If you’ve ever dreamed of embracing the good life on the continent, this is your chance. Americans have more purchasing power in Europe than they have had in the past two decades.
On August 23, the euro closed at 0.9927 to the dollar, the lowest since 2002. The exchange rate means everything from the cost of an espresso to the cost of an apartment on the Mediterranean is discounted for the US dollar. holders at this time.
Additionally, there are specific destinations in Europe that were affordable even before the fall of the Euro as they live in the shadow of more famous counterparts. They offer much the same appeal but fewer tourists, more authentic cultural experiences, and lower prices.
With the deflated value of the Euro, these overlooked destinations now pack a double punch that delivers jaw-dropping value. Whether traveling or relocating, consider one of the following destinations where your dollar stretches further.
Croatia is currently Europe’s most sought-after destination, loved for its dramatic landscapes, clear ocean waters and medieval towns. Just across the border from Dubrovnik, however, offering the same allure without the tourist crowds and inflated prices, is Kotor.
Kotor is a historic fairytale town surrounded by high mountains on one side and the dazzling Adriatic on the other, which combine to create otherworldly views. It overlooks the same body of water as Italy, offering stunning fjords and pristine scenery.
It’s tiny but densely packed with interesting things to see and do. Its old town is a UNESC
Kotor is still undiscovered by mainstream tourism, especially among Americans. This results in an underdeveloped tourist market and non-tourist prices. About $1,500 per month is all you need to live a comfortable life in Kotor.
Northern Cyprus, Cyprus
Cyprus is the third largest and third most populated island in the Mediterranean, located at its eastern end. It is divided from east to west: the southern two-thirds of the island is called the Republic of Cyprus and the northern third is officially called the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, commonly known as Northern Cyprus.
The Republic of Cyprus joined the euro zone in 2008 and uses the euro for all transactions, including real estate. Northern Cyprus is an exception to this list, as it uses the Turkish Lira as its currency, not the Euro. But the lira has lost half its value against the dollar in the past year alone, and prices were cheap even before the devaluation.
Here, you could live a luxury beach lifestyle for as little as $1,000 a month, really. A healthy meal and a glass of chilled wine, for example, only cost 10 euros per person. Real estate costs only a third of the cost of a similar property just across the border in the Republic of Cyprus.
What else does North Cyprus offer? It enjoys year round warm weather, clear blue waters and over 400 miles of coastline. English is so widely spoken that you will never have to learn the local language (in fact, the locals even speak English among themselves).
The food is light and fresh, fish and salad served at every meal. The landscape is spectacular, with a mountain range to the south, the sea to the north, and an expansive peninsula that offers some of the most fantastic beaches in the country.
The Algarve region in southern Portugal is one of the best places in the world to live, especially for retirees. It is well known around the world and is home to large, long-established expat communities.
All of this popularity has led to major infrastructure upgrades and improved amenities, but it has also driven prices up. The region, taken as a whole, is no longer the economic destination it used to be.
But there is a corner of it that holds firmly to its authenticity, both in terms of culture and cost of living. Tavira is a pretty little fishing town in the eastern Algarve that has all the trappings of a traditional Algarve settlement: cobbled streets, whitewashed buildings, lace chimney pots and azulejo tiles.
If you want a view of the Algarve of centuries past, before golf courses and resorts were settled, look no further than Tavira. For those who know it, it is the most beautiful authentic city in the region.
Tavira is crossed by the Gilão River, the slow waterway that punctuates the life of this sleepy town. Entertainment options — boardwalks and swaying palms, outdoor cafes, and restaurants serving the catch of the day — take place on either side of the river.
Tavira is cheaper than the brand towns of the Algarve, such as Lagos and Carvoeiro. A couple’s basic monthly budget should not exceed US$2,000.
Italy has two faces. On the one hand, Tuscany and the Italian Riviera, long-established brand destinations. Here, large villas fetch millions of euros, and towns like Florence and Portofino cater to the global jet set.
On the other hand, Southern Italy, traditionally the half-sister of Tuscany. This part of this country is known as the cheaper alternative to the fancier places in the north. Abruzzo, in the southeast, has the best that Italy (ie Tuscany) has to offer. But no one pays attention to it. This means lower prices and fewer tourists.
Coast and mountains are available in Abruzzo. Along its 83 miles of coastline is one of the highest densities of “Blue Flag” beaches in all of Italy. (These stand out for their above-average quality.) In winter, you can ski in the morning and sit at the beach enjoying a glass of wine in the afternoon.
It also offers dozens of quaint villages where you can enjoy the quintessence of Italian country life. A stress-free lifestyle filled with one great meal and one bottle of wine after another? What more could you want?
Abruzzo is still several years away from being a recognized vacation spot and even further from being the household name of Tuscany, but the tide is turning. For now, the cost of everything is incredibly understated. A couple can live comfortably on US$1,400 per month or less in Abruzzo.
Most visitors to Malta never make it to Gozo, Malta’s sister island. They miss. Gozo has a more romantic feel than densely populated Malta where each town spills into the next and there is little scenery.
In Gozo there is more of a sense of adventure, the chance to get off the grid and enjoy some of the best views of the sparkling Mediterranean. Yet in less than 15 minutes you can also be in a bustling city, people watching from an outdoor table in a trendy bar or cafe.
Gozo offers a simple lifestyle, with a scattering of traditional villages, all with homes, restaurants and businesses organized under a central church and town square. None of Gozo’s villages have a population of more than 7,000, so a sense of security and small town pervades the island.
For such a small island, Gozo is home to several surprises, like ruins so ancient they make the pyramids look teenage and an ocean blue hole that’s a diver’s paradise. But what’s most shocking about Gozo is how underrated it is. It receives none of the traffic jams that mainland Malta experiences.
Gozo is only 3 miles from Malta, but this slight separation and the need to take a ferry to get there was enough to keep Gozo’s small town attractive. If you are looking for a traditional village setting shared by expats and locals, as well as proximity to the sea, access to Europe and a cost of living of around USD 1700 per month for a couple, you have to go to Gozo. .