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Is Living In Europe Affordable For Expats?

The cost of living and spending power are important financial factors that expats need to consider when deciding to move to Europe.

Warm weather and a laid-back lifestyle are great attractions, but not much good if you can’t afford the bills.

Expat financial tracker Numbeo has crunched the numbers and come up with a cost of living and spending comparison for 100 European cities. The data comes from thousands of database entries input by expats living their dream.

Switzerland ranks Europe’s most expensive place to live, with six major cities taking the top rankings.

Top 10 most expensive cities for expats

Norway takes the rest of the top 10 places.

Outside Switzerland and Scandinavia, Paris has the highest cost of living in Europe.

London ranks 21st, while the good news for older expats is cities in the popular retirement destination of Spain only start to feature at 134th place for Bilbao, 139th for Barcelona and 143rd for Madrid.

The surprise highest entry is Dubrovnik, Croatia, at 27 in the ranking.

The UK features most in the rankings, with 15 cities rated, followed by the Netherlands and France (both 12) and Italy (11).

How the cities are rated

Prices in New York are the ground zero for rating the cost of living in other cities.

New York is rated at 100 for each index. Any city rated over 100 is more expensive than New York, while any rated less is cheaper.

For examples, the cost of living in Basel is 36.65% more expensive than New York, while spending power is 0.65% more.

Spending power is how much the average net salary for that city can buy in local goods and services.

Cost of living in Europe – 100 cities rated

RankCityCountryCost of livingRentSpending power
1Basel Switzerland136.6550.09100.65
2Zurich Switzerland135.4970.22117.91
3Lausanne Switzerland132.8657.85104.4
4Geneva Switzerland131.7570.07109.73
5Lugano Switzerland128.4444.12106.68
6Bern Switzerland126.1945.97117.38
7Tromso Norway113.1537.8674.44
8Stavanger Norway107.9537.0179.16
9Trondheim Norway107.1338.6378.31
10Oslo Norway106.1244.8782.7
11Bergen Norway104.0735.4286.5
12Reykjavik Iceland98.7548.3269.81
13Copenhagen Denmark97.4951.9184.96
14Arhus Denmark95.0435.6586.46
15Paris France94.2351.7869.34
16Aalborg Denmark93.2426.98102.47
17Luxembourg Luxembourg89.6563.28100.48
18Stockholm Sweden87.4942.0980.77
19Valletta Malta86.9345.8629.77
20Amsterdam Netherlands86.859.2579.07
21London United Kingdom86.7572.2480.12
22Dublin Ireland86.0166.3367.67
23Cork Ireland85.8544.8172.36
24Antibes France85.0134.7681.37
25Odense Denmark84.9730.5286.89
26Uppsala Sweden84.9429.5579.9
27Dubrovnik Croatia84.2926.5931.89
28Utrecht Netherlands84.2645.9174.55
29Galway Ireland84.2140.0373.27
30Milan Italy83.6546.2850.71
31Breda Netherlands82.832.287.08
32Eindhoven Netherlands82.6239.5185.29
33Lyon France82.3128.8773.03
34Nice France82.0437.4867.43
35Strasbourg France82.0126.3574.02
36Munich Germany82.0148.6190.73
37Helsinki Finland81.433982.88
38Oulu Finland81.0821.7387.59
39Brighton United Kingdom81.0444.2273.65
40Peterborough United Kingdom81.0325.4558.27
41Gothenburg Sweden81.0235.2684.65
42Haarlem Netherlands80.8453.5379.66
43Leiden Netherlands80.7836.7677.21
44Rennes France80.721.5867.23
45Linz Austria80.6928.3971.38
46Groningen Netherlands80.6128.7980.98
47Lund Sweden80.3830.31101.78
48Montpellier France79.8625.0658.18
49Genoa Italy79.7120.3752.46
50Turku Finland79.5524.3696.28
51Graz Austria79.4723.1274.18
52Antwerp Belgium79.4126.6478.49
53Grenoble France79.2222.8670.31
54Maastricht Netherlands79.137.3778.53
55Bergamo Italy79.0621.5558.42
56Brescia Italy79.0619.4657.76
57Brussels Belgium79.0533.7786.65
58Leuven Belgium78.927.9979.77
59Nijmegen Netherlands78.8934.48103.33
60Sliema Malta78.883641.52
61Rome Italy78.7937.2849.38
62Toulouse France78.7224.0581.31
63Salzburg Austria78.5633.6274.78
64Malmo Sweden78.4829.1786.27
65Rotterdam Netherlands78.244382.17
66Limerick Ireland77.9537.967.7
67Espoo Finland77.8132.11102.49
68Tampere Finland77.4626.6986.6
69Gent Belgium77.4226.9674.49
70Parma Italy77.2222.4458.65
71Bologna Italy77.0228.654.46
72Guildford United Kingdom76.3549.7775.71
73Nantes France76.2823.3269.09
74Edinburgh United Kingdom75.9636.2778.27
75Florence Italy75.8732.1251.97
76Reading United Kingdom75.7341.41110.46
77Frankfurt Germany75.6340.79103.25
78Lille France75.6228.5771.62
79York United Kingdom75.4831.6270.76
80Cambridge United Kingdom75.4844.0573.91
81Heidelberg Germany75.2933.3987.76
82Bristol United Kingdom75.2838.8172.89
83Delft Netherlands75.2331.6895.41
84Trieste Italy75.1918.5763.88
85Enschede Netherlands75.127.2187.37
86Marseille France74.9224.6663.33
87Milton Keynes United Kingdom74.935.3272.11
88Aberdeen United Kingdom74.7926.5996.98
89Bonn Germany74.4932.51102.59
90Hamburg Germany74.4636.6781.95
91Augsburg Germany74.4329.3787.77
92Swansea United Kingdom74.322.2485.59
93Verona Italy74.1722.7963.98
94Mannheim Germany73.7723.0187.3
95Turin Italy73.3722.6758.53
96Swindon United Kingdom73.3528.5874.69
97Oxford United Kingdom73.3350.5380.16
98Portsmouth United Kingdom73.0932.6774.38
99Erlangen Germany73.0225.39105.46
100Nuremberg Germany72.8126.61105
Source: Numbeo

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