Moving To Europe: Most Expensive Cities For Living

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Moving to Europe is something most non-European people crave to experience. It seems like life on the old continent has some other vibe and dimension. No matter how big and rich the cities are, it looks like the lifestyle is very slow-paced in Europe, compared to the US and Asia. However, you need to keep in mind that many cities in Europe are very attractive tourist destinations and that impacts the cost of living significantly.

Cities like Paris, London, Rome, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Vienna are very expensive and the cost of living there largely exceeds the standard cost of living in Europe. If you are still up for moving to Europe and you want to experience life in some of the most popular European capitals then this post is for you!

Living In Europe’s Most Popular Capitals

Europe is a very attractive location for both visiting and living. A lot of digital nomads dream about moving to the old continent. Thanks to its rich history, diverse culinary scene, and wide variety of different cultures Europe was always an interesting destination among world travelers. However, your lifestyle will greatly depend on which of Europe’s capital you decide to call your home.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Netherlands is a country that offers a high quality of life which certainly comes with a price. Its capital city Amsterdam ranks nine as one of Europe’s most expensive cities. However, this doesn’t stop you to think about moving to Europe, more precisely to Amsterdam if you think that is the right place for you.

Life in Amsterdam is generally calmer and duller than most people might expect. Away from the areas that are crowded with tourists, this city is a mostly slow-paced, very safe, and family-friendly place. As many of you know, Amsterdam is full of canals which contribute greatly to the city’s charm.

You’ll love everything here, the parks, commuting by bike, fantastic museums, the food scene, numerous festivals, and constant events.  Amsterdam is the hub of culture in the Netherlands you’ll rarely leave Amsterdam while living in Amsterdam since there are always a lot of things to do and see there.

If you are a young family with small kids, you’ll love how family-oriented life in the Netherlands is. Here a working parent can take a day off or work from home so they can spend more quality time with their kids. However, that means you’ll need to keep the thing in order at all times. Here many places do not work late hours, or they work only on specific days, so running errands here must be thoroughly planned.

The cost of living in Amsterdam is higher than you probably expect. What many ex-pats say is how hard it is to find a decent apartment in Amsterdam, here you can read some useful tips and tricks that will prepare you for what might come. Anyhow, you’ll need to pay around $2,050 for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center with utilities and internet included in the price.

Madrid, Spain

Spain is one of those countries that most people have on their bucket list, just like Cuba, Italy, or France. There is something about the Spanish culture and lifestyle that is so hard to resist. This is a beautiful city full of picturesque streets, unique architecture, world-class universities, and rich history and culture.

Madrid is very well known for its art, here you’ll find some of the finest collections of Spanish and Latin American arts across the various museums and galleries. Living in Madrid means being able to experience the vibrant and amazing nightlife, many different cuisines (tapas food is very popular here), and meet a lot of new and friendly people. Spain in general is a foodie haven, and luckily food prices around here are quite affordable considering how expensive other things are. For instance groceries for a week of meals for one person will cost you around $60 to $70.

Even though it comes second to Barcelona as one of Spain’s most expensive cities for living, it is still compatible with ex-pats or digital nomads who are up for some adventure. Due to the high population in Madrid, property prices are high! The average price for a one-bedroom apartment in the city is $1,100 and up. While utilities circle $200, including the internet.

Vienna, Austria

Since recent research ranked Vienna as one of the world’s most livable cities in Europe a lot of digital nomads are considering relocation. Most people think that moving to Europe is reasonable since the quality of life there is pretty high yet more affordable than in States.

The quality of life here is high and this city is one of the safest cities across the continent, which is great if you are moving there with a family. The bad side of these “honors” is that housing prices in the city jumped up significantly.

Moving to Europe because of education is something that many students do. Especially in the countries where the educational system is exceptional and well-developed as Austria! The price of education here is extremely low for non-EU students, costing on average between $1,500 to $2,500 per year, while EU residents study here at no cost. The only condition is fluent German.

Vienna is a beautiful city full of gothic architecture, rich history, and art museums. Living here means you will enjoy easy access to world-class museums, theaters, opera houses, and many other cultural wonders. Since it is nestled in the Alps you’ll enjoy plenty of outdoor activities all year round. But the best thing about living in Vienna, and Austria in general, is the convenient location. You can easily visit any of the six bordering countries by train for an affordable price.

Vienna is ranked as the 21st most expensive city for living in the world! That means that affordable housing here is very rare. As a single person, you will need around $2,800 per month just to meet ends. The monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is at least $1,200 while utilities, including internet, will cost you an additional $250.

Rome, Italy

Italy is known as one of the top tourist hubs in Europe, however, a lot of people decide to move here after they visit this great country a few times. Cities like Venice, Palermo, Naples, Florence, Genoa, Trieste, Milano, and Rome will leave you breathless I can guarantee. It seems like everything is so beautiful here. However, that comes at a high price, Italy is very expensive for living in, especially if you plan to live in Rome.

When you live in Rome you can marvel at the ancient buildings and rich history of the city daily. Fresh salty air and mild climate are a big plus as well. Rome is one of the main cities in Italy, which influences the cost of living here greatly.

Are you moving to Europe in search of a new and exciting workplace? Well, the good news is that several international companies have their offices in Rome. Also, a lot of tourist attractions require international staff so job opportunities are plenty.

The Italians are very proud people and they prefer to speak their language even though they can speak English, so make sure you know the basics before moving here. Rome is a living art and historic museum. A number of galleries, museums, statues, and cultural sites are in abundance, you will need a lot of time to visit them all. The first thing you need to visit as a new resident of Rome is the Roman Colosseum.

Most apartments within Rome’s central business district are pretty small which is great for a young couple or single person. However, if you are moving here with a family you’ll need to check suburban areas for more specious housing. The average price of the one-bedroom apartment here is approximately $1,300, plus the utility expenses of $230. A great thing is that Rome isn’t too large so a lot of things you can do by foot and save up some money on gas at least.

Milan, Italy

We are still in Italy since it would be a real shame to not mention at least one more city where you can find your permanent address. Located in northern Italy, Milan is one of the best cities as well as one of Europe’s most expensive cities as well. Everything is located here. From fantastic fashion, over a great culinary scene, to historic architectural designs.

Let’s not forget how Italians are passionate about football! Two of the greatest soccer clubs in Italy, are located here – AC Milan, and Inter Milan so you can expect a lot of tourists during the season. Also, traffic during the tourist season is insane so if you don’t need to drive don’t!

Milan is the commercial center of Italy which is great for a jo market but bad for your budget. However, great opportunities always come at a higher cost. Milan isn’t so glorious as Rome yet the architecture of this city is still marvelous. Duomo di Milano and Piazza del Duomo are two main cultural monuments you need to visit.

There are so many things to do in Milan you can visit Milano Film Festival or the world-famous Milano Fashion Week if you are a big fashionista. A lot of people who are working in the fashion industry spend some time with their carriers right here. If you may be considering studying fashion this is the best place to do it.

All that I mentioned above impacts the cost and quality of life. The cost of living in Milan is very high, a single person will need at least $2,500 of income to live a comfortable life here. Monthly rent for a one-bedroom furnished apartment will cost you at least $1,100, depending on the neighborhood.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is the perfect city for ex-pats, digital nomads, and people who always wanted to experience an authentic Spain lifestyle. Moving to one of the largest cities in Spain will cost you a lot. Barcelona compared to Madrid is more expensive since this is the commercial and economical center of this country. However, that is a good thing at the same time since there are a lot of job opportunities for native English speakers.

You will probably love everything that Barcelona has to offer you. From the fantastic architecture, their food culture, sports scene, and sandy beaches. There is always some event that you can attend, or some sports game you can watch. There is never a dull moment in this city.

When you want to take a break from big city life you can visit Gràcia Village and relax for a day or two. With the Pyrenees up the road, you know where you will spend your winter holidays. While the summer is reserved for the Costa Brava coastline, and the beautiful countryside of Catalonia. Weekend trips to Madrid or Valencia are very common here.

The cost of living in Barcelona is high by Europe’s standards, however, if you work from home and if your income is rated as good in the States, you can live a nice life in Barcelona. A nice one-bedroom apartment in a neighborhood close to the city center will cost you approximately $1,600 with utilities. The food prices are pretty low since Spain produces most of its food.

Bern, Switzerland

Switzerland’s capital city is a very popular choice among ex-pats and retirees who decide that moving to Europe is just what they need. Moreover, more than 30% of locals living in this German-speaking city are resident foreigners. Therefore the cost of living in Bern fluctuates very often. The prices are high, and they constantly jump, but the quality of life here is excellent.

This city is very safe, quiet, relatively small (no need to drive around), and home to some of the most successful international companies. Also, if you are willing to move here because of education make sure you do that. Bern is well known across the continent for its top-rated educational institutions and programs. It is also well-located in the center of the country, about halfway between Zurich and Geneva.

There are plenty of things to keep you nice and busy in the city. Bern is home to some world-class museums, such as the Naturhistorisches Museum Bern and the Museum of Communication. The best you can do here is to enjoy the great outdoors. In summer, you can head down to the majestic River Aare, here, you’ll find swimming pools, parkland, and plenty of options for floating down the river. Meanwhile, there are miles and miles of great Swiss countryside you must explore. Whether you prefer hiking in the Bernese Alps or cooling off by the river, there’s something for everyone’s taste here.

Despite its small-town feel, Bern is unlikely to be the cheapest place. Monthly rent in the city goes around $1,850 with utilities included, while you can find some cheaper options in the suburb. Considering Bern is a small city where you can walk off with ease public transportation is not something you will spend a lot of money on.

Paris, France – the capital of love and romance

Those who enjoy the fast-paced city life will fall in love with France’s capital city Paris. it’s mainly known as the city of love or the city of lights. Also, it is very popular thanks to its location, you can travel whenever in Europe in less than 2 hours. Paris offers you great options for museums, parks, and the opportunity to have a great time by simply taking a long walk across the city.

This city is a great place to study, especially if your interests are fashion or finance. The great thing about having your education done in Paris is the perks of finding a job in almost every part of the world. However, you better be fluent in French if you want to study here. French people are very passionate and protective of their culture and cuisine! Sure they do speak English, but if you tend to live and work there, they expect you to speak their language out of respect.

French cuisine is one of the most popular in the world, and you will live right at its source. There are plenty of tourist attraction sites, including the most famous Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum. You can’t visit or live in Paris without taking a peek at Mona Lisa!

Housing prices are quite high, and they may vary depending on the type of house and its location. For instance, monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center will cost you around $1,400 plus the utilities which average price is around $250.

London, United Kingdom

This list wouldn’t be complete without London. London ranks as one of the best and most expensive places to live in Europe. Which is no surprise considering you’ll have endless opportunities for a job, great education, or exciting life at every step. The city is located on the river Thames, and even from the Roman era, this city has been a major port and the beating heart of Europe. This is the main reason why London has gained a unique standing in the world.

The city is simultaneously a historic cultural center, a British capital, and a melting pot of cultures. What most people forget is that this city is highly traditional yet very innovative and vibrant. You can never be tired of London, there is plenty of things to do here. From Tower Bridge to Buckingham Palace, from the London Eye to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

It boasts six Premier League football teams and the Wimbledon tournament. You’ll find an abundance of world-class restaurants, hundreds of museums, and galleries here. It has a thriving music scene, no musician tours Europe without playing the O2 Arena or Wembley Stadium.

The standard of living in London is quite good. The downsize of London is traffic and crime, and by crime, I mean small thefts and assaults. The real estate market is out of this world and pricey. The average price for a home located in East London is in 2021. was almost $700,000! If you want to rent a one-bedroom apartment in a better area of London be prepared to pay at least $1,600, without the utilities.

Zurich, Switzerland

As you probably already know, Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world. However, at the same time, it is one of the best-ranked countries for ex-pats and digital nomads. Zurich stands proud on this list of Europe’s most expensive cities. You need to know that the difference in the cost of living among all the cities in this article is minor. This is one of the largest cities in Switzerland. Living in Zurich is even more expensive than living in the capital city of Bern. Only Geneva is more expensive than Zurich.

A lot of people relocate here because of education or work since the unemployment rate here is under 3%. Zurich is home to some of the best schools in Europe. It is good to know that most people here speak German and English so communication won’t be a problem as in most parts of Europe.

Zurich has a rich history, a lot of museums, and a great position in Europe. The city is located on the northeastern side, very close to the famous Swiss Alps. Now imagine how cool it is to live here, but be prepared since that adventure will probably cost you a fortune. There are a lot of things you can do in the city, but make sure you stroll through the Old Town and visit Lake Zurich.

The cost of living in Zurich is relatively high. You will feel that when it comes to paying monthly rent and groceries. For instance, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is around $2,000, while in the suburb it is around $1,500. Basic utilities for this apartment are around $300, plus the internet bill is $60.

So Is Moving To Europe Still On Your Agenda?

I’m sure you realized that the most expensive places to live in Europe are located in the west. If after reading this list you realize that most of these cities are still too expensive for you, you can always find alternative solutions. For example, instead of living in Paris, you can choose Nice, and Rome can be switched to Naples. If Spain is your goal destination, Valencia or Malaga are the perfect cities for digital nomads.

Choose the city according to your budget! I’m saying this because Europe is a relatively small continent and you can explore it with ease. Did you know that most capitals are just a few hours of train or plane ride away?

If I persuade you to think about moving to Europe now is the time to find the right partner who can carry on your relocation process. International relocation requires a lot of planning and work, and this is something that most people aren’t familiar with. Hiring a well-experienced moving company is the key to a successful move! iMOVE NYC has plenty of experience in this field and we will make sure that your relocation runs smoothly as it can get.

If you like what you hear, don’t hesitate to send us a message so we can make you a proposal.

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