After a long career of working hard and likely living in just one town or city, retirement becomes a great opportunity to not only stop working but to also experience new places.
By retiring to locale outside of where you worked, you’ll see new cultures and taste new foods. Travel is always great but it’s even better if you can turn your getaway into a permanent paradise. Here are a few options to consider when searching for your 2017 retirement location.
1. Phoenix, Arizona
Generally speaking, when seeking retirement locations, climate is a major factor in the decision … and the warmer the better. Phoenix is sunny for the majority of the year and offers a low daily cost of living. This is also a great choice for the dedicated sports fan as most events are easily accessible.
2. Algarve, Portugal
Lined with beautiful beaches, this city is marked by great weather and a low cost of living. There is also a strong expatriate community that will help you ease into your new neighborhood a bit easier. And despite being in Portugal, you can survive just by using English. There are also a variety of architectural sights and natural beauty to take in.
Located in Hungary and with many locations listed as part of the UNESCO World Site, Budapest is a beautiful and historic European city. Highlights include the Gellert Baths (a massive spa with an open air wave pool); Margaret Island, which is located in the middle of the Danube River; and the House of Terror, which has displays of Hungarian history during its fascist and communist regimes. With so many great options, your retirement here will be filled with lots of different things to do.
4. Cape Coral, Florida
Of course Florida is among the choices of places to retire. But Cape Coral is lovely and unique because it’s made up of more canals than roads. It is called the “Waterfront Wonderland” because of this. While slightly expensive, the beautiful scenery and aquatic activities make it a great choice for those seeking to be close to water but not on a beach.
5. Abruzzo, Italy
Abruzzo is one of the loveliest spots in Italy, offering a selection of both mountains and beaches. So if you’re into getting a tan while sipping drinks on a beach or glide down a mountain on skis, you have the option for both. It should also be noted this city is fairly quiet, not having a large seasonal tourist population or any modern industrial additions to ruin the scenery. And like most of the other cities of the country, food is important and crafted carefully.
6. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thailand is known as foreigner-friendly and offers a setting of abundant green jungles, superb beaches, gorgeous mountains and a laid back, casual lifestyle. The country also has affordable and highly rated healthcare services, which is a great selling point for retirees. Just make sure to swap out your tourist visa for one of long-term residency.
7. Caen, France
Offering up such sights as the Abbey of Sainte-Trinité, the Mémorial de Caen, and the fine arts museum located in Château de Caen, this is a great and quiet city marked with historical significance. Besides the art museum, there is another that documents Normandy’s history, before and during wartimes. Caen is definitely a place to relax and unwind from those working years.
8. Sliema, Malta
While exceptional in terms of sunshine (more than 3,000 hours per year), Sliema is a popular and crowded place to live. Despite that, the warm temperatures make it a very attractive location. This is also a place where just speaking English will be enough. And if you ever feel claustrophobic, Malta’s sister island Gozo is short ferry trip away.
9. Colorado Springs, Colorado
This city has a marked military presence with Peterson Air Base, the U.S. Air Force Academy and Schriever Air Force Base to name a few. But it is also home to some wonderful universities if higher education is part of your retirement goals. And if not, you can simply enjoy the skiing or other natural attractions like Seven Falls, the Cave of the Winds or Pikes Peak.
10. Puerto Vallarta, México
Coming from America, this Mexican city offers a host of familiar creature comforts. Take all of what you enjoy about where you live (Internet, easily accessible flights to and from the United States, great infrastructure and even familiar retail chain stores) and put it all in a nice, lush tropical setting. The cost of living is also quite low.
11. St. Andrews, Scotland
It makes sense that the birthplace of golfing would be a great and desirable spot for retirees. Whether playing or just watching, St. Andrews offers a variety of choices for the golf fan, from the novice to the most experienced. There is also an inviting charm found here that surrounds the city and makes everyone feel welcomed.
12. Panama City, Panama
Built by fantastic examples of modern engineering, the Panama Canal is just a short ways away from Panama City and makes a great attraction. There are also museums, an array of French monuments and Indian villages. The city also offers a special visa, called a Pensionado that is available to anyone whose pension starts at a minimum of 1,000 per month.
13. Granada, Nicaragua
Named after Spain’s ancient city of the same name, modern Granada still maintains some of its early colonial charm and architectural style. It has a large expat community and several upscale areas filled with great restaurants and well-maintained buildings.
14. Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic
Located in the Caribbean and sporting warm, turquoise seas lined with white sand beaches, the Dominican Republic is a great, diverse retirement option. Because of its location, it is a collection of several cultures, ranging from North American to Afro-Caribbean. And with an extremely cheap cost of living, you can actually move fairly easily from one island to another.
15. Cuenca, Ecuador
This is a charming city where you can get a coffee in a café that still has its old world Spanish-colonial style. The climate is outdoor activity friendly but recent economic shifts make this a more expensive choice. Even so, comparatively, the real estate market is still low and open enough for you to own where you spend your retirement.