If you’ve had your heart set on moving to Europe there are still history-steeped places there where you can experience old-world charm on a limited budget.
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Below are some of the cheapest cities you can settle down in across various European countries. (See also: How to Choose the Perfect Country to Retire in)
1. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest has long been known for its spire-topped skyline, cultural flair, and thermal baths. The city is an easy place to explore or just relax and do nothing, with plenty to see and do, but a laid-back vibe that’s perfect for retirement.
Budapest is also known for its affordability, with the cost of living running similar to some medium-priced cities in the U.S., according to the cost-tracking website Expatisan. Rent for a 900-square-foot furnished apartment ranges from $675 to about $1,000 per month. Utilities should cost around $117, and internet around $15. Dinner for two at a neighborhood pub will run you around $22, and a three-course Italian meal for two with wine will set you back $43. (See also: 13 Financial Steps to Take Before Retiring Abroad)
2. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is another European city whose cultural profile has become well-known. Tourists flock to this interesting hub for its fairy tale architecture, cobblestone streets, outdoor cafes, and world famous beer. The picturesque Vltava River, spanned by more than 30 bridges, forms the soul of the city, with gardens, public squares, and castles rounding out the romantic cityscape.
But Prague has more going for it than its stunning views and cheap, free-flowing beer. The city has also remained affordable despite its popularity, making it a smart stop for expat retirees.
According to Expatisan, the average cost to rent a furnished 900-square-foot apartment in Prague is only $888 for an average place, or $1,260 per month in the most expensive areas. A liter of milk costs less than $1, two pounds of tomatoes will set you back around $2, and a beer in the supermarket costs only 88 cents.
Heck, a bottle of red table wine only costs around $7. If that doesn’t bode well for an affordable retirement, we don’t know what does. (See also: How to Get the Most Out of Your Overseas Retirement)
3. Algarve, Portugal
Tourists flock to the Algarve region of Portugal for its scenic ocean cliffs, famous beaches, and many museums. The region is also brimming with historical sites, including old town centers, medieval fortresses, castles, and ancient forts.
Living in Algarve is surprisingly affordable, and that’s despite the region’s proximity to the water. According to cost of living website Numbeo, rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center could cost as little as $346, while a three-bedroom apartment in a central location costs an average of $614 per month. Basic utilities (heat, air conditioning, electricity) will add another $87 to your housing costs, on average, they note.
Food can also be insanely affordable. A pound of bananas may only cost 54 cents, for example, while a three-course dinner for two in a midrange restaurant may cost as little as $36. (See also: Avoid These 5 Mistakes When Retiring Abroad)
4. Pescara, Italy
Pescara, Italy is ideally located along the country’s eastern coast, a few hours from Rome and Naples. Here, you can enjoy a slow Italian lifestyle with some of Italy’s most gorgeous waterfronts, and all within a day’s reach of some of the world’s most important historical sites.
You can also save a bundle in the process. Rent in Pescara is surprisingly affordable, with a furnished, 900-square-foot apartment in one of the city’s most expensive areas costing just $936, on average, according to Expatistan. Rent in a “normal” area, not necessarily considered to be an expat neighborhood, could cost as little as $679. Add $130 for utilities to the bill and your total housing costs could easily stay below $1,000 per month year-round.
Eating out in Pescara can be expensive, but buying your own staples will save you money. Two pounds of potatoes cost about $1.65, bread for two people for a day runs $1.25, and a bottle of table wine will set you back about $7. (See also: What You Need to Semi-Retire Abroad Right Now)
5. Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest is a great destination if your goal is learning about history, including communism and its role in Romania. Attractions include a long list of gorgeous historical buildings and monuments, a communism-themed walking tour, a Holocaust memorial, and even a Romanian kitsch museum.
If you’re looking for an affordable place to retire, put Bucharest on your list. A 900-square-foot furnished apartment in the expensive parts of Bucharest will only set you back $723, while an apartment in more middle-class areas could cost as little as $451 per month. Average utility bills only cost around $100 as well, making your overall housing costs affordable.
Food can also be downright cheap. A three-course Italian meal for two, including wine, in an expat area costs around $43, a loaf of bread is around 62 cents, and a pound of potatoes is around 30 cents. (See also: Don’t Let These Expenses Spoil Your Retirement Abroad)
6. Pula, Croatia
If you’re looking to retire somewhere off the beaten path, Croatia should be on your radar. The seaside city of Pula is of interest specifically due to its low cost of living and amazing history. The harbor town is dotted with well-preserved Roman ruins, including an intact amphitheater and its own Temple of Augustus. Museums here house ancient artifacts, as well as contemporary art.
Pula is considered one of the most affordable spots in Europe, with a 900-square-foot furnished apartment in an expat area costing about $580 per month and a similar flat in an average area running $445. Utilities add another $120 per month on average, but a monthly transportation pass costs just $35.
You can have a great time dining out in retirement, too, in Pula. A basic dinner for two at a neighborhood pub runs $23, and a beer just $2.50.