This is a blog that discusses why expats in particular decide to move to Portugal, from their perspective. They discuss their reasons for selecting Portugal as the place to live and why they feel it’s been a good choice for them.
Madonna is reported to have said that “The energy of Portugal is so inspiring” and she follows other film stars, Michael Fassbender and Monica Bellucci, who have recently bought properties in Portugal. However, it’s not just the celebrities who are drawn to Portugal, the country has recently been named as Europe’s best destination for expats in 2017. Portugal’s overall standing in the InterNations annual survey of expats increased dramatically from position 23 in 2016 to position to No 5 in 2017 – making it the country that has escalated the most on the global
BEST FOR QUALITY OF LIFE
Portugal tops the InterNations list for Quality of Life and its popularity is largely due to its wonderful climate wide range of leisure categories. In the Leisure Options subcategory. Portugal holds second place and this also relates directly to the weather – which nine out of ten expats regard as a potential benefit prior to relocating.
Portugal came in ninth worldwide when it came to the Health and Well-being subcategory, with many expats happy about both the affordability and quality of the healthcare on offer. Both public and private healthcare options are available in Portugal and expats find it reassuring that virtually every doctor is able to communicate in English. Access to public healthcare in Portugal is free to all legal residents – although people need to be close to the larger cities in order to access specialised care.
Portugal came eleventh out of 65 countries when it came to safety and security, however a high 77% of expats consider Portugal to be a very peaceful country – which is actually the best-rated factor in this category and a good indication of the country’s overall stability and security. Not a single expat who took part in the survey was worried about their personal safety and only Finland scored higher results, at 78%, when it came peacefulness.
94% of expats rated Portugal highly when it came to travel opportunities and its position in the EU makes travel to other countries very accessible and affordable. Having said this, with all Portugal’s wonderful beaches and fine food, it’s difficult to see why any expat would want to holiday anywhere else.
The Portuguese are very hospitable and will offer you plenty of food and drink. Be warned that if you turn down the many invitations on offer – you’ll be asked until you accept, a symbol of this nation’s generosity. The Portuguese’s generosity extends to festa-time when from carnival time in February through to October, a huge celebration is held in almost every village on every saint’s day and holiday. These can be very elaborate affairs with plenty of music, food and drink – and are a great way to meet new people and quickly immerse yourself in the Portuguese culture.
MOST PORTUGUESE SPEAK ENGLISH
Unless you’ve been brave enough to visit rural Spain or Italy (or anywhere in France) you will come to realize what a true treasure this can be. It makes asking for directions, or even what’s being described on the menu a lot less complex. Since the Portuguese are well-known for their open-hearted and warm hospitality, a nice benefit to this is that it also allows you to get to know locals since sharing a common language means you can share other things like stories and cultural insights with one another.
The cost of living in Portugal is ranked among one of the lowest in Western Europe. If you’re coming from anywhere with a currency weaker than the Euro, this can be incredibly helpful to your trip. It means you can do more with less! Including dining, excursions, even car rentals cost a fraction of what they would elsewhere. Everything from grocery bills to a monthly rental will run you significantly less. Flights to Portugal can be relatively inexpensive considering there are direct routes with budget airlines like RyanAir and reasonably priced options from TAP Portugal.
NUMEROUS PRISTINE BEACHES
The beaches in Portugal are second to none. Considering the coastline is nearly 500 miles (800 kilometres) long, you are bound to find a beautiful spot to park yourself and take in some sunshine. Whether you crave a more serene beach experience of Costa Vicentina with its expansive sandy landscape sheltered by sandstone cliffs at Praia da Arrifana you will find the ideal place for relaxation. Prefer a cliffside hike? Make your way to Marinha and park the car (for free!). Begin your trail of about 45 minutes towards Benegil atop cliffs with vistas of the Atlantic. You will undoubtedly want to slather on that SPF 35+ to protect yourself from the sun that you won’t feel burning you due to the gentle breeze that guides you along. Once you reach Benegil you can explore the coves (if the tide is out) or take a boat ride to the world-famous sea caves. Don’t forget a sun umbrella if you plan a full day on the beach!
THE FRESH FISH
The seafood of Portugal offers something for everyone. If you’re more traditional, you can enjoy prawns, fresh crab, lobster, even freshly shucked oysters. For those who are adventurous you should surely experience the local, traditional specialties that often include cod or Bacalhau which is seen as a national treasure. If you have the advantage of being in the Algarve region in August, don’t miss Olhão’s seafood festival! There is an entrance fee but it’s well worth it for the unique seafood experience you will have. Here you can sample everything mentioned above or something a little more unusual – fresh barnacles anyone? At the festival there is plenty of seating, live entertainment, unique vendors of fresh fish (and baked treats for dessert – of course!), so go with elastic waist pants.
IT’S A TOP SURF SPOT
Not exactly the first place you would think of when you hear the words ‘hang ten’ but with 364 days of surf and 2,799 hours of sunshine a year, it’s a surfer match made in heaven! The best part is you can surf practically anywhere in Portugal from Lisbon all the way down to the Azores. The country has become so well-known for its ideal surf conditions after the world’s largest wave was caught by Hawaiian surfer Garret McNamara at 90 feet (30 meters) that there are a number of surf accommodations that have onsite instructors too! Starting at 15-30 euros a night for the bed, it’s a great option if you’re wanting to learn and still get that awesome community vibe of a hostel.
IT IS THE OLDEST COUNTRY IN EUROPE
It can be difficult to believe but it’s true, Portugal is indeed the oldest country in Europe! It has preserved it’s original borders for the past 800 years and the name Portugal first appeared in the year 868. Let that sink in for a moment… Lisbon is four centuries older than Rome. It all comes back to the point that Portugal is at the most amazing intersection of having an incredibly rich history that while, being a source of pride, is just the beginning of what makes it a great country. The Portuguese are a people that appreciate and cherish the heritage but continues to forge ahead in search of better ways. That is true modernity in all sense of the word, even for the oldest, most underrated country in Europe.