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The 20 Best Places For Americans To Live, Invest, Work In Europe

Đã cập nhật: 21 thg 11, 2020

Even if the fate of Donald Trump isn’t driving your decision, you may be considering a life abroad or dreaming of making a move across the ocean to Europe.

Based on various criteria including the presence of an international school, quality of life, health care system, internet connection, proximity to airports with international flights, cost of living, active expat community and low crime rate, the Best European Destinations (EBD) organization has revealed its rankings for the top European places for American expats to live, invest, retire and create new projects.

The 20 finalists were chosen from a first selection of 120 destinations.

European Best Destinations is part of the European Commission’s EDEN Network ("European Destinations of Excellence") and its latest rankings — organized with those Americans thinking of leaving the U.S. for a few months at a time, a few years or permanently in mind — look at some of the most welcoming and attractive destinations for new projects and investments.

“Discover the most American-friendly destinations in Europe, those with the best quality of life, best internet connections for remote working so that you can keep your job in the U.S. or launch your online project and set up your business,” the organization suggests.


Braga, Portugal

Barca, Portugal - Picture: EBD

The Portuguese people are explorers and we owe many discoveries to them. Facing the ocean, Portugal is open to the world. Openness and entrepreneurship are two important qualities to be found in Braga.

“Forget the clichés about Latin people basking in the sun, the Portuguese people are qualified and hard-working and they speak English much better than many of their European neighbors,” adds EBD.

Braga is Portugal’s third city, and considered the happiest city in the country. It is also on the podium of European cities with the best quality of life.

For many years, Braga has hosted start-ups and international events. Renowned for its history and gastronomy, this ‘Portuguese Rome’ attracts not only entrepreneurs and families (for its quality of life, green spaces and international schools), but also those who wish to invest in tourism. The city enjoys one of Europe’s highest rates of growth in the sector. 

Recently, Braga was recognized for its speed and effective battle against Covid-19, showcasing its capacity for innovation and dynamism. 

As the capital of the Minho region, international companies such as Philips, Bosch and Continental, as well as start-ups and high-tech companies, have important presence there.

There are regular flights from Porto to major U.S. airports.


Madrid, Spain

A gate in the old town of Madrid . Getty

Spain is a country in constant evolution — dynamic, culturally incomparable and “a destination that will appeal to even the most demanding,” EBD writes. Sunnier than France, Spain also offers good health care and school systems.

“Whether you come with your own job, telework or look for a job in a small, medium or large company, or to live an active retirement, Madrid suits all expats’ profiles.”

Spaniards, especially the younger generations, speak English very well, but learning Spanish will be a great help to fully integrate into the local fabric.

Madrid is the capital of a large country and is therefore more expensive than some other places in Spain, but the cost of living is lower than in many other European capitals like Vienna, London or Paris.

With many international schools as well as quality public and private Spanish schools, Madrid will suit expats with children but also young students, digital nomads and those looking for new challenges.

Madrid Airport offers regular flights to major U.S. airports. 


Brighton, United Kingdom

Do you want to settle in Europe, for a few months, a year or the rest of your life but you don't have the energy or the time to learn a new language? Then, the U.K. is for you. While some cities like London, Manchester or Birmingham, are perfect for finding a job in a large company, others like Brighton are made for free thinkers, start-ups, digital nomads and artists.

Known for its openness and tolerance, Brighton is also recognized as one of the green capitals of Britain. A seaside destination in the nearest south coast to London, it is one of the U.K. cities with the best quality of life, convenient for a short stay on a budget or for a long-term move for more comfortable budgets (Brighton is the 7th most expensive city in the U.K.). Its strengths are the cultural life, openness, great seaside, quirky shops, international schools and world famous street art.


San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian, Spain. EBD

Located on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, this beautiful Spanish city is one of the gastronomic capitals of Europe, with an impressive concentrations of starred restaurants, magnificent beaches, strong regional character, excellent quality of life and culture.

Known as Donostia in Basque, San Sebastian is close to the French border, a perfect choice for a foothold in two of the most important countries in Europe.

The Basque Country (Spanish and French) is a destination with a very marked DNA and a strong personality. Choosing the Basque Country means nature, beaches, gastronomy, outdoor sports, conviviality and family. 

With its feet in the water, San Sebastian is a paradise for surfers or those who want to soak up the sun, lying on one of its picturesque beaches. A word of warning: the vibrant green vegetation indicates that it can rain more in San Sebastian than in Barcelona, Madrid or Seville.

“If you come to San Sebastian as a digital nomad, avoid the summer when rentals are at their highest,” adcices EBD. “If you want to settle for a year or a long and indefinite period, and like most cities, as you move away from the city center you will have more space available at a lower price.”

There are several international schools in San Sebastian and airports connected with the U.S. (San Sebastian and Bilbao).


Hamburg, Germany

Hamburb, Germany. EBD

Nearly 14% of Americans have German origins. Germany is a welcoming land for US expats who return to their roots or want to discover a country known for its quality of life, important industries, low crime rate, high rate of employment, stability and good economic health.

“Germany has something to offer to all types of expats, retirees, young workers, digital nomads, young parents, solo travelers, whether high skilled or low skilled” according to EBD.

Germany is a large country in Europe and you can be spoiled for choice on where to settle down. Whereas Berlin is well-suited to young active and digital nomads, Hamburg may be better suited to families, thirty-somethings and forty-somethings, as well as active retirees who wish to benefit from an intense cultural life and the proximity of the sea, an hour away by public transport.

“If learning German seems impossible to you, chose Berlin. If you are ready to learn this lovely language, Hamburg will welcome you with open arms.”


Athens, Greece

Athenian Riviera, Athens, Greece

“It is tempting to settle on a Greek island for US expatriates, but several realities, especially if you are active and not yet retired, must be taken into consideration,” advises EBD, “such as the quality of the internet network, the proximity of international schools and airports and jobs’ prospects.”

For all these reasons, U.S. expats often settle in Athens, a city that offers co-working spaces for digital nomads and moderate rents for a European capital. It also offers a high quality of life for those who love culture, gastronomy and nightlife.

With several international schools and a fairly low crime rate, Athens works well for young expats with or without children.

Retirees will prefer to settle in Kefalonia, Rhodes or Corfu for lazy days, sun and relaxation.

It’s estimated that almost half of Athens’s residents are proficient in English, which is better than in France or Italy, for example.

Learning some basic Greek, however, will allow you to cope with administrative procedures.


Brest-Terres Océanes, Brittany, France

Brittany, France. EDB

Considered one of the best regions of France to live but also to invest, Brittany is also considered a great region to settle as an expat.

Many qualified people from around France and from around the world have settled in Brittany in recent years. Proximity to the sea, affordable rents, quality of life, safety, nature, gastronomy, culture, exceptional events throughout the year such as the Brest maritime festivals, international exhibitions and concerts are among Brittany’s attractions.

Home to many English expats, Brittany also attracts American expatriates, especially families and digital nomads.

France offers many advantages to young entrepreneurs, allowing to set up a business with less administrative paperwork than in other European countries. Brest and its region, a territory which also bears the name of "Brest - Terres Océanes," is particularly open-minded and attractive with destinations such as Brest, Crozon, Plouguerneau, Brignogan, Le Conquet, Plougonvelin, Plouguerneau, Lanildut or Plouarzel.

Rents are two to three times cheaper than in Paris and the city of Brest has also implemented a reduced tax for young companies and numerous aids to develop your activity. The region has also seen constant tourist growth for several years.

“A perfect destination to set up your tourist activities, business or restaurant, café, guesthouse or B&B,” suggests EBD. “Set up your real estate company and introduce your U.S. and U.K. clients to the most beautiful homes on the Breton coast. Renovate a lighthouse and welcome travelers all year round or develop a 5-star hotel and offer your customers a stay in an exceptional, authentic, serene and healthy place.”

For digital nomads, families (there are many international schools), start-ups or business leaders, Brest Terres Océanes will appeal to different types of profiles looking for a high quality of life.


Source: Forbes