15 Most Expensive Cities to Live in Europe

Almost every digital nomad and retiree dreams of spending some time in Europe owing to its iconic lifestyle and experiences. Most cities and towns in Europe are known for their rich culture influenced by ancient history. In addition, the quality of life in most European cities is quite good and accommodative.

However, there is always a catch; the cost of living in some cities in Europe is relatively high. Below is a well-elaborated review considering average renting and home prices in these cities. Besides, it has outlined the exquisite features worth taking quality time to explore the most expensive places to live in Europe.  

#15 Moscow

An aerial view of Moscow showing a lot of densely packed buildings of varying sizes. A river is flowing through the middle

If you’re adventurous, ready to learn a new language and embrace new cultures, then Moscow has it for you. Besides speaking Russian, the traffic might be a nuisance, but you’ll soon get used to it. However, the city has expat neighborhoods inhabited by foreigners working and living in Russia.

Properties in most expatriate neighborhoods are pretty expensive. As mentioned before, traffic is always an issue, so this is a critical factor to consider when looking for accommodation. Life in Moscow is 20% more expensive than in St. Petersburg, especially on food and groceries.

•  Average Rent in USD: 1, 012

•  Average Home Price in USD: 3,000 per square meter

#14 Madrid

Madrid is a cosmopolitan city, and you probably won’t feel out of place. Madrid comes second to Barcelona as one of Spain’s most expensive cities to live in. Madrid is still compatible with expats or digital nomads looking to enjoy Spanish cultures.

Madrid is pretty safe and easy to get by despite its high population. Due to the high population, property prices in Madrid are costly.Traffic is quite a nuisance, even though most locals prefer to travel by car. As such, if you love cycling, you will probably have to ditch it for a while.

•  Average Rent in USD: 1,070

•  Average Home Price in USD: 5,413 per square meter

#13 Kyiv

Kyiv is one of the most densely populated cities in Ukraine. It is home to some international companies making it a business hub serving Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

On average, the cost of living in Kyiv is significantly high, especially in house rent. For instance, if you lease a furnished 900 square-foot apartment in an expensive region, you will pay 1,112 USD per month, and a 480 square-feet studio apartment will cost you between 415 – 683 USD per month.

• Average Rent in USD: 1, 115

• Average Home Price in USD: 1,000 per square meter

#12 Vienna

The average cost of living in Vienna, Austria, is expensive compared to Bucharest. Recent research ranked Vienna as one of the world’s most livable cities in Europe. Thanks to this, it is considered one of the most expensive places to live in Europe. Its rich history is well preserved in its architectural pieces and art museums.

Also, the crime rates are pretty low, making it a prime destination for tourists. In addition, public transport is also relatively high.

•  Average Rent in USD: 1,275

•  Average Home Price in USD: 3,440 per square meter.

#11 Rome

Other than being known as one of the top tourist hubs in Europe, Rome is also one of the most expensive places to live in Europe. Most people who visit Rome marvel at the ancient buildings and rich history of the city. Rome is also one of the main cities in Italy, which influences the cost of living. A combo meal in a fast-food restaurant within Rome CBD will probably set you back 9 USD.

Most apartments within Rome’s central business district are pretty small, and you will probably struggle to find an apartment with more than three bedrooms. However, the city isn’t densely populated, and you can easily walk across it in less than half an hour. A monthly bus pass costs around 40 USD. On average, the cost of living in Rome is 7% more than Madrid.

• Average Rent in USD: 1,290

• Average Home Price in USD: 3,695 per square meter.

#10 Milan

An aerial view of Milan showing a lot of densely packed buildings of varying sizes. There is an old Gothic church on the right

Located in northern Italy, Milan is one of the best cities in Europe. It offers a mix of everything, starting from fantastic fashion to the historic architectural designs that dot the city. It is also home to two of the greatest soccer clubs in Italy, AC Milan, and Inter Milan.

The cost of living in Milan is relatively high, with monthly rent for a 900 square-foot furnished accommodation outside the city center costing 1,297 USD. The city is well connected with trams, metros, and public bus services, and a monthly bus ticket costs 43 USD, which is more expensive than Rome.

• Average Rent in USD: 1,297

• Average Home Price in USD: 4,285 per square meter.

#9 Barcelona

One of the largest cities in Spain, Barcelona is home to one of the best soccer clubs in Europe, FC Barcelona. However, living in Barcelona is quite expensive compared to Madrid. You will probably love everything Barcelona offers, from the fantastic architecture to their food culture and sandy beaches.

If you’re looking for a chilled place away from the city, you can set camp at Gràcia Village. For those looking to set up a startup or boost their careers, the best place to live in Barcelona is El Poblenou.

•    Average Rent in USD: 1,619

•    Average Home Price in USD: 5,413 per square meter

#8 Oslo

Many digital nomads often love moving to Norway because of the outstanding quality of life. However, the weather can sometimes be unforgiving, especially during winter. The cost of living in the city of Oslo can be somewhat expensive. However, the city is still developing, and new buildings keep popping up now and then.

The cost of items such as clothes and groceries can be expensive. Sometimes even the natives of Oslo travel to Sweden to do their shopping. Big Macs cost a whopping 14 USD, while a simple meal at a local restaurant within the city goes for 23 USD.

• Average Rent in USD: 1,833

• Average Home Price in USD: 11,390 per square meter.

#7 Bern

Retirees or expatriates living in Switzerland often prefer to live in the capital city of Bern. Bern has made its name one of the best cities in Europe thanks to its high quality of living. Despite being relatively small, it is home to some international companies and top education centers across the country.

A Big Mac costs around 14 USD in Bern, while a simple meal costs around 26 USD. On average, expect to spend around 108 USD on your monthly bus ticket.

• Average Rent in USD: 1,887

• Average Home Price in USD: 8,340 per square meter.

#6 Paris

Many tourists and digital nomads often flock to this historic city, and it also hosts some of the most significant global fashion and film events. Those who enjoy the fast-paced city life will fall in love with this city.

There are plenty of tourist attraction sites, including the most famous Eiffel Tower. A Big Mac or similar combo at a fast-food restaurant in Paris costs around 11 USD. On average, you can spend around 126 USD on essential utilities such as gas and electricity if you’re living alone.

House rent is quite expensive, and the prices may vary depending on the type of house and its location. For instance, monthly rent for a basic un-furnished three-bedroom apartment outside the city center can be around 1980 USD.

•  Average Rent in USD: 2,080

•  Average Home Price in USD: 11,975 per square meter.

#5 Dublin

An aerial view of Dublin showing a lot of densely packed buildings of varying sizes. A river is flowing through the middle with three bridges crossing

The capital of Ireland, Dublin, offers a chilled city experience. You get to enjoy Irish culture, a cosmopolitan environment, and excellent opportunities to improve your career. Dublin itself is pretty small but not densely populated.

Food prices are also high; expect to spend around 10 USD for a Big Mac. A single meal in an average restaurant within the city will cost you 17 USD, and your monthly bus pass may cost you somewhere around 156 USD.

•  Average Rent in USD: 2,144

•  Average Home Price in USD: 2,916 per square meter

#4 London

Termed as the city of limitless opportunities, London ranks as one of the best and most expensive places to live in Europe. If you love soccer, then you’re in for a treat. The city is home to some of the biggest soccer clubs in Europe.

The standard of living in London is quite good, and you can almost get anything delivered to your doorstep. Most foreigners often choose to live in Poplar, Deptford, or Wembley. One downside of living in London is the high rate of crime. Most of these crimes involve petty thefts and assaults.

You will probably spend around 7 USD for a combo meal in any fast-food restaurant. Basic utilities in a 480 square-feet studio apartment will cost you anywhere around 140 USD, and the monthly fare pass for public transport costs 175 USD.

•  Average Rent in USD: 2,220

•  Average Home Price in USD: 17,431 per square meter.

#3 Zurich

Switzerland is ranked as one of the best countries for expats and digital nomads looking to enjoy a taste of European life. Zurich is one of the largest cities in Switzerland, and the cost of living in Zurich is quite expensive compared to that of the capital city Bern.

The city is located on the north-eastern side, close to the striking Alps. It is home to some of the best schools across Europe and offers the best platform to enjoy Swiss cultures. Most people in Zurich speak German and English.

The cost of living in Zurich is relatively high, as highlighted in the monthly rental fees and price of items. For example, a Big Mac combo costs 16 USD, and a 900 square-foot apartment outside the city center goes for 2,613 USD per month.

•  Average Rent in USD: 2,615

•  Average Home Price in USD: 9,374 per square meter.

#2 Copenhagen

Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark, and in the early days, it was known as a fishing village and home to the Vikings. The high VAT rates, taxes, and labor costs influence the cost of living in Copenhagen. Compared to Barcelona, living in Copenhagen is 30% more expensive.

A Big Mac or similar combo in any fast-food restaurant goes for 11 USD in Copenhagen. Utility expenses in an average-sized studio apartment cost an average of 142 USD. If you’re planning to lease an apartment, you can find a furnished 900 square-feet apartment for around 2,000 USD.

•  Average Rent in USD: 2,664

•  Average Home Price in USD: 8,000 per square meter.

#1 Geneva

Geneva is another Swiss city renowned for its exclusive and stylish lifestyle in Europe. It is considered one of the most expensive places to live in Europe. Geneva offers the perfect environment for anyone looking for a quality life within Europe and a chance to develop their career. In 2018, it was ranked as the 8th best city to live in globally.

The property market is quite competitive. Finding the right house to buy or rent can be challenging due to their high demand. The monthly rent for a 900 square-foot apartment within the city is about 2,980 USD.

Essential utilities and meals are also quite expensive. For example, a simple lunchtime meal in a restaurant within Geneva’s CBD costs 31 USD, and home utilities for a studio apartment can cost 132 USD.

•  Average Rent in USD: 2,979

•  Average Home Price in USD: 11,374 per square meter.

Key Take-Aways

An aerial view of Moscow showing a lot of densely packed buildings of varying sizes. A large lake or bay is seen in the back

•  Geneva is home to many global organizations such as the WHO, ISO, and WTO.

•  The official language spoken in Geneva is French. However, most people and foreigners do converse in English.

•  Overall, living in Geneva is 92% more expensive compared to Madrid.

Conclusion

Conclusively, the most expensive places to live in Europe are located in the west. However, despite being one of the most expensive cities to live in, Europe, Geneva offers a perfect platform for anyone looking for high-quality life and an environment where they can advance. Depending on your budget, you can explore more towns as Europe is a home for everyone.

 

Related: 11 Cheapest Places to Buy Property in Europe