You’ll find lots of climate choice in our top retirement havens for 2012, and a good climate is an important consideration for those who wish to move overseas. In fact, thousands of expats have turned in their snow shovels for good and moved to places where the weather is better.
In places where the weather is warm year-round, not only do you eliminate the need for heavy winter clothes, but you gain in quality of life. Better weather means you’re outside more. And that often translates to “healthier.” Plus it usually means lower utility bills, too.
Best climate in the world: Italy (scored 98/100)
Scoring a country on its climate is difficult, because everyone has their own ideas on what sort weather they enjoy most. But it was Italy’s ability to cater to all tastes that saw it surge to the top of IL’s Retirement Index 2012 in the Climate 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 with southern France and other continental countries further 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.
The second best climate in the world: 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.
In third place: 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.
Great weather down under in 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.
You’ll enjoy a mild climate in 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: Discover the world’s best climates…for living and enjoying life. Sign up for IL’s free daily postcards here and we’ll send you a free report: The World’s Best Climates. In this report, we’ll share with you the top 10 countries according to climate.