Wondering how expensive is it to live in Europe? Or what are the cheapest countries to live in Europe and enjoy your life? Let’s find out!
I have compiled a list of eighteen beautiful places where to live as a remote worker, freelancer, digital nomad, or retiree. I visited all these countries myself, lived in half of them, and honestly talk about the pros and cons of each.
Before I go into details, let me say this. Even though the title of my article suggests countries where to live with €1000 per month, you need to understand that mentioned amount is not going to cover any luxury. Prices soar all over the world now, living with €1000 per month for two is becoming more and more challenging.
At first covid, and now the war in Ukraine is not going unnoticed for the world. War, in particular, affects prices more and more. Yet, it is still possible to find destinations where to live affordably with this sum on a monthly basis. And I mention them below with a detailed breakdown of costs and some cities where to live.
Until this day, not all of Europe is prohibitively expensive. Some places in Europe can be still as cheap as many famous destinations in Southeast Asia. You just need to know where to go and how to plan your budget.
Since the moment we left the US and started to work online, we have been chasing opportunities to live in different places around the world as digital nomads. We would just pick one country and go there for an indefinite period of time. Sometimes we’d stay for a month, sometimes for 3, some other times for 6 months.
With corona, we had to slow down and change our lifestyle, so we decided to make a base in Ukraine and Turkey and live between these two countries traveling in between. But then with the outbreak of war in Ukraine, loss of home and peace, we made a decision to leave again and start everything from the beginning.
So we left. But haven’t figured out yet where to move next. At present time we are housesitting but we are actually thinking to return to one of the cheap cities in Europe to live there until the war is over. It will help us save money for that day when we are able to invest in Ukraine again.
And now let’s talk about the most affordable places to live in Europe. This list includes cheap EU countries to live in as well as the cheapest European countries that are not part of the EU. The choice is big!
NOTE: All prices and expenses are in euros for two people. I base this post on our personal experience and prices (for accommodation) I find online through agencies and various booking websites. I know, there are various sites (like Expatistan or Numbeo) that calculate the cost of living in different countries around the world. But to be honest, I don’t like to use them. The estimate they provide takes into account only basic (survival mode) living expenses.
The Top 15 Cheapest Countries to Live in Europe
Cheapest EU Countries to Live in
I want to start this list with one of my favorite countries which is also one of the cheapest places to live in the European Union. Poland is really a fantastic country for many reasons. And some of them are a low cost of living (as for the EU) and a high quality of life.
Poland is famous for its excellent infrastructure, great housing, high-speed internet, and excellent entertainment. And the best part for many people who would love to move for a job is that Poland offers a lot of jobs to foreigners and it is among the cheap countries that also speak English.
What also makes this country very appealing is its diverse nature, number of things to do, long history, and cuisine.
Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw, Lodz, Poznan, Gdansk are beautiful cities with a rich past and wide employment opportunities. Not knowing Polish is not a problem if you speak fluent English. Large world companies continue the expansion of Eastern Europe, so there is a demand for international specialists in the banking sector, finance, education, IT, and services.
If you would like to move to Poland on your own while working online, try to choose smaller cities that are more affordable. Particularly look into the eastern part of the country or north-east.
Monthly Budget For Two People
You can find a nice apartment for €400-€500 near the center of a smaller city like Czestochowa, Lodz, Bydgoszcz (but not on Airbnb, through a broker for a long term) with good infrastructure and transportation nearby. In this case, it will become an affordable place where to live in the EU. Large cities are rather expensive.
On one occasion, when I had a round of interviews with a Polish company and thought about moving to Kielce, I found a big choice of 1-bedroom apartments there for rent for €200-€250. All of them had furniture and were in excellent location.
Poland, like other cheap European countries, also has quite democratic prices for food in restaurants. But compared to other countries, here portions are much larger (almost as in America).
The bonus comes in the form of entertainment, medieval architecture, castles, picturesque lakes, mountains as well as ski resorts, and even seaside beaches. They are endless!
As a matter of fact, Lithuania doesn’t have the cheapest cost of living in Europe. Still, I decided to put it on the list as one of the more or less affordable countries. If you are interested to explore the Baltics and be close to Central Europe at the same time, Lithuania is a nice relatively cheap country to live in.
Why do I believe it is a great destination for people who work online? For the following reasons. First, it has great internet, super tasty food, and a rather big English-speaking community.
And second, those who choose to live in Vilnius (although Vilnius became pretty expensive over the last years) will have easy access to anywhere in Europe. With many cheap flights that connect Vilnius with other European cities, it is easy to travel all over Europe on weekend getaways.
As with Poland, to be able to live on a budget in Lithuania, you need to look for accommodation in smaller cities and towns.
Monthly Budget For Two People
If you want to base yourself in Vilnius, keep in mind that it is the most expensive city in Lithuania. You’d definitely need more than €1000 per month to live there comfortably.
Prices of utilities, groceries, and clothing are very similar to prices in Poland and the best way to find an apartment for the short term is through Airbnb. Prices for decent Airbnb flats in Vilnius start at €600 per month.
Lunch at an inexpensive restaurant costs between €6-€8 per person. Three-course lunch at a mid-range restaurant is around €20-25.
Interested to move to Lithuania? Visit the country at first, get a feel of it by spending a few days in Vilnius city, go to the coast, and head to smaller towns to see if living in one of them would be for you.
Another Baltic country which is not only a cheap place in the EU where to live but a beautiful place with a high level of comfort. We are currently considering moving there and among all three countries in the Baltics, I’d personally choose Latvia, particularly its capital Riga.
This is the largest Baltic city where (according to the Latvian Statistical Office) 53% of the country’s population lives. If you come from another EU country and want to relocate to Latvia to work there, you’ll have all chances to find a job in Riga. Many international companies have their offices in this city and look only for English and/or Russian speakers.
Riga is also a fantastic cheap city in Europe (compared to similar more expensive EU cities) with opportunities for a comfortable life where you can have a good work-life balance. You’ll be able to meet like-minded people, whether they are part of your professional community or expats on a move.
And then on days off go to a sandy beach, small medieval town, or another Baltic country without spending too much.
It is possible to find a one-bedroom apartment in the very center of Riga on average for about 350-400 euros. For a two or three-bedroom apartment be ready to pay €400-€500. But that is possible of course if you rent a flat on a yearly lease.
You can always look for an apartment away from the center and tourist spots. Farther neighborhoods offer accommodation 20% cheaper than in the center and often of better quality.
Groceries, transportation, and healthcare will cost another €400-€500 per month.
One of the most unpleasant expenses is utility expense. Utilities can cost you half the rent. On average, for a one and two-bedroom apartment, you need to pay about 100 euros in summer and 180-200 euros in winter.
Yet, with all the costs, Latvia is still among European countries with a low cost of living!
Romania is another underrated country in Europe where to live on a small budget. It offers great opportunities for expats or anyone who is working online. The country has delicious food, fairly affordable prices for living, one of the fastest Internet, and unrivaled natural beauty.
This Eastern European country also has cities for all tastes. Bucharest, its capital, is a cosmopolitan city with European standards and a Soviet past. Constanta on the coast is more easy-going and offers a laid-back lifestyle. If you love mountains and nature, Brasov or Sibiu are great options in the famous Transylvania region.
We lived in Brasov for 3 months and truly enjoyed our stay there. While this city and Romania as a country was not meant for us personally, I believe it is a wonderful choice for foreigners. Especially Americans who are looking to move to Europe and can’t stay in the Schengen zone longer than 3 months.
Among the advantages of living in Romania, I can highlight the following.
First, as a full member of the European Union Romania does not use the euro currency. This helps reduce the cost of living. Also, this country is full of natural beauty and varied landscapes. It has plains to the east, the Carpathians in the North, and the Black Sea in the South. It is also very easy to get a residence permit in Romania even if you are not an EU citizen.
Among the disadvantages, you should remember that Romania has a very high level of corruption, well above EU standards. And you can experience it as a foreigner. Also to note, there are not many direct flights inside the country, however, its rail network is pretty good.
Monthly Budget For Two
The budget for two people in Romania starts at €800 per month and covers all the expenses. This, however, is the minimum and highly depends on where you live and the cities of your choice. Bucharest, the capital, is the most expensive city. Areas in the north of the country are especially beautiful and cheap.
When we lived in Brasov, our monthly budget was around €1000 but we managed to spend slightly less. But it was a year before covid when prices where much lower. This amount also covered a car rental with a price of €185 for the entire month and our beautiful apartment with a view of the old town.
ONE THING TO MENTION: Romania has some of the best Internet in Europe and the entire world! When we lived there, we were really impressed to find high-speed internet (higher than 100 Mbit/s) in remote villages and in the middle of nowhere.
So if you are working online, Romania will surprise you not only as the cheapest country to live in Europe but also as a place with the best superfast broadband internet connection.
Like Romania mentioned above, Bulgaria is also the perfect combination of a charming coastline and beautiful mountains, modern cosmopolitan cities with a bit of Sovient hint and small rich with history towns.
Many foreigners who are living in Bulgaria say that it is one of the cheapest countries for expats and cheapest places to retire in Europe for those who prefer mild winters.
A lot of people find this destination attractive both in summer and winter. In summer you can enjoy the Black Sea on the coast or hike in the Carpathian Mountains. In winter, you can have quite an adventure if you love skiing. Bulgarian resorts are a really nice surprise both in quality and price.
If you are an EU citizen who is looking to move within the Union to cut his spendings, Bulgaria is a great choice. Registering your stay is pretty easy and straightforward. However, even non-EU citizens also have some opportunities to settle in a country for longer than 3 months. Since Bulgaria is still not in the Schengen area, it is not a target for migrants and refugees, thus it is much easier to stay legally in the country if you come from outside the EU.
However, even though Bulgaria is one of the cheapest countries in Europe, the quality of life is not very high. Yes, it is a full member of the European Union and yes, life has improved significantly in Bulgaria over recent years.
Yet, until this day, it is the poorest member of the EU. There is still a long road towards development in terms of infrastructure, living standards, and improving the situation with corruption. Also, Bulgaria has a problem with the quality of the air. Cities are still using coal and have the highest number of old diesel cars.
Monthly Budget For Two
The monthly budget for a couple in Bulgaria will vary significantly depending on where you want to live.
Sofia, the capital, tends to have the most expensive properties, but they are still inexpensive compared to Western European standards. Even if booking on Airbnb in advance, you can still secure an apartment for about €600-€650 per month. When looking for a long-term flat through an agent, expect to pay €400-€450 for the same type of apartment away from the center.
In the countryside, you can find really cheap rentals, especially if you are looking for a house or a small farm.
The monthly budget in Bulgaria starts at €850 per month for two people. In order to have a comfortable living, expect to pay more.
The best cheap cities to live in Bulgaria are Plovdiv, Burgas, Varna (more expensive during the summer), and the favorite of many digital nomads the small mountainous town Bansko.
Slovakia is among those cheapest countries to live in Europe that also has a high quality of life. In terms of economy and development, it is doing better than Poland and has a higher GDP per capita.
Slovakia, even though a small and landlocked country, has one of the fastest-growing economies in the European Union. Although it is a former socialist state, the country has had almost completely privatized market economy since independence. A relatively low cost of living and low taxes, coupled with a wide variety of activities and natural splendor, have made Slovakia an attractive choice for expats.
And what’s interesting, having a higher quality of life than Poland, the cost of living in many parts of Slovakia is cheaper which is great for anyone who wants to live in the EU but intends to spend less than the average European Union resident spends. Also what is very important, among all the cheapest European countries Slovakia is one of the safest places to live.
With a very good location, great connection with other European cities, low costs, and abundance of things to do, life in Slovakia is eventful and interesting.
The low popularity among tourists even plays into the hands of those who do not like the countries of Central Europe overcrowded oftentimes. There are enough interesting places and amazing landscapes and the High Tatras Mountains have so much to offer. In addition, the local population is not spoiled by tourists, so prices for everything are very democratic.
Many young people move to Slovakia on a student visa. It is not difficult to do it if you prepare a small package of documents correctly. An important point is that in order to obtain a student visa and then convert it into a residence permit, you need to become a student in one of the local universities. This is also not so difficult, education in most cases is free, and admission is without exams.
Monthly Budget For a Couple
The cost of living in Slovakia depends on the city/town you live in. Some parts are cheaper, some are more expensive. The cost of living in Bratislava is about the same as for example Berlin and to live comfortably as a couple you may need to have much more than €1000. As a matter of fact, Bratislava becomes more and more expensive each year. Since it is located not far from Vienna, a lot of people choose it as a base to cut expenses.
If you want to live on the budget, move to the east or south.
When we lived in Poprad, we rented a beautiful 2-bedroom furnished apartment for €520 per month. It was the price based on a short-term rent that included all the utilities.
Another €500 was enough for us to pay for food, transportation, hot springs, miscellaneous expenses, and even car hire on a few occasions. We traveled all over the country, hiked all over the place, and visited amazing resorts. If you don’t plan to travel as much, expect to spend less.
I have friends (a family of three) who live in Kosice for under €1000 a month. And then other friends, students, spend €500 per month. So it all depends on your spendings and lifestyle. But I can assure you that Slovakia is definitely one of the cheapest EU countries to live in!
Just south of Slovakia is another cheap EU country with a low cost of living where there are practically no restrictions on the purchase of real estate and living costs are lower than in other EU countries.
Besides being cheap, Hungary also has excellent ecology, temperate climate, and, of course, world-famous thermal springs that create favorable conditions for life in the country. Even though it is landlocked, Hungary has a lot of water resources and Budapest is considered the spa capital of Europe.
Prices here are considered lower than in most countries of the EU. The average salary is also low but this is enough for maintaining a qualitative lifestyle. And if you make a western world salary, living in this part of Europe will be inexpensive.
Hungary is conventionally divided into western and eastern parts. The west is considered more pricey and popular among tourists than the east. However, in the eastern part, it is quite possible to find regions comfortable for living. For example, Debrecen, Hajdúszoboszló, Nyiregyhaza, and Miskolc are the least expensive cities in Europe.
What some people can really like about Hungary (okay, most of it) is its mild climate. Winter there begins in mid-December and ends at the end of February. The temperature during this time is on average +6 −6C degrees. Summer lasts from April to October and at the height of summer, the temperature can often reach +35+38C degrees.
With €1000 per month, it is not difficult to live comfortably in Hungary. This amount will be enough for renting a flat and paying for utilities, buying quality food, and allowing yourself some entertainment. At the same time, if living in another place than Budapest, it is also possible to make savings.
Among all the Balkan countries and former republics of Yugoslavia, Croatia is the most expensive of all. However, among the all countries in the EU it is one of the most affordable. If you love long summers by the sea and can put up with bureaucracy, corruption, and limited job opportunities, this can be a great choice where to come to live in Europe on a budget.
However, you need to remember that if in neighboring Montenegro for 700-800 euros you can live modestly but with taste, in Croatia this amount will be enough only in rural areas, provided you have your own house.
In addition, living expenses in different cities differ quite a lot from each other and are determined not only by the status of the city but also by the main type of activity of local residents.
For example, cities that stand on the coast are much more expensive, leaving the capital rather cheap. Due to that, Croatia belongs to that small number of EU countries where life is least expensive in the capital. That in turn can be great news for many people who’d love to base in Zagreb.
In Croatia, for the most part, you will need more than €1000 per month for two people. Although if you are ready to lead a very modest lifestyle in a quieter town away from tourist sites then it is possible to meet this budget.
Countries That Used to Be the Most Affordable Places to Live in Europe But That’s Changing Now
Portugal is probably the most expensive country on the list of the cheapest countries to live in Europe. However, there are a number of factors that contribute to Portugal’s good and affordable reputation. And you may want to try to live there even for a short period of time.
First of all, Portugal is famous for its unique coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, delicious seafood, and laid-back atmosphere. It has one of the best climates in Europe and is usually warmer than the rest of the continent. During the summer, the ocean helps control temperatures, making the heat less intense than in the interior of Europe.
Life in this country is slow. Locals are very friendly, healthcare is good. And the country is incredibly beautiful – there are historical sites and beaches, wineries, scenic drives, and just the entire country is one gorgeous place.
Lisbon and Porto are very touristy cities that are quite expensive in terms of real estate, some activities, and food. This is why when thinking about the cheapest cities to live in Europe, remember that Portugal’s Lisbon and Porto are not that cheap anymore.
In recent years, Portugal has been gaining popularity quickly as a safe and amazing place. You’ll find many posts on google where it is among the top ten European countries to live or retire. Therefore, prices are rising quickly, especially in the more famous cities and towns.
However, if you go outside Lisbon and Porto, you’ll find smaller towns and villages where to live on the cheap.
Portugal is definitely not the cheapest country in the EU to live in. In recent years, it has been gaining popularity quickly as a safe and amazing place to visit or retire. Therefore, prices are rising especially in the more famous cities and towns.
The budget varies greatly when you compare Lisbon or Porto with other cities or towns. If you don’t choose these two major cities and stick to smaller, less known ones, you would need at least €1000 per month for two people, but plan to budget more.
10. THE CZECH REPUBLIC
In terms of costs, the Czech Republic is not as budgetary as other cheap countries in Europe on this list. But with successful employment, it provides stability, a high level of comfort, safety, and decent health care. There are in-demand professions for foreigners in the banking sector, IT, services, and tourism.
If you decide to make a base outside Prague, the country offers excellent real estate deals and a fairly low cost of living. But again, low cost of living compared to cities in Western Europe, not those European countries that I mentioned above.
The Czech Republic has many picturesque cities and towns, especially in Bohemia and the Moravian region. But housing prices don’t differ much from prices on the outskirts of Prague as both those areas are developing well economically.
In fact, if I have to compare the Czech Republic to all cheapest countries to live in Europe that I put above in this post, Czechia is much more expensive than each of them. For example, it is more expensive than Lithuania only by 8.5%, 18% more expensive than Poland, but 48.3% more expensive than Bulgaria. It is about the same as Portugal but cheaper than Germany, Italy, and other European countries.
Among the advantages of living in the Czech Republic is the location. Since Czechia is situated in the center of Europe, it’s easy enough to get to any part of the continent. Although there are so beautiful places within the country that you may not want to leave. The standard of living is comparable to nearby Germany but the cost is slightly lower. It is also a great place for beer lovers, nightlife, and outdoor activities.
The monthly budget per person in the Czech Republic is one of the highest on the list of the cheapest countries. With about €800 euros per month, you can cover all your basic costs but nothing extraordinary.
The cost of living in Prague is incredibly high these days. Renting a 1-bedroom furnished apartment in the center of Prague is around €700, in Brno – €500. Apartments for rent often come with only a kitchenette, refrigerator, and stove, but there are also fully furnished ones.
Lunch or dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant (the largest diaspora in the Czech Republic is the Vietnamese) will cost €6-€8. In an establishment with local food – €12-€15. In Brno, €5-€6 and €8-9 respectively. A mug of beer – €1.5-€2, coffee – €2-3.
Transportation costs and eating out in Prague is quite expensive. If you have only €1000 (or less) per month, the best option would be to live in a less-popular Czech city or on the outskirts of Prague, eat mainly at home and try to stick to free or low-cost activities.
In smaller cities (Plzen, Ostrava, Liberec, Olomouc, Hradec Kralove, České Budějovice) prices are lower. They are no less charming in appearance, just smaller, with fewer activities and expats.
Want to Read More About the Czech Republic? See my posts about:
- 2 Days in Prague Itinerary – Where to Go & What to Do
- What to Eat in Prague: Guide For a Foodie
- Bars & Restaurants in Prague With a View of the City
- 16 Dreamy Hotels in the Czech Republic You’d Love to Sleep In
Recently I was on the Numbeo website checking the top ten European countries to live in and saw Spain on the list of the cheapest countries to live in Western Europe. Well yes, countries in Western Europe such as France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Switzerland, and part of Italy are pretty expensive, so when you compare Spain to them, it is not difficult to figure out that Spain is going to be the cheapest one.
So, in Western Europe, Spain is really the cheapest country (along with Portugal). But when you compare it to the rest of Europe, check prices for accommodation and take into consideration the fact that Spain attracts millions of tourists and students each year, you start seeing a totally different picture.
I remember the time when we could rent a beautiful flat in Southern Spain not far from the sea for about 200 euros a month. But those times have passed. Each year, real estate prices in Spain grow like mushrooms after the rain which in turn makes life in this country more expensive.
Prices for food, transportation, restaurants, and utilities are definitely cheaper than in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United States, for example. But they are more expensive than prices in Poland, Slovakia, or Croatia mentioned above. Accommodation prices are also higher.
When I see Barcelona, Valencia or Madrid on the lists of the cheapest European cities to live in, I really want to ask the author how many cities in Europe has he been to. These cities are cheap compared to Paris, London, and Munich but they are pretty expensive on a full scale.
Monthly Budget For Two People
As with many other cheap places to live in Europe, in Spain you’d want to make a base in a smaller town in order to cut the costs. But only that small town which is not directly on the sea and which is not popular among tourists.
When we lived in Barcelona and Santander (Northern Spain), our monthly budget was much higher than €1000 per month. Note, it was way before covid and the war, so prices were lower at that time.
We also traveled along the southern coast as well as visited many towns along the Northern coasts, checked other touristy cities, and noticed prices in those destinations were more or less similar to prices in these two cities.
How much you’ll need in Spain will depend solely on the location, type and quality of accommodation, and eating style. (By the way, when it comes to food, seafood, fruits, olive oil, vegetables, and wine are among the cheapest in Europe).
Do you need more information about Spain? See some of my other posts:
- What to Pack & What to Wear in Spain – Tips For Every Season
- Spain in Winter – What to Know & Expect
- Car Hire & Driving in Spain – Everything You Need to Know
Best Cheap Countries to Live in Europe Outside the EU
Turkey, my favorite country of all (and my second home), is also on the list of the cheapest countries to live in Europe. Of course, because it is really cheap and wonderful! And I am not the only one who is going to tell you that. It is a place where you can find a low cost of living together with a good quality of life.
Those who have been to Turkey once, always return in the future. Many people who work remotely or look to retire soon (especially those from Eastern Europe, Germany, and the UK) purchase homes in Turkey and make a base there. And it is no coincidence that the majority choose this destination. There are a lot of advantages to living in Turkey!
Amazing climate, affordable food, great attitude of local people towards foreigners, unique hot springs, picturesque nature, and of course the crystal-clear warm sea with incredible sunsets make it an almost perfect place to be.
On the Mediterranean coast in some cities, there are already separate areas where only foreigners live. They have their foreign churches, shops with familiar products, clinics with English-speaking staff, etc. That is, there will be no problems with adaptation.
Another advantage is the high level of healthcare. Retirees will be able to apply for medical insurance and receive all the necessary assistance for it, including even complex treatment. Younger people can also purchase insurance or pay out of pocket, prices for medical services are very reasonable.
The cost of real estate in Turkey is low. But the level of comfort of houses together with the quality of construction is high. If you have funds, you can purchase a comfortable 1-2 bedroom apartment at a price of 40-45 thousand euros. With that, a residence permit is given when buying any real estate.
In fact, Turkey is the easiest European country to get residency, and purchasing real estate is not the only requirement for that. You can apply for a short-term (1 year) residency based on the income (at least €500 a month) and apartment lease.
Monthly Budget For a Couple
Depending on where exactly you want to live, your budget may differ. There are a lot of cheap cities in Turkey (near the sea and more inland) where you can find an apartment for the long-term for €200-€250 per month. But for that price, expect the flat to be more basic. Food and entertainment will cost you €300-€350 per month (that’s the minimum you need to budget).
Shopping is ridiculously cheap and you can really afford to buy anything you need. What is expensive that’s the electronics and mobile services.
Of course the more money you have, the more you’ll afford (as anywhere else). But overall, Turkey is really one of the most affordable European countries to live in. Even living in Istanbul, which is not that cheap, is still possible on a budget.
Interested in Living in Turkey? I Definitely Understand Why! See some of my posts about this country (I have tons of them):
- 15 Interesting Facts About Turkish Culture to Know Before Visiting
- Moving to Turkey: What You Absolutely Have to Know Before the Move
- Is Istanbul Expensive? My Guide to Prices in Istanbul
- Where to Stay in Istanbul: Guide to All Neighborhoods & Districts
- 10 Mistakes to Avoid Making Before Coming to Turkey
One more cheapest place to live in Europe that I absolutely love! And if you are a nature lover, you will love it too.
Montenegro is one of the most affordable places to live in Europe for digital nomads and retirees, especially those who enjoy spending time outdoors. It has an amazingly beautiful coastline as well as incredibly stunning mountains, five national parks with hundreds of stunning hikes, lakes, canyons, rivers, beautiful walking trails, hidden beaches, and even fjords.
It is currently a very popular cheap summer destination in Europe with millions of visitors per year. Many people from Eastern Europe escape the cold and fly to Montenegro to spend the winter. It only takes 2-3 hours to fly from southern Germany, Switzerland or Italy and 3-4 hours from the UK.
Montenegro uses the euro, even though it is not part of the European Union. Taking this into consideration as well as the fact that it has an excellent location and stunning views, Montenegro remains still fairly affordable.
While it is not an EU country, the living standard is rather high.
Monthly Budget For Two People
At some point when Mark and I lived in Montenegro, we were spending between €800-€900 per month. This amount included apartment rent, car rent (see my tips for the cheap Montenegro car rentals), food, and some basic healthcare.
We didn’t really spend money on entertainment since we were always hanging out outdoors which was free. On some months, our expenses were lower, on others higher. In the fall, when chasing the foliage, we could spend extra on travels around the country which included additional accommodation and fuel costs.
Since Montenegro depends on tourists, prices tend to rise during the summer months and anywhere near the sea. So if you plan to come to live there for a longer period of time, keep in mind that the price of a flat may be higher in the summer. You have to negotiate this part in advance.
Those who plan to live in Montenegro long-term can find apartments for rent for €300-€350 per month in cities such as Ulcinj, Bar, Sutomore, and even in Budva but farther from the sea. To secure this price, you need to rent a flat through a broker starting a leasing period in the fall.
Interested in Living in Montenegro? See also:
- What Is Montenegro in Winter Like?
- Where to Live in Montenegro – Guide to All Resort Cities & Accommodation
- All My Posts About Montenegro Are Here
According to various resources, Albania is also among the cheapest European countries where to live in. However, it has the lowest cost of living in Europe for foreigners while locals are unlikely to agree with this.
For foreigners, who look to live in southern Europe, Albania is a great budget alternative to Greece or Italy.
The ancient architecture and rich cultural heritage stem from the close contact of the ancestors of the modern Albanians with the civilizations of Greece and Rome, the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Roman empires. So you can be sure that you’ll have access to plenty of activities on a budget at any time of the year that will remind of places in Italy, Turkey, or Greece.
Albania has many historical sites and attractions and there are so many things to do. In addition, there are several stunning beaches along the Ionian and Adriatic seas and incredibly beautiful mountains in the north of the country.
One of the reasons I believe Albania is among the best European countries to move to is a generous visa allowance. Americans as well as citizens of the EU (as nationals of many other countries) can enter Albania for a period of 365 days a year on a visa-exempt status. Bonus.
If you are a digital nomad or a remote worker who wants to live in Europe on a budget, consider Albania. It is really cheap, offers as much as nearby Greece but where you can live a minimum of a year, isn’t it amazing? And if you want, you can always fly to any other country in Europe knowing that there is a home in Albania to return to.
NOTE: Albania is a Muslim country, although pretty liberal.
Monthly Budget For a Couple
Albania like Montenegro depends on tourism and seasons. From May to October, prices for accommodation in cities on the coast are very high (on average €60-€70 per night).
Anyone on a tight budget should search for an apartment through an agency or through Facebook groups. For the best deal, try to look for flats in Vlore, Dhermi, Himare, and the outskirts of Sarande. The capital of Albania Tirana is cheaper too since it is located away from the sea.
If having an agent to help you, expect to pay €200-€250 per month for a one-bedroom basic flat. Groceries and occasional dining out go for about €250-€300 per month for two. Car rentals are incredibly cheap. In winter in particular, you can hire a car for the entire month for as little as €200-€250. See for yourself and check prices here.
We were checking out Albania during that year when we lived in Montenegro and noticed that it was more affordable. So you can definitely meet the budget of €1000 per month for two people and have a good life.
15. BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA
By European standards, all the states formed after the collapse of Yugoslavia are cheap places to live in Europe. Bosnia is no exception. Due to the split of the republic, Bosnia has some economic and geopolitical problems but the situation inside is calm and stable. And until this day, this country is so cheap.
On the one hand, finding a job in local companies will be difficult without knowing the language. On the other hand, grocery and housing prices make it an option for freelancers or remote workers.
As a holiday destination, Bosnia and Herzegovina is best known for hikers and snowboarders. But the country also has access to the Adriatic Sea with excellent beaches. If you wish, you can always travel to neighboring Montenegro or Croatia, although I bet Bosnia has enough to keep you busy too.
The country has preserved a lot of monuments from antiquity, the Middle Ages, and Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian periods. With a big number of ancient towns, variety of food, and lots of things to do, you can be sure you won’t be bored there.
Monthly Budget For Two People
When we were in Bosnia, we were surprised to find many nice apartments for rent (on Airbnb) for about €350-€400 per month. Even Sarajevo as the capital had a wide range of cheap flats on offer. Compared to other capital cities in Europe, Sarajevo was probably the cheapest one.
For remote work, you may want to choose Mostar instead of Sarajevo. And the reason is not behind the prices. Mostar is a small city with a beautiful landscape and a slow pace of life. It is also very close to the sea.
Prices are more democratic, although the choice of flats is smaller. One-room apartment in the center will cost €200-€250. Prices for food in grocery stores are about the same but restaurant food is more expensive in Mostar since this is a touristy city.
We were spending €8-€10 a day on food for both of us. Some days (if eating out) it was more but on days when cooking at home much less. But on average, our daily spendings were around 8 euros.
From my experience, I can say that Bosnia is a country with the lowest cost of living in Europe.
Here is another best cheap place to live in Europe if you are looking to explore the Balkans. However, there is one thing to know.
Many people, when checking the map of the Balkanas, think that all countries of former Yugoslavia are equally attractive to emigrate to. Low prices, a mild climate, similar cultures, and food create a picture that Balkan countries are all alike.
When in reality, there is a significant difference between them. Some countries have successfully emerged from the crisis of the 1990s, while others have been less fortunate and fell behind. Life in these less fortunate countries differs in the level of comfort and safety.
Serbia is one of those countries. Together with neighboring Croatia, it has the slowest economic growth. Yet, compared to Croatia, it is also less safe.
Before the fall of Yugoslavia, Serbia was one of the richest republics in the union. After the war, in the first half of the 2000s, Belgrade has managed to maintain its political leadership in the international arena. But the economy was not so good. Currently, living standards in Serbia are worse than in Croatia, Slovenia, and Montenegro.
Yet, Serbia is still beautiful in its own way thanks to its pristine nature and calm rhythm of life.
If you don’t plan to move to Serbia to work for a local company and have income from outside the country, you can have a quite comfortable life there. And it will be cheaper than in Montenegro or Albania mentioned above.
Belgrade is an inexpensive European capital but living in Novi Sad, Pancevo or Subotica is much more affordable.
Monthly Budget For Two People
For comparison, renting a one-room apartment in the center of Novi Sad (the second largest and most important city) is €200-€250 per month. In Belgrade, the same apartment will be 2 times more expensive. About 10 years ago, housing in Croatia and Slovenia jumped sharply in price. This did not happen in Serbia helping real estate in this country to become the cheapest in the Balkans.
When we were in Serbia, I noticed how similar prices there were to prices in Ukraine. And not much changed today. Food prices in Belgrade are almost the same as in Kyiv. Fruits, vegetables, dairy products, beer are cheaper, meat and eggs are a little more expensive. Overall, you can live comfortably even in Belgrade with less than €1000 per month.
If you have a remote job that pays you well, you can live well in Serbia. The cost of living in this country creates excellent conditions for permanent residence.
Here is another most affordable place to live in Europe for digital nomads or anyone who wants to open a business. Not Indonesia, Thailand, or Mexico but Georgia with many advantages for a foreigner.
Georgia is really a very cheap country in Europe with great food, inexpensive accommodation, gorgeous mountains, healing beaches, no visa (you can come and live year-round), inexpensive flights to Europe, and multiple opportunities to open businesses and pay low taxes. On top of that, it has beautiful distinct seasons, hundreds of funky bars, wineries, nice architecture, scenic drives, and overall interesting things to do.
If you are just starting to work remotely and want hustle free life, then plan to make a base in Batumi or Kutaisi. There, you’ll be able to take it slower, create a routine not worrying about the visa or legal status in the country, and work.
Tbilisi is the most expensive among Georgian cities but it is one of the cheapest cities to live in Europe. The expat community there is huge (and keeps growing), wifi is pretty decent, and if you like the country, you can really stay as long as you wish.
However, among all the benefits, there are also downsides to living there as in Georgia as a whole. If you are interested to find out more about them, then check my post about Tbilisi for nomads and things no one tells you about life and travel in Georgia.
Monthly Budget For a Couple
Without putting too much effort, it is pretty easy to find a flat in Tbilisi (even on Airbnb) at a low price. By ‘low price’ I mean a luxurious 1-bedroom apartment in a good safe area for €350-€400 per month. But there are also so many other cheaper options.
To this day when we talk with Mark about all our digital nomad years, both of us agree that Georgia has the best choice of apartments at the cheapest price. You can literally have everything you need (including some unique devices and kitchen supplies) paying only a few hundred euros per month.
But if I had to answer shortly, I’d say that for about €750-€800 per month you can have a very comfortable life in Georgia as a couple. You won’t live in luxury but that’s enough money to afford everything you need (including healthcare, barbershops, occasional travel in a rental car, etc.).
Oh well, before I updated this post, Ukraine was number one on this list as the cheapest European country to live in with cheap cities that speak English. But with the beginning of the war, everything changed. I mean not that the price has changed, no. The cost actually stayed as cheap but the question of safety got compromised tremendously.
I can’t believe I am saying this but my beautiful home country with tons of activities and what used to be a high standard of living is not safe for now. Of course, many people still live there (we are also in and out all the time) and surprisingly some foreigners even come to stay for some time (in those parts that are safe). But for most people, it is not a favorable place to stay despite all the cheapness.
If for any reason you have to go to live in Ukraine, you can definitely be sure that it’s going to be affordable even if you have a small budget. Ukraine has the cheapest cost of living in Europe, even though with the war real estate prices went up significantly.
People who work online should know that Ukraine offers the cheapest excellent Internet and very good mobile service, so you can work remotely from pretty much anywhere, including a bomb shelter.
I know it may sound strange that I mention a destination when it is living through an active phase of the war. But I don’t want to write off Ukraine from the list because life really goes on. We are learning how to continue to live and support the economy despite Russian aggression. Government is doing its best to continue the development of the country in the midst of the most devastating event.
Monthly Budget For Two People
Based on my experience and the experience of my friends and relatives, you can live in Ukraine for about €750-€800 per month quite comfortably. But that is possible if you choose a smaller city like Khmelnytskyi, Vinnytsia, Ternopil, etc., or live somewhere closer to the mountains. Living on the outskirts of Lviv can be as cheap.
For food, you should budget at least €300 per month for two people. This amount will be enough for home and occasional restaurant eating. And then budget at least €500 for utilities, entertainment, medical checkups, buying clothes, or/and occasional travel.
And if you choose to go and stay in one of the safest Ukrainian cities, still never neglect air raid sirens! There is always a good reason why they are on.
Affordable Places to Live in Europe That Speak English
Among all the countries on my list, the number one country to live in that speaks English is Poland. Lithuania, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia as they have a big number of people who speak English.
In Georgia (mainly Tbilisi and Batumi) a lot of young people speak very good English too but the older generation speaks Russian. In Balkan countries and Turkey, from my observation, a lot of people have English knowledge on the level of the first grader. It was easier to use Russian-Ukrainian-Polish to communicate with people in Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia than in English. However, in coastal cities that attract tourists, the number of English speakers is higher.
Hungary is a country where without knowledge of the Hungarian language it will be difficult to communicate with the local population. In Budapest, many areas are tourist-oriented, so the staff has a good knowledge of English. But outside the capital, it will be difficult to communicate with people.
Other Cheap Countries in Europe That You Want to Avoid
There are a few more cheap countries in Europe that I didn’t include on this list. They are Belarus, Moldova, North Macedonia, and Kosovo.
While North Macedonia is a beautiful country to visit and stay in for some time, I am not sure how many people will be actually interested to live there. The expat community is very small, locals barely speak any English, Internet is below average, and in summer it gets very, very hot. Ohrid lake is a good place to run away to but the majority in the summer travels to Albania and Montenegro.
Moldova is the cheapest country in Europe but the quality of life is pretty low. Also, Russian influence is huge and pro-Russian leaders constantly try to drive Moldova into international isolation (as what they are doing now with Ukraine).
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, a self-proclaimed dictator president of Belarus Lukashenko lets to use his country as a bridgehead for the assault on Ukraine. At the same time, he destabilizes the country and commands brutal security services that make people disappear. Belarus is an inexpensive place to live in Europe but is an unsafe country with no future until something changes.
Are you looking to move to Europe as a digital nomad or remote worker? Thinking to find a cheap European country to live in and study?
Did you live in any other cheap countries that are not on this list? Share in the comments!