Europe might be your perfect retirement place

I think you’d be surprised at how affordable sunny, culture-rich, food-loving, laid-back Europe can be.

Americans tend to assume that it’s out of their reach, that Europe is just, plain “expensive.” But the truth is: In the right places (and these are lovely places), you can live well there on much less than you’d imagine.

Did you know, for instance, that right now you can—

1) Rent a home in the sunny south of France—three bedrooms, two baths with a large private pool right in the historic part of a village on a cobbled street. Here you’re walking distance from shops, restaurants, and a bakery. There’s private parking, a large enclosed garden, and it comes fully (and beautifully) furnished. A former wine-merchant’s house, it has been fabulously renovated. And you can stay there for $1,018 a month.

(A smaller place—a tidy furnished apartment for two with a rooftop terrace right in the heart of a riverside village rents for $735 a month.) And these are just two of many fine, good-value options you have all over France. You just need to know where to go. And we’ll talk about exactly that this April.

2) Go wine tasting at a local winery in Italy where, typically, the experience is free. If you take your own bottles, you can fill them up for about $2.50 a liter, straight from the vat. Pack a picnic to enjoy in the postcard-like countryside, and enjoy Italy’s treasured aperitivo, where your glass of wine is accompanied by enough snacks to make a light dinner—that’ll set you back only $6.25 to $7.50. Otherwise, cafés and small restaurants often offer filling three-course, fixed-price lunch menus (look for menu a prezzo fisso) from $8 to $12.

3) In Portugal on the coast, you can invest in a three-bedroom apartment in a seaside town for $168,000. Right in the heart of the capital, you could secure a pied-a-terre for $198,000…and be in the thick of things.

The point is: In the right spots across Europe today your dollars stretch. And that means if you’ve always had this romantic notion that you’d love to spend time in Europe…in fact, you can.

First published by International