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Top 10 Most Expensive Countries in Europe

Cassidy is an author, a scientist, and a personal finance enthusiast.

Cost of living for a family of three in Europe

Cost of living for a family of three in Europe

When planning a trip abroad on a budget, it's a good idea to avoid countries where things are the most expensive. These tend to be the countries with the highest cost of living. Cost of living is how much money it takes to reside in a location. That said, sometimes housing drives up the cost of living in a country, but otherwise it's an affordable place to visit. On the contrary, a country with high food and transportation costs would make traveling there quite expensive. For that reason, it can be useful to dive into the specifics of how much it costs to live in or visit a country. Europe is a popular tourist and retirement destination, but some countries in Europe can be prohibitively expensive. Countries in Western Europe tend to be more expensive than those in Eastern Europe, but which ones are the most expensive? Here is a list of the top 10 most expensive places in Europe

Methodology

The cost of living data for a family of three comes from an article by Cozy Nest Egg, as does the graphic of cost of living across the world which I modified for the above graphic of Europe. The data on how each category of expenses compares to the U.S. comes from Expatistan. General information about each country comes from Wikipedia.

For reference, the average cost of living for a family of three in the U.S. is about $40,875.

Location of the Netherlands in Europe

Location of the Netherlands in Europe

10. Netherlands

The Netherlands is located in Western Europe with three islands in the Caribbean. Its capital is Amsterdam. It has the busiest seaport in the world outside of Asia, behind only China and Singapore, and it ranks among the highest in the world in press freedom, economic freedom, human development, quality of life, and happiness. It is also the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products by value. The Netherlands is a low lying country, with 26% of the country below sea level. It is mostly flat, with just a few low hills. It has a mild maritime climate with warm summers and cool winters.


  • Cost of living (family of three): $42,762
  • Food: 4% cheaper
  • Housing: 4% cheaper
  • Clothes: 28% more expensive
  • Transportation: 46% more expensive
  • Personal Care: 26% cheaper
  • Entertainment: 7% cheaper
Location of Andorra in Europe

Location of Andorra in Europe

9. Andorra

Andorra is a microstate in the Pyrenees between France and Spain. Its capital is Andorra la Vella. It is the 6th smallest state in Europe and the 16th smallest country in the world. Andorra primarily consists of rugged mountains and has the highest capital city in Europe. It has alpine, continental, and oceanic climates depending on the altitude and generally has temperate summers and long, cold winters.


  • Cost of living (family of three): $45,780
  • Food: 5% more expensive
  • Housing: 27% cheaper
  • Clothes: 25% more expensive
  • Transportation: 68% more expensive
  • Personal Care: 19% cheaper
  • Entertainment: 35% more expensive
Location of Ireland in Europe

Location of Ireland in Europe

8. Ireland

Ireland is an island to the west of Great Britain. It is the 3rd largest island in Europe and the 20th largest in the world. It is separated into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is a part of the U.K. Ireland consists of low-lying mountains around a central plain. It has a mild oceanic climate with few extremes.


  • Cost of living (family of three): $46,513
  • Food: 5% more expensive
  • Housing: 13% more expensive
  • Clothes: 1% more expensive
  • Transportation: 88% more expensive
  • Personal Care: 6% more expensive
  • Entertainment: 37% more expensive
Location of Denmark in Europe

Location of Denmark in Europe

7. Denmark

Denmark is located in Northern Europe, consisting of a peninsula, 443 named islands, and two autonomous territories: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Its capital is Copenhagen. Denmark ranks highly among the world on education, health care, protection of civil liberties, democratic governance, and LGBT equality. The country is flat with little elevation and consists mostly of arable land. It has a temperate climate with mild winters and cool summers.


  • Cost of living (family of three): $46,556
  • Food: 12% more expensive
  • Housing: 6% cheaper
  • Clothes: 42% more expensive
  • Transportation: 37% more expensive
  • Personal Care: 48% more expensive
  • Entertainment: 11% more expensive
Location of Iceland in relation to the rest of Europe

Location of Iceland in relation to the rest of Europe

6. Iceland

Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic Ocean and is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. Its capital is Reykjavík. It ranks 3rd in the world by median wealth per adult and also ranks highly in economic, democratic, and social stability and equality. The country is volcanically and geologically active and consists of a plateau with sand, lava fields, mountains, and glaciers. Despite its name, it has a temperate climate with average temperatures ranging from a high of about 35 °F in the winter to about 56 °F in the summer.


  • Cost of living (family of three): $50,842
  • Food: 54% more expensive
  • Housing: 29% more expensive
  • Clothes: 77% more expensive
  • Transportation: 52% more expensive
  • Personal Care: 23% more expensive
  • Entertainment: 48% more expensive
Location of Norway in Europe

Location of Norway in Europe

5. Norway

Norway is located in Northern Europe and also includes the Arctic island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard. Its capital is Oslo. Norway has ranked highest on the Human Development Index since 2009 and also currently ranks first on the OECD Better Life Index, the Index of Public Integrity, the Freedom Index, and the Democracy Index. It also has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. The country is primarily mountainous and high terrain with distinctive features like the fjords. Norway has various climates depending on the location and altitude, with milder winters in the southern and western parts and warmer summers but colder winters in the lowlands.


  • Cost of living (family of three): $51,928
  • Food: 46% more expensive
  • Housing: 5% cheaper
  • Clothes: 46% more expensive
  • Transportation: 43% more expensive
  • Personal Care: 7% more expensive
  • Entertainment: 25% more expensive
Location of Luxembourg in Europe

Location of Luxembourg in Europe

4. Luxembourg

Luxembourg is located in Western Europe and is one of the smallest countries in Europe. Its capital is Luxembourg City, which is one of the 4 official capitals of the European Union and the seat of the Court of Justice of the European Union. In terms of terrain, Luxembourg consists of hills and low mountains in the north, flatland in the center, crags in the east, and a valley in the southeast. It has an oceanic climate with cool winters and warm summers marked by high precipitation.


  • Cost of living (family of three): $53,972
  • Food: 16% more expensive
  • Housing: 17% more expensive
  • Clothes: 45% more expensive
  • Transportation: 9% more expensive
  • Personal Care: 23% cheaper
  • Entertainment: 44% more expensive
Location of Liechtenstein in Europe

Location of Liechtenstein in Europe

3. Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is a microstate in the Alps between Austria and Switzerland in Central Europe. Its capital is Vaduz. It is the 4th smallest country in Europe and the 6th smallest in the world. It has a strong financial sector and is a winter sport destination. The country is mountainous and has a continental climate with cold, cloudy winters and cool to slightly warm, cloudy, and humid summers.


  • Cost of living (family of three): $64,174
  • Food: 90% more expensive
  • Housing: 6% more expensive
  • Clothes: 186% more expensive
  • Transportation: 40% more expensive
  • Personal Care: 105% more expensive
  • Entertainment: 123% more expensive
Location of Monaco in Europe

Location of Monaco in Europe

2. Monaco

Monaco is a city-state on the French Riviera bordered by France on three sides and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It is the 2nd smallest country in the world, behind only Vatican City. It is well known as a tourist destination, recreation center, and tax haven. Monaco's only natural resource is fishing, and almost the entire country is an urban area. It has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and and mild, rainy winters.


  • Cost of living (family of three): $64,583
  • Food: 99% more expensive
  • Housing: 298% more expensive
  • Clothes: 86% more expensive
  • Transportation: 91% more expensive
  • Personal Care: 36% more expensive
  • Entertainment: 109% more expensive
Location of Switzerland in Europe

Location of Switzerland in Europe

1. Switzerland

Switzerland is located at the meeting place between Western, Central, and Southern Europe. It has no official capital. It has the highest nominal wealth per adult and has been considered a tax haven. It ranks highly on economic competitiveness and human development. It also has one of the highest costs of living in the world. The Alps occupy most of the country, but the majority of its population live on a plateau. Its climate is generally temperate, with warm, humid summers and less humid winters.


  • Cost of living (family of three): $67,947
  • Food: 65% more expensive
  • Housing: 22% more expensive
  • Clothes: 89% more expensive
  • Transportation: 38% more expensive
  • Personal Care: 39% more expensive
  • Entertainment: 62% more expensive

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