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An Expat Talks about Retiring in Tavira , Portugal

Sep 14, 2017


Tavira in the Algarve

An expat who retired in Tavira, Portugal talks about how she chose to move to Portugal. She loves life in Portugal - the cost of living, medical care, Portuguese culture and more.

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


Why did you choose to retire abroad?

I have been on SSDI for many years and have been researching various countries as options for retirement. For me, good quality, inexpensive healthcare that I could access was imperative. I also wanted a warm climate, close to the ocean, in a place that didn't feel like I was in an American community just a different geographical location. I wanted to experience a new culture. I also wanted to be in Europe, as it is easy and inexpensive to travel to other countries on the continent once here.

Are you retired abroad all year or part of the year?

All year

Why did you choose the country you retired to?

I have found Portugal to be a true paradise. All of my aforementioned desires are found here. Additionally, the people are the friendliest people, generally speaking, that I have ever met. Another reason is it is not difficult to get a resident permit and join their national healthcare. One simply needs a minimum income of $550./mo guaranteed, medical insurance upon arrival, a clear criminal background and a lease. A one year permit is received, then a two year e tension, followed by another two year extension, and then one is consiya permanent resident, not temporary.

Did you ever live abroad before you retired abroad?

I have traveled quite a bit and spent some extensive time in Greece and France to rule those two out before deciding upon Portugal.

How long have you lived abroad since you retired abroad?

We moved here in March of this year.

How many countries (other than your home country) have you lived in as a retiree?

As stated, I spent a month or more in some other countries, but never lived there long term.

What have been the most challenging aspects of being retired abroad?

Learning Portuguese and dealing with the bureaucracy.

What have been the most rewarding aspects of being retired abroad?

I love the people, the weather, our beautiful home and my doctor! I have already made some very good friends who have helped me find a decent used car, taken the day to go with us to get our papers, in case there was a language barrier. The people I have met are very helpful.

What would you do differently if you were just starting the retire abroad process?

I don't know that I would do anything different. I read a lot on several countries; visited several places; lived for a month or more in my top choices until I arrived at my final decision. I would just encourage people to prioritize their needs so they will find the most suitable spot for them.

What is life like for a retiree in your city and its surroundings? (Is there an active expat community? Cultural Attractions? Recreation? Nightlife?)

Portugal is a country steeped in the arts, where many event or show is always going on , whether it be music, dance, visual arts, etc. There is a large British expat community here; I have only met one other American. There are all sorts of groups, from crafting, to card games, to outdoor enthusiasts.

What residency documents or visas did you need to obtain to retire in your host country? How difficult was this process? (Please describe)

I obtained a temporary resident visa which was quite simple to obtain.

Did you buy a home or apartment, or rent one? Is this a difficult process? (Please describe)

We decided to rent for a year while we get to know different towns before buying.

Financially, has living abroad in your host country met your expectations? Exceeded them?

The cost of living is quite low, but the standard of living is high. That is, for very little money, one can rent a nice home, buy a nice car, enjoy travel and local culture and receive medical treatment pennies on the dollar.

What are the most important financial considerations for retiring to your host country?

Medical costs, as stated previously. Once in the national healthcare system, a visit to your doctor, which can include blood tests, the exam, and medication costs a total of €5. All-included!

How much can a retiree live on comfortably in your host country?

The minimum required by the governs $550/mo. That is about what the average Portuguese makes. More than that, and you can have a very. Ice lifestyle.

Do you have access to quality medical care? (Please describe - is it close? Expensive?)

Very easy access and very good. Rated 11 by WHO forchealthcare. I have never had to wait too long to see a doctor or have a procedure done.

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Is there a lot of crime where you live? (Please describe)

Portugal has one of the lowest crime rates and is the third safest country in the world.

Describe available transportation where you live. Do you need a car? Is there access to safe public transportation?

There are buses and trains; I chose to buy a car and bicycles.

Is there high-speed internet access where you live?

Absolutely: we have high speed underground cable.

Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share about retiring abroad?

I just don't want everybody to rush over here and over-populate this beautiful, sleepy country.

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Comments about this Report

Oct 30, 2017 13:15

Portugal and Croatia rank high in every category including climate, quality of life and cost of living. While the average wage in Portugal is less than $600/month.. How can any expat make it on this amount? How much is rent? Are apartments furnished or unfurnished? Everything I have read tells me the monthly costs are closer to $2,000/month. I have been told the Portuguese require an income of at least $2,000/month to gain access as a resident. I would love you to clarify all this and also tell me the beach towns in Portugal to consider. Thank you. Raymond

Nov 20, 2017 12:45

I have been searching for a place to retire and hit a few places on International Living's list namely, Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Thailand, Panama City, Boquete, Panama, Cabo San Lucas, San Miquel de Allende, Mexico and Medellin Colombia. While Latin America and southeast Asia offer a low cost of living, like many countries, the good people live behind bars. I felt safer in Thailand, but the weather can be brutal. I also find it difficult to follow a Mediterranean diet. I have not yet been to Portugal but can see it ranks high on quality of life, climate, safety, little pollution and the food and wine seems second to none. What concerns me about the Algarve is the same thing that is happening in San Miquel de Allende, where the popularity has driven many tourists/visitors to this region, and this has impacted the amount of long-term rentals as landlords use AirBNB to get higher daily, weekend and monthly rates during the high season. I would appreciate anyone who can address this concern and offer solutions. Thank you

Apr 30, 2018 09:31

Can I ask how you chose Tavira? I am moving to Portugal from Iowa in September. I am renting in Alvor for the first 6 months while I look for my a long term location. Thanks, Dale

May 21, 2018 21:10

Hi, Please tell us at what point you had your belongings shipped to Portugal? Thanks!

May 21, 2018 21:14

Hi, Please tell us at what point you had your belongings shipped to Portugal? Thanks!

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