Ever watch a show set overseas and get the sudden urge to up and move? Us, too! In this article, we’ve ranked foreign locations of some of the most popular TV shows on the air now and in recent years based on their expat-friendliness.
Our methodology was based on recent data for cost of living, rent and mortgage costs, safety, weather, quality of life, and ease of immigration by country — so no locations were ranked based on which shows we like best. We also show the exchange rate to each country as of March 2, 2023.
From the sun-soaked beaches of Mallorca, Spain (home to CBS’s Love Island) to the bustling city of Daejeon, South Korea (setting of Netflix’s Squid Game), there's a destination for every type of TV fan who might be planning for an international move and a new life as an expat.
Ranking at the top of our list, Spain is an enormously popular destination for expats, featuring sunny weather, vibrant culture, and beautiful landscapes. Mallorca, one of the Balearic Islands in Spain, is also home to contestants filming Love Island.
Mallorca is a prime spot for expats who want to strike the perfect balance between work and leisure while finding their own Casa Amor. The island offers a stunning blend of serene beaches like Cala Formentor and Es Calo des Moro, lush mountain ranges including Serra de Tramuntana, and a vibrant cultural landscape, making it an ideal place for inspiration, relaxation, and pulling your crush for a chat.
With perfect weather, a friendly expat community, and reasonable renting rates, Mallorca is a safe place with everything a traveler could want — and unlike the contestants on Love Island, you’ll never be dumped off the island!
Many expats love Germany for its high standard of living, lively cities, and rich culture. TV fans will love Berlin as the filming location of the highly acclaimed Netflix series Dark.
The capital city of Germany, Berlin is an exciting place for expats who desire a vibrant but safe environment with electric nightlife. With its unique blend of historical significance and modern technology, Berlin is a hub for cutting-edge start-ups. While the mysteries in Dark span multiple generations, the only mystery you’ll have to solve is which of Berlin’s top neighborhoods to settle down in.
While the weather isn’t always the best, the city's extensive public transportation system and relatively low cost of living make it a budget-friendly choice for expats who want to get out and see the sights, like the Brandenburg Gate or the Reichstag. Unfortunately, though, there’s no way to time travel like the characters in Dark do through the Winden Caves!
For expats, there’s a lot to love about Mexico, including world-class dining, phenomenal weather, and gorgeous scenery. Located on the Pacific coast of Mexico, Acapulco is the home of the show Acapulco on Apple TV+. The city is full of beautiful resorts just like the show’s fictional setting, Las Colinas.
Acapulco is a hotspot for expats who want to work amidst the tropics, or for those in search of love and adventure just like Máximo Gallardo. The city's stunning beaches — Revolcaero, Icacos, Condesa, and more — warm weather, and laid-back vibe create a relaxing and rejuvenating atmosphere.
Its cost of living, which is lower than many other destinations in North America, also makes it a budget-friendly choice for expats. However, it’s not always the safest place to wander around, so it may be best to explore in groups, especially at night.
Known for its incredible food culture and a relaxed atmosphere, Italy is a favorite destination among expats.
As the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the regions of Italy, Sicily is a remarkable destination for expats who want to immerse themselves in rich cultural experiences while staying productive. Sicily is also the filming location of the hit HBO series The White Lotus, adding an extra element of excitement for TV fans as they soak up the surroundings.
The island boasts a diverse landscape, historic ruins like the Valle dei Templi and Temples of Selinunte, and a thriving food scene, offering a unique blend of ancient history and modern life. You can even take a day trip to Notto like Daphne or visit the filming location of the Godfather like the DiGrasso family.
Sicily is fairly safe (spoiler alert: unless you’re Tanya McQuoid), and its low cost of living makes it an attractive option for budget-conscious expats. With its breathtaking beauty and extraordinary history, Sicily is an ideal locale for expats.
As an English-speaking country that is generally safe and accepting, Ireland is a convenient choice for many expats from North America. For TV fans, Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, is a must-visit as it is the filming location of the iconic series Game of Thrones.
Whether you're a fan of the show or simply want to experience the beauty of Northern Ireland, Belfast is a picturesque place for expats. The city can get expensive, but it's a relatively safe city with pleasantly mild weather, unless “Winter is Coming,” that is.
Belfast is home to an enthralling history and an impressive array of cultural landmarks, including the Titanic Belfast Museum and the Belfast Castle. These landmarks not only offer a fascinating glimpse into the past, but also provide a unique backdrop for work and play.
English and French speakers alike will feel at home on an expat journey to Canada, a famously tolerant country boasting great quality of life for all.
Located in the western province of Alberta (with a culture similar to the American west – think: cowboys!) High River is a quaint and idyllic town that is an ideal destination for expats looking for a serene, picturesque environment and a sense of tranquility.
For TV fans, High River is the backdrop of the beloved long-running Canadian drama series Heartland, which was originally broadcast on the CBC but became popular streaming on Netflix. With rolling hills, breathtaking panoramic views and the nearby Rocky Mountains, High River provides an ideal setting for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
The official currency of Canada is the Canadian dollar and the exchange rate is US$1,000 = CA$1360.45.
A top destination for expats from the world over, England is also the filming location of countless classic TV shows, both old and new — including recent hits The Crown, Bridgerton, You, and Ted Lasso.
With its fascinating history and cultural diversity, England’s capital city London is a top destination for expats. With its numerous world-renowned museums such as the British Museum and Natural History Museum, historical monuments like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, and exciting arts and food scenes, London is the perfect place for those who appreciate the balance between tradition and modernity.
As one of the world’s biggest cities, it can be expensive and dangerous, so it’s important to be careful. And be sure to factor an umbrella into your budget; the city’s dreadful weather has been a sticking point of British humor for ages.
Steeped in historical elegance and cultural sophistication, many expats find France a wonderful place to land for a few months or years. For TV enthusiasts, France’s capital of Paris is the setting of the popular Netflix series Emily in Paris, which is full of glamorous inspiration for your time in the city.
Paris is the epitome of romance, and an ideal destination for expats seeking a new cultural adventure while keeping connected to work. With its iconic landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, world-class museums like the Louvre and Musée D’Orsay, and thriving food and arts scenes, Paris is the perfect place for those who appreciate a mix of the old and new. And just steps away from the Louvre, you can visit Emily’s office!
No matter your French language proficiency, Paris’s charming atmosphere and cultural richness make this classic city an ideal destination for expats. The city is a hub for fashion, art, and business, making it a popular choice for expats looking to grow their businesses. Nevertheless, it is an expensive city that isn’t always the safest, so you must watch yourself on the streets as you make your way to Gabriel’s restaurant from the show.
Famous for its excellent standard of living and vibrant musical culture, South Korea is an exciting nation that many expats are glad to call home.
The fifth-largest city in the country, Daejeon is a bustling metropolis and a thrilling destination for expats who love the South Korean cultural atmosphere. Netflix lovers may recognize Daejeon as the backdrop of the hit show Squid Game – but you can rest assured that your visit will be a lot less harrowing than the events inside the show’s arena.
Daejeon is actually a remarkably safe city with attractive renting rates, perfect for budget- and safety-conscious travelers. With its energetic atmosphere, Daejeon is a great spot for expats in South Korea. Gi-hun from Squid Game is from Ssangmun-dong, a neighborhood in the north of the city, and he visits a fish stall run by Sang Woo’s mother in the Baegun Market, on Samyang-ro 154-gil.
With cutting-edge technology hubs, modern infrastructure, and long heritage dating back to the Stone Age, Daejeon delivers a unique mix of contemporary and traditional experiences. The weather can get a bit bleak, but there’s lots to do inside the city’s countless buildings.
We’ve all seen Emily catch a flight and start living her adventures in Paris, and Joe Goldberg attempt to escape his troubled past and start life anew as a professor in London. Could it really be as easy as that? Not quite.
Depending on where you move, the visa requirements can differ drastically – and some can be downright egregious to obtain. For example, if you’ve got the Canadian ranch life of Heartland on your radar, good news: US citizens can stay in Canada without a visa for up to 180 days. After the 180 days, Americans can apply to extend their stay or explore a work visa, like the NAFTA Work Permit, to remain in Canada on a permanent basis.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is South Korea, whose visa process tacks with the stressful events of Squid Games. Whether for under 90 days or for longer, you need a visa to visit. To achieve residency, you’ll need language proficiency, knowledge of Korean history, five years of proven residence, and to pass an interview and written test.
Make sure you do your homework on obtaining a visa in your would-be new homeland so you fully understand what you are up against.
Whether it's the serene surroundings of High River or the bustling energy of London, these destinations offer the perfect blend of modern conveniences and cultural richness. For TV fans, exploring the filming locations of popular shows can bring new levels of excitement and enchantment to their new locale.
From cost of living and weekly budget forecasting, to determining whether to rent or buy, there are a lot of important things to think about when it comes to expenses and finances abroad.
Most U.S. banks do not have international locations, and that means you could be charged an arm and leg in foreign transaction feeds, markups hidden in currency exchange rates, and pesky ATM fees when withdrawing cash.
The Wise Account lets any TV fanatic live like a local. With Wise, you can send, spend, convert and hold over 50 different currencies. Plus, with local account details, you can even receive payments like a true local all without hidden fees and using the mid-market exchange rate³.
¹ Methodology: To compile this list, Wise looked at foreign locations that recently popular television shows have been filmed or set in. Countries were then scored based on their rankings on third-party data sources assessing cost of living (source: Numbeo), rent costs (source: Numbeo), mortgage costs (source: Numbeo), safety (source: Numbeo), weather (source: US News & World Report), overall quality of life (source: Numbeo), and ease of immigration (source: World Population Review).
² Exchange rates were pulled via wise.com on March 2, 2023.