Cities with Most Sunshine for Freedom Seekers

British author W. Somerset Maugham described Monaco as a sunny place for shady people. Maugham lived in the South of France during the 1920s and 1930s. His quote suggests that behind the glamorous façade of Monaco with its casinos, super-yachts and luxury hotels it attracts a certain kind of nefarious individual.

It depends on your point of view, I suppose. Everywhere has its share of dubious characters. Having spent years living in Monaco, I always found it to be home to some of the most interesting people. They were in the main hard working, freedom loving people who weren’t prepared to be robbed by the governments of their home countries. If that makes them ‘shady’ in today’s world, then it’s a badge that should be worn with pride.

Monaco is certainly warm and sunny. It’s located on the Mediterranean on the French Riviera. Monaco enjoys around 2,700 hours of sunshine per year. It has low rainfall and an average temperature of 16°C (60.8°F).

Monaco’s biggest attraction, of course, is it doesn’t have an income tax. It’s the last remaining pure tax haven in Europe. But there are other options both in Europe and around the world.

Here are some of the world’s sunniest cities that also have low taxes.

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon has slightly more annual sunshine than Monaco. The Portuguese capital has around 2,800 hours of sunshine per year. The average annual temperature is 17C/62F. It also has low annual rainfall. Portugal also has the Non Habitual Residency scheme which allows many people to live there tax free for 10 years. That makes Lisbon one of the world’s sunniest cities that also has low taxes.

Malaga, Spain

Malaga is one of the sunniest cities in Europe. Located on Spain’s Costa del Sol it boasts more than 3,000 hours of annual sunshine. Combined with low rainfall and average temperatures of 19C/66F it makes a perfect destination for sunseekers.

Spain has tax incentives for new residents. With proper planning income from outside Spain can be sheltered from Spanish taxes.

Rome, Italy

One of Europe’s most historic cities is also one of the sunniest. Rome enjoys around 2,500 hours of sunshine every year. The annual average temperature is 16C/61F. Rainfall is low too.

Italy offers tax incentives to attract wealthy residents to the country. It’s not tax free but anyone with high income can cap Italian taxes payable at €100,000 per year. Some will consider that a price worth paying to live in this beautiful city surrounded by culture.

Dubai, UAE

world's sunniest cities
10 of World's Sunniest Cities for Tax Haters 3

Dubai offers cosmopolitan living in the Arabian Gulf. It’s one of the sunniest cities in the world with around 3,600 annual hours of sunshine. Being in the desert, it has almost no rainfall. Summer temperatures will be too hot for many people. They average out at 27C/81F over the year.

The United Arab Emirates doesn’t have any personal income taxes. It has a lower cost of living than Monaco and better accommodation options.

Doha, Qatar

Doha is slightly hotter than Dubai. It also has 3,600 hours of annual sunshine but average annual temperatures of 29C/84F. Qatar has no income tax and offers expats an enviable lifestyle in one of the world’s richest countries.

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Central America is home to a few territorial tax countries. In a territorial tax country you’re only obliged to pay tax on what you earn in the country. Earnings from outside the country are tax free. Nicaragua is an often forgotten country. But it has some great benefits. Not least of which is a warm climate. The Pacific resort town of San Juan del Sur has average temperatures of 28C/82F. It has 2,600 hours of sunshine per year. Being located in the tropics it has a rainy season for a few months of the year which pushes up annual rainfall.

Asuncion, Paraguay

Paraguay is a territorial tax country too. It offers high levels of personal freedom to expats, as well as the low taxes. It’s one of the easiest residencies and fastest paths to citizenship in Latin America. The capital city, Asuncion has around 2,600 hours of sunshine annually. It has annual rainfall of 1,200mm. Average temperatures are 22C/72F.

Panama City, Panama

Panama City is often described as the Miami of Central America due to its high rise buildings and ocean front location. Panama City is also a tax haven for expats. Panama, like other Central American countries has a territorial tax system. Panama City might be too hot for some. It has average annual temperatures of 27C/81F and 2,100 hours of sunshine. As Panama City is in the tropics it has higher annual rainfall with around 2,000mm annually.

Bangkok, Thailand

world's sunniest cities
10 of World's Sunniest Cities for Tax Haters 4

Bangkok has around 2,200 annual sunshine hours. It has average temperatures of 28C/82F. The Thailand Elite Visa is Thailand’s attempt to attract wealthy residents to the country. All income from outside Thailand is tax free. The Thai Elite Visa offers other benefits too such as VIP treatment at airports and various discounts.


As you can see there are plenty of sunny places to choose from where you can live with low or zero taxes. There’s no one best location. All have plenty to offer. The choice will be down to your personal preferences and the kind of lifestyle you’d like to have. For anyone with flexible income sources there’s no need to spend another winter in a cold, high-tax country.

The World’s Sunniest Cities: Dubai vs Monaco