No. 1 best country in Europe for retirement: Portugal

Retirement score: 7.83

Portugal is the best country in Europe for retirement.

It’s one of the most affordable European countries because of its low cost of living. On average, the cost of living, excluding rent, is almost 29% lower than in the U.S., according to SmartAsset. 

Portugal ranked as the best country to retire, according to the Moving to Spain report.

Alexander Spatari | Moment | Getty Images

To retire in Portugal, U.S. citizens must apply for a residence visa. According to Global Citizens Solutions, the process is relatively straightforward and requires applicants to provide a valid passport, proof of income, health insurance, and a criminal background check.

Portugal is most known for its wine. Two of Portugal’s oldest wine-growing regions, the Alto Douro region and Pico Island in the Azores, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Top 10 best countries in Europe for retirement

  1. Portugal
  2. Spain and Italy (tie)
  3. Spain and Italy (tie)
  4. Greece
  5. Bulgaria
  6. France
  7. Slovenia
  8. Croatia
  9. Malta
  10. Ireland

Two countries tied for second place. Spain and Italy and both have a retirement score of 7.31, according to the report.

The cost of living in Spain, excluding rent, is almost 34% less than in the U.S. And the country offers residents access to its public healthcare program.

To start the process of retiring in Spain, interested parties should look into getting a long-stay visa or a residence visa.

Spain is known for its fantastic culture and architecture in cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and more.

Barcelona, Spain, was even named the happiest holiday destination in Europe of 2023, according to Club Med.

Spain tied with Italy as the No. 2 best country in Europe to retire.

Pol Albarrán | Moment | Getty Images

While the United States has a life expectancy of 76, according to The World Bank, Italy’s is as high as 83 as of 2021.

The Moving to Spain report states that Italy has a higher percentage of people aged 65 and over than any other country in Europe.

Renting in Italy is almost 55.3% lower than in the U.S. and the overall cost of living, excluding rent, is 14.7% lower.

The World Health Organization ranks Italy’s healthcare system as the second-best in the world. To take advantage of the country’s nationalized healthcare, you have to be a resident.

Italy offers an abundance of great food and has a vast history. It is home to iconic landmarks like the Coliseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and more.

Italy tied with Spain as the second best country to retire.

Alexander Spatari | Moment | Getty Images

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