Home Top 5 European Countries to Retire to in 2023

Top 5 European Countries to Retire to in 2023

Posted by on April 26th, 2023.

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Retiring abroad can be quite a daunting prospect. With factors ranging from healthcare to visa requirements, climate to culture, nailing down the best option can quickly become overwhelming!
That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best European countries to retire to in 2023. We’ve considered factors like healthcare, visa requirements, and property costs to ensure you’re equipped with the best information before making that important decision.


Portugal is fast becoming the most popular retirement destination in the world, and with good reason! The country boasts a healthy Mediterranean climate, with over 3000 hours of sunshine a year and beautiful coastlines.

Portugal is also known as one of the safest countries in the world, ranked sixth by the Global Peace Index.

It’s important to note that you won’t be part of a small group of expats should you choose Portugal as your retirement destination. Over 500,000 foreigners currently live in Portugal with Porto, the Silver Coast, Lisbon, and the Algarve known as popular expat hubs.

When it comes to costs Portugal also scores highly. Even in the popular retirement hubs mentioned above, a 2-bed property with a swimming pool can cost around £147,000.

The process of applying to live in Portugal is also comparatively streamlined. The most common routes are the Golden Visa and the D7 Residency Visa.

The D7 is the simpler of the two options. Applicants simply need to prove that you have a sufficient passive income. This can be from sources like pensions, property rentals, and investments.


Spain has long been one of the most popular retirement destinations for British, German, and other Northern European expats. The country enjoys amazing cuisine, friendly locals, and a beautiful climate.

But it’s not just about the sunshine! If you’re someone who enjoys learning about European history and culture, the cities of Madrid and Barcelona offer world-beating museums and art galleries.

For fans of a chillier climate, the country’s northern border through the Pyrenes Mountains offers fantastic skiing opportunities.

Looking to costs, Spain offers great value for money. The average price for a 2-bed apartment on the Costa Balance starts at around £122,000. A similar property in the Costa del Sol with beautiful sea views will cost you roughly £133,000.

Spain also offers a diverse range of visa options. The retirement visa lasts for 12 months and only requires €30,000 in your bank account, or a pension income of €2,130 a month.

For those of you looking to continue with some remote work to bolster the retirement coffers, Spain now offers a digital nomad visa. This residence permit can be extended for up to 5 years and enables you to work remotely for a company based elsewhere.


A move to Greece can be perfect choice for individuals looking for a quieter retirement. During winter months, areas of Greece are incredibly peaceful outside of the peak tourist season.

The pace of life in the Mediterranean country is also known for being incredibly laid back, which is sure to add to the calm atmosphere.

Greece has an incredibly rich cultural history for you to dive in to. Across the country you’ll find amazingly preserved archaeological sites dating back thousands of years to the very birth of democracy. The country also features over 300 museums and art galleries.

And these fantastic sights can be found across the six groupings that make up the Greek islands. Island-hopping is a common practice for those exploring the country to its fullest.

Of note is Greece’s culture of respect for older individuals. Greece has a statistically significant proportion of older citizens who are embraced as part of the country’s identity. This also extends to the country’s reputation for excellent healthcare at a low cost.

However, the process to apply to live in Greece is less straightforward than other countries mentioned in this article. The Golden Visa programme provides a 5-year renewable permit to live in Greece but is only issued if individuals invest at least €250,000 in real estate property.


Another Mediterranean country, another prime location for retirement. Italy is truly a delight for foodies and a move to the country will allow you to experience the best of Italian cuisine. You’ll be able to ditch the oven pizza and enjoy fresh locally sourced ingredients.

A move to Italy will also give you access to healthcare that is often ranked in the top 10 globally. The region-based nationalised service, known as the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale, is available to residents after living in Italy for just six months.

Costs outside of the nationalised system are very reasonable, with the average cost for an expat couple coming in between €250-€750.

Another advantage of Italy is its accessible approach to purchasing property. You don’t even need to a be a resident of the country to purchase a home, meaning you can start with a holiday home and go from there.

Some small towns in Italy are even running €1 purchase schemes in a bid to attract new residents! It’s worth noting however that many of these properties will require serious renovation to make them liveable.

To become an Italian resident as a retiree, the elective residency visa is widely seen as the easiest pathway. This type of visa is specifically designed for individuals who collect income from a passive source such as a pension plan. Applicants must prove they have a minimum of €31,000 a year.


Many of the countries featured in this list purport to have a laid-back, easy-going lifestyle. But do you instead find yourself craving efficiency, punctuality, and well organised public infrastructure? Then Germany is the country for you!

Germany’s seasonal weather also stands in stark contrast to the other nations on this list. The country sees far fewer hours of sunshine than any others in this list, but counters this with magical winters. Skiing and ice skating are common hobbies in the country’s winter months, and the snow-covered landscape can add to the festive feeling when December rolls around.

The country does have a higher cost of living on average compared to many other European retirement destinations. The public infrastructure and services in Germany are considered some of the best in the world though, so you’ll easily be able to see where your money is going! The country’s healthcare is even considered to be among the best in the world.

Applying for residency as a retiree is also very straightforward despite the country’s reputation for bureaucracy. You can apply for a general resident’s permit and select ‘retirement’. The process thereafter is the same as that for a standard visa.

How Torfx can Help

At Torfx, we offer a range of currency exchange services that can help take the stress out of your retirement abroad. Torfx offers excellent transfer rates and 5-star service, with personalised support and 24/7 access to transfers.

Spot Contracts provide an instant and immediate service that is ideal for quickly moving funds abroad.

If you’re planning your transfer in advance, a Forward Contract can allow you to lock in a target exchange rate for up to two years. This protects your money from any negative market movements.

If you know the exchange rate you’re aiming for, a limit order is likely to be your best option. With a Limit Order, your transfer will go ahead automatically once the target rate is hit.

Conversely, a Stop Loss order can protect your transfer against worsening conditions. You can specify a lower target rate at which your transfer will go ahead to prevent any losses.

If you’re considering retiring abroad in 2023, find out more about your currency transfer options.

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