5 Low-Cost European Countries for Digital Nomads in 2024

US expat contemplates the horizon during a hike in Eastern Europe.

While parts of Western Europe are starting to bristle with increased costs of living, low-cost European countries abound if you’re willing to step off the beaten path.

Rest assured, these more affordable countries maintain the European standard of living that most expats hunger for, including rich cultures to discover and excellent public transportation. You just need to know where to look.

Below, we’ve reviewed five of the best, cheapest* countries in Europe so you don’t have to choose between indulging your wanderlust and breaking your budget. 

Note: When we use the word “cheap” as a descriptor in this article, we do so as a means of signaling affordability, not a lack of quality.

Starting your digital nomad journey in a low-cost country 

Many digital nomads aspire to live in countries like France, Germany, and the Netherlands. However, these countries can present a challenge in that they do not currently offer dedicated digital nomad visas, and the cost of living can still be prohibitive to some nomads. 

Living in a lower-cost European country, on the other hand, offers many of the same advantages at a more economical price point. That way, you can fully enjoy your time there without having to worry about overspending, and you can save or invest the money you have left over.

Basing out of a cheap European country is an especially good option for digital nomads who plan on traveling as much as possible. Setting up a home base in a cheaper country makes it much easier to save and use those funds to travel.

A mix of countries in & outside the Schengen Area

The Schengen Agreement facilitates short-term travel among 29 different participating countries, including the US. The area that it covers comprises the Schengen Area and includes most of the EU, as well as a few non-European Union countries in Europe. This agreement allows Americans to stay in any Schengen Area country for up to 90 days at a time without having to apply for a visa beforehand.

However, these 90 days don’t reset every time you leave the country. To stay in compliance with immigration laws, American digital nomads without a valid long-term residence permit in a Schengen Area country must not exceed 90 days in the Area within a 180-day period. As a result, many split their time between Schengen and non-Schengen Area countries.

If you plan on living in Europe for an extended period, you’ll need to either a) secure a long-term residence permit or b) carefully track the time you spend in the Schengen Area. 

Concerning the latter point, it’s crucial to ensure that you respect the entry and exit rules and timeframes to avoid violating the 90-day rule.

The best low-cost countries for digital nomads

Sofia, Bulgaria


Capital city: Bucharest

Digital nomad visa: Yes, launched in 2022 

Cost per 1-bedroom apartment: $540.84 USD1

Hidden gems: While you don’t want to skip hotspots like Brasov’s charming, historic Old Town, Peleș Castle, or the beaches along the Black Sea, the beautiful country of Romania has many sites off the beaten path worth visiting.

 Bigar waterfall, which cascades over moss-covered stones, is something straight out of a fairytale, while the Sinca Veche Temple Cave — a temple carved into stone — is as striking as it is mysterious. 

Those looking for a quaint, traditional retreat, meanwhile, will love the peaceful, mountainside village of Rimetea.


Capital city: Sofia

Digital nomad visa: No, but the Freelance Visa is a good alternative

Cost per 1-bedroom apartment: $510.75 USD2

Hidden gems: While the popular medieval seaside town of Nessebar and Rila Monastery are both must-sees, you won’t want to miss Bulgaria’s under-the-radar spots either.

Belogradchik offers both a stunning castle and rock formation, while Devetashka Cave is one of the most breathtaking views in the country. 

For a fascinating look into traditional Bulgarian village life, head to the open-air museum of Etar.


Capital city: Tallinn

Digital nomad visa: Yes, launched in 2020

Cost per 1-bedroom apartment: $690.72 USD3

Hidden gems: Tallinn’s Old Town and the Kadriorg Palace (and its picturesque surrounding park) may be among Estonia’s most well-known attractions, but this Northern European country is chock-full of overlooked locales as well. 

The village of Kaali on the island of Saaremaa boasts nine different meteorite craters, while Telliskivi Creative City is a bohemian hub for the arts. 

Adventurous nature lovers, on the other hand, may want to head to the Brown Bear Watching Hole.


Capital city: Tirana

Digital nomad visa: Yes, launched in 2022

Cost per 1-bedroom apartment: $534.45 USD4

Hidden gems: Visitors to Albania flock to the ruins of Butrint National Park and the Blue Eye natural springs, but there are still places where tourists are relatively scarce. 

Head south of the Adriatic Sea, and you’ll find sandy beaches like Gijipe and Filikuri that can only be reached on foot, while the Albanian Alps offer incredible (if challenging) hikes. 

If you’re in the mood to unwind, however, opt for the natural hot springs of the Benja Thermal Baths.


Capital city: Athens

Digital nomad visa: Yes, launched in 2021

Cost per 1-bedroom apartment: $581.92 USD5

Hidden gems: Odds are, you’ve heard of the ruins of Acropolis and the idyllic island of Mykonos — but that doesn’t mean Greece doesn’t have surprises in store as well. 

Meteora’s cliffside monasteries make it among the most gorgeous places in Europe, while the turquoise blue waters of Melissani Cave’s hidden underground lake must be seen to be believed. 

And for an island getaway without the crowds or high prices, take a ferry from Santorini to Folegandros.

Other affordable European countries to visit as a digital nomad

A few more of the cheapest places to live in Europe include: 

  • Belgrade, Serbia: With an unbeatable café culture, thriving nightlife, and impressive fortresses, Belgrade is an affordable yet happening hub for digital nomads.
  • Riga, Latvia: Riga’s world-class culinary scene, abundance of green spaces, and hipster vibe make it an excellent home for budget-conscious nomads. Bonus: It’s one of the most walkable affordable cities in Europe!6
  • Brno, Czech Republic: Brno may not be as well-known as the capital city of Prague, but it offers beautiful architecture, lively bars, and incredible museums at a fraction of the price.

Practical tips when considering a move to Europe

It stands to reason that digital nomads seeking cheap European countries to live in are primarily thinking about affordability, but the average cost isn’t the only factor that should be taken into account when researching potential home bases. Before moving to a European city, you’ll want to consider practicalities like wardrobe, SIM cards, and internet connectivity, among others.

Clothes for winter in Europe

As you likely gathered from our list above, Eastern European countries tend to be more affordable than Western European countries.

Eastern Europe, however, is known for having cold winters — especially in countries like Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic. 

To survive a cold European winter, make sure to stock up on warm coats, sweaters, hats, boots, and maybe even thermal leggings and tops for those extra frosty days.

SIM cards

Even if you only plan on staying in a European country for a couple of weeks, it’s usually worth getting a SIM card, as using your US phone plan in Europe tends to be expensive (and often, offers less extensive coverage).

If you plan on hopping around from place to place, you might want to consider an eSim like Holafly or Airalo. If you plan on setting up a home base in one country for an extended amount of time, on the other hand, you may be better off purchasing a contract specific to that country.

Most European countries have different providers, so research options specific to the areas you’ll be spending the most time in. While you can typically buy prepaid SIMs at the airport, they tend to come with a markup — so you may want to hold off until you can hit up a local mobile phone or convenience store.

Internet connectivity

Historically, affordable countries in Europe haven’t always offered the best Wi-Fi — but fortunately, that’s changing. Living in Romania, for example, gives you access to the second-fastest internet in Europe.7 

That being said, the best internet coverage is concentrated in the most populated areas, particularly major cities and capitals. Rural areas, on the other hand, may have spotty connectivity, or in some particularly remote villages, no internet coverage at all.

Low-cost living in Europe as a global US taxpayer

While living in one of the cheapest European countries may lower your monthly bills, it won’t free you of your US tax obligations. The US employs a citizenship-based taxation model, meaning that all citizens and permanent residents earning above a minimum threshold must file a federal tax return, even if they live abroad.

That means if you meet another country’s definition of tax residency, you can potentially open yourself up to double taxation. While the US does have tax treaties with some countries, they contain tricky clauses that limit the benefits for US taxpayers. 

Fortunately, the US does offer some tax breaks specifically for US expats.

Digital nomad tax provisions 

Two of the most beneficial tax breaks for digital nomads include the:

Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE)

With the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE), digital nomads can exclude a certain portion of their income earned overseas from US taxable income. For tax year 2023 — aka the taxes you’ll file in 2024 — that number is $120,000. To be eligible for the FEIE, digital nomads must meet one of two tests: the Bona Fide Residence Test or the Physical Presence Test.

Foreign Tax Credit (FTC)

If you reside in a foreign country and pay income taxes there, the Foreign Tax Credit (FTC) allows you to deduct those tax payments from your US tax bill. For example, let’s say you owe $2,000 to the US but already paid a $500 tax credit to Spain. With the FTC, you can subtract that $500 you paid to Spain from your US tax bill, and end up owing the US government just the remaining $1,500 in taxes.

Keep in mind that the best tax strategy varies from person to person. We always recommend consulting with an expat tax professional to ensure you’re filing in the most tax-efficient manner.

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  1. Cost of Living in Bucharest
  2. Cost of Living in Sofia
  3. Cost of Living in Tallinn
  4. Cost of Living in Tirana
  5. Cost of Living in Athens
  6. The 10 most walkable cities in Europe
  7. These Are the Countries with the Fastest Internet Speed in Europe

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Low-Cost European Countries for Digital Nomads - FAQ

  • How can I make free international calls?

    Certain apps, like WhatsApp, FaceTime, and Skype, allow you to make international calls for free as long as you’re connected to Wi-Fi when you do so. Otherwise, you may be able to find a cell phone plan in your country of residence that offers unlimited international calls. 

  • How can I get a US phone number?

    One of the most popular ways to get a US phone number while living overseas is through a platform like Google Voice or Ring Central. Some services also allow you to “park” your US phone number while you’re abroad for a low monthly fee.