Best country to retire in for 2023 has an ‘exceedingly attractive’ cost of living compared to the UK

Croatia in pictures

Croatia has been named the best country to retire in 2023

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 20/09/2023

- 10:42

Updated: 20/09/2023

- 15:06

The best countries to retire in this year have been ranked, with exchange rate and the cost of living playing a role in the index

Millions of over 50s have planned to relocate in retirement, whether it's to move closer to family and friends, pursue a better quality of life or emigrating abroad.

Some three million (12 per cent) people aged over 50 in the UK planned to relocate due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to 2021 research by Legal and General.

There has been an ever-increasing demand for inquiries surrounding moving abroad in retirement, with searches for “best country to retire to from the UK” having increased by 94.1 per cent in the last 12 months.

From living close to loved ones to the cost of living there, there will be a lot of considerations when it comes to choosing where one moves overseas.

Croatia marina in pictures

Croatia had the highest score of 70.55 per cent


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Digital pensions provider Penfold has analysed multiple factors, such as the cost of living, exchange rate and average flight cost, to rank the top 15 countries to retire in.

Croatia had the highest score of 70.55 per cent, while Spain came in second place with a score of 61.67 per cent.

Full list of best countries to retire in 2023

  1. Croatia – 70.55 per cent
  2. Spain – 61.67 per cent
  3. Republic of Ireland – 60 per cent
  4. Italy – 58.89 per cent
  5. Greece – 58.30 per cent
  6. France – 57.80 per cent
  7. UAE (Dubai) – 55.60 per cent
  8. Canada – 54.40 per cent
  9. Australia – 54.40 per cent
  10. New Zealand – 53.33 per cent
  11. Cyprus – 53.33 per cent
  12. Thailand – 52.78 per cent
  13. Philippines – 48.30 per cent
  14. South Africa – 45.56 per cent
  15. US – 38.89 per cent

Penfold said the top benefits of moving to Croatia in retirement included the exchange rate. The cost of living, including rent, was also branded “exceedingly attractive” compared to living in the UK.

Croatia scores 28.47 on the Cost of Living Index, compared to the UK’s 46.42, meaning that rent costs and the prices of day-to-day living are nearly half of that of living in the UK, the analysis showed.

Spain is also a popular country that UK expats opt to retire in, with cheap flight costs and a relatively short flight time often appealing to expats.

The country also ranks highly in happiness surveys, and, with a score of 83 out of 100 on the World Safety Index, is considered one of the safest countries in the world to settle in.

The Republic of Ireland took third place, and while it may lack a warmer climate, the country is close to the UK and has “phenomenal” healthcare and bountiful green spaces.

\u200bSpain in pictures

Spain is also a popular country that UK expats opt to retire in, coming second in the analysis


To relocate to Ireland, pensioners will only require the equivalent of €7,000 in their bank accounts, Penfold said.

Chris Eastwood, Penfold co-founder, said: “While many people who retire overseas worry whether they will be able to access their state pension, it is possible to claim state pension abroad if you’ve paid enough UK National Insurance contributions and are within four months of your state pension age.

“Personal or workplace pensions can be paid to you wherever you live and you’ll be entitled to any scheduled annual increases in the same way as if you were living in the UK.

“Before moving abroad, it is important to figure out what pension scheme and provider is best for you as some providers may only be able to pay into a UK bank account, so be wary of providers who will apply extra charges.”

Before moving abroad, it’s important to check whether one’s state pension will be affected, as an estimated half a million pensioners do not see the payment rise each year.

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