According to a poll published in the American business and finance magazine ForbesSpain has been voted the fifth best country in which to retire. Spain’s climate, the Mediterranean diet, the quality of its health system, the lifestyle and cost of living are what interviewees highlighted as the reasons for their choice.

Those surveyed were predominantly American and Canadian retirees living in other countries. They were asked numerous questions on a variety of aspects related to living abroad which included the price of food and the average temperature throughout the year.

 The results gave a list of 100 countries in which Latin and Central American countries dominated together with countries located in south-east Asia.

The top five are:

  • Panama
  • Ecuador
  • Malaysia
  • Costa Rica
  • Spain

In fact, Spain came top out of all European countries, beating neighbours such as Malta (8th), Italy (14th) and Portugal (15th) with its score of 85.8 out of 100.

One of the main reasons that Spain is so popular is due to the economic crisis. House prices are so low now, whether for renting or buying, that the opportunity to do so is too good to pass by.

For example, websites promoting Spain are able to boast prices comparable to a decade ago, with chalets on the Mediterranean coast for 150,000 dollars (110,000 euro) to buy and properties to rent in popular beach destinations like Alicante or Malaga for barely 500 dollars a month (370 euro).

The wide choice of local markets and shops in which it is possible to buy healthy food at affordable prices is another aspect highlighted by the interviewees. The fact that you are able to spend as little as 150 dollars (110 euro) a month and live on a diet rich in fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and meat is a real advantage, they say.

It was also mentioned that cheap yet good quality food, including meat, fish and seafood, can be found all across Spain and not just in certain privileged locations.

Of course, the benefits of olive oil and local wines were also added to the list of positive qualities about Spain.

Nor could those questioned fail to mention the excellent weather enjoyed by popular tourist destinations in Spain, motivating them to enjoy a more active and outdoor lifestyle.

Others praised the Spanish health system, both private and public, and its quality of doctors, care and hospitals. Many commended the fact that there are so many hospitals in Spain, even in rural areas and often close to one another.

Finally, when asked about how easy it was to integrate and adapt to a new way of life in another country, those who have retired in Spain praised the Spanish for their openness, friendliness and ability to welcome foreigners into their community.

The Spanish, above all, were honoured for the importance they give to enjoying life and valuing their relationships with both friends and family.