Best Cities for Expats in Eastern Europe part 2 – Part one is here.
10 Best Cities for Expats in Eastern Europe
Expats moving to a new location can get an idea of the place through current and expat reviews. One such source of information is the InterNations Expat Insider 2021 survey, which helps people compare cities based on their quality of life and ease of settling in. We take a sneak peek at the best cities to live in Eastern Europe, which made it to the top of the list.
The survey looks at a number of factors: Quality of Life, Ease of Settling in, and Family Life. Additionally, expat Insider also provides an overview of what needs improving and whether people would recommend their city as a good place for others to settle in. Here are the ten best cities in Eastern Europe for expats.
1. Zagreb, Croatia
The capital city of Croatia, with a population of over 800,000 people, is as welcoming as it is cosmopolitan and has thus made it to the list. In 2021, more than 76 percent of expats said that they enjoyed living in Zagreb.
The city has a lot going for it as far as quality of life goes. But it also lags behind other cities on the list when it comes to ease of settling down and making friends. It ranks considerably higher for family life as well. However, Zagreb’s low crime rate and decent healthcare system make it more attractive to expats.
2. Budapest, Hungary
Hungary’s vibrant capital is at number two on the list. Over 79 percent of expats rated their quality of life as good in 2021, which was one percent higher than the previous year. Additionally, 70 percent felt that settling in was easy. As for making friends, Budapest ranked pretty high on the list, but over 81 percent termed it as a recommended place to live.
The Ease of Settling in Index assigns Budapest a higher score than Zagreb’s, which had lesser points despite ranking higher on the list. Meanwhile, Budapest’s place on the Quality of Life Index may be due to its low score for amenities.
3. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic (with a population of over 1 million people), ranked third on our list. Despite being one of the cheapest places in Europe to live in, expats are still satisfied with their quality of life, which increased by two percentage points.
Prague also ranked higher than other cities on the list when it came to the ease of settling down and making friends. This can be attributed to its high ratings for Fashion & Shopping, Leisure Options as well as Safety & Security—the city ranked number one on the list for this factor.
4. Bratislava, Slovakia
The capital of Slovakia (with a population of over 583,600 people) is number 2 on the list. Expats are highly satisfied with their quality of life here—79 percent, which is three percentage points higher compared to 2019.
Additionally, 67 percent felt that settling in was easy, while Bratislava ranked good on the list of cities people would recommend. When it comes to family life, however, expats are not quite satisfied with what they offer—the city ranks low. This is despite scoring highly enough for both Costs of Living and Ease of Settling In.
5. Ljubljana, Slovenia
The capital city of Slovenia, with a population of 275,000 people, was voted as the best place to live in Eastern Europe by expats. It outranked other cities on the list regarding the quality of life and ease of settling down (it ranked number 5 on our list).
Ljubljana is also a recommended place for settling in by 82 percent of expats. Settling down seems easier here as it ranked number 17 while making friends didn’t do so well with its 56th rank on the list. This can be attributed to its low scores for Leisure Options and Nightlife.
6. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with over 275,569 people, made it to the list at number six. About 78 percent of expats said that they enjoyed living in Sarajevo—a three percentage point increase from 2019.
It also ranked high on the list regarding ease of settling down. However, expats are not too satisfied with their quality of life. This is because; it ranked 51 out of 65 for this factor.
7. Belgrade, Serbia
Serbia’s capital city with over 1 million people is number 7 on the list. Over 76 percent of expats said they are satisfied with living in Belgrade. On the other hand, an eight percentage point increases from the previous year. It also ranked highly (at number 16) when it came to ease of settling down.
As for making friends, Belgrade ranked 50th place on the list—the city didn’t do too well as it scored poorly for Leisure options and Nightlife.
8. Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest, the capital of Romania with a population of slightly over 2 million people, is at number 8 on the list. Just over 76 percent said that they are satisfied living here. Meanwhile, a seven percentage point increase from 2019.
It ranked well on ease of settling down (at 22 out of 65) but not so much in terms of quality of life (ranked at 45). This can be attributed to its poorly scored factors for Cost of Living and Safety & Security.
9. Sofia, Bulgaria
Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria with a population of 1.24 million people, is number 9 on today’s list. Over 75 percent said they are satisfied living here—a six percent increase from 2019.
It ranked low (at 30 out of 65) when it comes to ease of settling down but did better when making friends (at number 31). This is because of its low scores for Leisure Options and Nightlife.
10. Riga, Latvia
Riga, the capital of Latvia with over 614,618 populations, was voted as the 10th best city for expats in Eastern Europe. Fewer than 75 percent are happy living here, making it an 11 percentage point increase from 2019. It ranked low (at 42 out of 65) when it came to settling down and ease of doing so.
Its poorly scored factors can explain this for Leisure Options and the Cost of Living. Also, nearly two-thirds of expats don’t feel safe walking alone at night. Therefore, Riga ranked at 49th place on the list regarding safety and security.
Top 5 Tourists Attractions in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is a part of the continent that has been more isolated from Western European countries, and it can also be described as a place where modern architecture has not gone through its greatest changes.
People who travel to Eastern Europe prefer visiting historical sights and landmarks to contemporary art galleries and museums. This means; these people want to experience what they see in pictures rather than admire modern architecture. So, read what you will find as the top 5 tourists attractions in Eastern Europe.
Chernobyl – The Ghost Town
Visiting Chernobyl, a ghost town abandoned after the nuclear disaster in 1986, is not for everyone. Even though it’s mostly safe to travel there now, many people don’t want to live downwind from a potential fallout zone. The surrounding area of Pripyat used to be home to over 50,000 people, and tourists can visit this area and see how the nuclear power plant affected the lives of residents.
Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Croatia, and it consists of 16 lakes surrounded by different types of forests. The lakes are connected with small waterfalls and cascades, while their colors change from emerald green through turquoise to azure blue.
Romania: Bran Castle
Several places claim to be Dracula’s medieval castle. However, Bran Castle – which is visited by around 200,000 tourists every year – has a strong case for actually being the home of Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Dracula.
Terezin Concentration Camp Memorial
Located in the small town of Terezin, not far from Prague in the north of the Czech Republic, Terezin Concentration Camp was used to house Jews and other prisoners before they were transported to their deaths at Treblinka.
Poland’s second-largest city was almost destroyed during World War II, and it has been restored to its former glory with cobble-stoned streets, Gothic churches, and Renaissance buildings. With so much history painted on each brick of its buildings, Krakow is one of the most visited cities in Eastern Europe.
If you are planning on traveling abroad, it is likely that you will be visiting an eastern European country. These countries have become incredibly popular in recent years due to their affordability and proximity to Western Europe. However, before heading off to these exciting destinations, check our ultimate guide to know what it offers.