A new study by financial and retirement services company Mercer named the best and worst European cities for British expats to live in.

The experts analysed the political stability, healthcare, education and infrastructure of each nation to determine the best option for those who want to relocate to another country and enjoy retirement abroad.

According to the research, the best cities to live in as an expat are Vienna in Austria, Zurich, in Switzerland, Auckland, in New Zealand, Copenhagen, in Denmark, and Geneva, in Switzerland.

Vienna was recently named the world’s most liveable city by the Economist’s annual index. The city also ranked in the top 10 for quality of life on InterNations‘ Expat Insider 2022 due to travel, and health and wellbeing.

InterNations stated that Vienna is a pleasant city with “green” goods and services. A US expat explained: “I like the huge variety of things to do and the ability to get around with public transportation.”

On the social media platform Quora, an expat shared what life in Vienna is like. Alen explained: “In Vienna, the locals are friendly and welcoming, making it easier for expats to acclimate to their new surroundings.

“However, the language and cultural barriers, coupled with the bureaucratic hurdles of obtaining work and residency permits, can pose a challenge for some expats.”

Another expat shared his experience saying: “I have lived all over the place. Germany, France, England, the US, Afghanistan – to name the major ones where I spent at least a year, and 14 years ago I went to Vienna – the place where I finally settled down after decades of roaming the world. People are mostly very friendly and welcoming.”

Cities with the best quality of life for expats

  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Zurich, Switzerland
  3. Auckland, New Zealand
  4. Copenhagen, Denmark
  5. Geneva, Switzerland

According to the Mercer study, the two worst cities to live in as an expat are in Poland: Wroclaw and Krakow. Although Wroclaw and Krakow are lovely cities to visit with beautiful architecture and lots of restaurants and bars, some factors such as healthcare or infrastructure may not be as good as in other European cities.

Wroclaw is a pretty, affordable and vibrant town with a relatively small population, however, its crowded streets and poor air quality as some of the cons of living there, according to expats.

Travel blog explorepoland named some of the challenges British expats could face in the city, including the language barrier. “Polish is the official language, and although many younger people speak English, it can still be challenging to communicate in daily life.”

Its harsh winters, “with temperatures dropping below freezing and heavy snowfall”, its crowded streets and the poor air quality were also mentioned. “Wroclaw experiences poor air quality, particularly during the winter months when smog is prevalent. It’s essential to be aware of air quality levels and take necessary precautions, such as wearing a mask, particularly if you have respiratory issues.”

However, some expats disagree with Seref saying on the social media platform Quora that Wroclaw is a city with a rich history and culture, “known for its music and film festivals”. The cost of living is also very affordable compared to other European cities, “with lower costs for housing, transportation, and food”.

Other cities that have low quality of life, according to the study, are Zagreb, in Croatia, Athens, in Greece and Riga, in Latvia.

Cities with worst quality of life for expats

  1. Wroclaw, Poland
  2. Krakow, Poland
  3. Zagreb, Croatia
  4. Athens, Greece
  5. Riga, Latvia