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Portugal Expat Forum

Retirement Considerations

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rpcdcoffin
1/2/2018 13:56 EST

My husband and I are considering retiring to Portugal for awhile and we're planning another trip this February/March to visit places we're interested in. We're focusing on 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 close to the coast and have access to amenities. We're also looking at Cascais as a possibility & the Algarve is someplace we're leaning toward but want to look at all of our options. Any input on the cities we're looking at would be appreciated, thank you for your help.

craigandmicki
1/2/2018 14:28 EST

to rpcdcoffin's questions about searching around Portugal: first, I'd recommend a convenient, low cost, clean 'home base' while you look around---look at Amy Kraushaar's LaunchPad apartment in Oeiras (). If you want to know about the towns you listed, look them up at Julie Dawn Fox's blog as she has overviews and details on many villages/towns in Portugal. Many of us would never recommend the Algarve; it is tourist-central in summers, filled with drunken British teens; it is heavily overbuilt; winters are dead there. No culture, no public trans, blah.

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mariaorr
1/2/2018 15:18 EST

I agree 100 % with Craignadmicky
the Algarve is beautiful but boring in in the winters. A really nice place that is affordable is on the coast going North, Ericeira, Peniche, Foz Do Arelho, these are all small fishing villages that are quiet but close enough to Lisbon if you like a busy and noisy city like Lisbon.

StarskyDallas
1/2/2018 17:13 EST

I don't know that I would totally discount the Algarve. We were only there in the summer, so can't speak to how it would be in winter. But we didn't see any of the problematic behavior - i.e. no drunk rowdy teenagers where we were. I thought Tavira was a lovely town, and less touristy than some of the other areas. Even Lagos, while overrun with tourists, has a nice historic center. Silves is another town we really liked, although we didn't spend the night there. All-in-all, I would say Tavira is my favorite town in the Algarve, however, the location is not convenient for exploring the rest of Portugal by car. It is fairly close to the airport in Faro, though, which does give you many options for exploring Europe without the hassle of a big city airport.

MrBife
1/3/2018 14:02 EST

Why are you inventing fake news ! The Algarve is one of the best places in Portugal. http://magazine.enjoythealgarve.com/the-happy-issue it has events and culture through the year

http://www.visitalgarve.pt/pressroom.file.php?lang=pt&fileID=245&file=guiaalgarve_dezembro_web[2].pdf

GoingCrazyGoing
1/3/2018 20:16 EST

Same impression I got about the Algarve. It's like booming summer towns in the south of Brasil like Florianopolis and Bombinhas, lots of fun, plenty of bikinis, beer, great food. In the summer most of the restaurants close down or have weekend hours - they are ghost towns. And YES, these beach towns have ZERO cultural aspects to them.
IF you're a drunk teenager who is looking for a summer girlfriend - go for it.
Otherwise I'd take somewhere with great museums, beaches, year round restaurants, art and classic buildings. CULTURE.

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GoingCrazyGoing
1/3/2018 20:20 EST

OOPS... replace 'summer' with 'winter'

Jabiru
1/4/2018 02:53 EST

Oh No!!! Please let the fake news on the Algarve continue!!! It might keep the flood of expats down and thereby the price of housing and rentals may stay down too!!! Hee hee!!

rpcdcoffin
1/4/2018 14:49 EST

Thank you so much for your input, will start looking at your recommendations this evening. Enjoy your evening.

Auburngrad82
3/22/2018 17:02 EST

We just visited many of the towns/cities you've got listed. We were looking for the place that felt right for us. Here's what we found.

Viana do Castelo is probably our favorite. Big enough to have amenities but not too big. It's also close to Porto and Braga.

Our second favorite you didn't list, but it was Aveiro. A little bigger than Viana do Castelo but had a great vibe, probably due to the university.

Coimbra, Porto, and Braga we liked for the history but they were too big for our tastes and driving was a beast.

We liked Caldas da Rainha. It had a nice relaxed feel. It's also pretty close to Lisbon.

Nazare was nice but is probably a mess during the summer tourist season. It's also a bit too small to have much in the way of amenities.

Finally, I was really disappointed in Leiria. I had every intention of loving it, but it just didn't seem to have much of a personality.

I'm sure that other people will see things differently but given the choice we'd pick either Viana do Castelo or Aveiro. They felt right for us.

Overall we loved our visit and look forward to the day when we'll get to retire to Portugal.

whatsnext
3/23/2018 08:59 EST

Thank you for sharing your "trip report," Auburngrad82. It's always good to hear others' perceptions.

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