Whether you plan to work part-time remotely or leap into full-time retirement, making the most of your 60s, 70s, and 80s mean finding the right place to retire. And it doesn’t have to be just one place. Theoretically, you can move from one country to another, making the most of long-term visas. If you choose the right locations, the cost of living can be lower, and life can be more exciting. Here are some great options for long-stay retirement travel.
You might not be able to place Uruguay on the map without looking, but it’s worth close examination. Tucked between Argentina and Brazil, it’s a land of beaches, farmland, and historic cities. Montevideo, the capital, is loved for its museums, open-air markets, restaurants, and heritage architecture. A tourist permit lets you stay up to 90 days, then it’s easily renewed for another 90 days.
If you love cobblestoned historic cities, seafood, wine, and sunshine, Portugal is a destination to include on your retirement bucket list. You could live in Lisbon or Porto if you prefer an urban style of life. Or you could choose a quaint coastal town on the Algarve coast, the most touristy area of Portugal. The standard visa lets you stay for up to 90 days. If you love what you find, Portugal has a Golden Visa system for residency.
Just like in Mamma Mia, the islands of Greece are magical. And the mainland is magnificent too. Some locations are pricey, like Santorini, where you’ll typically pay €2,000 monthly for a furnished apartment. Others are cheaper, like the island of Naxos, at €1,000 a month. In Thessaloniki, a city with extraordinary Roman ruins and an incredible restaurant scene, a decent apartment could cost as little as €600 a month. Long story short, Greece is friendly and affordable.
Spending some retirement time in Italy will give you unforgettable memories to draw upon when you’re tucked up in the rest home (many years from now!). Inspiring destinations for retirees include the Western Riviera near Nice, Cianciana in Sicily, Soverato (on the instep of Italy’s ‘boot’), Puglia (the heel of the boot), and Tuscany. If you want to stay longer than 90 days, you must obtain a residence permit within three months of arrival in Italy.
The premier spot for retirement in Australia is the Queensland coast, beginning at Coolangatta and extending to Port Douglas. The main attractions up this 1800km coast are sunshine and beach life. If you fancy an outback adventure, you can connect to other iconic parts of the big red country from any of the cities, like Ayers Rock. Unless you’re a a New Zealander, you’ll need a visa to enter Aussie. The typical visitor visa is for three months, but up to a year is possible in some circumstances.
Staying amid the bustle of Bangkok might not be your idea of a relaxing retirement, but imagine living on one of Thailand’s tropical islands. Ko Samui has been named one of the world’s 15 best islands to retire to. It has gorgeous beaches, inland jungles with monkeys and exotic birds, excellent golf courses, and affordable accommodations. To enjoy Thailand as a retiree, start by getting a non-immigrant ‘O’ visa, then apply for a one-year retirement visa extension.
Tucked into the eastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus attracts retirees from all over the world. They come for a low cost of living, a sunny climate, and a welcoming culture where English is widely spoken. If you want to stay longer than 90 days, try to get a retirement visa. Paphos, at the island’s western end, is popular with ex-pats. If you love wine and food, Larnaca is the place to be.
While it’s right next to Mexico and Guatemala in Central America, Belize is regarded as a Caribbean country. Think beautiful beaches, fabulous rainforests, locally-grown fruit and vegetables, cheap accommodation, and summer that lasts all year. Belize offers two residency options for retirees, so they’re keen to attract adventurous older people for a long-term stay.
Bali in Indonesia is exotic and enchanting as the ‘island of the gods’. Almost everyone speaks English to some degree, and the cost of living is low, especially if you avoid touristy areas. To qualify for a retirement visa, you need to be over 55, have health and life insurance, and have proof of income. The visa is initially granted for one year but can be renewed for several more.
New Zealand is a paradise at the bottom of the world, with a small population and a massive amount of natural beauty. The north is subtropical, and the south offers alpine landscapes, so it’s easy to find a climate that suits your interests. If you’re retiring to New Zealand from the USA, UK, or Canada, the exchange rate ensures you get great value for money. The Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa lets you stay for up to two years.