Moving to Portugal Guide and Things to Know

6 mins read

If you dream of moving to Portugal, we wholeheartedly encourage you. These days, Portugal seems to live in a land of its own existence, but that wasn’t always the case. They had an empire that included Brazil, Macau, East Timor, and Goa. Hence many people living in different countries who speak Portuguese. Anyway, the good news is that Portugal openly encourages foreigners to come and live in the country.

Indeed, in 2020, Portugal proudly announced they had passed the 500,000 marks for foreign nationalities living there. This is excellent news at a time when it seems many other countries are putting the gates up. Portugal divides into seven official provinces. Although the Algarve is most widely heard of, many other towns, cities, villages, and coastal resorts present an excellent lifestyle for any foreigner thinking of moving here. With that in mind, let us look at what to know.

Guide to Moving to Portugal

1: Why Move to Portugal

Delicious Food and Drink: When you move to Portugal, this is an excellent time to introduce your tastebuds to some new flavours. The cuisine is amazingly tantalising, with a big emphasis on fresh fish, naturally. Two staple parts of the national diet in Portugal are cod and sardines. The latter is often eaten in a sandwich, while the cod is salted and turned into various dishes. Wine lovers will also feel right at home, especially if they head to the North Douro region, do not forget the famous Madeira wine and tuck into the delicious custard tarts. They are to die for.

Beautiful landscapes and Beaches: Loads of countries like to boast about their sites of natural beauty, but Portugal can stand tall and proud with the range of natural landscapes it offers, from coastal trails to lakes to nature parks and mountain ranges. Anyone who likes the great outdoors will undoubtedly feel at home. Top this off with the delightfully supreme white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters, and it is impossible to deny admiration of Mother Nature.

moving to Portugal

Ideal Weather Climate: Think hot summer and mild winters to understand why many expats live in Portugal. During summer, temperatures reach about 40 degrees, and this is downtime around the pool or on the beaches. In fact, the only dull months are the rainy seasons from December to January. Otherwise, enjoy an outdoor lifestyle in Portugal at any other time.

Cost of Living: We looked at Numbeo, a number-crunching database of the cost of living worldwide, and they say it is 20% cheaper to live in Portugal than Spain. Significant massive savings for those on a budget. In addition, it is 42% more expensive to live in the UK and 50% more expensive to live in the USA. This easily explains why many retirees choose to live in Portugal.

living in portugal

Friendly Locals: Portugal ranked as the top country for welcoming and friendly locals in the annual expat questionnaire. When we can quickly strike up friendships with the locals, we can easily settle in. Not only though. Locals are a great source of information to ensure you settle into Portugal as smooth as possible.

Global Peace Index: Portugal is doing an excellent job of coming out tops in many surveys. In 2020, the Global peace index ranked it as number four of the most peaceful countries in the world. Not having to wonder about governments and politics falling out with other countries in the world is a great relief.

2: Can I Live in Portugal without Speaking Portuguese?

Firstly, don’t confuse Portuguese with Spanish. They are similar but two different languages. About a third of Portuguese residents speak English, and a lower number speak French. Whether or not you need to know Portuguese to live in Portugal will depend on where you move to. For example, English is widely spoken in tourist areas and places where retired expats head, like the Algarve. Head to a more traditional destination in Portugal, and you will need knowledge. Regardless of where you go, we recommend trying to learn at least one word a day. It will increase your daily life, make you less relent on other people, and increase your chances should you decide to go for citizenship.

3: Get a Residency Permit

For the first ninety days, stay in Portugal on a tourist visa, but after you will need a residency permit unless you are an EU citizen. After that, different permits depend on your reason for moving, but most end up on the D7 visa. Although the process is straightforward, expect a little red tape and, of course, stress on the first application, but once done, you know the system and how it works. The first application for a residence permit in Portugal is valid for two years and three years after that.

4: What About Healthcare in Portugal?

Portugal runs on the SNS service (Servicio Nacional de Saude), and the significant aspect is non-citizens can also sign up for it. All you need to need is a residency permit and social security number. Other than that, you do have the option to sign up for a private policy.

5: Property and Citizenship in Portugal

Buying property in Portugal involves a little bit of red tape but for the large part is relatively simple because all you need is finances and a personal fiscal number from the local tax office. In addition, if you spend more than $500,000, you are eligible to apply for the golden visa program, which means after five years, provided you have good knowledge of the language and can prove ties to the country, you can apply for citizenship. (Read more about the golden visa of Portugal.)

Get an idea of the property market in Portugal by browsing our portfolio of homes for sale. Each listing contains everything to know, including price, location, home features, photos, and contact details to find out more via email or arrange a viewing. Also, give us a call if you have any questions about the property market in Portugal and want to speak with a local agent.


6: Taking Your Pets to Portugal

To take your pets to Portugal, they must have a microchip documented on their pet passport. Make sure to get this inserted before the rabies vacation. A vet must provide a certificate to say he has done this, and it will only be given to pets over 12 weeks old. You must wait 21 days from the vacation time, and if you are coming from an unlisted country, you will also need a blood test. Make sure you arrive in Portugal within five days of your pet; otherwise, it becomes a commercial animal incurring different regulations.

7: Where to Move to in Portugal

Many people think Portugal sits next to Spain, but it also has a splattering of islands of which Madeira is the most famous. Regardless most expats move to the mainland, and in particular, the following destinations.

Chaves: Sitting close to the Spanish border, Chaves earns fame for its spa baths and because it has not fallen foul of misguided building developments. The heart of Chaves has roughly 18,000 citizens, all who enjoy a dry march, one of the few places in Portugal that do but generally expect lower temperatures than the south. Potential expats have 40 local municipalities to choose from.

Porto: As the second-largest city in Portugal, and a UNESCO World Heritage site, expats love Porto for its all-rounder ambience that combines old and traditional with the benefits of modern living. It is further north in the country, so expect lower temperatures, but also try the port wine it is famous for producing.

Lisbon: You know the capital had to appear on this list, and expats fall in love with it immediately. Offering everything a city should, it also highlights the best of Portugal in all its glory. In the annual inter nations survey, Lisbon ranked in at number three of the best cities to live in the world. They said, “No respondent has anything negative to say about their safety in Lisbon,” which is excellent news for any anxious about crime. Other reasons it ranked were the ease of settling in, local quality of life, local leisure options, local climate and weather, and the urban environment.

Lagos: Sitting within the famous Algarve region of Portugal, Lagos, a coastal town, also marks itself as a popular holiday destination. Known for the beaches, cliffs, and old town, it is more relaxed than other popular tourist resorts with a more low-key evening social scene. Two other feathers in its cap are the surfing scene and marina, which brings in yachts worldwide.

Also Read

Need to Know About Property: When you buy property in another country, we understand that it can be a daunting process. After all, you don’t know the system, how things work or the language. In this article, we talk about the need-to-know aspects when you buy property in Portugal.

About Us

We are Spot Blue International real estate agent, and we hope we have given lots of helpful information about moving to Portugal. So, if you want to buy property, and are thinking of living in Portugal all year round, call us today and speak with an agent to find out more benefits and how to start the move. Also, read our area guide that talks more about individual destinations in Portugal.

old town in portugal

About Natalie

Natalie is a dedicated real estate professional currently working at Spot Blue International Property. With over a decade of experience in the industry, she has acquired a wealth of knowledge and expertise regarding global properties.