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Five beautiful places to retire that will make your jaw drop

Key Points
  • Retire in a place with awe-inspiring natural attractions, 16th Century architecture or ancient stone temples with these five locales.
  • These five let you enjoy a high quality of life for less — as low as $1,100 in one area.
AscentXmedia | E+ | Getty Images

Playing golf on the manicured grounds of a continuing care retirement community isn't for everyone. Some people might dream of spectacular surroundings – but also need a reasonably affordable cost of living.

Try one of these five astonishing spots for a magical retirement, from an Internationalliving.com report, where retirees can live well on less.

The report details beautiful retirement havens in Portugal, Mexico, Ireland, Peru and Cambodia. All five offer fabulous surroundings, high quality of life and lower costs.

1. Sintra, Portugal
Palacio da Pena,Sintra,Portugal
Carol Yepes | Moment | Getty Images

A favorite summer retreat of former royalty, Sintra boasts palaces, mansions and architectural follies in an enchanted setting that's just a 40-minute train ride from Lisbon.

Moorish doorways, crenellated watchtowers, Scottish Baronial turrets, Manueline sea monsters — an inkling of what awaits lies only steps from Sintra's railway station. The standout attraction is the pastel-painted Palace of Pena, a 19th-century Romanticist marvel with pink turrets and daffodil-yellow tower on a hill surrounded by pine forests.

A couple could live well in this arts-rich tourist town, though pricier than other cities in Portugal, on a budget of $3,065 a month.

2. Cusco, Peru
Fountain in the square of Arms (Plaza das Armas) in Cusco, Peru
Flavio Veloso | Moment | Getty Images

Cusco, Peru's most historic city, is a UNESCO World Heritage site with domed churches and ancient, pedestrian-only cobblestone streets.

Once an Incan capital, Cusco sits at an altitude of 11,200 feet and has clear, sunny days. Colonial structures have been converted into hip restaurants, shops and even homes. The historic centro is surrounded by a vibrant, modern city.

The nearby Sacred Valley lies below snow-capped mountains with villages and several pre-Columbian ruins, including Machu Picchu. Superfoods, like chia seeds, quinoa and maca, are inexpensive and plentiful. A retired couple could enjoy a good life on $1,700 a month, expats report.

3. The West Coast, Ireland
The Cliffs of Moher in County Clare are Ireland's most visited natural attraction
mikroman6 | Moment | Getty Images

The Wild Atlantic Way is a cycling or driving route that spans the west coast of Ireland.

At the heart of the route is one of the most spectacular natural wonders, the iconic Cliffs of Moher in County Clare — one of Ireland's most visited natural attractions.

From the North Platform, you can spot An Branán Mór sea stack, home of guillemots and razorbill birds, as well as the famous Aran Islands. On a budget of around $2,800 a month, a retired couple could live quite comfortably.

4. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
San Miguel de Allende in Mexico.
Ferrantraite | Getty iamges

San Miguel was declared a UNESCO World Heritage City in 2008. The colonial centro has much to offer retirees: low cost of living, arts, charming local cultural traditions and mild weather year-round.

San Miguel is a few hours' drive from Mexico City. Its altitude is over 6,000 feet, so the days are comfortably warm and the nights blissfully cool. San Miguel's been a magnet for savvy artists who appreciate the natural beauty and artistic community. A retired couple could live comfortably on a monthly budget of $1,650.

5. Siem Reap, Cambodia
A beautiful Sunrise at Angkor Wat Temple of Siem Reap cambodia
iGoal.Land.Of.Dreams | Moment | Getty Images

The exotic sights and sounds of the Kingdom of Wonder put Cambodia on the top of many peoples' wish list. A rich history, traditions and culture attract both expats and visitors. The ruins of Angkor Wat, one of the world's largest religious monuments, is 10 minutes outside of town. The grand complex encompasses about 500 acres filled with extraordinary stone temples.

An artsy retreat, Siem Reap has beautiful hotels, excellent yet affordable food, art galleries and shops stocked with artisan offerings. Expats report it's easy to bankroll a comfortable life on $1,100 a month.

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