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The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021

Best places to retire in 2021

Where Should I Retire In 2021?

This could be one of the most frequently asked question we get every year. Other questions we get are somewhere along these lines: 

  • Where are the best places in the world for me to live better, reinvent myself, and have a grand adventure?  
  • With an endless array of choices, from white-sand beaches to mountain living, and from Old World culture to ultra-modern metropolises, how do I decide what’s best for me? 


We’re here to provide answers to those questions. We’ve spent the last year compiling the information you need to make an informed decision. Medellín to Mazatlán, Phuket to Paris, our team has scoured the globe to identify the world’s best places to retire overseas in 2021.
 

Our 2021 Overseas Retirement Index is the most comprehensive, well-researched, data-heavy resource on the world’s top places to spend time. Here’s a sneak peek at the results… 

14. Vietnam

Stunning view of the Halong Bay in Vietnam, an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
iStock/HuyThoai
  • The cost of living in Vietnam is among the world’s lowest.
  • Vietnamese food is some the most delicious and inexpensive in the world.
  • Because of its French legacy, Vietnam has a wine culture. About 12 wine producers operate in the country, but the most famous is Vang Dalat.

Why Should I Retire In Vietnam? 

Vietnam is arguably the cheapest place on Earth to live well. This is a land of beautiful, world-class beaches, cool mountain retreats, and cities seething with vitality. Many Westerners head to Vietnam and love it. Others complain about the hustle, the noise, and the lack of Western influence, particularly in the northern part of the country.

Vietnam is an emerging market that has only recently moved beyond the dark transition following the war. The population is youthful, and an energy permeates everything. The Vietnam that existed in the 1960s and early 1970s exists only in memories. The country has moved on toward a much brighter future…

Where Should I Retire In Vietnam? 

– Hanoi

Beautiful sunset in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.
iStock/Nguyenhieu2206

Hanoi is Asia’s most up-and-coming metropolis. It’s a mishmash of cultural and historical influences, with French-colonial architecture sidled up next to Chinese-designed buildings, modern skyscrapers looming over ancient pagodas. Nicknamed “The Capital of Thousand Years of Civilization,” Hanoi is remarkable in that it’s one of the most ancient capital cities in the world.

Much of Hanoi’s history centers around its Old Quarter, one of city’s most charming neighborhoods. It’s full of French-colonial buildings interspersed with Buddhist pagodas, museums, parks, and monuments… shops touting knock-off goods and sidewalk food stalls serving hot noodles… men puffing cigarettes on street corners and old ladies pushing bikes loaded with vegetables for sale… The activity never stops on this city’s bustling streets; Hanoi’s eight million people are always in motion.

– Da Lat

Wonderful Da Lat, a hill town in Vietnam. Colorful houses in Da Lat.
iStock/saiko3p

Da Lat, a cool-weather destination in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, offers a decidedly different pace of life. This is the resort town that the French carved out of mountain back when the country was a French colony. Like all hill stations around the world, it served colonists as an escape from the sweat, grime, and tropical malady of the lowlands.

The French endowed Da Lat with villas, boulevards, golf courses, parks, health complexes, and more. Architectural and cultural remnants from that era remain today, casting a historic and otherworldly charm over the place. Something about Da Lat inspires romance… Whether it’s the well-preserved past or its cool weather, misty peaks, and pine forest, love is in the air here in Vietnam’s honeymoon capital.

13. Indonesia

Colorful Jakarta Skyline at dawn with the iconic building. The building is one of the highest building in Indonesia.
iStock/AlfinTofler
  • Indonesia offers a retirement visa—a rare attribute for a Southeast Asian country.
  • Indonesia is an archipelago of some 17,000 islands formed by under-sea volcanic activity.
  • It’s part of the Coral Triangle, an underwater area that supports a mind-boggling amount of biodiversity.

Why Should I Retire In Indonesia? 

Because of Bali, Indonesia is an iconic overseas retirement destination. Bali has an almost-mythical reputation among travelers for its friendly people, astounding natural beauty, and phenomenal beaches. Indonesia is a country that’s rapidly developing, but right now, you can still enjoy life at a discount.

Plus, the country offers an easy route to residency. Those over 55 can stay in Indonesia long-term with the KITAS Retirement Visa, as long as they can prove an income of US$1,500 a month (or US$18,000 per year).

Where Should I Retire In Indonesia? 

– Canggu, Bali

Clear orange & purple sky from golden hours of Mengening Beach Sunset at Canggu Bali.
iStock/I gede wisnu adinata

Bali has long been the choice for retirees to Indonesia. Canggu is the the neighborhood in Bali that you should be paying attention to. A loosely defined area on Bali’s southwest coast, Canggu is quickly becoming Bali’s place to be, offering an eclectic combination of modern lifestyle and traditional culture that’s impossible not to be charmed by…

Just a few years ago, Canggu was little more than a handful of traditional homes, rice paddies, and empty expanses of coastline. Surfers were the first foreigners to turn up here, on the hunt for waves. They carried the torch for other expats to come here and set up what is now a funky community that’s full of villas and traditional villages, modern restaurants and Indonesian “warungs” (home-style Indonesian restaurants), surf bars, cool cafés, art galleries, and motorcycle shops alongside hundred-year-old temples…

Canggu is a Balinese neighborhood that’s been modernized, staying true to its village roots and offering a residential feel but making space for modern amenities. It’s a really trendy area… some even call it the Brooklyn of Bali because of its unique cultural mashup.

Understandably, people from all over the world are relocating to Canggu, and it’s now home to a huge number of expats from diverse backgrounds, including families with young children. It’s a safe place to live, it has a strong community feel, good health care facilities, and 11 different international schools to choose from.

12. Thailand

 Bangkok night view in the business district at twilight
iStock/thitivong
  • Thailand is home to excellent health care and is a major destination for medical tourism.
  • It’s a world-renowned golf destination, with high-standard courses found across the country.

Why Should I Retire In Thailand? 

Thailand is a well-established expat haven, and thousands of foreigners have settled here. Nowadays, it’s rare to find a town in Thailand that doesn’t have at least a few foreign residents…

There’s a lot to like in Thailand:

Breath-taking beaches, friendly locals, and well-established expat communities are just what’s on the surface. Beyond these attractions, Thailand boasts excellent health care (sometimes one-fifth the cost of U.S. health care) and easy retirement visa options.

Where Should I Retire In Thailand? 

– Phuket

Phuket’s big Buddha, one of the most revered landmarks on the island.
iStock/Thaisign

Phuket is Thailand’s famous jet-set destination that holds a global reputation for its gorgeous beaches… and rightfully so. This island, the third-largest in the country, offers soft, sandy shores separated by rocky headlands and lapped by the warm waters of the Andaman Sea.

Phuket is also home to a substantial expat population of 100,000—about 20% of its permanent population. As a magnet for expats from around the world, including the States, Canada, the U.K., Scandinavia, and more, English is widely spoken and understood in Phuket. Most expats and retirees are attracted here by the pristine beaches, scenic mountain views, and warm tropical climate…

– Hua Hin

A cityscape view of Hua Hin and it's beach in Thailand.
iStock/Tonygers

Hua Hin is another of our top picks, particularly if you prefer small-town living. It offers easy and elegant expat living in a charming Thai small town. Hua Hin has major benefits over Thailand’s more-famous expat locales: It’s safer, cleaner, often less expensive, and has better weather year-round. It needs to be at the top of its game because it has a lofty reputation to uphold: It’s where the Thai royal family likes to kick back…

For the modern retiree, Hua Hin fits the bill of a retirement haven. It has miles of clean beaches, excellent recreation opportunities, and a big foreign population. It’s a town of roughly 50,500, and nearly 20% of that number are people who’ve moved here from abroad to make a new life.

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11. Italy

Sunrise over old famous medieval village Stilo in Calabria, Italy
iStock/Pilat666
  • Italy is one of the most culturally rich countries in Europe.
  • It has the second-best health care in the world according to the World Health Organization.
  • Italy is tied with China for the country with most UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world.

Why Should I Retire In Italy? 

If you’re looking for quintessential Old World lifestyle, Italy deserves your attention. The old towns are charming, and the countryside between is pleasant. Even excluding the big cities like Rome, there is enough here to keep your interest and to support a fully appointed life on the Continent. What’s more, life here can be much more affordable than back home.

Where Should I Retire In Italy?

– Bologna

Gorgeous views of the Bologna, a historic capital in Italy.
iStock/bernotto

Bologna is our top choice for retirement in Italy today. This is Italy’s culinary capital. From homemade pasta and delicately folded tortellini, to fresh cheese, organic produce, and excellent local wine, the food and drink are reasons enough to come to this city.

Bologna is famous for its historic center—one of the biggest in Europe at 142 hectares. It’s also one of the best preserved and was one of the few remaining walled cities in Europe until the 19th century. Viewed from above, the skyline is the color of burnt orange, apricot, and terracotta. The color of the buildings has garnered Bologna the nickname: “La Rossa” or the red.

10. Colombia

Aerial view of the historic city center of Cartagena, Colombia.
iStock/RoNeDya

Why Should I Retire In Colombia? 

Importantly for retirees and expats, Colombia is home to the best health care in Latin America, with well-equipped hospitals and excellent service available at very affordable prices.

Here you can have a premium lifestyle at a low cost. Monthly expenses might reach between 50% to 60% less than back in the United States. On top of the fantastic financial opportunities, Colombia offers great beaches, great weather, fascinating culture, and friendly people.

Where Should I Retire In Colombia?

– Medellín

 

Medellín may just be the most livable city in the world today thanks to its near-perfect climate, efficient and well loved public services, friendly locals, ample green space, low cost of living, and varied cosmopolitan offerings.

The people of Medellín, known as the paisas, are undeniably proud of their city and enjoy the freedom to enjoy life the last few decades of change have brought. Despite the years of hardship, they are famous for their friendliness. They speak Spanish but have their own regional lingo and lilt. You’ll want a basic grasp of Spanish to live well here, although more English is spoken here every year.

There are museums all over town, including open-air ones like the Botero Sculpture Park, where all you need to do is walk around to marvel at the iconic, larger-than-life statues to take in fine art. There’s opera in season, symphonies, theater, and orchestra performances, and major concerts held throughout the year… There’s also great shopping, dance clubs, nightclubs (even for the silver-haired crowd), and fine dining…

9. Greece

Beautiful sunrise with orange and pink colors in a small traditional village in Chania, Crete, Greece
iStock/Gatsi
  • Greece has the longest coastline in the Mediterranean Basin and a unique geography full of islands and peninsulas.
  • Greece is the cradle of Western civilization, birthplace of democracy, western philosophy, western literature, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, western drama, and the Olympics…
  • The Greece Golden Visa Program, which gets you a Greek residence permit, is one of the most affordable in Europe.

Why Should I Retire In Greece? 

Greece is a Mediterranean country with great weather and mostly sunny skies year-round. The cost of living is significantly less than in many of its European counterparts. Greek people are some of the friendliest around, with a culture based on the highest respect for their families, and especially, their elders.

But the big plus for Greece is that it’s home to one of the most affordable Golden Visa programs in Europe—significantly less expensive than the Golden Visa programs of Spain and Portugal, for instance. You only need to buy one (or more) properties worth at least 250,000 euros to qualify for a residence permit.

Where Should I Retire In Greece? 

– Corfu

Colorful summer day in Corfu, Greece.
iStock/Montypeter

Corfu is our current top choice for retirement in Greece. It’s a tiny, sickle-shaped island just off of Greece’s northwest coast, renowned for its stunning natural environment, friendly locals and wholesome way of life, delicious cuisine, interesting history and culture, and low cost of living. What clinches the deal for most people about Corfu is its glorious ocean vistas…

The island boasts 217 kms (135 miles) of coastline and a mountainous terrain that has eroded in some areas to create dramatic land formations: wind-sculpted cliffs, stalactite-laden caves, craggy bluffs that drop down into the sea… It’s one of the greenest of the Greek isles, its hillsides studded with cypress and pine trees… And, it’s home to 57 beaches—some sandy, some with pebbly shores, but all graced with the piercing blue waters of the Ionian Sea.

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8. Malta

Beautiful skyline from Marsans Harbour, Malta at sunset. Purple sky and bright blue water.
iStock/Krivinis
  • English is one of Malta’s official languages.
  • Malta’s health care system is the fifth best in the world.
  • It’s one of the safest countries in the world.

Why Should I Retire In Malta? 

Malta is a tiny Mediterranean island nation… but it has a lot to offer. Its rugged coastline boasts dramatic cliffs and tiny coves dotted with ancient forts and quaint fishing harbors. Inland, stone walls separate fields cut into strips of olives, wheat, and potatoes. Wine production is also popular, and vines hang heavy with grapes all over the island.

Malta, from its weather and its food to its history and culture, is quintessential Mediterranean Europe.

Where Should I Retire In Malta? 

– Gozo

The world famous Azure Window in Gozo - Mediterranean nature wonder in the beautiful Malta.
iStock/ViewApart

Gozo is an extremely picturesque little rock in the middle of the Mediterranean where you can enjoy abundant sunshine, turquoise waters, and inexpensive property with historical charm, all set within a traditional village atmosphere…

People from Gozo are fiercely proud and distinguish themselves from mainland Malta. Their culture syncretizes many foreign influences, which probably has to do with the island’s geographic position. For centuries, it served as steppingstone between Western Asia, North America, and Southern Europe since the days when the Mediterranean was the superhighway of trade and cultural exchange…

Inevitably, many conquering groups made pitstops on Gozo and exerted their influence over it and its people. Ruins and varying architectural styles across the island attest to this history… Some of the world’s oldest religious structures are found here. Ggantija Temple, for instance, predates the pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge… even the invention of the wheel.

7. France

Beautiful coastline on the French Riviera with the small village at sunrise.
iStock/manjik

Why Should I Retire In France? 

France is the good life defined. The food, the wine, the art, the shopping, the history… This country boasts the most beautiful and romantic city on Earth plus the best of country living and dramatic Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. On top of all this, France is home to the world’s best health care, the world’s best infrastructure, top international schools, and, in some regions, zero crime and a wonderfully relaxed way of life… And, in some parts of the country, the very good life can be very affordable, as well.

Where Should I Retire In France? 

– Paris

Stunning panoramic view of Paris, The City Of Light
iStock/Sean3810

With hundreds of museums and galleries, one of the liveliest café cultures and some of the most revered cuisine in the world, space to lounge in parks and on riversides… plus a superb and affordable public transportation system and other modern amenities, including top-notch health care, Paris seems to have it all.

American romantics have idolized this city for 100 years and more. Hemingway, Stein, and so many others did their part to immortalize Paris, to put it on the map for Americans, so that even those who’d never been out of their hometown knew something of this exotic city. The history, the art, the food, the fashion, the wine, the architecture, the language, the romance… the je ne sais quoi.

You’d be hard pressed to find more history, culture, and character per square meter anywhere else in the world… Paris is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, but all that luxe comes at a cost. France would never feature on a list of the world’s bargain destinations; still, outside Paris, this country can be much more affordable than you might imagine…

– Saint-Chinian

Gorgeous views of the mountain town of Saint Chinian in France.
iStock/ChrisAt

In the true south of France is a bustling market town of about 2,000 people, popular with locals who come from all around the region to taste the locally grown produce and artisan goods—a truly French experience. Saint-Chinian offers a friendly village feeling that embodies this part of France. Everyone knows everyone, and if they don’t, they make it a point to get to know you before too long…

6. Hungary

The stunning main tower of the famous Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest, Hungary on a sunny morning.
iStock/ZoltanGabor
  • Hungary has high-quality public services, including diverse and accessible public transport.
  • Its capital, Budapest, is one of Europe’s loveliest and most affordable capitals.

Why Should I Retire In Hungary? 

Hungary is one of the oldest countries in Europe, dating back to 895. Throughout the years, Hungary has seen its fair share of war and occupation by various groups: the Mongols, Turks, Germans, Soviets…

Evidence of the many phases of history it has passed through is evident in the architecture and culture today. There’s plenty to keep you entertained in Hungary, from live opera to rock concerts, lush parks and intricate castles to unique museums (care to try the House Of Terror?), not to mention the incomparable architecture.

Where Should I Retire In Hungary? 

– Budapest

The magnificent Chain bridge in Budapest, Hungary with beautiful bright blue sky
iStock/Peter_Horvath

Budapest is a fully modern city with all the conveniences of the 21st century, but what makes it special—the reason it’s considered Europe’s loveliest capital—has nothing to do with its present and everything to do with its past. Budapest is a historical marvel, a breath-taking bazaar of architectural styles that span about eight centuries…

The variety of buildings, as you walk from one square to the next, is eye candy to any history lover. On one corner, you could be convinced you’re in London, with curated window displays inside big-scale, glass-fronted shops. At the next, you’re in Paris, as you stroll along a grand, tree-lined boulevard flanked by Haussmann-style apartment blocks…

Living in Budapest is like living in an open-air museum, with each starkly different building style serving as a reminder of the various phases of history this city has passed through. It’s an eclectic combination that’s akin to Rome in its randomness. You never know what you might discover around the next corner… or from which century it might date.

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5. Belize

  • English is the official language of Belize, so you won’t have to struggle with a language barrier.
  • Belize taxes jurisdictionally, meaning they only tax you on income earned in the country.
  • Belize’s Qualified Retired Person (QRP) visa is among the best retirement residency programs on Earth.

Why Should I Retire In Belize? 

Belize is a safe, welcoming, unassuming little country where the population values personal privacy, self-determination, and freedom. Once at the heart of the Maya Empire, Belize is today famous for its white-sand Caribbean beaches and clear, unpolluted waters.

Belize’s Qualified Retired Person (QRP) visa is one of the most efficient routes to foreign residency anywhere in the Americas. It’s available to anyone over the age of 45 and it grants a host of incentives, like tax-free importation of household goods, automobiles, boats, or even airplanes.

Where Should I Retire In Belize? 

– Ambergris Caye

Palm trees and dock in Ambergris Caye, a paradise in Belize
iStock/zimmytws

Ambergris Caye is a 26-mile-long, 1-mile-wide little island that sits just offshore from Belize City, Belize. It’s surrounded by turquoise waters and skirted along its eastern side by the Mesoamerican Reef, the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere.

Living here, you could enjoy all the benefits of life in the Caribbean: proximity to a life-rich reef, warm waters, abundant sunshine, friendly locals… waking up each day to the sound of waves gently lapping onto the white-sand beaches just outside your window and the faint crash of the ocean farther out breaking against the coral reef…

– Northern Belize

A cloudy morning in the city of Corozal in Belize
iStock/7rendered

Northern Belize is another top option for retirement. It’s a strangely secretive region of the Belize mainland that consists of two large districts: Orange Walk, about 80 kms (50 miles) northwest of Belize City, and Corozal, which is Belize’s most northern district that hugs the border with Mexico.

It has a long and rich history, a former stronghold of the Maya Empire, with ruins, temples, and archaeological sites trumpeting this former glory. Nowadays, it serves as the intersection of laidback Caribbean culture, Central American farmland, and vibrant jungle.

4. Panama

Gorgeous view of Panama City, Panama with skyscrapers and palm trees.
iStock/Camille HELIE
  • Panama is one of the easiest places in the world to get and maintain residency.
  • The “pensionado” visa offers an advantageous tax status and special discounts for retirees.
  • Panama residents are taxed only on locally earned income.

Why Should I Retire In Panama?

Panama could arguably be called the world’s best offshore haven. There is no doubt that Panama has serious pluses for those looking for a country with a cheaper standard of living than the United States and Europe. Panama is blessed with beautiful islands, ample coastline beaches, mountain retreats, and colonial towns.

Where Should I Retire In Panama? 

– Panama City

Panama has been heralded as the world’s top retirement haven for many years… but few people realize that there are really two Panamas: Panama City and everywhere else in the country.

Think of Panama City as Manhattan and the rest of Panama as the rural Midwest… Panama City offers U.S.-style malls and traditional open-air markets, skyscrapers and crumbling Spanish-colonial architecture, five-star restaurants and hole-in-the-wall eateries… It’s a tropical urban setting, hub of trade and industry, and the only true cosmopolitan environment in Central America.

When it comes to “the rest of the country,” Panama offers many appealing retirement lifestyle choices… beach, mountain, small town, and village. All much less developed than Panama City… and, for many retirees, that is a good thing.

– Santa Fe

Waterfall in tropical rain forest in Santa Fe, Veraguas Province, Panama
iStock/Cavan Images

Santa Fe, for instance, is an unassuming, unsung small town in Panama’s Veraguas Province. If highland living is what you’re after, Santa Fe deserves your attention. Life here comes at a fraction of the cost of Panama’s brand-name retirement community, Boquete. In fact, this is one of the most affordable parts of Panama. A couple could retire here on as little as US$1,000 a month.

– Pedasí

Surfers entering waters at Venao beach in Pedasí, Panama on a beautiful afternoon.
iStock/MarcPo

Pedasí, a small town on the Azuero Peninsula, is another top option, especially if you love the beach. Pedasí is surrounded by arguably some of the most beautiful coastline in Panama. There are at least 12 beaches in close proximity to the town. Playa Venao is the most well-known among them, attracting surfers from around the world and famous for hosting big international surf competitions.

3. Ecuador

Ecuadorian flag on top of Santa Ana hill with the city of Guayaquil in the background on a cloudy day.
iStock/DC_Colombia

Why Should I Retire In Ecuador? 

Ecuador has long been a draw for expats and retirees, thanks mostly to its affordable cost of living and pleasant climate. It’s a small country about the size of Nevada that packs a punch. For such a small country, it offers a wide variety of things to see and do, from visiting the big city, exploring colonial centers, hiking in the mountains, and hitting the beaches.

The big advantage that Ecuador offers over the States is the chance to live better for less. If budget concern is a primary motivating factor as you consider your retirement, Ecuador should be on your radar.

Where Should I Retire In Ecuador? 

– Cuenca

Tomebamba river with beautiful houses and architecture, in Cuenca, Ecuador
iStock/AlanFalcony

Our top pick for retirement in Ecuador is Cuenca, a beautiful colonial city full of cobblestone streets, historic Spanish architecture, and grand colonial churches. It’s located in Ecuador, a fascinating and geographically diverse country that uses the U.S. dollar as its currency. The cost of living is low, and the cost of properties is near rock-bottom in Latin America. Plus, it’s a regional center for health care, which is high quality, honest, and inexpensive…

These are a few nutshell reasons why Cuenca is one of the world’s best places to retire, and indeed, this corner of Ecuador has experienced a popularity and population boom over the past 20-odd years. Thousands of expats from all over the world—the States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and beyond—have made their way here to take advantage of what Cuenca has to offer…

The kicker for most—the reason they fall for this all-around charming city—is the moderate weather. Like many former Inca capitals, Cuenca is located in a central valley at a high altitude: 2,560 meters (8,400 feet) above sea level. While this means thinner air and potential problems for people with respiratory issues, it also means spring-like weather year-round. The average daily mean is 59°F (15°C), varying little throughout the year… For most, it’s just about perfect.

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2. Mexico

Beautiful bright day in scenic in the Old Town of San Francisco de Campeche, Mexico
iStock/sorincolac
  • Mexico is extremely well-connected to the United States and Canada—you can even drive here.
  • It has big, well-established expat communities across the country.
  • Mexico offers a generous 180-day tourist visa.

Why Should Retire In Mexico? 

Mexico is a top choice for overseas retirement for obvious reasons: It’s easy to get to from the States and Canada, it has warm year-round temperatures, it boasts two coastlines full of magnificent beaches, and it offers a low cost of living for people looking to stretch their retirement budgets. The country is familiar, with many of the shops and brands that Americans and Canadians are used to and expat communities set up across the country.

Where Should I Retire In Mexico? 

– Mazatlán

Charming stair case leading down to an overlook with the lighthouse in the background in Mazatlan, Mexico.
iStock/Ryan W Curley

Mazatlán is our current top choice in Mexico. It offers the unique opportunity to enjoy the conveniences of city living with sandy beaches right on your doorstep. It lies about nine miles south of the Tropic of Cancer on Mexico’s Pacific coast, enjoying sunny pleasant winters and drawing visitors from all over North America, including Mexico itself.

The main attraction? Almost 11 miles of mostly contiguous, beautiful beaches, bordered by warm, clean, swimmable waters. The beaches vary from bustling and energetic stretches conveniently near town, to sections of isolated shoreline where you can get away from it all. Much of this beachfront is bordered by a wide “boardwalk,” normally busy with people strolling, jogging, or biking.

Founded in 1531, Mazatlán boasts a large, world-class colonial center that, unlike many Latin American historic centers, is more than just a few blocks of Spanish colonial architecture… Hidden away in its backstreets and passageways are a wealth of fine dining, cafés, galleries, and shops… plus its own beach. A colonial center is rare for a beachfront city.

Mazatlán stands out from its Mexican resort town counterparts because it’s a real city of about half-a-million people. On any given night in the historic center, 95% of the people on the boardwalk are bound to be from Mexico. And while there’s a strong expat presence, it’s unquestionably a Mexican city.

1. Portugal

Stunning view in Madeira island, Portugal with bright sky and colorful flowers.
iStock/Balate Dorin
  • Portugal is the third-safest country in the world.
  • It has the second-highest density of Blue Flag-awarded beaches in the world.
  • It offers a fast-track method to residency through the Portuguese Residency-by Investment program (also known as the Portuguese Golden Visa).

Why Should I Retire In Portugal? 

Portugal is a top retirement choice. It has a low cost of living, easy residency, and tax incentives for foreign residents. It also has great food, more sunshine than anywhere else in Europe, some of the best beaches and golf in Europe, excellent infrastructure, and a large English-speaking population. Access is easy and cheap, making this a great base from which to explore the whole of the Continent.

Where Should I Retire In Portugal? 

– The Algarve

We’ve long lauded the Algarve as the world’s #1 retirement haven and continue to stand by that claim. The Algarve offers everything the would-be retiree could want: near-perfect weather and sunshine year-round; an established and welcoming expat community; top-notch medical facilities; an affordable cost of living for a high quality of life; endless opportunities for fun and adventure, especially for nature-lovers; a great deal of English spoken; first-world infrastructure; and easy access to the United States and all of Europe.

– Tavira

Boats on serene Gilao river and the sun shining over picturesque Tavira
iStock/Lux Blue

There’s one corner of the Algarve that we think deserves special mention. Tavira is an attractive little fishing town in the eastern Algarve that’s well-known for being the most authentic in the region. Tradition is everywhere you look in Tavira, from the cobblestone streets to whitewashed buildings, lacework chimney pots to azulejo tiles. If you want a view to the Algarve of centuries past, before the golf courses and beach resorts were put in, look no further than Tavira.

– Lisbon

Gorgeous skyline at Sao Jorge Castle, Lisbon at sunset.
iStock/Sean3810

Lisbon, Portugal’s coastal capital city, presents another great choice for overseas retirement. This is a global city with an important role in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, tourism, and education. It boasts incomparable museums, galleries, concerts, and theatre and serves up world-class cuisine. It draws on thousands of years of history to provide gorgeous architecture that will have you tripping over yourself as you look ever skyward…

General FAQ

Where Is The Best Place In The World For You To Retire?

We don’t know, but, after more than three decades of experience considering the whole world in this context, we have some good ideas about where makes sense generally for a high quality of retirement life… where probably doesn’t… and why.

It is in that spirit that, each year, that we publish the Overseas Retirement Index.

Summary
The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021
Article Name
The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021
Description
Announcing The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021 | Ranking the Top 14 retirement destinations on cost, health care, residency, safety, and much more.
Author
Publisher Name
Live and Invest Overseas
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Where can I retire in 2021?

The Top 10 Best Places To Retire In The World For 2021

  1. Portugal
  2. Mexico
  3. Ecuador
  4. Panama
  5. Belize
  6. Hungary
  7. France
  8. Malta
  9. Greece
  10. Colombia

Summary
The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021
Article Name
The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021
Description
Announcing The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021 | Ranking the Top 14 retirement destinations on cost, health care, residency, safety, and much more.
Author
Publisher Name
Live and Invest Overseas
Publisher Logo

What's the safest country in the world?

In the category of crime and safety, it’s no surprise that the Algarve, Portugal is at the top of nearly everyone’s list.

Other places to score well include Valletta, statistically one of the safest places you can visit, and both the Abruzzo towns, Popoli and Città Sant’Angelo. Bled also scores well with the already low violent crime rates continuing to fall over recent years.

Summary
The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021
Article Name
The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021
Description
Announcing The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021 | Ranking the Top 14 retirement destinations on cost, health care, residency, safety, and much more.
Author
Publisher Name
Live and Invest Overseas
Publisher Logo

How much money do I need to retire?

This is the probably the most frequently asked question we get, year-in and year-out.

As ever, the answer is “it depends on you”. To find out, imagine your ideal lifestyle and make a list of what you want from your new life. Then look at the numbers in that context. Where will your budget allow you to buy the lifestyle you’re looking for? The important thing to remember when thinking about your retirement is, don’t compromise. Don’t tell yourself you can live without the things you love. If the place you had in mind doesn’t fit with your ideal lifestyle, keep looking. Be honest with yourself and move for the right reasons to a place where you will be happy.

Summary
The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021
Article Name
The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021
Description
Announcing The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021 | Ranking the Top 14 retirement destinations on cost, health care, residency, safety, and much more.
Author
Publisher Name
Live and Invest Overseas
Publisher Logo

Where is the cheapest place to retire?

  • Da Lat, Vietnam
  • Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
  • Da Nang, Vietnam

Summary
The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021
Article Name
The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021
Description
Announcing The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021 | Ranking the Top 14 retirement destinations on cost, health care, residency, safety, and much more.
Author
Publisher Name
Live and Invest Overseas
Publisher Logo

Best Places To Retire

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The 10 Best Places To Retire In 2021

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Summary
The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021
Article Name
The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021
Description
Announcing The World's Best Places To Retire In 2021 | Ranking the Top 14 retirement destinations on cost, health care, residency, safety, and much more.
Author
Publisher Name
Live and Invest Overseas
Publisher Logo

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