Portugal Selected as the World's Best Place to Retire


Last updated 3/2/2023 at 7:01pm | View PDF

As a general rule, a couple can live comfortably on about $2,500 to $3,000 a month in Portugal.

Portugal took the top spot in InternationalLiving.com's 2023 Annual Global Retirement Index.

"Despite its compact size, Portugal offers something for everyone, from vibrant cities like Lisbon and Porto with buzzing nightlife, culture, history and culinary delights, to coastal havens along the Atlantic Ocean where camel-colored sand meets the turquoise water embellished with jagged rock formations, caves and grottoes," says Terry Coles, an International Living contributor living in the Algarve, Portugal's southernmost region. "For a simpler life, head inland where medieval villages of stone cottages lie beneath ruined castles and emerald rolling hills of farmland dominate the stunning vistas beyond.

"The people of Portugal are some of the kindest and most genuine in the world, and they welcome foreigners with open arms and double-cheeked kisses," continues Coles. "Since English is taught in the schools, many of the locals, especially the younger generation, have a good grasp of the language."

"Already good value, Portugal gets an extra bump from the strong dollar today," says Jennifer Stevens, International Living's executive editor. "In Europe, when you're shopping with dollars right now, it's like everything is on sale. That makes this a particularly timely pick for 2023."

In addition, Stevens says, healthcare in Portugal is both affordable and excellent, ranked #12 by the World Health Organization. Residents of Portugal have access to both the public and private healthcare systems, along with fully accredited Joint Commission International facilities with English-speaking staff.

"Eleven years ago, when my husband, Clyde, retired from the fire department in Corpus Christi, Texas our health insurance was going to cost a whopping $1,400 a month for the two of us because we retired early, ages 57 for him and 51 for me," says Coles. "Here in Portugal, we pay just €340 a month for a high-end, comprehensive policy that even covers us for emergencies abroad for up to sixty days. We pay just €12.50 every time we see a doctor, regardless of their specialty."

As a general rule, a couple can live comfortably on about $2,500 to $3,000 a month in Portugal, depending on lifestyle and whether they own or rent.

"I like to say that Portugal has something for every budget," says Coles. "Our first apartment was in a 40-year-old, private home, overstuffed with furniture and decorations from the '70s, yet the cost for this three-bedroom gem was just €350 a month. The apartment and location ended up being too cold for us, so we moved south to the Algarve. Our next apartment was modern, tastefully furnished but tiny, in a complex with a pool and garage, and the rent was €850 a month. Currently, we live in a spacious, two-bedroom, furnished new apartment within walking distance to everything and we pay €1,100."

InternationalLiving.com's 2023 Global Retirement Index top 10 retirement destinations are:

#1 Portugal

#2 Mexico

#3 Panama

#4 Ecuador

#5 Costa Rica

#6 Spain

#7 Greece

#8 France

#9 (tie) Thailand and Italy

"While Portugal topped this year's Index, it's only one among many attractive, low-stress, good-value retirement destinations the world over that are suitable options," says Stevens. "As we've maintained for the more than 40 years we've been on this beat, any of the countries on our Index would be suitable locales. It all comes down to an individual's preferences and priorities."

InternationalLiving.com's new 2023 Global Retirement Index scores and ranks the world's top 16 retirement destinations across seven categories, including cost of living, housing, visa and benefits, climate and healthcare. This year's Index - the 32nd annual from the magazine -examines the top safe, good-value destinations beyond the U.S. or Canada, comparing, contrasting, ranking and rating them to select countries across the globe where a retired couple can live a comfortable, carefree life on as little as $2,000 a month.

Using International Living's vast network of on-the-ground editors and correspondents around the world, this annual Index is designed to be a useful tool for potential expats trying to find the place that's right for them. The Index is built of statistics and informed by real-world, practical, on-the-ground intelligence, experience, and opinion provided by Inter-national Living's contributors based around the globe.

"In a time when day-to-day living costs in the U.S. seem to be on a constant upward trend, there are lots of places where your dollar will go further, where luxury isn't just for those with deep pockets, and where you can actually enjoy life without worrying about how you'll pay next month's bills," says Stevens.

"Whether you want to lounge on a beach, cocktail in hand as the tropical sun glints off the aquamarine sea...live in a buzzing and vibrant big city stuffed full of culture and diversity... or you fancy a tranquil and secluded spot in a cool-climate highland town, there is a retirement haven for you."

International Living's com-plete 2023 Annual Global Retirement Index, including more information on the winning country and the other countries that made it into the top 10 - as well as the individual rankings in all seven categories for all 16 countries included - can be found at: https://internationalliving.com/the-best-places-to-retire/.


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