10 Best Countries In Europe To Live For Cheap - Digital Nomads, Expats, & Retirees (Cost Breakdown)
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GAFFL
20th Jun | 12 min read

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    Europe is home to some of the most culturally rich and diverse countries in the world, but it can also be one of the most expensive places to live. However, with a little research and planning, it's possible to find affordable destinations that offer a high quality of life for digital nomads, expats, and retirees alike. In this blog post, we'll take a look at the 10 best countries in Europe to live for cheap, and provide a cost breakdown of what you can expect to pay for essentials like housing and food. Whether you're looking to explore historic cities, relax on stunning beaches, or enjoy breathtaking natural landscapes, these affordable European destinations offer something for everyone.

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    Portugal


    Portugal is a fantastic location for retirees, expats, and digital nomads. It's affordable, has a fantastic climate, tons of natural beauty, friendly people, and offers a high standard of living. Not to mention, the wine and food choices are amazing!  And the cherry on top for digital nomads is The Portugal Digital Nomad Visa which was introduced in October 2022. As long as you work for a foreign company and make around €2,836, you can relocate and start working remotely in Portugal. With this specific remote worker visa, you can live and work in Portugal for up to a year, or even apply for residency to stay longer. 

    Best Places To Live

    Lisbon is the capital and has a thriving tech scene, with plenty of co-working spaces and networking events for digital nomads. The city also has a general vibrant atmosphere, with an array of cultural attractions, and a lively nightlife.

    Porto, the country's second-largest city, is also a popular destination for digital nomads, with a  welcoming atmosphere, with plenty of cafes, co-working spaces, and other digital nomad-friendly amenities. Porto is also known for its mild climate, rich history, stunning architecture, and world-famous wine.

    The Algarve Region, located in the south of Portugal, is famous for its beautiful beaches and warm weather, making it an attractive destination for remote workers and retirees seeking a relaxed and tranquil lifestyle. 

    Cost Breakdown

    Average Cost Of A Meal At An Inexpensive Restaurant: 9 € = $9.50 USD

    The Average Monthly Cost Of Living Without Rent In Portugal: 577 € = $611 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent In Portugal for a one bedroom apartment (in a city center): 751 € = $796 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent in Portugal for a one bedroom apartment (outside a city center): 590 € = $625 USD

    Spain


    If you're a digital nomad, expat, or retiree in search of sunshine, diverse culture, and affordable living, look no further than Spain. With co-working spaces galore, speedy Wi-Fi, and a booming startup scene, Spain is a hub for remote workers. Plus, the country boasts first-rate healthcare, efficient transportation, and endless opportunities for fun for retirees. And if you're eyeing a move to Spain, good news: by the end of 2023, a Digital Nomad Visa is expected to launch, offering a one-year stay in the land of tapas and siestas. Eligibility and financial requirements? TBD, but we'll keep you posted.

    Best Places To Live

    Barcelona is a bustling cosmopolitan city that attracts many digital nomads with its vibrant culture, affordable living costs, and array of diverse co-working spaces.

    Madrid is Spain's capital and offers a perfect blend of modern and traditional Spanish culture, as well as a strong digital nomad community.

    Valencia is another popular city for expats and retirees, with its beautiful beaches, year-round sunshine, and low cost of living.

    Malaga, located in the south of Spain, is another great place for digital nomads and retirees alike, with its laid-back lifestyle and affordable living costs.

    Seville and Granada, located in the south of Spain, offer a deep-rooted cultural experience and a lower cost of living than some of the larger cities. 

    Cost Breakdown

    Average Cost Of A Meal At An Inexpensive Restaurant: 12 € = $12.70 USD

    The Average Monthly Cost Of Living Without Rent In Spain: 654 € = $693 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent In Spain for a one bedroom apartment (in a city center): 741 € = $785 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent in Spain for a one bedroom apartment (outside a city center): 605 € = $641 USD

    Hungary


    It's no surprise that digital nomads, expats, and retirees alike are flocking to Hungary, with its top-notch healthcare, vibrant culture, and affordable lifestyle. And in 2022, Hungary launched the White Card - a visa just for remote workers. This one-year visa is renewable and requires you to have the ability to work remotely and earn at least €2,000 per month. 

    Best Places To Live

    Budapest is Hungary's capital city with a vibrant digital nomad community, modern co-working spaces, and an excellent public transportation system. It is a popular destination for expats and retirees who appreciate the city's colorful history, architecture, thermal baths, and vibrant nightlife.

    Debrecen, located in eastern Hungary, is a relaxed and affordable city that's perfect for digital nomads who prefer a slower pace of life. It's pedestrian-friendly and has a growing startup community. 

    Lake Balaton, located in western Hungary, is a popular spot for retirees who enjoy outdoor activities such as swimming, hiking, and cycling. 

    Cost Breakdown

    Average Cost Of A Meal At An Inexpensive Restaurant: 3,000 Ft = $8.30 USD

    The Average Monthly Cost Of Living Without Rent In Hungary: 215,186 Ft = $597 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent In Hungary (in a city center): 159,175 Ft = $441 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent in Hungary (outside a city center): 119,729 Ft = $332 USD

    Romania


    If you're dreaming of living in Europe but don't want to break the bank, Romania has become a popular destination for digital nomads, expats, and retirees alike, thanks to its low cost of living in comparison to other European countries and a diverse range of sights, sounds, and experiences ranging from medieval cities and castles to mountains and beaches. And if you're a digital nomad eyeing the Romanian Digital Nomad Visa, be sure to show that you've been working abroad for at least three years and earn at least €3,300 per month.

    Best Places To Live

    Bucharest offers modern amenities but is pricier, while Cluj-Napoca has a growing startup scene and a great quality of life. Timisoara has a developing tech industry and a vibrant culture, while Brasov is a charming, historic city in Transylvania with low living costs and plenty of great outdoor activities.

    Cost Breakdown

    Average Cost Of A Meal At An Inexpensive Restaurant: 35 lei = $7.56 USD

    The Average Monthly Cost Of Living Without Rent In Romania: 2,496 lei = $539 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent In Romania (in a city center): 1,712 lei = $370 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent in Romania (outside a city center): 1,257 lei = $272 USD

    Czech Republic


    The Czech Republic is like a fairytale come to life - with its enchanting castles, rolling hills, and stunning architecture, it's no wonder it's a hotspot for digital nomads, expats, and retirees alike. Plus, with great infrastructure and excellent healthcare, it's a practical choice too. And for digital nomads, the Freelance Visa is your golden ticket to staying up to three years - as long as you can prove you're earning at least €5,727 and aren't an EU or EEA citizen.

    Best Places To Live

    Prague is the most popular destination, offering a thriving tech scene, vibrant culture, and excellent amenities. Brno is a great laid-back option with a lower cost of living, excellent infrastructure, and a growing startup scene. And for those looking for a more rural lifestyle, South Bohemia and South Moravia offer stunning landscapes, affordable housing, and a slower pace of life.

    Cost Breakdown

    Average Cost Of A Meal At An Inexpensive Restaurant: 180 Kč = $8 USD

    The Average Monthly Cost Of Living Without Rent In Czech Republic: 16,283 Kč = $730 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent In Czech Republic (in a city center): 16,733 Kč = $750 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent in Czech Republic (outside a city center): 13,207 Kč = $592 USD

    Estonia


    Estonia is a top destination for digital nomads, expats, and retirees due to its reputation as one of the most digitally advanced nations in the world. Along with its advanced infrastructure, t pihe country offers an attractive standard of living, excellent healthcare, education, and social services, a low crime rate, strong economy, fascinating history, and beautiful natural sites, making it perfect for those seeking an exciting and peaceful lifestyle. Estonia's Digital Nomad Visa allows foreign remote workers to stay in the country for up to a year by proving that they are self-employed or have a job with an organization outside of Estonia and have earned a gross monthly income of at least €3504 for the past six months.

    Best Places To Live

    Tallinn is Estonia's vibrant capital, known for its startup scene, fast internet, and cultural attractions, while Tartu is popular among academics and students, offering a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, and Pärnu is a peaceful coastal resort town with beautiful beaches and a mild climate.

    Cost Breakdown

    Average Cost Of A Meal At An Inexpensive Restaurant: 12 € = $12.70 USD

    The Average Monthly Cost Of Living Without Rent In Estonia: 761 € = $807 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent In Estonia (in a city center): 554 € = $587 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent in Estonia (outside a city center): 417 € = $442 USD

    Germany


    With a high standard of living, excellent infrastructure, and a strong economy, it's no wonder why digital nomads, expats, and retirees love it in Germany. Explore modern cities with efficient public transportation and cultural attractions, or venture out to charming towns and scenic countryside. Plus, the healthcare system offers universal coverage and high-quality medical care. And with Germany's central location in Europe, it's easy to travel to other parts of the continent. If you're a self-employed digital nomad in healthcare, law, tax, business counseling, science, technology, or linguistics, just show your financial means and register your freelance activity with the tax office in Germany. You can enjoy residency rights for up to three years!

    Best Places To Live

    Berlin is known for its thriving startup scene, which includes many co-working spaces and cafes, diverse culture, and relatively low cost of living, whereas Munich is known for its high quality of life, excellent healthcare, and large expat community.

    Other German cities worth considering include Frankfurt and Cologne.

    Additionally, Germany's countryside offers picturesque landscapes, charming villages, and a peaceful lifestyle, with regions such as Bavaria and the Moselle Valley being popular among expats and retirees.

    Cost Breakdown

    Average Cost Of A Meal At An Inexpensive Restaurant: 12 € = $12.70 USD

    The Average Monthly Cost Of Living Without Rent In Germany: 850 € = $900 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent In Germany (in a city center): 847 € = $896 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent in Germany (outside a city center): 630 € = $667 USD

    Croatia


    Croatia, the land of beautiful beaches, rich history, and vibrant culture, has become a popular destination for digital nomads, expats, and retirees. With affordable living costs, high-quality healthcare, education, social services, and a favorable tax system, it's no wonder why. Plus, Croatia boasts reliable internet, a must-have for remote work. In 2021, Croatia launched its Digital Nomad Visa, allowing foreign remote workers to relocate for up to one year, with no extension possible. To stay longer, applicants must submit a new application and take a brief leave. They'll also need to show a monthly income equivalent to €2,363.55 and have at least €28,380 in their bank accounts if staying for the full 12 months.

    Best Places To Live

    Zagreb, the capital city, offers a mix of traditional and modern lifestyles, along with a thriving arts and culture scene.

    Split, the second-largest city, boasts a Mediterranean climate, beautiful beaches, and historic sites, making it an attractive option for those seeking an outdoor lifestyle.

    Dubrovnik, situated on the southern coast of Croatia, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its stunning architecture, and natural scenery.

    Cost Breakdown

    Average Cost Of A Meal At An Inexpensive Restaurant: 8 € = $8.47 USD

    The Average Monthly Cost Of Living Without Rent In Croatia: 634 € = $671 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent In Croatia (in a city center): 445 € = $471 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent in Croatia (outside a city center): 344 € = $364 USD

    Bulgaria


    Bulgaria's affordability, favorable tax system, and pleasant climate make it a popular destination for digital nomads, expats, and retirees. With a flat tax rate of 10%, a thriving startup scene, and a diverse landscape, it is an attractive option for entrepreneurs and budget-conscious individuals. The country also provides a Type D Visa for digital nomads and retirees, which allows for multiple entries within 6 or 12 months and is required for a Bulgarian residence permit.

    Best Places To Live

    Sofia is the capital city, offering a modern city center with various cafes, restaurants, and co-working spaces.

    Varna is a coastal city located on the Black Sea, attracting expats and retirees seeking a seaside lifestyle with a beautiful beach and nightlife.

    Plovdiv, the cultural capital, offers a rich history with ancient Roman ruins, Ottoman-era architecture, and a lively cultural scene with numerous festivals and events taking place throughout the year. Plovdiv also has a growing startup scene and tons of co-working spaces, making it an attractive destination for digital nomads.

    Cost Breakdown

    Average Cost Of A Meal At An Inexpensive Restaurant: 15 лв = $8.13 USD

    The Average Monthly Cost Of Living Without Rent In Bulgaria: 1,033 лв = $560 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent In Bulgaria (in a city center): 674 лв = $365 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent in Bulgaria (outside a city center): 508 лв = $275 USD

    Greece


    Looking for a stunning location with a storied history and culture to call home? Look no further than Greece, where you'll find warm weather, beautiful beaches, and delicious cuisine. This Mediterranean paradise has made significant strides in recent years to attract digital nomads and entrepreneurs, offering favorable tax policies and support services. Athens and Thessaloniki have become startup hotspots, complete with co-working spaces and accelerators. If you're a non-EU, non-EEA, or non-Swiss citizen looking to establish residency, the Greece Digital Nomad Visa allows you to stay for up to 12 months and extend your stay for another year, as long as you can prove a monthly income of at least €3,500 net after tax deductions.

    Best Places To Live

    Athens is the country's capital city and offers a vibrant cultural scene, excellent food, and a diverse community.   is Greece's second-largest city and is known for its complex cultural tapestry, excellent food, and lively nightlife.

    The island of Crete is another popular destination, with beautiful beaches, great food, and a relaxed lifestyle.

    Chania and Heraklion are two cities on the island that are particularly popular with expats and retirees.

    Cost Breakdown

    Average Cost Of A Meal At An Inexpensive Restaurant: 12 € = $12.70 USD

    The Average Monthly Cost Of Living Without Rent In Greece: 712 € = $754 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent In Greece (in a city center): 410 €= $434 USD

    The Average Monthly Rent in Greece(outside a city center): 349 € = $370 USD

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