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The Best and Worst Places to Live in Europe

Got a Passport? The Best and Worst Places to Live in Europe

With Italy's new laws against sleeping, eating, drinking, and singing in public all aimed at making the place more pleasant (or less, if you fancy a chianti and snooze al fresco) you'd think it'd be in the top two European countries with the best quality of life. Not so amigos, as Bush would say.

Let's start at the bottom: The poor UK has the lowest quality of life in Europe — even though Brits earn the most — according to research released yesterday.

That money can't buy them happiness — they pay a king's ransom for essential goods: 18 percent above the average for diesel, 49 percent more for gas, and 5 percent more for electricity. Life expectancy in jolly old England is the third-lowest at 78.9 years, and the constantly gray sky might be a culprit: Britain gets 80 percent less sunshine than Spain, leading more than 40,000 people to flee in 2006.

They might have run right to Spain, which claims the number one slot among those studied, offering the best quality of life in Europe — even though salaries are below average. Old number two is France thanks to their unbelievably great vacation policy, at 40 days per year.

Where would you live in the ol' EU? Does France's commitment to time off strike your fancy?


ashleyheatherr ashleyheatherr 7 years
I have always thought that the UK looks depressing and it has never been a place that I really have wanted to go. I have always wanted to go to the warm Mediterranean countries where I can enjoy the sun and swimming.
Canadianboy Canadianboy 8 years
I don't think anyone has mentioned Budapest. I am a Canadian who has lived there on and off for the past two years and I loved it! It is relatively clean, safe, the food is great, the women second to none and people are generally friendly. What is more, it is much cheaper that Western Europe and not completely westernized either. I recommend it absolutely!
under-the-sun under-the-sun 9 years
I am an american who has had the privilege to spend a considerable amount of time in most of Americas major cities. My favorites are Chicago, Boston, Portland, Washington DC, Seattle, New York, Philadelphia and of course my home city - San Diego. But...I have also lived in other countries such as France, Africa, Israel and now Italy. Living somewhere is definitley different than visting. Italy for instance may be beautiful and full of history and antiquity, but I have lived in Florence now for 2 years and find it to be much like Disneyland, imagine trying to build a life inside of Disneyland, not so easy, and not so fun. I also love America. But what I have discovered is that the grass is not greener on the other side. EVER!!! Every country and culture has its' charms and its' drawbacks, this is consistent no matter where I live. So in the end, I am just thankful to have had the opportunities to get to know the people and the culture of every country I have lived in, and if I find the "one" that does it for me, where I can say, "Yea, now this is the life", I'll be sure to give you my opinion. BTW, there are dirty stinky ugly people in every city, in every country and in every culture on this grand earth of ours, but there are also wonderful people from every nation under the sun, and that is always what I strive to find and focus on.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 9 years
I went to Europe last year (England, France, and Italy) and while I loved it and I would want to live there for awhile, I could never live there long-term.
Ayla Ayla 9 years
I am Norwegian but have lived in Denmark outside Copenhagen for nine years. I prefer Denmark over Norway and have no plans of going back. However I would love to live in the southern part of France or in New York City.
Fo-show317771 Fo-show317771 9 years
Let me clear something up for Brittany8 and Torgleson! about the unwillingness to speak English in France. I was on a basketball team with a coach and players that was able to speak english..but didnt! After a month..they moraculously started to speak english. My french/american team mate told me they could in the first place!
EuroLaura EuroLaura 9 years
So... you live in London and it's mostly sunny. So sunny that it fades the pictures on your wall... are you sure you live in the London that's here on Earth?
Allytta Allytta 9 years
i moved to london 2 years ago. the weather is 80% sunny. sometimes it's too much, all my pictures on the wall have faded, and the sun wakes me up at 6am that's how bright it is. and i do have blinds. parking for grocery shops? wtf is that? ur friend lied. prices are like NY or Moscow. just yesterday i was looking up lettings and undergdround/subway/metro prices. people here were the most friendly ever. also people in Minsk are quite nice. In Paris or Warshaw they are full of themselves and pretend not to understand you if you speak the language the dislike - Russian or English. Even though i know they did understand me, i saw reaction. Italy, especially Rome is not dirty! Actually I expected something really bad from all this stupid stories from ignorent people, but it was amazing, though the traffic is awful, like in London. That's one big con - noise and dirty particles in the air. London is amazing, I think I'm staying here. History, culture, lovely public transport. Tube is so amazing, NY subway doesn't hold a candle to it.
Come to SLOVENIA .... I'm sure you'd be very surprised ... in a positive way ;)
EuroLaura EuroLaura 9 years
When talking about moving to another country, the effects of "cultural shock" shouldn't be underestimated, I think. I moved to Spain from Argentina (my home country) 10 years ago. One would think that culture is not very different in both countries, especially if you consider than half of the population of Argentina is of Spanish descent, but one would be wrong. After 10 years, I'm still missing certain things, trying to adapt to others, and refusing to change some. The way people talk here was the first thing that shocked me. I remember thinking everyone was angry and shouting to each other. Also, please and thank you are not as common as they were back home. Of course, there are other things that I like best here, but my point is... no matter how much you might have liked a place when you spent a couple of months there as a visitor... it takes actually living there to experience all of it and it is often hard.
idawson idawson 9 years
maybe london and probably switzerland :)
mari-souza mari-souza 9 years
This picture remember Rio - Brazil.
omigosh omigosh 9 years
Yup, there are more than you think torgleson :-) The Netherlands, represent! Haha
True-Song True-Song 9 years
I didn't realize there were so many international readers here.
ultravee ultravee 9 years
I live in Croatia. I wasn't expecting anyone would mention it so I was really happy to see a comment from a girl who said she would live in Zagreb (which is where I live). I've been all over Europe but I have to say I wouldn't want to live anywhere else but in Croatia. I think it's mostly the fact of feeling at home among your own kind and the fact you're simply used to it. Besides, Croatia is a gorgeous, small yet versatile place with friendly people and tasty food. Once you visit one of our islands you'll want to return every summer. But is it better than elsewhere in Europe? I couldn't really say. To each his own.
jadenirvana jadenirvana 9 years
London definitely. The weather is just like Seattle so I wouldn't mind at all, and I just love everything: the cosmopolitan shopping, the dry humor, the courtly parks. Sigh....
Vaadsfweytes Vaadsfweytes 9 years
I agree with Isista. I was schooled in 4 different countries in 3 different continents including US and UK. And, I think people are oversimplifying things here. I think it has to do with socio-economic level, and if you can afford to live in a nice place in a great city, anywhere can be pleasant. Also, when visiting a new country, people need to have a basic respect to the culture and the people of the country. As much as I loved living in US, there are more than handful of poor and dangerous areas with low living condition existing, and the same goes for EU as well. My point is that: have some respect when traveling, and don't complain when staying in ghettos. When living in US, I went to school with well-traveled Americans, and no one ever made any rude and stereotypical comments as some of the people did here. That's my 2 cents.
Isista Isista 9 years
I feel like these posts have oversimplified these countries. Yeah, I'm sure there are rats in certain parts of France, and that certain parts of Italy are dirty, but what country doesn't have parts like that, ones that it would rather be rid of? I would assume certain areas of these countries are beautiful, so let's try to not oversimplify things, please.
Hulla Hulla 9 years
I'm German and quite happy here. My dream-place to live is near one of the big lakes in Bavaria, to me the area there is like paradise, quality of life is amazing and there are enough jobs. I do love Italy and Spain but I hate heat and I need seasons with real snow so to me Bavaria is perfect. I used to live in St. Albans (London suburb) for a year and hated it. Quality of life is not comparable to Germany, it sucked so bad.
Frida83 Frida83 9 years
I'm from Sweden and I think it's one of the most beautiful places ever, but I would say that wouldn't I? Other than that I'd like to live in France or the UK.
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