Posted: Sat, December 15, 2012 | By: Hank Pellissier
The lucky residents of locales on this list enjoy the longest lifespans in the world. Want an idyllic urban neighborhood? Comfy mid-sized town? Tiny enchanting hamlet? All offer perfect settings for any wanna-be centenarian. Consider relocating, while you still have the time…
Evdilos, Ikaria island, Greece—Sure, the nation’s economy has evaporated, but that doesn’t stress this green, goat-grazing, mountainous, Aegean isle where the clock stands still. In this oasis of longevity the inhabitants stay up late, sleep until noon, work when they please, and drink 2-3 glasses of strong red wine per day. Joyously social and sunny, featured recently in the NYTimes article, “The island where people forget to die.” Evdilos is it’s picturesque, architecturally interesting port, with 2,800 inhabitants.
Perdasdefogu, Sardinia, Italy - Another Mediterranean option is this remote town of 2,000 in the inland, wild region of Ogliastra. One family here has four siblings in their 90’s and a 105-year-old sister. The wholesome diet includes home-grown fruit and vegetables, ricotta cheese, minestrone, and wine. La Dolce Vita! Fabulous beaches and lagoons are nearby in Cagliari.
San Marino - This sublime micro-nation of of 30,000 citizens on 24 square miles in the Appenine foothills of central Italy is officially titled the “Most Serene Republic of San Marino.” Tranquility is guaranteed via spectacular views, dining, and weather. Historically, it descends from a monastic settlement founded in 301 A.D., and boasts a constitution scrawled in 1600, the world’s oldest. Low unemployment, no national debt, beautiful stamps that generate 10% of the national revenue, and an average lifespan of 83.07 years.
Akureyri, Iceland. Fond of fog, fish, and Nordic culture? This second-largest city in Iceland (17,754 population) is surprisingly warm, with an ice-free harbor, geothermal heating, low crime, museums, gourmet restaurants, lively nightlife, and folk culture events like a “medieval” summer festival. Icelanders rank among the longest lifespans in the world, due to an excellent health care system and an abundance of fresh Omega-3.
Saint Peter Port, Guernsey - This capital of the channel isle contains only 16,488 residents, who navigate the steep narrow winding streets and surrounding pastoral hills well into their 80’s. Categorized as a possession of the UK, Guernsey isn’t a member of the EU, thus it’s partially immune to that body’s weakening economy. Victor Hugo was exiled here for 15 years, but you don’t have to feel imprisoned - there’s a castle, a harbor, museums, nice beaches, and ferries to nearby Normandy. Or sit back, and enjoy your tea, flavored with cream from the famed Guernsey cows.
Macau - Want hustle, bustle, crowds, dim sum and gambling? This former Portuguese colony is a semiautonomous region of China with Cantonese cuisine, subtropical climate, a high standard of living, and a female population that averages 87.54 years. A small seaside peninsula that’s the most densely-populated region of the world with 556,000 inhabitants, it receives an additional 22 million visitors annually. Gambling generates 50% of the economy, with casinos, horse racing and greyhound racing. It’s a safe bet you’ll find plenty to do here for a very long time.
Andorra la Vella, Andorra - This capital city of the micro-state wedged in the Pyrenees between Spain and France offers an active, high-altitude (3,356 ft.), mountainous, outdoorsy, fresh air lifestyle, with skiing, hiking, and bicycling at that lowers stress and blood pressure. The population of 22,000 is well educated, with low unemployment, high-quality nutrition and healthcare. Catalan is the official language, Catholicism is the primary religion, and 80% of the economy is based on tourists who meander the stone streets gazing at Romanesque architecture, dating back to the 9th century.
Kfar Shmaryahu, Israel - This fancy suburbia contains idyllic farms and luxurious villas with swimming pools, plus Mediterranean beaches only 1 mile away. If you’re Jewish, Israel offers automatic citizenship, with state-of-the art medical care. Nearby Tel Aviv is a lively, progressive city packed with esteemed museums; Jerusalem is only 38 miles away. Israeli men live the 3rd longest in the world (behind Iceland and Switzerland) aided by deep social networks, low alcohol intake and low crime.
Tanglin (Botanic Gardens) Singapore - Residents here can indulge in both Singapore’s best shopping and the free, 183-acre arboretum that’s open daily from 5am-midnight, with a rainforest, lakes, waterfalls, and orchid garden. The environment is clean, the rice-and-vegetables diet is healthy, the healthcare facilities are excellent, and the crime rate is one of the lowest in the world. Try the Tai Chi senior programs, found in numerous parks and playgrounds.
Monte Carlo, Monaco - Yes, this is the 6th Mediterranean locale on the list, but it has to be included because it has the longest lifespan in the world, with men lasting 85.77 and women a near-eternal 93.84 years. Of course, it’s so beautiful, why would anyone living here ever want to die? Additionally, there’s no income tax, it’s spotlessly clean, and the 35,000 cosmopolitan residents are filthy rich. Want to buy in? Real estate in this principality costs $57,865 per square meter - the world’s most expensive. Claustrophobic? It’s only .79 square miles in size. Democratic? No, it’s a monarchy, ruled by the House of Grimaldi since 1297.
Zermatt, Switzerland - Hike till you drop. Ulrich Inderbinen, legendary mountaineer, lived to be 104. He climbed the nearby 14,690-foot Matterhorn more than 370 times.
Okinawa (Japan) - The garden-growing, vegetable eating inhabitants have 80% less breast cancer and prostate cancer, than North Americans, and less than half the ovarian and colon cancers.
Did I neglect to mention an area that you believe should be included? Please leave suggestions in Comments below.