2012 Retirement Index 

The Best Climate

Italy, Scored 98/100

Scoring a country on its climate is difficult, because everyone has their own ideas on what sort of weather they enjoy most. But it was Italy’s ability to cater to all tastes that saw it surge to the top of the Index in this category.

The weather in Italy is quite different from the stereotypical Mediterranean climate with many of its inland northern regions enjoying weather more on par with what is found in southern France and other continental countries farther north. This tends to translate into hot summers and often quite dramatic, picturesque snow-swept winters.

But head south to the coastal areas of Liguria and most of the peninsula south of Florence and you get the more typical Mediterranean weather—mild winters and warm, dry summers.

Altitude also plays a part. Italy’s highland areas regularly get snow during winter while the lower-lying land in the south rarely gets uncomfortably cold, even in winter.

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France, Scored 90/100

France, coming in second, also enjoys a varied climate. Northern regions are temperate while north-eastern areas have a more continental climate with warm summers and colder winters. In these parts, some snow tends to fall in winter, but it is normally quite light when you set it against what is found in many parts of the U.S. come wintertime.

Things get more varied still when you head towards the fringes—mountainous regions have an alpine climate while the south of France, famous for its stunning weather, is Mediterranean—meaning mild weather year-round and long, warm summers.

Mexico, Scored 89/100

Mexico’s climate comes in two parts—the Tropic of Cancer splits the country in two so one part is temperate and the other, tropical. This means land to the north experiences cooler temperatures during the winter months while more southerly regions see temperatures remain fairly constant year round. The variations that do exist are almost exclusively down to elevation. Because of the country’s topography, Mexico has one of the world’s most diverse climate systems.

Head south to the coastal plains and the Yucatán Peninsula, and you will find average temperatures from around 75.2 to 82.4 °F. Temperatures stay high all year, only really varying by about 9 °F between the highs of summer and the lows of winter. This is quite a bit higher than more northern regions, although there is more variation in the north with summers being hotter and winters colder.

New Zealand, Scored 89/100

New Zealand sees average annual temperatures ranging from 50 °F in the south to 61 °F in the north. However, that is by no means the full story. Weather varies dramatically across the country’s regions. The west coast of the South Island is known for its wet weather while areas such as Central Otago and the Mackenzie Basin of inland Canterbury are almost semi-arid. Meanwhile, in areas such as Northland, New Zealanders enjoy a subtropical climate.

In general though, the southern and south-western parts of the South Island have a cooler and cloudier climate, while the northern and north-eastern parts of the South Island are the sunniest.

Uruguay, Scored 87/100

Overall, Uruguay enjoys a mild climate and due to the fact that the whole country is located within a temperate zone, weather remains quite uniform from one region to another. The average temperature for the mid-winter month of July varies from 54 °F to 48 °F while the midsummer month of January varies from 79 °F to 72 °F.

There is a big swing difference in temperatures and sunshine between winter and summer but things never get too extreme in either direction—so things are never too hot or too cold. Because Uruguay lacks any major mountain ranges, which might otherwise stabilize the weather, there can be substantial shifts from one day to the next in any season.

Editor’s Note: This article was taken from a past issue of International Living’s monthly magazine. To get full access to all past and future articles and to receive the magazine in the mail or online each month, simply click on the below button to subscribe to International Living magazine at the special introductory price of $49. You will get instant access to the current issue of the magazine as well 10 years of back issues. As an added bonus, we will also send you a FREE report – How to Retire in Paradise on $30 a Day. (You can cancel your subscription at any time.)


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