Are you looking for the cheapest European country to live in? Europe can be quite affordable, especially if you swap the tourism-centric areas to call home for one of the more remote and authentic destinations.
There are a whole host of stunning European countries, and whether you are looking for an electric capital city or a remote countryside villa, you’re sure to find something to suit your tastes.
Europe has numerous small cities and towns that offer a simpler way of life, often reducing the overall cost of living. For those considering the expat life, choosing one of these affordable countries to live in, many of which are still within a short flight to other top-notch European destinations, often makes sense.
As you consider our list of options to find the cheapest countries in Europe to live in, keep in mind that quality of life is also a big factor in this decision.
1. Albania – The Cheapest European Country to Live In
Albania is located on the Adriatic and Ionian Seas and borders Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Greece. It’s largely a safe, peaceful place with beautiful rolling hills and stunning landscapes. It mostly benefits from the Mediterranean weather, with warm and dry temperatures. There are numerous beaches here, most of which are well-maintained.
The country offers a slower pace of life but maintains an urban feel. It also is quite welcoming to foreigners and has numerous expat communities.
The average living costs in Albania
The cost of living is quite affordable in Albania for numerous reasons. That includes low overall housing costs but also lower prices associated with food. Transportation costs are a bit higher here, depending on where you live, and the cost of things, such as eating out tends to be higher. Still, the average family of four will have costs of $1,726 per month without rent. The cost of living is about 48 percent lower than in the US, and the housing market is about 80 percent more affordable than in the US.
The cheapest cities in Albania
Albania has much to offer for those seeking the cheapest countries in Europe to live in. Many of its towns are more modern and extensive but remain competitively more affordable than those in similar cities throughout Europe. Aside from remote towns, these are the cheapest cities in Albania.
Vlore is the country’s third largest city by population, with some of the most stunning beaches along the Adriatic and Ionia Seas. It also sits at the Ceraunian Mountain foothills. Though it offers a tourism-focused lifestyle with amenities like Radhime Beach, it is quite affordable overall.
The city of Shkoder is noted for its strong regional culture, especially in the area of the arts. It is also one of the most diverse religious regions of the country. Many people live in apartments in Albania. The Albanian Alps create hiking, camping, and relaxation opportunities for many neighborhoods in Shkoder.
Berat, sometimes called the City of a Thousand Windows, is an enchanting countryside community that overlooks the Osum River. It has a large castle near the top of the hill, and beautiful, simple homes dot the landscape. Winding cobblestone streets make this a relaxed, historically charming place to live.
2. Romania - The Second Cheapest European Country to Live In
Romania is the sixth-most populous country in the European Union. Situated in eastern Europe, the country is noted for its beautiful landscape, including the Carpathian Mountains and the Danube Delta. Bordered by Ukraine, Serbia, Moldova, and Bulgaria, the country is recognized for its location on the Black Sea, which offers the opportunity for long summer days spent by the water.
A look around Romania reveals stunning castles, old towns with true character, and a strong, passionate local culture. That culture is influenced by traditional foods, religious upbringings, and the desire to enjoy life to the fullest. The country is noted for its celebration of spring, called Martisor, and its vibrant folk costumes worn by men and women.
The average cost of living in Romania
As one of Europe’s cheapest countries to live in, Romania’s cost of living is quite low. Monthly costs, without rent, for a family of four are typically less than $1,913. The cost of living in Romania is 47 percent lower than in the US. In addition, rental costs are 79 percent lower than in the US.
The cheapest cities in Romania
As one of the cheapest countries in Europe to live in, most of Romania is quite affordable. Considering the quality of life and the cost of living, the following are some of the most affordable cities in the country:
The capital city has a large presence of foreigners that makes Bucharest a versatile city to live in, with numerous amenities like parks and museums. It is one of the most affordable European cities because of its low rental costs, but it still maintains a good quality of life. Many people live in apartment blocks just off the main streets, keeping them within walking distance of shops and cafes.
As one of the more modern cities in the country, Timisoara is an ideal place to live for those who want a good internet connection and modern amenities like cafes and small shops but are still looking for a quiet, slow pace of life. Thanks to the rail service, planning trips throughout Europe from Timisoara is also easy.
Noted for its universities, Clug-Napoca is affordable, with a more youthful full-of-energy lifestyle. The city is larger, and foreigners comprise a large portion of the demographic. Though a bit more expensive than some of the more remote cities in Romania, this is one of the most modern locations to live in for expats.
3. Poland – The Third Cheapest European Country to Live In
For those seeking a culturally important country with a modern lifestyle, consider Poland. Located in central Europe, it is home to over 37.7 million people, making it the fifth largest in the European Union. It sits on the Baltic Sea and near the Carpathian and Tatra Mountains, creating a beautiful natural landscape to explore. Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia, Germany, and the Czech Republic surround Poland.
Poland has beautiful, historic cities with numerous castles throughout it. Many know of Poland for its strong religious affiliations with the Roman Catholic Church, but it is more diverse than ever. The country is also home to the largest number of ancient old-growth forests. Sitting on the Baltic Sea, numerous recreational opportunities exist, including beaches and dense forests to explore.
The average cost of living in Poland
The estimated cost of living in Poland for a family of four is about $1,967 without rent. Overall the cost of living is about 46 percent more affordable than in the US, with rent in Poland about 65 percent more affordable.
The cheapest cities in Poland
For those exploring the cheapest European countries, several cities in Poland are noted for their overall quality of life and low cost of living.
Perhaps the most well-known thanks to its history that dates to the 7th Century, Krakow is a beautiful old city
noted for its moderate lifestyle and simple way of life. The city is a popular tourist destination and is one of the most picturesque cities in Europe. It’s near the Tatra Mountains, which provide hiking and biking opportunities.
The community of Szczecin is a simple community with an industrial past. It has basic amenities, including parks and shops, but tends to be a working community. This community is a strong contender for those looking for a simple way of life, with quiet cafés, beautiful artisan works, and fast internet.
Though it’s the capital city of Poland and the largest city in the country, Warsaw is very affordable. It’s also home to the country’s largest economic and cultural elements, from museums to the urban lifestyle. It’s also become one of the fastest-growing major cities in the region.
4. Bulgaria – The Fourth Cheapest European City to Live In
Bulgaria, is located in the southeastern portion of Europe and is a Balkan country with a rich history. Bulgaria borders Serbia, North Macedonia, Romania, Turkey, and Greece. It also sits on the Black Sea. This country has a strong individual culture where people are passionate about family and community. It’s also quite welcoming to expats.
With an upper-middle-income economy and a growing market economy, Bulgaria offers many modern amenities that expats desire. It also offers exceptional local amenities, including a moderate climate, beautiful beaches, and a relaxed lifestyle. It is quite welcoming to foreigners and tourists, with a strong economy and numerous employment opportunities in the service and industrial sectors.
The average living costs in Bulgaria
As one of the cheapest European cities to live in, life here is simpler. A family of four can expect monthly costs of around $2,022 without rent. The cost of living in Bulgaria is, on average, 43 percent lower than that of the US, and rent is, on average, 78 percent more affordable than in the US. Competitive food and rental costs help to keep the overall cost of living lower here.
The cheapest cities in Bulgaria
The following are the most affordable cities to live in within Bulgaria while also considering the quality of life and amenities.
Home to about 95,000 people, it is one of the larger cities in the country. It’s home to the Madara Horsman, a national landmark, as well as numerous historic churches and buildings. This is also where the Shumen Plateau Nature Park exists, a nature reserve ideal for hiking.
The town of Pernik is also quite affordable and home to around 70,000 people. It has long served as an important mining town, which is why it is one of the largest cities in the west after Sofia. The stunning Pernik Fortress sits on the hilltop overlooking the city. A moderate economy and slow lifestyle make this an affordable place to live.
A smaller city of about 60,000 people, Gabrovo is one of the least expensive cities around the world. Located in central northern Bulgaria, it is located in the foothills of the Balkan Mountains, creating stunning recreational activities throughout the year. Numerous historic churches and museums exist here, and there is a craft market that dates back to the 19th century.
5. The Czech Republic – The Fifth Cheapest European Country to Live In
Though landlocked, the Czech Republic is a beautiful, affordable region. When choosing the cheapest European country to live in, this particular country offers a strong religious founding, an arts culture, and a fairly stable economy. It is bordered by Poland, Slovakia, Germany, and Austria and maintains a temperate continental climate.
The Czech Republic has a range of cities, many with an urban feel and others quite remote. It has medieval castles throughout its landscape, numerous national parks for hiking and camping, and maby small towns noted for their food, hospitality, and architecturally charming locations. This country is also well-known for its vibrant lifestyle.
The average living costs in the Czech Republic
The cost of living in the Czech Republic is not quite the cheapest country to live in, but in Europe, it is considered one of the cheapest countries. Plus, the country offers a high quality of life. A family of four can expect to spend $2,433 per month to live here without rental costs figured in.
On average, it is about 30 percent more affordable than in the US, with rent being about 57 percent lower than in the US, making it one of the cheapest countries in Europe.
The cheapest cities in the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is one of the cheapest countries in Europe, though costs can range based on the city. Some of the most affordable cities with significant populations include the following.
The town of Most in the Labem region is home to around 63,000 people. The Mostecke Jezero, a lake here, is quite beautiful and offers fishing and boating options for residents. Castles and large homes from centuries ago dot the landscape. It is a city that dates to the 10th century though much of it has been modernized.
A smaller city, Chomutov, is quite affordable because of its more remote location. Yet, that makes it one of the most attractive areas because it’s much more natural. It has a well-preserved city center and is home to the Kamencove Jezero, a lake ideal for fishing. It is also home to a zoo, numerous museums, and a walkable community lifestyle with small shops.
The city of Liberec is larger, with over 103,000 people, but it is also quite stunning as it sits in the basin of numerous mountains. It’s home to the Liberec Zoo and several museums. The city also boasts modern amenities, including a community pool, parks, and playgrounds.
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Is Portugal Expensive to Live in? – Portugal is considered to be one of the cheapest western European countries to live in. If you are interested in moving to Portugal, you’ll find many residency options open to you. You can check out our articles on the Portugal D7 Visa and the Portugal Golden Visa for more information on securing residency in this sunny Mediterranean country in western Europe. Other western European countries that are relatively affordable include Spain, which also has an excellent Golden Visa program to gain residency in the country. Other countries to consider as some of the cheapest places to live are Malta and Cyprus.
There are many cheap European countries, and while we have only mentioned five of the countries here, there are many other European countries to consider.
The country that is right for you will depend on your needs and what you are looking for. Eastern European countries, such as Romania and Bulgaria, are excellent choices, where you’ll have stunning landscapes and historic cities. If you are looking for a more central European country, then Poland is a top contender and is a beautiful country in its own right. Portugal is also a very affordable country that has excellent low cost healthcare and international schools. If you are retiring to Europe or thinking about moving with a family, Portugal is a good option. For such a small country, you’ll also find that Portugal has a vast array of stunning landscapes.
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Frequently Asked Questions about the Cheapest Countries in Europe
What European country has the lowest cost of living?
There are many cheap counties to live in Europe, such as Albania, Romania, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Poland. Other European countries to consider are Portugal, Malta, Spain, Cyprus, and Greece. Obviously, within countries, you will also find that there are cheap places to live and more expensive areas.
Which European country is very cheap?
Cheap countries in Europe include Albania, Romania, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Poland. The cost of living in a cheap country will, however, depend on your lifestyle and spending habits.