Are you thinking about moving to Europe? The continent's many cultures are close together, which can make it both a blessing and a curse. With so many incredible places to choose from, how can one decide where to live? This list of top European cities will help you narrow down your search to find the perfect place.
1. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Considered one of the most beautiful places in Europe, Dubrovnik offers medieval architecture, a cobalt blue sea, and mountain views. These are in part why so many people love to visit for a vacation. Is it a great place to live, though? Absolutely! Between the stellar food scene and the seemingly limitless things to do, there’s enough in Dubrovnik to keep any newcomer on their toes. Plus, the beaches are incredible, and there are tons of places in nature just outside the city to escape to.
Croatia is also one of the safest countries in the world, making Dubrovnik a great choice for solo female travelers looking for someplace in Europe to settle for a while. It’s also a very sociable place to live, as Croatians value spending quality time with friends and family, usually over a delicious meal and a glass of local wine.
Who it’s best for young people, students, digital nomads, and families?
Cost of living: Living in Dubrovnik is more expensive than in other parts of Croatia, but even so, it’s about half the cost of other countries, like England, France, and parts of Spain and Portugal.
Pros: Excellent hospitality, beautiful weather, access to nature, vibrant art culture
Cons: The everyday bureaucracy of life in Dubrovnik can be difficult to navigate as a foreigner. From the healthcare system to renting an apartment, there’s a lot to learn before you go. Plus, learning Croatian might be necessary for the long run, and it’s a very difficult language to learn.
2. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is known as one of the happiest places on earth, which might be enough for anyone to pack their bags and consider moving there. Denmark’s hygge culture embodies coziness and contentment, which is a good way to describe the atmosphere of the national capital. With some of the world’s best healthcare and education systems, residents of Copenhagen enjoy a relaxed way of life. There’s also a very flexible work culture, in which the strict idea of a 9-to-5 doesn’t apply. The Danish value free time to spend with friends and family, which is evident in their way of life.
Although Copenhagen experiences harsh winters, summers are delightful and warm. The riverfronts are packed in the warm months with markets, café seating, and people taking a stroll. Here it’s generally easy to adapt, as most people speak English fluently, and the Danish are usually warm and friendly.
Who it’s best for: Families, retirees, digital nomads (in tech or other high-paying sectors), LGBTQ+ people?
Cost of living: The cost of living is notoriously high in comparison to the rest of Europe. Taxes are extremely high, which many see as a valid trade-off for superb public services.
Pros: One of the highest qualities of life in the world, great healthcare and education
Cons: Because the cost of living is so high in Copenhagen, it’s not very accessible to anyone who isn’t already making a very high wage.
3. Prague, Czech Republic
There’s truly no place on earth that has the same Old-World charm as Prague. The architecture is stunning, the thermal baths are delightful, and there seems to be a delicious café on every corner. While prices have increased in the last few years, Prague remains a relatively affordable gem of a place to live.
Especially for young people who want to be social, Prague’s nightlife scene is spectacular. It’s very easy to meet new people here, which is why it’s such a popular destination for young digital nomads and university students. There’s also great quality and affordable healthcare in Prague, which is a huge plus.
Who it’s best for Digital nomads, young professionals, and university students?
Cost of living: It is still cheap to live in Prague, compared to other cities in Europe. The cost of living here is similar to Braga, Portugal.
Pros: Very social city, tons of museums and cultural sites to see, overall, very intriguing and beautiful, violent crime rates are low
Cons: Finding housing in the city can be very challenging, as the housing market is competitive and prices are rising. Many people settle for living on the outskirts of the city instead. Pickpockets and petty theft are pretty common.
4. Vienna, Austria
If you’re a sucker for great museums, there are few places in Europe with the same quality and quantity as Vienna. Here you’ll find some of the best art museums in the world, as well as historic cafés, a sophisticated atmosphere, and architecture that will make your jaw drop. It’s truly one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Most people in Vienna speak English, but they will most likely be more open and friendly if you at least try to speak German. The quality of life is high in Vienna, as the healthcare, education, and public transportation systems are excellent.
Who it’s best for: Retirees, families, digital nomads?
Cost of living: Similar to Copenhagen, the cost of living in Vienna is very high. Rent is comparable to cities like Miami, for example.
Pros: Great museums, plenty of things to do, excellent public services, well organized and easy to navigate
Cons: Locals aren’t always very friendly to foreigners, especially those who don’t speak German. It can be difficult to make friends here.
5. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Known as one of Europe’s most open-minded and liberal cities, Amsterdam is a great place to settle for a while. Though the city is working through its less-than-savory reputation regarding the infamous red-light district and public use of “soft” drugs, it’s actually a very safe city to live in. Many even consider Amsterdam to be ideal for solo women.
There are many job opportunities available here, and there’s generally a very relaxed work/life balance, which is a breath of fresh air for foreigners coming from more fast-paced work environments. Here you’ll also notice that a majority of people get around via bicycle, which is a nice change if you’re from somewhere where vehicle traffic keeps you from getting around quickly.
Who it’s best for young professionals, digital nomads, families, LGBTQ+ people?
Cost of living: Housing costs can be quite high in Amsterdam, meaning many people end up living on the outskirts of the city and have long commutes to work. Other costs are also generally high, about the same as Vienna.
Pros: Open-minded culture, lots to do and see (like going to see the tulips!), great work/life balance, most people speak English
Cons: The high cost of living is a big drawback for many people.