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An annual report out this week by Live & Invest Overseas for American expats has once again listed the Algarve as the best place in the world to retire. Lisbon also makes an entry into this year’s rankings and has been placed in seventh.

The Algarve has been awarded the top ranking for four years in a row, thanks to its spectacular location, safety, friendly expatriate community and the availability of quality health care.

“You couldn’t find a more friendly, affordable and physically beautiful location than Portugal’s Algarve region,” said Kathleen Peddicord, founder of Live and Invest Overseas.

Live & Invest Overseas researchers say the Algarve has “got everything the would-be retiree could want - great weather and lots of sunshine year-round; an established and welcoming expat community; top-notch medical facilities and health care; an affordable cost of living, especially when you consider the quality of life on offer; undervalued and bargain-priced property buys, including right on the ocean; endless opportunities for fun, adventure, and enjoying rich, full, varied days out-of-doors; a great deal of English spoken thanks to the longstand-ing British presence; First World infrastructure; a new retiree residency programme that rolls out the welcome mat for foreign pensioners; and easy access both from the United States and to and from all of Europe”.

And for American investors, their strengthening currency is seen as an added advantage.

“Portugal’s property market remains nicely undervalued, and, again, if you’re shopping with dollars, you’ve got super-charged buying power right now”, the study stresses.

“From cost of treatment to ease of access, health care is an ever-growing concern for retirees. In this category, the Algarve, Portugal shines.”

The report states public health care in Portugal is available to legal foreign residents who are registered with their local medical centre. 

Despite Portugal’s ongoing troubles with staff shortages, health care in the Algarve region is good, and the country’s overall health care ranks 12th in the world. 

As in many European countries, normally, public hospitals, such as the one located at Portimão are better equipped for emergency situations than are private hospitals. 

However, two large private hospital providers own and operate hospitals across the Algarve, with the closest being the Hospital Particular in Alvor. Faro Hospital, its cardiology unit in particular, has earned a reputation for excellence.The Algarve region is also home to some of the best courses in Europe. 

“You’ll find more than three-dozen 9-hole or 18-hole layouts at 35 clubs around the region. 85 of the region’s breathtaking beaches were awarded Blue Flags this year. Among the golfing, the beaches, and the excellent mountain-bike trails, you’ll be pulling more than a 40-hour week in the sunshine (and the Algarve boasts more than 300 days of it per year),” researchers said.

In the category of crime and safety, the Algarve is also once again at the top of the list.

Portugal is known as the fifth most peaceful country in the world and statistics show that crime in the already-safe Algarve is falling steadily.

Live & Invest Overseas’ rankings take 13 factors into account. They are cost of living, safety, whether English is spoken, the availability of entertainment, environmental conditions, the nature of the expatriate community, health care, infrastructure, recreation, residency options, and taxes. It also looks at real estate affordability and restrictions.