While big cities like Paris and Madrid can hit the wallet hard, alternatives exist for retirees seeking the romance of Europe, but at an affordable cost.
July 07, 2021
Prospective expats drawn to the idea of retiring in Europe may be baffled by the high prices of its most famous destinations. But while big cities like Paris and Madrid can hit the wallet hard, alternatives exist for retirees seeking the romance of Europe, but at an affordable cost.
Not far from the Spanish border is the medium-sized town of Castelo Branco with the municipality of the same name. The city center is made up of a lively square dotted with shops, restaurants and clinics. Nearby tree-lined boulevards lead to a modern shopping center, public hospital, silk museum, and baroque garden. The Beira Baixa train line connects Castelo Branco to Lisbon in around three hours, or to the Serra do Estrela mountains, as well as other places across the country.
Although some expats live in the Castelo Branco area, English is not widely spoken here and knowledge of Portuguese would be essential. It is a place to settle only if you want a total immersion in the Portuguese way of life, which can be rewarding and affordable.
Winters in this region are cold and rainy with temperatures ranging from 50 F during the day and plunging to 39 F at night. Summer temperatures are temperate, averaging around 75 F.
The cost of living is low here and a couple could live comfortably on as little as $ 1,615 a month.
Rome is a spectacular world-class city, full of culture, history and events. It is also very expensive, as in any major capital. Fortunately, prices drop quickly when you venture outside of Rome. Even just an hour away, you can negotiate easy access to the city.
For the best deals and the best lifestyle, head to the province of Viterbo, where classic hill towns offer the Old World charm most expats crave, stunning scenery, and low property prices. Viterbo itself is a provincial capital with a medieval town center dotted with towers (reminiscent of the most famous Tuscan town, San Gimignano), an opulent papal palace, cobbled alleys dotted with wine bars and restaurants, and a Ressentir . With a university, a military base and provincial offices, it is an active place. There are also natural hot springs to soak up, Lake Bolsena nearby and the Mediterranean Sea less than an hour away. The attractions of Rome, Orvieto and southern Tuscany can be reached in an hour or less.
Rents start at $ 470 per month here. A beautifully renovated one bedroom apartment in central Viterbo with designer and quality work listings for $ 119,030. But there are also homes from $ 67,000 to $ 85,000 available, and these aren’t run-down wrecks either.
Including rent, a couple can live well in northern Lazio for around $ 1,700 per month.
Alicante might be Spain’s best deal. With lots of sun, miles of beaches (eight in total), palm trees, a classic castle, and a pretty tiled seafront alley, this small town offers a lot for your money. Below the Chateau de Sainte-Barbe, an ancient Moorish fortress, there is a marina, parks and shady squares, cinemas and a theater.
The permanent population of 350,000 people (including a strong expat community) reaches one million in the summer when Spaniards move into their second homes and European tourists join in the fun. The climate of the Costa Blanca is arguably the best in Europe, with 325 days of sunshine per year and low humidity.
Renting $ 547 per month entitles you to a furnished one-bedroom exterior apartment on the fourth floor with balcony, air conditioning and elevator. This budget also includes utilities for $ 97 per month, restaurant meals twice a week for $ 156 and a round of golf for $ 29.
A couple can enjoy all that Alicante has to offer for $ 2,010 per month, including rent.
The inhabitants of this part of the coast swept by the winds of the west of France form a people fiercely proud, independent and passionate about the history and traditions of their region. With 800 miles of cliff-side beaches, dotted with idyllic fishing villages and eye-catching harbors, they have good reason to be.
Brittany is made up of four different departments (French counties), with Côtes-d’Armor (department 22 – the French number) being one of the most suitable destinations for retirement. Dinan, a port town lined with old stone houses and waterfront restaurants, is considered one of the prettiest towns in the region. Homes in Brittany start at under $ 100,000.
In Dinan, a couple can live well for only $ 2,000 a month, including housing.
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