The Pros of Living in Europe: 8 Things You Need to Know – What would you do if you wanted to go to Europe and live there for longer than the typical annual two-week vacation? Living in Europe offers attractive opportunities to explore diverse cultures, bask in ancient architectural wonders, and truly immerse yourself in the local customs and traditions.
Even then, it’s important to have a realistic view of what to expect when you move abroad to Europe. The day-to-day life would be entirely different than what you would expect with a pre-packaged travel itinerary where you only see the sights. Based on our personal experiences as foreigners living abroad, we want to help you gain insights into what everyday life truly looks like in Europe.
Tons of Opportunities to Build Amazing Memories
Although most of Europe, especially the states that comprise the Schengen area, may operate as one in many of its policies and regulations, it is still a heterogeneous region that is home to people of diverse backgrounds, ethnicity, culture, languages, and more. However, they share many similarities that have led to an increasingly unified continent. This has created tons of benefits and meaningful reasons why you should follow your heart. Let’s look at the fascinating advantages of living in Europe.
Explore Europe’s Magnificent History, Delightful Culture, and Breathtaking Architecture
Are you excited about seeing great works of art? Europeans are very protective of their history, culture, and architecture, resulting in an overwhelming number of places that would simply take your breath away. Europe has had a remarkable influence on every part of the world in scientific research, geographical discoveries, culture, and politics. You can always look forward to an impressive blend of influences from Ancient Greek and Rome, the Industrial Revolution, the Renaissance, the French Revolution, the two World Wars, and the Cold War. This manifests in relics, monuments, parks, landmarks, and carefully preserved medieval towns spread across the continent.
Ease of Access in Europe and to the Rest of the World
Whether you wish to travel within Europe or see the world from a European base, a European passport may also provide opportunities to visit many fabulous destinations around the world. Beyond the advantages of European citizenship or residency, most parts of the continent have great transportation networks with their neighbors. A notable example is Germany, which is known for its high-speed trains and autobahn network, allowing you to travel to every part of the country as well as the nine countries bordering the nation within just a few hours.
Hopping over borders within Europe is often much more convenient than in other locations around the world, especially within the Schengen Area. That said, your access to hopping over borders will depend on your visa privileges. If you would rather travel by air, it is also generally affordable. You can find cheap flights across the continent for low prices, just don’t expect a lot of luxury!
Rich Traditional Cuisines and Diverse Food Options
As you can probably expect, Europe’s remarkably diverse history richly influences the cuisines. You’ll find tons of local and ethnic delicacies moving from one country to the next, often quite different from the neighboring regions. Both fine dining and street food have been part of European culture for ages. In truth, eating in any European restaurant isn’t an affair you hurry over. Restaurants encourage you to linger, enjoy the ambiance, and have friendly conversations. Europeans also expect to take a slow meal when they get the chance to sit down with friends and family.
At lunchtime, many would shut down stores and shops and either go home or to restaurants for a well-served long lunch. Additionally, in countries like Spain, dinner doesn’t begin until much later, often around 10 pm. The siesta part of the day in Spain is a period in the afternoon when many shops and businesses close to get some rest.
Meal portions are also smaller than you’d find in countries like the U.S, but then it’s expected you will order several courses, especially at dinnertime. All over Europe, migrants are also reshaping the food culture, bringing their unique ethnic dishes to the table. Tikka Masala is a dish that’s well-integrated into British cuisine at this point and you’d be hard-pressed to find a neighborhood in Germany without a Döner Kebab shop. Overall, the general culture is that mealtimes are meant to be comfortably enjoyed with family and friends.
Transportation is Generally Convenient and Affordable
Public transportation is at the heart of European life. You can visit practically anywhere on the continent via trains and buses, from the smallest towns to the core of a thriving metropolis. Once you learn how to navigate public transportation, you’ll find that it is a much more affordable way to travel between towns and cities. Train travel allows you to visit multiple cities or even countries in a matter of days. Meanwhile, cities such as Munich have intercity rail, commuter trains, a metro subway, tram lines, and all kinds of buses converging at multiple hubs across the metropolitan area.
If you don’t want to use public transport, you can also find it easier to get across your town or city by bike. Cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam are known for their excellent bicycle infrastructure that makes it safe and easy to traverse the metropolitan area with zero impact on the environment. The compact nature of some European cities could mean that walking is a commuting option as well. There are pedestrian-only zones everywhere, even in small towns, with a variety of things ranging from kiosks, sidewalk cafes, essential shops, and more.
Policies that Protect and Encourage a Work-Life Balance
Most European countries have strict regulations in place to enhance the lifestyles of workers and provide ample time off with family. There are plenty of comprehensive labor rules in place that discourage overworking yourself and guarantee that any overtime work is compensated fairly. As a paid employee anywhere in Europe, you will be entitled to a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks of vacation, depending on the country, and at least 14 weeks of paid paternity and maternity leave for parents. This is in addition to national and religious holidays.
Many Europeans leave their homes in droves during July and August to soak up as much sun and warmth as possible in destinations around the world. There are also additional laws stopping employers from circumventing labor laws. In France, for example, it is forbidden for employers to phone employees on the weekend or outside of business hours. If you want to escape the fast-paced corporate world and live a slower-paced life, living in Europe could give you that advantage.
Europeans Care Deeply About Protecting the Environment
Most European governments are very much aware of human impacts on the environment and are intentional about going green when compared to other industrialized countries, including the US, Canada, and Australia. A recent survey found that a large majority of people across all EU countries say that protecting the environment is crucial to them on a personal level. Think bikes, electric buses, trains, timed lighting, comprehensive recycling, large parks and green spaces, and renewable energy sources. Modern Europe is designed in a way that makes it easier to embrace an eco-conscious lifestyle.
Guaranteed Affordable and Available Healthcare
Many countries in Europe genuinely practice the World Health Organization’s core definition of providing equal access to quality healthcare. According to EU law, each government funds a universal healthcare system. Citizens and residents can also purchase private insurance plans that are very affordable to supplement their government-provided healthcare. Although different European countries have variations in their healthcare system, all citizens and residents are automatically enrolled in the national healthcare system and a good portion of medical services are provided for free. The healthcare system in Europe is generally affordable even if you are on a private insurance plan.
Vibrant Social Scenes and Delicious Drinks
The nightlife in many European cities is a wonder that is best experienced. We can’t talk about Europe’s social scenes without equally mentioning their love for high-quality alcoholic drinks. For instance, Germany has a long-standing law, the Reignheitsgebot, that dictates the ingredients of beer. Consuming alcohol is also intrinsically linked with food, mealtimes, and even holiday traditions. Germany has an entire festival, the world-famous Oktoberfest, which is dedicated to beer and food culture. Besides beer, you can also look forward to flavorful wines and liquors as staples of many cultures across Europe.
Get Started Today and Enjoy All the Charms And Romance of Europe
Between the stunning landscapes, charming cities, diverse cultures, and strong communities, there are many remarkable advantages of living in Europe. Many people move to Europe for a fresh start in life and the chance to meet interesting people from diverse historical and cultural backgrounds. That said, moving to Europe is a big decision. You must consider other practical reasons, including career opportunities, visa options, insurance, and accommodation.
At Expat Empire, we bring you a set of holistic consulting services built by years of experience living abroad and a large global network to make your move abroad as easy as possible. You can also check out our in-depth Expat Tools in the meantime to research your country, visa, tax, and remote work options!