8 European Cities That Will Pay You To Move There (and That Are Perfect for Retirees)

See if the incentives could entice you to move to a European city for your retirement.
Updated April 11, 2024
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One of the most difficult decisions you have to make when you retire is where you want to live.

You may want to consider the cost of living or access to healthcare facilities. Perhaps you want to be closer to family or have a home somewhere warm. But what if you could retire in a city that will pay you to move there? It’s not as crazy as you may think.

Due to falling populations or other issues, some European cities are offering to pay you or give you incentives to move overseas. It may allow you to save money as a senior.

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Ponga, Spain

estivillml/Adobe chapel in Valle del Lago Village

Ponga is nestled in the Cantabrian Mountains of Spain, making it the perfect location for retirees who enjoy nature. It’s also only an hour-long drive to the northern coast of Spain along the Atlantic.

The town will pay about $3,200 per person to move to the area, which means a retired couple can earn $6,400 for the move. You have to commit to living in the area for five years in order to earn extra cash.

You may want to persuade other members of your family, such as adult children, to join you. The town will also pay extra to the parents of babies born in the region.

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Albinen, Switzerland

swisshippo/Adobe Swiss flag

If you’ve thought about retiring to Switzerland, there may be a good option for you in the Swiss Alps.

Albinen will pay families almost $54,000 to move to the area, which could make it a lucrative option for you. The offer is restricted to Swiss residents or those who have lived in Switzerland for a certain period of time. 

You’ll also have to commit to living in Albinen for 10 years.

Borgomezzavalle, Italy

Piotr Krzeslak/Adobe landscape of Italian dolomites

Located in the Italian Alps, Borgomezzavalle is trying to entice new residents to move to the area after seeing a decline in population.

Check out the town where you could buy an empty house for as little as one euro, which is equivalent to $1.08. Yes, a little more than a dollar. The town will also give you an additional $2,100 if you start a new business in the area.

Sambuca, Sicily

Raffaello Tiziano/Adobe foreshortening of small village of Sambuca

On the island of Sicily is Sambuca, which is well known for its production of the liqueur of the same name.

It also has seen a decline in population in recent years and is trying to increase the number of residents by allowing new buyers to pick up a house for one euro, or $1.08.

The catch is that most of these residences have fallen into disrepair. You’ll probably need to spend more than $15,000 to renovate a home if you decide to move there.

Sark, the Channel Islands

allard1/Adobe remote beach and rocky coastline on Sark Channel Islands

Sark is a small island with fewer than 500 residents and zero cars, which could be an attraction if you’re looking for a more quiet life.

Sark may be a good option if you decide to take on a new side hustle in the arts, such as writing or composing. Artists can get a two-year visa for free that can be extended indefinitely.

The island also doesn’t have taxes on income, capital gains, or VAT. That alone may be an incentive to move there.

Pro tip: You could end up using the right credit card to earn travel rewards and visit your chosen destination to make sure it's right before you retire. 

Antikythera, Greece

Haris Andronos/Adobe Potamos village with the port and the fishing boats

It may be hard to imagine living on a Greek island that has only 20 other residents, but it could be appealing if you want some peace and quiet in your retirement.

As a new resident, you will be given land, a home, and 500 euros (more than $530) a month for the first three years you live there. The plan to add more residents to the island does favor Greek citizens, but non-Greeks will also be considered if you’re interested.

Sardinia, Italy

Serenity-H/Adobe harbor and village Porto Cervo Sardinia island Italy

Sardinia is a large island off the coast of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea that features beautiful beaches and turquoise water. The island has set aside grants for new residents who want to move there, which could be attractive to retirees. 

In order to qualify for one of the grants, you have to move to a town in Sardinia with fewer than 3,000 residents. You also must use the grant of 15,000 euros, or more than $16,000, to buy or renovate a home.

Presicce-Acquarica, Italy

Freesurf/Adobe old port of Gallipoli view with castle and boats

You will live among the olive trees if you make the move to Presicce-Acquarica, located in the Puglia region in the heel of the boot of Italy.

The town will pay 30,000 euros, or more than $32,000, to anyone who is willing to move there and buy a home to rehabilitate. You also have to make it your official residence so this isn’t a move if you want a vacation home in Italy.

And like some other towns on this list, Presicce-Acquarica will give you more than $1,000 for each baby born there, which could make it an enticing move if you bring along your children or grandchildren.

Bottom line

Syda Productions/Adobe senior woman in sunglasses with waving scarf on beach

So are you ready to think about retiring in Europe? First, you’ll have to figure out how much money you’ll need for retirement. You may be surprised at the cost of retiring, especially if you factor in a major move to a place like Europe.

You also may discover that you can retire early based on how much you’ve saved already plus the incentives you could earn if you move to certain cities in Europe.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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