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Portugal voted the best country for retirees in 2023

Updated 14 Feb 2023

International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index has ranked Portugal as the best country for retirement in 2023. At the top of the priority list for retirees considering moving to a new place will be the quality of life, cost of living, healthcare, accommodation and climate, and Portugal scores highly in all these areas.

Known for its breathtaking coastal views, tantalising cuisine and incomparable culture, Portugal also boasts a thriving economy and offers key social benefits such as free public healthcare. A recent survey by the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK showed that a little more than 33 percent of the participants were considering retiring in Portugal in the next year or two, proving the country's popularity among pensioners. 

Another drawcard for retirees is the fact that visas for Portugal are largely accessible for expats from the EU region and non-EU countries. Portugal offers a retirement visa which requires no investment and is valid for an initial two years and is extendable for another three years thereafter. Wealthier retirees can opt for the Golden Visa, which requires a capital investment, and most pensioners who can afford this option choose to purchase property in the country. 

A host of other countries such as Colombia, Thailand, Italy, France, Greece, Spain, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama and Mexico also made the list owing to the sunny weather and fantastic quality of life on offer in these corners of the world.

Below, we explore the reasons why Portugal is the best place for retirees in 2023.


1. Safety

Ranked the sixth-safest country in the world in 2022, Portugal is home to a famously kind and friendly population. Portugal enjoys a stable political climate and a growing job market, which come together to create a safe country for all.

2. Exceptional healthcare

Healthcare in Portugal is both affordable and of excellent quality. While public healthcare in Portugal can be on the slow side, it is free for all legal residents and citizens, making it a great choice for retirees. Private healthcare is gaining popularity among expats, and retirees would do well to secure a comprehensive health insurance policy to ensure hassle-free access to healthcare in the country.

3. Reasonable cost of living

Most retirees moving to Portugal will likely live in the beautiful farmland vistas or the picturesque Algarve region, which makes for an affordable cost of living. Accommodation in the Algarve is largely affordable and will give retirees easy access to beaches, fantastic restaurants and highly sought-after cultural amenities.

4. Sunny Mediterranean climate

Portugal is blessed with more than 300 days of sunshine, making the country a retiree’s paradise. There is very little rainfall in Portugal, particularly in the Algarve, yet temperatures are never scorching. Retirees and expats looking to make a move to the country will constantly feel like they are on holiday, which is what makes Portugal such an attractive destination.

5. Delicious food and wine  

Portuguese is one of the world's most famous and well-loved cuisines, thanks to the wonderful blend of spices, olive oil and creative use of seafood. Port wine is also a hallmark of Portugal’s food culture, and it is usually served as a dessert wine. Retirees who relocate to Portugal typically spend their golden years enjoying their exploration of the country’s delicious gastronomy.

6. Outstanding lifestyle and quality of life

The lifestyle in Portugal is rich and has something to offer people from all walks of life. Music, theatre, football and café culture are the fabrics of Portuguese society, while family life is equally important. There is also a thriving expat population in the country, which presents an opportunity to build meaningful connections with people from a range of backgrounds. All this comes together to make for a superb quality of life.

With access to some of the world’s most remarkable beaches, beautiful weather and extensive social benefits, it’s no wonder Portugal is ranked the best place in the world for retirees to enjoy the best of their days.

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