Best Countries To Retire In Europe: Top Picks For A Great Retirement

Thinking of retiring to Europe? With so many great destinations, picking the ideal place is challenging. Use our guide to get started.

If you’re planning to retire in Europe, you may be wondering which countries offer the best quality of life, healthcare, and affordable living.

With so many amazing destinations available, deciding where to settle down can be overwhelming.

Fortunately, several European countries are very well regarded for their retirement-friendly policies, picturesque landscapes, and rich cultural heritage and lifestyle.

When it comes to retirement, Europe has a lot to offer. Many countries in the region have well-developed retirement approaches that provide ample benefits and support to their retired population.

From idyllic locations to affordable healthcare, Europe is home to some of the world’s most retirement-friendly destinations.

However, not all countries and locations are created equally, and some may be more suitable for your specific retirement needs than others.

In this article, we’ll look at some of Europe’s best countries to retire. We’ll explore their unique features, pros, and cons and help you decide which location is ideal for your retirement needs.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful countryside retreat or a lively city lifestyle, we’ve got you covered. So, sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of retirement opportunities that are available in Europe.

Understanding retirement in Europe

Retiring in Europe can be an excellent option, especially if you’re looking for a change of pace and a new lifestyle, with the opportunity to experience new cultures.

However, it’s essential to understand the retirement landscape in Europe before making any big decisions.

Retirement funding

For the majority of European citizens, a combination of government pensions, private pensions, and personal savings typically marks retirement in Europe.

A narrow cobbled street in Elba on a sunny day
Capoliveri, Italy

As a non-European, to get the most from your retirement, you will need something similar. In fact, nearly all European nations will need you to demonstrate that you can fund your retirement adequately before they issue any form of residency visa.


Your lifestyle in Europe will vary dramatically depending on your chosen country. Generally speaking, the pace of life in Europe can be slower than in other parts of the world, with a focus on enjoying life, spending time with family and friends, and pursuing hobbies and interests.

It goes without saying that retiring to a major European capital like Paris or Berlin would offer a very different retirement lifestyle to one in a small village community many miles away from a major city.


Europe has a tremendously rich history and diverse culture. Each country has its unique traditions, customs, and way of life.

Within each nation, the lifestyle and culture will change dependent on your location. Northern Italy is a very different place to southern Italy. Barcelona is very different from Marbella. From the food to the art to the culture, there’s always something new to discover in Europe.

To find your perfect place, you need to build up a very clear idea of what it is you’re looking for in retirement.

Weather and climate

The climate in Europe varies widely depending on where you choose to retire.

Some countries, like Spain and Portugal, offer warm, sunny weather practically all year round, while others, like the UK and Germany, have more temperate weather, and it’s not impossible to spend most of the summer with an umbrella on standby.

Residency and visa

If you’re planning on retiring to Europe, you must consider your residency and visa requirements.

Each country has its own rules and regulations, so it’s essential to research and ensure you understand the process and can meet any financial requirements before committing to any big moves.

Some EU countries offer programs for investors where you can get residency by investing in real estate or engaging in other types of investments. You can find out more in our EU Golden Visa Programs guide.

International retirees

Many European countries are popular international retirement destinations, with large communities of retirees from all over the world. This can offer an excellent opportunity to meet new people, make friends, and enjoy an exciting and fulfilling social life.

Retiring in Europe can be an amazing experience, but it’s essential to research and understand the retirement landscape for each given location before you commit.

Why not start with a really long vacation? Rather than staying in just one destination, draw up a list of locations and spend some time in all of them. You can never beat the real experience of visiting a destination and spending time enjoying everything it has to offer.

The cost of living in Europe

Top of your list when planning your retirement to Europe has to be the cost of living. Depending on your chosen country and the location within that country, the cost of living can vary greatly.

Here are some things to keep in mind when budgeting for your retirement in Europe:

The overall cost of living

The overall cost of living in Europe can often be higher than in other parts of the world.

Red roof tops of Perast in Montenegro with mountains in the background
Perast, Montenegro

However, there are also key countries where the cost of living is relatively low. For example, countries like Portugal, Spain, and Greece are known for their low cost of living compared to other European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands.


Renting a home can be a significant expense when retiring in Europe; you may read information online that suggests rental costs are relatively low. Keep in mind the prices being quoted are sometimes for the cheapest apartments in the least desirable locations.

Where ever you live now, there’s almost certainly somewhere cheaper than where you’re currently living. Would you choose to live there?

Just as with anywhere in the world, lifestyle comes at a cost, and you need to research how much your lifestyle will cost rather than finding the cheapest rental prices available.

Rental costs vary greatly depending on the country and the location within the country. Rent in major cities like Paris, London, or Rome will be way higher than in smaller towns or rural areas.

You’ll need to research rental costs in your desired location. Call or email rental agencies, and be very specific about what it is you’re looking for. In the long run, it would be better to discover you can’t afford a rental property that meets your standards in a certain location than to end up living in unpleasant conditions.


Budgeting is far more critical when planning for retirement outside of your home nation. You have to consider your expenses, including housing, food, transportation, healthcare, and leisure activities.

As a non-EU retiree, you will be required to have private healthcare insurance when you apply for a visa and residency. It makes sense to shop around for the most suitable cover. If you want to be covered in more than one country, international health insurance is a great option. International health insurance can be quite expensive.

To make sure you get the best value for money, compare international health insurance options from various providers to find the best deal. 

Creating a realistic budget that considers all your expected lifestyle costs will set you on the path to the retirement you want.

Low cost of living countries

If you’re looking for a low-cost country to retire in, there are several great options in Europe.

Portugal, for example, is known for its low cost of living, affordable healthcare, and beautiful weather. You need to research each location carefully as the popularity of retirement in Portugal has grown so have the costs.

Spain is another popular destination for retirees.

Not everywhere in Spain is cheap. In fact, some locations, such as Marbella, are anything but cheap. However, you can still find locations offering a lower cost of living, where you can enjoy the wonderful climate and the vibrant Spanish culture.

Marbella Marina - expensive yachts and boats moored along the marina
Marbella, Spain

Greece and the Greek islands are also great options for retirees looking for a retirement destination that offers a lower cost of living. With such incredible scenery and the relaxed lifestyle on offer, you’ll find plenty of great locations.

Top European countries to retire

Let’s look at some of the top countries to retire in Europe. There are some fantastic destinations to consider.

Each country has a unique character, attractions, and cultural sparkle, making them a great place to enjoy a fun-filled retirement.

Here are some of the top European countries to retire, we’ll start with a quick overview and dig in deeper later.


Portugal rates as one of the most popular and desirable retirement destinations in Europe. Portugal offers a gorgeous climate, beautiful beaches, and a lower cost of living.

Home to characterful historic cities, such as Lisbon and Porto, which each offer a distinct and rich cultural scene.

Activities like golf, sailing, walking, fishing, snorkeling, and hiking are abundant.

As a top international retirement destination, it’s a great location to make new friends and enjoy a colorful social scene.


France is another popular destination for retirees. There’s so much to discover and do in France, you will never grow bored of living in such an inviting and beautiful nation.

France literally has everything, and it’s no wonder many of its population don’t feel the need to travel elsewhere. You’ll enjoy an excellent healthcare system and a high quality of life as well as some of the world’s most beautiful cities, such as Paris, Nice, and Lyon.

France’s food and wine culture is also a major draw for retirees looking for a taste of the good life.


Italy is a majestic country that needs no introduction. Its rich history, stunning architecture, and beautiful landscapes make it an ideal retirement destination.

You’ll have access to the Alps and some of the most magnificent landscapes and countryside in Europe. You’ll be able to enjoy trips to some of the world’s finest cities, such as Milan, Rome, Florence, and Venice.

With Italian cuisine and a flamboyant culture, what more could you want in retirement?


Croatia is a hidden gem in Europe, quickly becoming a popular retirement destination.

Less well-known than some of the more established retirement destinations like Spain, Croatia offers something very special, and it’s not just the lower cost of living.

To really understand why Croatia is such a great retirement destination, you need to visit the country. You’ll be blown away by its incredible beaches, the amazing countryside and most of all its incredibly warm and hospitable population.

Plan a trip, visit the fabulous historic cities, such as Dubrovnik and Split, and enjoy the rich cultural experience. You may well decide that Croatia is your perfect retirement destination.


Malta is a small island nation steeped in history located in the Mediterranean Sea south of the Italian island of Sicily.

Gozo island, medieval architecture of castle and boats on the harbor of Malta
Gozo Island, Malta

The country offers an idyllic warm Mediterranean climate, beautiful scenery, and a relaxed way of life. Its compact historic cities, such as Valletta, Sliema and St. Julians, provide a rich cultural experience with all of the amenities you need to enjoy a rewarding and fulfilling retirement.


Spain will never lose its status as one of the most desirable retirement destinations for many Europeans, and for very good reason.

Spain is the one country where you really can have it all. A modern, well-developed nation with an efficient and extensive transport system, a modern healthcare system, and every other facility you’d expect in a highly developed nation.

And, of course, all of this comes with a fantastic climate, beautiful beaches, and often a lower cost of living is achievable.


Slovenia is a small country located in Central Europe that you shouldn’t overlook.

Relatively new to the international retirement scene, the country offers a relaxed way of life, beautiful scenery, and a low cost of living.

It has some lovely historical cities, such as Ljubljana, which provide a rich lifestyle experience.


Montenegro, another relative newcomer to international retirement, is a small country located in the Balkans.

The country offers a warm climate, beautiful scenery, and a low cost of living. Home to attractive historic cities, such as Kotor, Montenegro is a country that begs to be explored.


Ireland has always been a popular retirement destination for anyone who doesn’t sunbathing and lazy days by the pool at the top of their list.

Ireland offers high-quality life, beautiful scenery, and a rich cultural experience. You’ll also be able to enjoy sophisticated city life in major cities such as Dublin and Galway.


Greece is a country that needs no introduction. Its rich history, stunning architecture, and beautiful landscapes make it an ideal retirement destination. The country is also home to some of the world’s most historic cities, such as Athens and Thessaloniki.

No matter which of these countries you choose to retire in, you’re sure to have a wonderful experience. Each country has unique charm and attractions, making it a great place to spend your golden years.

Let’s look more closely at each country as a potential retirement destination.

Portugal as a retirement destination

Portugal is worth considering if you are looking for a warm and sunny place to retire in Europe. The country’s relaxed lifestyle, affordable cost of living, and stunning natural beauty make it an attractive option for retirees worldwide.

The country is also known for offering a low-tax regime to foreign retirees for the first ten years.

One of Portugal’s most popular retirement destinations is the Algarve region, located in the southernmost part of the country. The Algarve is known for its beautiful beaches, warm climate, and picturesque towns. It is also home to many expat communities, which can make it easier to adjust to life in a new country.

If you like the idea of living on an island, check out Madeira and the Azores. These are especially popular with retirees from North America.

Lisbon, the capital city, is another great option for retirees. It offers a vibrant cultural scene, excellent healthcare, and a mild climate. However, it is more expensive than other parts of Portugal, so it may not be the best choice if you are on a tight budget.

Smaller cities like Coimbra, Sintra, Cascais, Setubal, Aveiro, and Viseu are also very popular with expats.

If you are planning to invest in business, R&D, or arts in Portugal, the Golden Visa program may interest you. The minimum investment amount is €500,000, but it can be an excellent way to secure long-term residence in the country.

Regarding healthcare, Portugal offers high-quality services at a relatively low cost. The public healthcare system is available to all residents, including foreign retirees. Private healthcare is also available; many expats purchase health insurance to supplement their coverage.

Overall, Portugal is a great retirement destination for those looking for a warm and welcoming country with a low cost of living and excellent healthcare. Whether you settle in the Algarve, Lisbon, or another part of the country, you will find a community that welcomes you with open arms.

Find out more about the country in our Living In Portugal guide.

Wondering where to move in Portugal? Read our Best Places To Live In Portugal guide.

France as a retirement destination

France is a popular destination for retirees from all over the world. This country has much to offer, from its rich history, vibrant culture, and beautiful landscapes. If you are considering retiring in France, here are some things you should know.

The village of Aiguines village with charming chateau and church overlooking Lac de Sainte Croix Lake, Var department, Provence, France
Var department, Provence, France

Popular retirement destinations in France

Paris, the Capital City

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, and for a good reason. It is a city of art, culture, and history, with some of the most famous museums in the world, including the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay. The city is also known for its charming cafes and beautiful architecture.

Retiring in Paris can be expensive, but it is an excellent choice if you can afford it. Just do your research and find the best neighborhood in Paris to suit your needs and budget.


A stunning tapestry of vineyards, lavender fields, and quaint villages, Provence offers retirees a tranquil pace of life. Here, you’ll be treated to sunny weather, world-renowned cuisine, and a rich cultural history that spans millennia.


Known for its premium vineyards and elegant architecture, Bordeaux provides a high-quality lifestyle. It has a perfect blend of city and countryside living, offering leisurely river cruises, a vibrant gastronomic scene, and close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.


This Côte d’Azur gem is a dream for sun-seekers, offering a mild Mediterranean climate, beautiful beaches, and a glamorous yet relaxed lifestyle. Nice boasts a lively arts scene, diverse cuisine, and numerous cultural festivals.


Nestled in southwestern France, Dordogne is a rural paradise brimming with medieval towns, charming chateaus, and verdant landscapes. It’s an ideal spot for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking, canoeing, or simply reveling in nature’s beauty.


Renowned for its rugged coastline and rich Celtic heritage, Brittany offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural intrigue. The region’s unspoiled beaches, picturesque towns, and delicious seafood make it a captivating retirement destination.

Annecy, France

Annecy is a great option if you are looking for a more peaceful retirement. This small town in the French Alps offers stunning views of the mountains and Lake Annecy. It is known for its picturesque old town, full of charming shops and restaurants. Annecy is also great for outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and boating.

Cost of living

The cost of living in France can vary depending on where you live. Paris is one of the most expensive cities in the world, while smaller towns and villages can be more affordable. Healthcare costs are generally lower in France than in the United States, and the quality of care is excellent.

Culture and lifestyle

France is known for its rich culture and lifestyle. The French are famous for their love of food, wine, and fashion. Retiring in France means you will have access to some of the best food and wine in the world. The country is also known for its excellent healthcare system, which provides universal coverage to all residents.

In conclusion, retiring in France can be an excellent choice for those looking for a rich cultural experience, beautiful landscapes, and a high quality of life. Whether you retire in Paris or a smaller town like Annecy, you will surely enjoy all France offers.

For more information, read our Living In France guide. Wish to narrow down the choices? Start with our guide on The Best Places To Live In France.

Italy as a retirement destination

Italy is one of Europe’s most appealing countries to retire, especially for those who love the Mediterranean lifestyle. With its beautiful landscapes, rich history, and delicious cuisine, Italy offers much to retirees looking for a slower pace of life.

One of the most significant advantages of retiring in Italy is the cost of living. Italy is relatively affordable compared to other European countries, especially in the southern regions. Housing, food, and transportation costs are lower than in many European countries, making it an attractive option for those on a fixed income.

Another reason why Italy appeals to retirees is its healthcare system. The Italian healthcare system is among the best in Europe, and retirees can access it for free or at a reduced cost, depending on their income. This means that retirees can enjoy high-quality healthcare without breaking the bank.

If you’re an English speaker, you’ll be pleased to know that many Italians speak English, especially in tourist areas. However, it’s always a good idea to learn some basic Italian to help you better integrate into the local community.

Italy is also an excellent place for retirees who love art and culture. From the ancient ruins of Rome to the stunning architecture of Florence, Italy has a rich cultural heritage that retirees can explore and enjoy.

In summary, Italy has a lot to offer retirees looking for a slower pace of life. With its affordable cost of living, excellent healthcare system, and rich cultural heritage, Italy is perfect for those who want to spend their golden years in a beautiful, welcoming country.

Discover more in our Living In Italy guide. For the most popular retirement locations, read our guide on The Best Places To Live In Italy.

Croatia as a retirement destination

Croatia might be the perfect place for you if you’re looking for a retirement destination with a sunny climate and plenty of outdoor activities. This hidden gem of a country is located in southeastern Europe, and it boasts a stunning coastline along the Adriatic Sea, a rich cultural heritage, and a welcoming and friendly local population.

One of the biggest draws of retiring in Croatia is the country’s warm and sunny climate. With an average of over 2,500 hours of sunshine annually, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors and soak up the sun. The summer months are enjoyable, with temperatures often reaching 30°C or higher, making it the perfect time to explore the country’s many beaches and coastal towns.

In addition to its beautiful coastline, Croatia is also home to a number of national parks and nature reserves, which offer a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and kayaking. The country’s mountainous interior is also popular with outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for skiing and snowboarding in the winter months.

But Croatia isn’t just about the great outdoors. The country also has a rich cultural heritage, with a long and fascinating history reflected in its architecture, art, and cuisine. From the medieval walled city of Dubrovnik to the Roman ruins of Split, plenty of cultural attractions exist to explore.

Overall, if you’re looking for a retirement destination with a sunny climate, plenty of outdoor activities, and a rich cultural heritage, Croatia is definitely worth considering. With its welcoming locals, stunning scenery, and affordable cost of living, it’s no wonder that more and more retirees are choosing to make this hidden gem their home.

You can find a wealth of information in our Living In Croatia guide. Don’t forget to have a look at Croatia’s Most Popular Destinations For Expats.

Malta as a retirement destination

Malta should be on your list if you’re looking for a Mediterranean paradise to retire in. With its stunning coastline, sandy beaches, and crystal-clear waters, Malta is a true gem in the heart of the Mediterranean.

One of the biggest draws of Malta is its coastline, which stretches for over 250 kilometers. This means that no matter where you are on the island, you’re never too far from the sea. The Mediterranean coastline is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and fishing, and there are plenty of marinas where you can dock your boat.

Valletta, the capital of Malta, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to some of the most beautiful architecture in the Mediterranean. The city is full of historic buildings, museums, and art galleries, making it the perfect destination for culture lovers.

But perhaps the biggest draw of Malta is its sandy beaches. The island is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the Mediterranean, with crystal-clear waters and soft, white sand. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to sunbathe or a lively beach with plenty of water sports, Malta has something for everyone.

In addition to its natural beauty, Malta is known for its delicious seafood. The island’s location in the heart of the Mediterranean means it has access to some of the freshest fish in the world, reflected in its cuisine. From traditional Maltese dishes to international cuisine, Malta has something to satisfy every palate.

Malta is a Mediterranean paradise with a perfect combination of natural beauty, culture, and cuisine. With its stunning coastline, sandy beaches, and crystal-clear waters, it’s undoubtedly one of Europe’s best countries to retire.

Find more information about the country and how to move there in our Living In Malta guide. For an overview of Malta’s locations, read our guide on the Best Places To Live In Malta.

Spain as a retirement destination

For a good reason, Spain is one of Europe’s most popular destinations for retirees. With its warm climate, beautiful beaches, and world-class golf courses, it’s no wonder that many expats choose to retire in Spain.

One of the biggest draws of retiring in Spain is the year-round weather. With over 300 days of sunshine annually, you can enjoy the outdoors and all that Spain offers no matter what time of year. Whether you prefer hiking in the mountains or lounging on the beach, there’s something for everyone in Spain.

In addition to its natural beauty, Spain is home to some of the best golf courses in Europe. From the Costa del Sol to the Costa Blanca, there are dozens of courses to choose from, many of which are designed by some of the top names in the sport.

If you’re considering retiring in Spain, it’s important to note that the cost of living can vary widely depending on where you choose to live. For example, the cost of living in Madrid or Barcelona can be much higher than in smaller towns and villages. However, Spain is generally considered an affordable place to retire, especially compared to other European countries.

Retiring in Spain can be an excellent choice for those who love the outdoors, enjoy golf, and want to take advantage of the country’s warm climate and relaxed lifestyle. With its welcoming expat community and affordable cost of living, it’s easy to see why Spain is such a popular choice for retirees.

You can find all the details about Spain’s coastal locations in our guide on Spain’s Costas. For a more comprehensive overview of various destinations, read our guide on The Best Places To Live In Spain.

To know more about Spain and how you can move there, start with our Living In Spain guide.

Slovenia as a retirement destination

Slovenia is an excellent choice if you are looking for a retirement destination that perfectly balances natural beauty and modern amenities. Known as the Green Heart of Europe, Slovenia is a country that boasts stunning landscapes, rich culture, and a high standard of living.

One of the most impressive aspects of Slovenia is its abundance of parks and forests. The country is home to over 40 parks and reserves, including the Triglav National Park, the only national park in the country. The park is located in the Julian Alps and is a popular destination for hiking, skiing, and other outdoor activities.

In addition to its natural beauty, Slovenia also has a rich cultural heritage. The capital city, Ljubljana, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its stunning architecture, museums, and galleries. The city is also home to numerous parks and gardens, including Tivoli Park, the largest park in Ljubljana.

Slovenia’s commitment to sustainability and green living is also evident in its cities. Ljubljana was named the European Green Capital in 2016 and has since become a model for sustainable urban living. The city has implemented numerous green initiatives, including a car-free city center, a bike-sharing program, and an extensive public transportation system.

Overall, Slovenia is an excellent retirement destination for those who love nature, culture, and sustainability. Slovenia is genuinely the Green Heart of Europe with its abundance of parks, forests, cultural sites, and commitment to green living.

Montenegro as a retirement destination

Montenegro is worth considering if you want a retirement destination with stunning scenery and rich history. Nestled between Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, and Albania, Montenegro is a small Balkan country that boasts an impressive diversity of landscapes, from rugged hills to pristine beaches.

One of the most popular destinations in Montenegro is the coastal town of Kotor, which is famous for its well-preserved medieval architecture, including its impressive city walls. Kotor is also a great starting point for exploring the stunning Bay of Kotor, surrounded by steep mountains and charming coastal towns.

Montenegro’s natural beauty will impress you if you are an outdoor enthusiast. The country has several national parks, including Durmitor National Park, known for its stunning glacial lakes and rugged peaks. The park is also great for hiking, skiing, and other outdoor activities.

In addition to its natural beauty, Montenegro is also steeped in history. The country has a rich cultural heritage reflected in its many historic sites and landmarks. For example, the Ostrog Monastery, which is built into a sheer cliff face, is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the Balkans. Other notable historic sites in Montenegro include the walled city of Bar and the medieval town of Cetinje.

Overall, Montenegro offers a unique blend of nature and history that is sure to appeal to retirees who are looking for a retirement destination that is both beautiful and culturally rich. Whether you are interested in exploring the country’s stunning scenery or learning about its rich history, Montenegro is a destination that is well worth considering.

Our Living In Montenegro guide is a perfect place to start learning more about the country. If you want to explore various locations, have a look at The Best Places To Live In Montenegro guide.

Ireland as a retirement destination

Ireland may be the perfect place to retire if you want a country that beckons explorers with stunning landscapes and friendly locals.

Ireland is known for its warm hospitality, spirited culture, and breathtaking scenery.

One of Ireland’s biggest draws is that English is the primary language. This makes it easy for retirees who may not be fluent in other languages to communicate with the locals and navigate the country quickly.

Kinsale Town, located at the start of the Wild Atlantic Way, is famous for its colourful streets, rich history and beautiful landscapes.
Kinsale Town, Ireland

Additionally, Ireland has a high standard of living, meaning you can expect access to quality healthcare, public transportation, and other essential services.

Ireland is also home to a wealth of historic buildings and landmarks. From the ancient ruins of Newgrange and the Rock of Cashel to the stunning castles and cathedrals that dot the countryside, there is no shortage of sites to explore.

Whether you are interested in learning more about Ireland’s rich history or want to take in the beauty of these architectural wonders, there is something for everyone in this country.

Of course, no discussion of Ireland would be complete without mentioning the country’s famous hospitality. The Irish are known for their friendly and welcoming nature, which makes it easy for retirees to feel at home in this country.

Whether exploring the local pubs, attending a traditional music session, or simply conversing with a local, you will be greeted with a warm smile and a friendly demeanor.

Ireland is an excellent choice for retirees looking for a country with a rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and friendly locals. With its high standard of living, English-speaking population, and wealth of historic sites, this country has something to offer everyone.

Read more about the country in our Living In Ireland guide. Planning to move? We have a step-by-step manual on how to move to Ireland from the US successfully.

Greece as a retirement destination

If your ideal country for retirement should have a rich history and culture, Greece should be at the top of your list. With a history of over 4,000 years, Greece is one of the oldest civilizations in the world.

Greece has many ancient ruins and archaeological sites, including the Acropolis in Athens and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

Greece is also known for its depth of culture. The country is home to numerous galleries and museums that showcase the works of Greek artists throughout the centuries.

For example, the National Archaeological Museum in Athens houses one of the world’s most extensive collections of ancient Greek art. At the same time, the Museum of Cycladic Art is home to an impressive collection of Cycladic art.

In addition to its art galleries, Greece is also home to numerous theaters and performing arts venues. The ancient Theater of Epidaurus is one of the most well-preserved ancient theaters in the world and is still used today for performances during the Athens and Epidaurus Festival.

Other notable theaters include the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, located on the slopes of the Acropolis, and the Megaron Concert Hall in Athens.

Greece’s culture is also evident in its food, music, and festivals. Greek cuisine is known for its fresh ingredients and Mediterranean flavors, with dishes like moussaka, souvlaki, and spanakopita being popular options.

Greek music is characterized by its use of traditional instruments like the bouzouki and the lyre, while Greek festivals like the Carnival of Patras and the Athens Epidaurus Festival provide a glimpse into the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Overall, Greece is a country that is rich in history and culture, making it an ideal destination for retirees who are looking to immerse themselves in a vibrant and fascinating culture.

Find out more about Greece in our Living In Greece Guide. To find the best locations, check out our Best Places To Live In Greece.

Lifestyle and activities for retirees in Europe

As a retiree in Europe, you will be able to enjoy access to many lifestyle options and activities to keep you busy and engaged. Whether you enjoy outdoor activities, dining out, or nightlife, Europe has something to offer everyone.

Restaurants are plentiful throughout Europe, with various cuisines and price points. Many cities have Michelin-starred restaurants, while smaller towns and villages often offer more traditional fare. No matter your budget or taste preferences, you will find a restaurant that suits your needs.

Golf courses are abundant in Europe, with many countries boasting world-class courses. Scotland, for example, is famous for its links courses, while Spain and Portugal have many courses open year-round. Whether you are a seasoned pro or a beginner, you will find a course that challenges you and offers stunning views.

Outdoor activities are also a popular pastime in Europe. From hiking in the Alps to cycling along the Danube, there are countless opportunities to explore the great outdoors. Many countries also have national parks and nature reserves that offer a chance to see wildlife and experience unspoiled landscapes.

Dining is a social activity in Europe, and many retirees enjoy meeting friends for a leisurely meal or a cup of coffee. Cafes and bakeries are popular gathering spots, and many cities have vibrant food markets where you can sample local specialties.

Nightlife varies widely across Europe, with some cities known for their clubs and bars while others offer a more laid-back atmosphere. Berlin, for example, is famous for its techno clubs, while Paris is known for its jazz clubs and cabarets. Whatever your preferences, you will find a nightlife scene that suits you.

Overall, Europe offers a rich and diverse array of lifestyle options and activities for retirees. Whether looking for adventure or relaxation, you will find something that suits your needs and interests.

Health and quality of life in Europe

Retiring in Europe can be an excellent choice for many reasons, including access to quality healthcare and a high standard of living.

Europe is home to some of the best healthcare systems in the world, with many countries offering universal healthcare coverage to their citizens.

In addition to excellent healthcare, Europe is known for its high quality of life. Many European countries rank highly regarding happiness, safety, and overall well-being. This is partly due to European cultures’ emphasis on work-life balance and taking time to enjoy life outside of work.

Diet is also an essential factor in overall health and quality of life, and Europe is home to some of the healthiest diets in the world.

The Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats like olive oil and nuts, has been linked to numerous health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease and dementia.

Overall, Europe is a great place to retire if you want access to quality healthcare, a high standard of living, and a healthy lifestyle.

Whether you choose to retire in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, or another European country, you can expect to enjoy a happy, healthy, and fulfilling retirement.

Europe’s climate and scenery

Regarding retiring in Europe, one of the most important factors to consider is the climate and scenery. Europe is known for its diverse landscapes, from the snow-capped mountains of the Alps to the sunny beaches of the Mediterranean.

The climate in Europe varies greatly depending on the region. Northern Europe tends to be cooler and wetter, while southern Europe enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers.

The mild climate in many parts of Europe makes it an attractive destination for retirees looking to escape harsh winters. Check out these 5 European destinations with a mild climate all year round.

If you’re a nature lover, Europe has plenty to offer in terms of scenery. The continent has vast forests, rolling hills, and stunning coastlines.

Whether you prefer hiking in the mountains or strolling along the beach, there’s something for everyone.

Switzerland is one of the best countries to retire in Europe for those who love the outdoors. The country is known for its stunning Alpine scenery, with snow-capped peaks and crystal-clear lakes. It’s also an excellent destination for skiing and other winter sports.

Portugal is an excellent option if you’re looking for a more temperate climate. The country enjoys over 300 days of sunshine annually, making it one of the sunniest countries in Europe. It’s also home to beautiful beaches and charming towns.

For those who love lush greenery, Ireland is a great choice. The country is known for its rolling hills and rugged coastline, as well as its mild climate and frequent rain. It’s an excellent destination for hiking and exploring the outdoors.

Overall, Europe’s climate and scenery offer something for everyone. Whether you prefer sunny beaches or snowy mountains, there’s a country in Europe that’s perfect for your retirement.


In summary, Europe offers some incredible retirement destinations with top-notch infrastructure and excellent healthcare systems. Whether you are looking for a relaxing beachside retreat or dynamic city life, there is a retirement destination for you.

Before you make any commitments, you should take the time to visit your intended destination and speak to people who’ve already retired there, especially if they come from the same country as you. They’ll be able to give valuable tips to make your move as easy as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best European countries for retirement?

Europe offers a wide range of options for retirees with different preferences. Some of Europe’s best countries for retirement are Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, and Malta. These countries have a pleasant climate, rich culture, and a relaxed lifestyle.

Which European country offers the best quality of life for retirees?

The quality of life for retirees in Europe varies depending on individual preferences. However, according to the Annual Global Retirement Index, Portugal is the top European country for retirement in terms of quality of life. It offers a great climate, affordable cost of living, and excellent healthcare.

What is the most affordable European country to retire in?

If you are looking for an affordable country to retire in Europe, consider Bulgaria. It has a low cost of living, affordable healthcare, and beautiful countryside. Other affordable countries to retire in Europe include Romania, Hungary, and Poland.

What are some popular Mediterranean countries to retire in?

Mediterranean countries are popular among retirees due to their warm climate, beautiful beaches, and relaxed lifestyle. Some of the popular Mediterranean countries to retire in are Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Malta.

Can US citizens retire in Europe?

Yes, US citizens can retire in Europe. However, they must apply for a long-term visa or a residence permit to stay in Europe for more than 90 days. The requirements for obtaining a visa or a residence permit vary depending on the country.

What are the requirements for retiring in Europe as an American?

As an American, the requirements for retiring in Europe vary depending on the country. Generally, you need a valid passport, a long-term visa or a residence permit, and proof of sufficient funds to support your stay. You may also need to provide evidence of health insurance and a criminal background check. It is best to check the specific requirements of the country you want to retire to.

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