5 Countries Where You Can Live Your Best Life in 2023 (According to Data)

By Andre Bothma, Sovereign Man

The team at Sovereign Man are a bunch of avid data geeks. So as a rule, if we’re giving you a list of virtually anything, you can rest assured that it’s informed by data. Today, we take a look at five excellent countries to live in, based on a number of holistic quality metrics.

At Sovereign Man, we take great pride in providing our readers and members with intelligence and tools to help them make informed decisions about where to live, how to get residency (or citizenship), and where to go to save on taxes.

One of our favorite data-driven tools is Sovereign Man’s Cost of Living Index – which includes a LOT more than just cost of living data, including Safety, Climate, Pollution, English Proficiency and Taxation.

And by expanding the Index’ filters, you can select the aspects that you care about most – along with the levels you feel comfortable at for each metric.

So as a simple example:

If you’re looking for very affordable, very safe, English speaking destinations with great air quality to live or retire in…

These are five of the top contenders (as highlighted by the system)…


Boasting a rich cultural history, tantalizing cuisine as well as some of the most spectacular lakes in the world, it’s hard not to fall in love with Italy. And with over 15 million people in the US identifying as Italian American, it’s hardly any surprise that La Dolce Vita appeals to so many US retirees.

The country is also renowned as the location of many an iconic film – including several involving one Mr James Bond. In addition, recent novels like Eat Pray Love, which is partially set in Italy, have really served to capture the world’s imagination.

But let’s be honest – if you’ve spent any time at all on the shores of Lake Como, you should be firmly on Team Italy already…

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Residency options: Elective Residency / Golden Visa


Spain is a firm favorite for Team Sovereign Man. (In fact, two of our team members moved there in recent years.) Boasting exceptional weather, stunning, varied landscapes, as well as sophisticated high-speed rail infrastructure, Spain is one of the world’s top destinations for both travelers and retirees alike.

Home to the spectacular architecture of Antoni Gaudi, as well as world-renowned poets and novelists like Cervantes, the country plays an outsized role on the world’s design and literary stage.

Combine these attractions with mouthwatering local cuisine and everything from mountains and beaches to festivals and pilgrimages, and you could spend the next decade exploring the country without getting bored.

And whereas neighboring Portugal only has two big cities (being Lisbon and Porto) – with a combined population of less than 1 million people – Spain is home to four cities with 1 million residents or more – being Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Sevilla.

So if sun, sangria, flamenco and a choice of modern, medium-sized cities sounds like your bag, then Spain could be an excellent choice.

Residency options: Non-lucrative Residency / Golden Visa


Cypriot culture is among the oldest in the Mediterranean. The island fell successively under Assyrian, Egyptian, Greek, Persian and Roman domination, so if you’re a history buff, it should definitely hold a lot of appeal.

Today, the island is home to strong Turkish and Greek cultural (and culinary) influences, as well as a pretty interesting Golden Visa program.

If you’re into wreck diving, Greek mythology or viniculture, you’re going to love it here. (The Cypriots have been producing wine for a staggering 6,000 years!)

And while island living may not be for everyone, Cyprus nonetheless ticks a lot of boxes. Boasting a balmy Mediterranean climate and laid-back atmosphere, it’s the kind of place one could really get settled into.

Residency options: Retirement Visa / Golden Visa


Greece is renowned as the cradle of Western civilization — and Athens, its capital, is a veritable open air museum. The country’s cuisine is both healthy and all but universally loved, and its islands and beaches lure tens of millions of visitors there each year.

Property prices remain relatively affordable (even in the key urban centers), as does the country’s massively popular Golden Visa program – for now…

Residency options: Financially Independent Visa / Golden Visa


Compared to Spain, Portugal has a less glamorous feel to it. However, whilst the country played second fiddle to Spain for the longest of times, it has attained a meteoric level of popularity in its own right in the past five years or so.

And while Porto tends to be a bit more stayed and adult contemporary in its attractions, Lisbon is the capital of sheer unbridled fun.

Lisbon has also emerged as a bonafide hub for tech workers and digital nomads, whilst Porto is building its reputation as a slick fine-dining destination. The country is also home to both a Digital Nomad Visa and a retirement residency program.

(In fact, one of Sovereign Man’s team members from South Africa calls the latter city home these days.)

And while its bureaucracy will require a LOT of patience – the country is very welcoming to foreigners, and an excellent place to live, all round…

Residency options: D7 Visa / Golden Visa the latter is terminating soon…

Note: All of the above countries are located in Europe. Latin America is also home to excellent destinations with low living costs and great weather… But these countries didn’t make it onto this rigorous list because they either lack general safety, or they’re polluted, or English isn’t widely spoken there (and usually all three issues apply.)

However, if these factors are not critical for you, then you can play with the index’s regional filtering accordingly.

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6. And much, much more!

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The bottomline…

As with investing, it often pays to make data-oriented decisions when it comes to choosing a place to live.

Sovereign Man’s members benefit from our quantitative data analysis and tools, combined with our qualitative, boots-on-the-ground insights and a global network of leading suppliers for tax, legal, residency and citizenship planning.

In addition, our top-tier Total Access members benefit from access to an elite network of sovereign minded entrepreneurs, innovators and captains of industry.

If you’re ready to access a world of more freedom, more opportunity, and more prosperity, join Sovereign Man today.

Yours in freedom,

Team Sovereign Man

PS: Sovereign Man is back in full force on YouTube. To catch all of our leadership team’s insights and updates, follow our channel now.

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Hailing from South Africa, Andre Bothma is a seasoned marketer with extensive exposure to the Residency and Citizenship By Investment (RCBI) Industry. He writes extensively on retirement and passive income visas (including the D7 and Non-Lucrative Visa), Golden Visas and Citizenship By Investment programs. He is also a frequent contributor to Sovereign Man’s Ultimate Plan B Knowledge Series, a free weekly email publication educating Sovereign Man readers about their available options when it comes to securing a robust Plan B. In addition, he occasionally writes for IMI Daily, an industry-leading RCBI publication.

Image: Pixabay

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