Country Guides March 1, 2020

8 Best Cities to Live in Europe for Americans

Steven Rogers

Apart from sharing Captain America's name, our freelance writer Steven is also a big fan of moving, history, and geography.

Many Americans who decide on moving overseas opt for the Old Continent, and there are more than a few valid reasons for that. But which are the best cities to live in Europe for American expats? There are plenty of them, thanks to a lot of cultural similarities, the absence of language barriers, and all the amenities that people in the States are used to.

Best Cities to Live in Europe – How To Decide Where to Go?

Unless relocating to the hometown of your ancestors or for work, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. It’s a known fact that European cities have a very high overall quality of life compared to much of the rest of the world. So what criteria should you take into consideration?

Well, basically anything and everything. Do you prefer to live inland or on the coast? Would you rather be in a metropolis or a smaller city? Undoubtedly, wherever you go when moving across the world, you’ll meet lots of great people. So do your research and then get international moving services to make the process easier for you.

Each European country has just enough of everything you might need

Berlin – The Hip Capital

Once a symbol of the divided continent, Berlin today is a place where people live life to the fullest. Housing is expensive, but all the perks of being here make up for it.

Why Choose the Capital of Germany?

There are numerous reasons why you should consider this destination:

  • Vibrant economy – the largest in Europe
  • Scores of places to enjoy cultural activities and have fun
  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Holocaust Memorial
  • Food and beer
  • Berlin is the top destination for students, thanks to its excellent universities and schools: Humboldt University, Freie Universitat Berlin, Technical University, and many more.
Berlin might be just the right place for you, with a mix of nightlife and culture

Lisbon – A Gem of the Atlantic

Portugal, and especially its capital, Lisbon, are among the top destinations for US expats. The climate is mild, the seaside is beautiful, the cuisine is enjoyable, and the cost of living is low when compared to some other places. Since the country is quite small, you might consider overseas vehicle shipping for easier travel up and down the Atlantic coast.

Why Go to Portugal?

Some of the perks of Portugal include:

  • Great people
  • Excellent wine
  • Rich history
  • Atlantic ocean
  • Fado
Portugal has great people and arguably the best way of life in Europe

Vienna, the Most Livable City in the World

Always ranked at the top of the lists of the best cities in the world, Vienna is a city of palaces, baroque architecture, and waltz. The cost of living is affordable, and folks are friendly and open to foreigners. About 40% of Vienna’s residents have a foreign background, which speaks volumes about the kind of atmosphere you can encounter in the Austrian capital.

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Why Go to the Austrian Capital?

Some things that attract expats to Vienna include:

  • Schonbrunn Palace
  • Sachertorte
  • Danube River
  • Prater Amusement Park
  • Philharmonic Orchestra
Belvedere Palace is just one of the reasons to move to Vienna

There’s a Tie in Spain – Madrid vs. Barcelona

Spain is a lovely country with great people and just about anything you might want from a European nation. It has two centers – inland capital Madrid and coastal metropolis Barcelona. Unlike some other countries, breaking the language barrier will be a hurdle here, since folks don’t speak much English.

Aside from that, both Madrid and Barcelona are perfect for expat life, with a lot to do and see.

Spain Has Some of the Best Cities to Live in Europe

These are things you should definitely experience in Madrid:

  • Royal Palace
  • Prado Museum
  • Opera
  • San Miguel Market
  • Real Madrid CF
  • Tapas bars and wine

And these in Barcelona:

  • Sagrada Familia Cathedral
  • Everything else designed by Gaudi
  • La Rambla street
  • Parc Montjuic
  • FC Barcelona
  • Tapas bars and wine
  • Beaches
The people and life in Barcelona will make you fall in love with Spain

European Capital of Culture – Paris

What can we say about Paris that isn’t already said a million times? Wherever you turn in the city’s central arrondissements, there is something majestic and exciting. The cost of living is high, but it’s well worth it. Also, it may be the perfect place if you’re moving to another country for love. After all, France is famous for romance.

France Is Among the Greatest Countries in the World

Whether you look for work, nightlife, or cultural activities, France’s capital is a place of endless opportunities:

  • Louvre Museum
  • Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Basilique du Sacre-Coeur
  • Versailles and other palaces
  • Bars of Montmartre
  • Champs Elysees
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Centre Pompidou
  • Les Invalides
  • Pantheon
European cultural capital, Paris, is probably the best city on Earth for art lovers and romantics

Budapest – Two Towns in One

Split in two by the Danube just like Vienna, Budapest is another European gem. It consists of two once separated towns: Pest on the one side of the river, and Buda on the other. Naturally, it has numerous bridges. Buda is a hill with the old fortress of the city, while Pest is flat, and all the important institutions are located there. Although it is a member of the EU, Hungary doesn’t use euro, so keep that in mind if you decide to move there.

Things to Do and See in Capital of Hungary

Attractions to help you pass the time once you move to Hungary include:

  • Houses of Parliament
  • National Szechenyi Library
  • Andrassy Avenue and Heroes Square
  • Saint Stephen’s Basilica
  • Matthias Church
  • Public baths
  • Sziget Festival
Enjoy days on the banks of Danube in Budapest

Wroclaw – Baroque Jewel of Poland

One more Eastern European city on our list, Wroclaw is a shining example of Gothic architecture on the banks of Oder River. Once the German town of Breslau, the city’s center features cobbled streets, and buildings are all painted in different colors. Costs of life there are low, but the nightlife may not be what you are used to. However, it is a great place to have more than one long, pleasant walk.

What to See in Wroclaw, Poland?

Here are some ideas for the exploration of your new hometown:

  • Market Square, where the locals gather
  • Ostrow Tumski, the old part of Wroclaw, on the island in the Oder river
  • Churches and cathedrals
  • Centennial Hall, listed as a World Heritage Site
Wroclaw is perfect for folks who enjoy peace and quiet

Varna – Experience the Black Sea

We’ll finish our list with the Bulgarian resort city of Varna. Located on the Black Sea coast, it offers long sandy beaches and plenty of opportunities for work since it is the business, entertainment, and tourist center of the country. It is often called Bulgaria’s maritime capital.

Things to Do in Varna, Bulgaria

Don’t know where to start exploring Varna? Here are some suggestions:

  • Archaeological Museum
  • Roman baths
  • Sea Garden Park (with an observatory, planetarium, aquarium, and dolphinarium, Museum of Natural History, a zoo, and other attractions)
  • Churches
Experience the Black Sea and Orthodox architecture in Varna

The European Lifestyle Is Waiting for You

So there are our picks. Of course, each of Europe’s towns and cities is unique in its own way, and not all could make the list. Still, we believe that this is enough to tickle your imagination and get you started with packing.

What are you moving?

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