Author Kathleen Peddicord is Editor and Publisher of Live and Invest Overseas. She has covered the international beat for more than 30 years and is one of the world’s foremost authorities on overseas living and retirement - She has traveled to more than 75 countries, invested in real estate in 21, established businesses in 7, renovated historic properties in 6, and raised her children in 4. From her experiences, here are the 10 most romantic places to live or retire overseas. Visit one of these beautiful, historic, charming, colorful spots, and your heart will sing, your imagination will soar…
It's no contest. Whether a holiday-goer or a retiree, if you’re looking for a romantic destination and you enjoy the distractions of city life, Paris should be at the top of your list. Picnics in the Luxembourg Gardens, long walks along the banks of the Seine, and afternoons lost among the cobblestones of the Latin Quarter…In addition, the retiree in Paris has access to the world’s best museums, galleries, cafes, restaurants, shopping, food, wine, parks, and gardens.
Mendoza is wine country, and where vines grow, the living generally qualifies as romantic. Argentines enjoy great food, good vino, and interesting conversation, and here, in the interior of this country, these things are the priorities of life. This region is a great choice for the active retiree who isn’t ready to sit back rocking on the front porch. There’s skiing, hiking, climbing, birdwatching, white-water rafting, kayaking, kite-surfing, and great golfing.
Medellin is a green city, with trees, plants, and small gardens everywhere. It’s architecturally consistent and pleasing. Most every building is constructed of red brick and topped with red clay roof tiles. The overall effect is delightful. Medellin is a literary and an artistic center – it has been named “world’s most innovative city” and is appreciated for the romantic locale that it is. With its outdoor cafes and open-air music venues, Medellin is an easy place to get swept away.
The cobalt blue of the Adriatic Sea off Istria’s coast is almost otherworldly. In Istria, both nature and man have worked together over many centuries to create something very special, almost magical. In fact, the ancient Romans named it Tierra Magica. The hinterland is a beguiling patchwork of meadows, vineyards, and olive groves. High in the hills, behind more medieval walls, are yet more toy-town settlements of fountains, chestnut trees, and frescoed churches.
It’s hard to think of a lovelier corner of Italy. The beaches are golden, and the sea rolls out like a giant bolt of turquoise silk. Stitching together seascapes with lush mountain valleys, this region is one of Italy's secret treasures, and you'll love it. Life in the Abruzzo hasn't changed that much over the years, and it's like wandering into a gentler, kinder yesterday. Families shop at open-air markets and, if they don't produce their own wine, they buy it from local vineyards.
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
The caldera created by a massive volcanic explosion, one of the strongest explosions in earth's history, formed the basin for what is today arguably the most picturesque lake in the world: Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. A community has developed on the shores of this lovely lake, providing an irresistible opportunity for the retiree looking for peace, quiet, and abundant outdoors adventures on his doorstep.
Christchurch, New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the world’s premier outdoor playgrounds, being clean and green, with top-notch skiing, hiking, surfing, and fishing. Thanks to its showcase botanic gardens, public parks, and nature reserves to community vegetable plots, school planting projects, and well-kept private grounds, Christchurch deserves its moniker “City Within A Garden.” All the green space provides a lovely backdrop for the city’s many festivals and public entertainment offerings.
Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a former Inca capital that retains its Andean-indigenous influence. With its wealth of colonial homes with interior courtyards, thick adobe walls, and iron-railed terraces looking down on to the street, punctuated regularly by plazas and squares, this is a city made for walking. Folks come from all over the world to enjoy these 250 square blocks of history and to study in Cuenca’s world-class language schools.
There are moments in this city of pastel stucco exteriors, clay-tiled roofs, and cobblestones, when the light is just right, that are reminiscent of Santorini. Purple and red bougainvillea branches overhang walls on every street. Markets overflow with bright Mayan weavings. Antigua has a small-town feel, where everyone knows everyone else and exchanges a “buenos dias” in passing. The pace of life is slow. Take a deep breath and savor the day.
You reach Cayo via one of this country’s three highways, the one headed west. The land in Cayo is fertile. Farmers grow corn and sugarcane, watermelons and citrus. You see Mennonites driving horse-drawn carts and children walking home from school. Life here revolves around the land and values independence above all else. This is a place for like-minded folks to be “independent together,” with some of Mother Nature’s finest work as the backdrop.
Where would you want to retire? Is your place of choice on this list or do you have another suggestion to share – do it in the comments below!
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