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Top 5 Destinations for Americans Moving to Europe

By March 21, 2024April 9th, 2024No Comments
Top 5 Destinations for Americans Moving to Europe

Top 5 Destinations for Americans Moving to Europe

For most of the past 500 years, the movement of people between Europe and North America has been almost entirely one way—from east to west, or from the continent of Europe to the Americas.

This trend accelerated greatly in the 19th and early 20th century when millions of Europeans—Britons, Italians, Germans, Scandinavians, and Irish (and many others) abandoned Europe and decided to try their luck instead in a still-new country called the United States of America. It was one of the largest and most sustained migrations in human history.

Know More Here: The Cheapest way to move your stuff to Europe

A Turning of the Tide?

More recently, an interesting reversal of this pattern has been unfolding—with hundreds of thousands of Americans choosing every year to relocate to what used to be called—with some affection—the “Old World.” Reasons include everything from the rising cost of living at home and more affordable housing in parts of Europe to unhappiness with the political situation in the US and a belief that Europe offers a superior way of life. Many Americans are going to Germany and the UK, which have highly developed economies and a very high standard of living.

Read Here: International Moving Costs to Europe

But a newer, quieter trend is also developing, with both older and younger Americans and especially so-called “digital nomads“—those who work entirely online—choosing to relocate to low-cost European countries that are also safe and which offer a slice of the “good life” of popular imagination, where life is slower, the weather is better, food and wine are more delicious, the beaches beckon, and you can get just a little bit more for your money.

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Headlines in both Europe and the US such as “Why Europe is a Magnet for More Americans” and “Americans Head to Europe for the Good Life on the Cheap” are becoming standard, and it doesn’t take too long to find social media posts from Americans who’ve bought a fixer-upper in rural Italy or are living their best life near one of Spain’s many lovely beaches. In short, moving overseas is becoming as common for Americans as moving from the East Coast to the West Coast.

The Stats Tell the Story

But the proof isn’t in the anecdotes, the magazine headlines, or the social media posts—it’s in the statistics. The stats are clear that Europe is once again a very attractive option for Americans looking to relocate.

Best Destinations in Europe for Superior Quality of Life

For Americans thinking of relocating, here are some of the destinations that have proven especially popular in recent years. Again, this list avoids major urban centers such as London and Berlin, where Americans are always a healthy share of the local expatriate population and come mainly for work. This list is about the growing number of Americans moving to Europe for what they perceive to be a superior quality of life, including—for remote workers—a better work-life balance.

Here we go. First off we have…

1. Portugal


Top 5 Destinations for Americans Moving to Europe - Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal


Portugal has a ton going for it. Portugal is a safe, welcoming, and affordable country that also has some of Europe’s sunniest weather and is known for its slower-paced lifestyle—making it perfect for American retirees and digital nomads alike.

Retirees are especially enamored of Portugal’s affordability. A residential visa, for example, requires an income of just over $1000 (USD) per month, an easy threshold to meet for most retirees. Americans and other foreigners have the ability to pay a flat tax of only 10 percent on anything deemed “passive income,” which includes pension and investment income. House prices aren’t the lowest, and job opportunities aren’t always great for younger people, but for older Americans—and the increasingly ubiquitous digital nomads—Portugal offers real benefits in terms of overall quality of life.

Read Here: All about moving to Portugal

2. Spain

Top 5 Destinations for Americans Moving to Europe- Spain

Palafrugell, Spain

What is there to say about Spain that hasn’t been said before? This is a land with some of the world’s loveliest people and some of its richest history. Spain has many of the best features of Portugal—sun, safety, beaches, affordability, great food and wine, great nightlife, and a certain quietude, but in many areas, Spain boasts even lower home prices (with a dwindling population), a top 10 healthcare system, world-class sports teams, and great local and national transport links. If you invest €500,000 in Spanish property you receive a visa to live and work in Spain—a visa that can be renewed. And you can bring your family along with you.

Read Here: All about moving to Spain

Even if you don’t have that kind of money, you can get a non-investor visa that lets you stay as long as you have enough money to support yourself (perfect for remote workers).

For your first six years in Spain, you pay only 24 percent in taxes on your Spanish income and none on income from outside sources.

Spain, of course, is a cultural powerhouse, with incredible food, music, art, film, outdoor activities, social events, street life, and festivals and celebrations of every kind. Madrid, Spain’s center of arts and culture, and Barcelona, the largest city in Catalonia, are especially popular with Americans, but you can find affordable properties—and reasonable rents—in many different parts of Spain. (Alicante, in southeastern Spain, on the Costa Blanca, is a great example!).

3.   Greece

Top 5 Destinations for Americans Moving to Europe - Spain

Oia, Santorini, Greece

Ah, Greece! The birthplace of Western civilization. The land of Alexander the Great and ancient empires.

Greece isn’t a world power anymore, but it still can’t be beaten. It has all the sun and beauty of Spain and Portugal, with gorgeous beaches and reminders everywhere you look of the ancient peoples who lived and toiled in this land centuries ago. Like Spain and Portugal, Greeks are an extremely welcoming bunch, and close to 10 percent of the population is currently foreign-born. Greece also remains incredibly affordable despite the happy fact that the country’s economy is on the road to full recovery following a series of financial crises.

Know More Here: 10 Tips for Moving To Greece

Greece has a very good health care system and offers visa and investment perks very similar to those offered by Portugal and Spain. In some places, consumer prices are 50-70 percent lower than they are in the US. Monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in any major Greek city is typically one-third of what it is in the US. The tax regime is attractive and offers low flat rates for expatriates. You only pay tax on half of your income for your first seven years in the country.

Most Greeks speak at least some English, the food and wine are unforgettable, and life in Greece is generally peaceful and unhurried. However, like Portugal, Greece isn’t the best for those seeking a vibrant job market. Even so, for expats with income streams originating from outside the country, Greece offers incredible opportunities.

4.   Italy

Top 5 Destinations for Americans Moving to Europe- Italy

Manarola, Italy

Birthplace of the Roman Empire. The origin point of the Renaissance. The beating heart of the global fashion industry. The natural setting of any film or TV program looking for a bit of easy glamour. Home of some of the world’s most expensive and coveted properties.

One doesn’t automatically associate Italy with “affordable.” Italy was affordable for expats briefly, in the aftermath of the Second World War, but since then the global popularity of Italian art, culture, and style—and the Italian way of life—has pushed up prices tremendously in hotspots like Rome, Milan and Florence. The cost of living—and the cost of property—in these parts of Italy, Tuscany in particular, is extremely high, and costs are exacerbated by a burdensome tax regime. Government services in Italy are poor and the job market isn’t great. 

So why move to Italy?

There’s an important caveat about Italy. Many parts of the country, beautiful and often rural, are extremely affordable. So affordable, in fact, that old, run-down homes in the Italian countryside are going for as little as $1. That’s right! An Italian villa could be yours, for a dollar! Italy, like Spain, is in the midst of a de-population crisis and has begun welcoming anyone willing to move to quieter parts of the country and invest a bit of money in refurbishing old and often derelict properties. Tens of thousands of people from around the world have taken advantage, many Americans included, and they are now the proud owners of wonderful properties in some of the safest and most scenic areas of the country.

Read Here: All about moving to Italy from the US

An Italian Investor Visa permits non-EU citizens to obtain a residence permit if they invest at least €250,000 in the country’s economy. Italy offers “digital nomads” a one-year renewable work and residence permit as long as they can provide proof of sufficient income. And with an Italian villa or apartment to call your own, you gain access to Italy’s excellent health care system and all of the benefits of the Mediterranean life: great food and wine, wonderful and welcoming communities, a slower-paced existence, awesome weather, proximity to the rest of Europe, and all of the things that make Italy legendarily great.

5. Croatia

Top 5 Destinations for Americans Moving to Europe - Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Number five on the list is a bit of a wildcard. Croatia has exploded in popularity in recent years and has a lot in common with Portugal in terms of its appeal to prospective American expatriates. The cost of living is even lower than Portugal and, if anything, Croatia is even safer. The country, bordering the Adriatic, boasts wonderful weather, a stunning coastline, a welcoming population, a surfeit of outdoor activities, and extremely affordable rents that are roughly one-third less than Portugal’s.

Read Here: How shipping furniture to Europe from US works

It should be noted, however, that property prices in Croatia are rising quickly now that word has gotten out about how lovely and affordable the place is. Croatia is at the crossroads of the ancient world and has no shortage of landmarks worth exploring. Is Croatian food and drink up to the standard of Italy across the water? That might be a bit of a stretch—but then, who is up to Italy’s standards in that area?

Ultimately, Croatia may be a slightly better fit for digital nomads in search of cheap rents and a good quality of life, while Spain, Portugal, and Italy may be a slightly better fit for retirees interested in investing in property.

International Van Lines: The Overseas Moving Specialists

movers in Florida IVL

When it comes to relocating overseas, one full-service international moving company is helping more Americans enjoy Europe’s good life than any other: International Van Lines (IVL).

IVL is consistently ranked the #1 US-based international mover by some of the most respected publications in the country, including Forbes, USA Today, US News, and Consumer Affairs.

Click here for a free customized international moving quote!

Where does IVL operate?

IVL operates in more than 180 countries globally—offering a full range of international moving services. IVL serves every major country in Europe.

Why IVL?

We move our personal possessions across oceans and continents as if they were our own. We have the knowledge, experience, personnel, and infrastructure that no other international mover can hope to match. IVL’s size, versatility, and expertise make us far more flexible than other international movers. We can do more, we can do it better, and we almost always do it faster. Other international moving companies try, but they invariably fall short.

IVL Team

IVL team members at company HQ in Coral Springs, FL

Whether you’re relocating to Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, or Croatia—or any other country in Europe or around the world—remember: no mover has been able to master all the logistics of international relocation like International Van Lines. We’re top of the heap—and we plan to stay there.

How much does it cost to relocate to Europe?

We’re the most reputable and reliable international mover in the business and we pride ourselves on our transparency.

Feel free to use our international moving cost calculator to get a rough estimate of what your move to Europe might cost. Moving costs ebb and flow, but we’re always upfront with our customers. The final bill is never a surprise.

Click the link for a free international moving quote or contact IVL directly at (877) 647-1336. We’d love to hear from you.

Truly professional international movers at your service!


IVL’s  International Door-to-Door Relocation Services in a Nutshell

Wherever you may be headed in Europe, IVL stands ready to help. For a ton of useful info on IVL’s comprehensive door-to-door international relocation services click here and here. In a nutshell, here’s what IVL offers, regardless of where you are or where you’re headed:

  • Full-service packing and unpacking.     
  • Furniture assembly and disassembly.
  • Comprehensive ocean and/or air freight services.
  • Storage options that meet the needs of any potential expatriate (click here for details). These include short-term, long-term, and temperature-controlled.
  • Debris removal.
  • International vehicle transport using our roll-on-roll-off (“RoRo”) service.
  • Liability protection including full value protection.
  • Development of a customized international moving plan for extremely valuable and/or delicate items (i.e., pianos, artwork, antiques, and electronics).
  • Comprehensive international corporate relocation and military relocation services.
  • Customs clearance management.
  • Live chat and customer service 24/7.
  • Easy shipment tracking throughout the international move process.
  • Transparent, easy-to-understand international moving quotes (check out IVL’s online pricing calculator for a clear breakdown of international moving costs).

Remember: regardless of whether you’re relocating for a year—or a lifetime—IVL makes things easy.

Is There Anything Else I Should Know?

To promote speed and efficiency, IVL occasionally partners with local movers. In addition, IVL requires a deposit—typically one-quarter of the final bill—though this is refundable in the event of cancellation.

Is International Van Lines Properly Licensed?

Yes. IVL is licensed by DOT, FMC and AMSA


What Do Our Customers Think?

Customer reviews of IVL at Trustpilot average 4.8/5 stars.

Contact IVL today. For your free customized international moving quote click here!


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