Mild winters, sunny and warm summers and the occasional cool, refreshing breezes are ubiquitous on the Mediterranean Sea. The views are stunning, the atmosphere laid back and the food is always fresh and delicious.
One may think the Mediterranean is surely expensive and overpopulated. I mean, with all that natural beauty, who wouldn’t want to settle down there to retire? And yet, it isn’t truly out of reach. Many areas are still rather quiet and affordable. The dream of enjoying the rest of your days wandering deserted islands along the crystal blue sea is still attainable.
Greece – Samos
300 days of sunshine and clear skies. Need I say more? Alright, how about the charming cobble-stone streets, numerous stunning beaches, its rich history, low cost of living, absence of crime, and super-friendly people? In the summer, expect to be outside all the time exploring the town on foot, strolling along one of the beaches, or enjoying a long lunch at a waterfront café.
The Grecian town of Samos is incredibly social and laid back. Life is a little slower, commutes are much shorter, the cost of living is lower and the community is much smaller here compared to most other Grecian and European cities.
Their restrictive planning laws left their coastline undeveloped, but within the last few years the rules have started to change to bring in more tourism. This mean the coastline is still fairly untarnished, but the burst of new development and simplified tax system is creating an excellent market for foreign buyers.
Malta – Gozo
The Maltese islands are home to year-round sunshine and one of the best climates on the planet. Tranquil and quiet with rich, green hilltops and pastures surrounded by beautiful sea views and some of the best diving spots in the world. Factoring in the low taxes, ease of residency and property ownerships, low crime rate, inexpensive cost of living, excellent healthcare system with state-of-the-art hospitals and the fact that just about everyone speaks English – you’ve just found one of the best spots on the planet to retire.
While Malta may be densely populated, escape to the smaller island of Gozo for a little more solitude. Many residents of Malta have weekend getaways here. It hasn’t been discovered by mass tourism so you’ll find close-knit, rural villages dotted with baroque parish churches and old-fashioned farmhouses.
In recent years there has been an upsurge of projects, including new facilities and infrastructure, to bring people in. While most of the island properties are older homes, new developments are springing up. Locals tend to prefer newer properties so the market for older fixer-uppers is decent for foreign buyers looking for a project.
Cyprus is already a well-established international retirement community, popular because it is darn near impossible to not relax there. Imagine spending your days playing a leisurely game of golf while overlooking the clear blue sea, or spending the weekend out at sea bobbing around in a boat. Cypriots enjoy a very high standard of living that is affordable and not too crowded with excellent infrastructure and employment opportunities. Cyprus also has first world health standards with excellent health care and hospitals.
The property market has suffered hits to its reputation in recent years and many potential investors have been deterred by the complexities of the process. This means that properties are currently relatively abundant and affordable – favorable conditions for buyers.
Mario Vitanelli is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in international finance, retirement and investment. He currently works with the QROPS Group, blogging about travel and economic policy. When away from his keyboard, he enjoys fishing and trying not to exaggerate about the size of his latest catch.