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Situated on the west of the Iberian Peninsula, surrounded by Spain and the Atlantic Ocean, moving to Portugal, with its beauty abounds with long stretches of white beach and upward arching mountains is very popular with Expats. A population of just over 10 million leaves plenty of room for expats to enjoy themselves and explore its architectural treasures and archaeological gems without the claustrophobia of large crowds.
Expats moving to Portugal are more often than not self-confessed sun lovers who are looking to enjoy the Mediterranean lifestyle. The long, hot summers are certainly one of its greatest lures, and many undertake removals to Portugal to enjoy their retirement on its warm shores. Are you thinking of moving to Portugal from UK?
Portuguese culture revolves around family, and locals are friendly, welcoming and helpful. Another reason expats like moving to Portugal is the warm environment created by the local people. That said, the Portuguese approach of a slower pace of life and the tedium of government bureaucracy can be frustrating for expats doing business in the country.
Property is also reasonably priced outside of the main tourist areas and unlike in other expat destinations, expats living in Portugal prefer to buy property rather than rent. For those with money from other investments, moving to Portugal can be financially prudent and it makes for an attractive retirement destination. Many expats moving from the UK to Portugal take their household possessions with them, using a one way van hire UK to Portugal or shipping to Portugal using a removals company. if you want more information on how to move to Portugal, complete our online estimate form and we will provide a removals UK to Portugal quotation for your perusal. Removals UK to Portugal can be stressful, but let us find a service that makes moving from UK to Portugal as easy as possible.
Portugal is well positioned in regard to the rest of Europe, with air links to most destinations from the main airports at Faro, Porto and Lisbon. Expats looking for natural beauty, friendly people, good weather and a slower pace of life will love living in Portugal.
Unlike many other destinations, working in Portugal is difficult for expats looking to move to this Mediterranean country. In fact, many relocate here to escape the faster business cultures of their own home countries. The working world does present some opportunities especially in the tourist areas, but most expats arrive looking for a better quality of life rather than for financial and professional reasons. In line with lower wages, the cost of living is by far one of the most reasonable in Europe. Good quality local fruit and vegetables as well as affordable, well-made wine. Eating out is relatively cheap, as are beer, soft drinks and coffee.
Access to public healthcare in Portugal is free for children under 18 and people over 65. All other legal residents can also access public healthcare at low rates. Basic services can be found in rural areas but travel to a larger city will be necessary for specialised care. Public hospitals and clinics in Portugal are frequently understaffed and overcrowded.
The shortage of physicians has caused long waiting lists for non-life-threatening surgeries and a strain on the system as a whole, which often forces Portuguese nationals and expats alike to use the emergency room services as a general practitioner. At the public level, technology is often lacking and it can be difficult to arrange an appointment with a specialist.
EU nationals living in Portugal will be pleased to find that consultations with a GP and basic vaccines are free. Non-EU expats may have to pay some fees for public healthcare in Portugal, but the amount will depend on whether there is a reciprocal healthcare agreement between Portugal and the expat's home country.
Both EU and non-EU expats with residency in Portugal must obtain a National Health Service user card in order to take advantage of the free public healthcare system. This can be done at a local health centre with a passport and residency card. Non-EU expats will also need to provide a social security card. If you are moving to Portugal from the UK, we suggest you obtain the relevant paperwork from the NHS until you have your health cover organised in Portugal.
Private healthcare in Portugal is expensive, especially for those who do not have health insurance. However, private healthcare is the best option for those who can afford a relatively low-cost health insurance policy. Doctors at private establishments in Portugal are generally skilful and more attentive, and there are not the long waiting times in private facilities.
Most banks in Portugal now offer information on their choice of private health insurance provider. While some larger corporations and government bodies offer private health insurance to their employees, this is not the norm, nor is it required by law. Therefore expats should be prepared to pay for their own healthcare expenses whilst living in Portugal.
There are many companies that can be found online that offer private health cover, household names such a Bupa. If you are moving to Portugal after Brexit, it may be worth looking into a private healthcare option.
Expats who do move for employment can find the transition difficult, as Portugal's large bureaucracy can be slow to provide licences and certifications. Furthermore, unemployment is generally high and wages are well below the European average; leaving many locals to settle for some abbreviated version of self-employment.
Much of Portuguese industry is manufacturing, which has a limited need or attraction for expat workers; however, burgeoning technology and alternative energy industries are beginning to take root in the country as well. You will need to be fluent in Portuguese, as English is spoken only in tourist areas or large companies.
Those who have been lucky enough to secure a job prior to relocation will find that the businesses usually take care of most of the groundwork. Often these companies will offer a relocation package and assist with shipping to Portugal from UK, of your effects and finding appropriate accommodation. Expats planning on travelling the self-employed path, or those who move without a job opportunity, will have much more difficulty beginning a business as well as navigating the waters of foreign affairs.
Those wanting to work in Portugal will find the best method of obtaining a job is through word-of-mouth. Many positions never even reach the press for advertisement and are rather marketed through social connections and friendship networks.
Expats may also find that the expatriate community often prefers hiring service providers that originate from a similar part of the word as themselves, thus it's worthwhile to cultivate acquaintances in these circles. Many have made a living in Portugal working strictly for expats like themselves.
Portuguese business culture tends to be hierarchical and relationship focused. Employees show respect to superiors and should always use titles like Señhor and Señhora when speaking to colleagues. Appearances are important to local businesspeople and expats should make an effort to wear formal, neat and conservative clothing.
Expats would also do well to learn at least basic Portuguese before arriving in their new home, as this will go a long way when building a business network in Portugal.
The standard of accommodation in Portugal can vary hugely from area to area, and from building to building. Newer apartment blocks are modern, well-finished, and structurally sound; while older buildings, although beautifully rustic at times, can often have problems with plumbing and electricity supply, among other things. Property in Portugal is generally quite spacious, particularly by British and northern European standards.
Most rental accommodation in Portugal will come furnished. However, if expats are looking to rent a large house, it might be unfurnished. Shipping existing furniture to Portugal is an option, but the costs can run quite high. It will probably end up being more economical for expats to simply buy furniture once they are settled. There are plenty of reputable furniture stores to be found in the large urban centers in Portugal.
Home security is not a pressing issue in Portugal, although in tourist areas minor break-ins can sometimes occur. Modern apartment blocks in Portugal are usually fitted with electronic access panels, deadlocks and shutters. For the most part, expats report that they feel safe in their homes and confident in the security of their possessions.
Upon relocating to the Iberian Peninsula, most expats will probably look to rent rather than buy in Portugal initially, but then purchase once settled. Except for extremely expensive expat resorts and golf homes, such as in the Algarve, property in Portugal is less expensive than the European average As it is such a massively popular holiday destination, short-term rentals are extremely easy to come by in Portugal. Long-term rentals are available but aren't usually advertised nearly as well, so expats should ask around to find the best deals. Real estate agents can be very helpful in this regard. Typically, long-term leases are signed on a one-year basis, and require a month's rent as a deposit. Whether you decide to rent or buy, you will want your personal belongings with you, you made look at One way Van Hire UK to Portugal, or Removals UK to Portugal, but whichever the case let use provide a quotation to suit your needs.
Once expats have found a suitable property in Portugal they'll need to sign a rental contract (contrato de arrendamento) regardless of whether it's a short- or long-term rental. Some landlords or agents may have contracts available in English but in many cases, expats will need to have the document professionally translated. The rental contract will establish the legal obligations of both the tenant and the landlord. It will also state what is and is not included in the rental price.
When moving into a property it is best to carry out a full inventory of the fittings and fixtures. This ensures that everything is left in a good condition upon the termination of the lease. Any damage to the property is deducted from the security deposit.
Expats will find that education and schools in Portugal fall under one of two sectors: state and private. Regardless of the sponsoring body, learning is separated into tiers. Jardin de infância offers education for children between the ages of three and five years old. Children between the ages of six and 15 attend ensino básico, while teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17 attend ensino secundário.
Children in Portugal tend to attend school based on the neighbourhood in which they live or that in which their parents work. It follows that many of the richer economic areas are linked to the highest quality educational institutions. Rural areas and less economically developed regions of the country are especially notorious for shifty standards, though the larger urban centres and the expat-friendly Algarve area provide some exemplary options.
The reasonable cost of living in Portugal has attracted expats from all over the world. Though still not as tempting as its Iberian neighbour, the country is increasingly appealing to more Northern Europeans and Britons. Retirees and pensioners looking to invest in overseas housing have taken a particular liking to the market of affordable property in Portugal.
As is the case in most destinations, in major cities such as Lisbon, Estoril and Cascais the cost of living is much higher than in more rural communities. For expats who can manage a modest way of life, a single person with a steady job earning a moderate salary will be able to attain a decent standard of living on Portugal. Overall, the cost of living in Portugal depends very much on location and the lifestyle of the individual but generally offers good value to expats and retirees.
The cost of food in Portugal is much cheaper compared to other Western European countries. Two adults can easily survive on a food and drink budget of less than a third of the average salary in Portugal.
Portugal is a coastal country and thus enjoys abundant and affordable seafood. Several regions in Portugal also make and distribute wine, both locally and internationally, making it extremely affordable. Meat products are slightly more expensive, as are poultry and eggs.
Expats should note that car and petrol costs are considerably expensive in contrast to many other parts of Portuguese life. You may want to look at Shipping to Portugal from UK, a family car, as registration plates can be changed easily within the EU. Some expats find themselves paying thousands of euros for a rust-bucket on its last legs. Alternatively, public transport options are generally cheap and efficient.
Expats have the option of sending their child to a public school in Portugal at little or no cost. However, due to the fact that the standards at these schools vary and the Portuguese public school system has been heavily criticised, most expats prefer to have their children educated at private or international schools.
Fees at international schools in Portugal can be very high. In addition to exorbitant school fees, parents will need to budget for additional costs such as textbooks, uniforms, extra-curricular activities and school excursions.
Public or state schools in Portugal are free. However, expats will quickly learn that these public institutions have been the subject of much debate. In the past, frequent teacher strikes and a much-bemoaned Ministry of Education was enough to scare off any expat looking to enrol their child.
This serious criticism has led to Portugal's government increasing investment to improve facilities, teaching quality and classroom sizes. Although such concerns are now actively being addressed, expat parents should still be wary of the state system.
Some teachers in Portuguese public schools speak English, but not all of them. The curriculum is taught in Portuguese, and expat parents considering sending their child to a public school should look into what possibilities exist to overcome the language barrier and to support the learning process.
Parents should enrol their children between January and May of the previous year at the school nearest their residence or place of work, whichever will be more convenient. Portuguese schools require very specific paperwork and, as bureaucracy can be slow to approve documents, it's necessary to prepare well in advance.
There is a large network of private schools for expats to choose from in Portugal. Private schools generally have smaller class sizes, a stronger system of extra-curricular activities and more modern facilities than their public equivalents. Many of Portugals private schools are faith-based.
It is important to note that the teachers in these institutions are paid less than those in the public sector. As such, teachers in private schools can often be young and underqualified.
International schools in Portugal offer a variety of curricula. Most uphold high standards of education, and expats need not be worried about their children falling behind their peers at home while living abroad. There are a number of international schools throughout Portugal, most of which are in the popular expat regions of Lisbon and the Algarve.
Tuition and fees at international schools can be expensive. Expats should be sure to budget accordingly, or to negotiate with their employer to include an education allowance in their expat package.
Kicking off our list in style, Portugal’s ancient capital city Lisbon on the country’s west coast has a very special charm.
Considering a move to Portugal from the UK? the best place to live in Portugal is down to personal preference, but with so many wonderful locations to choose from, deciding where you want to live in Portugal is a delight, not a chore.
Lisbon is the capital city, the main driver of the country’s economy. As you would expect, it’s a very cosmopolitan city. Moving to Lisbon, an easy going city with a laid back vibe where you can enjoy everything from the simple pleasures of freshly grilled sardines or an infamous Lisbon custard tart whilst meandering along the quaint cobbled streets or along the banks of the Tagus river or at the immense, lush Monsanto Forest Park, to experiencing fine dining, taking in a traditional Fado performance, and then dancing away into the wee hours in one of the city’s incredible bars. The sun always seems to shine in Lisbon, with more than 3000 hours of sunshine a year and one of the mildest climates in Europe. This is a city with a rich history and culture, and there are plenty of events all throughout the year.
Transportation, entertainment, accommodation, and food and drink are all very affordable for a capital city, and though the British expat community here isn’t huge, it is still very easy to meet other foreigners. Many locals speak English, but it’s always worth learning some of the local lingo – especially if you’re looking for employment.
Situated on the Douro river estuary in Northern Portugal, Porto is a fascinating and vibrant metropolis that in recent years has jumped up the list of top European cities. Porto is the second largest city in Portugal and has its own airport. The average temperature in the summer months is around 28°C, but it frequently gets higher — particularly during July and August. Winters are mild, but expect rain between October and February. Whatever time of year though, Porto is a wonderful place to explore.
The ancient heart of the city is a UNESCO world heritage site, with pretty cobbled streets flanked by traditional houses, and abounding with palaces and churches.
This is also a coastal city, and the seaside is never far away. The up and coming modern city is ultra hip and full of stylish bars and restaurants, and offers tourism related business opportunities for expats and jobs — in fact the expat community in Porto is rapidly on the rise.
Prices in Porto are low, the food and wine are delicious, the atmosphere is welcoming and fun, and there is an abundance of things to do — could moving to Porto be the best place in Portugal for expats?
In the south west of Portugal between Lisbon and the Algarve lies Setubal, Moving to Setubal for those who love nature. A bustling port town perfectly situated for exploring the natural wonders of the wetlands, beaches, forest and estuaries nearby — it’s even common to spot dolphins in the waters here — and maybe even take part in some watersports.
The city is famous for its seafood — particularly fried cuttlefish — and excellent wines, and there are some interesting architectural gems to see in the city, including the famous 15th century gothic church. There are a good number of expats here, many of whom are retired or work in the tourism industry.
There are plenty of bars and restaurants, as well as good shopping to be had, and Setubal benefits from mild temperatures in the winter and pleasantly balmy weather in the summer months.
The Algarve in southern Portugal has long been a favourite of British holidaymakers and expats. The weather here is sublime, the scenery is breathtaking, and the way of life in tranquil.
The resort town of Albufeira is the largest and most lively of the towns dotted along the Algarve coast, and there is a thriving expat community here, complete with a plethora of British bars and restaurants. Moving to Albufeira puts you in the heart of the tourist area and has plenty of job opportunities.
This is essentially a seaside town at heart with a heavy focus on tourism and a huge range of activities and attractions on offer, and is particularly well suited to families with lots for children and teenagers to do, including water parks, theme parks and of course, the sunny beaches.
It’s no wonder then that this atmospheric city is very popular and moving to Faro is popular with British expats- – particularly retirees.
Faro boasts an international airport, which makes travelling back to the UK easy and this attractive city is mostly modern, with pedestrian streets paved with mosaics, lush leafy public gardens, and chic marina.
However there are some evidence of more ancient times, including museums and chapels in the remaining medieval quarter. There’s a large university here too, which has given rise to an excellent bar and club scene. Food lovers will delight in the excellent markets and seafood restaurants, and nearby beaches are quickly and easily reached by bus.
Another city in Portugal’s beautiful Algarve region to the west, moving to Portimao offers many job opportunities as it is popular with tourists largely thanks to its dazzling coastal location on the broad estuary of the Arade river. Portimao has become increasingly popular with expats, and it looks like the trend is set to continue.
Traditionally a centre for sardine fishing, Portimao has over the years been transformed into a large, energetic city with beautiful quayside areas and beaches, quaint historic buildings and plazas, cool outdoor cafes, museums, theatres and art galleries, shopping galore (including familiar brands that you’d find in the UK), excellent seafood restaurants, and plenty of sporting events throughout the year — one of which was the famous Dakar rally.
Moving to Braga, the oldest city in Portugal is popular with expats who flock here to experience the chilled out lifestyle and benefit from the affordable property prices.
Located in the north west of Portugal, Braga has Roman roots, and is brimming with culture – there’s much of interest here for art and history lovers including fine architecture, museums, galleries and important monuments such as Roman baths and cathedrals.
Braga has an eclectic bar and restaurant scene largely due to the thriving and lively student population , and plenty of shopping opportunities from quirky boutiques to major stores, many you will recognise from the UK high street.
The climate is cooler here than in the southern regions of Portugal, but is still very pleasant, with summer temperatures averaging out at around 24˚ C in summer to 12˚ C in winter.
Also known as the ‘Venice of Portugal’, the small coastal city of Aveiro north of Lisbon in the west is a surprising city where old meets new to create a flourishing town with abounding with youthful energy.
Moving to Aveiro is for those who like a sense of village life. Aveiro is small enough to be easily explored on foot, and it’s a pleasure to explore.
Houses are decorated with glittering traditional tiles, the system of canals that wind their way through the city sprinkled with colourful wooden boats, are extremely pretty, and the restaurants boast incredible seafood dishes fresh from the ocean. There are good beaches here and excellent transport links to the larger cities of Lisbon and Porto.
Expats are also enticed here by the warm weather, and as the Aveiro grows, more and more tourists are being attracted here, which bodes well for expat work and business opportunities.