Before making a decision to move to Portugal, it’s important to consider both the pros and cons of living in this beautiful country.
Portugal is a country that has recently become popular among expats and retirees as a destination for living, working, and enjoying a comfortable lifestyle.
The country boasts a warm Mediterranean climate, beautiful beaches, and a high quality of life.
However, there are some challenges that expats face when they move to Portugal, such as the language barrier, bureaucracy, and limited job opportunities.
In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of living in Portugal, in order to give a balanced view of what life is like in this country.
Advantages of Living in Portugal
Portugal has a warm Mediterranean climate that is characterized by long hot summers and mild winters. This makes it an ideal destination for those who enjoy outdoor activities and year-round sunshine.
The country’s coastal regions are particularly popular among expats and retirees because of the mild temperatures and the abundance of beaches.
In the northern part of Portugal, the climate is typically cooler and wetter, with temperatures averaging around 15-20°C (59-68°F) during the summer months and dropping to around 5-10°C (41-50°F) in the winter.
The central part of Portugal, including Lisbon, experiences a slightly warmer and drier climate, with average temperatures ranging from 18-28°C (64-82°F) in the summer and around 8-16°C (46-61°F) in the winter.
The southern region of Portugal, including the Algarve, has the warmest and sunniest climate, with temperatures regularly exceeding 30°C (86°F) in the summer months and remaining mild in the winter, rarely dropping below 10°C (50°F).
Portugal is located on the west coast of Europe, making it a convenient gateway to the rest of Europe and the world.
This is particularly advantageous for expats who travel frequently or who have family and friends living in other countries.
The country is well-connected by air, land, and sea, with modern transportation infrastructure that makes it easy to travel to other parts of Portugal or to neighboring countries.
Portugal has a stable political system and a strong commitment to democracy. The country has a long history of political stability, and it is considered one of the safest countries in the world.
This makes it an attractive destination for expats who are looking for a safe and stable place to live.
Portugal's Healthcare System
Portugal has a public healthcare system that is free or low-cost for residents. The system provides comprehensive healthcare services, including primary care, hospital care, and specialist care.
The quality of healthcare in Portugal is generally considered to be high, with well-trained doctors and modern medical facilities.
Cost of living in Portugal
Portugal is a relatively affordable country compared to other Western European countries. The cost of living is generally lower than in neighboring Spain or France, and it is possible to live comfortably on a modest budget.
This makes Portugal an attractive destination for retirees and expats who are looking for a high quality of life at a reasonable cost.
According to recent Numbeo statistics, the cost of living in Portugal is, on average, 36.6% lower than in the United States.
This means that you can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in Portugal for much less than you would pay in the US.
One major contributor to this lower cost of living is housing. Rent in Portugal is, on average, a staggering 51.3% lower than in the United States.
Portugal is considered one of the safest countries in the world and in 2023 occupied the 7th place according to the Global Peace Index, with low crime rates and a low risk of terrorism.
The country has a strong police force and a low incidence of violent crime, making it an attractive destination for families with young children.
Portugal's Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) regime
Portugal has a Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime that is designed to attract wealthy expats and retirees to the country.
The regime allows eligible residents to receive significant tax benefits for up to 10 years, including a flat tax rate of 20% on certain types of income.
Quality of life
Portugal is known for its high quality of life, with a laid-back and relaxed lifestyle that is conducive to health and happiness.
The country has a strong cultural heritage, with many historic sites and cultural events throughout the year.
The food and wine are also highly regarded, with a focus on fresh and locally sourced ingredients.
Real estate market in Portugal
Portugal has a thriving real estate market, with a wide range of properties available at reasonable prices.
The market is particularly attractive to foreign buyers, who can take advantage of the country’s relatively low property prices and favorable tax regime for non-residents.
Disadvantages of Living in Portugal
One of the biggest challenges of living in Portugal is the language barrier. Portuguese is the official language, and while many people speak English, it can still be difficult to navigate daily life without a basic understanding of the language.
This is especially true outside of major cities, where English speakers may be less common.
Learning Portuguese can take time and effort, but it is essential if you want to fully integrate into Portuguese society.
Portugal is known for its bureaucratic processes, which can be frustrating for both locals and foreigners.
Obtaining residency, registering a business, and dealing with government agencies can all be time-consuming and require a lot of paperwork.
Many people find it helpful to hire a lawyer or a consultant to help them navigate the system.
This can be an added expense, but it can also save time and prevent headaches in the long run.
While the relaxed attitude in Portugal is often seen as a positive aspect of the culture, it can also have some disadvantages.
One potential con of this attitude is that it can lead to a lack of punctuality in certain aspects of life.
Portuguese people tend to take a more relaxed approach to time, and this can sometimes result in appointments or meetings starting later than scheduled, which can be frustrating for individuals who value punctuality.
Additionally, the relaxed attitude can sometimes lead to a lack of organization and structure in certain aspects of life.
While spontaneity can be enjoyable, it can also create challenges when it comes to planning and executing certain activities, such as work projects or events.
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While Portugal has made significant improvements to its transportation infrastructure in recent years, it still lags behind other European countries in some areas.
Public transportation can be unreliable, especially outside of major cities, which make people opt to own a car, which can be expensive due to taxes and insurance.
However, Portugal’s small size means that travel times are relatively short, so even with transportation challenges, getting around the country is still manageable.
Jobs in Portugal
Portugal has struggled with high unemployment rates in recent years, which can make finding a job difficult.
The job market is especially challenging for foreigners who do not speak Portuguese fluently. However, there are opportunities for those with in-demand skills, such as in the tech industry.
It’s also worth noting that the cost of living in Portugal is lower than in many other European countries, so even a lower-paying job may be enough to cover basic expenses.
And for those you would like to move to Portugal while searching for a job, the Portuguese government introduced in June 2022 the Job Seeker Visa that allows individuals to enter and remain in Portugal while looking for employment in their area of expertise.
Cards Payment Acceptance
Cash is still king in Portugal, and many businesses, especially smaller ones, only accept cash payments. This can be inconvenient for those used to using cards for all transactions.
Additionally, some businesses may only accept Portuguese debit or credit cards, which can be frustrating for those who have foreign cards.
Many houses and apartments in Portugal were built decades ago, and they may not be up to modern standards in terms of insulation, heating, or cooling.
This can be a challenge during the hot summers or cold winters.
Additionally, some older buildings may require more maintenance and repairs than newer ones.
It’s important to do your research and carefully inspect any property you are considering purchasing or renting.
Planning to move to Portugal?
Are you dreaming of a new life in Portugal, with its beautiful beaches, charming cities, and laid-back lifestyle?
Fortunately, there are several visa options available for those looking to make the move to this wonderful country.
Portugal D7 Visa
First, there is the D7 visa, which is perfect for retirees or those with passive income. This visa requires proof of regular income or savings, and the ability to support yourself without working in Portugal. It’s a great option for those looking to enjoy the country’s relaxed lifestyle and stunning natural beauty.
Portugal Digital Nomad Visa
For remote workers and freelancers, the Digital Nomad Visa in Portugal allows them to live and work in the country for up to a year, enjoying all the benefits of the Portuguese lifestyle while earning an income from their remote job or business.
Portugal D2 Visa
No matter which visa option you choose, moving to Portugal is a life-changing decision that can offer countless opportunities and experiences.
From the stunning coastline to the vibrant cities, Portugal is a country that will capture your heart and keep you coming back for more.
So why wait? Start exploring your visa options today and take the first step towards your new life in Portugal.
Popular areas to live in Portugal
Portugal offers a wide range of locations to buy property, from cosmopolitan cities like Lisbon and Porto to charming coastal towns like Cascais and Albufeira. The Algarve region is also a popular area for those looking for a holiday home or retirement property.
Lisbon is a vibrant city that offers a great quality of life. It has a mild climate, beautiful beaches, and a rich cultural heritage.
The cost of living in Lisbon is relatively affordable compared to other European cities, making it an attractive destination for expats.
The city has a great public transportation system, including a metro, buses, and trams. There are also plenty of bike lanes and shared electric scooters available for rent.
Lisbon offers a great variety of food, from traditional Portuguese dishes to international cuisine. There are many markets, grocery stores, and specialty shops where you can find fresh and local products.
Porto is a charming city located in northern Portugal, known for its historic center, port wine, and beautiful riverfront.
Living in Porto offers a more relaxed and laid-back lifestyle compared to Lisbon, with a strong sense of community and local traditions.
The cost of living in Porto is also lower than in Lisbon, making it an affordable option for those looking for a high quality of life.
The city is also known for its wine culture, with many cellars and tasting rooms offering tours and tastings.
The Algarve is a popular tourist destination in the south of Portugal, known for its sandy beaches, golf courses, and warm climate.
The region is particularly popular with retirees and second-home buyers.
Property prices in the Algarve can vary widely depending on the location, with some of the most sought-after areas being Vilamoura, Albufeira, and Lagos.
The Silver Coast is a region of Portugal located north of Lisbon and stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the hills of the interior.
The area is known for its rugged coastline, traditional fishing villages, and historic towns.
Property prices in the Silver Coast are generally lower than in Lisbon and the Algarve, but there are still some areas that are popular with expats, such as the town of Obidos and the beach resort of Sao Martinho do Porto.
Madeira is known for its stunning natural beauty, with lush forests, rugged mountains, and crystal-clear waters.
This makes it an ideal location for those who love the outdoors and want to enjoy a relaxing, natural lifestyle.
Madeira consistently ranks high in quality-of-life indices, which make the island a popular tourist destination, with millions of visitors each year.
This means that there is a high demand for short-term rental properties, making it an attractive option for those looking to invest in vacation rentals.
Why choose Portugal Residency Advisors for you relocation to Portugal?
We know Portugal. Due to our extensive local knowledge, we believe that concentrating our services in a single country destination is the best way to give you the most thorough and useful information.
One single channel of communication for the entire process. We provide you with a comprehensive service that covers all aspects of your move, from identifying the ideal residency visa to finding your new home or helping you to settle.
We recommend what’s best for you based on an extensive process experience that saves time and money to clients. Our pricing is clear and competitive, and we don’t sell services that make us more money.
Technology plays a very important role in our company. We minimize our clients’ involvement in paperwork. We are customers ourselves and we know how to serve you.
Frequently asked questions about Pros and Cons of living in Portugal
What are the advantages of living in Portugal?
Portugal offers a pleasant climate, beautiful landscapes, affordable cost of living, high safety levels, rich cultural heritage, and a relaxed lifestyle. Additionally, it has a thriving expat community, excellent healthcare, and a delicious cuisine.
Are there any drawbacks to living in Portugal?
Some challenges include a relatively low average income, limited job opportunities in certain sectors, bureaucratic processes, and a language barrier for non-Portuguese speakers. Additionally, certain regions may experience occasional wildfires and a higher cost of living in popular areas.
How is the healthcare system in Portugal?
Portugal has a well-regarded healthcare system, offering both public and private options. The public healthcare system is affordable and accessible, although wait times may vary. Private healthcare provides faster services but at a higher cost.
What is the cost of living like in Portugal?
The cost of living in Portugal is generally lower compared to many other European countries. However, prices may vary depending on the region, with larger cities and popular tourist destinations having a higher cost of living.
How is the education system in Portugal?
Portugal has a decent education system with both public and private schools. Public education is generally free, but private schools offer alternative options. There are also international schools available for expat families.
What is the tax situation like in Portugal?
Portugal offers attractive tax benefits, including the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) program, which can provide tax exemptions or reduced rates for qualifying individuals.
Is it easy to integrate into Portuguese society?
Portugal is known for its warm and welcoming culture, making it relatively easy for expats to integrate. Learning Portuguese can significantly enhance your experience and interactions with locals.