Cost of living in top 7 EU countries for solo professionals in 2022

With remote work becoming more prevalent, we are now one step closer to moving to and working from wherever there is a good internet connection. With this freedom comes a few caveats. That’s why we’ve listed the cost and living standards in the most popular EU countries for you.

Leon Cordier
Leon Cordier

With the rise of telecommunication technologies today, work dynamics are rapidly changing. People working remotely or freelancing are now free to move wherever there is a good internet connection. Because of the EU’s open borders and interconnectedness, it’s now easier than ever to work where you want and on your own terms. But with this freedom comes a few caveats.

As a freelancer, you have more responsibilities when it comes to checking your spending. After all, you are the boss and employee rolled into one, so spending too much here or there puts your work in jeopardy. That’s why it’s important to calculate the cost of living and working wherever you are staying.

You have to take into account not only daily living expenses like the cost of groceries, an evening out in town, medical care, housing, or even child care. But, you as a freelancer have more expenses like the potential cost of renting an office space, for work for example. You have to take all these things into account when budgeting for visiting or staying in a country while working.

With that said, here’s a list of the best 7 countries that give you a bang for your buck when traveling/working as a freelancer. When making this list we considered many factors including the social life and the liveliness of the place. However, we also considered practical factors like healthcare, affordability, and ease of traveling. Here’s the list of the top 7 countries for the self-employed going into next year.

Poland

Poland offers a vibrant city culture and affordable costs for digital nomads. 

Including Poland on this list may surprise some, but it shouldn’t because the country has a lot to offer.

Nature

Poland has a great deal of natural diversity for outdoors types: the Tatra Mountains and glacial lakes in the south, rolling green hills and forests, and the Baltic coast in the North.

Social life and culture

Cosmopolitan cities like Krakow, Warsaw, Gdansk, and others offer lively and fun experiences such as Krakow’s Kazimierz district. There are also great cultural experiences as well visiting any number of museums, castles, or great cathedrals.

Independent work opportunities & lifestyle

Poland is affordable to live in, especially for someone who is earning USD or EUR. Poland is a great country to stay in because it offers all of the same amenities that you would expect in Europe like public healthcare and quality education options but without the costs of some other countries.
Poland also happens to be a country whose economy is becoming increasingly connected to the EU, providing freelancers with great potential work options as well.

Cost of living in Poland

While the cost of living depends on factors like your lifestyle and location, Poland offers very affordable living arrangements. Remember, the numbers provided below will be an average, and so you are likely to find cheaper options if you prefer them. Let’s take a basic look at how things would look for a single person living in Poland for example:

Cost of Living (without rent): $595 per month

Renting a single room apartment: $595 (city center), $465 (outside city center)

Utilities for 852 apartments (60mbps internet included): $210

Groceries:

  • Milk (regular), (1 liter): $0.70
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): $0.94
  • Rice (white), (1kg): $1.11
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg): $4.58
  • Potato (1kg): $0.72
  • Apples (1kg): $0.99
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle): $0.90

Transport costs:

  • One trip ticket: $1.00
  • Monthly ticket: $27.00
  • Gasoline (per liter): $1.32

Co-working space fees: $7.20 per day

Spain

Spain offers a hefty amount of cultural events to remote workers. 

Spain is a beautiful country that doesn’t have to work hard to sell itself, so it’s no wonder that it’s on this list.

Nature

With a wonderful climate with beautiful beaches and an outdoor-friendly lifestyle, you’ll be spoiled for choice from the Pyrennes to the beaches of Mallorca.

Social life and culture

Spain is famous for cities like Barcelona and Madrid but offers many wonderful places to visit like Alhambra in Granada or the Way of St. James in Galicia.

Spanish culture is famous for its easy way of going and one of the best parts of living in the country. The cuisine, the celebrations and fiestas, music, and dances make it worth visiting.

Independent work opportunities & lifestyle

Spain also is interested in attracting freelancers by offering freelance visas for those who wish to work in Spain. Spain is comparatively affordable to other countries in the EU while still offering the public amenities like healthcare that you associate with European countries.

Cost of living in Spain

As with our earlier example, keep in mind that these estimates are averages for a single person and so not indicative of everyone’s options:

Cost of Living (without rent): $686 per month

Renting a single room apartment: $723 (city center), $555 (outside the city center)

Utilities for 852 apartments (60mbps internet included): $171

Groceries:

  • Milk (regular), (1 liter): $0.88
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): $1.11
  • Rice (white), (1kg): $1.14
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg): $6.80
  • Potato (1kg): $1.29
  • Apples (1kg): $1.95
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle): $1.00

Transport costs:

  • One trip ticket: $1.64
  • Monthly ticket: $45.13
  • Gasoline (per liter): $1.45

Co-working space fees: $17.00 per day

3.   Germany

Germany is an ideal hub for digital nomads, talents, and remote professionals.

Germany’s inclusion on this list makes good practical sense, but it’s not just because of practicality that we put Deutschland on the list. Germany is the largest economy in the EU and is continuing to grow, meaning there will be plenty of opportunities for freelancers looking for work. Germany has a visa program designed specifically for freelancers in mind to help you move there if you are eligible to do so.

Nature

Germany covers a lot of land in the heartland of Europe offering you the Black Forest and the Alps and also beaches on the Rhine river, giving outdoor enthusiasts plenty to do.

Social life and culture

German culture goes beyond just Oktoberfest, there are several museums, festivals like Carnival in Cologne, and plenty of other ways to spend your leisure time.

Independent work opportunities & lifestyle

Germany offers great medical care, quality education, a high standard of living, and plenty of income.

Cost of living in Germany

These prices represent an average cost of living for a single person living in Germany, so keep this in mind when considering the numbers.

Cost of Living (without rent): $871 per month

Renting a single room apartment: $829 (city center), $622 (outside the city center)

Utilities for 852 apartments (60mbps internet included): $293

Groceries:

  • Milk (regular), (1 liter): $1.00
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): $1.53
  • Rice (white), (1kg): $2.18
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg): $7.86
  • Potato (1kg): $1.49
  • Apples (1kg): $2.69
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle): $0.71

Transport costs:

  • One trip ticket: $3.16
  • Monthly ticket: $78.98
  • Gasoline (per liter): $1.63

Co-working space fees: $113.00 per month

4.   Italy

Italy is becoming a haven for digital nomads and remote professionals. 

Italy is a mandatory member of any list that’s about destinations, and the reasons for that go well beyond pasta and cool hand gestures.

Nature

Is there anything more romantic than the Tuscan countryside? Well, maybe the Amalfi Coast, or the view from Lake Como. Italy offers some of the most scenic vistas in all of Europe and gives you plenty of trails for hiking if that’s your thing.

Social life and culture

Sure, you know Rome, Venice, Milan, and Florence. But do you know Siena, Verona, Palermo, or Naples? Italy offers more destinations than you can imagine for you to settle in or just visit.

Italian culture is famous worldwide for its sense of style, the passion in the language itself, the cuisine, and the warmness of its people. There are few richer experiences than being able to come face to face with Italian culture.

When you visit Italy you get the benefit of getting to see living history. \ Ancient Greco-Roman temples and churches from the Renaissance fit snugly together in Italy’s cities, a treat for anyone interested in history.

Independent work opportunities & lifestyle

Italy offers you high-quality public goods like healthcare and other benefits just like the rest of the EU but at a comparatively more affordable rate than countries such as Germany.

Cost of living in Italy

These are the averages for a single person living in Italy and are subject to change depending on your budget.

Cost of Living (without rent): $842 per month

Renting a single room apartment: $662 (city center), $506 (outside the city center)

Utilities for 852 apartments (60mbps internet included): $215

Groceries:

  • Milk (regular), (1 liter): $1.30
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): $1.76
  • Rice (white), (1kg): $2.14
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg): $9.40
  • Potato (1kg): $1.38
  • Apples (1kg): $2.03
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle): $1.51

Transport costs:

  • One trip ticket: $1.69
  • Monthly ticket: $39.49
  • Gasoline (per liter): $1.74

Co-working space fees: $113.00 per month

5.   France

France has numerous regions for digital nomads to explore, ranging from alpine areas to its Mediterranean sea coast.

France has and will continue to capture the imagination of everyone who wants to travel, so it’s only natural that it props up here in our list.

Nature

France is a beautiful country with a variety of natural features to offer: mountain ranges from the Pyrennes and the Alps to beaches of Provence, and the fertile fields of its wine-growing regions. Staying in France means getting to experience one of the most beautiful countries in Europe.

Social life

Paris may be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of France, and for good reason. However, there’s more to France than just Paris. Rouen, Toulouse, Rennes, Lyon, Bordeaux, Lille, and more offer wonderful destinations with their own unique feels to anyone willing to visit.
French culture is evocative. The language, the arts, way of life, cuisine, and style influence and entice people the world over.

Independent work opportunities & lifestyle

France is an economic powerhouse with a growing economy that makes it an attractive place to do business, making it a great place to settle to earn income. France is dedicated to making itself an attractive destination to freelancers and the self-employed, offering a visa program for those who are eligible for it.

Cost of living in France

The following figures represent the average for one person living in France and so are adjustable to your budget situation.

Cost of Living (without rent): $917 per month

Renting a single room apartment: $752 (city center), $587 (outside the city center)

Utilities for 852 apartments (60mbps internet included): $204

Groceries:

  • Milk (regular), (1 liter): $1.12
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): $1.64
  • Rice (white), (1kg): $2.09
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg): $11.55
  • Potato (1kg): $1.99
  • Apples (1kg): $2.93
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle): $2.31

Transport costs:

  • One trip ticket: $1.86
  • Monthly ticket: $56.41
  • Gasoline (per liter): $1.67

Co-working space fees: $27 per day

6. Greece

Greece is becoming a top destination for entrepreneurs, remote workers, and digital nomads because of its low cost of living and beautiful nature.

Greece is usually associated with ancient history, but it is becoming increasingly forward-thinking when it comes to modern work dynamics, making it a great destination for freelancers.

Nature

Greece is a country of rugged mountains and hills contrasted by stunning seaside views. It is also unique in that it offers so many island destinations across the Aegean including the likes of Crete, Santorini, Naxos, or Lesbos. You’ll never want a beach or shoreline under the summer sun in Greece.

Social life and culture

Athens and the Parthenon are probably the first things you think of with Greece, but there are more destinations than there. Thessaloniki on the mainland, Heraklion on Crete, and Patras on the Peloponnese all offer great places to visit and enjoy.

You can’t take two steps without seeing some aspect of Greece’s storied history. The Greeks have gone through great lengths to preserve their cultural legacy Greece’s culture isn’t just steeped in tradition, however, but is vibrant and colorful. Open and expressive. You’ll get to enjoy baklava at a wonderful seaside cafe enjoying lively conversations once you’re there.

Independent work opportunities & lifestyle

Greece is currently in the process of rolling out a new “digital nomad visa” that looks to attract foreign internationals to Greece to invigorate their economy. They’re slated to offer significant benefits for those willing to settle in Greece which means more options for you.

Cost of living in Greece

Greece is an affordable option to move if you’re considering settling in the EU. It offers all the good of the EU but is more affordable than other European countries.

The figures below are averages taken regarding the cost of living in Greece as a single person, so remember that these prices can be changed.

Cost of Living (without rent): $705 per month

Renting a single room apartment: $390 (city center), $329 (outside the city center)

Utilities for 852 apartments (60mbps internet included): $209

Groceries:

  • Milk (regular), (1 liter): $1.35
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): $0.98
  • Rice (white), (1kg): $1.87
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg): $7.61
  • Potato (1kg): $0.93
  • Apples (1kg): $1.76
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle): $1.57

Transport costs:

  • One trip ticket: $1.47
  • Monthly ticket: $33.85
  • Gasoline (per liter): $1.83

Co-working space fees: $21 per day

7.  Portugal

Portugal is rich in culture and history and has a lot to offer to remote workers.

Last but not least, Portugal is a great country to be in because of the lifestyle it has to offer and the opportunities you can find as a freelancer.

Nature

Portugal shares a lot of similar geography with its Iberian neighbor offering a warm climate and plenty of places to soak up the sun. Hiking on mountain trails and jogging all the beach are just some of the things you can get up to in Portugal.

Social life and culture

Lisbon is the main destination for Portugal but there are also places like Porto, Braga, and Coimbra all offering wonderful places to stay or visit. And, if you do stop by Lisbon in June make sure to enjoy the Feast Day of St. Anthony. You’ll never be short of things to do in Portugal.

Portuguese culture is lively. There’s an ease to living there and an exuberance to it all the same. Enjoy the fado and a francesinha for lunch before going to the beach. Or, enjoy the finest port wine that there is to offer. Portugal is a country that you can never get enough of.

Independent work opportunities & lifestyle

Portugal is another EU country that is looking to cash in on its appeal by offering freelance visas to those who qualify. The visa is intended to convince people to stay for the long term offering a pathway to residency.

Portugal is also one of the more affordable EU options available while still offering excellent social services. You can have the advantages of living the good life and having excellent amenities at great affordability.

Cost of living in Portugal

These figures represent the potential cost of living in Portugal for a single person. These prices are averages, and so you can find things that fit your budget.

Cost of Living (without rent): $596 per month

Renting a single room apartment: $665(city center), $519 (outside the city center)

Utilities for 852 apartments (60mbps internet included): $152

Groceries:

  • Milk (regular), (1 liter): $0.71
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): $1.21
  • Rice (white), (1kg): $1.03
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg): $5.51
  • Potato (1kg): $1.03
  • Apples (1kg): $1.22
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle): $1.18

Transport costs:

  • One trip ticket: $1.81
  • Monthly ticket: $45.13
  • Gasoline (per liter): $1.77

Co-working space fees: $17 per day

Compare the cost of living in the top EU countries


Cost of Living

per month

Rent

per month

(city center)

Utilities 

per month

Groceries

(avg. for 1 person per month)

Transport

(monthly ticket)

Coworking

Space


(renting a desk)

Poland

$595 

$595

$210

$150.00

$27.00

$125 per month

Spain

$686

$723

$171

$230.00

$45.50

$170.00 per day

Germany

$871 

$829 

$293

$340.00

$80.00 

$285.00 per month

Italy

$842 

$662

$215

$250.00

$40.00 

$113.00 per month

France

$917

$752 

$204

$350.00

$56.70

$340.00 per month

Greece 

$705 

$390

$209

$200.00

$34.50

$200.00 per month

Portugal

$596

$665

$152

$220.00

$45.35

$135.00 per month


*Note, all figures shown are taken from Numbeo. It’s a great resource to compare prices associated with the price of living, property costs, or crime rates in different countries.

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Leon Cordier

I'm an American guy living overseas that likes to write for a living.