Portugal is attracting more and more foreign pensioners who decide to live happy days away from their country of origin.
Portugal benefits from several assets that make the country a landmark destination for retirement. The cost of living, security, weather, each retiree will have his own reasons for having decided to retire in Portugal. In order to help you in your decision and remaining as objective as possible, we have listed for you the best reasons to live your retirement in Portugal. Lisbon, the expatriate assistant in Portugal, tells you all about the 10 good reasons to retire in Portugal.
Portugal enjoys a mostly sunny and rather mild weather in winter. Nevertheless, do not believe on the word the ominous birds who promise you 320 days of suns a year and winters at 20 degrees. It will already depend on where you live.
The north is rainy and wet, the Algarve rather hot and dry. Nevertheless, this is where Portugal’s strength lies: the diversity of climates and landscapes that the country offers. Of course, a winter in Porto will be less rigorous than Charleville-Mezieres, but it will take into account the insulation of housing. Be that as it may, the weather is an essential criterion when choosing your expatriation and Portugal allows any retiree to choose the place where he will feel the best.
This is one of the most important criteria when choosing your country of expatriation to retire, the feeling of security. And on this point, we can say that Portugal is part of the world top in terms of living together and security. Indeed, the country is often cited in the rankings of countries where it is good to live in terms of security. Any expatriate in Portugal will tell you: it is rare to see an aggression and even less to be attacked. Women can walk quietly in the street without worry and assaults are rare. Of course, we must be careful as everywhere else, but Portugal is a country where life is good and where “dangerous” places are less present than in other countries.
Cost of life
Portugal is a country with a cost of living that is lower than in other countries like France or Germany. The foreigners who come to Lisbon will be pleasantly surprised to pay their coffee 50 cents on the terrace of a European capital, or even to have lunch for less than 10 euros with full menu. In addition, some products such as tobacco or alcohol are cheaper.
Be careful however, the cost of living in Portugal is sometimes much higher than in other European countries for some products. For example, hygiene or household products cost almost twice as much (!) as in UK for example, and electronic products and appliances, such as mobile phones or computers, cost on average 15 to 20% more expensive. The reasons: a 23% VAT and a geographical position at the far end of the continent, implying higher transport costs for imported products. Each retiree will have to take stock of these expenses and see if his lifestyle allows him to live better with so much.
The Portuguese are known and well-known for warmly welcoming foreigners who decide to settle there. One of the reasons for this is surely the millennial history of the Portuguese, people of explorers and emigrants who settled in the four corners of the world. The Portuguese know how to integrate as well as to welcome other retirees from all over the world. All you have to do is ask for directions, even if you speak a beginner Portuguese, and you will see how warmly and kindly the Portuguese will try to help you. Unfortunately, the flip side is that there is sometimes a bad intention behind all these nice touches. Of course, we do not put everyone in the same basket, far from it, but it would be a lie to say that all Portuguese are nice by good intention. Many are the scams and traps for strangers who, a little naive and gullible (we have all been), are having to think that everything is pink. No, buying real estate, cars or even simple jobs can turn into a well-crafted scam without any recourse.
When you look at Portugal for the first time, you are surprised by the diversity that this relatively small country offers. Indeed, Portugal, 6 times smaller than France, is full of landscapes and regions all different and interesting each other. For pensioners, Portugal is simply an inexhaustible source of landscapes all more beautiful than the others. The northern, more humid and mountainous, offers green natural parks and exceptional views, as in Geres. The Douro Valley, world heritage, allows to admire the vines carved for centuries and the valleys shaped by the Portuguese. The Algarve, known for its beautiful and wild beaches, will delight lovers of sunsets, while the Serra da Estrella massif will allow you to ski on natural snow.
Portugal is a country full of cultural activities, some of which are world famous. As a retiree, the cultural offer is one of the criteria to be taken into account. Museums, galleries, festivals, concerts: Portugal has a rich and diverse culture, fruit of its influences from all over the world and its past made of discoveries but also bad times. Fado is the most accomplished expression, but the style may not please. Nevertheless, in the 21st century Portugal has developed its offer and showcased its cultural heritage. The neighborhood of Belém in Lisbon offers many museums and monuments to visit, and the cultural agenda is full throughout the year. When you retire in Portugal, you will not be bored.
Food & gastronomy
Eating well is important, and even if tastes and colors are not discussed, Portuguese cuisine is known to be hearty and quality. Fresh vegetables and local, rice pushed in Alentejo, fish galore, many are the assets of the gastronomy of Portugal. If you take the time to spend your retirement, you will have plenty of time to discover the incredible amount of dishes that make up the Portuguese cuisine. Also, Portugal has imported and adapted dishes and ingredients from its ancient conquests from different continents: African, Asian or South American cuisine invites itself to Portuguese dishes for our greatest pleasure. It should be noted that the Portuguese have a habit of eating rather fat, and they do not skimp on the amount of oil.
The Portuguese are known to have a good life expectancy, and retired foreigners who decide to spend their retirement know it well. This is due in particular to the fact that their diet is recognized as good for the health, but also thanks to the Portuguese health system. In fact, Portugal’s doctors and medical specialists are among the best trained and most professional in Europe. Universities where future doctors and surgeons are studying are famous all over the world. To put it simply, do not worry about the quality of the health professionals you will find in Portugal. Nevertheless, the Portuguese public health system is in very bad shape. The crisis has gone by, and the fact that it is almost entirely free means that available resources are limited. A situation that is deteriorating little by little, pushing users to turn to the private sector.
Even if the “golden age” of cheap real estate anywhere in Portugal is over, it would be lying to say that Portugal does not yet offer fantastic real estate opportunities. In fact, Portuguese property prices remain on average lower compared to other European countries. Lisbon and Porto may now be at levels of other European capitals, but Portugal is big and offers many beautiful places and unbeatable prices. Any pensioner will find his happiness, even more if he wants to get away from tourist areas. A big flat, though. With the popularity of recent years, many are the real estate agents who have started to flourish in Portugal, and not often the most honest. If you do not master the Portuguese language and its subtleties in terms of the law, we strongly advise you to be accompanied by a lawyer or a notary. Also, going through a known and reputable agency can be a guarantee of quality. You can go through our free real estate search service to help you.
This last point will not please everyone. Portugal, since 2012, proposes a tax status called NHR for non-habitual resident. This status allows under certain conditions to obtain a total exemption from taxation on private pension income for a period of 10 years. Yes, a decade without IRS. So of course, this only concerns private sector pensions, and you should not have been resident in Portugal for the 5 years preceding the application for the famous NHR status. Nevertheless, this tax boost is often the icing on the cake, the reason that tipped the decision to retire in Portugal. Be careful, however, because the NHR status should not be or become the sole reason that drives you to live your retirement in Portugal, because you could be disappointed. Portugal is much more than a simple tax exemption on its pensions, and many are expatriates who have left Portugal because they are dissatisfied with other points. While this status is advantageous for pensioners who decide to settle there, it should not be forgotten that this measure remains marginal (less than 30,000 beneficiaries over 10 years) and is not very well received by Portuguese retirees.