The 10 best places to retire in Europe


Where to Retire in Europe If your retirement dream is to live in one of the great old towns of…

Where to retire in Europe

If your retirement dream is to live in one of Europe’s great old cities, it can be hard to narrow down your options. Retirees on a budget need to consider the cost of living and the affordability of real estate. As you age, you will need easily accessible health care at reasonable prices. Entertainment and recreation options are a primary consideration for many retirees. You will also want to consider the ease of establishing residency and returning to the United States. Adopting a European lifestyle can be a perfect way to relax and enjoy your retirement years. Consider what retirement might be like in these enchanting European retreat spots.

Tavira, Portugal

Tavira is an ancient city located in the Algarve region of Portugal, the region of the country that has always been most popular with expats. It has the reputation of being the most charming town in the region and has all the characteristics of a traditional Algarve village, including whitewashed buildings with azulejos, lace chimney pots and streets paved. The graceful Gilao River bisects Tavira, with restaurants, cafes and social entertainment in the town squares on either side. Unspoiled golden sandy beaches that stretch for miles are a short boat ride from the center of Tavira. Portugal is one of the easiest countries in Europe to retire due to the low financial threshold of around 1,200 euros per month required to qualify for residency.

Annecy, France

The big attraction of Annecy, the pearl of the French Alps, are the ski slopes in winter. But this lakeside town is an attractive location all year round. Unlike other leading ski destinations in France, Annecy is not a tourist town, but a lively community that is more cosmopolitan than a typical haunt of snow bunnies. Annecy is a city of art and history that can look like an open-air museum. Every July, its streets are given over to Les Noctibules, an annual art festival, and the highly anticipated Fête du Lac in August features the biggest fireworks display in Europe.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Slovenia is nestled between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia in the heart of Central Europe. It’s a highland with 30 miles of Mediterranean coastline. The Old World capital, Ljubljana, is the heart of the country, with easy access to beaches and ski resorts. Ljubljana is a modern city with all the conveniences of 21st century living that manages to retain the charm of a small town. Local farmers bring their produce to market every day in wooden carts. You could adopt this old-fashioned lifestyle backed by top-notch infrastructure on a budget of just 1,400 euros per month.

Cascais, Portugal

A mile-long stretch of sheltered coves, sand dunes and rocky outcrops, the coast of Cascais, Portugal offers some of the best beaches in Europe. Cascais has a marina, top golf courses, over 100 parks and gardens, world-class restaurants, a mild climate all year round, proximity to the capital, Lisbon, and an extraordinary overall quality of life. This seaside town is home to a large and welcoming expat community. Cascais started life as a fishing and farming village, but grew into a small town of around 200,000 with a university campus, international and bilingual schools, hospitals, shopping center and casino .

Citta Sant’Angelo, Italy

Perched on a hill with views of the Gran Sasso mountain, the Adriatic, vineyards and olive groves, is the 9th century Città Sant’Angelo. At the heart of ItalyIn the Abruzzo region, it is one of the greenest regions in Europe, with over a dozen ski resorts in one direction and 80 miles of coastline in the other. Città Sant’Angelo has earned the title of “Borgo”, joining the Italian association of towns of historical interest. Sant’Angelo has also been designated “Città Slow”, a city that is committed to preserving traditional ways of life and resisting development. Not much has changed in Città Sant’Angelo over the centuries, and that’s how locals appreciate it.

Kotor, Montenegro

This small seaside country of half a million people scattered in an area smaller than the state of Connecticut is nestled between Croatia and Albania in southern Europe. Bayside Kotor, surrounded by high mountains on one side and the dazzling Adriatic on the other, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and perhaps the best preserved medieval town in the Mediterranean. The Old Town Square is anchored by the 11th-century Saint Tryphon Cathedral, but its cafes and shops are bustling and bustling with youthful energy. It’s a little-known but friendly, safe and welcoming corner of Europe, comparable to the historic stone villages of Italy, but more affordable.

County Clare, Ireland

County Clare, located along Ireland’s west coast, holds a special place in the hearts of the Irish. It’s a bastion of the true Irish spirit – the idioms, friendliness and charming sense of humor that the Irish are famous for. Here, dramatic cliffs traced by footpaths gaze out over the gloomy waters of the Atlantic. Clare has a reputation as a mecca for surfers due to the swells on the beaches in the area. For those wishing to live in Ireland permanently, the Stamp 0 visa is a residency option. Applicants must prove an annual income of 50,000 euros, which is expensive compared to other European destinations, but also reflects the high standard of living in Ireland.


The center of Paris is an open-air museum where few changes, but every day offers the possibility of discoveries. Paris offers the best of city life, from bookshops, antique shops, champagne cellars, parks and gardens to museums, theatres, galleries, five-star restaurants and luxury boutiques. Paris has excellent public transport, eliminating the need for a car, plus it’s flat and walkable, which leads to a healthier lifestyle by encouraging you to walk more. It is one of the most expensive cities in the world, but it is also one of the best reservoirs of wealth. A charming apartment well located in this city will always find a buyer and a tenant.

Popoli, Italy

Nestled in the valley of three Apennine mountains, Popoli, Italy, with a population of 5,000, is a complete escape from the troubles of the modern world and is a sought-after center of healing. This medieval town is known as the City of Water, thanks to a long-dormant volcano that rumbles beneath it, bubbling with hot spring water renowned for its healing properties since Roman times. The first healing center was built on the site in 1885, but was destroyed during World War II. The modern Terme di Popoli opened in 1998 and uses the region’s thermal waters as a base for the treatment of dozens of ailments. In high season, the facility sees 1,000 or more patients daily.

Valletta, Malta

From its climate and gastronomy to its history and culture, Malta is not only the best of Mediterranean Europe, but also one of the most affordable options for embracing a European lifestyle. This three-island, 122-square-mile nation has worked hard to establish itself internationally, and Malta’s capital, Valletta, is known for its culture. The the language is English, crime rates are low and health care is excellent. Malta does not offer a Retiree Visa, but its Global Residency Program for non-EU citizens represents one of the best residency opportunities in Europe. You can qualify simply by renting accommodation for as little as 800 euros per month.

The best places to retire in Europe:

—Tavira, Portugal.

— Annecy, France.

— Ljubljana, Slovenia.

—Cascais, Portugal.

— Citta Sant’Angelo, Italy.

— Kotor, Montenegro.

— County Clare, Ireland.

– Paris, France.

—Popoli, Italy.

— Valletta, Malta.

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The 10 best places to retire in Europe originally appeared on

Update 6/16/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.


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