Much of East Europe is exceedingly picturesque, full of beautiful ancient cities and soaring peaks. You just have to learn where the Soviet era eyesores are, and avoid them like the plague.
Prague has become one of the main European magnets for young Americans, combining the advantages of any major world city with an atmospheric old world charm. Cities like Budapest in Hungary, Krakow in Poland and Talinn in Estonia are following in those footsteps. East Europe is experiencing an unprecedented economic boom due to their joining of the EU, with Bulgaria and Romania poised to do particularly well over the next decade or so. If big cities are not your thing, then consider the medieval town of Brasov in Romania for castles, mountains and skiing; or anywhere along Croatia’s immense Adriatic coastline. German incomers have pushed up the cost of living in Coratia, but bargain seaside living can still be had in places such as the balmy coastal settlements of Kotor in Montenegro and Saranda in Albania. If you get the local price, $300-500 will get you a two bedroom house in Croatia and $200-400 will do the same in Romania, Montenegro and Albania. But go quick, those prices won’t stay low for much longer. Tack on another $500 for food and going out three times a week, and you can have the Mediterranean lifestyle for less than a grand a month.
Further south, exotic Turkey and Morocco are offering residential visas that are renewable on an annual basis. Some say these two countries are the most westernised Oriental cultures while others argue that they are the eastern-most outposts of European culture. Whatever it is, these countries will seem oddly familiar and exotic at the same time. Istanbul, Marrakesh, Essouraia, Fez, and much of the Turkish Med are very popular with long term residents from North America and Europe proper.
Living costs in Mediterranean Turkey are on par with that of the Balkans, it is about 30% cheaper inland. Morocco is even cheaper still.
The big advantage of Eastern Europe is that you are never more than a budget airline hop away to the offerings of London and Paris, so you can even leave Brasov for a weekend at the opera in Covent Garden should the mood strike you.
We recommend Eastern Europe and Mediterranean if you don’t mind spending a bit more, are a bit of a culture vulture, and prefer not to stray too far away from what you are used to.
Social Options: 9
Visas & Permits: 8
Hassle Ratio: 10
Value for Money: 6