Ensuring a comfortable retirement means more than shoring up as much money to see you by as possible. To truly enjoy the best quality of life available, you need to make sure you’re living in the most appropriate place. By choosing to spend your retirement years in some of Europe’s cheapest and more beautiful countries, you can cut the costs associated with some of the best things in life and the low costs of living mean many people find they are able to take retirement early.

Austria

Austria may not be the typical first choice for many retirees, but it claims to be the cheapest country in Europe, making it an excellent option for those wishing to stay somewhere that will help them make their money go further.

The strategic positioning of Austria in the vital east-west and north-south trade routes has historically kept the commerce strong and real estate prices are said to be rising, according to Real Estate Loan. The gorgeous winter season and opportunity to live away from the big cities makes Austria a firm favourite, as does the fact that it remains a tax haven, despite the best efforts if the EU.

Portugal

Portugal is particularly loved by golfers, but offers good opportunities for all sun worshipers.

While many of the holiday homes on offer in Portugal remain quite expensive, the cost of living is cheap. Portugal has been less badly hit by the economic crisis than many of its counterparts, but bargains can still be made thanks to a stagnant property market. Both the sunny Algarve and Lisbon, the capital, are popular destinations for retirees. If you are planning to bu property in Portugal (or any other European city), it’s worth taking a few short breaks to explore what’s available. Hotel prices in Lisbon are considerably cheaper than many of its European counterparts, so there’s no need to rush your visit here.

Italy

There are many Italian towns offering easy access to the countryside, and a combination of cheap property prices and the promise of space and sun to relax in, makes Italy a tempting choice for those looking for somewhere to settle in their later years.

Spain

Always a popular choice for ex-pats, Spain is an excellent location for anyone hoping to enjoy a little sun, sea and sand during their retirement. South eastern Spain is particularly welcoming to retirees, offering heat, a spot by the sea and cheap house prices.

The number of people choosing to move to Spain has dropped in recent years, thanks to the global economic crisis and a crash in the property market. There have however been recent signs of recovery, and it could be a time to secure a cheap property while prices remain low.