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The European View on Best Places to Retire

Category: International Retirement

August 9, 2010 — Perhaps you have been thinking about an expatriate retirement outside of the U.S.  or Canada. Or maybe you already live in Europe or South America.  If that describes you, this article will attempt to answer 2 interesting questions for you:  where do people from other countries hope to retire to, and where are the best non-U.S. places to retire.

Our curiosity about the  places people from other countries retire to was recently rewarded by a survey conducted in Europe by Aon, the human capital firm.  As part of a very large survey about all aspects of European retirement, Europe’s Retirement Challenge, the firm studied the retirement destination preferences of people from a wide group of European countries.

The results are most interesting, both from the viewpoint of where Europeans want to retire to, but also from what countries U.S. citizens might want to consider for an expatriate retirement.

Those who want to leave:
About half of the residents surveyed from Germany, Ireland, and England are ready to pack up and move to another country.

Those who want to stay:
Over 80% of the surveyed residents of Denmark, Spain, and France plan on retiring in their home country.

Where they want to move to:
Spain. Not only do 86% of Spaniards want to retire in their home country, but 18% of folks from other countries want to retire in Spain as well. It was the overwhelming choice among people from all countries seeking to emigrate (see rest of article for destinations within Spain).

France. About 10% of people from other European countries plan on retiring to France. Spain was the only other country that had strong attraction as a retirement destination, although the U.S., Italy,and Australasia held some interest.

Other countries. People from Switzerland are interested in retiring to the U.S. Some French retiree are considering retirement in Africa.

Sidenote. The main purpose of the Aon study was on investigate European worker’s attitudes about retirement. What might surprise many Americans who envy the comfortable social programs available in Europe is that just as in the U.S., workers here are also anxious about their ability to retire and have enough money to live it comfortably.

So what are the hot places to retire outside the U.S?
Here are some ideas based on recent lists that have crossed your editor’s desk.
AARP recently recommended its 5 Best Places to Retire Abroad:
Mexico Puerto Vallarta. Great climate and beaches, lower costs, 50,000 expatriate Americans.
France – Languedoc-Russillon. Dry climate, great charm, wonderful food, near beaches. Good health care.
Panama. Boquete. Warm climate, back home amenities like golf, charm, low costs.
Portugal – Cascais. Beaches, golf, and a nice lifestyle on $30,000 a year.
Italy – Le Marche. Located on the Adriatic, Le Marche offers mountains and beaches, wonderful food, and very strong cultural life.

Meanwhile Johnny Punish published a nice list of his “Top 10 Places to Live in Mexico” on StraightStocks:
1. Lake Chapala, Jalisco
2. Ensenada, Baja California
3. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajato
4. Guadalajara, Jalisco
5. Merida, Yucatan
6. Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
7. Mazatlan, Sinaloa
8. Puerto Vallarta, Nayarit
9. La Paz, Baja California
10. San Cristobal de las Casas Chiapas

For Further Reference:
Top 10 International Places to Retire
International Blog Articles

Where do you think are the best places outside of the U.S. for retirement? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Posted by John Brady on August 9th, 2010


  1. Boquete ( Panama ) and Costa Rica are already too expensive. Hence, I went to Caripe, Venezuela and visited the famous Guacharo Cave, discovered by Alexander Von Humboldt in 1801 and it was great. Caripe is 1200 m high and temperature is 66-74 deg F all year round and land is fertile. Affordable Houses, Chalets and Lots of 550 – 1300 M2 are for sale, contact for details. Tourism and Retirement in Caripe are active and there are many nice Bed&Breakfast (Posadas) for less than 40 $/day while you hunt for housing.

    by Jonathan — December 22, 2010

  2. In Italy you can also see Bari, port at the Adriatic sea (in Romania)

    by marie — July 3, 2013

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