• published on 5/10/2023
  • 4min

Top European Cities for Expats

Europe is becoming a hot spot for expats - 2.3 million people from non-EU countries immigrated to the EU in 2021.[1]  Those moving to Europe can benefit from cities steeped in culture and history, fantastic education systems, and great experiences.

Top European Cities for Expats

Some of the best places to live in Europe range from Munich in the heart of Bavaria to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. What people seek from their new home varies, which is why we have put together a useful list of some of the best places to live for expats.


Situated in the region of Bavaria, 1.47 million people live in Munich. It is home to the iconic BMW Tower and the international football team Bayern Munich; this city has lots to offer expats.

There are many industries expats could work in, including manufacturing, financial services, and biotechnology. The city also boats an excellent transport system, making it easy to find your way around.

Walk across the picturesque landscape in your free time, enjoying the city with a reputation for high standards of cleanliness. Should you want to travel, you’re ideally located close to the border of Austria and within reaching distance of northern Italy.

If you’re interested in moving here, it is worth noting that you may need to purchase international private medical insurance (IPMI) to obtain a visa. This type of insurance can protect your medical needs in case you fall ill, and could prevent you suffering from significant financial loss as a result of expensive medical bills. Check out our blog for more information on how much international health insurance costs.


With its warm weather and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is an ideal destination for many expats. It is a bustling city with red-roofed buildings, and has a popular beach to relax at in your free time.

The city is a great option for those who work remotely, with the D7 visa available to those who earn at least €8,460 a year. There are different eligibility criteria for this, including holding a valid passport, completing a cover letter, and filling in an application form. If you’re considering the digital nomad lifestyle and want to explore Portugal whilst working, then this could be an option for you.

One of the biggest draws of Portugal, though, is its tax benefits. For example, in 2009, the non-habitual resident regime was created. Eligible people can benefit from lower tax rates of 20%, and do not need to pay any tax on foreign income. They also enjoy tax exemptions in their initial ten years of residency.


With a population of nearly 9 million, London is a diverse and vibrant city attracting people to live there from around the world. It has an extensive underground transport network known as the ‘Tube’, which can take you from one end of the city to the other.

There is a great mix of international cuisine to try, whether you want to venture to China Town in the heart of London, or sample food at the historic Borough Market. You could encounter rainy weather when exploring, but it is a fantastic way to appreciate the vastness of the city.

Cost of living prices can be very high, with rental prices varying between £1300 and £3200.[2] London is, however, home to two big financial districts with the City and Canary Wharf, which present many job opportunities for expats.

If you’re looking to move to London, take the time to discover the rich entertainment found in places like the West End, or the beauty of its scenic parks. Not only this, but it is a city full of history, with famous landmarks including Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and St. Paul’s Cathedral.


Madrid is another popular destination for expats, in January 2021 having a population of nearly 1 million foreign residents.[3] Close to the border with France, the city enjoys warm weather and a great proximity to other travel destinations in Europe.

During the day, you can wander through its streets, taking in the beautiful scenery and architecture. At night-time, taste local delicacies in the city’s many restaurants with friends and family and enjoy the evening ambience.

In Spain, you will be eligible for state healthcare if you’re self-employed or work in the country. Similar to other destinations such as Germany, international health insurance might be necessary if you wish to obtain a visa. You will also need it to register as a resident.

It is a good idea to learn some Spanish if you wish to move here, which is the second most widely spoken language in the world. This will help you enormously with everyday conversations and transactions. One other thing to note about living in Madrid is that local amenities tend to close at lunchtime for a couple of hours, which may take some getting used to.


A major reason why expats move to Prague is because of its beautiful scenery and culture, with well-known sites including the famous Charles Bridge and the Prague Astronomical Clock. If you have family come over to visit, you can share the charm and culture of the city with them.

The city has a large transport system, which includes trams, buses, metro and even a night service. Having a night service is a great option for keeping you safe if you’re staying out late, helping you get home securely.

Differing from other countries in Europe, Czechia uses its own currency. This might take a little time to adjust to if you haven’t used it before, but you will soon get the hang of it. To support you in settling into the city, why not meet up with other expats? They can show you round and provide you with some useful tips about living in Prague.

It can be hard to settle in when you first move abroad, so check out our blog to learn more about how to make friends in a new country.