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04 June, 2021

Dolce Vita on retirement: the best countries in Europe for retirees to live in 2021

37 European countries were assessed the quality of life of pensioners: the cost of living and real estate prices, the number of citizens over 65 and the average life expectancy were taken into account. We tell you how states support retirees and how wealthy investors can move there.

Residence permit or second citizenship by investment in Europe: Rating of countries for retirement living
Photo: Adobe Stock

Blacktower Group is a financial company with offices in 12 European countries. The company advises clients on investment and budget planning, and helps them manage capital and retirement savings.

Blacktower Group experts evaluated 37 European countries and ranked the best countries for retirement living.

The ranking took into account the level of crime in the country, the cost of living index and housing prices, the number of people over 65 and the average life expectancy of citizens. The data were taken from public sources from the World Bank and

A country is assigned a score from 0 to 1 for each parameter. The final score of the country and its place in the ranking is the total value of all parameters. The full country ranking is on the company's website.

Europe's 10 Best Countries to Live in Retirement


Finland got first place for its moderate lifestyle, average housing prices, and beautiful nature. Every pensioner receives benefits for visiting theaters, museums, sports halls, and theme clubs.

Spain is in second place as a country with many long-livers. For retirees in Spain, there are discounts on public transport, and on some days travel is free. And there are also "universities of the elderly": short courses and seminars in literature, philosophy, economics, and foreign languages.

Slovenia ranked third for safety on city streets and an average life expectancy of 81 years. The country is in the center of Europe and ranks among the top five cleanest countries, according to the Environmental Performance Index.

The Netherlands is in fourth place for its high standard of living. The country has warm winters and mild summers, and a good attitude to newcomers. Foreigners can qualify for a basic pension if they want.

Italy was ranked fifth for having the largest population over 65 - retirees will quickly find new friends over a siesta in a local cafe. The country has picturesque nature, delicious Mediterranean cuisine and friendly residents.

Blacktower Group experts also noted Switzerland, Serbia and Ukraine. In Switzerland, the average age of the population is 83 years. The country is an ideal place for active and relaxing holidays, and in 2020 it was recognized as the best in quality of life. Some retirees conquer the slopes of numerous mountains, while others enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery.

Serbia leads in the category of lowest housing prices. Retirees appreciate the country's delicious cuisine and distinctive culture. Ukraine is first among the countries with the lowest cost of living in Europe and a high level of health care system.

How to become a resident of European countries from the rating

Seven countries in the ranking offer residency or citizenship programs by investment. The countries' legislation provides for several investment options, such as buying real estate or bonds, creating businesses or jobs for the population.

European countries with investment programs

7PortugalResidence permit from €350,000
10AustriaResidence permits for financially independent persons from €100,000
11SwitzerlandResidence permits for financially independent persons from ₣450,000
13GreeceResidence permit from €250,000
20MaltaPermanent residence from €110,000
33MontenegroCitizenship from €350,000

Portugal is called the "European Florence" for its comfortable climate and good attitude toward immigrants. In recent years, the flow of retirees has increased: the state creates favorable conditions for their lives, for example, canceled the pension tax for 10 years.

Residence permit in Portugal is issued within 8 to 10 months. Investors buy real estate, bonds or shares of venture capital funds, open a deposit, create companies or invest in science and cultural heritage. After five years, the investor and his family can apply for Portugal citizenship.

On January 1, 2022, the terms of the program will change: real estate will be allowed to buy only in the Azores, Madeira and inland regions, the minimum amount of investment will grow.

Austria is a country with a high standard of living. For example, Vienna has been ranked first several times in the ranking of the best cities to live in over the past 10 years, according to Mercer.

Switzerland is a great option for wealthy retirees. About a quarter of the population in the country are foreigners. The quality of life is high, and so is the cost of living. Switzerland is chosen for the good environment, clean cities and beautiful nature.

Residence permits in Austria and Switzerland offer financially independent people without the right to work. Austria issues a residence permit on a quota.

In Switzerland, the investor enters into an agreement with the local authorities and pays a chord tax of ₣450,000. It takes about six months to obtain a residence permit.

Greece is a country with a warm climate and beautiful nature. The islands are full of secluded beaches for a quiet holiday, cafes with local cuisine and historical sites from different eras of time.

Residence permit in Greece is issued for opening a deposit, the purchase of real estate or government bonds. It takes about three months to obtain a residence permit.

Malta is an affordable option for retirement living. The average cost of living for two people is about € 1,500. The country has a high level of private medicine at relatively low prices compared to the US.

Permanent residence in Malta is designed for a period of six months. To do this, the investor leases or buys a property, makes a non-refundable contribution to a public fund and a contribution to a non-governmental organization, pays the administrative fee and proves the existence of assets in the amount of € 500,000.

Montenegro attracts a favorable climate, a measured lifestyle and a low crime rate. The country is also first on the list of applicants for membership in the European Union.

Citizenship in Montenegro is granted for non-refundable contributions to the government fund and the purchase of shares in approved real estate projects. Passport processing time takes from 4 months. 2022 is the last year to participate in the program.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent that helps cosmopolitans obtain citizenship and residency by investment. If you want to move to one of the best countries to live in retirement, seek advice from investment program experts.

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Dolce Vita on retirement: the best countries in Europe for retirees to live in 2021