By in Country Guides February 21, 2018

If you are thinking about retiring abroad, you might be interested in finding out more about the best places to retire in Europe. In case you are an adventurous type and wish to learn about a new country – including its culture, language, and cuisine – then you are the perfect candidate for retiring abroad. Besides moving for a fresh start in a new country, the Old Continent can provide you with lots of benefits.

However, you should carefully choose where to live, because certain countries are more suitable to retire in than others. We have based our list on several important factors you should definitely take into consideration. Read on and find out more details that will help you pick the right place for you and your spouse. Also, think ahead of time for the most important documents needed to travel abroad and be ready for a smooth relocation.

The Old Continent is regarded as an extremely suitable place for retirement

What Factors Are Relevant When Choosing the Best Places to Retire in Europe

When people finish their working career, their whole life gets another dimension and purpose. They start to think about their grandchildren, pastime activities, and countries they would like to travel to and see. Sometimes, while traveling, they fall in love with a city, town, or a whole country. Above all, if the living conditions suit them, it’s not unusual for them to decide to pack their belongings, hire international moving services, and relocate for good.

If your wish is to spend your retirement abroad, you shouldn’t hesitate. There are plenty of amazing places waiting for you. So, don’t sit on the fence – pack your things, throw a farewell party, and say hello to the new chapter of your life. But, leave nothing to chance – do your research and find out what factors are crucial for the happy life of an expat retiree. Here are a few of them:

  • Cost of living
  • Quality and price of local healthcare
  • Overall safety
  • Political and social stability
  • Taxes
  • Local hospitality
  • Weather
  • Food
  • Culture
  • The use of English

Fortunately, some countries in Europe can fulfill all your needs and requirements. Choose your favorite destination depending on your lifestyle and how active you’re planning to be. To help you decide, we have prepared a list of the ten best countries and regions ideal for spending your golden years.

#1 Provence Is the Most Desirable Part of France

In case you find Paris to be a little too swanky, relocating to France and its other regions can be an excellent move. For example, Provence is a region in south-eastern France, bordering Italy and the Mediterranean Sea. Its biggest metropolis is Marseille, but people prefer smaller and romantic towns such as Aix-en-Provence.

With rippling lavender fields, medieval stone thorps, and mesmerizing blue skies, this region is not the top retirement destination of the locals, but retirees from all over the world find it enchanting.

Aix-en-Provence

With a population of 140,000, this city represents the core of the French lifestyle. The laid-back atmosphere is just a part of this community where time has stopped. But it just seems that way. Its fascinating history and culture, mild weather, delicious food, and exquisite wines give this city an additional charm and a buzz that is characteristic for smaller areas. The vicinity of the Italian border is an additional benefit for couples whose desire is to travel around and visit as many attractions as possible. With a budget of a little over $2,500 a month, life can be quite pleasant.

With astonishing landscapes and top-notch cuisine, Provence is an excellent place for seniors

#2 Italy Is Paradise for Food and Art Lovers

Whether you want to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature or wish to enjoy lying on the beach, you won’t make a mistake by moving to Italy. For senior Americans, there are perks of participating in a state-run healthcare system. But, this benefit can be approved only after your financial situation has been estimated as substantial and steady. Keep in mind that the required monthly budget is much lower than in the US since the living costs of $1,600 a month, or $19,200 a year.

One more benefit of living in Italy is enjoying all four seasons – hot summers and colder winters. The Alps are the perfect choice for people who prefer skiing and other winter activities, and Sicily offers a milder climate and is crammed with attractions.

Italy is a nation with a slow-paced lifestyle in its cities and towns. We narrowed down the choice to several of them you should take into consideration:

  • Basilicata
  • Modena
  • Sorrento
  • Citta Sant’Angelo
Olives, goat cheese, and red wine - is there anything better for hedonists?

#3 Portugal Offers a Slower Pace of Life

For all culture fans and history buffs, moving to Portugal is the right choice. The country takes pride in its great heritage and offers an abundance of delicious food and an unforgettable ambiance.

Depending on your needs and budget, your favorite destination may be Lisbon, Porto, or Cascais. The reason why Portugal is so appealing is that it has something for everyone. Lisbon, for example, is trendy, vibrant, and relaxed at the same time. It just depends on which area you are in, which day of the week it is, and whether it is day or night. A fun fact about Lisbon is that it won the 2020 European Green Capital award. The town prioritizes walking, cycling, and public transportation, and restricts car use.

When it comes to Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal, life is surprisingly affordable – $1,550 per month should be enough. Additionally, its architectural beauty, top-rate food and wine, and lots of possibilities for outdoor activities make this town a mecca for seniors.

Some of the Best Options to Retire Can Be Found in Lagos

The southern Algarve region has a hidden gem – the city of Lagos with its year-round moderate climate and many opportunities for outdoor activities, including golfing, horseback riding, hiking, tennis, windsurfing, etc. Strolling along the marine is a great way to spend an early morning or late afternoon, as Lagos is relatively flat and can be toured on foot. Also, the prices are reasonable, and a couple can live well here on $2,000 per month.

A laid-back atmosphere, friendly people, and low costs are the main features of Portugal

#4 If You Prefer a Tight-Knit Community, Choose Spain

Many people want to spend their retirement days in Spain because it might be the least expensive destination in the Old Continent. Besides, it’s a region where you can enjoy all spheres of life – cultural events, great cheap food, and spots along the sea where you can spend a pleasurable afternoon or even the whole day.

If you’re yearning to live in a metropolis, you should know that Madrid is a bit more expensive than other places. However, it offers a lot of bang for the buck. As a bonus, the costs of health services are just fragments of US prices. If you want to settle in the countryside or immerse yourself in Spanish culture, this nation offers a variety of places where you can stay:

  • Alicante
  • Granada
  • Seville
  • Costa del Sol

#5 You’ll Find a Little Bit of Everything in Malta

To embrace the true European lifestyle, moving to Malta can be the perfect way to start. This three-island nation has fantastic beaches, a temperate climate, and a low crime rate. One more advantage is the fact that English is the official language. Healthcare is not only affordable but is also of high quality, while the government is stable and encourages immigration from the US. They usually choose the capital, Valletta, but can be seen in St. Paul’s Bay and Qawra, too. Every year, there are countless events and festivals happening here, such as Saluting Battery, Valletta Baroque Festival, Carnival, Rock the South, etc.

Why Is Valetta Good for Retirement?

Malta’s capital is one of the few cities that can balance accommodate your wishes, needs, and requirements with your budget. Valletta was labeled 2018’s European Capital of Culture, which is not surprising since many UNESCO World Heritage Sites are located here. If you prefer sunny and warm days, you may be pleasantly surprised by the fact that Malta is renowned for being the warmest metropolis in the Old Continent. Last but not least, the costs of living per month are, on average, $2,600.

Valetta can be your dream destination

#6 Ireland as a Green Haven

The land of natural beauties can offer you much more than most other destinations – English is widely spoken, healthcare is stable, and living costs are moderate. Some of the most popular towns to reside in are Dingle, Waterford, and Tralee. If your favorite is Dublin, you should know that your disposable budget should be higher.

You can get an Irish passport if you, your parents, or grandparents were born in Ireland. There are some benefits for seniors moving to Ireland, including free public transport for everyone older than 66. The nation is well-known for its nature and some of the natural wonders that first spring to one’s mind are these locations:

  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Skellig Islands
  • Doolin Cave
  • Clew Bay
  • Giant’s Causeway
If you prefer nature and healthy life, then Ireland is perfect for you

#7 A Country Crammed With History – Scotland

A tight-knit community and an English-speaking population may be crucial factors when it comes to finding the most suitable places for retirement. Scotland is often associated with the mystical and magical – Highlanders, bagpipes, the Loch Ness Monster, magnificent scenery, etc. If you decide to move to Scotland, you can rest assured that most of these fantastic details are part of this land and its character. Nothing depicts Scotland better than its historical and cultural landmarks such as:

  • Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile
  • Loch Lomond
  • Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal
  • Isle of Skye and the Inner Hebrides
  • Stirling Castle
  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Perhaps the countryside doesn’t offer as many amenities as bigger cities, but rural areas can provide you with the real Scottish spirit. Above all, the cost of living is much lower, as well as the crime rate.

#8 Choose Sunny Cyprus and Enjoy Your Golden Years

To become part of this sunny Mediterranean island nation, you can start off by buying a residence at an average of $333,000 and moving to Cyprus. The romantic island boasts beautiful beaches, Greek culture, and a lower cost of living and crime rate.

There are numerous benefits for retirees, and one of them is related to the healthcare system – it is excellent, and permanent residents can qualify for public health coverage, although private insurance is available, too. If you want to enjoy the sun, beaches, and local specialties, there are many towns where accommodation is at its peak – Limassol, Paphos, Pyrgos Village.

#9 Meet the Cleanest Country in the World

According to National Geographic Traveler magazine, Slovenia is the leader in sustainable tourism. In the past several decades, it stood out among many other countries due to its cultural and natural wonders. The European Union nominated Ljubljana for Europe’s Greenest Capital in 2016. These facts are quite enough for retirees to choose this small European land for their home. In accordance with everything mentioned above, the living costs are reasonable, and healthcare is adequate and cheap.

If You Prefer Clean and Healthy Cities, Think About Ljubljana

The specific position of Slovenia, between Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia, gives it a specific charm. As a mountainous country with 30 miles of coastline, it is a four-season state in Central Europe. The capital, Ljubljana, is the backbone of the nation with its small-town charm. With all the amenities of the modern ages, top-notch infrastructure, and old-world lifestyle, Ljubljana is one of the most desirable cities for retirement.

Slovenia is considered the leader in sustainable tourism

#10 Glittering Sea and Breathtaking Scenery Is What You Can Expect from Croatia

If you prefer the azure blue sea, amazing landscapes, and a variety of culinary hotspots and culture, with Croatia, you can hit the jackpot. Also, your monthly budget doesn’t have to be very large, and the healthcare system is stable and efficient. It is recommended to choose marine towns with gorgeous scenery, like Dubrovnik, Pula, and Rijeka. Whether you want to enjoy sipping coffee next to the ruins of an ancient Roman temple or swim in the Adriatic Sea, Croatia will please every taste.

The City of Split

As Croatia’s second-largest city, it boasts a university and a large hospital and has become increasingly popular in recent years. Exploring gas-lit cobblestone streets, walking along the promenade, or having a great meal in some of the cozy and romantic restaurants, Split can provide you with the change in your life you’ve wanted to achieve.

The Mediterranean spirit is a feature of Croatian towns

Living Overseas Can Be a Great Experience

If you’re looking for a foreign place to relocate to as a retiree, Europe might just be a perfect location for you. There’s no better time to start gaining international experiences than right now. Depending on your wishes and needs, you can find a place that suits you the best. Besides excellent healthcare and affordable prices, there are a plethora of towns offering cultural, historical, food, and entertainment options. By turning over a new leaf in your life, you can enrich your daily routine, social life, and find great pleasure in your golden years.