The Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal, has become a popular destination for retirees and expats from around the world. The region’s sunny climate, beautiful scenery, and low cost of living are just some of the reasons why so many people choose to retire in the Algarve.

Top 10 reasons to retire in the Algarve

  • Climate
  • Cost of Living
  • Healthcare
  • Beautiful Scenery
  • Expats Community
  • Non-Habitual Resident (NHR)
  • Golfing
  • Easy Travel
  • English language
  • Friendly people

Climate

The Algarve enjoys a warm and sunny Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers. The region receives more than 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, making it one of the sunniest places in Europe. 

The average temperature in the summer months (June-August) is around 27°C (81°F), while in the winter months (December-February), the average temperature is around 15°C (59°F). 

The comfortable weather allows retirees to enjoy outdoor activities year-round, such as golf, hiking, and swimming.

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Cost of living in Portugal

The cost of living in the Algarve is significantly lower than in many other European countries. 

According to Numbeo, a website that compares the cost of living in different countries, Portugal’s cost of living is 37.98% lower than in the United Kingdom, and 34.51% lower than in the United States. 

This means that retirees can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank. Housing, food, and healthcare are all more affordable in the Algarve than in many other parts of Europe.

Healthcare System in Portugal

Portugal has a public Healthcare System that is ranking highly in Europe, and the Algarve has excellent hospitals and medical facilities. 

Expats who are residents in Portugal are entitle to free or low-cost healthcare through the public system. 

For those who prefer private healthcare, the cost of private health insurance in Portugal is much lower than in many other countries. 

For example, the average cost of private health insurance in Portugal is around €50-€100 ($60-$120) per month, while in the United States, the average cost is around $440 per month.

Beautiful Scenery

The Algarve is known for its stunning coastline, sandy beaches, and dramatic cliffs. The region has over 200 km (124 miles) of coastline, with some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. 

The region is also home to many charming towns and villages, each with their own unique character. 

The Algarve’s natural beauty and rich history make it a popular destination for tourists and retirees alike.

Expats Community in Portugal

The Algarve has a large and growing community of expats, particularly from the UK, Ireland, and other European countries. 

According to the latest data from the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service, there were over 45,000 UK nationals living in Portugal in 2020, with the majority of them in the Algarve. 

The expat community in the region is very active, with many social clubs, interest groups, and events for expats to participate in. This makes it easy for retirees to make new friends and enjoy a busy social life.

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Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) Portugal

One of the Portugal resident permit benefits is the access to a special tax regime known as NHR (non-habitual resident)

Under this program, you are exempt from or pay very little taxes on any foreign-sources income. The benefits of non-habitual resident Portugal includes:

  • Special individual tax treatment on incomes for a period of 10 years
  • Differentiation between Portuguese-sourced and foreign-sourced income
  • Trend for exemption on the foreign-sourced passive income
  • Flat rate (20%) for high value-added activities
  • Tax residency within the EU in a white-listed country
  • Exemption of tax on gifts or inheritance to family members
  • No wealth tax
  • Free cash remittance to Portugal

Golfing

The Algarve is a golfer’s paradise, with more than 40 golf courses to choose from. 

The region host several international golf tournaments, including the Portugal Masters and the Ladies European Tour. 

Golfing in the Algarve is more affordable than in many other parts of Europe, with green fees ranging from €40-€120 ($48-$145) per round.

You can check here our article about the best golf courses in Portugal.

Easy Travel

The Algarve is easily accessible from the UK and other European countries, with regular flights to Faro airport

Many budget airlines operate flights to Faro, making it easy and affordable for retirees to travel and visit family and friends. 

The region is also well-connect by road and rail, making it easy to explore other parts of Portugal and Europe.

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English language

One of the main reasons why expats choose to retire in the Algarve is the prevalence of the English language in the region. 

English is widely speaking and understood, which makes it easy for retirees to navigate daily life, communicate with locals, and access services. 

English is also the primary language of many businesses and services in the region, including restaurants, shops, and medical facilities. 

This means that expats can easily access the services they need and feel comfortable communicating with service providers.

Sailing in Portugal

While there are many reasons why expats choose to retire in Portugal, one popular reason is the country’s excellent sailing opportunities.

With its long coastline and warm weather, Portugal is a great place for sailing enthusiasts to enjoy their hobby year-round.

Friendly people

Another reason why expats choose to retire in the Algarve is the friendly and welcoming nature of the local people. 

The Portuguese are known for their warmth and hospitality, and this is particularly evident in the Algarve.

According to the latest data from the Agency for Integration, Migration and Asylum (AIMA), there were over 480,000 foreign residents living in Portugal in 2020, with the majority of them coming from European countries. 

The Algarve has a significant expat community, and locals are used to interacting with people from different cultures and backgrounds.

The welcoming nature of the local people is evident in the many social clubs and interest groups that cater to expats in the region. 

These groups provide opportunities for expats to meet and socialize with locals, as well as with other expats.

How can I move to the Algarve?

EU Citizen

If you intend to stay in the Algarve for more than three months, it is mandatory to apply for a registration certificate. The application can be submitted upon arrival in the country, and once approved, the certificate is valid for up to five years.

Non-EU Citizen

If you are a non-EU national planning to reside in the Algarve, you must apply for a Portuguese residency visa before your arrival. After your visa expires, you will be required to obtain a residence permit.

We recommend reading our comprehensive guide about the best ways to obtain residency in Portugal.

Portugal D7 Visa - The retirement visa

The D7 Visa Portugal, also known as the Retirement Visa or Passive Income Visa, was introduced in 2007 by the Portuguese government, allowing non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens to apply for temporary residency in Portugal.

Retirees and individuals with reasonable passive income can apply for the Portugal D7 Passive Income Visa. This income can include pensions, real estate, royalties, dividends, financial investment, or intellectual property.

The minimum required amount to be eligible for this visa is €9,840 of yearly income, plus you need to add 50% of this amount for your partner and 30% for each dependent child

This Visa is valid for a period of two years and can be renewed for additional three-year period. After 5 years you have the option to apply for a permanent residence permit or Citizenship.

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Disadvantages of retiring in Portugal

Relaxed attitude

While the relaxed attitude and laid-back lifestyle of the Algarve can be appealing to many, it might present challenges for someone retiring in the region. 

The slower pace of life and relaxed approach to time management might clash with the expectations of retirees used to a more structured and efficient lifestyle. 

Services and administrative processes in some areas may take longer than what retirees are accustomed to, which could lead to frustration or a sense of inconvenience.

Moreover, the relaxed attitude can extend to business hours and service availability, with some shops and establishments closing for extended lunch breaks or taking leisurely siestas during the day. 

Portuguese Bureaucracy

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.

Learning Portuguese is not easy

For someone retiring in the Algarve, Portugal, learning Portuguese may present its fair share of challenges. 

One of the main difficulties retirees might encounter is the distinct pronunciation and phonetics of the Portuguese language. Certain sounds and intonations may be unfamiliar to English speakers, making it challenging to communicate effectively, especially in the beginning.

Furthermore, Portuguese grammar can be complex, with various verb conjugations, gendered nouns, and unique sentence structures. Understanding and applying these rules can be overwhelming for language learners, particularly those who have never studied a Romance language before.

Large number of tourists

The presence of a large number of tourists can have both positive and negative implications. On one hand, the influx of visitors brings a vibrant and lively atmosphere to the region. 

However, the significant number of tourists can also impact the cost of living in certain areas. Popular tourist spots might experience higher prices for housing, services, and everyday commodities. 

This could pose challenges for retirees on a fixed income, as managing expenses might require careful financial planning and consideration. Additionally, retirees seeking a peaceful and quiet lifestyle might find certain areas more crowded and bustling during peak tourist seasons. 

Exploring less touristy regions within the Algarve can be a solution for those looking to strike a balance between enjoying the benefits of a lively atmosphere and seeking tranquility during their retirement years.

Why work with Portugal Residency Advisors?

Local Expertise

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. 

Holistic Approach

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. 

Transparent Service

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.

Simple Process

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.

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Frequently asked questions about 10 Reasons to retire in the Algarve

Are there any tax benefits for expat retirees in Portugal?

Yes, Portugal offers tax benefits for expat retirees through the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) regime. This regime provides exemptions or reduced tax rates on certain types of foreign income, such as pensions, rental income, capital gains, and dividends.

Is the cost of living affordable for expat retirees in Portugal?

Yes, Portugal has a relatively lower cost of living compared to many other European countries. Retirees can enjoy a good quality of life without excessive expenses, especially when it comes to housing, utilities, groceries, and dining out.

What are the visa requirements for retirees who want to live in Portugal?

The D7 Visa is designed for those who wish to retire in Portugal. It requires applicants to demonstrate sufficient financial means to support themselves and have access to healthcare. This visa allows retirees to reside in Portugal for an initial period of two year, renewable for subsequent three-year periods

Why do expats choose Portugal as their retirement destination?

Expats choose Portugal for retirement due to factors such as its pleasant climate, lower cost of living, safety, natural beauty, rich culture, excellent healthcare system, and ease of integration.

Is Portugal a safe country for expat retirees?

Yes, Portugal is considered one of the safest countries in Europe. It has low crime rates and a peaceful environment, providing a sense of security for expat retirees.

How is the healthcare system in Portugal for expat retirees?

Portugal has a well-developed healthcare system that provides universal coverage to all residents, including expats. There are both public and private healthcare options available, ensuring access to quality medical care.

What is the climate like in Portugal for retirees?

Portugal has a mild climate with warm summers and relatively mild winters. The country enjoys a Mediterranean climate, offering retirees pleasant weather throughout the year, which is ideal for outdoor activities and enjoying the natural beauty of the country.

Can expat retirees easily integrate into the Portuguese society?

Yes, Portugal is known for its welcoming and inclusive attitude towards foreigners. The country has a large expat community, and English is widely spoken, making it easier for retirees to integrate, establish social connections, and find support networks.

Are there specific regions popular among expat retirees in Portugal?

Yes, certain regions in Portugal, such as the Algarve, Lisbon, and Porto, are particularly popular among expat retirees.