Quality of life: Which European countries are best for expats? (2023)

The UK is one of the most expensive countries in the world with an average cost of living of £1,461 (€1,652) per month.

So it’s no surprise that 1 in 10 British people move abroad to look for a better quality of life. They make up 8 per cent of the world’s digital nomad population.

In fact, northern Europeans make up a large proportion of remote workers, with many Germans, Swiss and Scandinavian workers choosing to work while they travel.

If you want to join them but aren’t sure where to go, this list is for you.

Online learning platform Laba looked at the cost of living, rent and quality of life indexes as well as tax rates of all European countries that offer digital nomad visas. The ranking uses data site Numbeo’s quality of life index which looks at factors like pollution, safety, health and climate to give each country a score.

With this data, they have put together a list of the best destinations Brtis can move to for roughly the same quality of life - or better - at a much lower cost.

7. Wine and pizza in Italy

It will cost you around €1,120 a month on average to live in Italy. And you’ll take most of your paycheck home too with relatively fair taxes for digital nomads at 5 per cent.

You can watch sunsets over the Mediterranean Sea while enjoying the sun and warm weather - and adding money to your savings account.

It has a quality of life index of 141 - just below the UK’s 166 - but with more sun and warm weather you’re unlikely to notice a difference.

Italy hasn’t yet officially introduced its digital nomad visa despite signing it into law last year so you might have to wait until the details are finalised if you want to go. Here’s the visas that are available now.

  • EU Blue Cards: Are you eligible for this work permit and how can you apply?
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(Video) 10 Best Countries to Live and Work in Europe

6. Work from one of Europe’s greenest countries: Latvia

The cost of living in Latvia is around €787 a month - the lowest on this list. And this significant drop in expenses comes with only a very minor drop in quality of life with an index of 153 versus 166 in the UK.

Digital nomads pay taxes of 15 per cent and freelancers and remote workers can stay there for a year.

Winters are a lot colder than some of the other options and you’ll probably have to learn some Latvian to get by. But if you are looking for something a bit different from big cities or beaches and fancy the challenge of learning a new language then this could be the option for you.

Quality of life: Which European countries are best for expats? (1)

5. For the best after-work beers: Czech Republic

Czech Republic’s vibrant capital city Prague is already popular with expats. It has low living costs and well-maintained infrastructure that make it appealing to those looking to live abroad.

It will cost you on average €924 a month to live in Czech Republic and digital nomads pay taxes of 15 per cent. This is obviously likely to vary depending on where you choose to live and be wary that living in the big cities will come with a higher price tag.

It’s still likely to be cheaper than living in London, however and Czech Republic’s quality of life index score is 164 so roughly the same as the UK.

(Video) 10 Countries With Best Quality of Life in 2023 – Updated

You can stay for up to a year on a digital nomad visa but there is a chance to extend your time beyond that if you fall in love with the country.

  • Want to move to Europe? Here are all the countries where you can apply for a digitalnomadvisa

4. Take advantage of Spain’s new digital nomad visa

Spain has a significantly higher quality of life index score than the UK at 174 and is around €566 a month cheaper when it comes to the cost of living.

It’ll set you back on average €1,045 a month to live there, so on the high side for this list. But worth it for the incredible climate, beautiful beaches and vibrant culture. If you are looking for a destination where working remotely will feel like a holiday, then Spain could be the choice for you.

The country just introduced its digital nomad visa earlier this year which gives non-EU nationals the chance to live and work there for up to five years. Taxes come in at 24 per cent for digital nomads.

Quality of life: Which European countries are best for expats? (2)
(Video) Top 15 European countries with the highest quality of life (Most liveable)

3. Enjoy 300 days of sunshine a year in Portugal

Portugal’s warm weather, incredible beaches and high quality of life have made it a top destination for digital nomads. High-speed internet and a blossoming tech scene help too.

The cost of living in this country is around €897 per month and if your income comes from a foreign company, you won’t pay any tax. Any money earned in the country is subject to a 20 per cent tax - still lower than the 48 per cent rate that is standard in Portugal.

Its quality of life index is roughly the same as the UK at 164 but you’ll find high speed internet, efficient public transport and good infrastructure. From the busy city of Lisbon to the beautiful, rugged beaches of the Silver Coast, there’s something for everyone.

Portugal’s digital nomad visa offers you the chance to stay for up to one year.

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2. Sweat your stress away in Estonia’s saunas

Estonia offers a good balance between high quality of life and a low cost of living for digital nomads. It’ll set you back around €936 a month to stay here but you’ll pay no taxes for the first six months meaning your paycheck will go a bit further.

This welcoming environment for remote workers also sees the country offer an e-Residency programme. This allows entrepreneurs to start and manage an EU-based company remotely.

The country has a higher quality of life than the UK with an index score of 174. Its rich history and stunning natural landscapes mean there’ll be plenty to explore after you log off for the day. Sauna culture in Estonia dates back to the 13th century meaning it will be hard to return home without having tried it out.

Estonia’s digital nomad visa allows you to stay in the country for up to a year but, unlike others on this list, there isn’t a chance to extend it beyond this.

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1. Work from Croatia’s stunning coastlines

Croatia is tax-free for digital nomads and has monthly living costs of €822 on average. These factors combined are why it comes out at the top of the list.

Its quality of life index score is 163, roughly the same as the UK meaning Brits will feel right at home - but with a bit more sunshine.

Quality of life: Which European countries are best for expats? (3)

Visitors come from all over the world to see Croatia’s thousands of kilometres of coastline, incredible ancient cities and vibrant culture. There are around 2,700 hours of sun a year and in summer temperatures rarely drop below 20C.

The capital city Zagreb is one of the most popular places for digital nomads with a growing number of co-working spaces where you can make friends.

Digital nomads can stay for six months to a year and you’ll have to work for a company outside of the country to apply.



Quality of life: Which European countries are best for expats? ›

Spain. There are numerous reasons why, for many American expats, Spain tops the list of best countries in Europe to live in. For a start, the country boasts a diverse and rich culture and quality of life, with something to offer everyone.

Which European country has the best quality of life? ›

2023 Best countries in Europe to live in
RANKINGCountryQuality of life score (Higher is better)
11 more rows
Mar 24, 2023

What is the easiest country in Europe to be an expat? ›

The easiest country for obtaining a residence permit in Europe is Portugal. There are options like a D7 visa for financially independent persons, a StartUp visa, a visa for retired persons, and the Golden Visa for investors.

Which European country has the most American expats? ›

United Kingdom: European Country with the most US expats.

Is it cheaper to live in Europe or America? ›

Overall, Europe has a lower cost of living due to lower healthcare expenses, a weakening euro currency, and low inflation. Europeans, however, tend to pay more of their income to taxes, and average wages tend to be lower than in America.

Is quality of life better in Europe than US? ›

Quality of life: European countries offer shorter working weeks, longer holidays, and a greater focus on work-life balance. This emphasis on quality of life is one of the biggest advantages that Europe has over the US.

What is the best European country to move to as an American? ›

If you can handle the cold, Germany and the Netherlands are two of the most popular countries for expats, both offering international communities and unique residency options. Switzerland: Although many European countries offer a better quality of life than the U.S., Switzerland takes the cake.

Which European countries are easiest for Americans to move to? ›

Depending on your preferences, some of the best countries in Europe to move to are Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, and Malta. With warmer climates, friendly people, and a more relaxed way of life, these places are favorites for America's citizens to relocate to.

Where is the best place for Americans to live in Europe? ›

20+ Best Places To Live In Europe For Expats & Nomads
  • Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Porto, Portugal.
  • London, England.
  • Barcelona, Spain.
  • Mykonos, Greece.
  • Antwerp, Netherland.
  • Cork, Ireland.
  • Manchester, England.
Jan 4, 2023

What country are most US citizens moving to? ›

Where are people going?
  • 40% opt for the Western hemisphere — Canada, Central and South America.
  • 26% move to Europe.
  • 14% head to East Asia and the Pacific — think Australia and New Zealand as well as China and Japan.
  • 14% head to the Middle East.
  • 3% travel to Central or South Asia.
  • 3% choose Africa.

What countries allow US expats? ›

Greece, Cyprus, Andorra, Portugal, the Caribbean and Malta are among the most favourable places for US expats.

What country has most American expats? ›

The top three countries for American expats are Mexico, Canada, and the United Kingdom, which are all popular for their proximity to the States and lower cost of living.

What is the unfriendliest country in the world? ›

Bolivia was ranked the unfriendliest country for travelers in the World Economic Forum report. The category 'Attitude of population toward foreign visitors' is just one of many used to rank countries in the new Travel and Tourism Competitive Index. Bolivia ranked 110th out of 140 countries in the overall index results.

What is the number 1 place for expats? ›

In the Expat City Ranking 2022, the top 3 destinations — Valencia, Dubai, and Mexico City — all do very well when it comes to the ease of settling in. Among the bottom 3, on the other hand, financial concerns and administrative hurdles make life abroad difficult.

What is the friendliest country in Europe? ›

1. Ireland. Countless global reports have continually dubbed the people of Ireland as some of the friendliest and most welcoming to visitors in the world, and our readers feel the same; voting it into the top spot for the friendliest countries in Europe.

Is it hard for an American to move to Europe? ›

Yes, US citizens can move to Europe, but how easy it would be depends on which European country you want to live in. Every country has its own immigration rules. You'll need either a work permit (for a job in your target country), or another kind of residence visa.

What European country has the lowest cost of living? ›

Lithuania is often touted as one of the cheapest countries in Europe, and for good reason. Expenses like food, transportation, and utilities are relatively low, and rental prices are reasonable. That said, there are a few potential downsides to living in Lithuania as a remote worker on a US or UK salary.

Can I buy a house in Europe as an American? ›

Yes, US citizens can purchase property in Europe. In fact, many US citizens are purchasing property in Europe in recent times due to the soaring dollar and rising interest rates, which have made American buys splurge on real estate acquisition across all of Europe as property prices have decreased respectively.

What are the downsides of living in Europe? ›

The downsides include a large distance between you and your U.S. family and friends, making in-person visits challenging; a different culture that may take time to get used to as “busy” Americans; language and cultural barriers; and increased taxes, as you may have to pay taxes in both the United States and Europe.

What is the #1 country in the world for quality of life? ›


Switzerland's ranking is assured by factors such as the economy, stable policy, and a well-developed public education system.

What country has the best value of life? ›

1. Sweden. Sweden is the top country in 2022 best quality of life rankings. The country stands out in the ranking of quality of life for health systems and well-developed public education, security, economic stability, and politics.

Which European country is easiest to retire in? ›

The best retirement destination in Europe would be the one that offers you the most benefits as a resident, and retiree. Countries including Portugal, Spain, Malta, Turkey, Italy, and Greece.

What is the best climate in Europe to live in? ›

#1 Portugal. Portugal has some of the mildest weather in all of Europe with wet, temperate winters and dry, warm to hot summers, depending on location. Bordered by over 1,100 miles of Atlantic coastline the country has a mild Mediterranean climate with some variations throughout.

What is the most American city in Europe? ›

Originally Answered: What is the most 'American' city in Europe? There is no american city in europe but can likely find Kaiserslautern in germany Germany. It's the location of many American military bases, and over the decades it's become very Americanized.

Where expats struggle most to get started? ›

All top three destinations, Bahrain (1st), the UAE (2nd), and Singapore (3rd), offer easy communication with the lack of a language barrier, while also posing minimal bureaucratic issues. On the other hand, expats struggle the most with getting started in Germany (52nd), Japan (51st), and China (50th).

Where expats struggle most to get settled? ›

Meanwhile, the bottom three countries where expats struggle to get settled in include Germany, Japan and China due to difficult language barriers and a challenging digital infrastructure, Internations says.

How long can a US citizen stay in Europe? ›

With a valid U.S. passport, you can stay up to 90 days for tourism or business during any 180-day period. Do not overstay! You must wait an additional 90 days before applying to re-enter the Schengen area. To stay longer than 90 days, you must have a visa.

Is Europe safer than the US to live? ›

Yes, Europe is typically safer than the USA. In fact, 13 of the world's top 20 safest countries are located in Europe. In contrast, the United States ranks in 129th place on the latest Global Peace Index. That's lower than Egypt, Zimbabwe, and Republic of the Congo.

What country is the easiest to move to from US? ›

Canada often considered one of the easiest countries to immigrate to from the US. The country has a high standard of living and a strong economy, making it a popular destination for many immigrants.

Why are Americans moving to Portugal? ›

The attractiveness of Portugal and Spain is easy to explain: the average income in the United States is much higher than in these European countries, making them excellent destinations for American expatriates to live as retirees while maintaining a high standard of living.

What are the top 3 countries that are currently sending immigrants to the United States? ›

What are the most common countries of origin for new permanent immigrants? The top six countries of birth for new LPRs in FY 2021 were Mexico (14 percent), India (13 percent), mainland China (7 percent), the Philippines (4 percent), and the Dominican Republic and Cuba (3 percent apiece).

Is Spain or Portugal better for expats? ›

Portugal is smaller in population, and the area offers more advantages to expats as compared to Spain. Affordable living, residency, easy access to social activities, and a pleasant year-round climate make Portugal preferable to Spain. However, each person has their own experience and perspective on the two countries.

Do US expats have to pay taxes to the US? ›

1. Do expats pay taxes? Yes, you file a U.S. tax return if you're a U.S. citizen and make over the general income threshold — regardless if you live abroad or Stateside.

Which country is best for American expat family? ›

French and German-speaking, Switzerland is always present in the rankings of the most favorable countries for a family expatriation. Switzerland is appreciated by expatriates for : Its security. Its quality of life.

Where should Americans move? ›

The 16 Best Countries for Americans Who Want to Live Abroad
  • Vietnam. Vietnam has one of the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia, with a rising middle-class, low crime rates, and a way, way low cost of living. ...
  • Spain. ...
  • Ghana. ...
  • Argentina. ...
  • Bermuda. ...
  • Germany. ...
  • South Korea. ...
  • New Zealand.
Jan 27, 2023

What is the average age of American expats? ›

The typical US American working abroad has some interesting characteristics. On average, they are 47.8 years old, which is more than four years older than the average age among working expats (43.1 years globally).

What percentage of expats return to the US? ›

Just over 4% of expats returned home after a year.

Which country is not friendly to foreigners? ›

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have been polled as the world's least friendly countries, according to a survey carried out by expatriate website InterNations.

Which country has the most friendliest people? ›

French Polynesia. The friendliest country in the world according to you, our readers, is French Polynesia, a collection of more than 100 islands in the South Pacific. The mild climate makes it a year-round destination, and the locals here are only too happy to accommodate.

Which country has the nicest people? ›

Here below is the list of the friendliest countries in the world.
  • South Africa. ...
  • Canada. ...
  • Thailand. ...
  • Scotland. ...
  • Ireland. ...
  • Fiji. ...
  • Laos. ...
  • Philippines. Comprised of about 7,000 beautiful islands, Philippines is home to an array of culturally rich experiences but various recreational activities as well.

Where are most expats in Europe? ›

Top 10 Expat Destinations in Europe in 2023
  • Madrid, Spain.
  • Tallinn, Estonia.
  • Barcelona, Spain.
  • Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Prague, Czech Republic.
  • Brussels, Belgium.
  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  • Berlin, Germany.
Jan 10, 2023

Where is the best place in the world to retire? ›

Countries Natixis ranked as secure retirement locations are mostly concentrated in Europe but also include New Zealand and Australia. The top three countries in the rankings are Norway, Switzerland and Iceland, all of which have life expectancies of 83 years, compared to 77 in the U.S. and the world average of 72.

Which US city has the most expats? ›

The United States is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world with a population of 332,000,000. The highest concentrations of expats live in New York, Washington D.C.—the nation's capital, and San Francisco in California.

Where are the happiest people in Europe? ›


What is the most humble country in Europe? ›

SPAIN is the country least likely to regard their culture as superior to others, a poll of 56,000 people in 34 European nations has found.

What is the best country in Europe to move to? ›

2023 Best countries in Europe to live in
RANKINGCountryQuality of life score (Higher is better)
11 more rows
Mar 24, 2023

Which European country is best to live and work? ›

top 5 countries in Europe to study and work
  1. Germany. Germany has remained consistently at the top of many lists for the past three years, and rightly so. ...
  2. The Netherlands. ...
  3. Spain. ...
  4. Norway. ...
  5. Switzerland.
Feb 17, 2023

Which EU country has the highest standard of living? ›

Top 10 Countries* with the Highest Quality of Life, early-2023 - Numbeo
  • Netherlands (196.7) Denmark (194.7) Switzerland (193.6) Luxembourg (192.9) Finland (190.5) Iceland (187.5) Austria (185.8) Oman (184.7) Australia (183.0) Norway (182.7)
  • *The full data for each list can be seen in the table further down this page.

Which country in Europe has the lowest crime rate? ›

Iceland. Consistently topping the Global Peace Index since 2008, Iceland is a Nordic island nation known as one of the world's happiest, safest, and most satisfied countries.

What is the most unhappy country in the world? ›

2021 World Happiness Report

It is followed by Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland and Netherlands. Afghanistan received the lowest score, with South Sudan and Rwanda just above it. In addition to country rankings, this is the second year that the World Happiness Report ranks cities.

What countries have a better quality of life than the US? ›

According to the Human Development Index, some countries provide a better quality of life than others. The Human Development Index (HDI) is calculated based on three main factors: life expectancy, education, and per capita income. In 2021, Switzerland was ranked first in the HDI, followed closely by Norway and Iceland.

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Europe? ›

The cost of living is among the biggest draws, and can be as low as $650 for those living on a budget, and scale up from there to $1,000 per month for a middle-class life, and $2,000 for a lot of luxury.

Where are the best salaries in Europe? ›

Luxembourg had the highest average annual wage in Europe in 2021, at approximately 75 thousand U.S. dollars, compared with Slovakia, which had an average annual salary of just over 24.7 thousand U.S dollars a year, the lowest among the countries provided in this statistic.

Which European countries speak most English? ›

What Countries Speak English in Europe?
No.CountryTotal English Speakers
1.United Kingdom67,532,058
2.Republic of Ireland4,973,061
34 more rows
Jan 13, 2023

Is Europe safer than USA? ›

Yes, Europe is typically safer than the USA. In fact, 13 of the world's top 20 safest countries are located in Europe. In contrast, the United States ranks in 129th place on the latest Global Peace Index. That's lower than Egypt, Zimbabwe, and Republic of the Congo.

Where is the safest place to move to in Europe? ›

Copenhagen, Denmark

According to the Safe Cities Index in 2021, Copenhagen is the safest city in Europe and in the world with a score of 82,4 out of 100. The crime rate has been among the lowest in a decade thanks to the preventive intervention and the strong local collaboration of schools, social services and police.

What is the safest Europe country? ›

The experts ranked Switzerland as the safest place to travel in Europe with a safety index score of 45, followed by three Nordic countries as follows: Iceland (47.4) Norway (47.9)


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