12 Best Places to Live for Expats in 2024 (High Quality of Life)

by Jem
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Expats know that finding the right place to live is about more than just geography; it’s about discovering where you truly belong. From bustling metropolises to serene beach towns, the world offers a kaleidoscope of experiences for those seeking a new home abroad. Yet, with so many choices, deciding where to plant your roots as an expat can seem overwhelming. This guide is crafted to help you navigate through the best places to live as an expat.

In my extensive travels, I’ve witnessed firsthand the incredible variety and appeal of expat destinations. Whether it’s the historical charm of European cities, the vibrant energy of Asian metropolises, or the laid-back lifestyle of tropical islands, each place has its unique allure. Are you drawn to the cultural richness of ancient cities or the innovative spirit of modern urban centers? Perhaps the tranquility of seaside towns speaks to your soul.

The perfect place differs for everyone. Some expats seek cultural immersion, others prioritize job opportunities, and many consider the ease of settling in as a crucial factor.

Join me as I unveil the top cities for expats, tailored to what matters most to you. As a seasoned traveler, I’m here to guide you through the best expat havens. I’ve delved into research, analyzed data, and gathered insights from fellow expats to create a list that suits a variety of preferences and lifestyles. Let’s embark on this journey together!

The top places to live  for Expats

The Best Places to Live for Expats

Eager to explore the best places to live for expats? With a world full of diverse options, there’s a perfect spot for every expat. Continue reading to discover these gems.

Whether it’s a bustling city or a tranquil retreat you seek, the Northeast offers a variety of choices for expats.

  • Best for luxury living: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Best for safety and cleanliness: Singapore
  • Best for arts and history: Berlin, Germany
  • Best for affordable living: Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Best for food and culture: Bilbao, Spain
  • Best for tech and innovation: Cluj-Napoca, Romania
  • Best for tropical paradise: Bali, Indonesia
  • Best for natural beauty: Madeira, Portugal
  • Best for digital transformation: Tallinn, Estonia
  • Best for IT and startups: Bangalore, India
  • Best for architecture and thermal baths: Budapest, Hungary
  • Best for quality of life: Stockholm, Sweden

Here are all the best spots in the Northeast you need to know about:

1. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dazzling skyscrapers, luxurious lifestyle, and sunny beaches make Dubai a best place to live for expats. This city blends modernity and tradition, offering a high standard of living and access to world-class amenities. Expats in Dubai enjoy a vibrant, multicultural community, where every corner of the globe is represented.

Discover the allure of Dubai and learn about its robust and diverse economy, which offers opportunities in various sectors. The tax-free income is a significant draw, making it an attractive destination for career-focused individuals. Additionally, the city’s safety and family-friendly environment are perfect for those relocating with families.

Leisure and entertainment options in Dubai are endless. From extravagant malls to serene beaches, there’s never a dull moment. The city’s culinary scene is as diverse as its population, featuring cuisines from around the world. Cultural festivals and events ensure that expats always have a way to connect and engage.

Ending your day watching the sunset over the iconic Burj Khalifa, you realize that this beautiful place in UAE isn’t just a best city to live for expats; it’s a place where dreams take flight. Here, tradition and innovation coexist, offering a unique experience for all who call it home.

Dubai's stunning skyscrapers, opulent lifestyle, and sunny beaches make it one of the best places for expats to reside.
Dubai’s stunning skyscrapers, opulent lifestyle, and sunny beaches make it one of the best places for expats to reside.

2. Singapore

Imagine a place where everything works like clockwork. Welcome to Singapore, a coolest place to live for expats. Known for its impeccable cleanliness and safety, this island city-state is a haven for those seeking a blend of modernity, culture, and tranquility.

The heart of Singapore beats with a multicultural rhythm. Communities from all over the world live here harmoniously, enriching the city with a diverse tapestry of traditions and an array of culinary delights. For expats, this means a world-class lifestyle, complete with exotic food markets, lush green parks, and vibrant festivals.

Education and healthcare systems in Singapore are among the best globally, offering peace of mind for families. The city is also a hub for business and innovation, providing numerous career opportunities across various industries. Public transport here is efficient and reliable, making commuting a breeze.

As the sun sets, the city transforms. Streets come alive with the buzz of night markets, and the Marina Bay skyline shimmers. Living in Singapore isn’t just about comfort; it’s about experiencing the best of what a city can offer. It’s no wonder it’s considered one of the Northeast’s best cities to live in.

Imagine living in Singapore, the hippest city for expats, where everything runs smoothly.
Imagine living in Singapore, the hippest city for expats, where everything runs smoothly.

3. Berlin, Germany

Stepping into Berlin feels like walking through a living history book, interspersed with modern vibrancy. This city, a best place for expats to live in, offers a unique blend of rich history, dynamic culture, and an ever-evolving arts scene. It’s a city that never stands still, yet holds tightly to its remarkable past.

Berlin’s affordability makes it a magnet for creatives and professionals alike. The cost of living here is surprisingly reasonable, especially when compared to other major European capitals. This financial accessibility allows for a quality of life that’s hard to match, giving expats the freedom to enjoy the city’s many pleasures without breaking the bank.

The city’s diverse neighborhoods each tell their own story. From the trendy cafes of Kreuzberg to the historic streets of Mitte, there’s a corner of Berlin for every taste and lifestyle. The city’s efficient public transport system makes exploring these neighborhoods both easy and enjoyable.

Staying in Berlin means embracing a city that celebrates diversity and fosters innovation. It’s not just a nice city to live in Germany; it’s a place that invites you to become part of its ever-unfolding story, a city that constantly reinvents itself while respecting its roots.

Berlin is like wandering through a living history book with a dash of contemporary energy.
Berlin is like wandering through a living history book with a dash of contemporary energy.

4. Hanoi, Vietnam

Venture into the heart of Vietnam and discover Hanoi, a city where ancient history and modernity meet. This destination is a good place to live for expats, offering an affordable and culturally rich experience. Hanoi’s charm lies in its bustling streets, where the past and present coexist in harmony.

Life in Hanoi is a colorful tapestry of street markets, tranquil lakes, and French colonial architecture. The cost of living here is notably low, allowing expats to enjoy a high quality of life without a hefty price tag. This affordability extends to housing, dining, and entertainment.

The city’s culinary scene, is a paradise for food lovers. Street food stalls serve up delectable local dishes, offering an authentic taste of Vietnamese cuisine. Hanoi is not just about the hustle and bustle; it also offers peaceful retreats like the serene Hoan Kiem Lake, a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll.

Hanoi is a city that captivates with its contrasts and surprises at every turn. It stands out among the best places to live in Vietnam, where expats can immerse themselves in a vibrant culture, surrounded by friendly locals and an ever-welcoming atmosphere. Hanoi is a city that invites you to be a part of its story.

Explore Hanoi, a city in central Vietnam where modernity and ancient history converge.
Explore Hanoi, a city in central Vietnam where modernity and ancient history converge.

5. Bilbao, Spain

Nestled in the heart of Basque Country, Bilbao, is a hidden gem, vibrant and full of life. Renowned for its unique blend of modernity and tradition, Bilboa stands out as the best areas to live for expats. The city’s transformation from an industrial hub to a cultural epicenter is nothing short of remarkable.

Bilbao’s streets are an art lover’s paradise. The Guggenheim Museum, an architectural marvel, anchors the city’s cultural scene. As you travel across Spain, you will witness the city’s soul is found in its lively casco viejo (old town), brimming with quaint shops and tapas bars, where the taste of authentic Spanish cuisine comes alive.

The city is not only about aesthetic allure; it offers practical living benefits. Bilbao’s public transport system is efficient, and the cost of living is reasonable compared to other European cities. The friendly locals, known for their warmth, make settling in a breeze.

Settling in Bilbao, you become part of a city that skillfully blends its rich heritage with a flair for modern reinvention. It’s a city where every turn reveals a new surprise, making it a great place to live in Spain. Bilbao is not just a city; it’s a celebration of culture, life, and innovation.

Tucked down in the center of the Basque Country of Spain, Bilbao is a bustling, energetic hidden gem.
Tucked down in the center of the Basque Country of Spain, Bilbao is a bustling, energetic hidden gem.

6. Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Discover Cluj-Napoca, a city pulsing with youthful energy and technological advancement. Known as the unofficial capital of the Transylvania region, this city has rapidly become a best place to live for expats. Cluj-Napoca is a beacon for tech enthusiasts and creatives, offering a dynamic and innovative environment.

The city boasts an impressive blend of historic architecture and modern conveniences. Its streets are lined with medieval buildings, vibrant cafes, and tech startups. This juxtaposition creates a unique atmosphere, where tradition and innovation coexist seamlessly.

For expats, Cluj-Napoca offers a high quality of life at an affordable cost. The city is home to numerous cultural festivals, a thriving arts scene, and a robust education system, making it ideal for families and singles alike. The sense of community here is strong, aided by the welcoming nature of its residents.

In Cluj-Napoca, every day is an adventure. Whether exploring its rich history or engaging in its modern-day buzz, this city is a where to live for expats. It’s a place where you can forge a future while being enveloped in the warmth of a community that feels like family.

Explore Cluj-Napoca, a metropolis brimming with innovation and young vitality.
Explore Cluj-Napoca, a metropolis brimming with innovation and young vitality.

7. Bali, Indonesia

Embrace the serene beauty of Bali, a tropical paradise that beckons expats with its enchanting landscapes and tranquil lifestyle. This island is not just a holiday destination; it’s the best place for expats to live in, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and a laid-back lifestyle.

Bali’s allure lies in its stunning beaches, lush rice terraces, and vibrant cultural scene. The island’s spiritual and peaceful ambiance is palpable, with temples and yoga retreats dotting the landscape. This tranquility makes Bali an ideal spot to live for those seeking a slower pace of life and a connection with nature.

The cost of living in Bali is another attractive aspect for expats. Affordability, coupled with a high quality of life, allows for a comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle. The warm, welcoming nature of the Balinese people, along with their delectable cuisine, adds to the island’s charm, creating a sense of community and belonging.

As the sun sets over the ocean, painting the sky in hues of orange and pink, it’s clear why Bali is considered a great place to live for expats. It’s a place where life slows down, and one can truly savor each moment amidst the island’s natural beauty and cultural wonders.

Bali is a tropical haven that is well-liked by expats as a best place to reside.
Bali is a tropical haven that is well-liked by expats as a best place to reside.

8. Madeira, Portugal

Explore the rugged beauty of Madeira, an island known for its lush landscapes and vibrant cultural tapestry. This Portuguese gem is more than a scenic destination; it’s the Northeast’s best places to live for those seeking a blend of adventure and tranquility in their expat journey.

Madeira captivates with its dramatic cliffs, emerald-green valleys, and charming towns. The island’s mild climate makes it a year-round paradise, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking along the levadas to exploring the historic streets of Funchal, Madeira offers a diverse array of experiences.

The island is not only about picturesque landscapes; it’s also a hub for a growing expat community. The cost of living is reasonable, and the quality of life is high. Madeira’s health care system is robust, and the locals are known for their hospitality, making it easy for newcomers to feel at home.

In Madeira, you’re always just a step away from nature’s splendor, a lifestyle intertwined with the beauty of the great outdoors. It’s a place where expats find a harmonious balance between relaxation and adventure. Madeira isn’t just picturesque; it’s a most livable city for Expats, offering a unique blend of Portuguese charm and island living.

Discover the untamed splendor of Madeira, an island renowned for its verdant scenery and lively cultural mosaic.
Discover the untamed splendor of Madeira, an island renowned for its verdant scenery and lively cultural mosaic.

9. Tallinn, Estonia

Step into the allure of Tallinn, a city where medieval charm meets digital innovation. This Estonian capital is a hidden European gem, rapidly emerging as the best place for Expats to live in. Tallinn’s unique blend of history and cutting-edge technology creates an intriguing environment for expats.

The Old Town of Tallinn, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a journey back in time with its cobblestone streets and Gothic architecture. Yet, just a stone’s throw away, the city transforms into a hub of digital advancement, boasting one of the world’s most tech-savvy environments.

For expats, Tallinn offers an affordable European lifestyle without compromising on quality. The city is known for its ease of doing business, making it a hotspot for entrepreneurs and digital nomads. English is widely spoken, easing the transition for newcomers.

Residing in this beautiful place in Estonia offers a journey through a city where historical charm meets modern vibrancy at every corner. Tallinn isn’t just a place to reside; it’s one of the best places to live for Expats that seamlessly marries the old with the new, offering a uniquely enriching experience for its international residents.

Tallinn, a city that combines digital innovation and old beauty, is currently the top destination for Expats.
Tallinn, a city that combines digital innovation and old beauty, is currently the top destination for Expats.

10. Bangalore, India

Experience the dynamic spirit of Bangalore, a city pulsating with innovation and youthful energy. Known as India’s Silicon Valley, Bangalore is a best city to live for Expats, particularly for those in the tech and startup sectors. This city is a melting pot of cultures, offering a vibrant lifestyle for its diverse population.

Bangalore is famed for its pleasant climate, lush parks, and a thriving café culture. The city’s bustling streets are lined with everything from traditional markets to modern shopping malls, reflecting its blend of the old and the new. The nightlife here is vibrant, with a plethora of pubs and eateries.

For expats, this beautiful place in India offers an affordable cost of living along with a high standard of education and healthcare. The city’s cosmopolitan nature ensures that newcomers find it easy to integrate and make connections. English is widely spoken, which eases communication and daily life.

Making your home in Bangalore, you’re at the heart of endless innovation and discovery, where each day brings something new. It’s not just about the booming IT industry; it’s about experiencing the energy of a city that’s rapidly evolving. Bangalore isn’t just a place to move for Expats; it’s a city that offers a blend of professional opportunities and a rich cultural tapestry.

Discover Bangalore's vibrant atmosphere, one of the top cities for expats to reside in.
Discover Bangalore’s vibrant atmosphere, one of the top cities for expats to reside in.

11. Budapest, Hungary

Delve into the heart of Europe and discover Budapest, a city where history and modernity intertwine beautifully. This Hungarian capital, celebrated for its stunning architecture and thermal baths, is the best town to live for Expats, offering a blend of cultural richness and contemporary living.

Budapest captivates visitors with the iconic Danube River, historic Buda Castle, and the picturesque Fisherman’s Bastion. The city’s charm lies in its ability to preserve its glorious past while evolving into a vibrant, modern metropolis. The café culture here is thriving, and the culinary scene is a delight for food enthusiasts.

The cost of living in Budapest is another draw for expats. It’s significantly lower than in many Western European cities, yet the quality of life remains high. The city is known for its excellent public transportation, making it easy to explore its top attractions and enjoy its diverse neighborhoods.

Living in Budapest is like being in a constant state of exploration. It’s not merely a nice part of the Northeast; it’s a city that invites you to immerse yourself in its unique blend of history, culture, and modern comforts. Budapest is a remarkable city in Hungary that captures the heart and doesn’t let go.

Budapest is the best city for expats to live in due to the way history and modernity coexist there.
Budapest is the best city for expats to live in due to the way history and modernity coexist there.

12. Stockholm, Sweden

Welcome to Stockholm, where innovation meets serenity. This Swedish gem is more than just scenic waterways and historic buildings; it’s a top city for Expats to live, renowned for its quality of life, progressive values, and natural beauty.

Stockholm is a city that effortlessly blends the old with the new. The charming Gamla Stan (Old Town) with its cobbled streets and colorful buildings contrasts beautifully with the city’s modern, innovative spirit. The commitment to sustainability here is visible in its eco-friendly practices and green spaces.

For expats, Stockholm offers an exceptional standard of living. The city is known for its amazing attractions, excellent healthcare, world-class education, and a strong sense of community. The English-speaking population makes settling in easier for newcomers. Moreover, Stockholm’s work-life balance is exemplary, promoting a lifestyle where personal well-being is a priority.

In Stockholm, life is a seamless blend of natural tranquility and urban vibrancy, a harmonious balance rarely found elsewhere. It’s a place where one can enjoy the tranquility of the archipelago and the vibrancy of city life in equal measure. Stockholm is not just the best of the Northeast cities; it’s a haven for those seeking a high-quality, balanced lifestyle in a cosmopolitan setting.

Stockholm is a city that combines innovation and tranquility.
Stockholm is a city that combines innovation and tranquility.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Places to Live for Expats       

Interested in discovering more about top destinations for expats? Here are some frequently asked questions about the finest places in the Northeast to settle down as an expat.

Which country is best for expatriates?

The “best” country for expatriates can vary greatly depending on individual preferences and needs. Factors such as lifestyle, cost of living, job opportunities, culture, and climate all play a significant role. Countries like Singapore, Canada, and New Zealand are often praised for their high quality of life, strong expat communities, and stable economies. However, for someone seeking a vibrant cultural experience, countries like Spain or Italy might be more appealing. Ultimately, the best country for an expat is one that aligns closely with their personal and professional aspirations.

Where do the happiest expats live?

The happiest expats typically live in countries where they find a good balance between work, lifestyle, and social connections. According to various surveys and expat feedback, countries like Portugal, Spain, and Costa Rica often rank high for expat happiness. These countries are known for their pleasant climates, friendly locals, and relaxed lifestyles.

Additionally, places like Singapore, Switzerland, and New Zealand are also favored for their high quality of life, efficient infrastructure, and beautiful natural surroundings. The key to expat happiness often lies in finding a destination that offers a fulfilling personal and professional life, along with a supportive expat community.

Which city is best for expats in the world?

The “best” city for expats varies based on individual preferences, career goals, and lifestyle choices. However, consistently popular choices include:

  • Singapore: Known for its safety, cleanliness, and high quality of life. It’s a global business hub with a strong expat community.
  • Zurich, Switzerland: Offers a high standard of living, excellent public services, and a stable economy. It’s ideal for families and professionals.
  • Auckland, New Zealand: Praised for its friendly locals, beautiful landscapes, and work-life balance.
  • Munich, Germany: Known for its strong economy, cultural scene, and efficient infrastructure.
  • Vancouver, Canada: Offers a multicultural environment, stunning natural scenery, and a high quality of life.

These cities are often favored for their combination of job opportunities, social activities, safety, and overall quality of life. However, the best choice depends on what you prioritize most in your expat experience.

Every destination on this earth has its own culture, way of life, and opportunities, creating an endless tapestry.
Every destination on this earth has its own culture, way of life, and opportunities, creating an endless tapestry.

What is the best and worst country for expats?

The “best” and “worst” countries for expats can vary widely based on individual preferences, career goals, and lifestyle needs. However, some trends are observed based on expat surveys and reports:

Best Countries for Expats:

  • Singapore: Often ranks high for its excellent quality of life, safety, and robust job market.
  • New Zealand: Known for its stunning landscapes, friendly locals, and work-life balance.
  • Canada: Praised for its multicultural society, high standard of living, and welcoming attitude towards expats.

Challenging Countries for Expats:

  • Kuwait: Frequently cited for its challenging social environment and cultural barriers.
  • Saudi Arabia: While offering lucrative job opportunities, it can be challenging due to strict cultural norms and lifestyle adjustments.
  • China: Offers great professional opportunities but can pose challenges due to language barriers, pollution, and cultural differences.

It’s important to note that these assessments can be subjective. What might be a challenging country for one person could be an exciting adventure for another. The “best” or “worst” is often determined by how well an individual’s expectations align with the reality of living in a particular country.

What is the best city for expats in 2023?

As of my last update in April 2023, the “best” city for expats often depends on various factors including lifestyle preferences, work opportunities, and cultural interests. However, some cities have consistently been favored by expats for their quality of life, job prospects, and expat-friendly communities. These include:

  • Singapore: For its safety, cleanliness, efficient healthcare, and robust job market in various industries.
  • Taipei, Taiwan: Known for its friendly locals, affordable cost of living, and excellent healthcare system.
  • Zurich, Switzerland: Offers a high quality of life, great work opportunities, especially in finance and tech, and beautiful scenery.
  • Auckland, New Zealand: Favored for its natural beauty, relaxed lifestyle, and friendly community.
  • Munich, Germany: Appreciated for its strong economy, rich culture, and high living standards.

It’s important to consider the latest global events and trends, as these can significantly impact the expat experience in various cities. Always look for the most recent surveys and expat feedback for up-to-date information.

What is the nicest country in the world 2023?

Determining the “nicest” country in the world is subjective and can vary depending on the criteria used. However, as of my last update in 2023, several countries are often highlighted for their positive attributes such as quality of life, natural beauty, and the friendliness of their people. Some of these include:

  • New Zealand: Known for its breathtaking landscapes, welcoming locals, and commitment to environmental conservation.
  • Canada: Praised for its multicultural and inclusive society, natural beauty, and high standard of living.
  • Finland: Often ranks high in global happiness and quality of life surveys, known for its excellent education system, social welfare, and natural beauty.
  • Switzerland: Recognized for its picturesque landscapes, political neutrality, high standard of living, and efficient public services.
  • Norway: Known for its stunning natural scenery, high quality of life, and strong focus on human rights and equality.

These countries typically score well in global rankings for happiness, quality of life, and environmental sustainability, making them some of the “nicest” places to live or visit.

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Live for Expats

The world is a tapestry of diverse and captivating destinations, each offering its own unique blend of culture, lifestyle, and opportunities. From the bustling streets of Singapore to the serene beauty of Bali, and from the innovative spirit of Tallinn to the rich history of Budapest, there’s a perfect spot for every expat. The choices are as varied and exciting as the destinations themselves.

For those seeking affordability and rich cultural experiences, cities like Hanoi and Cluj-Napoca stand out. They demonstrate that living a high-quality life as an expat can be both enriching and budget-friendly. On the other hand, if vibrant city life and career growth are your priorities, metropolises like Dubai and Stockholm offer thriving environments for professional and personal development.

Happiness and quality of life are key considerations too. Places like Auckland and Zurich are frequently mentioned for their ideal mix of natural splendor and urban amenities, making them some of the most livable cities for expats globally.

So, what are the best cities to live in for expats in 2023? The answer isn’t straightforward and depends on what you seek in your expat adventure. Whether drawn to a city for its business opportunities, scenic landscapes, or cultural depth, one thing is clear: each destination is more than just a place to live; it’s a gateway to new experiences and a lifestyle that resonates with your personal aspirations.

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