expat network

Ranking Top Ten Expat Retirement Destinations

Many people on the verge of retirement see a change of scenery abroad as the perfect life move, when relaxation and indulgence take over following long careers that may have spanned over 40 years.
While retirement options differ from person to person, the general consensus is that ending your working commitments and retiring abroad is something to look forward to.

However, deciding exactly where to retire can be a daunting prospect. Without a clear plan or younger family members to help in the decision-making process, deciding where to spend retirement can prove difficult.

If you’ve been thinking about retiring abroad, or know someone who is, you might want to this research complied by International Currency Exchange (ICE). Taking data from Numbeo.com in November 2016, they’ve assessed ten of the world’s most popular retirement hotspots on a variety of factors to help you judge whether a better quality, less expensive lifestyle can be obtained abroad. An ICE poll also surveyed 1,000 respondents aged 40+ to gauge what are the top five ranking motivations for retiring abroad.


Here’s the cost per square metre of buying an apartment in a city centre for the top ten locations:


Country (City) Property Price
Spain (Madrid)
Tenerife (Santa Cruz)
Australia (Sydney)
Greece (Corfu)
Lanzarote (Arrecife)
Malta (Valletta)
Portugal (Lisbon)
Panama (Panama City)
United States (Orlando)
France (Paris)
UK (London)


Island Living

From these findings, island-based living on Corfu and Lanzarote is the cheapest in terms of property value.

A Mediterranean climate also makes both destinations an enticing prospect for retirement. With average summer highs of 22-25 ºC and mild winters from 10-19 ºC, the family will be keen to visit your new home. In the ICE poll, better weather was the number one motivation (76%) for moving abroad.

Not only do Corfu and Lanzarote offer huge property savings of over 90% compared to London, living expenses are far cheaper too. Retirees can make savings of over 50% on their electricity, heating and water bills.


City Living

While a slower pace of life was one of the top five motivations (60%) for retiring on foreign shores, retirees can still enjoy having plenty of amenities close by.

The Portuguese capital of Lisbon ranked the best value city out of the destinations on the list, offering retirees massive property savings of more than 80%. While this total is trumped by the likes of Orlando (90.85%), and Panama City (88.82%), it’s worth bearing in mind that Lisbon is just under a three-hour flight from London, meaning people retiring in the sun can still be close to friends and relatives back home.

Lisbon also beats London comfortably when it comes to saving the pennies, with a saving of over 50% for a three-course meal for two (53.59%), electricity, heating and water bills (52.04%) and a domestic beer (53.60%) – perfect for those wanting to relax in the Iberian heat.


Getting Around

For expat retirees, healthcare is a massive factor underpinning a decision to move abroad. Survey respondents agreed, with over half (57%) mentioning health as one of the top five significant factors. In Spain for example, an S1 form makes retirees eligible for the same medical treatment as locals if they are in possession of a UK state pension.

Getting around is also a key consideration no matter the destination for each individual. In various cases, retirees may become rather reliant upon public transport with age. The rising cost of public transport in London has been well documented, but retirement hotspot Santa Cruz de Tenerife boasts the second-best value public transport savings at 55.76%.