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3 High-Culture Towns Where $45,000 a Year or Less is Enough for a Couple to Retire In—

November 7, 2018 Statistics & Trends No Comments Email Email

A new report from the editors at points to three sophisticated, arts-rich, good-value beach towns—in France, Malaysia and Spain—that offer much more than just sand and sun.


Beach-loving retirees looking for more than just the seashore can enjoy all the benefits of fine-dining, theatre and art in abundance in the three great-value coastal cities International Living Australia have identified abroad.

All of them offer high-quality, sophisticated living at a relatively low price.

Our top choices for high-culture, low-cost beach towns for retirement are Toulon in France, Barcelona in Spain and Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.

Toulon, France.

The city of Toulon, on France’s Mediterranean coast, oozes Côte d’Azur class. Unlike its more expensive neighbors along the coast—Saint Tropez, Cannes, Bandol and Cassis—tourism is one of Toulon’s secondary industries, so the city stays “open for business” all year long.

Toulon is made of South of France romance—whether savoring local cuisine by the sea or strolling cobbled streets at dusk, this is a place that always seduces the senses.

The center of town is abuzz with café-goers and diners enjoying lunchtime under the famous French Riviera sunshine. The city has a thriving arts scene with many concerts and festivals held along the beach.

The Mediterranean lifestyle is a slower pace of life and living with the seasons, means eating what’s fresh and readily available. And since Toulon sits directly on the sea, this also means lazy afternoons at the beach, long port-side lunches and weekend trips to any one of the charming Provençal towns that line the coast.

Despite living so near to the Mediterranean, it doesn’t come with a hefty price tag. A couple can live a comfortable lifestyle in Toulon on a budget of$2,500 per month—$30,000 a year.

George Town, Penang, Malaysia.

Penang Island, a small, tropical spot off the west coast of peninsular Malaysia, is a remarkable place. It has it all—arts and culture, history and nature, beach and jungle.

A former outpost of the British empire, you’ll find getting by in English is a breeze and the locals are a friendly and welcoming bunch.

Chinese, Indian, Malay and other influences over the centuries have contributed to Penang’s vibrant architecture and delectable cuisine. As a result, most people are bi-lingual or poly-lingual. It also means tolerance and “live and let live” is the default attitude.

Known as a foodie haven, Penang’s capital, George Town, is home to eclectic architecture, a vibrant art scene and what many claim is the best street food in the world.

The city offers luxurious living at bargain prices—making it possible to upgrade your retirement here.

On a budget of $2,500 a month ($30,000 a year), a couple could live well here, everything included but if you want to push your monthly spend to $3,300 ($39,600 a year), you can live in luxury.

Barcelona, Spain.

Barcelona, Spain’s second city, is an organised, efficient, friendly and receptive place that spills over with music, theatre and nightlife. It’s a city alive with history and art with countless museums and concert events.

Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudí i Cornet, is the best-known practitioner of Catalan Modernism. Most of Gaudí’s works are located in Barcelona, including his main work, the church of the Sagrada Família.

Despite being home to more than 1.6 million people, Barcelona has a walkable centre and it’s easy to get almost anywhere by foot or public transport—many residents choose to live car-free.

Barcelona enjoys a mild climate, thanks to the Mediterranean. In January, the coldest month, temperatures range from 12 C to 16 C during the day.

Another great part of Barcelona’s appeal is its convenience. El Prat airport has numerous direct flights to many European cities—making it a great base for exploring.

On a budget of $3,750 a month, or $45,000 a year, retirees can enjoy all Barcelona has to offer.

More information on retirement overseas havens can be found, here:

Editor’s Note: Members of the media have permission to republish the article linked above once credit is given to

For information about content republishing, source material or to book an interview with one of our experts, contact PR Managing Editor, Marita Kelly, +001 667 312 3532, 

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