Living on a European Island for $68 a Day

I’ve traveled in 92 countries, lived in Thailand and the Middle East, climbed the Pyramids, gone dog-sledding in Finland, trekked in Mali, seen the “gorillas in the mist” in Rwanda, and gone hot-air ballooning over the desert in Australia. I’ve had the chance to experience many cultures and see beautiful countries…but there’s only one place I love enough to spend half my year there when I retire in three years: a little-known Mediterranean island nation.

Long a favorite with Europeans for both vacations and retirement, this island unknown to most North Americans. But it’s a gem. I first visited over a decade ago as a tourist and absolutely loved it. It’s a fascinating mix of British, Mediterranean, Arabic, and North African cultures, and it has some of the most stunning and unusual architecture you’ll find anywhere in the world.

Walking out of my small, friendly B&B, only a few steps from the promenade along the sparkling Mediterranean, I was treated to the sight of the capital city, which is made up almost entirely of historic buildings surrounded by an ancient city wall and topped with an imposing fort.

All along the promenade, friendly locals and relaxed tourists sat at charming sidewalk cafés sampling the delicious local cuisine (a mix of Mediterranean, North African, and Italian). There is excellent local transport both in the form of buses and taxis, but I walked for hours every day just to experience the city properly.

As a rule, I never travel to the same place twice. But three years ago, when a couple of European friends mentioned that they had bought retirement apartments here at bargain prices, I decided to return and see if there was an opportunity.

With my career as a nurse and hospital planner coming to a close and retirement not far off, I was looking at all my options. I went back with my family and discovered the same wonderful atmosphere that had charmed me on my first visit.

There are lots of ways to keep busy, and life here has many advantages for retirees. It’s English-speaking and the climate is mild and sunny most of the year. Temperatures range from 48 F to 84 F, crime of any kind is rare, and the views and the quality of life are spectacular. Europeans have already discovered this—there are many retired people from the E.U.—and North Americans, South Africans, and Australians are increasingly discovering this island paradise.

Plus, it’s easy to travel to almost any major European destination.

A monthly budget to live here includes $650 to $980 for a two-bedroom apartment, $18 for Internet, and $66 for private health insurance. I give a detailed budget in the current issue of International Living magazine, but figure $1,654 to $2,054 a month all-in to live here (that’s $54 to $68 a day).

Editor’s note: You can read the full article about this European island nation in the current issue of IL magazine…which you can access immediately upon subscribing with this link.

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