relocations, we understand the complexities of customs and regulations, simplifying the process for you in cities like Amsterdam and Brussels. UPakWeShip guarantees the safe handling and delivery of your belongings, providing peace of mind whether you’re heading to Dublin’s lively neighborhoods or Copenhagen’s bike-friendly streets.

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Europe is home to a multitude of cities that offer unique experiences and lifestyles for expats. From the historic charm of London and the coastal beauty of Porto to the booming economy of Stockholm, the ornate beauty of Vienna, and the wine-country living of Bordeaux, there’s a city for every taste and preference.

Regardless of whether you’re looking for a city with a vibrant job market, a relaxed coastal city, a city with a booming economy, a city with ornate beauty, or a city in the heart of wine country, Europe has something to offer you. So why wait? Start planning your European adventure today with UPakWeShip!

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