My wife and I have been investigating retiring to Portugal for months now, and we're planning a trip to visit places we're interested in. We're focusing on the Silver coast from just north of Lisbon to Viana do Castelo.. Does anyone have any input on the following cities/towns? Obidos, Nazare, Caldas da Rainha, Coimbra, Leiria, Braga, Guimaraes, Porto and Viana do Castelo.
We want to be relatively close to the coast and have access to amenities such as decent groceries and hospitals.
We've ruled out Lisbon and Cascais as too expensive and the Algarve because it just doesn't appeal to us.
Any input on the cities we're looking at would be appreciated.
To Auburngrad82's post about areas in the Silver Coast...you're smart to rule out the Algarve and have lots of options in your preferred zone. Check out the blog by Julie Dawn Fox for insights on the towns in your focus area; she travels, photographs and writes about them all. The further north you go, the more you'll be exposed to cooler and wetter winters (altho weather patterns aren't that consistent any more), but you'll also find less costly housing. Shops, stores, restaurants, beaches and great people are all easily accessible by foot in the towns along the coastline. Coimbra, on the interior, is full of life due to the University and Braga and Guimares are stunning. Obidos is primarily a tourist spot. You'll find good local public transit (buses) and bus/train routes running north and south for easy, relaxing and inexpensive transit to other towns and Lisbon.
Thanks. I've actually compared climates to where we currently live (Raleigh, NC) and it's really not so different in the north. For instance, Raleigh gets 52 inches of precipitation per year compared to 59 in Braga. Raleigh has a lot more days below freezing and Braga has virtually no days over 90 degrees (Raleigh has 17 per year). Below Braga and Porto the climate is better than Raleigh. I think we can handle the climate.
Hi You will be very welcome in Portugal! It is a good option to see more of the North because it has a special charm and you have better accessibility and proximity between several good cities and the sea. I live in Porto which is a fantastic city. A beautiful architecture, excellent gastronomy, has good people, is small and has sea and is 50 minutes, in good and cheap transport, (train) Braga, Guimarães, Aveiro, Viana do Castelo. In summer, you can take a boat ride along the river Douro to see the vineyards, and you will find an unknown paradise! We have excellent medical services. My English spoken is not very good, but when they come I can try to give you more information. I rent apartments for tourists and I have some real estate for sale. If I can help you, I'll be happy. You'll love coming here! Cheers
Thank you for your response to Auburngrad82. I find the feedback and advise on Expat Exchange very helpful. We are also planning a trip to Portugal to explore our options where to retire. We love the architecture of Lisbon and the vibe of an urban center. However, we are also avid tennis players and looking for friendly people who would like to play tennis. I am not necessarily seeking to live in an area where there are lots of expats. However, I am worried about the ability to make Portuguese friends as my Portuguese is not strong enough for communication and to make friendships (I am studying Portuguese now but it could be a years before I am fluent). Thus, I do not want to be too isolated. My question are two fold: 1) If my Portuguese is weak, will I feel left out and lonely even though many Portuguese speak English? Thus, should I abandon my desire to live in Lisbon and consider living in a bigger expat area such as Cascais and the Algarves (particularly Faro and Carvoeiro) which has good tennis)? My second question is there a city or town in Portugal that has good tennis and quaint cobble stone streets? I know this is probably the Algarves, but I am not a partier. Instead, I enjoy wandering through streets, culture and people. Thus, the Algarves may not be for me as the beach is not of primary importance and I am not looking for the next Cancun, Mexico or Miami Beach. Any suggestions to find the right fit would be great. Obrigado!! Diego
I would say Cascais is the best of both worlds. Within half an hour you can be in Lisbon or Sintra for the old charm and there are plenty of likeminded people in Cascais to make friends with. I dont find it easy to make friends with the Portuguese even if you master the language. It's about sharing the same interests whether it's a foreigner or a local. Good luck with your search !
Hello Auburngrad82, Whilst not one of the towns you mentioned, you might consider Ericeira as being worth a thought. It is approximately 30 mins by car from the airport, has good bus links to other towns and cities, it has a health centre with the nearest hospital being in Mafra. It does not suffer from fog as affects towns further to the north, occasionally it is windy but nearly always sunny. It is well served by larger shops (continente, aldi, lidi, mini preco) but has retained its village charm with lots of interesting restaurants, ice cream shops, little boutiques etc. Best of all are the beaches! Water sports are very popular here, but there is ample opportunity to just sit, relax and enjoy the views. You can get a tosta and coffee for 2.2o in some of the cafes, so living here does not break the bank! Good luck in your search, Michele
Hi, I am thinking about moving to Porto and eventually buying a property if I like the place. I noticed that you rent out flats. I am thinking about visiting the 3rd week of October. Can you rent short term i.e.10/14 days? Thank you and regards.
Hello John98103, From my limited experience of nearly two years, and coffee conversations with locals, I would say that February is the only regularly wet (ish!) month of the year. Otherwise the weather ranges from nicely temperate to wonderfully warm and sunny. Although many of the beaches in Ericeira are more suited to water sports given the waves, there are quite a few suited to swimming not least Praia Pescadores ( my spelling may be suspect here) which is very popular. Hope you take the time to visit and explore! Michefra
Hello, Noticed your message from 2017 and wondered if you have settled in Portugal and where . We plan to retire and move to Porto in October of 2020 from Wilmington, N.C. We would love to converse with you and learn from your journey
Hello, It's October 2019 and am wondering if you moved to Porto. My husband and I plan to move to Porto in October 2020 and would have questions to ask you. Such a big change for us since we have to sell everything in the U.S to retire and move. Hope to hear from you. Paloma
Aha, real estate. I am thinking of residing in Portugal. My first step is to take a month's vacation in Porto and establish some relationships and get the lay of the land and create a small subculture for myself, a zone of security. It appears that if I were to go to Portugal on vacation the then establish residency that I could fulfill the 6 month requirement for a place to stay. Could I rent a room in a house to meet the 6 month requirement. Health Insurance. There must be an insurance plan that does not encompass the world is is less expensive than the major insurers that I have encountered. Thank you, modestjohn
For insurance I used Tokyo Marine tmhcc.com. As I recall, it was way cheaper than the major insurers, and the consulate accepted it. It had to specify that I was traveling in Portugal. I called them to make sure they did that. I only got it for the length of time I was here in Portugal before I qualified for insurance here. Join AFPOP (an expat group in the Algarve) and ask them about coverage, also.
I think you can live anywhere as long as whoever is acting as your landlord can write up a lease for you, and that lease looks legit (with NIF numbers and tax info, etc) to the consulate.