8 Awesome Countries For South Africans To Retire In – 2018/2019

Everybody wants to live in peace and quiet in their golden years – and the way things are going in South Africa at present, that’s the last thing anyone would expect in the coming years. The team at Archipelago have compiled a list of the Top 11 best countries for South African passport holders to retire in.

The below list of retirement destinations were chosen for their ability to “check most of the boxes” while still being relatively affordable. Read on to discover the best retirement countries in the world, and find out how you could retire in these countries easily and affordably:


1. Greece: This country is one of the most sought after travel and retirement destinations in the world, and with good reason: the country boasts world class beaches and a sun-drenched Mediterranean lifestyle. South African retirees have the option of investing €300,000 or more in property to obtain residency through investment in Greece. What makes Greece highly compelling in this regard is the fact that you do have the option of buying a residential property to live in, as well as a commercial property with which to generate an income, as long as the total investment is €300,000 or more.

For retirees who cannot afford an investment of this size, there is also the option to apply for the Greece financial self-sufficiency visa. The requirement for this is being able to prove adequate liquidity, as well as a prescribed minimum monthly income of around €2,500 for the primary applicant. For secondary applicants, the income requirement goes up by an additional 25% or so.

2. Turkey: As a retirement destination for South Africans, Turkey is going to be massive in the coming years. Boasting the world’s most affordable residency by investment programme, the cheapest citizenship by investment programme and some of the most affordable coastal investment property in the world, demand for Turkish property investment residency has already spiked significantly during the second half of 2018. The country has been very focused on developing residential properties intended for purchase by foreign investors, and given the over supply of stock on the market, the value on offer is astounding.

3. Malta: Malta is one of the pioneering EU countries for residency and citizenship by investment programmes. While the Maltese citizenship option is quite costly, the residency programme’s investment requirements are more aligned with that of other EU golden visa programmes. If your spouse has an EU or UK passport, however, you could obtain EU residency rights for you and your dependent children in Malta, without having to make a property investment. The legal basis for this path to EU residency is outlined in the EU Family Reunification Directive (2003/86/EC).

4. Portugal: Famous for its Golden Visa Programme for third country nationals, Portugal offers many of the perks of European living at lower prices than countries such as France, Austria and Germany. Cities such as Lisbon and Porto in recent years have risen to stardom as travel destinations – and with good reason: offering amazing weather, tantalising cuisine and a thriving culture scene, it’s easy to see why more South Africans are choosing Portugal as a retirement destination than ever before. It also holds the title as the third safest country in the entire world, making it a very good Plan B option for South Africans concerned about escalating crime. The investment requirement to obtain a Golden Visa in 2018 was lowered to €350,000.

5. Ireland: Ireland is a country of many virtues – gorgeous scenery, gregarious locals, traditional music and of course Guinness. Property rental rates, compared to property prices, are currently compelling, especially in more rural areas. And if you’re willing to use public transport, rather than buying a vehicle, you can get by with substantially less. As an added bonus, long term residents aged over the age of 70 qualify for national healthcare benefits, although most expats opt for private health insurance at approximately EUR 1350 per member per year. Long term residents over the age of 66 also qualify for free bus and train transport, which is useful, given the high price of fuel in the country.

6. Italy: If you’ve been to Italy, you would know why it’s one of the world’s most popular retirement destinations: Beautiful scenery, awesome gastronomy, world class scenery and culture all make Italy one of the world’s favourite destinations. The climate is generally temperate, and the country offers some of the best quality healthcare services available in Europe. Italy offers third country nationals the ability to apply for an elective retirement residency visa. To apply, you will need to provide proof of financial self-sustainability, domiciling through rental, or a property deed, and proof of medical insurance. Freedom of movement across the EU is also a big draw card for retirees.

7. Spain: Featuring over 3,000 miles of coastline, a temperate climate and some of the best food in the world, Spain is an internationally sought after retirement destination. English is widely spoken in cities like Madrid, Sevilla and Barcelona, and the cost of living is lower than in many other Western European countries – especially if you’re going to be based in the countryside. Property beyond the key city is also very well priced. Obtaining Spanish residency gives South African retirees access to Spain’s public healthcare system, which is currently free, and ranks as the 8th best public healthcare scheme in the world.

8. Chile: Is personal safety from crime a key consideration for your family? Chile is the second safest country in all of the Americas; more so than the USA, and only less safe than one country, being Canada. The rule of law is entrenched, ownership rights and contractual law is upheld and respected, and the country boasts one of Latin America’s most stable and dynamic economies. The country boasts amazing natural scenery, tantalising cuisine and some of the best wines from the New World. Bear in mind that Chile is and advanced country with modern infrastructure. The cost of living is therefore higher than in countries such as Ecuador or Thailand, but the standard of living is also higher. Over 20,000 South Africans have either retired in Chile or moved there with their families, and the country boasts a substantial expat population hailing from across the globe.

The Chile Residency by Investment programme options are relatively affordable and straightforward, with the Chilean government favouring the residency by business investment route to bolster economic growth. They do, however, offer a retirement visa programme and an economic self-sufficiency visa that could lead to permanent residency after a year. This programme is also known as the Retirement/Income Based Visa, or Jubilado/Rentista, in Spanish.

Interested in retiring overseas? Contact us now.