Top 10 Reasons to Retire in Europe

by David Tompkins

Everybody dreams of their retirement and what occupies a major portion of these dreams is the location. Definitely, for retirees, scenery pops in the head when thinking of retirement, however, there are other things to consider too. Taxes, climate, healthcare services, transportation, and expenses are all which need to be learned about if not sorted before making the move.

Reasons to Retire in Europe

Europe is a favorite amongst retirees for some obvious reasons. No matter how many complications Brexit or Covid-19 have added, retirees still consider taking shelter and spending their retirement life in Europe. So, if you’re looking for reasons to retire in Europe and which countries offer the best perks to retirees, we suggest you keep reading.

1. Geographical wealth
2. Healthy work-life culture
3. Accessible real estate
4. Efficient healthcare systems
5. Friendly natives
6. Global culture
7. Great food and wine
8. Art and history
9. Climatic conditions
10. Elaborate transport system

Below are some of the best European countries for expatriates and retirees.


Italy is a favorite amongst vacationers and expatriates alike. Being home to one of the largest expat communities, retirees will find Italy to be very diverse and welcoming. The interaction of art, history, culture, and fashion can all be seen throughout the topography of Italy. Obviously, some regions would be costlier to settle, however, there is no shortage of places to live. Having your priorities sorted is the way to go about it.

For instance, as a retiree, if healthcare is a priority, Lazio is where you should be taking residence. For vineyard lovers, Tuscany is a perfect choice and for retirees, with a tighter budget, Sicily is simply the best. If you’ve planned a luxurious retirement for yourself, then look no further, as Lombardy will be your dream come true. Overall, climate, culture, and affordable lifestyle are major pullers for Italy and its cities.


Looking from a retiree perspective, one would be happy to settle in Portugal as the acquisition of a great real estate deal is attainable. That too, one which will get a spacious flat in good localities. Another major perk of settling in Portugal is the NHR or non-habitual resident tax, which allows pensioners an exemption from tax for 10 years. The Healthcare system and Portuguese diet are two factors that attract people not because they want to retire in the country, but because good life expectancy is a major influencer for people to adopt the lifestyle of Portugal. Just like the natives, many retirees aim to prolong their life span by living life the Portuguese way!

Did you know a full-course European meal costs less than 10 euros in Portugal? If you didn’t, this could definitely be one of the major pull to visit Portugal if not a top reason to retire in Europe. This also indicates that Portugal is very hospitable and pocket-friendly for tourists on a vacation. Portuguese people are amiable to expatriates who know basic Portuguese and are happy to help if you’re struggling with commutation and basic whereabouts.

Of course, Portuguese cuisine cannot be forgotten! A blend of Asian, African, and South American culinary flavors, Portuguese has already brought a lot to the table! So, while you’re here, the culinary exploration will go on and on.


Spain’s affordable lifestyle is enough to make anybody think about retiring in Europe at least once. Expatriates definitely are all in for the decent money they can make here, while retirees are happy about the reasonable expenditure in Spain. For culture vultures, art and history spread throughout the landscape of Spain is a bonus. Not only is there enough room for history to be created, but a fair share of Spain’s golden history is already on display. Retirees wanting to utilize their years by exploring places, Spain is the best place to be. And it wouldn’t be wrong to say that there is no boring day in Spain!

If even the thought of driving makes you irritable, then Spain’s rapid and elaborate public transport system is here for your rescue. While for retirees the concept of healthy work culture wouldn’t be that big of an appeal, however, witnessing a culture where individuals have a balanced life can set the right tone and a shift in perspective for people that have different work-life values. It is a known fact that quality of life is affected by job satisfaction, hence, it is pretty evident why Spaniards have a good quality of life.

Spain healthcare system is super-smart alongside a great bend towards an active lifestyle and healthy diets. There are numerous eateries where you can dine or wine, and shops from where you can procure fresh produce as an introduction to Spanish life. With sunshine on most days, you will surely get your daily dose of serotonin and vitamin D too!


The geographically diverse country of France is a killer when it comes to competition amongst European countries. It is on the wish list of globe-trotters and even retirees. Why? Answers are fairly simple. France isn’t just topographically varied, it offers a variety of lifestyle options to retirees too. Paris, the cradle of haute couture, can be the ideal location for retirees who wish to experience and have a closer look at fashion, art, and how trends build over time. For a more humble lifestyle, Annecy with its slow-paced life is great.

Gaining access to the public healthcare system in France requires you to stay for 3 consecutive months and a minimum of 183 days per year. Apart from the efficient healthcare system, high-speed trains and the rapid transportation system is a blessing to all the natives of France. The natural wealth of the country ranges from gleaming beaches to sky-reaching mountains, thereby, keeping all in store for both natives and vacationers. As far as real estate is concerned, France is much cheaper when compared with properties in the UK. Paris and the south coast lie on the higher side, but there are enormous chances to get your hands on decent bargains.

France is inspired by the philosophy of “work to live and not live to work”, hence, just like Spain, you’ll find people who are equally interested in entertainment, self-care, relationships, and exploration. And if you still feel doubtful about retiring in France, know that France has a big expat population, so there is definitely something that draws them to the place.


Slovenia is a less-known country not only for retirees but also for vacationers. However, what is eye-catching is its ranking as an ideal location for retiring in Europe. The healthcare system of Slovenia has a ranking of 46 out of 93 countries according to Numbeo ranks, hence, indicating a solid system in place to help citizens with their health issues. But that isn’t the only good thing about retiring here! Slovenia is simply pleasant on the eyes. It has an aesthetic appeal that will take you to medieval times.

With low crime rates, good climatic conditions, and lesser real estate restrictions, there are hardly any reasons why one shouldn’t be choosing Slovenia as their retirement destination.

Don’t forget Global Health Coverage

We would be remiss if we did not note that most European countries will require that you obtain a global health insurance policy that meets some basic policy requirements such as hospital care, out-patient, evacuation along with plans that do not have a deductible (Spain). Note that individual expat health insurance plans are subject to medical underwriting and the policy terms vary widely, so it is strongly recommended that you talk to an international health insurance expert such as Expat Financial. To learn more about healthcare in Europe checkout Expat Financial country & region guide

Final Comments about Retiring in Europe.

European countries offer more or less the same advantages to retirees, but that doesn’t mean that one place can compensate for the other. There is definitely a lot more to uncover, once you start living here. What makes them alike is their efficient healthcare system is also amongst top reasons to retire in Europe, which isn’t that tough to access too, however, just to be on the safer side, getting global health coverage is a good idea. Live like a local and learn from the expats, and you’re good to go!

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