Not Just For Retirement, These Are Great Places To Live …
Imagine the smell of freshly-baked croissants wafting through the air, or the satisfying swallow of wine made from grapes grown just down the road. Perhaps you muse about living on a sun-drenched Mediterranean beach or tucked down a cobbled lane savoring the cosmopolitan delights of a history-rich city…
A retirement in Europe is a dream for many folks. And it can easily be a reality. If it’s culture, history, and variety you’re after, Europe has it all, and at a cost much lower than you may think… Over the next few pages we explore the five best low-cost options for enjoying your perfect European retirement.
Each of these countries contradicts the dated view of Europe as a continent for the wealthy retiree
France: Pleasantly Affordable, Great Quality of Life
By Barbara Diggs
You didn’t expect France to be on this list, did you? Many people can never believe the land that gave the world the likes of Versailles, Chanel, and the term haute cuisine could be anything other than prohibitively expensive.
Don’t let France’s glittering reputation blind you. France is a wealthy, First-World country, but the average French person only makes about $30,000 per year. Outside of high-glamor zones like Paris, Provence, and the sun-soaked towns of the Riviera, the cost of living and real estate can be surprisingly reasonable…yet the quality of life remains very high.
Spain: Sunny, Affordable European Living
By Glynna Prentice
Warm, sunny days by the glittering Mediterranean, cool nights at an outdoor café, lingering over dinner until the wee hours, mouthwatering paella, mounds of fresh seafood, succulent roast lamb (and flavorful wines to accompany them), rich, ancient culture, hilltop castles, and vast stretches of countryside just made for hiking and cycling. Spain invites you to wax lyrical over its many charms and its laidback lifestyle. Here, having fun is expected and hanging out is an art.
And these days, that appealing lifestyle is very affordable. Spain has long been one of the least-expensive countries in Europe. And today, with real estate prices at their lowest in decades and the euro weaker than it’s been in years, Spain is a downright bargain, whether you’re looking to live here full- or part-time.
Malta: The Best of European Island Life
By Gigi Griffis
Ask any expat why they upped sticks to relocate to the tiny Mediterranean island nation of Malta (all 122 square miles of it—not a whole lot bigger than Nantucket) and the same three reasons keep cropping up: sea, sunshine, and the friendly and welcoming population of English-speaking locals. I encountered all three in abundance on my journeys through this captivating island chain. And having traveled throughout Europe, I can honestly say that Malta fits the bill for an ideal retirement destination.
In Malta, you’ll find abundant sunshine even at the height of winter. Valletta, the nation’s scenic capital and adorned with historic buildings, is renowned as the warmest capital in Europe—and with less than 7,000 inhabitants, a highly manageable one, at that. Even in January, you’ll still find temperatures in the 60s F, rising to the 80s F during the glorious summer months.
Italy: A Passion for Apulia
By Steenie Harvey
It’s understandable why many Americans regard Italy as expensive. I would, too, if I’d ever been foolish enough to pay $20 for an ice cream near Rome’s Trevi fountain or take a $120 gondola ride in Venice.
Thankfully, I spend far more time outside “tourist Italy” than in it.
Venture beyond the country’s big-ticket destinations, and you’ll likely be amazed at how inexpensive it can be. It’s not a case of compromise either—just like art treasures, history, and luscious landscapes, good living is everywhere.
Leaving aside hotspots like Capri and Sorrento, the farther south you go, the more prices fall. A quick example: The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Milan is $1,000 and in Florence it’s $700. But in Lecce, a flamboyantly baroque city in the Apulia region of Italy’s deep south, it’s $436.
Portugal: The Last Bastion of True Old World Living
By Eoin Bassett
Ask your average European to describe England, Italy, or France and they will have an answer—even if they have never been. But beyond its southern beach towns and the elegant old capital of Lisbon, Portugal will have them stumped.
Few folks—not even the neighbors—have a clear picture of this small country. It’s Iberian but not Spanish. It nowhere touches the Mediterranean Sea yet it is in ways Mediterranean.
It’s small—no bigger than Indiana—but diverse, with each region distinct. You’ll spend the afternoon eating lamb in a mountain hamlet where wood smoke wafts from ancient stone homes, and that same evening dine on fresh fish on a sandy Atlantic beach.
Many thanks to International Living Magazine