Is it time to relocate? With more jobs going remote and travel becoming increasingly accessible, moving abroad is now an achievable dream for wanderlusters all over the world. Some choose to become nomads, frequently moving from place to place; others find somewhere to settle down permanently. If you’re considering taking the leap and moving abroad, keep these best expat countries and their top cities in mind.


New York City, United States

New York City skyline

Did you know that New York City has more foreign-born residents than any other city in the world? One in three New Yorkers are expats – that’s over three million people, or more than the entire population of Chicago. Needless to say, if the United States is one of the best expat countries, New York City is a top destination.

Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities.

Expats arriving in New York City will find that it’s not hard to fit in. With so many cultures represented among the population, locals are very accepting of newcomers and openly welcome just about anyone. If you should find yourself growing homesick, don’t fret; nearly every country is represented among the city’s many ethnic neighborhoods. These communities have sprouted as concentrated populations of immigrants put down roots and opened up restaurants and other businesses. From Haiti to Ukraine to Korea, the New York Times has plotted out each of these areas in a handy map.


Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai skyline

Much like New York City, Dubai revolves around its expat population. Some estimates say that more than 80% of the population of Dubai hails from outside the United Arab Emirates. As the largest emirate, Dubai is commonly considered the best expat city in the region. It’s also one of the most livable cities in the world.

Dubai is an extremely wealthy region thanks to an economy supported by the financial and tourism industries. This has created plenty of jobs that attract foreigners from all over the world, often with high salaries and competitive benefits.

Expats in Dubai have plenty of positive things to say about their relocation experience. For one, the standard of living is incredibly high. Sparkling clean city streets and beaches create a beautiful backdrop for daily life. Foreigners also feel incredibly safe in Dubai, a result of strict rules enforced by local authorities. Most importantly, it’s easy to feel at home in the expat community among new friends with shared international experiences.


Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul skyline

Istanbul is the stepping stone between Europe and Asia and the perfect destination for expats who can’t get enough of culture. The city itself is enormous with a total size of 1500 square kilometers (600 square miles) and 14 million people who call it home. Although Istanbul might be off the beaten path, this is one of the best expat cities that you don’t want to overlook.

One of the main qualities that expats love about Istanbul is the authentic experience that it gives to foreigners. The locals are known for their outstanding friendliness and hospitality. The local cuisine is impeccable, with authentic versions of delicacies like Turkish coffee and doner kebab that are enjoyed all over the world. Cost of living in Istanbul is also quite low, especially if you’re used to paying sky-high prices in other European cities like London and Paris.

To join the expat community in Istanbul, look for groups on Facebook and Meetup that host regular events for newcomers and veterans alike. You’ll also find plenty of English-language publications and websites to help you stay connected.


Chicago, United States

Chicago skyline

You already know that the United States is one of the best expat countries, and Chicago is an often overlooked but underrated place to settle down. Chicago’s diverse economy and high volume of foreign-owned businesses make it a popular place for foreigners.

Chicago ranks extremely high on the livability index, and was even named best city in the world for living life to the fullest by Time Out. People in Chicago are generally happier than residents of other major cities. Maybe it’s because they frequently enjoy live music, good cuisine, museums, and even 19 miles of public beachfront.

While Chicago is known as a diverse city in its entirety, there are also certain neighborhoods where expats will find tight-knit foreign communities. These include Ukrainian Village, Little Italy, and Pilsen, just to name a few. Check out the festivals hosted by each neighborhood during warmer months to sample international food and culture, whether it’s from your home country or somewhere new.


Athens, Greece

Athens skyline

Greece is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with 32 million foreigners arriving in 2018. However, it’s also one of the best expat countries. While islands like Santorini and Mykonos get plenty of attention from vacationers, Athens is frequently passed over as nothing more than an airport transfer. This has allowed Athens to fly under the radar and remain one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to cities for foreigners.

Athens is frequently called “the new Berlin” due to its developing culture and uncharted possibilities. Low cost of living has brought in a wave of new startups, and the vibrant tech scene presents opportunities for entrepreneurs and workers alike.

Living in Greece is also ideal for those who long for warm weather and nature, but don’t want to give up the convenience of a city. Athens provides convenient access to mountains, beaches, and of course, countless islands to explore.

There are countless cities and countries all over the world where expats can enjoy a fulfilling life as a digital nomad, but these destinations are at the top of the list. They all offer first-class amenities for expats, including plenty of comfortable apartments to choose from. For example, international apartment company Blueground offers luxury furnished rentals in each of the cities listed above. Whichever city you choose is bound to provide everything you’re looking for in an expat destination.

Rate this article


Share article