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Living In The Balkans: A Guide For Expats

living in the Balkans


Situated in Southern Europe, the Balkan Peninsula is home to some of the most beautiful yet often overlooked destinations on the continent. Balkan countries have long been characterised as places of political turmoil and instability, but the reality of living in this region is vastly different. Here is a guide to living in the Balkans for expats.




As you move on from the disorder often portrayed in Western media, you will find that the Balkans are home to developing nations, emerging economies, friendly people, stunning natural surroundings, and plenty of potential for growth.

Balkan countries are slowly becoming the new hotspot for digital nomads looking for the right balance between affordable and comfortable living. Here is everything you need to know about life in the Balkans as an expat if you are in need of a similar solution as well:



Croatia is the most popular Balkan destination for international expats, and for a good reason. It is a gorgeous country with a high standard of living, offering a warm Mediterranean climate, one of the most beautiful coastlines on the continent, as well as charming historical towns filled with rich history and unique character.  One-year visas and access to high-quality medical care are available for most expats in Croatia, while English is widely spoken across the country, although mostly among younger generations and in larger cities. Croatia’s recent EU membership also shows great potential, but the only downside is that the cost of living in this nation is noticeably higher compared with other Balkan countries.



An increasing number of expats are deciding to move to Serbia, a lesser-known country that might surprise many international travellers. Although landlocked, the country offers pristine natural surroundings, uniquely characteristic cities, the best nightlife in Europe, as well as incredibly warm and welcoming locals.

Temporary visas are available for expats who have family, education, and employment here, but a workaround of occasionally hopping to a neighbouring country allows expats to stay longer in this nation. While the employment opportunities aren’t the greatest, the IT sector is rapidly growing in Serbia and presents great potential. The cost of living here is fairly low as well, meaning that an average international pay makes for quite a comfortable life in this country.



Montenegro possibly combines the best of the two aforementioned countries, offering the lower cost of living comparable to Serbia, as well as a beautiful coastline similar to Croatia. The living prospects here are great as well.

For instance, you can decide to buy a flat in Montenegro and make an excellent investment, as the travel and real estate industries are booming in the country, while property taxes are some of the lowest in Europe. Purchasing a flat is both an affordable accommodation solution and a smart long-term investment. The country also provides good healthcare, international schools, and low crime rates, making it a great choice for expat families as well.


Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina is another good spot for expats. The country’s beautiful mountainous scenery, stunning clear rivers, a great outdoor lifestyle, and incredibly diverse culture are just some of the aspects that allure expats to this nation.

Entrepreneurs are beginning to see the potential of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well, deciding to capitalise on the educated workforce and invest in computing and technology businesses.

The cost of living in this country is quite low by global standards, which makes saving and investing easy with the right money management strategies for those working overseas. However, it’s worth mentioning Bosnia’s lower healthcare standards and often lengthy and complicated visa processes as well.


North Macedonia

Although often overlooked, North Macedonia is a diverse and lively cultural melting pot offering plenty of historical sites and monuments, as well as stunning natural surroundings in the form of pristine lakes and exquisite national parks dotted around the nation.

Apart from being one of the top places in Europe for workcation, the country also provides quality universal healthcare that is freely available to registered expats, along with good international schools that might attract expat families.

The cost of living in Macedonia is incredibly low as well, which makes fair, average salaries more than enough for a comfortable and happy life in this nation.



From the imposing Albanian Alps to the pristine Ionian and Adriatic coastlines, Albania offers some of the most beautiful landscapes in the region. However, it is also among the poorest European countries, with the healthcare and educational systems still remaining mismanaged and underfunded.

Nevertheless, significant progress has been made in Albania in recent years as tourism grows and foreign businesses expand to the country, especially when it comes to the energy and textile industries. While not the most popular Balkan destination, expats who live in Albania still speak positively of the country’s safe nature, sunny weather, stunning beaches, and extremely low cost of living.



Although often overlooked, the Balkans represent a wonderful part of Europe with a rich, colourful history and plenty of potential and opportunities. Regardless of the country you choose, chances are high you will have a happy and fulfilling life as an expat in the Balkans.