Where Are The Best Places For Expats To Retire In Southern Europe? part 2 – Malta , Croatia and more…

Where Are The Best Places For Expats To Retire In Southern Europe? part 2 – Part one is here.

11 Best Places for Expats to Retire in Southern Europe

Europe is a place with diverse cultures, history, and society. What makes an expat want to retire in Europe? It could be the lifestyle they want, climate, or simply historical sites they can visit. While all of those listed have something to offer every expat, here are the best places for expats to retire in southern Europe.

1.    Portugal

Where Are The Best Places For Expats To Retire In Southern Europe

Portugal is very popular among European expats, especially retirees. It’s the right place to settle down in with an exotic touch of Portuguese culture and lifestyle at a low cost of living (another main reason it’s popular). For example, shopping can be done on street markets or depachika-like stores, which are very reasonable.

For retirees, Portugal is very safe, and the crime rate is low (there are no muggers or pickpockets like in big cities like London). It has a good healthcare system for expats with affordable cost of healthcare. What’s more important, there are lots of great resorts to try; places like the Algarve, Cascais, Estoril and Costa Vicentina.

2.    Malta

Where Are The Best Places For Expats To Retire In Southern Europe

Malta is a place for expats who loves historical sites. You can see hundreds of ancient temples from various Greek civilizations, Phoenicians to the Romans. The weather in Malta is also very temperate with the Mediterranean climate, so it’s great to visit even in winter. Besides its rich history, it’s also the place to be for retirees with affordable healthcare prices.

3.    Croatia

Where Are The Best Places For Expats To Retire In Southern Europe

Croatia also has a wonderful cultural blend from the Romans, Hungarians, Venetians, and Austrians, so it’s not difficult to find places with European flair. The cost of living is very affordable, as well as the property prices (for those who want to buy a house).

It isn’t swarming with expats, but you can find a couple in the coastal cities. One great thing about Croatia is that it has the best scenery in Europe; if you look around, there are mountains beside the seaside. You can even climb some mountains for a beautiful view of the country.

4.    Spain

Spain has a beautiful coastline and great weather throughout the year, which is one of the main reasons why most expats choose to live there. Barcelona is already popular from time to many westerners, from students to working-class people, so it’s not a challenge to find a place to live.

The cost of living index is low compared to other parts of Europe; you can easily rent a place or buy a house for your family. Spain isn’t just about the sun and sea; many museums and castles will be great for expats who like art and culture.

5.    Cyprus

In Cyprus, there are many restaurants and bars, which is a great way to socialize with fellow ex-pats. The cost of living index as well as property prices are reasonable, as well as the weather throughout the year. In addition, it’s very close to other parts of Europe, so your friends can always come by for a visit.

One of the disadvantages in Cyprus is that there aren’t many job opportunities and it’s very small (a country where you can ride a bike from one end to another).

6.    France

France has many great things to offer every expat, not only for retirees but also for families. It has all seasons; summer, fall, winter, and spring. It’s a country of great food and wine and rich history and culture.

Another main reason why France is one of the best places to retire in southern Europe; it has a great healthcare system with affordable cost (much better than the US) as well as top-notch universities for those who choose to study in this part of Europe.

7.    Italy

Italy is a great place for retirees who want to taste authentic Italian culture and cuisine. There are lots of ancient buildings and historical sites that will make your tour in Italy worthwhile. You can ride a bike around the city and enjoy the view of the Italian coastline.

It also has great weather throughout the year, perfect for those who want to go sightseeing. However, Italy is not a place for expats who wants to make their fortune (the cost of living index and property prices are quite high), but it’s a good choice if you want to have a family since it’s very safe.

8.    Slovenia

Slovenia is a small country in Europe, but it’s growing quickly to become one of the best places to live and retire. It has an affordable cost of living and good weather, which is perfect for retirees and tourists who want to enjoy nature and outdoor activities.

Even though it’s very small, you won’t get bored with all its beautiful mountains and rivers. The healthcare system in Slovenia is also sound, but the availability of jobs is not that great.

9.    Montenegro

Montenegro has beautiful mountains, rivers, and beaches. It’s also blessed with great weather throughout the year so that you can travel here any time of the year. Montenegro is one of those places in Europe that still have an old-fashioned vibe

This makes it a perfect place for expats who want to experience culture shock. The cost of living index is relatively low, making it one of the best places for retirement in southern Europe. It also has an excellent healthcare system with affordable costs.

10. Belgium

Belgium is one of the best places to retire in southern Europe. It has a great climate and a safe environment, perfect for expats with families. The cost of living index is quite low, allowing you to have a decent life in Belgium without spending too much money. However, there aren’t that many opportunities in the job market as well as an affordable healthcare system.

11. San Marino

San Marino has a beautiful view of the mountains and hills. It also has perfect weather all year long, which is great for retirees who want to experience different seasons without traveling too far away from their place.

Property prices are affordable, making it one of the best expats to retire in southern Europe. San Marino is quite small, so you will get bored with it after a few days, so you may need to travel from time to time.

Factors to Consider When Retiring in Southern Europe

Retiring abroad is a choice that many make as they near or enter retirement; one of the most popular locations in Southern Europe. If you’re considering buying property in Southern Europe and retiring there, here are seven factors to consider.

  • Currency Risks
  • Health care costs and availability
  • Local tax implications
  • Availability of infrastructure
  • Climate and weather conditions
  • Cost of Living
  • Standard of living

1.    Currency Risks

The most immediate risk is that of currency fluctuation. For example, the British pound has weakened against the Euro over the past year, meaning that £100,000 worth of Euros purchased today would be worth £8,849 less than a year ago. So if you are buying property in Southern Europe with US Dollars or British Pounds, be aware of the risks.

2.    Health Care Costs and Availability

If you are used to living in a developed country with good access to free or subsidized health care, this may not be possible abroad. As you will likely live in your new home for at least some years before becoming eligible for state health care, it is advisable to ensure that you can afford your own private medical insurance.

3.    Local Tax Implications

If you are a US citizen, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) requires financial institutions to report all income from foreign sources on any US taxpayer who may be considered a ‘US person.’ The definition of a “US person” includes US citizens, resident aliens, and certain nonresident aliens if they meet a presence test.

 If an account isn’t reported, the taxpayer is subject to a withholding tax equal to 30 % of any payment from the foreign financial institution.

4.    Availability of Infrastructure

Most places in Southern Europe were built centuries ago, and while some parts have been modernized, others are still lagging. You should ensure that not only will you be able to get the services and amenities you need but also that these are maintained throughout your time there.

5.    Climate and Weather Conditions

Temperatures in these countries drop markedly once winter sets in, so while the summer may be hot, it can get very cold, and snow may fall. You should research this before moving to ensure that you will be able to cope with the climate as well as choose a location that is likely to see the conditions you desire throughout your time there.

6.    Cost of Living

You’ll need to consider both the median income in the country as well as how much that will get you. For example, while the median income of Germany may be quite high, it will not get you very far if prices are out of your budget. Moreover, it is advisable to consider the cost of living for a variety of items as well as take into account your personal needs.

7.    Standard Of Living

While you may be seeking a low-cost lifestyle, Southern Europe is home to some very developed countries and cities with high standards. You will need to consider how this standard fits into your own lifestyle as well as analyze the quality of life in different locations.

Frequently Asked Questions about Retirement

Old Elderly Walk Senior Beach Retirement Relax

What do I have to do to retire?

It would help if you had two things to retire, financial independence and a plan for what you will do with your time after retiring. Retirement is very different from being unemployed because you no longer receive an income but instead draw on funds you have saved up during your working life.

How much do I need to save up to retire?

The amount of money you need varies depending on your health and your retirement plan. Still, as a general rule, if you want an annual income equal to 70% of your working life income, then you should have saved enough to maintain that level of spending. That savings should be spread across a range of types.

What kind of financial planning do I need?

You will want to start planning for retirement well in advance to make sure that you can save enough and that you set up the right investment plan. There are many different ways to invest money, and some will make more sense than others, depending on your circumstances.


As the global population of retirees continues to rise, so does awareness and demand for destinations that offer more than just a comfortable climate to live in. A retiree’s needs and desires often include cultural activities, opportunities abound, and locations where people can still communicate in their native tongue. Therefore, the above countries are the best places to retire in Southern Europe as an expat.

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