Spain named among three best European countries for retirement (2023)

Thinking retirement? food for thought

Questions about an ideal place to retire keep popping up with persistent frequency and many organizations and companies are offering their ratings and advice. 

Which country can offer the best choices for retirement?

To answer that perennial question, an organization specializing in expat living carried out a detailed study that focused on the European continent. After an examination of a wide array of factors, the company, Moving to Spain, came up with its list of the best European countries for retirement.

And the winner is — a dramatic pause – Portugal! It beat runners-up Spain and Italy by a slight margin: In the company’s ranking system, Portugal earned the highest score of 7.8 out of 10; Spain and Italy were close behind with 7.31 points each.

What factors did the company consider in reaching its conclusions? Life expectancy was one of them, based on the data provided by The World Bank. Naturally, the vital issues of the cost of living and healthcare also came into play, as did the nations’ rankings in the Global Peace Index, the annual report that evaluates such things as the level of societal safety and security and the impact of domestic and international conflict. Not to be overlooked: the ease or complexity of obtaining visas, the number of beaches and annual hours of sunshine.  

While explaining the reasons for giving Portugal the top ranking, the company stressed that Spain was a consistent high scorer across all of its categories. “The life expectancy in Spain is the second highest in Europe, behind Switzerland, helped by excellent and affordable healthcare,” Moving to Spain noted.  It added that for keen beachgoers, Spain is the country with more Blue Flag sites than any other country in the world, and its residency permits are well-established and easy to qualify for, and important consideration when planning retirement abroad.

Reporting on the results of the study, the Travel and Leisure magazine pointed out that Spain came in at No. 2 in part thanks to its good health care high life expectancy. EuroNews, for instance, stressed that Spain had the highest life expectancy at birth, with an average of 83.3 years, followed by Sweden (83.1 years), Luxembourg, and Italy (both 82.7 years).

Travel and Leisure made similar points in an earlier article where it flagged Spain’s “great public healthcare” and healthcare reimbursements. “Sunny Spain is always a convincing choice for those who wish to live a sophisticated working life or retire among passionate and tolerant locals,” wrote the magazine. It added that Spain has some of the lowest costs of living in Western Europe, “so you can find both affordable housing and quality bottles of Rioja costing only a few euros.”

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