Bern, Copenhagen, Dublin: Which are the best European cities for expats to move to?

Bern, Copenhagen, Dublin: Which are the best European cities for expats to move to?

Bern has been rated the most liveable city in Europe again, according to one expert ranking.

Clean air and safe streets have put Switzerland’s unofficial capital in the top spot for the third year running.

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Analysts at mobility consultancy ECA International evaluated more than 500 locations around the world to see where expatriates feel most at home.

“With top facilities, minimal air pollution and low crime rates, Bern is a very attractive city for expatriates and their families,” says senior location ratings analyst Neil Ashman. “Swiss, Dutch and Scandinavian cities fill out the top 10 most liveable cities.”

Bern doesn’t just look pretty on paper; there’s no surprise that people are keen to stick around its gorgeous Old Town on the slopes of the Alps.

But there’s been some interesting movements within the wider rankings, with some hugely popular European cities slipping a few points.

Copenhagen and Dublin drop down due to housing issues

Previous number one Copenhagen has fallen to fifth place in ECA’s 2023 Location Ratings.

There’s no doubting the Danish capital’s enduring charms, but finding an affordable place to live is — of course — a crucial part of being a liveable city.

“Copenhagen is still a great city for expatriates, it remains very liveable but has seen shortages of suitable housing in recent times which has seen it drop in the ranking slightly,” says Ashman.

Dublin has also taken a hit due to housing difficulties — leading it to drop out of the top 10 compared to 10 years ago. The Irish capital now sits in 11th position, compared to seventh place a decade ago.

To some extent, it’s a victim of its own success — as popular destinations for expats then suffer from a reduced availability of suitable housing.

Housing availability issues have also resulted in Luxembourg and Dusseldorf dropping out of the top 10 compared to 2013. In Dusseldorf’s case this has been compounded by an increased ‘socio-political tensions’ score, ECA explains, owing to the increased threat from terrorist attacks in Germany in the last decade.

Edinburgh and London hold strong in expat rankings

Edinburgh remains the most liveable UK destination, sitting in 17th place overall.

Another Scottish city, Aberdeen, also features highly (24th), though Glasgow in 47th place scores less well owing to higher crime levels.

London remains relatively stable in the rankings in 37th place. “[The capital] remains a very attractive city for expats, with excellent facilities, a comprehensive public transport network and recreational options,” says Ashman.

ECA’s ranking is based on a variety of liveability factors, including ones particularly important to expats like access to a social network and recreational and leisure facilities.


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