Where to retire abroad?

Retire by the beach

Many people having reached the end of their working lives are choosing to retire somewhere outside of the UK. This could be to seek a warmer climate, explore the world or the result of children moving away and starting a family elsewhere.

Moving to another country is particularly large step and not a decision to be taken lightly so make sure that you first spend some time exploring different places that might be suitable.

The following are a handful of suggestions.

Retire by the beach



  • The weather is generally good and much warmer than the UK although in some regions the winters can be extraordinarily cold.
  • Portugal has relatively little traffic, clean air and effective road networks.
  • Younger will have learnt English at school meaner that there is an emerging generation who speak English fluently as a second language.


  • In the summer the temperature can regularly exceed 40°C which may be uncomfortable for those not used to it.
  • Official procedures such as arranging visas are notoriously slow.
  • Food is more expensive, especially where imported British groceries are concerned.




  • With its “hotter down South and cooler up North” reputation you can decide what sort of climate would suit you best. The South is generally busier and more popular with holidaymakers whilst the North is seen as more modest and quiet.
  • The Spanish have a much slower pace of life than we do here in the UK and are well versed in having regular siestas during the day, especially after eating lunch.
  • Spain has a much lower cost of living than the UK meaning that the money you take with you will go further.


  • Low income and lack of jobs will mean that if you are hoping to supplement your income by working you might have a tough time finding a job or making ends meet.
  • Confusing number of very different regional dialects (Basque/Catalan etc). Many Spanish people from different parts of the country cannot understand one another.
  • Local corruption is cited by some as a negative part of Spanish life. There have been instances of the authorities bulldozing the homes of ex-pats due to confusing laws.




  • English is very widely spoken in Malta so you should have no trouble understanding people or making yourself known.
  • Despite its small size there is close knit ex-pat community in Malta.
  • Summer boasts warm weather and scorching hot temperatures perfect for sun worshippers.


  • Some taxes may seem very high compared to the UK
  • Infrastructure such as pavements and roads in places is rather poor.
  • Heavy traffic and poor air quality in some cities might not be suitable for people with asthma or respiratory problems.
  • Incredibly cold winters match the gloriously hot summers!
  • There are countless other considerations to take into account when thinking of retiring abroad such as
  • Property – purchasing or renting? Check the local laws on this.
  • Finances – you will still need an open bank account and the means to receive your pension.
  • Expatriate medical insurance is important especially if there is no or little national healthcare.


There are many great reasons to retire abroad but make sure that you first do your research and get involved with people who have gone ahead and done it themselves.

1 thought on “Where to retire abroad?”

  1. We chose San Miguel de Allende six years ago for its combination of climate, culture and the basic warmth of its people. I became interested in the process of becoming an expat and wrote a book based on conversations with 32 Americans and Canadians who had also made the move. It’s mainly a way of getting inside their heads. It’s called San Miguel de Allende: A Place in the Heart. Here’s a link to an excerpt on my website:

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