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City Slicker or Country Bumpkin? The Pros and Cons of moving to a city or rural area

City Slicker or Country Bumpkin? The Pros and Cons of moving to a city or rural area

So you’ve set your sights on the country you’re going to move to. But where in that country would you like to move to? No two regions of a country are quite the same. Do you prefer the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan city? Or would you like a rural area surrounded by countryside and local life?

This article will help you discover which one suits you more.


There are a great many reasons why people have been migrating to cities for years. Great aspects of a country can be found in its main cities such as theatres and museums.

Good aspects of moving to a city can include the following:



Depending on location, many places in a city are within walking distance. Further afield, however, public transport is how a city runs: Paris has the Metro, London the Tube, Amsterdam, the tram. Venice even has water taxi boats!

While parking can be expensive, it’s an excuse to use bicycles or local transport where most companies offer discounts and season passes.

Food and Shopping

Cities are the ideal place if you are looking to get a taste for the local restaurants. Shops, too, will be likely to offer a wider range of products. In both cases, some establishments are likely to have a delivery service which can fit into your own schedule.



If you are planning to explore your new country further after you move, cities are better suited for getting from place to place. Living in a city could mean you have easier access to

  • Airports
  • Eurostar
  • Railways
  • Ferry services


The quality of healthcare can vary from country to country and, unlike the NHS, you may have to pay for some treatments. However, cities are generally the place where more specialist clinics and departments are set up. So if you have a particular health need it will be more convenient to live within reasonable travel distance to places that can help with them.

Possibly no language barrier

Due to most international business taking place in main and capital cities, there is generally a mixture of nationalities living the metropolitan life. Aside from the local language, English is used across the world so it may be that you need not learn the language. Some countries use English more than others, especially those that get a lot of tourism.

Familiar surroundings

To a certain extent, it’s true that one city looks like another. Due to mass marketing, it’s very likely you’ll see a McDonalds, be able to buy a bottle of Coca-Cola or listen to popular music. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Moving abroad is a life changing event, and even though it’s exciting, it can be comforting to have a few familiar surroundings. Even if aspects of public transport or shops are different, cities tend to rely on similar functions such as

  • International brands

  • Buses and trains

  • Shopping malls, restaurants and tourist information


Before there were cities, there was the countryside. Many times we can recall a country from their natural landscapes; Egypt has the Nile, Italy has olive groves, France the Provence lavender fields.

There are great benefits to moving to a more rural area of your chosen country including some well-earned peace and quiet, and a room with a view.

Good aspects of moving to a rural region include the following:



Whilst city life can be invigorating, if you choose to live somewhere quieter, you might find you don’t have as many distractions. Sleeping at night can become easier without sirens or revellers out late on the weekend. 

Without so much noise it can become easier to make time for hobbies you always wanted to take up, or get on with some work uninterrupted.

Well being

It’s been claimed that living in the countryside can be better for your health, thanks to apparent lower stress and anxiety – possibly due to a lack of crowds, as well as being around greenery which benefits general health.

Authentic character

Living away from a city and its easy access lifestyle isn’t always bad.

If you live a little way from your nearest town it can be refreshing to get the bread, milk and paper in the morning – if you can walk there it’s good exercise, if you need a car it can help establish a routine of waking up the same time every day.

You will appreciate what you have from making a little – but not considerable – extra effort to get it.

Different aspects of the country

Tourists often make the mistake of judging a whole country on its cities. But there’s just as much to discover in rural regions:

  • Individual regions towns and villages will have their own customs for holidays and holy days
  • Accents and even languages can change depending on what district or province you move to
  • History is often told very broadly; there’s sure to be a number of stories to hear about your particular province – you probably haven’t heard all versions of history
  • Festivals local to certain areas are usually near and unique to that area and unlikely to be on anywhere else

Local life

It’s often claimed that people in the country are more friendly than city dwellers. This makes good sense. After all, in an area where you have a go further to get to supermarkets and shopping malls, it’s good to be able to borrow a pan from a neighbour when the need arises!

Local life is every bit as vibrant in the countryside as in the city, arguably more so for seeing the same people day to day and building lasting friendships with them.

  • Food is more likely to be home cooked – local recipes will definitely be around to learn from
  • From local brewing to growing grapes for wine, you’re likely to appreciate where your food and drink comes from if you’re in an area where it is grown
  • Local community is often highly valued in rural areas – you’re bound to find a group or event to suit your interests
  • More often than in urban areas, produce is likely to be locally grown and produced, and therefore of a higher quality. You might even be able to grow your own!


There are both positive and negative aspects to living in cities or rural areas. The good news is that most expats moving abroad are looking for a comfortable house with access to both interesting and events and local culture. Both of these can be found in cities and the countryside in different ways.

It’s important to find what works best for you and your interests. And whichever place you decide to live in, you can always explore other parts of the country in your own time.

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