Best European Countries to Retire

The diversity and beauty of Europe have many people considering the move – and ultimately the commencement of retirement planning. Based on a report by Live and Invest Overseas, the top 5 suggested European countries to retire have been discussed. Based on selection criteria including cost of living, environmental factors, medical care, expat community, taxes & ease of acclimatizing in a foreign country, the top 5 best countries to retire in Europe include Portugal, France, Slovenia, Italy, and Montenegro.

Countries in Europe to retire

1. Portugal

Portugal has been deemed a secret hot spot for a European retirement. At a relatively low cost of living (in respect to other European countries), beautiful sunny weather and an array of vast coastlines, Portugal can offer any retiree the life they want. Portugal offers the appeal of having a tremendous amount of local water sports, golf courses and scuba diving regions if you are the adventurous type or the laidback lifestyle of relaxing by the beach for those looking for some downtime.

As for retirees trying to decide where to go, Portugal has established a retirement program that allows expatriates residency in the country if they are able to prove a monthly combined income of €1,200 (~$1,350/month USD). Other factors, such as good health care system in Portugal and low crime rates, are other reasons why Porgutal has continued to be on the rise for expatriates retiring abroad.

2. France

The close second to Portugal for retirees came to France. France offers those planning on retiring abroad a wide range of lifestyle options. Whether you see yourself living in Paris and experiencing a life of shopping at famous boutiques, attending art galleries and eating at world-renowned restaurants or choose to move to Annecy to live a slower, more humble retirement, the options are endless.

Regardless of where you decide to live in France, you will have fresh food and endless wine available at your fingertips, adequate medical care coverage and a low crime rate. Depending on where you are in the country, expatriates may experience some difficulties with the language barrier, as many small towns are not commonly bilingual. Language barriers, however, don’t seem to be as big of a problem in the larger cities, such as Paris.

best places to retire in Europe

3. Slovenia

Making its way close to the top of the list for countries in Europe to retire went to Slovenia. A more discreet and less travelled country, Slovenia offers many advantages for retirement that other European countries can’t offer. Offering a Mediterranean coastline over 30 miles long and medieval architecture designs, Slovenia has a beautiful aesthetic appeal.

A few of the top rated factors that granted Slovenia the third place position was its exceptional environmental factors, low crime rates and low real-estate restrictions for foreigners attempting to buy. Slovenia is also one of the few countries that can offer a diversity of mountain top ski regions for the winter months and warm, lakeside scenery in the warm summer months. It is important to note that Slovenia also has well established medical coverage plans; however, living as an expatriate in a foreign land, obtaining global medical care is highly recommended.

4. Italy

Italy is one of the best countries if what you are looking for is a great diversity of art, culture and scenery. Whether you are living in Rome and visiting the Colosseum, getting involved in the fashion world in Milan,  or admiring the wineries in the Tuscan Valley, Italy is definitely an expatriate favourite. With phenomenally low crime rates, little to no real estate restrictions and above average health care system in Italy, Italy has an ample amount of advantages for foreigners wanting to retire. Living in Italy will require a bit of a learning curve when it comes to learning the local language and familiarizing with its local expat community, as they tend to be slightly more exclusive in those domains.

Countries in Europe to retire

5. Montenegro

Considered a hidden gem, Montenegro is located between Croatia and Albania in Southern Europe. With its unique and ancient architecture coupled with its mountainside terrains and beautiful views of the Adriatic sea, Montenegro is high on the list for desirable countries in Europe to retire. Montenegro offers retirees a favourable tax environment, competitively low real estate opportunities and low cost of living in comparison to its neighbours (such as the UK, Croatia, and Germany). Montenegro also offers expats the opportunity for permanent residency through the purchase of a home, through its new citizenship-by-investment program, allowing the process of retirement to be much easier than in comparison to other countries.

As an expatriate moving abroad for retirement, it is crucial to remember to obtain Global Health Insurance before departure. Global health insurance is the safest and most reliable option for long-term global medical care. International health insurance has the ability to travel with you from country to country. This is extremely important for expat retirees who plan on visiting family back home for holiday seasons. Contact Expat Financial for expert advice and to discuss your international insurance needs and requirements. To know about healthcare system in Croatia check out our healthcare region page.