5 Best Retirement Cities in the World 2024

Once upon a time, retirement was associated with packing up sticks and moving to the country, the beach, or an idyllic retirement community away from the hustle and bustle.

However, this perception no longer matches up to reality. The majority of retirees are now opting for a post-work life in busy, downtown urban areas.

While noisy cities might seem like more of a young person’s stomping ground, retirees are increasingly drawn to the walkability, amenities, and access to top-notch healthcare that cities offer. With that in mind, here are our picks for the best retirement cities in the world. 

1. Florence, Italy

For food, art, sunshine, and an unrivaled quality of life, the stunning Renaissance city of Florence is ideal for retirees looking for a slice of la dolce vita. The city is well-adapted for older residents due to the large amount of elderly expats and locals already putting down roots there.

You’ll find a relatively affordable cost of living compared to the US, great private healthcare, and more than enough to keep you busy for a fulfilling retirement.

2. Malaga, Spain

Those looking to retire abroad could do a lot worse than Malaga, a vibrant, pristine, and accessible coastal enclave on Spain’s Costa del Sol. The city is associated with Picasso and paella.

But you’ll also find year-round sunshine and moderate temperatures, alongside a low cost of living and a buzzing real estate market that will offer you a lot more bang for your buck if you’re coming from the US.

3. Naples, Florida

Perhaps you’re about to hit retirement age and would rather stay put for a satisfying life in the US. For this, retirement is, of course, more expensive. However, by following this essential guide to retirement preparation, you can get your ducks in a row and enjoy a rich and fulfilling retirement stateside.

For this, we recommend Naples, Florida. While this is one of Florida’s more upscale (expensive) coastal enclaves, you’ll enjoy perfect weather, low crime, and some of the best access to senior healthcare in the country. 

4. Panama City, Panama,

The dramatic, futuristic skyline of Panama City belies a laid-back Caribbean-style charm that is drawing expats from the US in droves.

While the cost of living is not so cheap, the main attraction is Panama’s generous tax benefits for overseas retirees, ensuring that your retirement funds go further. You’ll also find some of the best healthcare facilities in Central America.

5. Chiang Mai, Thailand

Always a frontrunner on any retirement index, the boho city of Chiang Mai in Thailand isn’t just for backpackers anymore. Much more laid back than its counterpart Bangkok, Chiang Mai offers incredibly cheap real estate and a massive expat community of retirees drawn from all corners of the world.

You’ll also find an exciting culinary scene, solid private healthcare, year-round warm temperatures, and a quality of life you won’t find anywhere else in Southeast Asia. 

Beyond the Best Retirement Cities

Finding your best retirement cities depends somewhat on your priorities. Do you value year-round sunshine? Would you rather be closer to home? Is a low cost of living more important to you than anything else?

Wherever your future home is, we can help you find it. Our dedicated Travel pages offer expert insights into the world’s best destinations, no matter your needs.

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