Expatra Retirement Abroad

10 Most Popular Places for Britons to Retire Abroad

10 Most Popular Places To Retire

Retirement overseas is as popular a sport for Brits as ever. Every year a bigger proportion of Britons going to live abroad for a better life is made of retirees seeking a dream retirement overseas.

International Currency Exchange (ICE) (https://www.iceplc.com/blog/ranking-the-worlds-best-retirement-destinations/) has surveyed 1000 respondents to find out the main considerations behind people’s decision to retire overseas.

Consideration number one is the weather – no surprise here.  About 76% of all the respondents cited the desire to live in a better climate as the main reason to retire overseas. Who could blame them? Last year the Met Office recorded only 1,432 hours of sunshine across the UK with an average temperature of just 9°C, – no wonder people are looking for warmer places in retirement.

Other aspects ranked as significant were cost of living, property prices, a slower pace of life and health.

So quite predictably the main three factors when it comes to retiring abroad are the weather, money and a lifestyle.

Very often the choice of the retirement destination abroad is a compromise between the lifestyle you desire and the money it takes to provide it. So if you are one of those thousands thinking of retirement abroad for a better life after job

Here is the list of ten most popular countries for Britons to retire to, which takes into consideration the weather, the financial aspect, and lifestyle choices:


la dolce vita (the sweet life) is exactly what one can have when one retires to Italy – a lifestyle of culture and sophistication in an enviably beautiful country with a fabulous climate, sumptuous cuisine and fantastic wine.  A country that is affordably within reach of the UK, where property for sale can match any budget and where the pace of life is as laid back or as fast paced as you choose, – Italy is one of the best options for those who can afford to choose lifestyle over money. It depends on the location of course, but mostly the cost of living in Italy is not really much cheaper than in the UK and taxation is quite high, unless you are a high-net individual. For wealthy retirees Italy can be a perfect choice financially as well, as their foreign income can be free from Italian tax in exchange for €100,000 a year. This tax break can be used for up to 15 years.


What’s not to love about retirement in Cyprus!  The sun-kissed Mediterranean paradise is also a tax haven for retirees with many legally paying no income tax and others paying just 5% income tax on their pension pot.  The cost of living in Cyprus is relatively affordable – away from the tourism resorts that is – the standard of living is exceptional and the way of life is just perfect!  On the downside the cost of real estate can seem a bit high and the 4.5 hours flight time to Cyprus might feel as a longish journey compared to a short travel to Spain or France, indeed.


Retiring to France couldn’t really be easier: it is right on our doorstep after all, and Britons can move to live in France in retirement with minimal fuss.  The country is so diverse and versatile, that you can choose any lifestyle and any climate you want – from very much like the UK lush, green and somewhat wet Brittany, to fabulous and bathed in sun Mediterranean shores. Walks, cycling routes and healthy food is in abundance, and the friends and family are just across the channel, so it’s easy to meet up every weekend if you wish.

French taxation is far from favourable unless you are planning to take out a lump sum.  Downsides include the fact that there is a wealth tax in France for those with assets over a certain value and the public health care system is oversubscribed and therefore it can be important for retirees to take out private medical insurance which can be very expensive.


Portugal’s value as a retirement destination has been going up for some time already. . In Portugal you can enjoy one of the most temperate and gorgeous climates in the Algarve region in the south of the nation. However, the further north you go, the worse the weather can become in winter. So, keep south if you’re seeking a better climate in retirement. The cost of living and property prices are lower than in the UK, plus the government has introduced a 10-year income tax exemption window for foreign residents moving to live in Portugal – and this extends to retirees moving in and receiving their income in the form of a pension.  So, if you’re a British retiree with a pension income, you can enjoy your retirement in Portugal for 10 years and not pay any income tax at all during that period.


Malta has it all – and it is beloved of expats, so much so that it ranks high in almost every survey related to the best places to retire abroad.  It has the weather, the lifestyle, the heritage, history and culture.  It is easily and quickly accessible from the UK. Malta is a very appealing choice for retirement overseas as EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who are in receipt of a pension can get a special tax status through the Malta Retirement Programme, which allows them to keep 85% of their pension. A downside is the cost of property,


There are plenty of good reasons to retire in Greece. First, of course, it’s a beautiful country. The climate is mild year-round and the people are friendly. The lifestyle is relaxed. Restaurant meals and fresh produce are reasonably priced. In fact, the overall cost of living in Greece is lower than in most European countries. Your savings will go a lot further than if you stayed in the UK.


The evergreen choice for retiring Britons and would-be expats alike, Spain never seems to fade in terms of its alluring fortunes.  Moving to Spain in retirement is easy – it is only a little further on than France, and Britons benefit from the fact that it is in Europe and therefore they can move there unrestricted by visas for example, and they can have their state pensions index linked.  The cost of property is falling fast, and away from the main areas of urbanisation you can actually find affordable property for sale in Spain nowadays.  On the plus side of things, you also have the weather, but on the downside of things – look at the laws of succession and inheritance taxes, take advice and take action otherwise you or your spouse could end up in all sorts of trouble upon the death of the other.


The Black Sea coast of Bulgaria scores high on both the affordability and the climate. The country is known to have the lowest cost of living of almost anywhere in Europe. Retirees may find that their pension income goes far further in Bulgaria – and they could benefit from a move as they will not be dependent on the local economy to provide them with a living. The country is stunningly beautiful with lovely sandy beaches along the Black Sea coast, which come very handy considering that summers in Bulgaria are much longer and hotter than in the UK. There are absolutely fantastic skiing resorts for those who enjoy active winter sports. Private healthcare is a must, but the insurance won’t cost much at all, and the medical services are of very good quality.