Portugal may be the biggest and best kept secret of those who retire overseas. The Algarve region on the far southern coast is reported to have more than 100,000 expat retirees. The main reason so many people retire in Portugal? Retirement income is not taxed! Really!
Little fishing villages and ancient medieval towns with the best beaches, wine and food dot the whole area. The streets are mostly cobblestoned with whitewashed homes, shops and open air markets. There are also golf courses (42 in the Algarve region alone), sailing, hiking trails for those who love a more active lifestyle and museums, architecture, art, history and culture for the rest of us. Lisbon, the capital, sits on the southwest coast sits on a hilly site and is, by far, the largest city.
Portugal is home to 10 1/2 million people in a country roughly the size of Indiana.
The language is Portugese, a romantic language also spoken in Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, and Cape Verde. The language developed from Latin, Germanic, Moorish, and Christian influences. Because many early explorers were from Portugal, the language migrated all over the world. However, English is widely spoken in general and particularly in the south with the tourist trade. It is not absolutely necessary that you learn Portuguese, but a few simple phrases will get you a long way.
Portugal has great weather with one of the most stable climates in the world and more sunny days than any other country in Europe. Huge flocks of tourists come at all times of the year – snowbirds in the winter and families in the summer – to enjoy the sunny days and explore its many sites. Although considered a Mediterranean climate, the mountains in the north see over 100 inches of rain a year and snow falls every winter where the temperature falls to 10 degrees F.
Portugal is a mountainous land split in half by the River Tagus that flows west from Spain. There are two sets of offshore islands – the Madiera and the Azores. The mountains in the north are sparsely populated and isolated. The lower half gives way to warmer climates with sandy coves and vacation playgrounds.
Home to a huge wine industry, the valleys and hills are superb for the grapes. The vast majority is consumed locally but is also imported all over the world.
The cost of living is among the lowest in all of Europe. It is reported that a retired couple could live in Portugal comfortably on $1,500 a month and like royalty for $2,500 US in longer term rentals. Short term 2-bedroom holiday rentals are available in very modern resorts in the $500 a week range. If you are considering a move and still have to work, consider that Portugal has a high unemployment rate of 16% and the minimum wage is under $600 US a month. If you need to find a job in Portugal, do some research to find one before you come. We definitely recommend renting before deciding where to buy or if you want to live here at all. Utilities are extremely high and it does get cold in the winter.
While Portugal has lovely weather, beaches, golf and wonderful holiday resorts it also has its downsides too. Unemployment is high, the pace is very slow, there are a lot of labor strikes which delay roadwork etc. So please do visit Portugal, stay awhile, and then decide for yourself. Personally, we love it here!
Living in Portugal
Pros: Cost of living is low. Warm Climate
Cons: ?? Future of the Economy
Best Places to Live: Albufeira
Favorite Inexpensive Events: Its much cheaper to play golf in the afternoon. Book through an agent.
Did You Know: Over half of the world’s cork is produced in Portugal.
If you travel 19 miles west from Lisbon, you will find the charming, but cosmopolitan, seaside town of Cascais, Portugal. Home to over 210,000 people, Cascais has become a popular expat retirement area with an estimated 25,000 English speaking citizens. The...read more
Porto (the English call it Oporto) is in the northern part of Portugal right on the Atlantic. It has been occupied for centuries and the Romans built a fort at the mouth of the Douro River. It has always been a hub of activity and is Portugal's second largest...read more
Faro has been the capital of the Algarve since 1756. Centrally located on the far southern shore of Portugal, Faro enjoys wonderful weather, golf courses, and ancient historical areas dating from the 18th and 19th century. It is an easy town to walk and you will...read more