Europe is a remarkably varied continent, for one so small. Some may dismiss it as a retirement option on the grounds of cost, but there are many parts of it which are highly affordable. While some parts might be a little chilly for some, others have a beautifully warm climate. Some parts are rather densely populated, but there are other areas which are wild and isolated. Essentially, whatever you are looking for, you will find it in Europe. Language can be a problem unless you go to the UK or Ireland, but many people speak at least some English, so you can muddle through until you learn the local lingo. If you are looking for culture, good food and a temperate climate, Europe might just be perfect for you. Here are our top European retirement destination picks:
If you choose this option, you certainly won’t be the only one: Cyprus is a very popular retirement destination, especially for people from the UK. It used to be a British protectorate, and there is a large community of Brits of all ages there. That means you’ll find English speaking facilities (such as doctors) and a ready-made group of fellow ex-pat friends. Make sure you get holiday home insurance. The sun shines for ten months a year and the cost of living is low: you can live the high-life in Cyprus without necessarily having a high-life income.
Like Cyprus, parts of Spain have lots of English-speaking (mostly British) retirees, mainly in and around the southern resort towns, so if you want to be part of an ex-pat community you can be. Alternatively, you could escape up into the mountain villages, or enjoy a second youth in vibrant cities like Barcelona or Madrid. There is a long coastline and skiing in the Pyrenees. Spain is a great destination for almost anyone as it is so varied. If you’re unsure what you want from your retirement, you could move around here quite easily while you decide.
Retirement in Scotland is the perfect choice for anyone who has a yearning for open skies and wilderness. It is of course, English-speaking, so you don’t need to worry about language issues (much). It is also generally cheaper than much of the rest of the UK. The highlands and islands are the place to head if you’d like tranquillity and freedom. You could find yourself living on the shores of a vast loch, or looking out over valleys filled with purple heather. If you are into hiking, then Scotland is ideal and attracts visitors from all over the UK. Winter-sports fans can head to the Aviemore and Glencoe areas for ski resorts.
Croatia is not somewhere that many people would immediately consider when thinking of retiring in Europe, but it is a surprisingly attractive option. It has grown in popularity as a holiday destination in recent years, but is a good retirement destination too. It has a beautiful Mediterranean-style coast, both mainland and islands. Modern villas have sprung up in these areas in recent years. It is relatively unspoilt compared to some parts of Europe, which have suffered from over-development. It also has stunning cities with buildings and city walls dating make to the medieval era, such as Split and Dubrovnik.
If you love art and culture, then a retirement in Italy is for you. Cities like Rome, Venice and Florence have a rich and long history of art and architecture going back to Roman times. If you’d rather get out of the cities, you can either head up to the cool of the lakes and mountains (such as the area around Lake Garda), or to the wonderfully long coastline. Many parts of Italy are impossibly romantic – such as the dramatic and colourful Amalfi coast area. And of course, if you are a foodie, Italy has one of the world’s best cuisines.
Wherever you choose, retirement in Europe has many potential benefits. If you settle somewhere and then change your mind, remember that you could always just get some insurance for your home, rent it out and then travel: that’s the beauty of being in a part of the world where travel between countries is quick and easy.