Spain, Italy or Portugal: Where should you retire?

 Spain, Italy or Portugal: Where should you retire?

Certainly many people dream of retiring in Europe. But the question is: what is the best country to live your retirement? Whether it's Spain, Italy or Portugal, living your retirement in the sunniest places in Europe is totally possible, and here we'll prove it to you.


If you are looking for culture, good food and entertainment, you will surely find it all in the old continent. Also, your expenses will probably be much lower than you expect if you are planning to retire in one of the European countries.


In this article, we will explore three popular options for low-cost living in Western European countries, and the best, with great quality of life. Check!


Spain, Italy or Portugal: how to choose?

In these countries, you can easily find a rental house for less than 600€ per month, and you can buy a property for less than 110,000€, that's right! In these places it is also possible to have a full meal for only 10€ and believe me, buy a bag of fresh products, grown locally, for less than 6€.


Espanha, Itália ou Portugal onde se aposentar


All these countries have fabulous beaches, amazing rural areas and cities with a rich history and stunning architecture.


As you all know, Europe has a strong focus on health care, and these three countries have world-class health standards.


Health care units are almost free in these countries (as long as you're cool), and you don't have to worry too much about counting pennies to get a health unit.


Now, let's go into the details of each country one by one, so that it becomes easier to decide which one is best for you to retire.


We will divide our analysis into four perspectives, which are: Cost of LivingHealthSafety and Entertainment.


Living retired in Italy


Italy is one of the most famous countries in the world. When it comes to living out in retirement the nation has everything and is at the top of the list of consideration. See the advantages and disadvantages of choosing Italy to live in retirement.


Vivendo aposentado na Itália


Cost of living in Italy


Considering the prices and cost of living, Italy is considered an affordable country to live in Western Europe. Take a look at how much it costs to live in Italy, according to the Numbeo database:

Expenditure Costs
A single person estimates monthly costs (no rent) €746.32
Family of four estimated monthly costs (no rent) €2,631.66
1 bedroom apartment in the city centre €588.02
3 bedroom apartment in the city center €1,012.02

You can easily find a luxury home with 3 bedrooms to live in, paying a rent of around €1,500, and the cost decreases as you go to less popular areas.

Of course, if you look for rentals in a tourist area such as Rome, the rental price will be a little higher.

Food, besides being a delicious reason to choose Italy to live in, can also be quite affordable. Believe me, you can eat very well for less than €15 for a meal if you avoid the tourist area.

If you want to travel around the country, then there are many public transportation options.

In Italy, most public transport, such as bus and tram tickets, costs around €1.50. If you buy a pass, this amount may be even lower as you will pay per month.

Overall, you can live a luxurious life in many cities in Italy by spending the same amount you would need to survive in London or Paris.


Health System in Italy


The health system in Italy is known as SSN (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale), which is a national regional-based health service.

Citizens and residents receive universal coverage with nearly cost-free public health care.

Therefore, by paying a very small amount (from 15 to 20€) you can have a complete medical analysis whenever necessary.

In addition, medical care can be completely free for children up to 6 years old, citizens over 65 years and low-income people.

Treatments offered by public health units include exams, medications, surgeries during hospitalization, and more.

You should keep in mind that the quality of public health services in Italy can vary greatly depending on the regions you choose.


Security in Italy


Italy has a low crime rate. Although violent crimes happen there, they are very unusual. Most minor crimes, such as pickpocket activities, can be seen, especially in tourist areas.

Italian residents feel quite safe because the country has strict rules for criminals and the punishments are very severe.

Italy ranks 31st out of 163 countries in the world analyzed by the 2020 Global Peace Index


Entertainment options in Italy

Italy offers all kinds of entertainment to its residents. And if you love sports, Italy is the place for you.


In this country you will find many museums, theaters, orchestras, outdoor cinemas, beaches, water activities, amusement parks and more to spend quality time with your friends and family at a very reasonable price.


If you just want to relax, you can go to one of the many parks and read a good book in the shade of a tree. Also, if you like history and want to find a place to admire the achievements of your ancestors, Italy is the right place for you.


Do not forget that Italy is the country where you were born:

  • Dante Alighieri (1265 - 1321)
  • Christopher Columbus (1451 - 1506)
  • Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519)
  • Galileo (1564 - 1642)
  • Antonio Vivaldi (1678 - 1741)
  • Benito Mussolini (1883 - 1945)
  • Luciano Pavarotti (1935 - 2007)
  • Andrea Bocelli (1958)
  • Valentino Rossi (1979)

Living retired in Spain


Spain is also one of the main options for retirees in Europe. The rich culture, climate and infrastructure do not disappoint tourists or residents. Learn more about how retirees live in Spain.


Vivendo aposentado na Espanha


Cost of living in Spain


Spain is considered a cheap country to live in Western Europe, especially if you choose a region like Galicia to live in. See average spending in Spain, according to Numbeo :

Expenditure Costs
A single person estimates monthly costs (no rent) €607.80
Family of four estimated monthly costs (no rent) €2,146.49
1 bedroom apartment in the city centre €640.66
3 bedroom apartment in the city center €1,007.59

If you are a couple and are not living in a rented apartment, then the cost of living in Spain would hardly exceed from € 1,800 to € 2,000 per month. You can easily get a satisfying meal for €20 to €30, which usually includes a beer or a drink.


If you are a couple, your supermarket bills would hardly exceed €100 per week. If you prefer to live for rent, you can find a one bedroom apartment for less than €450, just look well. You can also buy your own house for less than €100,000.


Obviously, if you look for properties in tourist areas such as Madrid and Barcelona, the price of the m² will be more expensive, and can easily reach €5,000 per m².


In general, you can have a luxurious lifestyle in Spain for up to €2,000 per month.


Health System in Spain


Spain offers public and private health systems, and both are excellent!

This country has the highest life expectancy in the European Union, and is ranked as the healthiest country in the world in 2019.

Spain ranks first in the Bloomberg Index of Healthiest Countries in 2020, which scores 169 countries according to factors that contribute to the overall health of the community.

In a survey published by "The Lancet", Spain ranks eighth in the ranking that ranks the health systems of 195 countries worldwide, with a network of hospitals and high-quality health centers with state-of-the-art technology for care.

Public health in Spain is divided into two forms of care: Primary Care and Specialized Care. The first offers some basic services to the population and the second concerns specialized centers and hospitals.

Spain's public health system also provides free health services to retirees, including those from other European countries.


Security in Spain


According to the Global Peace Index 2020 report, Spain ranks 38th among the safest countries in the world, so this country is considered a safe place


Although there is not much violence among Spanish citizens, unfortunately, this country still suffers from terrorism.


In addition, as in other European countries, there are some areas in Spain where the separatist movement can be seen, more specifically in the Catalan and Basque regions.

According to the ranking of crime rates of Numbeo, Malaga and Valencia are among the safest cities in Spain.

Considering that Spain is a developed country, and also one of the most popular places for tourism, it is always necessary to be attentive to their belongings, since pickpockets are quite common, especially in some places of Madrid and Barcelona.


Entertainment options in Spain


Undoubtedly, in Spain, you can do almost anything you want in terms of fun, since this country offers a lot, for all ages.

For example, the nightlife in Spain is rich and exciting. Don't forget the famous Ibiza!

The bars remain open in Spain all day, and usually close at three or four in the morning.

The cities have many historic buildings, museums, galleries and sights. So stopping to admire the historic buildings and Gothic architecture distributed in many Spanish cities is a must!

It is worth remembering that Antoni Gaudí, a renowned architect and the face of Catalan modernism, is Spanish.

Here is a list of beauties you can find in Spain:

  • Alhambra and Generalife Gardens, Granada
  • Sagrada Familia and Gaudi Sites of Barcelona
  • The Great Mosque of Cordoba (Mezquita)
  • Prado and Paseo del Artes, Madrid
  • Guggenheim Museum
  • Cathedral of Seville and Alcazar

Those are just a few points, but the list is quite extensive.

If you are planning to live here with your family after retirement, rest assured that you will not be bored for a single day.


Living retired in Portugal


Last but not least, we have Portugal. Between Spain, Italy or Portugal, the small country of southern Europe surprises anyone with its enormous quality of life. So much so that this is considered one of the top destinations in Europe for retirees.


vivendo aposentado em Portugal



Cost of Living in Portugal


Everything is quite affordable in Portugal, including accommodation and groceries.

If you are a couple, you can live comfortably in Portugal with about 1,500€ per month , especially if you plan to live outside Lisbon, Porto or Algarve. Check out the table below for some estimates of the cost of living in Portugal according to Numbeo:

Expenditure Costs
A single person estimates monthly costs (no rent) €528.36
Family of four estimated monthly costs (no rent) €1,852.55
1 bedroom apartment in the city centre €590.45
3 bedroom apartment in the city center €1,020.21

If you want to rent a property in Portugal, a two bedroom apartment would hardly cost more than 600€ per month in the cheapest cities in the country.

Your grocery bills should not exceed € 300 per month if you are a couple. The food here is very good and also quite cheap, and you can have a full meal for less than 10€.

Overall, the cost of living in Portugal is extremely cheap compared to other European countries.


Health System in Portugal


The SNS (National Health System) is responsible for providing basic health services to people and expatriates living in Portugal.

The quality of the health service is simply excellent! I do a full check-up of my health situation twice a year, and the way this service is performed in the public service is simply remarkable.


According to the Euro Health Consumer Index 2018, Portugal ranks 13th in the quality of its health system, while Spain ranks 19th and Italy in 20th position.


Security in Portugal


Security is undoubtedly a theme where Portugal stands out! For years and years, Portugal has been considered the third safest country in the world! Behind Iceland and New Zealand.

The security system in Portugal is really fantastic. Crime rates are very low compared to other European countries and safety standards are high.

For example, I live in Braga and have never heard of theft here. In the region a nonviolent crime is considered so serious that it is even reported on TV. I can count on one hand as many times as I've seen a police vehicle on the streets.

Obviously, there are some cases of wallet thefts and even car thefts, but the proportions are very low compared to the rest of Europe and most cases happen in the Lisbon area. Serious crimes are very rare in this country, and you can be sure that you are safe living in Portugal.


Entertainment options in Portugal


Portugal has the oldest cities in Europe and therefore its history is simply fantastic. As it was considered the number one country in the age of discovery, this country is a must for those looking for culture and history.

In addition, you can find any kind of attractions here such as bars, nightclubs, markets, casinos, beaches, restaurants, parks and much more than a person can expect.

Lisbon and Porto are obviously cities that stand out, as they offer more attractions to the public in terms of entertainment.


But wherever you go, no matter the size of the city, you'll find a good place to eat, a beautiful park to have a picnic, a church (no doubt) to visit, and a historic place to meet.


Spain, Italy or Portugal Final Ranking

Still in doubt between Spain, Italy or Portugal to live in retirement? Check out the ranking below that we have prepared to help clarify your ideas.

Espanha, Itália ou Portugal Ranking Final


So, do you know what your final choice will be?


Have you decided which European country you will benefit from in your retirement? It may be Spain, Italy or Portugal, we are sure you will make good use of your retirement years.



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