Top 5 Expat Destinations in Europe

captureThis is a guest post written by Currency UK. Currency UK is more than just a way to transfer funds overseas – check out their Expat section for great advice about starting your expat life. They hope to be there with you every step of the way! 


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When it comes to upping sticks and moving abroad, many of us are rather tentative to consider. What if I can’t find a job? What if I don’t connect with the culture? What if I absolutely hate it?!
This feeling of uncertainty is enough to drive the thought of expatriating deep into the back of our minds, however once the thought is there, it’s only a matter of time until those thoughts comes back, in demanding fashion!
Though if you’re not quite ready to experience the culture shock of a new lifestyle in the bustling centre of Hong Kong, or settling into a new life in the jungles of Cambodia, a European destination may be just the ticket.
So without further ado, here are the top 5 (as curated by us) expat destinations of Europe!

5. Malta

malta

Malta has long been a favourite destination for it’s idyllic Mediterranean setting, relaxed pace of life and gorgeous weather most of the year, but what is it really like to live here?
Weather
The islands of Malta are located just South of Italy surrounded on all sides by the Mediterranean Sea so as you can imagine, the weather is rather lush for much of the year. The Maltese summer peaks in July and you can expect seasonal temperatures between 25 & 35 degrees centigrade. The sea is also incredibly warm in the summer which makes it perfect for boating, snorkelling & water sports.
Winter on the other hand is reasonably chillier, though with average temperatures around 15 degrees centigrade, it’s surely an improvement on the British climate!
Cost of living
Although the cost of living in Malta is relatively expensive, it’s still marginally cheaper than many main European cities. The cost of a beer (the global standard when it comes to measuring the cost of living) is between €1.5-2.5 a pint, pretty reasonable if you ask me!
Things to do
With it’s fantastic coastline, 7000 years of history & spectacular architecture there is much to see and do in Malta, the locals are super friendly and the traditional Maltese cuisine is said to be a delicious yet eclectic blend of Mediterranean styles with Lampuki, Bragioli and Kapunata being the main dishes of esteem.


4. Portugal

portugal

With clear skies, colourful culture and sandy beaches stretching as far as the eye can see, Portugal is fast becoming an expat hotspot. With charming locals and the country recently climbing to be the 5th most peaceful country in the world, can you think of any reason why you wouldn’t move here?
Weather
Like Malta, Portugal enjoys a distinctly Mediterranean climate with exceptionally warm summers (often in excess of 30 degrees) and moderate winters. In springtime you can witness vast swathes of flowers & almond blossoms blanketing the countryside, making this country a fantastic place for hiking.
Cost of living
The cost of living in Portugal has increased in recent years, though it is still an extremely affordable place to both visit and live. A beer in the sun is likely to set you back between €1-2 and with a meal for two in the region of €25 (including wine). Where do I sign up!?
Things to do
There are many things to see & experience all around Portugal – especially in the more touristy locations such as Lisbon or Algarve. Aside from enjoying the fabulous coastline, there are many activities for families & kids to enjoy including water parks, boat cruises & water sports.


3. Iceland

iceland

With it’s otherworldly landscape, geothermic activity & sparse population, Iceland at first doesn’t seem like your average expat destination, however there are many things about this small, sub-arctic country that you should definitely consider if you plan on relocating to Europe.
Weather
The land of ice and fire (as it’s so aptly nicknamed) features a milder climate than you’d expect, with average temperatures in the winter around -0.5 degrees. You’d think it would be colder being so close to the arctic circle, but thanks to the warming effects of the gulf stream, Iceland’s climate remains relatively temperate.
In summer, Iceland is known as the land of the midnight sun, offering 24-hour daylight to it’s 323,000 residents and occasionally reaching highs of up to 25 degrees in the south!
Cost of living
Living costs tend to be slightly higher for Iceland (although not as high as some of the Scandinavian countries). You can expect to pay around 1,000 Kr (£6.70) for a pint, and on average 195,249 Kr (£1,300) per month for rent.
Things to do
If you like adventuring, you’ll find no shortage of places to explore! Volcano tours, geysers & ample hiking provide endless experiences of Iceland’s extreme & varied topography. How about relaxing in the Hydrothermal spas whilst watching the aroura borealis overhead? Sounds like paradise to me!


2. Switzerland

switzerland

One would imagine living in Switzerland to be straight out of the sound of music; snow-capped peaks, dairy cows & pastures abound. Fantasies aside however, is it a good place for an expat to settle down?
Weather
The climate in Switzerland is generally moderate most of the year, with perfectly warm summers and cool, crisp winters, though the temperatures tend to variate depending on your altitude (if you’re living up in the Alps it tends to be much cooler).
Cost of living
When comparing to the rest of Europe, Switzerland has a comparatively high cost of living although this is offset by having one of the highest gross national wages in the world.
When it comes to going out, a pint will set you back around 7 CHF (approx. £5) with a restaurant dinner costing you more or less 85 CHF (£67). The healthcare is top notch; however, it is required by law to own health insurance so be sure to factor these costs in if you’re thinking of moving.
Things to do
As you’re probably well aware, the Swiss are champion skiers and take this pastime very seriously. As a result, there are many ski resorts up and down the country offering expats the perfect excuse for a mountain retreat.
Switzerland also makes a great home base for travellers and since it borders 5 countries, gives you the option to travel in any direction you choose, by train or plane!


1. Germany

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Finally, we finish off with the number 1 expat destination in all of Europe… Germany! If you have a penchant for sausages, beer and all the lederhosen you can shake a wurst at, then this is the country for you!
Weather
Gemany’s climate is relatively moderate, with average summer temperatures of between 15 and 20 degrees and 0-2 degrees in the winter depending on how far north or south you decide to move.
Cost of living
Compared to many countries in Europe, Germany’s living costs tend to be relatively reasonable, with beer prices around €2.5 a pint – you know how much those Germans love their beer!
Accommodation however is relatively pricey, with most expats opting to rent rather than purchase their own property.
Students get the best gig though, with free university tuition for undergraduates, you won’t have to fork out tens of thousands in cash just to put yourself through higher education. This makes Germany a serious contender for expat & international students. Go Deutschland!
Things to do
Germany is a country rich in history & culture, with traditional dishes & architecture galore; making it an extremely interesting & rewarding destination for foodies & history buffs. With charming medieval villages and gothic castles like Schloss Neuschwanstein to tour and visit, it’s no wonder Germany is a fairy-tale destination for expats!


If you’re thinking about moving abroad sometime soon, check out our expat section for some helpful tips!
⦁ Post written by Currency UK

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Travel Pray Love

Canadian travel & immigration blogger.

2 Replies to “Top 5 Expat Destinations in Europe

  1. I’ve been to 4 of the 5 destinations you mention so I think it’s time I go to Malta too! I’m so glad to see Germany as number 1, I completely agree with you there – I absolutely love it – you’ve summed it up perfectly!

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