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The best places to retire

You may already have a firm plans for your retirement, whether that's enjoying a luxurious lifestyle by the sea or taking a second home in a historic city.

Here are some things to consider when choosing your destination and our pick of the best countries to retire to in the world.

Puigcerdà - Retirement is an important time of life, so make sure you pick the right destination!

What makes the best places to retire

For many, retirement should offer all the benefits of a well-deserved holiday. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the most sought-after retirement locations feature good weather, a rich cultural scene and delicious local cuisine.

Quieter inland communities could suit those wanting to get away from it all in their retirement. Down by the sea, on the other hand, you’re bound to find a welcoming community of fellow retirees.

The countries we’ve highlighted below should offer something for all tastes, with consistently warm weather and a breadth of different landscapes to discover.

Mexico

Long popular with North American expats, Mexico remains one of the best countries to retire to in the world. Living here is relatively inexpensive, so whether you choose a home by the beach, in the city or in the mountains, you can find desirable properties for reasonable prices. Mexico also has an excellent healthcare system that is free to legal residents aged 60 and over, making it particularly suitable for older expats.

For those seeking sun, sea and sand, the Riviera Maya is an enduring favourite. The area’s popularity with visitors means that it’s possible to get by with limited Spanish, so it could be a good choice if your skills don’t extend much beyond hola and gracias. Those after a more off-the-beaten-path location could look inland at the so-called ‘Silver Towns’ north of Mexico City – Zacatecas, Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende – which are known for their beautifully preserved buildings and laid-back, creative atmosphere.

Colombia

Again combining a good healthcare system with a range of landscapes, Colombia is currently enjoying a surge in popularity. Making the move before the market peaks could mean you get your pick of the best real estate.

Brushing up on your Spanish will be key before moving to Colombia: the country is still developing as a tourist destination, so foreign languages aren’t yet as widely spoken as elsewhere. However, once you’re on your way to mastering the language, all that remains is to choose whether you'll live by the Pacific Ocean or the Caribbean Sea, or with views of the mountains or the rainforest. Colombia has the added bonus of offering more temperate climates in some areas, which is ideal if you’re not a fan of year-round heat.

Portugal

Portugal’s wealth of historic and cultural monuments means there’s always something to see and do. Retirees also love Portugal for its golf courses and relatively unspoilt natural beauty, making it one of the best places to retire for those who appreciate the great outdoors.

Learning some Portuguese will stand you in good stead before you arrive. However, with a thriving community of people who have already retired to the country, there's also a ready-made social scene to enjoy.

Overall, where you choose to retire simply depends on your budget and the culture you're most attracted by. You might like to browse our property pages for further inspiration on where to buy.

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