Expat Advice: Living in Cascais, Portugal

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Cascais, Portugal

An expat in Cascais, Portugal talks about life in the casual, yet chic coastal town of Cascais. Locals are very accepting of most foreigners. If you're thinking of moving there, spend some time there before making the move.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Cascais

How long have you lived there?

4.5 Years

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Americans in Portugal (americansinportugal@gmail.com and on facebook) offers social activities to mark the US holidays and some informational meetings on taxes or similar topics during the year; International Women in Portugal and InterNations Cascais are also helpful, the first on a broad basis related to settling in, the second as a networking organization of global business people.

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

Portuguese are intrinsically accepting of others, so they embrace diversity. They respect American, British and Scandinavian persons highly among foreigners; they will not embrace 'Gypsies' but won't go out of their way to disrespect them. A good size foreign population lives here, representing all of Europe, South Africa, Asia, Middle East and South Americans.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Tourism is the major industry across Portugal. Jobs are posted at the facebook site "Job Opportunities in Cascais" as well as at restaurants or shops seeking help. International teachers are also in demand and Cascais is close to the NATO headquarters. Housecleaners and nannies / babysitters are often requested. Due to the economy and bureaucracy, it isn't easy for a foreigner to come here and start a business--yet there are many who've accomplished that.

If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

After basic research using internet sites, so you understand the cost of living and ease of speaking English, spend time here--two weeks or so--before making any commitment. Renting for a few months or longer is most common and affords the flexibility to try other towns, as the life style varies quite a bit between city and village or rural life. This is not a dirt-streets beach town; it is historic, relaxed, casual yet chic.

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