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Cost of living in Europe in 2023

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Cost of living in Europe

Understanding the cost of living in Europe is essential for individuals planning to reside or visit the continent. This article aims to provide an overview of the relevance and importance of understanding the cost of living in Europe, particularly for Canadian readers. By exploring the countries with the lowest cost of living in Europe, this guide aims to assist readers in making informed decisions about their travel, relocation, or financial planning.

This article guide is relevant to Canadian readers who are considering traveling, studying, working, or retiring in Europe. It aims to provide valuable insights into the countries in Europe with a lower cost of living, allowing readers to explore potentially more affordable options. By understanding the cost of living differences between Canada and European countries, Canadian readers can assess their financial preparedness and make informed choices that align with their budget and lifestyle goals.

Here is the list of countries with the lowest cost of living in Europe (Cost of living in Europe by country) :

  • Bulgaria
  • Romania
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Czech Republic
  • Slovakia
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Estonia
  • Portugal
  • Greece
  • Croatia
  • Ukraine
  • North Macedonia
  • Albania

We will also cover the following topics:

  • Factors Affecting the Cost of Living in Europe
  • Average Cost of Living in Popular European Countries
  • Sample Budgets for Different Types of Travelers
  • Cost of Living in Europe vs Canada

Factors Affecting the Cost of Living in Europe

The cost of living in Europe is influenced by several factors that vary from country to country and even within different regions of the same country. These factors include:

Housing and Accommodation

The cost of housing and accommodation significantly influences the cost of living in Europe. Factors such as location, size, and type of housing (rented or purchased) contribute to the overall expenses. Major cities and popular tourist destinations tend to have higher housing costs, while rural areas or smaller towns may offer more affordable options. People also wonder about the cost of living in Europe per month.

Food and Groceries

The cost of food and groceries can vary across European countries. Factors such as local production, import costs, and the availability of certain goods impact prices. Generally, dining out at restaurants and purchasing imported or luxury items tend to be more expensive compared to cooking at home and buying locally sourced products.


Transportation costs include public transportation, fuel prices, vehicle maintenance, and car ownership. Urban areas with well-developed public transportation networks may offer more affordable transportation options. However, owning a car or using taxis can significantly increase transportation expenses, particularly in countries with high fuel prices or tolls.


Healthcare costs vary across European countries, depending on the healthcare system and available services. Some countries have national healthcare systems that provide affordable or even free healthcare to residents, while others may require private health insurance or out-of-pocket payments for medical services.


The cost of education, including tuition fees and living expenses for students, can affect the overall Cost of living in Europe for students. European countries differ in terms of tuition fees for international students, availability of scholarships, and the cost of living in university cities.

Entertainment and Leisure

The cost of entertainment and leisure activities, such as dining out, cultural events, recreational facilities, and nightlife, varies across European countries. Cost of living European cities, for example Major cities and popular tourist destinations often have higher prices for entertainment and leisure, while smaller towns or less touristy areas may offer more affordable options.

Utilities and Other Expenses

Utilities such as electricity, water, heating, internet, and phone services contribute to the cost of living. Additionally, expenses related to household goods, clothing, personal care items, and insurance can vary across countries and impact the overall cost of living.

Average Cost of Living in Popular European Countries

When considering the average cost of living in Europe, it is helpful to compare living costs in major cities. For example, cities like London, Paris, and Zurich are known for their higher cost of living compared to cities like Warsaw, Budapest, or Prague. These comparisons can provide insights into the relative affordability of different European destinations.

Highlighting countries with lower and higher cost of living

Europe consists of countries with varying costs of living. Some countries are generally considered to have a higher cost of living, such as Switzerland, Norway, and Denmark. On the other hand, countries like Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary are often perceived as having a lower cost of living. Understanding these variations can assist individuals in making informed decisions based on their financial circumstances and desired lifestyle.

Providing average expenses for housing, food, transportation, etc.

The average cost of living includes various expenses, such as housing, food, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment. While specific costs can fluctuate depending on the city or region, providing general ranges can help individuals estimate their budget. For example, average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment can range from €500 to €1,500 in different European cities. Grocery costs can vary from €200 to €400, it is the Costs of living in Europe per month, while public transportation passes can range from €50 to €100 monthly(Average monthly cost of living in Europe). Healthcare expenses and entertainment costs can also vary significantly.

Sample Budgets for Different Types of Travelers

Planning a trip involves more than just choosing a destination and packing your bags. It also requires careful consideration of your budget to ensure a financially feasible and enjoyable experience. Sample budgets for different types of travelers can serve as a helpful starting point to estimate expenses and allocate funds accordingly. Whether you’re a short-term traveler looking for a week-long adventure, a long-term traveler embarking on a multi-month journey, or a potential expat considering a relocation, understanding the typical costs involved can help you plan your finances more effectively.

But before traveling to any of these European countries, make sure to check new travel regulations. European Travel Information and Authorization System, or ETIAS is a new electronic visa waiver will come into effect in 2025. But visa-free travel to Schengen zone will be possible by obtaining ETIAS only.

Budget for Short-Term Travelers (e.g., 1 week, 10 days)

Short-term travelers typically have a more condensed itinerary and focus on exploring specific destinations within a limited timeframe. For a budget-conscious short-term traveler, an estimated daily expenditure of €50-€100 can cover accommodation in budget hotels or hostels, meals at local eateries, public transportation, and admission fees to attractions. However, those seeking a more luxurious experience may allocate a higher budget for upscale accommodation, fine dining, and additional activities.

Budget for Long-Term Travelers (e.g., 1 month, 3 months)

Long-term travelers have more flexibility and may seek to immerse themselves in local cultures and experiences. For an extended stay, budget-conscious long-term travelers can aim for an average monthly expenditure of €1000-€2000, considering factors such as accommodation (apartments or shared rentals), groceries from local markets, cooking meals at home, utilizing public transportation, and engaging in affordable or free activities and attractions. However, individual preferences and the desired level of comfort and luxury can significantly impact the budget.

Budget for Potential Expats/Relocators (e.g., monthly expenses)

Potential expats or relocators planning to settle in a European country should consider a comprehensive budget that covers all living expenses. Monthly budgets can range from €1500-€3000 or more, depending on factors like housing (rent or mortgage), utilities, groceries, transportation (car ownership or public transportation), healthcare, insurance, leisure activities, and other personal expenses. Costs can vary significantly between cities and regions, with major cities generally having higher expenses compared to smaller towns or suburban areas.

Highest cost of living in Europe

Europe is home to several cities known for their high cost of living. Cities like Zurich in Switzerland, Geneva in Switzerland, and Oslo in Norway consistently rank among the most expensive in Europe. These cities often have high housing prices, expensive dining options, and overall higher costs for goods and services. Other cities with a high cost of living include Copenhagen in Denmark, London in the United Kingdom, and Paris in France. These cities are known for their vibrant cultural scenes and quality of life, but they also come with a higher price tag.

Cost of Living in Western Europe

So, what is the cost of living in different countries in Europe? Western Europe, comprising countries like Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the Benelux nations, generally has a higher cost of living compared to other parts of Europe. Major cities in Western Europe, such as London, Paris, and Amsterdam, tend to have higher housing prices, transportation costs, and overall expenses. However, it is important to note that cost of living can vary within Western European countries, with rural areas often being more affordable than metropolitan areas.

Cost of Living in Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe generally has a lower cost of living compared to Western Europe. Countries like Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Romania offer more affordable options for housing, dining, transportation, and other daily expenses. Cities like Warsaw, Budapest, Prague, and Bucharest provide a lower cost of living while still offering a rich cultural experience and quality amenities.

Cost of Living in Europe per Year

The cost of living in Europe per year can vary greatly depending on the country, city, and individual lifestyle choices. It is challenging to provide an exact figure as it depends on factors such as accommodation choices, dining preferences, transportation needs, entertainment expenses, and healthcare costs. However, as a rough estimate, an average cost of living per year in Europe can range from €15,000 to €40,000 or more, depending on the location and personal circumstances.

Best Cost of Living in Europe

The best cost of living in Europe is subjective and varies depending on individual preferences and priorities. Several countries in Eastern Europe, such as Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary, are known for their relatively low cost of living compared to Western European counterparts. Additionally, smaller towns and rural areas tend to offer a more affordable cost of living compared to major cities. Well, It is important for individuals to consider their desired lifestyle, access to amenities, job opportunities, and personal preferences when determining the best cost of living in Europe for their specific circumstances.

Cost of Living in Italy

Italy is known for its diverse culture, stunning landscapes, and delicious cuisine. The cost of living in Italy varies depending on the region. Well, Cities like Rome, Milan, and Florence have a higher cost of living compared to smaller towns and rural areas. Housing prices, dining out, and transportation costs can be higher in major Italian cities, but it is possible to find more affordable options by exploring smaller towns or suburban areas.

Cost of Living in Europe vs Canada

When comparing the cost of living between Europe and Canada, several factors come into play. These include housing, food, transportation, healthcare, education, and entertainment. Understanding these differences can help individuals assess the financial implications of living in either region.

As mentioned above, you must be aware of new ETIAS regulations before visiting Europe. You can check ETIAS travel information on this website. International travel to Italy and all other countries in the Schengen area of Europe will change for citizens of Canada, as well as all other visa-exempt countries in 2025 and thereafter.

Highlighting differences in housing, food, transportation, healthcare, etc.:

Housing costs in Europe vary widely depending on the country and city. While major European cities such as London and Paris tend to have high housing prices, other European cities can offer more affordable options. In Canada, housing costs vary by region, with cities like Toronto and Vancouver known for their high housing prices.

Food expenses in Europe can also vary significantly. Local produce and everyday groceries may be relatively affordable in both regions, but dining out can be more expensive in Europe, particularly in popular tourist destinations. Transportation costs can differ as well. While public transportation systems are well-developed in many European cities, Canada’s vast size and more car-dependent culture can result in higher transportation expenses.

Healthcare systems also differ between Europe and Canada. European countries generally have universal healthcare systems, with residents benefiting from comprehensive coverage. In Canada, healthcare is publicly funded, but access to services and wait times can vary by province.

Providing examples and statistics to illustrate the comparison

To illustrate the comparison, let’s consider a few examples. According to Numbeo, the cost of living index in Europe (excluding rent) is slightly higher than in Canada. However, specific costs can vary. For instance, rent prices in major European cities like London and Paris are generally higher compared to Canadian cities.

In terms of food, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant in Europe can be slightly pricier than in Canada. However, grocery prices may differ depending on the specific items and local market conditions.

Transportation costs in Europe are influenced by the extensive public transportation networks, which can offer more affordable options for daily commuting. In Canada, owning a car is more common, leading to additional expenses such as fuel, insurance, and maintenance.

Regarding healthcare, European countries often have lower out-of-pocket expenses for residents compared to Canada, where prescription medication costs and some dental services may not be fully covered.


In conclusion, understanding the cost of living in Europe 2023 compared to Canada is crucial for Canadian readers planning to travel, work, or relocate to Europe. The comparison of general factors such as housing, food, transportation, healthcare, education, and entertainment highlights the potential differences in expenses between the two regions. However, it is important to note that these comparisons are general and can vary within countries and regions. Therefore, it is strongly encouraged for readers to conduct further research, consult local resources, and create personalized budgets based on their specific needs, preferences, and the destination they are considering. By doing so, individuals can effectively plan their finances, make informed decisions, and ensure a well-balanced and financially manageable experience in Europe.