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10 best places to retire overseas

Retiring in a foreign country 00:58

Contemplating retiring overseas? 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.

The publication, which does an annual ranking of the world's 30 top retirement destinations, has given Algarve the top ranking for four years in a row, thanks to it's spectacular location, safety, friendly expatriate community and the availability of quality health care.

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.

Here are the site's top 10 destinations. To learn about the other 20, check out the full ranking at Live and Invest Overseas.

10. George Town, Malaysia

George Town, capital of Penang, is a foodie's paradise. KeongDaGreat

George Town -- the capital of the island of Penang -- is a foodie's paradise. Named the world's top food destination in 2014 by Lonely Planet, this UNESCO World Heritage city is full of top-notch restaurants and plenty of nightlife.

The cost of living is a pittance. Expect to pay $800 for a new apartment with a view. You could get by on about half as much if you're willing to live in an older building without a view. It costs about $14 for a doctor's visit and roughly $250 a month for groceries. Total monthly budget: $1,135.

9. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Parroquia Archangel church in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. William Perry / Getty Images

This gorgeous colonial town in central Mexico has a vibrant expatriate community, which has created a somewhat mixed bag for newcomers. While you'll find many residents friendly and capable of speaking English, the price of real estate has risen with the city's popularity.

Still, your overall cost of living in San Miguel de Allende will be a bargain, with a total estimated budget that's just a hair more than George Town's, at $1,136 per month. Estimated rent: $500, doctor's visit: $30, transportation: $70.

8. Budapest, Hungary

The Hungarian capital of Budapest is one of Europe's most beautiful cities

The gorgeous Hungarian capital of Budapest is two merged towns -- Buda and Pest -- divided by the scenic Danube river. The elegant Buda side, where you'll find the spectacular and pristine Buda Castle, is filled with parks and elegant homes. The vibrant Pest side is where you'll enjoy a wealth of museums, restaurants and night life.

Considered one of Europe's most beautiful towns, Budapest is a little more expensive that some of the other top cities for retirees, requiring a budget of about $1,500 a month, according to Live and Invest Overseas. The bulk of it goes to rent, which will set you back about $900 for a two-bedroom apartment. Plan on spending about $300 on groceries and $60 per doctor's visit.

7. Lisbon, Portugal

Sunny and sophisticated Lisbon, Portugal

Thanks to the dollar's rise against the euro, Lisbon -- Portugal's sunny and sophisticated capital city -- has become reasonably affordable. A typical unfurnished two-bedroom apartment rents for less than $1,500 per month. Add in about $300 for groceries and $100 for utilities, and your typical expat couple could scrape by on less than $2,700 U.S. per month.

The city is safe, scenic and within a few-hour flight to most major capital cities in Europe. Lisbon also boasts direct flights to the U.S.

6. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Bustling and exotic Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, a vibrant city with 7 million residents, mixes modern with the exotic. Residents can shop for everything from batik clothing to Rolex watches in the city's modern, air-conditioned malls, and spend the afternoon exploring the nearby jungle or ancient Malay villages.

Affordable? Very. Peddicord estimates a couple could get by on less than $1,500 a month, about half of which they would pay for a modern apartment. Doctor's visits cost less than $15. And if you're not fond of housework, it's worth noting that you could hire twice-weekly helpers for less than $150 a month.

5. Saint-Chinan, France

The ancient city of Saint-Chinian offers affordable living in the French countryside

While the cost of living in Paris may have convinced you that France is altogether unaffordable, the French countryside is another story. The ancient city of Saint-Chinian, for instance, supports the elegant living you would expect in France, along with a reasonable price tag.

A two-bedroom apartment can be rented for about $650 U.S., while you're likely to spend a similar amount on groceries and utilities combined. Meanwhile, keeping in touch is cheap with phone/internet packages running $30 a month. That's also about what you would pay for a doctor's visit.

4. Abruzzo, Italy

Impressive Abruzzo, Italy. Freeartist

Abruzzo is the most overlooked and undervalued of all the regions in Italy, according to Peddicord. Though a bit more expensive than Mexico or Malaysia, Abruzzo is both beach and mountain close, allowing residents to ski in the morning and swim in the afternoon -- all while living in a quaint, historic town.

A two-bedroom apartment rents for roughly $1,000 at current exchange rates, while internet and electricity will set you back about $130 per month; a doctor's visit, $35. Plan on a total monthly budget of about $1,750.

3. Mazatlan, Mexico

Fun in the sun in Mazatlan, Mexico

Miles of beaches, world-class sport fishing and a vibrant restaurant and bar scene have made Mazatlan, Mexico, a top destination for tourists for decades. However, it's also a great destination for expatriates, who can enjoy fresh seafood dinners and a beach-side condo for a fraction of the cost in the U.S.

You can rent a two-bedroom place near the water for about $800, while groceries will set you back less than $200 per month. A doctor's visit costs less than $20. Your biggest expense is likely to be entertainment, since you're going to be tempted to go out and enjoy the city's many restaurants and bars. Estimated monthly budget: $1,505.

2. Valletta, Malta

The Mediterranean island of Malta is becoming a top retirement destination

It's tough to find an apartment in the historic city center of Valletta, but expatriates who move to the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta can find comfortable accommodations in the nearby suburbs of Sliema and St. Julien. Malta, just 122 miles square, has a lot to offer, from its scenic coastline, replete with fishing villages, ancient forts and dramatic ports, to its temperate weather and locally made wines.

The cost of living is less than $1,800 a month, according to Live and Invest Overseas, the main piece of which is rent on a two-bedroom place in the suburbs for about $950 per month. Need a doctor? Plan to spend about $15 per visit.

1. Algarve, Portugal

View of beautiful beach near Portimao town, Algarve region, Portugal pkazmierczak

Of all the beautiful and affordable areas in the world, there's none quite like Algarve, Portugal, according to Peddicord. The region, which has ranked as Live and Invest Overseas' top retirement destination for the past four years, combines beach-side beauty with an established and welcoming expatriate community, top-notch medical facilities, bargain-price properties and a first-world infrastructure.

Better yet, the cost of living in Portugal is the lowest in Western Europe. Peddicord estimates that a typical expat couple will spend $1,739 per month living here, with about half of that amount going to rent. Medical appointments cost roughly $35.

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