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Most expensive and cheapest cities in Europe

Most expensive and cheapest cities in Europe

Cost of living in different European cities

most expensive and cheapest cities in Europe Berlin most expensive and cheapest cities in Europe Barcelonamost expensive and cheapest cities in Europe Rome  most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-europe-londonmost-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-europe-parismost-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-europe-brussels

This ranking may come in handy for those who are considering the possibility of moving to a European city, and particularly for those professionals working online, such as freelance translators, designers, web developers… It will give you at least a good indication of which city could yield more for your income. Needless to say, it is not the same to earn $1000 in Oslo as it is in Krákow.

Below you can see the city ranking ―ranging from the most expensive to the least ― so that you can get an idea of where your income can yield more, or where you will enjoy more purchase power with the same amount of money. I have also included some interesting resources that hopefully will prove useful in your research.

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-europe
Paris

Living in Europe

In the economic field, there are other crucial considerations, such as the freelancer’s taxes, whether or not the country is a member of the European Union, city taxes. These cannot be underestimated or sidelined, but overall, a reasonably broad picture of how much it costs to live in one of these cities can be drawn. As a rule of thumb, the cost of living increases by 5% as one moves a line up in the ranking and decreases by 5% when moving a line down.

Most expensive and cheapest cities in Europe

Topping the list as the most expensive city in Europe we find Zürich, in Switzerland, with a population of over 400,000. On the other hand, we find Chişinău in Moldavia, with a population over 700,000, at the bottom of the list as the cheapest city on the Old Continent.

However, I do not wish to suggest that the main criterion when choosing a destination should be the economy, since it could be better to live in modest conditions in what you consider to be a wonderful city rather than be well-to-do in a boring or troublesome city. And some might prefer the seriousness and diligence of Central European cities while others might prefer the light and creativity of southern cities.

Interestingly, neither the most expensive city, Zürich, nor the least, Chişinău, are part of the European Union.

Top 10 most expensive cities in Europe

The ten most expensive cities in Europe in decreasing order are Zurich, London, Basel, Lausanne, Bern, Oslo, Reykjavik, Copenhagen, and Stavanger. Not surprisingly, Switzerland is the country with the most cities among the top 10 (Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Lausanne and Bern) and Norway is the country with the second-highest number of cities featured in the top ten.

most-expensive-city-in-europe
Zürich

The total population in Switzerland was estimated at 8.2 million people in 2015 and  Norway’s population was estimated at 5.2 million people, according to the latest census figures.

10 cheapest cities in Europe

Among the 10 cheapest cities in Europe are Chişinău, Minsk, Kiev, Turana, Timisoara, Iaşi, Skopje, Cluj-Napoca, Yekaterinburg and Wrocław (see the list below).

cheapest-city-in-europe
Chişinău

Yes, I know that this is only a rough indication of expense. The German yoghourts you love so much are more expensive in Tirana than in Berlin, or the transport or road tax is cheaper in one city than the other… But if we make a shopping cart with household expenditure (rent, water, electricity, food, transport, leisure…) the outcome is quite accurate. This ranking is based on Eurostat figures, after all.

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-europe-ranking

Ranking of more expensive and cheapest cities in Europe

Without further ado, here is the list, from the most expensive city (Zurich) to the cheapest (Chişinău):

RANKING CITY AND COUNTRY
1 Zürich (Switzerland)
2 Geneva (Switzerland)
3 London (United Kingdom)
4 Basel (Switzerland)
5 Lausanne (Switzerland)
6 Bern (Switzerland)
7 Oslo (Norway)
8 Reykjavik (Iceland)
9 Copenhagen (Denmark)
10 Stavanger (Norway)
11 Amsterdam (Netherlands)
12 Paris (France)
13 Dublin (Ireland)
14 Brighton and Hove (United Kingdom)
15 Stockholm (Sweden)
16 Cambridge (United Kingdom)
17 Luxembourg
18 Helsinki (Finland)
19 The Hague (Netherlands)
20 Glasgow (United Kingdom)
21 Bristol (United Kingdom)
22 Aberdeen (United Kingdom)
23 Düsseldorf (Germany)
24 Gothenburg (Sweden)
25 Frankfurt am Main (Germany)
26 Munich (Germany)
27 Cork (Ireland)
28 Hamburg (Germany)
29 Milan (Italy)
30 Birmingham (United Kingdom)
31 Edinburgh (United Kingdom)
32 Brussels (Belgium)
33 Manchester (United Kingdom)
34 Rotterdam (Netherlands)
35 Vienna (Austria)
36 Antwerp (Belgium)
37 Rome (Italy)
38 Leeds (United Kingdom)
39 Berlin (Germany)
40 Nice (France)
41 Lyon (France)
42 Malmo (Sweden)
43 Belfast (United Kingdom)
44 Florence (Italy)
45 Genoa (Italy)
46 Bologna (Italy)
47 Madrid (Spain)
48 Sheffield (United Kingdom)
49 Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain)
50 Toulouse (France)
51 Naples (Italy)
52 Turin (Italy)
53 Pisa (Italy)
54 Catania (Italy)
55 Valletta (Malta)
56 Palermo (Italy)
57 Lisbon (Portugal)
58 Ljubljana (Slovenia)
59 Athens (Greece)
60 Thessaloniki (Greece)
61 Malaga (Spain)
62 Seville (Spain)
63 Split (Croatia)
64 Zagreb – Centar (Croatia)
65 Valencia (Spain)
66 Moscow (Russia)
67 Oporto (Portugal)
68 Zagreb (Croatia)
69 Riga (Latvia)
70 Tallinn (Estonia)
71 Coimbra (Portugal)
72 Bratislava (Slovakia)
73 Prague (Czech Republic)
74 Vilnius (Lithuania)
75 Podgorica (Montenegro)
76 Budapest (Hungary)
77 Warsaw (Poland)
78 Faro (Portugal)
79 Gdańsk (Poland)
80 Belgrade (Serbia)
81 Saint Petersburg (Russia)
82 Kraków (Poland)
83 Bucharest (Romania)
84 Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
85 Sofia (Bulgaria)
86 Wrocław (Poland)
87 Yekaterinburg (Russia)
88 Cluj-Napoca (Romania)
89 Skopje (Macedonia)
90 Iasi (Romania)
91 Timisoara (Romania)
92 Tirana (Albania)
93 Kiev (Ukraine)
94 Minsk (Belarus)
95 Chişinău (Moldova)




Most Expensive and cheapest cities in Europe sorted by country

Most Expensive and cheapest cities in Albania

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-albania

Albania is a small country with a population of 2,774,000 and lower prices compared to other European countries. It is not a member State of the European Union. The most expensive city in Albania is Korçë and the cheapest ones, Tirana, Vlore and Elbasam.

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Most Expensive and Cheapest cities in Austria

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-austria

With a population of 8 million inhabitants, it is an expensive country for an expat. It is a member State of the European Union. The most expensive city in Austria is Vienna and the “cheapest” is Villach.

Most expensive and cheapest Cheapest in Belarus

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-belarus

Belarus is a country with a low cost of living from a western European expat viewpoint. It is not a Member State of the European Union. The most expensive city in Belarus is Minsk and the most affordable is Maladzyechna.

Most Expensive and Cheapest cities in Belgium

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-belgium

The most expensive cities in Belgium are Mons, Brussels and Namur. The less expensive, Leuven and Liège. It is a member State of the European Union.

 

Most Expensive and Cheapest cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-bosnia

Most expensive city in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Zenica

Cheapest city in Bosnia Herzegovina: Bihać

Most Expensive and Cheapest cities in Bulgaria

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-bulgaria

It is a member State of the European Union. The most expensive city in Bulgaria is Pleven and the less expensive, Burgas.

Most expensive and Cheapest cities in Cyprus

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-cyprus

Most expensive city in Cyprus: Kyrenia

Cheapest city in Cyprus: Nicosia

Most Expensive and Cheapest cities in Croatia

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-croatia

It is a member State of the European Union. The most expensive cities in Croatia are Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik; the cheapest are Slavonski Brod, Pula and Osijek.

Most Expensive and Cheapest cities in the Czech Republic

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-inczech-republic

It is a Member State of the European Union. The most expensive cities in the Czech Republic are its capital, Prague and Karlovy Vary;  the cheapest ones are Pardubice and Ostrava.

Most Expensive and Cheapest cities in Denmark

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-denmark

It is a member State of the European Union. In Denmark, an expensive place for an expat, the most expensive cities are Silkeborg and its capital city Copenhagen; the less expensive ones are Horsens, Odense and Vejle.

Most expensive and cheapest cities in France

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-france

France, along with Germany and the United Kingdom, are outstanding expatriates-receiving countries. With over 66 million inhabitants and a GDP of 2.806 trillion USD, it features as the sixth largest economy in the world. It is a Member State of the European Union.

The most expensive cities in France are Périgueux, Paris, Lyon and Toulouse. The most affordable cities in France are Saint-Etienne, Montpellie, Marseille and Perpignan.

Most Expensive and Cheapest cities in Germany

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-germany

Germany is a heavyweight not only at European level, but on a global level. With a population of 80,620,000 and a GDP of 3.73 trillion USD, features as the fourth largest economy in the world only after US, China and Japan according to the IMF. It is a member State of the European Union.

The most expensive cities in Germany are Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Hamburg. The cheapest cities in Germany are Leipzig, Dortmund, Bochum and Kiel.

Most expensive and cheapest cities in Greece

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-greece

It is a Member State of the European Union. With regard to Greece, its most expensive cities are Alexandroupolis, Loaninna, Rhodes (which gives name to the island), Heraklion and Corfu; and the cheapest Greek cities are Katerini, Kalamata and Kavala.

Most expensive and Cheapest cities in Hungary

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-hungary

It is a Member State of the European Union. The most expensive cities in Hungary are Budapest, Szombathely and Györ; the cheapest are Kaposvár, Szolnok and Kecskemét.

Most expensive and Cheapest Cities in the Republic of Ireland

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-ireland

It is a Member State of the European Union. The most expensive city in Ireland is Dublin; and the cheapest ones are Galway and Limerick.

Most expensive and Cheapest Cities in Italy

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-italy

It is an important country within the European Union. With a population of 59,830,000  and a GDP of 2.149 trillion USD, it ranks as the ninth largest economy in the world. It is a Member State of the European Union.

Ranking among the most expensive cities in Italy are Milan, Rome and Salerno. The  cheapest Italian cities are Campobasso, Rovigo and Palermo.
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Most Expensive and Cheapest cities in Norway

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-norway

It is not a Member State of the European Union. In Norway, the most expensive cities are its capital city, Oslo, Tromsø and Bergen; the most affordable cities, so to speak, are Bodo and Kristiansand. It is not a member State of the European Union.

Most Expensive and Cheapest cities in Poland

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-poland

It is a member State of the European Union. The most expensive cities in Poland are Warsaw, Krakow and Bielsko-Biala; and the cheapest ones Rzeszów, Radom and Gorzów Wielkopolski.

Most Expensive and Cheapest Cities in Portugal

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-portugal

It is a Member State of the European Union. The most expensive conurbations in Portugal are Cascais and Evora; the cheapest are Braga and Monsanto

Most Expensive and Cheapest cities in Russia

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-russia

While it is true that only a part of the Russian territory is within the European continent, I have decided to include this country because of its important geostrategic position. As we know, it is not a member State of the European Union. Its most expensive cities are Moscow, Orsk and St. Petersburg; ranking among the cheapest ones are Barnaul, Taganrog, Kirov and Bryansk. Russia’s GDP: 2.097 trillion USD Population: 143.5 millions.

Most Expensive and Cheapest cities in Slovakia

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-slovakia

It is a Member State of the European Union. The most expensive cities in Slovakia are Prievidza and its capital city, Bratislava; the cheapest Trnava, Zilina and Presov.

Most Expensive and Cheapest cities in Slovenia

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-slovenia

Most expensive city: Ljubljana

Cheapest City: Maribor

Most expensive and Cheapest cities in Spain

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-spain

Spain is a member State of the Europen Union with a population of 46,770,000 and a GDP of approximately 1.393 trillion USD and is the fifth largest economy in the EU.

Most expensive cities in Spain

San Sebastián, Vitoria, Barcelona, Madrid. Bilbao, Marbella, Oviedo, Palma de Mallorca, Pamplona and Girona.

Cheapest cities in Spain

Salamanca, Albacete, Badajoz, Huelva, Sevilla, Cadiz, Orense, Cáceres,  Lugo and Palencia

Most expensive and Cheapest Cities in Sweden

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-sweden

It is a member State of the European Union. The most expensive cities in Sweden are Gävle, Karlstad, Stockholm and Helsingborg; and the cheapest Växjö, Umeå and Luleå.




Most Expensive and Cheapest Cities in Switzerland

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-switzerland

With a population of  8,081,000 and a GDP of 685.4 billion USD, Switzerland is a country whose inhabitants enjoy high living standards. Its capital is Bern, and the most populated city is Zurich (with 390,474 inhabitants, while Bern has only 138.410). Maintaining its tradition of neutrality, it isn’t part of the European Union.

You see that Switzerland boasts several of the most expensive cities in Europe. Featuring among the most expensive cities in Switzerland are Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Lausanne and Berne; and, as it were, among the “cheapest” cities in Switzerland are Neuchâtel, Aarau and St. Gallen.

Most Expensive and Cheapest cities in the United Kingdom

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-the-united-kingdom-uk

The United Kingdom has historically been an Expat-receiving country. This year, with the Brexit, this condition might change.

The United Kingdom includes England, Wales, Scotland (at least for the moment), Northern Ireland and the overseas territories.

With a population of over 64 million and a GDP of 2.678 trillion USD, it currently ranks as the 5th largest economy in the world, after US, China, Japan and Germany (IMF). This condition may change after Brexit. It remains to be seen.

Ranking among the most expensive cities in the United Kingdom cities are London, Oxford, Portsmouth, Aberdeen and Bristol; and among the cheapest, Kingston upon Hull, Sheffield, Sunderland and Dundee.

Most Expensive and Cheapest cities in Ukraine

most-expensive-and-cheapest-cities-in-ukraine

Ukraine has a high population of 45.490.000. It is not a Member State of the European Union, although there is a significant movement in the country in favour of joining the EU. The most expensive cities in Ukraine are Kiev, Lutsk, Lviv, Kirovoghrad, Dnipro and Kharkiv; and the cheapest ones are Simferopol and Zaporizhia.

This list will be updated with new countries

Sources: Eurostat, The Earth Awaits, Numbeo and Expatistan.

Recommended Links

Living abroad: useful resources

I would like to conclude by recommending four websites which I think will prove useful in your research:

Thank you for reading! I look forward to your comments and questions.