Considering leaving the United States behind and heading to mainland Europe? Continue reading for our top five countries, which may help you narrow down your decision. Some of these places might have exactly what you’re looking for.
Immediately, you think of chocolate, fries and beer. However, there is much more to the country than that. The smallest of our recommended countries, Belgium has three official languages: Dutch (Flemish), French and German. It is therefore important to ensure that you have a good grasp of at least one of those languages. The main language used is determined by the area you are in. Its capital, Brussels, is a hugely metropolitan city, so you are likely to find many other foreigners who are either working there or have moved, like you. Stand out place: Bruges, with its canals and quaint cobbled streets.
What comes to mind first of all? Probably frogs’ legs and snails, but there are definitely many more delicacies to come out of this beautiful country. Markets are still incredibly popular and you can buy amazing fresh produce from them. Patisseries are great for those with a sweet tooth too. It’s very much a different way of life, so not suitable for everyone. If, however, France is for you, it is obligatory to register with French authorities within three months of arriving. They will then talk to you through the rest of the processes involved in making a permanent move. Stand out place: Bordeaux (especially if you enjoy good wine).
Punctual and organized probably spring to mind when Germany is mentioned, and when it comes to things like public transports, those stereotypes are accurate. Steeped in history and culture, there is so much to see and do. A work permit is an essential part of moving to Germany, but straightforward to obtain. Social security contributions appear quite high at 21%, but it is well worth it for the benefits including an exceptional healthcare system. Stand out place: Berlin (it has so much history and culture).
Pasta, pizza and romance? All of these things and so much more. A hugely diverse climate with mountainous areas, lakes and beautiful Mediterranean islands to the south, Italy really is somewhere you must visit, even if you don’t choose to move there. Be sure to sort the necessary Visas and other paperwork prior to moving. Importantly, you ought to learn at least the basics of the Italian language to show a willingness to fit in. Stand out place: Venice (this water city won’t be around forever).
Spain is much more than Sangria and paella. With sunnier climes in the south and changeable weather in the north, whatever climate you prefer, Spain will be able to offer it to you. One of the main advantages of living in Spain is the relatively low cost of living, although prices can be higher in cities and areas popular with tourists. Although many people do speak English, it would be worthwhile enrolling on a language course prior to making the move. Stand out place: Granada, with its beauty and stunning architecture.