Retiring to another country means considerable change, including deciding what lifestyle you want and whether you want to learn your new neighbors’ language.
Italy offers a romantic lifestyle with great food, family values, a romantic language and a passion-filled life all around you. More-relaxed cities include Messina and Taormina, both on the island of Sicily, with breathtaking views of the sea. Look into Venice, Florence or Rome for an artistic and culture-filled lifestyle full of energy and new experiences. English is well known in Italy, so moving there, especially to larger cities, is likely to be easier than it would be in some other places.
France is a place where wine, intellectual discussion and art are held dear. However, it is wise to learn French before moving there to make your transition easier, as most French do not like to speak English. Cities like Cannes or Monte Carlo on the French Riviera (Cote d'Azur) provide an active beach lifestyle coupled with art and opulence. Places like Besancon or Aix-en-Provence offer a smaller-town feel with a family atmosphere that is still rich in culture and history.
Spain offers warmer weather, an unhurried life, amazing beaches and a healthful diet. The Spanish are friendly to people who need translation or are speaking English to them, so the transition to Spain language-wise is easier than it is in France. The cities of Alicante and Valencia feature artistic communities, while Granada caters to those seeking an active outdoor lifestyle. Barcelona or Seville provide a large-city feel full of Spanish flair, nightlife and stunning architecture.
Portugal is a less-expensive option that is still full of family life, fun and romanticism. While Portuguese is a difficult language to learn, the Portuguese people are extremely friendly and helpful. The Lisbon suburbs of Cascais and Estoril offer a simplified life with affordable housing close to the city. Porto, in the north of Portugal, has great wineries and country-style living.