Image: Sven Mieke on Unsplash

With the news of the government’s decision to not count government financial help towards the social care cap in November, Financial experts at Pension Times, analysed a series of metrics and given each country in Europe an overall score,  in order to find out which is the best to retire in. 

Ranked: Top 10 Best European countries to retire. You can find the full list of countries and their scores here.

EU CountryOverall ScoreLife Expectancy At BirthCost Of Living index Over The Age Of 65 (population)Average age retirement
France77.485.37414,017,12062
Poland71.480.8407,111,83065
Germany70.780.96518,312,80065.66
Spain69.885.1539,380,00065
Slovakia69.280.444911,65362.5
Greece67.983.7552,388,41662
Romania66.778.4353,247,74465
Czechia66.481.3462,154,98063.66
Sweden65.084.2692,080,35061
Bulgaria65.077.5361,493,11964.25

France, well known for its medieval cities, alpine villages and Mediterranean beaches has come in as the best European country to retire in. It has the highest expected life expectancy of 85.3 years plus the cost of living is relatively low compared to countries like Iceland and Switzerland. France is also one of the countries with the lowest age of retirement (62 years). 

If you were to work in France, you may also be able to benefit from a French state pension, or transfer any pension that you may have to enjoy work-free living in the country. In some circumstances, such as those who have worked many years of service, have worked in unhealthy environments or have a disability, you may retire up to two years earlier. If you have worked in some other European countries, you may also be able to combine the total number of years worked within the EU to then proceed to qualify for the French pension on a pro-rata basis. Expats living in France can enjoy life on a number of types of pensions in the country such as state pension, income drawdown, self-invested personal pensions (SIPP) and QROPS – Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes.

Despite being known for their typical seafood dishes, warm weather and being a popular holiday destination, Portugal doesn’t make the top ten places to retire, ranking 23rd on the list. With only 22.77% of the total population being over 65 years old and a retirement age of 66.4 years, it’s far from an elderly person’s haven. 

The UK has been ranked the 16th best European country to retire in with an average life expectancy of 81.2 years and a relatively high cost of living. The UK also has 11,989,322 people who are over the age of 65 years old and has an average age of 66 years old for retirement. 

Famous for being called the land of the fire and ice due it’s volcanoes and glaciers, Iceland has been ranked the worst European country to retire in; with its high retirement age of 67 years old and high cost of living (100) it’s no surprise it came in last!

With so many options to enjoy when it comes to retirement, knowing where the best location is to suit you and to even allow you to retire earlier than planned can help.