Copenhagen is the most expensive city for expats in the EU.

Copenhagen is the most expensive city in the EU, Sofia is the cheapest

Copenhagen is the most expensive city in the EU, Sofia is the cheapest

The top 10 most and least expensive cities in the European Union according to Mercer's 2021 ranking

Copenhagen in Denmark is the most expensive city in the European Union, according to Mercer’s 2021 Cost of Living City Ranking. At the same time – Sofia, in Bulgaria, is the cheapest. The ranking was published yesterday (23 June) and although there are no EU cities in the global top ten, the cost of living has generally gone up in the Union since last year.

Mercer's ranking lists a total of 209 cities across the world, however, we will be focusing on the entries from the European Union.

Mercer’s Cost of Living Ranking is aimed specifically at employers trying to navigate expatriate compensation, according to factors such as currency fluctuations, cost of goods and services and instability of accommodation prices. These factors are essential for determining the compensation for employees on international assignments.

European cities are moving up

The survey shows that Western European cities are moving up the ranking this year and this is probably due to the strengthening of the euro as a currency. It has gained almost 11% against the US dollar.

Noel O'Connor, Senior Consultant at Mercer, explained for Ireland’s National Television RTÉ that high demand and low supply in the rental market contributed to the cost of finding proper accommodations. This is one of the biggest factors for companies placing employees on assignment in different countries.

These are the EU’s top 10 most expensive cities that have climbed up the ranking:

  1. Copenhagen, Denmark; Global ranking – 16; Last year – 25;
  2. Paris, France; Global ranking – 33; Last year – 50;
  3. Milan, Italy; Global ranking – 36; Last year – 47;
  4. Vienna, Austria; Global ranking – 37; Last year – 54;
  5. Dublin, Ireland; Global ranking - 39; Last year - 46
  6. Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Global ranking – 44; Last year – 64;
  7. Rome, Italy; Global ranking – 47; Last year – 65;
  8. Munich, Germany; Global ranking – 52; Last year – 72;
  9. Brussels, Belgium; Global ranking – 53; Last year – 78;
  10. Frankfurt, Germany; Global ranking – 54; Last year – 76.

At the same time, at the bottom of the list, the cheapest cities in the European Union have also climbed up the ranking. Here are the top ten cheapest cities for ex-pats in Europe:

  1. Sofia, Bulgaria; Global ranking – 165; Last year – 180;
  2. Warsaw, Poland; Global ranking – 164; Last year – 169;
  3. Budapest, Hungary; Global ranking – 162; Last year – 170;
  4. Bucharest, Romania; Global ranking – 160; Last year – 174;
  5. Limassol, Cyprus; Global ranking – 156; Last year – 166;
  6. Vilnius, Lithuania; Global ranking – 143; Last year – 157;
  7. Zagreb, Croatia; Global ranking – 140; Last year – 152;
  8. Leipzig, Germany; Global ranking – 138; Last year – 158;
  9. Nuremberg, Germany; Global ranking – 134; Last year – 155;
  10. Tallinn, Estonia; Global ranking – 132; Last year – 146;

If you want to keep up with how European cities and regions are changing, follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU