What's the cost of living really like across Europe?

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It comes as no surprise that wages across Europe vary considerably. At one end of the scale, you have an average monthly wage of £4,396.68 in Switzerland; and at the other end is a modest £125.01 in the Ukraine.

Whilst wages vary so drastically, so too does the cost of living across Europe. We did the research and uncovered some surprising facts across the continent.

UK is the sixth most expensive country for accommodation

Rising house prices and high rental costs are nothing new in the UK, so it perhaps comes as no surprise to find that we have the sixth highest accommodation costs in Europe. Nestled in between the likes of Switzerland and Scandinavia, our higher wages means that we are proportionately paying for our accommodation.

The cheapest accommodation costs can be found in the Balkans – Macedonia, Bosnia and Albania to be exact. Monthly rent for a one bed flat and utility bills here, will cost less than £225.

The cheapest house prices in Europe can be found in Albania. However, when you consider that their accommodation costs are £201.28 and an average monthly worker takes home £305.77 a month, that’s 66% of their salary already gone.

Russia has cheapest petrol costs in Europe

When comparing the cost of petrol to the cost of a monthly public transport cost, prices were fairly similar in the UK (the average tank of petrol costing £53 a month, compared to £60 a public transport pass).

When it comes to cheap petrol, it seems Eastern Europe is where it’s at – the same tank of petrol in Russia costs £18, £22 in Belarus and £29.75 in Moldova. So if you're planning a European road trip anytime soon, you know that the cheapest petrol in Europe is in Russia.

Ukraine’s average monthly food costs are just £13.92

The UK’s cost for food essentials (think bread, milk and the like) comes to £47.96, which is higher than the European average of £37.17, but isn’t high enough to make it into the top 10. Switzerland and Scandinavia are again the highest – but Ireland’s costs are more than the UK’s.

Go to the Ukraine, and monthly food essentials cost approximately £13.92. – that’s 11% of their income spent on the bare basics. This is compared to just 2.7% in the UK.

Whilst food costs probably will be higher, the essentials are good grounds to compare, and unable us to see what the cost of living in Europe is really like.

UK has second highest entertainment costs in Europe

The UK has the second highest entertainment costs in Europe. So when people complain about Scandinavia being expensive, they seem to forget the high costs in the UK!

One comparison used was the cost for 2 x theatre tickets (best seats). In the UK, this would cost around £151. In Norway, this was more than halved to £70 – perhaps not what you’d expect.

When you compare the cost of living in Europe in terms of entertainment, we Brits certainly fork out a lot of money.

Macedonia, Moldova and Kosovo all have the lowest entertainment costs, at an average of £23 per month.

In Macedonia, you can go out for dinner for just £2.50, in Moldova you can buy a bottle of beer for 52p, and in Kosovo, you can go to the cinema for £2.36.

Cost of living across the continent

The distribution of wages change from country to country. In Switzerland and Norway, there is a much higher disposable income, whereas in the UK, the largest bulk of salary is spent on accommodation. What we can see is that the cost of living in Europe varies from country to country; and in order to truly see where offers the most value, we need to compare cost of wages to everyday living.

See the full infographic

Want more information on the cost of living in Europe? Take a look at our in-depth article on the cost of buying and renting properties in the UK, compared to the rest of Europe. If we've convinced you to pack up and move your belongings across the continent, then don't forget to purchase your travel money! or find about more about Pounds to Euros.

Alternatively, if you'd like to discover more of what Europe has to offer: simply pick whether you'd prefer to go on a beach holiday, or a city break - there are so many places to see!

All information was correct at the time of writing.

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