The Top 10 Best Countries in Europe to Live In: A Guide for 2023
Europe is a big place, with 44 countries calling the continent home, each with its distinct culture and history. Making a change and choosing a new place to live in is tough, and for that reason, we have written up this list on the ten best countries in Europe to live in , and what makes them so good.
Note that all of the below countries are in the top percentiles for all their noted key points and features. As for the Gini index, it represents wealth inequality among a country’s populace. An index of 0 means all the wealth of a country is perfectly and equally distributed among the entire population, while an index of 100 means one person has literally everything.
With that being said, let's dive into the article.
The Best Countries in Europe to Live in 2023
Known for its astounding nature and egalitarian policies, Sweden is a wonderful place that needs to be seen to be believed.
World Happiness Report Rank: 7.384
Quality of Life index: 188.36
Environmental Performance score: 78.7
Unemployment rate: 7.21%
Gini index: 27.6
Median annual salary: $49,031
When talking about Sweden, one does need to mention its winters. They are harsh and long, but the gorgeous scenery, lakes, and forests, as well as its high standard of living, more than make up for the weather.
Sweden’s educational system, along with its healthy work-life balance and strong economy contribute towards it having the highest standard of living in the world.
With advancing industries in telecommunications, forestry, and agriculture, along with being a powerhouse in home goods and appliances, Sweden is excellent for highly skilled expats looking to make this country their new home.
Being the oldest country in Europe, with a relaxed approach to life, and wonderful weather, Portugal is the place to be if you want to take it easy.
World Happiness Report Rank: 6.016
Quality of Life index: 159.83
Environmental Performance score: 67
Unemployment rate: 6.65%
Gini index: 31.9
Median annual salary: $31,248
Historically, the Portuguese place great value on family, community, and relationships. With an emphasis on enjoying life and taking it easy, it's one of the best places to live in Europe for expats looking to enjoy good food, good weather, and good people.
But that's not to say that the Portuguese are lazy, or that the economy is lacking. Quite the opposite, Portugal is thriving in ship construction, tourism, auto-part manufacturing, as well as the export of dairy products and wine.
What is there to say about France that hasn't been said a million times? Food, culture, history, music, art, film, music, if you're thinking of moving to France, you will not be disappointed.
World Happiness Report Rank: 6.687
Quality of Life index: 154.34
Environmental Performance score: 80
Unemployment rate: 8.20%
Gini index: 28.5
Median annual salary: $42,575
When it comes to the weather, you can take your pick. You can move somewhere near the Alps if you want to be close to the mountains, move to big cities like Paris for the culture and urban life, or move to the far south or north for the beaches.
France also falls among the best quality of life countries due to its strong economy (being the seventh largest one in the world), as well as the strong emphasis on worker rights.
Currently, Denmark is the second happiest country in the world. Let's find out why.
World Happiness Report Rank: 7.64
Quality of Life index: 186.25
Environmental Performance score: 82.5
Unemployment rate: 2.2%
Gini index: 27.5
Median annual salary: $69,414
One of the main reasons why Denmark is so happy is due to the insanely low unemployment rate, an emphasis on work-life balance, as well as a strong emphasis on free education and healthcare.
Along with its booming economy, it's easily one of the best European countries to live in.
5. The Republic of Ireland
Despite its turbulent history, Ireland became one of the most prosperous and happiest countries in the world in just a couple of decades.
World Happiness Report Rank: 7.041
Quality of Life index: 150.54
Environmental Performance score: 72.8
Unemployment rate: 4.4%
Gini index: 28.9
Median annual salary: $41,709
The Emerald Isle falls among the countries with the best quality of life for good reason. With investments and advancements in the tech industry, an ever-growing standard of living, and an emphasis on quality healthcare, it's an excellent choice for any would-be expat.
6. The Czech Republic
With a stable market, a strong banking sector, and a low cost of living, moving to the Czech Republic definitely deserves some thought.
World Happiness Report Rank: 6.920
Quality of Life index: 158.62
Environmental Performance score: 71
Unemployment rate: 2.71%
Gini index: 24.0
Median annual salary: $31,689
The relatively low median salaries in the Czech Republic are not that big of an issue when you consider the relatively low cost of living, low unemployment rates, and a great Gini index.
For an expat from the US who is thinking of living in Europe, this is a great place to start over.
The cradle of civilization, Greece is filled with history and beauty.
World Happiness Report Rank: 5.949
Quality of Life index: 127.96
Environmental Performance score: 69.1
Unemployment rate: 11.4%
Gini index: 31.0
Median annual salary: $26,280
Thanks to post-Covid tourism, and a variety of reforms and investments from the EU, Greece’s economy is slowly but surely recovering.
However, it still has a rather large unemployment rate and low salaries. It is still perhaps the best country to live in Europe if you want to retire, or if you have a steady source of foreign income.
8. The Netherlands
Among the top countries in the world when it comes to citizen rights, gender equality, and worker rights, along with its natural beauty, the Netherlands are a wonderful choice for any expat.
World Happiness Report Rank: 7.415
Quality of Life index: 180.27
Environmental Performance score: 75.3
Unemployment rate: 3.5%
Gini index: 26.8
Median annual salary: $67,341
With mild and temperate weather and known for being the biking capital of the world, the Netherlands easily falls into our list of the best countries in Europe to live in.
While it might have a high cost of living, highly-skilled professionals are greatly in demand. If you are specialized in IT, finance, or some form of engineering (especially agricultural), then you should be able to find a well-paying job easily.
Whether you want to live an urban, arts-filled lifestyle, or something slower and more rural, you can find it in Germany.
World Happiness Report Rank: 7.034
Quality of Life index: 175.24
Environmental Performance score: 77.2
Unemployment rate: 3.0%
Gini index: 29.7
Median annual salary: $46,800
Move to Berlin and experience its amazing arts scene, or check out the Bavaria region and live a more quiet life, Germany has it all.
With a strong economy (famously powerful in the automotive industry), excellent healthcare, and a great education, Germany is the best country to live in with a family, if you want to fully set your roots down.
Have you heard of the term “Gemutlichkeit”? It means enjoying life, an important part of Austrian culture.
World Happiness Report Rank: 7.163
Quality of Life index: 176.36
Environmental Performance score: 79.6
Unemployment rate: 6.30%
Gini index: 27.5
Median annual salary: $51,007
With a strong legacy of being the European hub for science, art, and culture, Austria has a little bit of everything for everyone.
A strong economy, a powerful banking system, many options to send money to Austria, or from Austria, and an emphasis on affordable childcare all make Austria one of the best EU countries for expats.
To Sum Up
And there you have it folks, a quick list of the best countries in Europe to live in. Check them all out and make your own choice