Your retirement should allow you to wave goodbye to the stress and pressure of work. Whether you are an adventurer or deckchair lounger, craving an energetic environment or pure tranquility, a move to a new country can be one of the best ways to realize the full potential of your golden years.
(+) The Mediterranean coast offers 300+ days of sun per year.
(+) Excellent healthcare, some of the best in the world.
(+) Exquisite food and daily siestas.
(-) Possible language barrier - English and other languages are not widely spoken.
Spain has long been a favorite retirement destination amongst European expats. The allure of the Mediterranean setting coupled with a beautiful culture fueled by sun, sangria and siestas make it the perfect place to kick back, relax and enjoy the finer things.
Best features: Oceans, Landscape.
(+) An active island - popular for cycling, hiking, and diving.
(+) Rich in history.
(+) Sits in the middle of the Mediterranean, surrounded by azure waters.
(-) Eating out can be expensive.
(-) Difficulty securing residence.
An ancient island that sits in the middle of the Mediterranean below the boot of Italy, Malta is home to stunning panoramic landscapes of the ocean, and rugged terrain sprinkled with the architecture of the various civilizations that have laid claim to it throughout the ages.
The island is popular amongst expats who seek adventure from their place of retirement. The landscape can be traversed on foot, or by bike, and there are ample diving opportunities at the various caves, reefs and shipwrecks that exist in Malta’s azure waters.
Best features: Food, Countryside.
(+) Cheaper housing prices than many other European countries.
(+) Great diversity – shares borders with 11 countries.
(+) Brilliant infrastructure – cheap and easy travel.
(-) Lots of strikes can cause disruption.
Idyllic countryside and ancient châteaus are wrapped by beautiful beaches and coastal areas. France is a place with a lot to offer, with some of the finest food & drink in the world, and a culture steeped in history.
Practical benefits of living in France include a greatly reduced cost for a premium healthcare service, excellent and affordable travel infrastructure, and lower taxes.
Best features: Weather, Lifestyle.
(+) Friendly and welcoming people
(+) Beautiful beaches, some of the best surfing spots in the world.
(+) A laid back way of life.
(-) Accommodation isn’t cheap.
(-) Slow lifestyle might not suit everyone.
From the beaches of the Algarve to the historic charm of Lisbon and Porto, Portugal is an excellent destination for retirees looking to relax and live out their golden years in relative tranquility.
Mild weather and a friendly population make Portugal a place with a generally slower lifestyle. With a world-class healthcare system and very low crime rates, it is a safe bet for those looking to relax during their retirement.
Best features: Coastlines, Wildlife.
(+) High standard of living – but affordable for all expats.
(+) Quality and affordable healthcare.
(+) Easy to establish residency.
(-) Winters can be damp and cold.
Uruguay has long qualified as one of the world’s best places to retire. In addition to its temperate climate, interesting wildlife, and strong democracy, it is an easy place to gain residency.
The landscape is made up of grasslands, tree-lined cities such as its capital Montevideo, and beach towns. Although it is a largely Spanish-speaking nation, the people are very welcoming and around the city, most people will speak to you in English.
Best features: Nature, Affordability.
(+) Unique plants and wildlife.
(+) Huge variety of climates and lifestyles.
(+) Very low cost of living.
(-) Ecuador is a poor country.
The tropics of Ecuador offer up some of the most stunning wildlife and fauna out there. With 1200 miles of coastline, an active volcano, and the Galapagos Islands in its water, it is quite possibly one of the most diverse places on the planet, a great country to explore in your retirement.
The cost of living is extremely low, yet the island has all the modern-day conveniences you could need: fiber-optic internet, clean drinking water, and affordable healthcare and housing.
As for the people, they know how to enjoy themselves. Expect later dinners, and even later dances. In total, Ecuador has an enticing balance of adventure, relaxation, and excitement.
Best features: Diversity, Activities.
(+) Anyone can find a home here.
(+) Beautiful natural diversity.
(+) Endless adventure opportunities – kayaking, rock climbing, surfing, diving, dancing, the list goes on.
(-) There are high crime rates.
Colombia is another country notorious for its biodiversity, which comes as no surprise as it shares borders with Ecuador. However, if you are looking for a more developed country to retire to, Colombia could be perfect for you. It has all the natural allure of its neighbor, but with the added of benefit all the modern products, services, and infrastructure you would expect in other major countries.
The capital, Medellin, is nicknamed ‘The City of Eternal Spring”, as its perfect climate allows for flowers to be in constant bloom.
Best features: Food, Culture.
(+) Home to some of the most exciting cuisine in the world.
(+) An incredible music scene.
(+) Your money will go further.
(-) Safety can be in an issue in some places.
Only a stones’ throw from the United States, Mexico is already popular as a retirement destination for American and Canadian citizens.
As a country, it offers a huge choice of locations, climates, costs, and lifestyles. It has all the modern conveniences of other developed nations, and the food is hugely popular around the globe.
2. Costa Rica
Best features: Biodiversity, Sustainability.
(+) A commitment to sustainability.
(+) Active outdoor culture.
(+) A government committed to the people.
(-) Scorpions and snakes are common in houses.
A country that abolished its army in 1949, Costa Rica has been a forward-thinking country ever since. More money towards education, climate preservation and sustainability has made it a popular haven for expats from all walks of life.
It has a tropical climate, affordable medical costs, and friendly locals. There is little not to love about Costa Rica, and with a stable democracy, the country attracts thousands of retirees each year.
Best features: Carbon-negative, Tropical Climate.
(+) Panama is one of three carbon-negative countries in the world.
(+) Cost of living to suit most budgets.
(+) Actively seeking retirees- “pensionado visa” requires pension income of only $1000 a month.
(+) Excellent hospitals and medical provisions – easily accessible.
Panama has topped the list of the world’s best places to retire more than once – 11 times to be exact. It has a luxurious tropical climate with cooling breezes and is situated between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
No single place has everything you could ask for, but Panama comes close. A safe living environment, brilliant medical services, friendly locals, and an attractive retirement scheme. The Panama Pensionado visa offers 50% of entertainment, 25% off airline tickets, and discounts on everything else from monthly energy bills to medication.