Thinking about moving to a new country? Ranker has come up with a list of the best countries to move to, and people voted on what they believed was the best. Obviously, travel restrictions may be in place where you live. So always keep that in mind before traveling or considering a major move. Here at Home Addict, we’ve done some research as to why people are moving to these places. What really makes them so great?
Canada, oh Canada. As the upstairs neighbor of the United States, Canada has become an incredibly popular place for people to move. Their free healthcare system is one of the major reasons why people consider calling Canada a new home. Visually, Canada is stunning. It has forests, mountain ranges, and lakes. A lot of people enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle. There are also plenty of cities, suburbs, and cultural experiences. Hockey is one of the most popular sports, so people who love winter sports will never grow tired of living there.
Canadians are known for being friendly and easy-going. For people in the United States, the idea of moving to Canada almost seems like getting greeted with a warm hug. They have the same language, and similar culture to the US. It’s just that everything seems a lot nicer. The only potential downside is that the cost of living is high, and it may be too expensive for most Americans to move there.
For Europeans, Switzerland has become an incredibly popular place to move. The most popular reason is due to their job market. Swiss jobs can sometimes pay double for the same job compared to opportunities in other European countries. Switzerland’s education system is also one of the best in the world, which is why many diplomats choose to send their children there to attend private schools.
And you can’t overlook the views of the Swiss mountains and lakes. The environment is absolutely stunning, which is why Switzerland has become a popular tourist destination. Overall, many people feel that Switzerland’s high quality of life gives their children more opportunities in the world. Even British people are moving there, because they think it can give their kids better opportunities compared to being raised in the UK.
Moving to the Netherlands has become popular among English-speakers. Almost everyone in this Dutch-speaking country also speaks English. So as long as you know English, you’re guaranteed to be able to navigate speaking with the friendly and straight-forward people who live there. People are known for being friendly, so it should be easy for you to make friends, especially if you’re studying abroad.
The Netherlands is considered to be one of the happiest places in the world, because they work fewer hours every week compared to the US. They truly value having a healthy work-life balance. For international students, it’s easy to find a job after graduation as well as travel to different countries in Europe. Lastly, the country has a low crime rate, and a good infrastructure.
If you’re a fan of The Lord of the Rings films, you already know that New Zealand is filled with stunning landscapes that look like they’re from another era. They have a mild, subtropical climate, which means that it’s relatively warm all year long, even in the winter time. People who live there celebrate having a high quality of life. It has even been ranked at #2 on HSBC’s 2018 Expat Explorer Survey as one of the best places to live.
As an English-speaking country, it’s easy for Americans to move there and meet some of the friendly natives. In certain fields like healthcare, finance, and engineering, it’s easy for foreigners with that work experience to find a position in New Zealand. Or, a foreign exchange student could decide to study abroad in New Zealand knowing that their odds for success in those fields are much higher once they have graduated.
Norway is a popular destination for skiing on their gorgeous mountains, or taking advantage of the “allemannsrett” rule, which states that you can pitch a tent and camp anywhere in the country. (So long as it’s not private property or a national park, of course.) Aside from the beautiful scenery, people also have a high quality of life. There is a low crime rate, an amazing education system, and it’s filled with friendly people. Norwegian people are known for being very happy, especially compared to other parts of the world. They’re known for living a lifestyle called “hygge”, which is all about getting cozy and enjoying the comfortable things in life
Lastly, the healthcare system is amazing, compared to the United States. All legal residents may apply for the free public health service. A doctor’s appointment is just $21, and you must pay a small fee for medications. But there is an annual cap or deductible of $1,817. Once you have gone above that cap, all other services are free. This means that any unexpected life event like a surgery or emergency is essentially taken care of.
Yet another English-speaking country that’s popular to move to is Australia. Locals are famous for being friendly, charming, and they love to have a good time. Australian weather is warm all year long, and they have some of the best beaches on the planet. This is why it is such a popular spot for surfing, swimming, camping, and other outdoor activities.
Melbourne and Sydney are bustling cities with plenty to do for fun nightlife activities. But you also have plenty of nature in the “bush” country, if you’d rather get away from it all. Compared to places like the United Kingdom, Australia’s ample space makes it possible to build a dream house on a much cheaper property. So if your goal is to find somewhere to create a dream house from the ground up, Australia just might be the place for you.
According to The World Economic Forum in 2017, Finland is one of the safest countries to live in the world. It’s also considered to be one of the most free, stable, and happiest places in the world. Finland has a Nordic welfare system that guarantees its citizens with a number of public services. The healthcare system is paid through municipal taxes, which means that every citizen has the right to use it. Heat and hot water is usually included in the rent, and electricity is cheap.
One of the largest cities in the country, Helsinki, is filled with beautiful architecture like the Uspenski Cathedral Old Market Hall. In the Wooden House District, 20th Century homes that were once used for the working classes are now trending among young creative types. (It’s like living in Brooklyn, only in Finland.) Helsinki has been voted one of the best cities for work-life-balance.
Sweden is a socialist country, which means that its citizens receive numerous free benefits. Most jobs get 5 weeks of paid vacation, regardless of what you do for a living. There are also 480 days of paid parental leave, which is plenty of time for parents to take time off to have multiple children. Swedish universities are also completely free for all EU citizens, which makes it a perfect place for foreign exchange students to visit.
This all sounds great, but there’s a catch. Income taxes are high in Sweden, with standard income taxes being 30%. But most people consider this an even exchange, because you receive a higher quality of living in return. Swedes have a phrase called “Jantelagen”, which promotes the idea that you’re no better than anyone else. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. Everyone is equal. So if you’re tired of the rat race in America, this just might be a breath of fresh air for you.
When you imagine Scotland, you might picture the green pastures and Hogwarts-esque castles. Its scenery is stunning, and tourists flock there just to be able to take in the beauty of nature. As part of the United Kingdom, Scotland is an English-speaking country that is easily accessible to the surrounding countries like England, Ireland, and Wales.
One of the biggest perks of living in the country is that undergraduate education is completely free for residents of Scotland, so long as you’re a born member of the European Union. Healthcare is also free, so you never have to worry about any medical emergencies.
Austria is in the middle of the European continent, surrounded by multiple nearby countries. You can breathe in the mountain air knowing that you’ve come to a good place, because of everything that the country has to offer. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 82% of people in Austria reported having more positive feelings on a daily basis, which is very high compared to the 76% average.
The city of Vienna, Austria is known for having a rich history. There are multiple art museums, amazing architecture, and plenty of cultural experiences for you to enjoy there. Another perk of living in Austria is that they have a high number of luxury properties for sale at low prices. It’s also supposed to be a very secure location for baking, if you have money or assets that need protecting. While there may be some English speakers around, just be prepared to arrive by speaking their native language, German.
Spain is an incredibly popular destination to move to in Europe. It’s warm all year long, and experiences 320 days of sunshine. This can be a welcome change in lifestyle compared to anywhere that has low temperatures. Since the weather is almost always nice in Spain, people like to spend time outdoors. There are plenty of outdoor seating options at restaurants, parks with beautiful plant life, swimming, cycling, and more.
Spanish culture includes fiestas- parties that happen often. They have several festivals throughout the year like The Tomato Festival in Valencia or the Holy Week in Seville. They also enjoy siestas- or afternoon naps and time of relaxation. If that wasn’t good enough already, the cost of living in Spain is considered to be much lower than other countries, especially somewhere like England or the United States. This is why it’s an exceptionally popular spot for foreign exchange students to live.
As the 4th largest economy in the world, Germany has the strongest economy in all of Europe. It is known for being a great place to find a job or start a business, especially if you happen to know how to speak German. They have several large cities like Munich, Frankfurt, and Berlin to choose from, if you’re looking to live in an urban setting. But it’s also known for having beautiful scenery as well with beautiful castles, historic buildings, and beautiful Christmas Markets every winter. There is history around every corner, which is great for anyone who loves to explore a new culture and learn something new.
Once you become a tax paying resident of Germany, you’ll be surprised with some of the perks that they offer to its citizens. For example, they have something called Kindergeld, which is like a child support payment that you receive every month for each child that you have, starting at €204 per month for the first. There is also a program called Elterngeld, which is paid parental leave when you have a new baby. They will pay up to €1800 per month to help you survive after having a baby and temporarily leaving the workforce.
When you think of Ireland, you would be correct to imagine green, rolling hills and pastures. The grass is literally greener on the other side! Because of the beautiful grass, Ireland has become an exporter of beef and dairy. But there are far more job opportunities in Ireland outside of farming. Dublin in particular has become a big business hub with companies like PayPal, Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Google all opening branches there.
It has some of the best surfing in the world, and it’s known for being a great place to enjoy the great outdoors. People also love to drink Guinness beer, listen to music, and joke around in the pub. Since it rains most of the year, people in Ireland have had to learn how to enjoy spending time indoors. That’s why it’s such a huge cultural hub for literature, music, and more.
If you’re living in the United States and thinking about making an escape, England might be a good option. Obviously, it’s easy to move there, since we all speak the same language. And since Americans were all originally English colonists, our cultures are not so different from one another. It’s very easy to adjust to life in England if you’ve grown up in the United States. In fact, it may have more perks than staying in our homeland. Citizens of England get to enjoy free healthcare under their NHS or National Health Service. This is available to everyone in England, even if you’re an expat staying there from another country.
London is their bustling hotspot for nightlife and job opportunities. Walking and public transportation is easy in England, which is great for anyone starting out without their own car. English society is known for being very polite, and they like to abide by their rich traditions from history. They still adore their royal family, and find a lot of pride as being part of one of the most powerful colonizing empires in the world. Their school systems are some of the best in the world. So if you’re considering going to school there, it could help you secure a high paying job in the long run.
There are dozens of great reasons to move to Italy. Obviously, Italian food is some of the best in the world. If you love pizza, why not go to the source? Since Italy is in a Mediterranean climate, it’s relatively warm all year long. Italian people are all about spending time with family, and enjoying their beautiful culture. People also enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and hiking around their beautiful mountains.
Not only is Italy beautiful, but it may be cheaper to move there than staying in your current location. According to Property Guides, the cost of living in Italy is 47% less for renting an apartment in Rome compared to London. The price of a house in the Italian countryside is also significantly less than what you would expect to pay in England. Italy is filled with classic architecture like Baroque, Roman, Classical, and Neoclassical. So you could potentially buy a more interesting property at a fraction of the price compared to living in other places.
Moving to Portugal has become an incredibly popular option among Europeans who are looking to escape their home country. Portugal is sunny 300 days a year, and it has mild temperatures all year long. It’s one of the warmest places to live in Europe, and you can enjoy lounging on their many beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. The official language is Portuguese, but many people speak English, because children start learning it since elementary school. The fact that it’s a hub for so many other countries makes it a great place for expats to travel and move to.
Portugal believes that healthcare is a national right. Senior citizens, pregnant women, children, and people with chronic illness are all given medical care for free. And for all other kinds of medical care, citizens of the EU can receive help in Portugal at a very low cost. The economy has recently been booming in Portugal as well. Since 2016, Lisbon has hosted the Web Summit, which is one of the biggest tech conferences in the world. Lastly, it’s a great place to retire. Many Europeans decide to retire in Portugal, because of the low cost of living and great weather.
For many of you out there, as soon as you hear the words “Cayman Islands”, you’re already thinking about the fact that it’s a famous tax haven. But you don’t have to be hiding anything to move there. Many people choose to buy a second home in the Cayman Islands. The scenery is beautiful, with temperatures rarely dropping below 80 degrees fahrenheit. People from all over the world go to live in the Cayman Islands, and they average around 100 different nationalities. Compared to other Caribbean islands, Cayman has a lower crime rate, and generally feels safer and cleaner when you’re walking around.
If you raise kids in the Cayman Islands, you can choose between a United States or British curriculum. This is perfect if you’re trying to escape to a tropical paradise, but you still want your kids to receive the same education that they would have at home. Traveling between the US and the Cayman Islands is also easy, with the airport flying out to almost every major city. Miami is only around an hour away. So as you can imagine, the island has an American feel without it actually being a part of the United States.
If you’re thinking about moving to Belgium, you’re not alone. In Brussels, over one-third of the city’s population is filled with migrants who moved there for a new life. And why wouldn’t you want to live in the beautiful place that birthed the comic book hero Tin Tin?
In case you didn’t know, people in Belgium speak a mix of Dutch, French, and German. So there are also a lot of cultural influences coming from France and Germany. The city of Brussels is filled with art museums, a mall that looks like a palace, art nouveau style buildings, and an alien-like structure called Atomium. And if you’re a fan of sports, Belgium is the home of an annual track competition called Memorial Van Damme. Fans also get the most excited about their soccer team with the mascot The Red Devils.
France has become an increasingly popular location for British people to retire, or move to start a family. An average of 20,000 British people move to France every year. This is because the countryside is filled with homes that cost much less than the average flat in London. It becomes a no-brainer for people to swap out an apartment for an entire house with a backyard. Not only is it a more affordable place to live, but many consider it to be a welcome lifestyle change. Life moves more slowly in France, where people are willing to be more relaxed compared to the fast pace of the UK or USA.
The most important thing anyone should mention about moving to France is the food. The vast majority of fine chefs study at culinary schools in Paris in order to learn how to cook the greatest food in the entire world. France is known for its fine wine, cheeses, and bread. There is no shortage of beautiful vineyards and beaches that you could visit in the South of France. And if you’re near the Pyrenees, you can enjoy your winters skiing in the mountains.
Home of the world’s first democracy, Greece is a country filled with history that sculpted modern civilization. Much of its original architecture like the Pantheon is still standing, and it’s a truly special place to visit or live. The climate is a welcome change for many, since it’s mild all year long with wet winters and dry, hot summers. Since tourism is a huge part of the Greek economy, many people speak English, which makes it easier for expats to move there.
Another huge perk to living in Greece is that it’s super affordable. Estimates show that you could comfortably live there on $2,000 per month. Even in the city of Athens, rent is 85% cheaper than what you would pay in New York City. Around 40% of the country’s entire population lives in the city of Athens as well. This means that there is plenty of space in other parts of Greece, if you wanted to find a home outside of the tourist-filled city with a larger property and lower cost of living.
The Principality of Monaco is a city state on the French Riviera that enjoys a warm mediterranean climate all year long. It’s incredibly luxurious, and filled with amazing architecture and shopping. Monaco borders France, so French is its official language. But there are still plenty of people who know how to speak English. Some of you out there may know that the American actress Grace Kelly married the Prince of Monaco, which helped draw in even more attention to the city-state when she was alive.
The government is considered a constitutional monarchy, so it may seem like a huge difference compared to living in the United States. But if you’re looking for a tax haven, Monaco seems to be a good fit. They have zero income, capital gains, or wealth taxes. Since there is a huge international presence, it can potentially be a great place to do business. There is also plenty of opportunity for entertainment and relaxation. Monaco hosts multiple sporting events like Formula One racing, the Monte Carlo Tennis Tournament, and the Grand Prix Historique.
The Republic of Fiji is an island nation in the South Pacific. It’s a collection of 330 islands, where 100 of them are inhabited. Since these are tropical islands, you can enjoy warm weather all year long. Fijians are known for being very friendly, and they love to celebrate the good life. Their word for hello is “bula”, which literally means “life”. Aside from the native language, most people speak English in Fiji, which makes it easy for people to go on vacation or potentially move there.
Living in Fiji isn’t necessarily cheap, and imported luxury goods are going to be more expensive. But it’s a good place to find luxury accommodations for less than other parts of the world. For example, you can rent a 4-bedroom waterfront home with its own jetty and built-in swimming pool for $3,850 a month. That’s far cheaper than many luxury beach towns in the US where you’d expect to pay at least $10,000 a month or more for somewhere like The Hamptons.
If you’re thinking of moving to Europe, the Czech Republic, also known as “Czechia” may be a good option. This former Soviet nation is filled with beautiful architecture and even castles. In the capital city of Prague, they have a Christmas market every year that lights up the city in a truly magical way. Since it’s a temperate climate, you will experience all four seasons, including a cold and snowy winter. Staying in Prague is significantly cheaper than living in a city like London. Luxurious AirBnB’s are only $40 per night, and it’s easy to find an apartment from $1,000 to $1,500 per month.
There are over 150,000 expats living in Prague. Compared to other countries, it’s actually relatively easy to get a visa and live there long enough to become a permanent resident. Members of the EU can stay there without any issues. But Americans have an option to get a visa called Živnostenský úřad, which takes a few months of paperwork, and a $400 fee. But once you get that squared away, you can live in the country for an entire year. After five years of renewing that visa, you can become a permanent resident.
Don’t be fooled by the name, because Greenland is actually filled with ice and snow. It’s one of the coldest places in the world, so don’t go there if you’re looking for a tropical paradise. If you enjoy skiing and bathing in natural hot springs, it could potentially be a great place to live. However, the air is fresh, and the summers are warm. There is also 24 hours of sunlight in the summertime, which means that you never have to worry about losing light when you’re having some outdoor fun.
Citizens of Greenland receive free education, health care, and dental. So if you live there, you have many of your basic needs covered. However, the main language is Greenlandic, and there aren’t many people who speak English. So if you even consider making a move there, learn the language first. It’s also best to get a job before moving there, because it can be difficult to find work if you haven’t already planned this out beforehand.
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a small landlocked European country between France, Belgium, and Germany. The three official languages are French, German, and Luxembourgish (Yes, that’s a real word!) It’s one of the smallest sovereign states in all of Europe. To give you some perspective, it’s only 2,600 square kilometers, which is two-thirds the size of Rhode Island. it’s also one of the least populated with just 626,108 people. The government is a constitutional monarchy led by a man named Grand Duke Henri.
If you decided to move to Luxembourg, you would be far from the only one, because 44% of the total population are expats. There is an article called ‘What Would You Think of Living in Luxembourg?’ in the New York Times by Chris Pavone that you should read if you’re an American thinking of moving there. In this article, he explains how the country has a lot of old-world charm, and it was easy to fly to multiple countries in Europe on the weekends. But eventually, they moved back to New York City where it was comfortable and familiar.
The Caribbean island of Barbados is located in the West Indies. It’s a tiny island with a population of 287,010 people. Everyone speaks English, and there is a huge community of expats who have moved there from other places. Even though it’s small, the island has all of the established amenities you could ever need. They have restaurants, marinas, golfing, tennis, and more. Out of every island in the Caribbean, Barbados has the lowest crime rate. So you can feel safe raising your kids there. It also has a great school system, healthcare facilities, and hospitals.
Some of the financial perks of making a move to Barbados is that there are no entry taxes. However, if you want to become a resident, you need to qualify for one of the Special Entry Residents Permits. The different categories might require you to be a millionaire, invest in buying land worth over $300,000, have grandparents living in Barbados, or have some special skill or qualification that qualifies you for a work visa. With this criteria, there are very few people who could actually move there beyond a 6 month vacation.
The Republic of Estonia is a small country with 2,200 smaller islands surrounding it in the Baltic Sea. The largest island is called Saaremaa. Since it’s on the water, most of Estonia is a bog or wetland ecosystem which is filled with beautiful forests, hiking trails, and wildlife. The main language spoken is Estonian, but many people speak English there, too. Estonia is supposed to be very technologically advanced with many opportunities in technical fields. Basically, if you’re a computer programmer, you’d have no trouble finding work in Estonia.
The capital city of Tallinn, Estonia is home to the tallest steeple in the world at St. Olaf’s Church. They still have a medieval stone tower called Kiek in de Kok, which means “peep in the kitchen” since the soldiers were so high up, they could see through citizen’s kitchen windows. Every year, they have Medieval Days in Old Town where kids can go to learn archery and go to “knight school”. So if you enjoy medieval history, Estonia is a great place to be.
In recent years, Hungary has become a popular country to move to. The capital city of Budapest is the most populated city in all of Europe. It’s a popular tourist destination because of its beautiful architecture and bustling city life. You can go shopping at Great Market Hall, or sip coffee at one of the many adorable cafes. There are also plenty of museums, music festivals, monuments, gardens, a zoo, and much more. Almost every weekend in the spring and summer, there is some sort of festival going on in Budapest. When you get outside of the city, Hungary has the amazing Hortobágyi National Park and thermal baths.
If you’re a member of the EU, it would be easy to move to Hungary. However, if you live outside of the EU, it might be more difficult to get into the country. But if you can manage to obtain a visa, you might be rewarded with a low cost of living. According to Eurosender, rent on an apartment in the outskirts of the city is just €250 and €300 per month. And if you want to live in center city Budapest, it’s €1000 per month. With Hungary’s excellent public transportation system, it could be possible for you to rent a cheap apartment and commute to a job in the city.
In 1999, Croatia gained its independence from Yugoslavia. So it’s actually a very young country. For thousands of years, it has been conquered as territory for Germany, Austria, the Ottoman Empire, and so much more. The country sits on the Adriatic Sea, and it has over 1,000 smaller islands that make up the country. It’s a very culturally diverse place, due to all of the traveling and trade happening along the coast line. Croatia even holds an event called Yacht Week, where it’s all about sailing and enjoying the beautiful water.
Since the country is still young, its economy hasn’t had much time to grow yet. However, this means that it can be an attractive place for business owners to potentially create a company and have it flourish. The cost of living is also relatively low. They provide free public education to children, and there is an affordable health care system just like the rest of Europe.
Who wouldn’t want to move to a tropical paradise? French Polynesia is an overseas collectivity of France made up of 118 individual islands, while only 67 are inhabited by people. One of its most popular locations is Bora Bora, which is famous for its crystal blue water and amazing beach resorts and volcanos. It’s warm all year long, and it experiences a rainy season from December through February.
As you might imagine, everyone speaks French there. So if you’re even considering moving there, it’s best to learn the language. If you’re a citizen of France, it would be fairly easy to move there, since it’s a territory which is controlled entirely by the French Government. However, being an expat is a different story. Keep in mind that Tahiti is the only island that has public transportation. So if you plan on moving there, you’re basically stuck in that location until you’re able to purchase a car. But once you do, you can experience some amazing scenic roads along the coast line.