The 10 Best Trips for Seniors and Retirees Who Love to Travel
Over 60 and ready for an adventure? These cities are the best in the world for trips for seniors.
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Getaways for your golden years
One of the wonderful things about hitting retirement age is having the flexibility in your schedule to go out and explore the world. If you’re looking for trips for seniors, you’re in luck: InsureMyTrip recently released its list of the top 10 cities around the world for senior travel, making it easier than ever for people over age 60 to find the ideal spot for their next vacation. (We think some of them sound like the best places to retire too.)
To determine the top 10 trips for seniors, the folks at InsureMyTrip evaluated a handful of travel considerations for cities around the world. Those included the ease of walking in the city, access to health care, public transportation, the number of tours for seniors and peacefulness. You’ll notice that many of the best places to travel in your golden years are also great for traveling on a budget.
And before you ask: Yes, travel is a good idea for anyone who’s able, regardless of whether they’re age 60, 70 or beyond. In fact, travel helps keep us young. “We know loneliness affects older Americans disproportionately, and the importance of social connections only increases as we age,” says James Moses, president and CEO of Road Scholar, one of our favorite tour companies. “[Travel provides] enriching, meaningful, stimulating social connections to hundreds of thousands of older adults.”
Ready to find out which trips for seniors over 60 made the cut? Read on for the top picks, in order.
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1. Istanbul, Turkey
Best for: Activities
Coming in at No. 1 in InsureMyTrip’s list of trips for seniors is Istanbul. “Istanbul’s recognition as the best destination for senior citizens highlights its cultural richness with highly rated things to do and high-quality health-care services,” says Sarah Webber of InsureMyTrip. Cosmopolitan Istanbul is a cultural and ethnic melting pot, a unique city straddling two continents (Europe and Asia), with Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and modern Turkish structures—it’s a skyline of domes and minarets made up of mosques, churches and synagogues, palaces, castles and towers—and of course, incredible cultural landmarks, including the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque.
The Turkish city scored highly across many of the metrics, particularly for its quality of things to do (a rating of 4.63 out of 5), health care and ease of walking.
2. Athens, Greece
Best for: Guided tours
An absolute must-visit highlight of Greece is the city of Athens, which offers a unique mixture of modern buildings and ancient monuments. You’ll find bustling cosmopolitan streets lined with shops and international hotels, but turn any corner and the views of the storied Acropolis appear before you. More than 22% of the population is over 65 years old, so it’s no wonder the city has a large number of guided tours aimed at senior citizens—an astounding 181, according to InsureMyTrip.
3. Rome, Italy
Best for: Ancient architecture
It’s hard to talk about visiting Italy without starting at this classical city, where contemporary culture stands shoulder to shoulder with ancient architecture. Landmarks of the Eternal City include the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, and you can even travel to another country by crossing into Vatican City to see the Sistine Chapel. “The inclusion of Rome in the top three destinations for senior citizens is thanks to its number of tours for senior citizens  and high-quality things to do, making it a dream city for many elderly travelers,” says Webber. “The average age of the population [47 years old] is among the highest in the study, making it ideally suited for older travelers.”
4. Bangkok, Thailand
Best for: A great deal
Bangkok is the spot to head to for affordable bucket-list travel. Here, golden temples and palaces line the winding Chao Phraya River, and travelers can take advantage of affordable luxuries such as authentic Thai spas, with prices starting as low as $10 for a two-hour massage, incredible local cuisine for just a few dollars and a ride on a tuk-tuk costing just $1.50 an hour. Bangkok’s quality of things to do (rated 4.51 out of 5)—hello, golden-Buddha-filled temples—and health care (a rating of 77 out of 100) helped secure its spot in the top five trips for seniors.
5. Tallinn, Estonia
Best for: Holiday markets and winter charm
There are definitely some surprises in the survey, says Webber, including multiple spots in Eastern Europe that fill the middle of the list, starting with Tallinn. “Eastern European cities are hidden gems for senior citizens,” she says. “[They] are perhaps lesser-known vacation destinations, but this study highlights they have plenty to offer for senior citizens.”
Tallinn has been experiencing what InsureMyTrip calls “a boom in tourism,” with a 33% increase in foreign tourism this year, according to SchengenVisaInfo.com. The quality of things to do (rated 4.61 out of 5) and health care contribute to its high score. This well-preserved medieval city is beautiful to visit anytime, but it’s one of our favorite snow-covered towns to visit in winter, when the lights of the Old Town against the snow create plenty of warmth. Any time of year, stroll the historic district and visit the walled fortifications; then stop into a cafe for a coffee or wine.
6. Vilnius, Lithuania
Best for: Attractions
Another Eastern European gem, the Lithuanian city of Vilnius offers great value for your money as soon as you step off the plane. Just taking the train from Vilnius Airport to the city’s center is only 89 cents. But it’s not just bargain-price travel that make this an appealing destination. The survey found that Vilnius had the best-rated attractions, earning it a rating of 4.66 out of 5 for the quality of things to do there. You’ll find a mix of museums, gardens and historic sites, including a Baroque-architecture-filled Old Town. And don’t miss the 16th-century Gates of Dawn, which contain an icon from the Virgin Mary.
7. Prague, Czech Republic
Best for: Walking
Prague isn’t just one of the top trips for seniors; it’s also one of our favorite hidden gems in Europe. The perfectly preserved city has bright red trolleys traversing original cobblestone streets hemmed in by charming stone buildings. Around every corner, you’ll find a new treat, like the Charles Bridge, which is lined with majestic stone statues, Michelin-starred restaurants and classic pilsner bars. Another highlight: an entire “castle district” centered around majestic Prague Castle. It ranks high on the survey for its walkability and public transportation, making it an easy city to explore without worrying about needing a ride.
8. Riga, Latvia
Best for: Performing arts
Rounding out the list of under-the-radar gems of Eastern Europe is Latvia’s coastal capital city of Riga, which sits right on the Baltic Sea. Its old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features a maze of medieval streets dotted with Gothic and Baroque churches and hidden courtyards. The lively new town is an expanse of wide boulevards filled with elegant Art Nouveau architecture.
There’s no shortage of places to go in Europe, but Riga scored high for the quality of things to do. One example: The Latvian National Opera dates back to 1782 and presents hundreds of opera and ballet performances throughout the year. Hungry? You’re in luck. Riga is the home of the largest food hall in Europe, Riga Central Market.
9. Berlin, Germany
Best for: Museums
A dynamic and modern metropolis, Berlin draws travelers from all corners of the globe to experience its modern arts, nightlife and historic cultural sites, including Museum Island (five popular museums on a Spree River island) and the Brandenburg Gate. Reminders of the city’s complicated past—including the graffitied remnants of the Berlin Wall—are ever-present and absolutely worth visiting. Want to experience a different side of Berlin? Go gallery hopping, eat street food at Markthalle Neun, wander through the diverse Kreuzberg neighborhood or see a burlesque show. And don’t worry about aging out of Berlin; the InsureMyTrip survey found that the city has one of the highest average ages (48) in the world; only Tokyo ranked higher, with an average age of 49.
10. Helsinki, Finland
Best for: Public transportation
The capital of Finland is one of the least polluted capital cities in the world. One reason, according to The Telegraph, is that residents routinely use public transportation and bicycles to get around (the city makes it easy by maintaining roughly 2,400 miles worth of cycle lanes). It’s also the most honest city in the world, according to a Reader’s Digest study—in our test, 11 out of 12 people returned a lost wallet.
On the survey, Helsinki also scored high for health services, so you won’t have to worry no matter what the day holds. You can bike to Esplanade Park to relax at a free outdoor concert, tour Suomenlinna (Fortress of Finland) or visit one of the seaside city’s many museums, including the Finnish Museum of Photography, the contemporary art museum or the National Museum of Finland.
About the experts
- Sarah Webber is the director of marketing for InsureMyTrip, an authority on travel insurance.
- James Moses is the president and CEO of Road Scholar, the world leader in educational travel for boomers and beyond.