If you are asking yourself where you can retire in Europe, narrowing down the choices of destinations is easy. There is nothing better than going on the suggestions of people who have already done it. Other factors to consider are your lifestyle preferences, quality of schooling if you have children, family activities, amenities, and healthcare. The following are our suggestions of where to move, having read many reports and spoken to expats on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Where Can I Retire in Europe?
1: European Turkey
Known as the Turkish trace, this area of Turkey sits in southwest Europe. Although only 5% of Turkey’s land area sits in Europe, it holds 14% of the population. Prominent areas include Tekirdag, Edirne, and Canakkale, but Istanbul garners all the attention. And being a working hub of business, finance, education and tourism, many foreigners retire there. The only downside is Istanbul is the most expensive place to live in Turkey, especially if you want to rent and not buy a property. Many expats who retire to Turkey, put substantial savings into the bank and withdraw the monthly interest rate. Other than that, the principal reason for moving there include the weather climate, quality of life and Turkish hospitality. If you want to buy property in Istanbul, consider the up-and-coming outskirt European districts with many new lifestyle residences.
2: Retire to Switzerland
Switzerland ranks highly on the HSBC Expat Survey and the Natixis retirement index so it must have some influence. Items it scored highly for was a quality of life, political stability, income, disposable income, economic stability, learning and schooling. Life expectance and health expenditure were other factors. However, there are criteria to fulfil. You need to have sufficient income for you and your family, and health insurance. To get a five-year residence permit, register with the local migration office. This is automatically renewed, if you can fulfil the criteria. For other countries, you need to be over 55 and prove close ties of which owning property is not enough. So, what can you expect from Switzerland? Well, we all know those rolling green pastures and delicious chocolate, and cheese fondue. But forget about stashing your money incognito into the banks because that is outdated.
3: Spain: Hub of Europe
If you want to spend your days on a sun-drenched Mediterranean beach, Spain is a choice. The country’s popularity is not some newfound trend either. For decades, foreigners have flocked to live and work there because Spain throws out a tantalising blend of culture, history, and cuisine. Think traditional beachside paella and outdoor alfresco dining with copious amounts of famous wine brands to understand what your lifestyle will look like. While working professionals flock to the enormous cities like Barcelona or Madrid, retirees move to the Costas. Costa Brava, Calida and Costa Del Sol all have sizeable groups of expat communities to enjoy the gorgeous year-round weather and friendly hospitality of the Spanish people. Another alternative, Mallorca ranks for its beautiful beaches and stunning land scenery. Overall, in Surveys, Spain is an all-rounder ranking for quality of life, physical and mental wellbeing, and cultural hospitality. For more: Spain vs Turkey for living.
4: Everything Italian
What is there not to love about Italy? Put aside the delicious pasta and pizza to discover something delightful in every corner. From the vineyards to old churches to quaint villages and iconic cities, Italy is an alternative lifestyle that embraces individuality. Italian culture revolves around the dinner table, but expect more than food and wine. Friendly conversation and the chance to make friends put Italy on the map as another worthy destination. History buffs will find a lot to love about Italy. Cities like Rome and Milan, are two of the most expensive places to live, and for the lowest costs of living, head to the south, not north. Open a euro bank account when you arrive and budget about 2,500 euros for a comfortable lifestyle in Italy. The country has everything to offer people looking to retire to Europe, but the downside is the lengthy and drawn-out process for buying property. It can drain and be costly.
5: France: Time Honoured Favourite
This time-honoured favourite of the Place in the Sun has always been a top choice for potential retirees. Staying away from the French alps which comprises ski resorts, they choose enormous cities like Paris or destinations on the French Riviera. Like many other urban destinations, places like Paris clock up a reputation as an expensive place to live, but head out to the countryside to find affordable rent and sales prices on property. Overall, 17 regions to choose from, provide diversity so whatever your lifestyle preferences, you will discover the town for you. The most famous is Auvergne sitting in the heart of France. But also consider Brittany, Corsica, and Provence Alps Cote d’Azur that includes Avignon, and Marseille. The last region is noted and respected for its delicious cuisine, but also because it blends old and new traditions. Turkey vs Spain, France, and Portugal.
6: Swanky Portugal
Portugal has always had a prestigious reputation, and this is boosted by the many celebrities buying golfing villas and old historical mansions. Portraying that typical Mediterranean ambience of quaint villages, a healthy cuisine, idyllic summers, and long sandy beaches, it is also a top golfing destination alongside Turkey. It has been a firm favourite for many decades, and other European nationalities flock there. For an all-encompassing, urban lifestyle, Lisbon comes up trumps with a vibrant nightlife and shopping scene and art, culture, and history. If renting, expect to pay anything upwards of 550 euros in a small destination, heading up to 1,500 euros in enormous cities. Portugal isn’t the cheapest place to buy property in Europe, but finding quality housing is easy. Let us not forget the iconic Algarve as one of the top desirable places to live in Portugal. Known for its sandy beaches and golf courses, there are several compact towns and villages to choose from.
As you can see, asking where to retire in Europe throws up a multitude of destinations, but the above choices rank as the place to start your property search.
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