Europe’s most popular destinations are France, Spain, Italy, and the U.K., but travelers to these vanguard tourist havens realize pretty quickly upon arrival that it isn’t cheap to visit these countries — much less move to them as expats or retirees.But one Western European country stands out among the rest for its combination of Old World charm, unsullied beaches, lush forests, great seafood and unrivaled affordability.
Often overlooked because of its proximity to Spain, Portugal ranks as the most affordable place to retire, according to a new report from International Living magazine. Retiring there might boost your health, too — it’s among the countries where people live the longest.
“Portugal offers Western Europe’s best-value living today,” Dan Prescher, the magazine’s senior editor, said in the report outlining the most economical places to live in the region’s most affordable country. “On a $30,000 budget, which could easily have a retiree scrimping and saving at home, it’s possible to live very comfortably in Portugal.” That annual budget goes further than it would in Arkansas, America’s most affordable state to retire — this is what it costs to retire in every state.
Part of the reason for Portugal’s low cost of living is its economic standing compared to its wealthier regional neighbors; its GDP is equivalent to Connecticut’s with three times the population and six times the landmass.
The International Living report identified seven small Portugese cities with the lowest cost of living and the highest quality of living. All seven of these cities are livable for under $30,000 per year.
There’s Guimarães in the north, an ancient city of the Roman Empire crowned by a 10th century castle. Nearby Guimarães is Braga, the country’s oldest city. On the country’s southern coast lies Lagos, which is blessed with a moderate year-round climate and fills up with European tourists every summer.
The other four Portuguese cities identified as the most affordable are the former capital Coimbra, two hours north of Lisbon; Portugal’s second-largest metropolitan area, Porto; the central coastal city of Nazaré; and Marfa, a pleasant, slow-paced city 30 minutes northwest of Lisbon.
The monthly budget in several idyllic Portuguese suburbs is less than half that of Baldwin County, Alabama, one of the best places in the U.S. to retire.