When it gets cold and rainy in Germany, many pensioners are happy to look for alternatives. So why not spend your retirement in a tropical city instead of in the German countryside? We analyzed 799 cities around the world. Here are the top ten for your retirement.
The German pension insurance paid 1.72 million pensions abroad last year, and the trend is rising. Although this mostly affects people who have worked in Germany all their lives and then returned to their home countries, the number of German retirees who swap their German home for one in another country or continent is also increasing. If that sounds tempting to you too, the only question left is where to go. After all, you should also pay as little as possible for rent and living abroad, but still enjoy good health care. And hardly anyone wants constant rainy weather.
For this reason, as in previous years, we compared 799 cities around the world. The data comes from the experiences reported by users of the comparison website Numbeo and has been partially adjusted by us. The following factors were taken into account:
The FOCUS Online Guide answers all important questions about pensions on 135 pages. Plus 65 pages of forms.
A city could achieve a maximum of 100 points in all categories. We eliminated from the bottom line all cities that did not score at least 25 points in each category, because what good are the best beaches and the best trains when rents are prohibitively high? Or unbelievably cheap living expenses if the air makes you sick?
The categories are also weighted, with rent, cost of living and health care earning the most points. Last but not least, each country appears only once in the list with its best city. We also excluded cities from crisis countries such as Russia, Ukraine and Iran from the rating. But they would not have been represented at the top anyway.
Before you read the top 10, one more caveat: the cities presented are the best only according to the criteria described above. What we cannot evaluate is, for example, the social life in a city, which languages are spoken there and under what conditions German pensioners can get a visa for the respective country. In addition, no personal preferences are included. Maybe the majority think the weather in the Caribbean is nice, but you prefer it cold – then just skip this city.
Osijek ranks tenth for the third year in a row. The city is located in the far west of Croatia on the banks of the river Drava, which flows into the Danube just a few kilometers further. The largest natural swamp area in Europe and a wine-growing area are in the vicinity of the 100,000-inhabitant city. From Frankfurt, the picturesque town is 904 kilometers or about an hour and a half flight away.
Osijek is one of the top 20 cities in the world in terms of transport and also scores extremely well in terms of crime and pollution. Only the health system leaves a little to be desired. The cost of living, on the other hand, is 40 percent lower than in Berlin, and you even save around 75 percent on rent.
Portugal’s Coimbra dropped two places from last year but remains in the top ten. The student town with 143,000 inhabitants is 40 kilometers inland on the Rio Mondego. Historical buildings, churches, monasteries and museums make Coimbra one of the cultural centers of Portugal. From Frankfurt it is about 1700 kilometers to get here.
Coimbra secures its place in the list with outstanding values in four categories: the crime rate is low, the health system is excellent, the climate is pleasantly Mediterranean and the transport system is not unnerving. Although the cost of living and rents are among the highest of all top ten cities, they are still around one to two thirds below those of Berlin.
Meknes has moved up eleven places and is in the top ten for the first time. The city with 600,000 inhabitants is located on a plateau in the interior of Morocco halfway between the port city of Rabat and the metropolis of Fez. The weather here is much more moderate than usual in North Africa. Two mountain massifs frame the city to the north and south. The old town of Meknes has been a World Heritage Site since 1996. From Frankfurt it is around 2100 kilometers to Meknes. But there are no direct flights.
In the ranking, Meknes takes the top position in the traffic category, in which, for example, commuting times through the city, but also CO2 emissions are measured. The cost of living here is 60 percent below the Berlin level, and the rents are almost 90 percent lower. However, there are deductions for the comparatively high crime rate and the air quality that could be improved.
Also new in the top ten is Da Nang from Vietnam, which has improved from 14th place last year to 7th. Da Nang is located in the middle of the long country on the coast of the South China Sea. Almost a million people live in the city where the Han River flows into the sea. Da Nang is economically important because of its commercial port with a cruise terminal, and touristically it stands out due to the many historical sites in the vicinity, such as the old imperial city of Hue. Da Nang is 9300 kilometers away from Frankfurt.
Da Nang has one of the 30 best rated healthcare systems in comparison. In addition, it does not stand out in any other category, but consistently achieves good values. Only the tropical climate and the purchasing power of the local currency are rated below average. The cost of living is half as high as in Berlin, and rents are around 70 percent lower.
Adana is one of two complete newcomers this year to make the top ten straight away. Turkey’s fifth largest city with 2.2 million inhabitants is located in the east of the country, a little inland from the Mediterranean coast, in the middle of an agriculturally important area. One of the largest universities in the country is also located here. Several historic mosques and buildings from Roman times make the city interesting for tourists. From Frankfurt it is a four-hour flight for the approximately 2,500-kilometer route.
Adana is one of the cheapest cities in the ranking. The cost of living here is around two-thirds lower than in Berlin, and rents are even 90 percent lower. The health system and the climate are also rated highly, deductions are only made for the crime rate. Compared to the previous year, Adana replaced Antalya as the best-rated Turkish city.
The Georgian port city of Batumi with its 172,000 inhabitants takes part in a roller coaster ride. Two years ago she led the ranking, last year she was not included at all due to a lack of data. Now it’s back up to 5th place. Subtropical climate and Georgia are two terms that are rarely used in the same sentence, but Batumi certainly is. An 800 meter long beach promenade invites you to stroll, there are also botanical gardens, aquariums, a late Roman fortress and a national park in the area. Economically, the city lives from the oil refineries, which process the raw material from neighboring Azerbaijan and then ship it across the Black Sea. Batumi is 2,700 kilometers or a four-hour flight from Frankfurt.
Batumi gets top ratings for its transportation system, low crime rate and good air quality. The cost of living is half that of Berlin, and rents are around 60 percent lower.
Of course, China is disproportionately represented in a global selection of cities, but it is not the well-known metropolises such as Beijing, Shanghai or Shenzhen that make the running, but the former German colony city of Qingdao. She defended her fourth place from last year. The city with a population of almost four million is best known today as the home of Tsingtao beer, which was founded by German settlers in 1903. It is 8,300 kilometers or around ten flight hours away from Frankfurt.
Qingdao has the fourth-lowest crime rate of all 799 cities in comparison and also scores very well in traffic and health care. Compared to Berlin, you save 55 to 75 percent of your expenses here. It looks bad in terms of cleanliness and air quality. For many emigrants, the climate also takes some getting used to. Qingdao is roughly the same latitude as Sicily, but winters are harsher here than in the Mediterranean.
India’s best city also surprises and for the third time in a row, Mangaluru holds third place. With all the metropolises in India, Mangaluru with its just under 500,000 inhabitants easily goes under. 75 percent of Indian coffee exports go through Mangaluru. In the city center is the Shri Sharavu Mahaganapathi Temple, an important Hindu pilgrimage site. From Frankfurt it is 7200 kilometers or a nine-hour flight to Mangaluru.
There are two excellent ratings for the cost of living and rents. They are 65 to 90 percent below the Berlin level. Few cities in the world are even cheaper. With its good health system, Mangaluru is also in the top 40 worldwide, and the crime rate is also low. However, there are very few points for the weather. That’s a question of taste: With its subtropical temperatures of mostly more than 30 degrees, the city is only for heat-resistant people.
In the ranking for the first time and in second place. The Colombian city with 400,000 inhabitants is located in one of the most important coffee-growing regions. In the south, the 5500 meter high Nevado del Ruiz volcano rises above the city. In addition to coffee, cocoa is also cultivated in the area and gold is mined. From Frankfurt it is around 9200 kilometers to Manizales. There are no direct flights.
In comparison, the Colombian city gets 100 out of 100 points for its climate – it doesn’t get any better than that. The cost of living – 70 percent cheaper than in Berlin – is also the ninth lowest of all cities. The traffic situation and the low rents – 85 percent less than in Berlin – also get many points. However, pensioners have to make deductions for the health system, which only gets 63 out of 100 points. The security situation is also not the best with 61 out of 100 points.
Compared to the previous year, Trebinje defended its top position by a clear margin. Located in the southernmost tip of Bosnia, the city is as close to the sea as this country can get. Only around 30,000 people live here. It is by far the smallest place that made it into the top ten. The city is particularly interesting from a historical point of view: a Catholic cathedral, a Serbian-Orthodox monastery and a mosque illustrate the changing inhabitants of Trebinje over the course of time. From Frankfurt you need about two flight hours for the 1100 kilometers here.
Trebinje stands out in several categories worldwide. The convenient transportation system is the fourth best in the world, the pollution index, which covers things like cleanliness and air quality, ranks 20th, rents and crime rates are among the top 50 in the world. The climate is Mediterranean, the monthly expenses here are around 55 percent lower than in Berlin. Trebinje only gets a bad grade in one category: The health system of a small town is below average in a global comparison.
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