What are the Best Destinations for a “Cold” Retirement?

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Retiring in the cold is preferred by some.

What is your ideal retirement?

Do you imagine the deserts of the Southwest?

Maybe you prefer living near the beach?

Often retirees are stereotyped as loving warm weather.

According to a recent Investopedia article titled “5 Best Countries to Retire to If You Love Winter,” some people dream about retiring in the cold.

These people often prioritize ice skating, skiing, or building snowmen.

Where are some appealing places for those who prefer retiring in the cold?

Retiring in the cold is a viable option.
Winter sports can be fun for those retiring in the cold.


Italy is known for its food, culture, and art.

Less well known is its skiing.

The Abruzzo region in particular is optimal for this winter sport.

If you are not an Italian retiree, then you must apply for an elective residency visa through the Italian consulate.

Note: you will not be allowed to work with this visa.

After five years, you may register for a long-term resident visa.


The landscapes of this nation are quite lovely.

Wonderful skiing can be found in the Pyrenees, Massif Central, and the Northern and South Alps.

It is more expensive to live there than the U.S., but renting a home or apartment can be quite affordable if you plan on retiring in the cold.

You can apply for a long-stay visitor visa with the French consulate.

As in Italy, you may not work in France.

This visa is valid for a year and requires you to apply for an extension.


Citizens of Switzerland enjoy good healthcare and low taxes.

Public benefits are typically not available to foreign nationals, however.

For this reason, you need to make sure your budget can support you while living in Switzerland.

You are not allowed to work in Switzerland on your visa and will need to apply with the consulate.

If you choose to spend time during retirement in Switzerland, you can enjoy myriad cold weather activities like skiing, snowshoeing, and curling.

Because of its central location, Switzerland is convenient for visiting other European nations as well.

New Zealand

There are a number of climates in New Zealand.

The northern island has a more temperate and warm climate while the southern island boasts quite a bit of snow in the winter.

This makes it an option for retiring in the cold during June and July.

Because New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are flipped.

You will need to apply for a temporary visa if you do not have children in the county.

The visa is renewable every two years.

If you choose to live there permanently, you will need a resident visa.

Because the cost of living is expensive, you would need to make sure you could afford this move.


Chile is another geographically varied nation.

The southern region of the country is great for skiing in the winter months.

In fact, the Portillo Ski Resort is known throughout the world.

With about two dozen skiing destinations throughout the Andes, there are plenty of options for this sport.

Retirees can apply for temporary visas with the Chilean government.

These can be renewed for one year, but you must leave the country or apply for “definitive residence” after this.

Whether retiring in the cold or somewhere warm, it is important to carefully calculate whether your savings will be sufficient.

Perhaps visiting will end up making more sense than relocating.

Always look before you leap.

Reference: Investopedia (January 14, 2020) “5 Best Countries to Retire to If You Love Winter”

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