Best countries for retirement: Portugal and Spain in the Top 10

Every year, the International Living website publishes its ranking of the best countries to retire in, with the premise of providing its subscribers with the best information about places where they can spend their retirement living “a healthier and happier life, spending less money”.

Based on reports from a network of correspondents distributed around the world, and taking into account how to make the most of incomes and pensions during this stage of life, the 2024 report is now available.

An interesting point is that Portugal and Spain are ranked among the top 5 best places. This means that the Iberian Peninsula is not only attractive to digital nomads looking for the best places to work remotely, but also for those who have already completed their working life and want to enjoy their “golden years”.

What points are taken into account to compile the ranking? According to International Living, countries are evaluated in multiple aspects, from housing quality, climate, visa requirements, and benefits offered, to the cost of living, healthcare system, cultural adaptability, level of development, and efficiency of governance.

In this case, since the target audience is people who are retiring, the predominant criterion lies in the balance between cost and quality of life, along with the availability of social benefits to ensure that pensions are adequate to allow interested parties to live with peace and comfort.


The factors that make this country stand out are mainly its landscapes, food and sunny days, the healthcare system, and also highlight a low cost of living; however, this last one is a relative indicator depending on the city and area where you intend to live. For example, an apartment (flat, as Spaniards say) in the center of Madrid of about 50 m² has an approximate value of €1000 per month.

On the other hand, the real estate market is progressing very favorably for foreigners, both in purchases and rentals. This can be an attractive option if you want to explore investments in different regions: places that are less “touristy” typically offer more affordable rents.


A temperate climate, diverse and delicious cuisine, natural and largely unspoiled landscapes, and hospitable people. This is how the Portuguese nation is described, with a great variety of environments, from its traditional cities to coastal regions.

The ranking rates the cost of living in this country as affordable; again, this is a relative definition. In Lisbon, an apartment of the same 50 m² in the city center has a rental value of approximately €1200 per month.

What visas allow me to retire in these countries?

In the case of Portugal, there is the “Residence visa for non-profit activities”, also known as Visa D7. Those wishing to apply for these visas must prove that they have passive income above 1 Portuguese minimum wage, which currently amounts to about 820 EUR per month. If there is a second adult linked to the same application, 0.5 Portuguese minimum wages per person must be accredited (equivalent to about 410 EUR per month).

The residency period granted by the D7 visa is 2 years, renewable for periods of 3 years. However, it is relevant to note that after 5 years you can already apply for Portuguese citizenship and thus be a Portuguese citizen with your passport.

A Medical Insurance is also necessary.

For Spain, there is the Non-Lucrative Residency Visa. This allows living in the country without engaging in paid, work-related, or professional activities, as long as applicants can prove that they have had economic resources of at least 28,000 EUR during the last 12 months.

In the case of Spain, the initial maximum duration is 1 year and is renewable for periods of 2 years, as long as the applicant does not spend more than 6 months outside the country. There are tax advantages, such as exemption from tax on other income for 5 years. It is important to note here that Chileans have a great advantage; after 2 years, they can apply for Spanish nationality, that is, apply for the Spanish passport.

If you are interested in the possibility of retiring in these European countries, get in touch with our team. We guide you throughout the process; we look for the options that best suit you and your family.

We assist you with legal and tax details, so that you can simply enjoy your retirement. Schedule a meeting now!

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