Powered by the Gray Euro, one in five vacation days in Europe are by tourists aged 65 and over

A well-earned break.
A well-earned break.
Image: Reuters/Marcelo del Pozo
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Pensioners in Europe are enjoying their sunset years.

Older European Union residents—aged 65 or over—accounted for 20% of the tourism activity (in terms of number of nights spent by EU residents) in 2014, according to recent figures (pdf) released by Eurostat. While older tourists make up a large bulk of those on holiday, they actually spend 20% less per day for their tourism trips than the average tourist—at just €52.60 a day ($59).

The most thrifty holidaying pensioners? Greece, at €18 a day, followed by Lithuania (€19.1) and Hungary (€19.2). No surprise considering what has happened to the nation of the past decade. The highest spenders were from Luxembourg (€120.80) and Austria (€106.90).

Older tourists preferred to go on holiday within the EU, which accounted for two-thirds of all their tourism nights. Spain and Greece were their most popular destinations.

The number of older tourists is only set to grow. Thanks in part to an increase in life expectancy, one in every 20 persons living in the EU was aged 80 or over, according to recent figures (pdf) by Eurostat. In 2015, almost 27 million people (pdf) aged 80 or over were living in the EU—an increase of seven million in just 10 years. Women accounted for around two-thirds of elderly people in the EU.

People aged 80 can expect to live the longest in France, with a life expectancy of 11 years, followed by Spain (10.4 years), Luxembourg (10.1 years) and Italy (10.0 years). The lowest life expectancy at the age of 80 was recorded in Bulgaria (7.0 years), Romania (7.6 years), and Croatia (7.7 years)