Ready to say goodbye to daily stress? Do you dream of an idyllic place to retire and relax?

“To some it’s a lounge chair,” writes the World Economic Forum (WEF), which released its 2022 International Living Global Retirement Index. “For others, it’s a completely different country. For the lucky last, the only question is: ‘Where to live?’ »

For many, the dream place to retire from the world of work is the Old World and, unsurprisingly, Portugal tops many rankings and lists of the best European countries in 2022 to retire to.

Greece, Italy, Malta and Switzerland also topped lists published by, among others, the WEF, World Population Review, Blacktower Financial Group, Expat Financial, Stuff Travel, US News, International Living and Live and Invest. . Abroad.

The ranking of these indices is based on the scores given to each country in categories such as visa and residency, housing, cost of living, healthcare, tax, climate, governance and security. .

Portugal

A low cost of living, easy residency, tax incentives for foreign residents, cosmopolitan cities, whitewashed cobblestone villages, miles of long sandy beaches, some of the best golf courses in Europe, a Pleasant climate and friendly people are among the attractions of Portugal.

The country, one of the safest in the world, is rich in history, culture and natural wonders. Stuff Travel adds “a culture that prioritizes getting together with family and friends over good food, music, wine and (of course) port.”

According to Live and Invest Overseas, Portugal offers several pathways to residency, including the expedited Portuguese Golden Visa. “Portugal’s Golden Visa program grants a two-year residency permit to expats who invest €500,000 in real estate (under certain circumstances, you can get one with a reduced investment of €280,000 or €350,000). The visa, which includes tax benefits on foreign income, can be renewed every two years, provided you spend at least two weeks in the country every two years. You can apply for permanent residence and citizenship after five years.

Among the best places to retire in Portugal, according to Where Can I Live, are Lisbon, Cascais, Porto, Algarve, Alentejo, Braga, Aveiro, Madeira and the Azores.

Swiss

The Alpine country tops lists of the best expat retirement locations for its high standard of living, low taxes, excellent healthcare, and safety.

It’s also packed with scenic spots with peaceful, relaxing mountain scenery and a plethora of outdoor activities, including skiing.

All these guarantees come at a cost and the country is also one of the most expensive retirement destinations. At the same time, it has the highest life expectancy rates in Europe, with an average of over 83 years.

Given its popularity and the growing influx of retirees, the Swiss government offers a special retirement residence program.

The cities of Lausanne and Zurich, together with their surrounding regions and the cantons of Zug and Appenzell Ausserrhoden, are considered the best places to live by Expatica.

Greece

Greece emerges as the top European destination for retirement by Stuff Travel.

“With its ancient ruins, colorful fishing villages, sun-drenched islands bathed by the clear blue Aegean Sea and cuisine that makes the most of seafood, olive oil, feta and fresh local produce, Greece is a dream holiday. and retirement destination.

Greece is also among the most affordable countries to live in Europe and since 2013, has implemented a golden visa program which grants five years of permanent residency to non-EU citizens who invest at least €250,000 in local real estate.

“You can renew your residency, which comes with health care and education benefits, after five years, provided you’re still invested in the property, and apply for citizenship after seven years,” the guide says. travel.

Some of the most recommended places to retire include Athens, Rhodes, Santorini, Corfu, Mykonos and Thessaloniki.

Malta

For the WEF’s index, Malta is one of the best retreat places in Europe for the warm southern waters of the Mediterranean Sea that surround its five small islands – only two are inhabited – which are a mix of lifestyle d Western Europe with a hint of Arabic language and culture.

Summer temperatures can be hot and humid, and it’s not the cheapest retirement destination. But year-round sunshine attracts many residents who also benefit from a world-class healthcare system and plenty of sports and outdoor activities.

Maltese and English are widely spoken, and over the centuries invaders from several civilizations have left their mark on the local cuisine and culture. Malta offers a mix of ancient megaliths, medieval fortresses, rocky hinterland, beaches and coastal fishing villages, with a few towns thrown in for good measure.

“If someone were to take Southern California and mix it with a mix of Tuscany, Spain and more than a pinch of the Greek island of Crete…that person would have created a pretty good analogue for Malta. , a very small point in the southern Mediterranean, a stone’s throw away from Sicily”, is the description of International Living.

A “very small grain” filled with more than 500,000 people, of whom nearly 15% are expatriates.

Global Citizen’s Solutions includes Sliema, St. Julian’s and Paceville, the most “urban” areas, as the best places to live a retired life in Malta.

Considered the most ‘urban’ areas of Malta, the towns are located just off the coast with a mix of residential shopping centres, bars, restaurants, cinemas, marinas and an expat community dynamic. Note that these towns are also more touristy and may experience more bustle than other towns in Malta.

“Other popular options are St Paul’s Bay, Qawra and Mellieha which have a large community of retirees and families living here attracted by the many museums, restaurants, shops, marinas and hotels.”

Italy

“If you’re looking for a typical Old World lifestyle, Italy deserves your attention,” writes Live and Invest Overseas. “The old towns are charming and the countryside is pleasant. Even excluding big cities like Rome, there’s enough here to keep your interest and sustain a busy life on the continent. Plus, life here can be a lot more affordable than back home.

History, architecture, art, good food and wine and a strong connection to its past, with hundreds of ruins visible across the country, are among the attractions.

Other advantages include the fact that Italy has the second best healthcare system in the world according to the World Health Organization.

Blacktower names Italy as the ‘best country for over 65s’: it has the largest over 65 population in Europe, meaning retirees will be surrounded by people of a similar age range . Famous for its stunning landscapes, charming lakes and delicious cuisine; retirees who settle there will certainly not lack things to do.

“Whether you live in Rome and visit the Colosseum, get involved in the fashion world in Milan or admire the vineyards of the Tuscan valley, Italy is definitely an expat favourite. With incredibly low crime rates, little to no housing restrictions, and above-average health care, Italy has many advantages for foreigners looking to retire,” notes Expat Financial.

Here are the five regions recommended by Italy Magazine for “foreigners to retire in style”: Lombardy, Sicily, Puglia, Lazio and Tuscany.