The UK can be an expensive place to live sometime, especially when compared to other parts of Europe. We have compiled a list of seven islands that aren’t just cheaper to live in than the UK, but which are also great places to live in their own right.
Malta & Gozo
The island nation of Malta is spread over two main islands, Malta and Gozo. The island of Malta is home to the nation’s capital city, Valletta, and is the main tourist destination in the country. Because of this, Gozo is often overlooked, despite being every bit as enchanting as its big brother. Commuting between the two islands takes only 30 minutes on a ferry. This means that no matter where in Malta you are living, commuting to and from work is a simple and pleasant experience, thanks to the beautiful landscapes. There are lots of jobs in Malta; the tourism industry is a major employer, but Malta’s location near to the Suez canal also makes it an important trading port.
Sat off France’s southern coast, Corsica is often forgotten when people think of France, but it is an island that has a lot to offer potential residents. As the birthplace of Napoleon, Corsica occupies a special place in the French psyche and is a popular destination for French tourists. Corsica’s unique history and position, being located near to both France and Italy, Corsican cuisine takes influences from both of these cultures to create its own unique fusion cuisine.
As well as the delicious cuisine, Corsica is also home to a diverse landscape. In fact, two-thirds of the island has been given over to the Regional National Par of Corsica. There are footpaths that run between the island’s coasts and through its mountainscapes. Anyone with a penchant for hiking in nature will find Corsica to be a stunning destination.
When most people think of European islands, Croatia is one of the last places they would think of. However, the island of Hvar is one of Europe’s hidden gems. This is an island that has a lot to offer, just like other Mediterranean islands in the area. If you have already had your fill of the Greek Ionian Islands and you are looking for a different experience in the Mediterranean, then Hvar is a fantastic destination.
While Hvar is quite rightly renowned for its natural beauty, it doesn’t have quite the same cache that the other nearby Mediterranean islands do. This is a blessing in disguise as it means that Hvar remains a largely undiscovered gem. There are lots of people who would like to move to a Mediterranean island but don’t want to move anywhere where tourism is too heavy. Hvar is a fantastic alternative.
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The Emerald Isle, Ireland is one of the most beautiful islands in all of Europe. Ireland doesn’t have the same luxurious Mediterranean climate as many of the other islands on this list, but don’t let that put you off. The Irish landscape is every bit as breath-taking as a pristine Mediterranean beach. If you are someone who enjoys being outside and values having easy access to hiking trails and camping sites, you will feel right at home in Ireland.
Thanks to an abundance of green and fertile land, Ireland is able to grow a wide range of food locally. In fact, Ireland is one of the most important food producers in the world. This special status is reflected in the quality of food in Ireland, where fresh ingredients are common and easily available. As a nation, Ireland doesn’t just rely on its traditional cuisine, and there is a thriving modern food scene. Aspiring chefs will find Ireland a great place to live.
If there is one island that embodies the luxury Mediterranean experience, Crete is it. Crete is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe and with good reason. If you are considering making a permanent move to Crete, then you will have to be prepared to share the space with a significant number of tourists during the peak season. However, it is worth noting that Crete is home to a number of beaches that are relatively difficult to access and, as a result, are often much quieter than the more touristy areas.
Of course, there is a reason that so many tourists flock to Crete every year – this is an island that has it all. It goes without saying the local climate is beautiful. Even during the relatively short winter season, the temperature in Crete rarely dips below the 15ºC mark.
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With a population of just over 10,000 at the last census, Mykonos is a quiet and relaxing place to live during the off-peak season. Of course, when the island is filled with tourists, things are very different. If you are considering making the move to an island like Mykonos, then sharing space with tourists is part of the deal.
The tourism sector is by far the most important component of the Mykonos economy. For foreigners moving to the island to make it their home, there are limited employment opportunities outside of tourism and hospitality, but they are there.
Sicily has been a vitally important island since antiquity when the ancient city of Syracuse dominated the island’s landscape. Modern Sicily still retains its unique blend of Greek, Italian, and even African influences. The island’s cuisine, architecture, and culture are all an infusion of the many civilisations that have played a role in the island’s history.
Sicily is home to one of the most active volcanoes in the world, Mount Etna, as well as no less than five other World Heritage sites. You could spend a good decade learning about the history of this island and still barely scratch the surface. For history buffs, there are few islands more desirable.
These seven islands all offer lower costs of living than the UK, but this is just one reason to consider these places as potential new homes. There are well over 100 inhabited islands in Europe, each of which has something to offer, it’s just a case of finding the right one for you.