Europe’s Best Countries to Live In for Expats | GCS

The prospect of moving to a new country can be both exciting and intimidating. Whether you’re moving for a new job, or you’ve developed the desire to experience a different pace of life and culture, it’s important to know which countries offer the best conditions for expats.

Europe is a dream destination for expats due to its diverse cultures, history, and high-quality of life. But with so many countries within its border, how do you narrow down which are the best countries in Europe to live in for you?

This article will look at Europe’s top-rated countries to live in for expats, based on factors such as cost of living, quality of life, language barriers, and more. So if you’re looking for an ideal place to call home — or just curious about what Europe has to offer — read on.



When considering the best country in Europe to live and work in, you need not look any further than Germany. This economic powerhouse has endowed its citizens with a high quality of life and economic stability that is nearly unmatched by any other comparable economy in the world.

It’s no surprise that the highest concentration of expats in Europe resides in Germany. Along with its high standard of living, opportunities for work are plentiful, especially for skilled workers. And as a world leader in a number of industries – in particular, machine building, automotive, and electrical engineering – you’ll not only find great opportunities for work but also learn from the best.

Many would describe Germans as direct, diligent, and even somewhat cold. This might come off as unwelcoming to some, but underneath the veil of practicality and stolidity emits an expressive, receptive, and artistic people, especially in world-famous European cities like Berlin.


As we continue to adjust to rising inflation and costs of living, the desire to find an escape grows ever stronger. This is just one reason why you won’t see Portugal being knocked off any list of the best countries in Europe to live in any time soon. Despite rising costs across the board, Portugal has remained a stronghold in maintaining the perfect equilibrium between a high quality of life and cost of living.

Furthermore, Portugal is widely placed amongst the best places to live in Europe for young adults, with residency options like the Portgual D7 Visa, which provides remote workers with a simple path to residency.


This also makes Portugal one of the best countries for American retirees due to its low requirements, like a monthly income of just €760 (about $826), in order to qualify for residency. The Digital Nomad Visa is also an excellent way for remote workers to be able to live in Portugal.

Whether you’re a senior citizen looking for a laid-back lifestyle in the Algarve, or a young digital nomad drawn to the vibrance and quality of life of Lisbon – also one of the cheapest European capitals – you will find it in Portugal. So, the label as one of the best countries to live in the future is more than appropriate.



There are numerous reasons why, for many American expats, Spain tops the list of best countries in Europe to live in. For a start, the country boasts a diverse and rich culture and quality of life, with something to offer everyone. From the stunning architecture and world renowned cultural events in the historic city center of Barcelona to the best quality food and wine, and green spaces of the Rioja region, you will never be short of new things to explore in Spain.

On top of that, Spain is one of the ideal European destinations as it has some of the best weather in Europe, a popular vacation destination with long sunny days and mild winters. Not only is the weather great, but there’s also a wide variation in climate.

The north coast, with a yearly average temperature of 14 degrees C (57 degrees F), appeals to those who prefer cold weather, while an average temperature of 24 degrees C (75 degrees F) on the south coast will draw those seeking warmth and sun next to beautiful beaches.

Spanish people are also known for being warm and endearing. It’s no surprise that this country is seen as one of the best places to live in Europe for families to young professionals, as Spanish people are always ready to help out or invite you to have a good time.


At 1/5th of the size of Los Angeles County, Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in Europe, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for with excellent quality of life. The country comprises of a beautiful and vibrant capital of the same name, surrounded by stunning and mountainous countryside. And despite its small size, Luxembourg has a lot to offer expats in terms of job opportunities, leisure activities, and lifestyle amenities.

A key reason Luxembourg has a large and active expat community compared to most other countries is for the excellent job prospects.


Despite its size, the country has great influence on a global scale, being home to many international companies and organizations, as well as a thriving financial sector. Placing it as what many would consider, the best country in Europe to live and work for expats with skills in these areas.

For young entrepreneurs and great business leaders, you can position it with the best countries to live in the future. Consistently ranking amongst the lowest on corruption perception indexes, with non-bureaucratic procedures for incorporation and low tax rates, allowing businesses to thrive.


The United Kingdom

The UK is the ideal country for American expats to move to, and it’s not hard to see why, as it’s easily placed amongst the best countries to live in Europe for English speakers. Besides adjusting to some local dialects and expressions, it’s the closest place to a home away from home for North Americans.

Whether you’re looking for a new life in a lively incredible city like London, or a more relaxed lifestyle in the countryside, you’ll find it in the UK. There is also an abundance of styles of housing available, from Victorian townhouses and modern apartments, to Tudor cottages and converted industrial mills.

Although statistics would prove that Brexit, by and large, harmed the British economy, as a nation that has historically relied on contributions from foreign workers, this created a significant labor shortage. Subsequently, unemployment levels have circled around their lowest levels in 50 years. In other words, there has never been a better time for expats to seek a long-term work visa such as the Skilled Worker Visa.

The UK is also home to two of the top universities in the world, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford, as well as numerous other universities that specialize in different fields and industries, making it one of the best places to live in Europe for young adults who want to study.


What makes Finland one of the best countries in Europe for expats? To begin with, it has ranked as the happiest country in the world for five years in a row. This may lend to the fact that Finnish residents benefit from excellent free public health care system and a free education system at all levels. Not to mention, it’s the perfect destination young parents due to its low crime rate and abundance of outdoor sports.

The benefits don’t stop at free health care and education either. It offers the best quality education with it’s educators ranked amongst the best in the world due to Finland’s strict requirements to qualify as a teacher, solidifying it among the best places to live in Europe for families. According to a world report, Finish citizens also benefit from being in the top ten countries for LGBTQ-friendliness which attracts gay expats, as well as the top-ranked nations for salaries, safety, and security, right down to the purity and cleanliness of its water.



A member of the five Nordic countries, the small island nation of Iceland has a lot to offer expats. From its stunning natural scenery, minimal bureaucracy, and great quality of life, it’s the perfect European country for American expats.

If you’re an expat who is drawn to adventure, Iceland is unbeatable when it comes to outdoor activities, which could make it the best country to live in after COVID-19. It’s home to some of the most dramatic natural landscapes and unspoiled features in the world that don’t exist anywhere else on earth. This includes glaciers, waterfalls, geysers, and hot springs.

The economy is another reason why Iceland is a great choice for expats. This welcoming country has a strong currency and a low unemployment rate. It has also gone almost completely unscathed in the current energy crisis that many countries are facing, with it being amongst the few nations that depend entirely on renewable energy. Besides renewable energy, its one of the leading countries for sustainable tourism.

Geographic location is also a major factor, particularly for American expats. A more central location in the middle of the Atlantic ocean shaves two hours of the flight time to major American cities on the US eastern border than the time it takes to fly from European cities like Dublin or London.


For American expats seeking the best countries to live in Europe for English speakers, Ireland tops the list. It offers the best of both worlds as the only native English-speaking country that is a member of the European Union. This means that you have a country which American expats tend to find easier to assimilate into, as well as the option of living in other countries in the EU once they’ve reached citizenship status.

The Emerald Isle takes a piece of what many of the other European countries on this list have to offer, like its good economic health, amazing free public health system, low crime rate, and free education. It provides the perfect balance for a great quality of life.



It’s impossible to have a list of the best countries in Europe to live in without Switzerland being on it. It may not be as accessible as the United Kingdom or have a low cost of living like Portugal. But where it lacks, it makes up for in other ways, especially for wealthier expats.

If we assess the best country to live in after COVID-19, it’s hard to overlook Switzerland. We’re all witness to the strain that COVID-19 has put on the economies of many countries, but Switzerland has weathered the storm and maintained stability with relative ease.

This can be attributed to several factors. For one, Switzerland if the best European country for banking, with a banking system that is second to none, placing it at the top of the list of the safest countries to protect your wealth for many years. Another key factor to its long-term success is political stability and neutrality, in addition to its forward thinking policies like being one of the most crypto friendly countries. It’s no surprise that Switzerland experienced the lowest inflation rates of any country in the EU according to Eurostat, and attracts the business of many international institutions.

Besides individuals with a high net worth, it’s also ideal for expats with high salaries. The cost of living may be high, but this is offset by high average salaries, in addition to low income tax for high earners.

Benefits of Moving to Europe

Here are just a few of the benefits of relocating to Europe:

You’ll enjoy a high standard of living

Although living in some European countries can come with higher taxes than you may be used to, public funds are put to good use, providing outstanding public services. Some of the many advantages is that you will have access to a free high-quality health care system, education, public transport and infrastructure. Workers also receive great employee benefits, from adequate maternity and paternity leave to excellent pensions, with EU countries making up five of the top ten pension systems in the world.

You can experience new cultures

A big reason why western Europe is one of the best places for expats to live in is that you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in new cultures or visit different European capitals with minimal effort due to its borderless travel policies. You can take one-hour international flights in one direction to taste new foods and experience a different cultural life, or one hour in the other direction and encounter a totally different landscape and architecture of a charming city.

You’ll have greater career opportunities

Europe is home to the largest trading bloc in the world, and, as a result, many of the world’s top international companies and organizations are headquartered there. Relocating to Europe can open up a world of career opportunities as well as business opportunities for young workers. Whether you’re one of the many expats who want to start their own business or you’re looking for well paid jobs in finance, technology, or another sector, you’re sure to find something in this widescale job market that suits your skills and interests. You also have the option of many types of residency visas such as the Golden Visa through investment, freelance visa for create people or Digital Nomad Visas for those who work remotely.

Tips Before Moving to Europe

Do your research

Europe is a large and varied continent, and no European country is the same. Whether you’re looking to stay for a few month or a few years, it’s important to do your research and identify the countries that offers the best value and is the best fit the lifestyle you want to live. Consider factors like cost of living, housing prices, climate, language, cheap health insurance, and safety when making your decision.

Get your finances in order

Making sure that you have enough money saved up to cover your moving expenses and initial living costs in a new country cannot be understated. Thoroughly research the local cost of living and budget accordingly.

Learn the local language

Even though English proficiency is high amongst citizens of non-English speaking European countries and is widely spoken, learning some basics of the local language will make the transition to your new life much smoother. It will also help you make friends and connections more easily, as many locals appreciate foreigners who take the time to learn their language.

Know your visa requirements

The number one requirement for young expats moving abroad. There is no permanent move to any European country without first securing a resident visa. Make sure you are familiar with the requirements and processes well in advance, as most countries will require you to complete specific procedures in your home country.

Research your home

Whether you’re looking to rent or invest in a new property when moving to Europe, you have to keep in mind that space is often limited in family homes of European countries. Consider the things that you’d like to bring and how you can make the best use of your space.