cheapest countries in Europe

15 Cheapest Countries in Europe to Live In: 2022 Edition

The US is experiencing a mass exodus, thanks to rising living costs, inflation, and political instability.

Combine those factors with a strong dollar, and many Americans are crossing the Atlantic in search of a more affordable lifestyle – particularly in some of the cheapest countries in Europe.

What’s more, the rise of remote work has made such moves a lot easier than in the past.

There are many factors to consider when deciding to emigrate, but ultimately it comes down to what’s best for you and your family.

Cheaper countries in Europe have a lot to offer, and expats often find that they can stretch their budget further than they thought possible.

So if you’re looking for a cheap place to live in Europe, look no further! I’ve rounded up the 15 cheapest countries in Europe, based on the latest cost of living data from Numbeo.com.

All of these countries are EU members, so you would have the chance to acquire second citizenship by naturalization.

Having an EU passport would give you the right to live, work, study, and retire freely across 30 countries – the ultimate plan B.

I’ve lived in and traveled to several of these countries, so I’ll also share my first-hand experience of the costs of living there.

Whether you’re an expat, remote worker, or digital nomad, these countries offer great value for your dollar. (For convenient comparison, we’ll show all prices in USD).

Enjoy!

The 15 Cheapest Countries in Europe to Live In

1. Romania 🇷🇴

Currency: RON

If you’re looking for an affordable European country to base remote working operations, Romania should be at the top of your list.

Despite being one of the cheapest countries in Europe (and the cheapest in the EU), Romania offers a high quality of life, with fast internet speeds and a low cost of living. You could easily live here on a US or UK salary.

What’s more, Romania is a great place to explore, with stunning castles, mountains and churches all within easy reach.

In recent years, Romania has become increasingly popular with digital nomads and expats, attracted by the low cost of living and fast internet.

According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Romania is around 50% cheaper than in the US, and 30% cheaper than in the UK. This makes it an attractive option for anyone looking to stretch their dollar or pound further.

What’s more, Romania has some of the fastest internet speeds in Europe, making it ideal for working online.

With all these factors combined, it’s no wonder that more and more people are choosing to work remotely from Romania.

  • Average monthly rent in Bucharest city center: $459.35 
  • Average real estate price (per square foot): $226.01
  • Three-course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant: $41.47

2. Bulgaria 🇧🇬

Currency: BGN

If you’re looking for an affordable place to live and work remotely, Bulgaria should definitely be on your radar.

Although it’s not as well-known as some other cheap countries in Europe, it has a lot to offer in terms of cost of living vs quality of life.

Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is one of the most affordable capitals in Europe. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center averages around $400 per month, and basic groceries are very inexpensive.

When I visited Sofia in 2014, I was pleasantly surprised, first by its affordability, and second by how easy it was to get around, with many locals speaking decent English.

Even if you splurge on restaurant meals or nights out, you’ll still find your costs much lower than in other European countries – or in the US.

Of course, you can save even more money by living outside of Sofia. Smaller towns and villages are cheaper than the capital, and you’ll experience the traditional Bulgarian way of life.

But keep in mind – your options for entertainment and nightlife will be more limited.

Overall, Bulgaria is an excellent choice for those escaping the US and looking to maximize the value of their dollars.

  • Average monthly rent in Sofia city center: $428.38
  • Average real estate price (per square foot): $220.58
  • Three-course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant: $36.66

3. Hungary 🇭🇺

Currency: HUF

Outdoor thermal baths in Budapest, capital of Hungary
Széchenyi Thermal Bath, Budapest

If you’re looking for a European country where your dollar will go further, Hungary should be high on your list.

The cost of living here is relatively low, especially compared to Western European countries like the UK and France.

For example, a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant in Hungary will only cost you around $40, while in the UK it would be closer to $30.

Housing is also relatively affordable, with the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Budapest coming in at around $500 per month.

Of course, there are some downsides to living in Hungary as well. The job market can be tight, particularly for foreigners who don’t speak Hungarian fluently. But as a remote worker, you’ll be insulated from that particular problem.

And while Budapest is a lovely city, it can be quite expensive compared to the rest of the country.

Overall, Hungary is a great option for remote workers who want to enjoy a high quality of life without breaking the bank.

  • Average monthly rent in Budapest city center: $435.09 
  • Average real estate price (per square foot): $299.35 
  • Three-course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant: $38.47

4. Poland 🇵🇱

Currency: PLN

According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Warsaw is nearly 30% cheaper than in London, and around 20% cheaper than in New York City.

Rent is particularly affordable, with a one-bedroom apartment in the city center costing an average of just $600 per month.

Of course, living costs will be even lower if you choose to live outside of the capital. small towns and rural areas are much cheaper than major cities like Warsaw, and you’ll likely find that your income goes further.

What’s more, there are lots of pros to living in Poland as an expat, from the friendly locals to the vibrant culture.

On the downside, the weather can be a bit grey and cold in winter, and you may find it challenging to learn the Polish language.

The country’s infrastructure is not as developed as in other parts of Europe, and internet speeds can be slow outside of major cities. Additionally, the winters can be harsh, and daylight hours are limited.

Finally, if the loss of abortion rights is a factor in your US escape, then you should avoid Poland at all costs. It has some of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws.

  • Average monthly rent in Warsaw city center: $639.79
  • Average real estate price (per square foot): $386.57
  • Three-course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant: $38.54

5. Latvia 🇱🇻

Currency: EUR

If you’re looking for a European country where your remote work salary will go further, Latvia is a great option. It’s one of the cheapest countries in Europe, and you can easily find affordable accommodation and meals.

The cost of living in Latvia is significantly lower than in other Western European countries, so you’ll be able to save up quite a bit of money.

Of course, there are downsides to living in Latvia as well. The weather can be quite unpredictable, and winters can be brutally cold.

What’s more, it gets dark very early in winter, and stays light very late during summer. This can be difficult for sleeping.

Overall, though, the pros of living in Latvia (affordability and opportunities for freelance work) outweigh the cons (unpredictable weather and low salaries).

If you’re looking for an affordable place to live and work remotely, Latvia is worth considering.

  • Average monthly rent in Riga city center: $470.90
  • Average real estate price (per square foot): $231.36
  • Three-course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant: $51.11

6. Lithuania 🇱🇹

Currency: EUR

Gediminas Castle Tower in Vilnius, with blue sky in background.
Gediminas Castle Tower, Vilnius

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.

English is not as widely spoken in Lithuania as in some other European countries, which can make everyday tasks like grocery shopping or going to the bank more challenging.

What’s more, if your goal is EU citizenship, Lithuania isn’t the easiest or fastest place to get it. It also doesn’t recognize dual citizenship.

Overall, Lithuania can be an interesting option for remote workers on a tight budget, but it’s important to be aware of the potential drawbacks.

  • Average monthly rent in Vilnius city center: $710.60
  • Average real estate price (per square foot): $354.77 
  • Three-course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant: $51.11

7. Slovakia 🇸🇰

Currency: EUR

Slovakia is quickly becoming a popular destination for remote workers, and it’s not hard to see why.

The cost of living is relatively low, especially when compared to other European countries. In fact, Slovakia is often cited as one of the cheapest countries in Europe.

And while the cost of living in the capital city of Bratislava is slightly higher than in other parts of the country, it’s still possible to live comfortably on a US or UK salary.

Of course, there are some downsides to living in Slovakia as a remote worker. The winters can be long and harsh, and the internet connectivity isn’t always reliable.

But overall, the pros outweigh the cons, making Slovakia an increasingly attractive option for digital nomads.

  • Average monthly rent in Bratislava city center: $645.61
  • Average real estate price (per square foot): $445.17 
  • Three-course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant: $40.89

8. Croatia 🇭🇷

Currency: HRK (will adopt EUR in 2023)

Spires in Zagreb, Croatia

Despite its recent move towards adopting the euro, the cost of living in Croatia is still relatively low, making it an attractive destination for remote workers and expats who want to make their dollar stretch further.

In terms of accommodation, utilities, and food, Croatia is significantly cheaper than many European countries. For example, you can rent a 1-bedroom apartment in Zagreb, the capital, for as little as $500 per month.

And while restaurants are relatively inexpensive, most Croatians prefer to cook at home, using fresh produce from the local market.

With its low cost of living and stunning scenery, it’s no wonder that Croatia is becoming an increasingly popular destination for digital nomads, expats and retirees.

As well as Zagreb, you should also check out coastal towns such as Zadar, Dubrovnik, and Split.

  • Average monthly rent in Zagreb city center: $522.43
  • Average real estate price (per square foot): $334.92
  • Three-course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant: $40.82

9. Czech Republic 🇨🇿

Currency: CZK

The cost of living in Czech Republic is quite reasonable, especially when compared to the US and many Western European countries.

The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Prague is around $800, and you can easily find a meal for two at a decent restaurant for less than $40.

However, the cost of living does vary depending on which city you choose to live in.

Prague is by far the most expensive city in the country, with prices for basic necessities like food and transportation being significantly higher than in the smaller cities.

Prague also offers the most opportunities for remote workers, with a large number of co-working spaces and English-speaking businesses.

So, it really depends on your individual needs as to whether Prague or one of the smaller cities would be a better fit.

  • Average monthly rent in Prague city center: $849.93
  • Average real estate price (per square foot): $704.25
  • Three-course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant: $37.49

10. Portugal 🇵🇹

Currency: EUR

Madeira Island, Portugal

Beautiful Portugal has become one of Europe’s top destinations for emigrating Americans, especially retirees and remote workers. It’s been my main base since 2020.

Portugal is also one of the most affordable countries in Western Europe, with some of the easiest and most flexible residency visas – such as the D7 passive income visa and the Golden Visa.

Rent prices in much of Portugal are affordable compared to the US. Food and transportation costs are relatively low as well. This makes Portugal an attractive option for remote workers on a budget.

However, it’s important to note that the cost of living can vary depending on the city you’re in.

The capital, Lisbon, is one of the most expensive cities in Portugal. And the popular Algarve region has Portugal’s fastest-increasing real estate prices. Funchal, the popular capital of Madeira, is also experiencing price increases for rent and real estate.

To save even more money, you may want to consider living in a smaller town. Popular choices for expats include Tavira, Coimbra, Braga, or Ericeira.

If you want a cosmopolitan experience that’s more affordable than Lisbon, Portugal’s second city Porto could be a good choice.

Portugal is a great place to live and work remotely. Although prices are rising, with proper research, you won’t have to break the bank to do it.

  • Average monthly rent in Lisbon city center: $983.04
  • Average real estate price (per square foot): $491.26
  • Three-course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant: $45.47

11. Greece 🇬🇷

Currency: EUR

If you’re looking for an affordable country to live in, Greece should be high on your list.

The cost of living in Greece is relatively low compared to other European countries, especially when you compare it to cities like London or Paris.

In Athens, the capital, you can expect to pay around $600 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.

Outside of the city, prices are even lower. And when it comes to food and drink, you can get by on a budget of $30-40 per day.

Of course, the cost of living in Greece isn’t all about the money. There are other factors to consider, such as the quality of life and whether you feel like you fit in with the local culture.

On the plus side, Greeks are known for being friendly and welcoming to foreigners. And with its stunning coastal towns and ancient ruins, Greece is a beautiful country to call home, even if it’s just for a short while.

But there are downsides too. For example, the infrastructure isn’t always great (especially outside of Athens), and bureaucracy can be a pain.

Overall though, the pros outweigh the cons, making Greece an excellent choice for remote workers looking to escape the US or UK.

It’s fairly easy to get residency in Greece, for example by using the affordable Greece Golden Visa program – one of the cheapest golden visas in Europe.

  • Average monthly rent in Athens city center: $510.29
  • Average real estate price (per square foot): $231.06
  • Three-course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant: $51.11

12. Estonia 🇪🇪

Currency: EUR

Red rooftops of Tallinn, Estonia

If you’re thinking of becoming a digital nomad, Estonia is one of the cheapest countries in Europe to consider.

Living costs in Tallinn, the capital, are around 30% lower than in other Western European cities like London and Paris. And in smaller Estonian towns, prices can be even lower.

Rent is one of the biggest expenses for any expat, and in Estonia it’s reasonable by European standards.

A one-bedroom apartment in the city center will cost you around $600 per month, while a three-bedroom place will run you around $1,000. Outside of Tallinn, rents are even cheaper.

A meal at a mid-range restaurant will cost you around $50, while a quick bite from a street stall or fast food chain will set you back less than $5.

And if you’re cooking at home, groceries are very affordable. A week’s worth of groceries for one person can be bought for less than $25.

Of course, there are some downsides to living in Estonia as an expat.

The winters can be long and dark, and the language can be challenging to learn. Keep that in mind if you’re considering Estonia for your move to Europe.

  • Average monthly rent in Tallinn city center: $622.67
  • Average real estate price (per square foot): $342.95 
  • Three-course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant: $55.20

13. Slovenia 🇸🇮

Currency: EUR

On average, costs in Slovenia are about 25% lower than in the UK or US.

This makes it an attractive destination for remote workers on a tight budget. Housing is one of the biggest expenses for any expat, and in Slovenia, rents are very reasonable.

A one-bedroom apartment in Ljubljana, the capital city, will cost you around $600 per month. And if you’re willing to live outside of the city center, you can find even cheaper options.

Food is another significant expense, and again, Slovenia is relatively affordable. A meal for two at a mid-range restaurant will cost you around $40, and a cappuccino from a coffee shop will set you back about $2.

When compared to other European countries, Slovenia is definitely on the cheaper side.

So if you’re looking for an affordable place to live and work remotely, Slovenia should definitely be on your radar.

  • Average monthly rent in Ljubljana city center: $658.00
  • Average real estate price (per square foot): $406.01
  • Three-course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant: $40.89 

14. Spain 🇪🇸

Currency: EUR

Striking designs in Cordoba, Spain

Spain is one of the most popular countries in Europe for retirees and remote workers, and it’s not hard to see why.

The cost of living in Spain is relatively low, especially when compared to the US and other Western European countries.

In Madrid and Barcelona, you can expect to pay around $1,000 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. And if you’re willing to live outside of the major cities, you can find some real bargains.

Of course, rent prices will be even lower in smaller towns and villages.

Utilities are also reasonably priced, and food costs are relatively low. Friday night tapas? Yes please!

Spain is known for its sunny climate, but it can get pretty hot in summer (think 40 C / 104 F). If you don’t like the heat, Spain might not be for you!

Spain offers several residency visas, including the Non-Lucrative Visa for pensioners and those with independent income, plus the Spain Golden Visa for investors.

  • Average monthly rent in Madrid city center: $1,004.78
  • Average real estate price (per square foot): $471.73
  • Three-course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant: $61.34

15. Italy 🇮🇹

Currency: EUR

Generally speaking, the cost of living in Italy is quite reasonable, especially when compared to other Western European countries.

In bigger cities like Rome and Milan, you can expect to pay more for rent and groceries, but overall the costs are still manageable.

In smaller towns and villages, the cost of living drops even further.

Additionally, there are a number of benefits to living in Italy as an American expat, such as access to great food and wine, beautiful scenery, and rich history and culture.

Of course, there are also some drawbacks, such as the lack of English-speaking TV channels and sometimes bureaucracy.

Overall though, Italy is an excellent choice for American remote workers looking for a cheaper cost of living.

  • Average monthly rent in Rome city center: $1,078.66
  • Average real estate price (per square foot): $613.92
  • Three-course meal for 2 at mid-range restaurant: $61.34

Conclusion

Europe is a great place to consider if you’re looking to move abroad in 2022.

With cost of living on the rise, many Brits and Americans are finding their home countries becoming more and more expensive.

So if you’re looking for a change of scenery (and a lower cost of living), why not consider one of the 15 cheapest countries in Europe?


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