For most people, being able to live on $1,000 per month (or less) without heavily giving up on luxury and entertainment sounds like an impossible dream. Maybe you’ve heard that it might be possible in some South American countries, or somewhere in South Eastern Asia… but you still don’t quite believe it.
But what if if I were to tell you that even the presumably way too expensive Europe is a place where you can easily live on less than $1,000 per month?
Well, that’s what I am actually saying and I have a list of countries that allow you to live decently for $1,000 per month in Europe, and your life might just change after reading this article!
It’s worth having in mind that these countries are good options to retire to or to move to if you already have your own source of income (like a pension, social benefits or other sorts of income from your current country). Don’t expect to come here and earn a fortune – relying on local employment might not actually help you make those $1,000 per month in the first place!
The cost of living here is cheap because of that: the locals don’t earn much more. So it makes sense that in a country where the average income is $500, you could live an average life if you had $500 to spend. It makes sense, right?
But if you have at least $1,000 available monthly, you’re all set for an… European dream! Let’s just check the countries where you can make this happen – and you will see that there are some surprises on the list: very popular countries that you might’ve considered expensive otherwise.
Best countries in Europe to live on $1,000 per month
A country that has seen its fair share of turmoil recently and where the long-gone recession still is felt – as well as the effect of fiscal measures to pay up debt and keep the country afloat. But apart from this, Greece is a paradise and one of the warmest places in Europe all year long.
Although you won’t be able to live in a holiday resort for $1,000 per month, you can live somewhere nearby in a small, charming village by the sea – or in continental Greece if you want to. I have a friend who’s enjoying a decent life in Thessaloniki (one of the larger cities in Greece) for around $550 per month. He’s very frugal, but I think that paints a pretty clear picture of the prices there…
With one bedroom flats coming for as low as $150 per month and eating at local restaurants for as low as $7 per meal, you have a lot of room to play with your finances and get a lot for your thousand dollars. More remote cottages on the islands with huge yards and impressive views rent for as low as $200 per month. Dream come true under the right circumstances!
Tip: although it sounds better living on the Greek islands, many of them “shut down” during the cold season because of the lack of tourism, so don’t exclude continental Greece. It’s also cheaper than the US or most of Western Europe!
It will be a bit of a stretch, but with careful planning you can make it even in sunny and beautiful Portugal with $1,000 per month, as long as you have nothing against living in smaller towns or villages and staying away from the more touristic areas.
I have one friend who manages to live pretty well for a bit over $1,500 in Lisbon, so it’s clearly doable in smaller cities. Rent will be the biggest cost here together with food: expect to pay around $300 for a one bedroom outside the city center and have about $300 more ready for food.
You won’t be eating out a lot (a regular meal at local restaurants will set you back around $10) but you will be able to enjoy life in sunny and relaxed Portugal for $1,000 per month with some careful spending. Probably achieving it will be the most difficult here compared to the other recommended countries, but you can give it a try!
Basically, every Eastern European country is a country where you can easily live for less than $1,000 per month. Eastern Europe might not sound too welcoming for many, but the truth is that many expats are having an awesome time in the region as the locals are friendly and the cost of living is extremely low.
Romania is clearly my pick for you since I happen to live here. If you’re not insisting in living in the capital – Bucharest – you can find a studio for as low as $100 per month.
Food is pretty cheap too, and a budget of $300 would probably be more than enough for one person who doesn’t eat out too often.
Utilities, internet, cable and phone should set you back a maximum of $200, and you will have a lot left for entertainment. And I promise you that Romanians know how to have fun: you have tons of articles about Romania on this blog, so start digging in and prepare your move here!
It might be a bit more difficult to get to Serbia since they are not part of the EU yet, but their prices are even lower than what you see in Romania. The food is great, the locals are extremely friendly and they have some more than amazing cities for you to live in.
The Serbians themselves are great hosts and extremely happy people and just like in Romania, most of them know how to speak and understand English. The biggest problem (in my case) is that they use the Cyrillic alphabet which tells me nothing… but in the end you can find ways to make it work.
Plus, during my few trips to Serbia, when I got into a restaurant that didn’t have a menu available with Latin letters, I never had any bad luck telling the waiter to bring me whatever he recommends. That’s a fact, all food in Serbia is that great (and still incredibly cheap!)
I personally considered moving to Bulgaria during the summer: you can find apartments for rent in their touristic destination for cheap (as low as $300 per month for 1 room apartments), and $700 would be more than enough to have a great time: spend most of the days soaking the sun, eating cheap local food and enjoying their extremely cheap beer.
Of course, if you want to go for a year-long stay, you can avoid the touristic destinations, but I really see no point in doing that! Why say no to beach living and maybe sea views (ok, maybe no sea views for our budget… but still).
Having spent multiple holidays in Romania’s neighboring country I can say that apart from the language and that difficult Cyrillic alphabet, there’s not much of a difference between the two. Still, one might resonate with you better than the other, so give it a try!
Latvia & Lithuania
Both countries are really similar and if you prefer a cooler climate, this is the European destination for a cheap lifestyle.
Since the local median wage is of around $700 per month, if you are ready to live like the locals, you can obviously make it on less than $1,000 per month.
I know that these are actually two different countries, but I decided to write about them in a single category because they are extremely similar. The countries have also grown a lot recently and the quality of life has improved tremendously, while the prices are still resonable.
The only problem I have is that it’s sooo cold there… but if you prefer that to the sun, you can’t go wrong with either of these countries!
The downside here is that they have no sea for your holidays. The good thing is that, just like most of the European countries, Hungary too comes packed with a ton of things to see as it was one of the greatest powers in Europe during the medieval times.
Monuments, castles, the delicious goulash and a great health system are all part of Hungary where you can easily live off less than $1,000 per month is you stay away from the capital city, Budapest, which is becoming more and more expensive as it draws more tourists each year.
However, Budapest is my favorite city in the world (so far, at least) and after spending three months there over the years I learned that smaller cities are just as beautiful, with costs reduced to half compared to the country’s capital. So yes, there’s more than Budapest in Hungary – treasures awaiting to be discovered.
The small country that almost nobody has heard of is situated to the North-West of Romania and is made almost entirely of Romanians. More importantly, it is one of the cheapest countries in Europe – maybe THE cheapest, so having $1,000 to spend per month there would be more than enough.
Even though not as modern as the other countries on the list, Moldova has its own charm and has a lot to offer for a fraction of the cost in Western Europe or almost anywhere else in the world.
This is a country that still suffers from the stigma of local violence, massive corruption and stuff like that, but the truth is that modern Albania is very safe and also extremely cheap.
The country has developed tremendously over the years and even though it is not in the European Union (with access to their funds) it still managed to improve. As a result, the quality of life has increased a lot and being there will be similar to being in any country in Western Europe.
Your $1,000 can allow you to live in one of the newly developed cities by the sea which have seen major construction projects completed in recent years (like Sarande or Durres), but you could also experience the natural beauty of Shkoder, Berat or the country’s capital, Tirana.
While some will say that Georgia is not really in Europe, I would say that since it fights against other football (soccer) teams to play in the UEFA Euro Championship every 4 years, we can consider it part of Europe.
No matter what, though, Georgia is definitely a hidden gem and probably one of the easiest countries on this list to live in as it offers a 1 year-long visa to foreigners. No headaches here!
And the quality of life has increased a ton, with major developments in the past few years. Really, this country has grown so much with buildings so impressive that you get to wonder where they got the money from. But it doesn’t matter what the rich do as long as you can enjoy such an amazing place on less than $1,000 per month, right?
Generally, as I already said, all Eastern European countries are countries where you can easily make a decent living for around $1,000 per month. It’s even easier if you are not alone: two people (a couple, for example), could easily live on $1,500 per month and enjoy a good life, taking the total amount to $750 per person.
So if there’s two of you, the actual cost of living per person per month will be a lot lower and you’ll actually get more bang for your buck.
That is because many of the expenses will go down: even if you upgrade from a one bedroom to a two bedroom, the rent won’t double and you’ll end up paying LESS per month per person. Same goes for most of the utilities and even the food. So who said that being in a relationship is expensive?
Would you consider retiring to a place where you can live for less than $1,000 per month but which is far away from home? Many people did it and have no regrets – just better lives!
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35 thoughts on “Best Countries in Europe where You Can Live on Less than $1,000 per Month”
Your post struck a cord with us. My job is already remote and my wife will be in the dissertation writing phase of her PhD soon enough.
I may email you in a few months to pick your brain a bit, if that’s okay. Thanks so much for this informative article. You make it sound really tempting!
I am glad to hear that – it’s my dream to move abroad for at least a few months and work from that country while at the same time getting a bit of new culture infusion, so I did some extensive research on many cheaper countries. Europe (even Western Europe) is clearly a cheap choice for US-standard earners and I would love to talk to you via e-mail and help as much as I can.
I have to agree – this post is really tempting me to think about living abroad! I would love to travel someday, but actually immersing myself in different cultures and living like a local would be so much better. Plus, living in Europe, you could travel around much easier and not have to worry so much about flights. It’s great to see there are so many affordable places. Thanks for sharing!
I’m glad you liked it! It certainly is possible and living like locals is the best way to do it!
Really good to keep in mind the Eastern European countries, C! Americans tend to forget about any place that doesn’t have a corresponding cafe in their town. We had focused on Spain at one time because it was a bit cheaper than other spots in Europe, but also because we felt having our son learn Spanish carried the most utility. Some of these other places have languages that are pretty much spoke nowhere else. But that aside, I find these places beautiful and the people are wonderful.
I might have to have you come write a guest post for me one of these days about living in Romania!
Yes Nick, the language barrier might be a problem, but I am sure one can learn the basics pretty quickly. Plus, most of the European countries – especially the Eastern European ones teach English in schools from the 2nd grade so most of the people in these countries have at least some basic English skills, which means that it wouldn’t be impossible to get along.
I’ll see if I can find an interesting approach to living in Romania for your blog.
Living for $1,000 sounds great and it’s interesting to read that you are able to do it in many countries. My job is not remote and I’m not that adventurous to live abroad but it is something that has always crossed my mind, especially because living in NYC is so expensive.
Maybe there will be a summer holiday in the future, when your baby grows older and you have some great and cheap options as where to spend it 🙂
Hello thank you for a intresting blog 🙂 iam moving to Romania next month and i will have a budget of about 1000 dollars a month. Do you think i can easily manage with that amount?
Hello, Jonathan! I think that for a single person, this budget is more than enough to live a decent life in Romania. Depends a lot on the city where you will be living in (Bucharest is more expensive), but if you manage to keep rent under $400 (you should be able to find something really good for about $275), you will do great!
Hi sounds great 🙂 iam gonna travel around Romania before choosing were i want to stay, proabably in transylvania, definetly not Bucharest.
I’ve survived and cancer/chemo & last year a valve replacement in my heart…Been to over 28 countries…and I really really want to spend a year in Ireland. I would like to keep it around $1,000 a month…open to most parts of Ireland…from Dublin to Galaway…to the southern part…So, what are my chances. I’ve never been, but have felt a tug for years….Just want to travel or stay put and do short trips..with my writing tablet and my camera….
Any suggestions…would be great. I don’t require first class places…want to mingle with the people, as much as possible…Thanks you…Soni
I am not sure about Ireland, from what I know, rent is pretty high throughout the UK. Probably you’ll find more information on Ireland on an Expat Forum.
You’ll struggle to live on 1000 a month in Ireland. I’d say avoid, it’s a very expensive country.
Id love to checkout some of the Eastern Europe countries myself. First as a tourist.
So it should be no problem for 2 people to get by on $6000 Canadian for 3 months in Romania?
Unless you are really big spenders, I don’t think you’ll have any trouble enjoying the country on that amount of money.
Thanks for your help. Heading to Sighisora Sept. 29. Looking forward to it
This is the post that changed my life. As an American, I’ve seen tons of articles on the internet that tell me where I can retire for $1000 or less and I’ve seen them for many years. Most of those articles highlight South American countries. I have never been interested in living in those countries (except for perhaps Argentina), because I always wanted to be in Europe.
After yet another article showed up that highlighted where I could retire cheaply, I was finally motivated to do my own search. I searched “where to retire in Europe for $800” because I thought it was impossible and wanted to have more than enough buffer for anything that might happen. I thought it was an entirely unreachable goal.
The first article I clicked on from my search results was this one. I was really surprised at the places mentioned because I thought they were either more expensive or I knew absolutely nothing about them. Most of these were places that we’d learned very little of growing up because they were Communist countries. How could I possibly consider moving my family to such a place?
I looked into each of the places a little bit and found Latvia, Romania, and Bulgaria the most intriguing. After just a few days I was being drawn more and more to Romania. It was a crazy idea. I’m thinking OMG, I think I may have found the perfect place for us. The more I looked into it, the less crazy the idea became and the more perfect it seemed.
Now I know there’s nothing like being there, but on paper, this seems a perfect fit. We’ve lived in Alaska and Colorado and this seems like a mix of the two at about ¼ or less of the price. I asked all my closest friends to find a reason for us not to go and here we are 6 months later and they still have no reason why this is a bad idea.
So we’re in the process of making the move and it’s all because C is kind enough to have this site, write this post, and share his world with us. I just wanted you to know that what you’re doing is greatly appreciated and has the power to reach out and affect people more than you might know. Keep up the great work and thank you so much!
Keith, you have no idea how happy I am to read your words! Knowing that the content I write is helpful and can change a person’s life is almost unbelievable – I can only hope that you will be as happy about the move in a few years as you are right now. As always, if you need everything, I am one e-mail away!
Hi, THANK YOU….I am just at the very start of getting serious about retiring to Europe…and so excited to find that if I plan and live reasonably…this is a very possible dream. I am drawn to Romania, but wonder if you have any insight to France?? I appreciate your time and advice 🙂
It sure is a possible dream! France, however, is one of the more expensive places in Europe, up there with the Northern countries, Germany, Holland and so on.
Thank you for your reply, are any of my “next three” doable on my budget of approximately 2k usd per month ????? Italy, Portugal, Spain ????
For a single person, I am sure that Portugal is completely doable, as well as Spain. Italy is a bit more expensive, but doable as well – it all depends on your lifestyle and if you are good at budgeting and not overspending.
hi, i have read your article about living in europe for less that 1000$ a month for 2 people.
it is really very very interesting.
i live in spain with my wife and shall be retiring in about 3 years.
with the pension that i will get (approx 1000 usd) we will not be able to live in spain.
so during the next 3 years i would like to visit a few east european countries just to get a feel of the place to enable me to choose the best country.
would like to make trips of about 1 week to 10 days each time.
any suggestions would really be appreciated.
thanks in advance
I think that visiting the country is the best thing you can do, but up to 10 days won’t really help you understand the cost of living (which usually becomes lower as time goes by).
These being said, living on $1,000 per month in Romania is still doable, but it won’t be easy. To get the best for your money, you should go for a cheap/poor city (like Drobeta Turnu Severin – I wrote about it here) where you can find a studio for rent for about 80 Euros per month, in a good area. Accommodation and food are usually the biggest expenses, so the lower the amount you pay on rent, the better. If you want more rooms, Drobeta is still very cheap, with 2-bedroom apartments renting for 150 Euros per month. The advantages (for foreigners) of living in a poor city.
However, there are other costs that you should budget, especially if you’re non EU: you will need to get the year-long residence permit, which means usually opening up a business, which means more costs. This is the biggest problem in any country: staying there long term is expensive.
But overall, it can still be done if you are ready to budget and live a modest life. As Otto says below, though, we are actually paying about $1,500 per month as a family of three living a decent life here (but we don’t pay any rent/mortgage).
I am planning to live in Romania with my wife and son. We own a home in Romania and I don’t believe we can live off $1000 U.S. You will not likely find work. I would be VERY careful on planning to live in Romania on 1k a month. I would like to hear C’s opinion. What would a safe dollar figure be for a family? I believe C was saying $1500 and that is the budget our family is currently shooting for.
Great article but i’m wondering on the visa restrictions. How long can i stay permanently in a country like Romania? Would i have to become a citizen or is dual citizenship an option?
Mike, you should check out the article I wrote about getting a residency permit in the country. You can stay for 1 year (and keep renewing) without even applying to get Romanian citizenship (which can only be done after 6 continuous years spent in the country anyway). If you really want to become a citizen, you don’t have to give up your actual citizenship.
But in all cases, you have to start with a renewable year-long residency visa.
Malta is very inexpensive.
Why is nobody talking about the crime in these areas? And what about especially if you are American? I have been there, done that and could not wait to return to Eastern Washington State. Peace and quiet! Forget the big cities in the USA – the politicians are sure to keep the rents/costs up to pay their $300,000 year salaries! Portland for example is the trashiest city I have seen (worst than ANY city in the World – even East Africa) – homeless living in tents next to apartment buildings where rents are $2000 for 1 bed. Don’t forget Americans cannot just live in Europe — they all need visas and that is not so easy to obtain. You will get arrested if you live more than 3 months in Europe and try to leave!
First of all, you will usually just get a fine if you spend more time in a country than you are allowed to and this happens everywhere in the world, not just in Europe. But during the 3 months, you can apply to get a residence permit and legally stay in those countries for 1 year or more.
Don’t forget Europeans cannot just live in the US – they all need visas to get there as well and they aren’t the easiest to get either. 🙂 So all countries have rules and in all honesty, it’s not that difficult to follow them and enjoy your stay, no matter what continent you choose for your next destination.
Thanks for the valuable info.
I’m retired already, and living in Middle East ( Jordan), my salary is around USD3800.00 but unfortunately it is not enough to have a decent life here, so am thinking of moving to a European country that requires no VISA or resident permit, what I know as a fact that in Georgia you don’t need visa ( I have been there).
My question is, can I live in Tbilisi with such salary foe 2 persons ?
You do need a visa in Georgia, but they offer a year-long visa so things should be pretty easy to do. Regarding the cost of living, I believe that it should be more than enough to live on that amount in Georgia, as well as most countries in Europe.
These are great options. Would you add Slovakia, Bosnia, or North Macedonia to the list as well?
Great choices, Noel! I do have to update this article (which was published in 2019) to present the current situation, after the recent price increases, as I feel that some of the countries mentioned above are no longer possible to live in on 1,000 / month. But Bosnia and North Macedonia sure are, and with a bit of budgeting, Slovakia too.