Europe’s 10 sweet spots for quality living on a budget in 2023


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Choosing the best country in Europe to live in is no easy task, as there are so many different ways to evaluate a country, from its economy to weather and everything in between. However, the countries that usually dominate the livability rankings year after year tend to be a combination of the same expensive countries: Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, and the like.

For most people who are looking to move to Europe, the cost of living is among the most important factors they are considering, as important as the quality of life. Switzerland may be wonderful, but the problem is that the average expat can’t afford to live in Switzerland, not even US expats.

Consider that the cost of living in Zurich, Switzerland is about 24% higher than New York City, according to Numbeo. This should give you a pretty good idea of how out of reach some countries that boast the highest quality of life can be for the average person.

My Dolce Casa‘s research team identified the sweet spots in Europe that offer a combination of great quality of life and a reasonable cost of living. Based on this criteria, Spain came on top as the best country in Europe in 2023, followed by Portugal and Netherlands in second and third place.

We ranked the countries based on a formula that takes into account the lowest cost of living and the highest quality of life, using the latest Numbeo data.

1. Spain

Spain is the best country in Europe to live in, striking the ideal balance, with a moderate cost of living score of 51 and a high quality of life score of 174. One of of the most desirable places to live in the world, Spain has many expat-friendly Spanish cities and towns with reasonable real estate prices. Living in Spain means lots of sunshine year round, beautiful sandy beaches, stunning mountains and a tradition-filled countryside, not to mention the amazing Spanish cuisine.


2. Portugal

Portugal has risen in popularity dramatically in recent years and it’s easy to see why. A low cost of living score of 45 and an above average quality of life score of 164 makes Portugal the second best country in Europe to live in. Foreigners who choose to move to Portugal cite safety, weather, natural beauty and amazing culture as the top reasons for choosing Portugal for their home abroad. Although real estate prices in Portugal have been appreciating at fast pace in recently, the country remains relatively affordable compared to most Western European countries.

3. Netherlands

Netherlands is the third best country in Europe to live in, thanks to a very high quality of life score (197) and a somewhat moderate cost of living score (69). It has beautiful cosmopolitan cities, a strong economy and it was named the safest country in the world in 2023. For these reasons and many more, the Netherlands is well deserving of the third spot in the ranking.

4. Slovenia

Slovenia in fourth place might come as a surprise to some, but those who have visited the country at least once will really understand why this underrated country holds a top spot among the best countries in Europe to live in. Stunning natural beauty, breathtaking mountains, world class infrastructure and safety are just a few of the reasons to choose Slovenia.

5. Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Croatia is no longer the undiscovered European gem it used to be. Rounding up the top five best countries in Europe to live in, Croatia is a small but stunning country spreading along the Adriatic Sea coast, boasting one gorgeous seaside town after another, clear blue seas and great weather. Croatia earned its spot in the ranking thanks to a low cost of living score of 47 and a well above average quality of life score of 163, thus offering a great lifestyle at a very reasonable price.

6. Finland

7. Czech Republic

8. Estonia

9. Lithuania

10. Austria

Check out the complete list below to see how other countries in Europe scored in terms of affordability and quality of life.

​​This article originally appeared on MyDolceCasa and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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