“I grew up in Portugal, and people there party ’til 7 or 8 in the morning there.” - Sara Sampaio
Monica Bellucci, Eric Cantona, Madonna, and many others have all moved to Portugal. And for good reason. Once you’ve got through the process of moving there, there are many advantages. Be it the weather, the cost, or tax benefits, there are plenty of reasons to move to Portugal.
So why should you move to Portugal?
We’ve had a look and here are our answers.
The Cost of Living
One of the main reasons that moving to Portugal attracts so many people of different ages is that the cost of living is much cheaper there. The UK is an estimated 55% more expensive than Portugal. Of course, this doesn't automatically mean that everything you buy is cheaper, but the average cost of goods and services is lower and the typical family would spend less a month to live in Portugal than in the UK.
Everything from accommodation to eating in a restaurant is cheaper in Portugal than in the UK. The only things that really cost more are internet connections and clothing.
The Quality of Life
Everyone from expats to tourists agrees that Portugal is a country with an excellent quality of life. With 300 sunny days a year, much like neighbouring Spain, Portugal is an attractive proposition.
What better than walking along the beach as the sun sets?
Furthermore, the Portuguese are renowned for being friendly. Whether you’re a retiree, temporary residents, or workers, you’ll receive a warm welcome from the locals. Of course, your welcome will be even warmer if you've learnt to speak Portuguese and plan on actively participating in everyday life with the local people.
The country is also incredibly beautiful so it won’t take much convincing for you to want to move there.
It’s a fact that every country has its cuisine, but not every country has Portuguese cuisine.
Some of Portugal’s most famous dishes include:
- Cod, known locally as bacalhau
- Pasteis de Nata, an egg custard tart pastry
- Francesinha, a sandwich with ham, sausage, and steak, and covered with melted cheese and a tomato and beer sauce
- Port, to be consumed in moderation
- Queijo de serra, a type of cheese
- Roasted octopus
- Sandes de Leitão, a suckling pig sandwich
- And many others.
Pretty tempting, isn’t it?
Whether you’re at a restaurant, eating on the go, or making food for yourself, Portuguese food is always a good choice. For some, it’s arguably the best reason to move to Portugal.
Portugal may seem like a small country, but you’ll never be bored there. Its diverse geography means that you can see the sea, mountains, and everything in between in just a few hours of each other.
You can even go skiing in Portugal. The Serra da Estrela is a ski resort 300km from Lisbon where you can participate in a variety of winter sports. Furthermore, Portugal is full of beautiful little towns like Porto, Madeira, Evora, and Lisbon.
Here are a few of Portugal’s best attractions:
- Vale do Douro, famous for its wine production.
- Faro, Portuguese charm in its purest form.
- Lagos Marina,
- Nazaré fish market.
- The Natural Parks in the Algarve.
- Belém Tower.
- The Medieval town of Sortelha.
- And many others.
Portugal is a country where you can always find something to do. The mix of activities means that nobody will be bored.
We mentioned that Portugal has 300 sunny days each year. That’s a good number out of 365 and a dose of vitamin D will do you some good and definitely put you in a good mood.
Life on the Iberian peninsula is good, too. Winters are mild and there isn’t much difference between the temperatures in the north and south thanks to the Atlantic Ocean. The north tends to be wetter but the overall climate is similar.
To give you an idea, here’s the typical weather in Lisbon.
- In spring, temperatures are around 20°C.
- In summer, it can surpass 30°C.
- Average temperatures are around 23°C in the autumn during the day.
- In winter, it drops to around 10°C.
Not bad, especially if you compare them to the average in the UK.
Not everyone moving to Portugal is there for retirement or for the tax benefits. Some expats prefer to go to Portugal to really live and it’s a good place to do it. After all, Portugal has lively nightlife and no matter what town you’re in, the streets come alive at night. While it’s lively, it’s not necessarily outright depravity.
From Lisbon to Porto, the nights in Portugal are lively and friendly. From nightclubs and rooftops to streetside dining, Portugal welcomes everyone.
Once you’ve got your life in Portugal sorted, things should be quite calm. For peace of mind, you need to feel safe and Portugal is one of Europe’s safest countries.
Following the Arab Spring, a number of North African holiday destinations weren’t seen as safe places to visit and Portugal ended up benefiting from this as a great place to travel to. This was a great advertisement for the country, too, as the more people visited, the more they saw it as a viable country to live in.
While the economy isn’t great, the locals are welcoming and the political situation is stable.
That’s a good enough reason to move, isn’t it?
You’ll be leaving your country, but you’ll have a new one to discover. Some will be hesitant to move to Portugal because they don’t want to feel disconnected from their family.
However, Portugal is really well connected to the rest of Europe and the world. It’s simple to get flights to and from the UK. Portugal is a popular destination for low-cost airlines, too.
The Property Market
Let’s move onto more serious things. Moving to a new country means that you’ll need to find a new place to live and it’s usually quite easy to find accommodation in Portugal.
So while the prices have gone up in recent years, accommodation in Portugal is usually quite a bit cheaper than it is in the UK. The average prices are much lower than they are in London, that’s for sure.
You can find villas with a pool for around €400,000.
Are you ready to invest in property in Portugal?
Now’s a good time.
Portugal has a number of tax programmes that are probably of interest to certain expats. Whether you’re a retiree or an entrepreneur, Portugal has a number of tax benefits you’ll want to look into. Retirees can enjoy a flat tax of 10% on their pension (this used to be 0%).
But that’s not all! Architects, engineers, doctors, entrepreneurs and anyone doing something considered a high-value activity are taxed at 20% for 10 years under the non-habitual resident tax regime.
Not bad, is it?
If the income is taxed at the source, the non-habitual residence tax regime allows reduced tax rates and exemptions for your first 10 years in the country so make the most of it.
This makes Portugal a good destination for property investors, retirees, and entrepreneurs. Portugal has become a popular destination in recent years and it’s quite easy to understand why.
Ready to become an expat?
If you've decided that you'd like to learn some Portuguese before you move or once you get there, you can search for Portuguese tutors on the Superprof website.
You can learn Portuguese face-to-face with a tutor, online, or with a tutor in groups. Each type of tutoring comes with pros and cons in terms of the teaching approach and the cost so think carefully about which will work best for you.
Face-to-face tutorials are an excellent way to learn a foreign language. For one, you'll always have a tutor on hand to correct any mistakes you make and teach you exactly what you need to know. Similarly, as you're the only student in the class, you get a lot of opportunities to practise speaking your new language.
One-on-one tutors can tailor every lesson to their student, but this extra time spent planning every lesson can come at a cost and these are usually the most expensive type of tutoring available. Of course, since every minute in the session is spent teaching you, they're often the most cost-effective sessions.
Online tutoring is another great way to learn a foreign language. As the tutor doesn't have to travel and can schedule more tutorials each week, they tend to charge than face-to-face tutors. With online tutoring, you can also find tutors from all over the world. This means that you could even find a tutor from where you're planning on living in Portugal, learn some Portuguese before you move, and then start getting face-to-face tutoring from them once you arrive.
For those on a budget, group tutorials are an excellent idea. While you mightn't get as much time practising your Portuguese with your tutor, you can practise with the other members of the class. This is useful as they'll often be a similar level to you. If you're moving to Portugal as a family, this is something you could all do together before you go. In this case, it'll probably be cheaper per person per hour but more expensive than a typical one-on-one session with just one student.