Which country do you think is the cheapest country in Europe to live?

The cheapest country in Europe to live is Ukraine.

We’ve compiled a list of the 10 cheapest countries to live in Europe. Most people think Europe is expensive because the first countries they think of are France, Spain, The UK, Switzerland or Germany. These happen to be some of the most expensive places in the world to call home. Europe is much more diverse than that though. There are 44 countries and well over 100 languages.

In some of the lesser known countries, such as Ukraine, you can find a cost of living as low as Asia, and Latin America – in Europe.

While there isn’t a country in Europe that boasts the same exotic factor as in Asia, that could be a positive for some. Additionally, Europe also has world-class food, and to accompany it, the best beer in the world. I hope this post offers you a glimpse into some of the most affordable countries to live in Europe!

Note: all prices below will be in USD. Additionally, keep in mind that the prices are estimates – they will vary throughout each country.

Ukraine 

There is a lot of misconception surrounding Ukraine. When you think of it, the first things that probably come to mind are political unrest and war with Russia. While it is true that these events exist in 2020, it does not engulf the entire country. According to the U.S. Department of State, outside of Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk – Ukraine is issued a Level 2 travel advisory. As a comparison, Italy and France also maintain a level 2 travel advisory.

View over of Lviv, Ukraine's old city.
View over Lviv, Ukraine’s old city.

Ukraine is very close to the cheapest country to live in the world. There are many great cities in Ukraine, and the main ones are Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and Lviv. As such, the country contains a diverse array of activities ranging from winter sports to the arts. If you are interested in more information on these cities, check out our list of the best cities to live in Ukraine.

Ukraine has a temperate continental climate with the Carpathians in the west. Here you can find world-class ski resorts such as Bukovel. A half-day Ski pass goes for $30 and a full day goes for $45. 

In the south, you will find the black sea, and farther east, the Azov sea where beachfront rooms go as low as $10 per night if you’re willing to make compromises. One more added benefit to Ukraine is that it is fairly easy to stay long term compared with other options. You can form a limited liability company and hire yourself as the director. At which point, you qualify for a work permit and a residency permit. This can be accomplished for $1200 – but it is recommended that you hire a trusted lawyer. For a detailed breakdown of the expenses, check out our blog post: Moving to Ukraine: How Much Does it Cost for a Temporary Residence Permit?

Cost of Living in Ukraine

  • One bedroom city center apartment: $400-600 
  • Local transportation: $0.27 per ride
  • Dining out: $5-6 with drinks
  • Cappuccino: $1
  • Potatoes: $0.16/lb 
  • Eggs: $1.50/dozen
  • Regional wine costs about: $3.00
  • Internet (60Mbps+): $5

If you’d like to set up a long term base in Ukraine, do not hesitate to reach out to us. Or, if you’d just like to take a visit, our partner VisaHQ makes it easy to check if you need a visa.

North Macedonia 

Another cheap country to live in Europe is the landlocked nation of North Macedonia. It is surrounded by Serbia to the north, Bulgaria to the east, Greece to the south, and Albania to the west. All of which are some most affordable countries to live in the world. The largest city, and capital, is Skopje with a population of roughly 500,000. The second city, Bitola, is a large town of 75,000. While it is a small nation, it is a nation filled with history and diverse landscapes. North Macedonia has mountains and canyons such as Matka Canyon, as well as lakes. UNESCO has even designated Lake Orhid a World Heritage site. The climate of the country is mostly mild continental.  

Arial view of downtown Skopje, North Macedonia
Aerial view of downtown Skopje, North Macedonia

Cost of Living in North Macedonia

  • One bedroom city center apartment: $250-350 
  • Local transportation: $0.64 per ride
  • Dining out: $4-5 with drinks
  • Cappuccino: $1.20
  • Potatoes: $0.23/lb 
  • Eggs: $1.50/dozen
  • Regional wine costs about: $3.50
  • Internet (60Mbps+): $16

Romania 

Situated in eastern Europe, Romania is well known for its gothic architecture, and of course, Vlad the Impaler. Many often confuse Bran Castle as his place of residence. However, this is not true. He actually lived in Poienari Castle – or roughly two and a half hours from Bran Castle. The largest cities of Romania include the capital Bucharest, Cluj, which is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and Constanta, located on the Black Sea. Romania enjoys a temperate continental climate with distinct seasons. As with most cities on this list, Bucharest, and Cluj boast vibrant art and cafe scenes.

Castle Peles about an hour and a half outside of Brasov, Romania
Peles Castle which is about an hour and a half outside of Brasov, Romania

Cost of Living in Romania

  • One bedroom city center apartment: $350-450 
  • Local transportation: $0.60 per ride
  • Dining out: $6-7 with drinks
  • Cappuccino: $1.60
  • Potatoes: $0.26/lb 
  • Eggs: $2.20/dozen
  • Regional wine costs about: $4.50
  • Internet (60Mbps+): $9

Bosnia and Herzegovina 

Bosnia and Herzegovina underwent a tumultuous period following the breakup of Yugoslavia. It is surrounded by the other republics of Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro. In recent years, tourism has exploded in this eastern European country largely thanks to its renowned natural environment, cultural heritage, and winter sports. It’s capital and largest city Sarajevo is home to Bascarsija, one of the oldest markets in Europe dating back to the 1400s. Additionally, there are gorgeous mountainside towns such as Blagaj that are reminiscent of those found throughout China. Part of this country boasts a Mediterranean climate while the majority of the country maintains a continental climate.

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Cost of Living in Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • One bedroom city center apartment: $250-350 
  • Local transportation: $1 per ride
  • Dining out: $5-6 with drinks
  • Cappuccino: $1  
  • Potatoes: $0.26/lb 
  • Eggs: $1.60/dozen
  • Regional wine costs about: $4.50
  • Internet (60Mbps+): $24

Serbia 

Next on the list is another former Yugoslav Republic, Serbia. This country is quickly becoming known as a digital nomad hotspot in Europe thanks to its relatively lax visa requirements. It’s main cities Belgrade and Novi Sad boast cafe cultures and nightlight that rival that of some of the most famous destinations on the planet. The seasons are distinct with hot summers and cold winters. If you are planning a trip around New Year, Belgrade is a must-visit city. For more detailed information on Belgrade, take a look at Nomad Capitalist’s Nomad Guide to Belgrade.

Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Belgrade, Serbia
Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Belgrade, Serbia

Cost of Living in Serbia

  • One bedroom city center apartment: $300-400 
  • Local transportation: $0.85 per ride
  • Dining out: $5-6 with drinks
  • Cappuccino: $1.30 
  • Potatoes: $0.24/lb 
  • Eggs: $1.40/dozen
  • Regional wine costs about: $3.80
  • Internet (60Mbps+): $22

Bulgaria 

Bulgaria is quite often the first country mentioned as the cheapest country to live in Europe. It is famous among digital nomads for its low cost of living, and excellent internet. If you value authentic experiences, Bulgaria is for you. Its Cyrillic alphabet may be intimidating at first, but a bit of preparation before your trip will help immensely.

Ariel view over one of the cheapest cities Europe - Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Ariel view over one of the cheapest cities Europe – Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Plovdiv, Bulgaria has been THE digital nomad landing zone in Europe for years. It’s even been referenced as the Chiang Mai of Europe. Bulgaria has got a diverse landscape. It’s got beaches, mountains, monasteries, fortresses, tasty and healthy cuisine, and a burgeoning art scene. The climate is also mild, with winters rarely dipping below 0°C for long periods.

Cost of Living in Bulgaria

  • One bedroom city center apartment: $300-400 
  • Local transportation: $0.75 per ride
  • Dining out: $6-7 with drinks
  • Cappuccino: $1.30
  • Potatoes: $0.26/lb 
  • Eggs: $1.75/dozen
  • Regional wine costs about: $5
  • Internet (60Mbps+): $11

Montenegro 

For nature lovers, there is not a better country on this list. Montenegro is situated on the Adriatic Sea, and if beaches are your thing, check out some of the top beaches. Additionally, there’s nature for mountain lovers as well. Lake Skadar is so picture-perfect, that it looks fake. The climate here is the mildest of any mentioned in this article. On the coast, you can expect temperatures to be well above 0°C degrees year-round, and often extending into the teens during winter (40-50°F). All of these aspects combined make Montenegro an excellent choice for adventurists, and outdoors lovers alike.

Picturesque photo overlooking Kotor, Montenegro
Picturesque photo overlooking Kotor, Montenegro

Cost of Living in Montenegro

  • One bedroom city center apartment: $300-400 
  • Local transportation: $1 per ride
  • Dining out: $6-7 with drinks
  • Cappuccino: $1.60
  • Potatoes: $0.24/lb 
  • Eggs: $1.60/dozen
  • Regional wine costs about: $4.50
  • Internet (60Mbps+): $28

Russia

Russia isn’t typically thought of as part of Europe. But the vast majority of Russia’s population lives there. That is, 110 million of their 145 million citizens call the European continent home. Russia is an incredibly large and diverse country that offers almost anything you could want. An added benefit to Russia is that it’s quite easy to move and establish residency.

Moscow’s annual Christmas tree on Red Square.

Most Expats live in either Saint Petersburg or Moscow. Generally, Saint Petersburg offers a lower cost of living than Moscow while Moscow offers more work opportunities as its a major international city.

If you’re interested in moving abroad to work, we have a detailed guide to finding work in Russia. In addition, we also run a Job Board for Expats in Russia.

Both Moscow and Saint Petersburg are filled with enough culture to last a lifetime. It is here that you’ll realize why Russia is one of the cheapest countries to live in Europe. In Saint Petersburg, you will find the State Hermitage Museum where a ticket goes for $8.46. Here, if you spend 1 minute viewing each item on display, it will take you 15 years to see the entire museum. In Moscow, you’ll get a good view of the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral and Lenin Mausoleum for free from the Red Square.

Cost of living in Russia

  • One bedroom city center apartment: $600-1000 
  • Local transportation: $0.36 per ride
  • Dining out: $6-8 with drinks
  • Cappuccino: $1.73
  • Potatoes: $0.47/lb 
  • Eggs: $1.08/dozen
  • Regional wine costs about: $5.70
  • Internet (60Mbps+): $6.84

The visa process is becoming easier in Russia, but it’s still more complex than most countries. We have written the longest guide on Russian visas to answer any questions you may have.

Poland 

The next country, Poland, is one of the cheapest countries to live in Europe. It is also one that people don’t associate with a low cost of living. However, it is worth considering as Poland boasts the highest percentage of English speakers on this list. Close to 40% of its population speaks English. It also falls on our list of underrated places to teach English abroad. This makes it one of the best options for English speakers. It lies in central Europe, linking the east with the west and offers an affordable European experience on this list. Its largest cities are Warsaw and Krakow are modern and offer most of the amenities that western countries offer.

View of Downtown Gdansk, Poland.

It is also filled with history – some pleasant, and some of the worst atrocities of modern humans occurred in Poland. Warsaw was almost destroyed during World War II. Despite its not too distant past, it is growing into one of the most popular tourist destinations.

Cost of Living in Poland

  • One bedroom city center apartment: $500-600 
  • Local transportation: $0.84 per ride
  • Dining out: $5-6 with drinks
  • Cappuccino: $2.15
  • Potatoes: $0.23/lb 
  • Eggs: $2/dozen
  • Regional wine costs about: $5.30
  • Internet (60Mbps+): $13

Hungary 

Another country bridging the west with the east is Hungary. The main cities of Hungary are Budapest and Debrecen. Everywhere in Hungary, you will find stunning architecture – but especially in Budapest. Additionally, the food is some of the best in all of Europe, and without a doubt the most underrated. Hungary is a country where there is always something to do. With everything said and done, you will not feel like you are in one of the least expensive countries.

View of the Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest, Hungary.

Cost of Living in Hungary

  • One bedroom city center apartment: $400-500 
  • Local transportation: $1.20 per ride
  • Dining out: $6-7 with drinks
  • Cappuccino: $1.40
  • Potatoes: $0.34/lb 
  • Eggs: $1.70/dozen
  • Regional wine costs about: $4.15
  • Internet (60Mbps+): $14

Czech Republic 

So the Czech Republic (also known as Czechia) is probably a stretch to list as one of the cheapest countries to live in Europe. But you should still be able to reduce your expenses if you are coming from the west. It is considered the heart of Europe, and grants easy access anywhere in Europe that you’d like to go. The main cities are Prague, Ostrava, and Brno. No matter where you go though, excellent beer will always be affordable, and never far from your hand.

View over the Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic.

Cost of Living in Czech Republic

  • One bedroom city center apartment: $600-700 
  • Local transportation: $1 per ride
  • Dining out: $6-7 with drinks
  • Cappuccino: $2
  • Potatoes: $0.35/lb 
  • Eggs: $1.85/dozen
  • Regional wine costs about: $5.30
  • Internet (60Mbps+): $19

Conclusion

It’s no easy task to find the cheapest country in Europe, but there is one thing you should note. To find the cheapest countries to live in Europe, you’ve gotta get off the beaten path.

While it is not as exotic as Asia or South America, Europe can offer the same or an even more affordable cost of living. It’s got seasons, reliable electricity, some of the fastest Internet in the world. If you are open to generalizations, it also has less crime. To those interested in reducing their expenses, but aren’t quite as adventurous as those running away to India, Mexico, Thailand, etc., Europe is a worthwhile alternative.

A few of these countries also appear in our list of underrated places to teach English abroad.

Do you need a visa to visit any of the above countries? Find out from our trusted partner, VisaHQ. If you need assistance, they can help!

11 COMMENTS

  1. I was surprised that you do not mention Portugal. I live north of Lisbon in a medium size town, Caldas da Rainha. Pleasant near several beaches, quite, can walk anywhere in town, but there are in city buses, public transportation for other cities excellent, one hour from Lisbon. You can socialize with English, German, French, Korean, Japanese, Russian and Holandeses living here permanently with a Resident Card renewable, I believe every four years.
    Excellent fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, very reasonable prices for everything and by the way, I pay 450.00 Euros for an apartment almost in the center of the town with 2 bathrooms, kitchen, 4 bedrooms, study, dining-room, living room with fireplace, family room, a small back-yard and a garage.
    The people are pleasant and very agreeable to all nationalities. All you need is to come in peace, have a clean criminal record and prove of sufficient funds to support yourself.
    So, Portugal is also highly recommended!

    • Hi Olimpia! Caldas Da Rainha definitely looks beautiful. That does seem quite affordable. If I understand the type 1 visa policy correctly, you also need to prove you have private insurance which can wipe away the low cost of living. Generally though, Portugal is more expensive than the countries listed except for maybe the Czech Republic.

  2. Hi! Interesting, indeed. I’d wish to try to live in one or some of the countries that you’ve listed (especially as I visiterd Romania this autumn) if I weren’t lived already in one of the kind myself which is not on the list, namely Slovenia. What about this one? Left ou by accident or on purpose? Too expensive, perhaps? And Slovakia? What about the Baltic states – climate reasons?

    Best regards,
    France

    • Hi France!

      Slovenia, and Slovakia (and the Baltics! I love Estonia by the way.) have close the same cost of living as the Czech Republic. Maybe a bit lower depending on where you compare. I included the Czech Republic over these countries as it is already well known and has a sizeable expat community.

      In general, most Eastern European countries offer excellent value!

      Cheers,

      Andrew

    • Hi!

      Yes, typically permanent residents will qualify for national coverage. I will not say this is the case for every nation listed, but this is generally how it works.

      However, even in nations that offer public health coverage it is necessary to have supplementary private insurance.

      Hope this helps!

      Andrew

  3. Hi Andrew

    Do you know how Croatia compares? I’m interested In retiring there but not sure if I’ll have enough money. About $2000 a month, and insurance isn’t an issue for me ( I have great health care plan and plan to apply for citizenship anyway).

    • Hey Shirley,

      It depends where in Croatia you’d like to live. Major tourist cities such as Dubrovnik are expensive – but certainly still liveable on $2000 /mo. If you dig the seaside, Split is quite affordable.

      Another plus for Croatia is that they don’t have property taxes!

      Hope this helps

  4. Hi Andrew,
    I am Romanian / Canadian and I have to say Romania si not as cheap as it used to be. Hard to find a 300-400 euros apartment unless is really bad looking, the food at the restaurant is not less than $10 / person for something homemade stew or similar. I left Canada after 15 years cause prices are getting high. So, for this time where would u recommend for an English/ Romanian speaker, better and cheaper life except Romania? Thank you

  5. Here’s a question I hope you can help with. I am an American with Irish citizenship based on my grandmother. If I go to a euro country not just Ireland how hard is it to get the national health insurance? And generally the cost? Thanking you in advance Gene keeler

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