Porto, Portugal
Porto, Portugal
Porto, Portugal

Living in Portugal

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Feb 10, 2022

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees talk about what it is really like living in Portugal. They offer advice about meeting people, cost of living, finding a home and more.

International Relocation Guide
International Relocation Guide
International Relocation Guide
International Relocation Guide

What do I need to know about living in Portugal?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Portugal, they said:

"Foz do Arelho is small, quiet and beautiful. It is only 8-10 minutes from Caldas da Raihna with all of the big grocery stores as well as a decent size mall. The weather here is very much like Newport Beach, CA - mild with some foggy mornings, a little sea mist late at night and lots of sunshine. I arrived in the winter which was very mild - I didn't need my puffy coat at all. It rained in mid March and in April. Not every day, and not all day. Enough to give spring flowers their needed water. I enjoy living here for its charm, tranquility and proximity to the beach, Caldas and then Lisbon is only 55 minutes away. It is an excellent place to live," added another expat who made the move to Foz do Arelho.

"Obidos is a great place to visit or to live if you do remote work. If you want more of a social life move to Caldas which is five minutes away," explained one expat living in Obidos, Portugal.

"Don't live in the old town unless you want to deal with an influx of tourists in the summer. Be aware that housing is expensive. Get involved with clubs and organizations as soon as you can. Be aware that living here may spoil you because it's so beautiful and wonderful," mentioned another in Cascais .

"I would tell them to meet as many local people as possible and to learn some Portuguese to get situated quickly. Even though most people speak English, knowledge of the language would help them get settled and find good accommodation deals that otherwise would be hard to find," explained one expat who made the move to Lisbon.

"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," said one expat living in Cascais, Portugal.

"First, plan on learning the language. One need not speak Portuguese in order to survive here, but in order to truly experience all of the wonderful aspects of the city and her inhabitants, speaking the language or even seriously trying too opens doors, shows real respect, and can help you work your way into the hearts of the Portuguese people. Work is a little hard to find right now, but the quality of life and the warmth of the Portuguese people means that if you have enough to get by, you just might feel richer than living a money driven life," explained one expat living in Lisbon, Portugal.

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

How do I meet people in Portugal?

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Italy, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and the Living in Panama Guide. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

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Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

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Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

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Porto, Portugal
William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Living in Portugal GuideLiving in Portugal Guide

Our Living in Portugal Guide is a primer on everything about living in Portugal: best places to live, cost of living, pros and cons, healthcare and insurance, obtaining a driver's license, how to bring your pet with you and more.

Portugal Forum Portugal Forum
Meet other expats and talk about living in Portugal.

Best Places to Live in Portugal Best Places to Live in Portugal

Portugal is a safe, expat-friendly country with stunning beaches, cities, popular beach towns and sleepy fishing villages. We've compiled a list of 12 of the best places to live based upon expats' recommendations.

Healthcare in PortugalHealthcare in Portugal

Expats in Portugal with a residency visa can participate in the national health care system. Here's what you need to know about the SNS and the combination of public and private services you'll need to manage your health in Portugal.

Cost of Living in PortugalCost of Living in Portugal

Expats offer insight into the cost of living in Portugal.

Moving to PortugalMoving to Portugal Guide

Expats moving to Portugal are drawn by a variety of places to live, a rich history and so much more. Here are some tips on what it means to move there, and how to make it happen.

Real Estate in PortugalReal Estate in Portugal

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Portugal.

Pros Cons of Living in PortugalPros & Cons of Living in Portugal

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Portugal.

Retiring in PortugalRetiring in Portugal

Advice for people retiring in Portugal.

Visa and Residency PortugalPortugal Visa & Residency Guide

Thanks to Susan Stults Korthase for this helpful overview of current requirements to begin the process of obtaining a Residency Visa when moving from the US to Portugal.

Contribute to Portugal Network Contribute
Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Portugal.

10 Tips for Living in Portugal10 Tips for Living in Portugal

Expats in Portugal enjoy the Portuguese lifestyle, the beautiful landscapes, and the variety of places to visit and live. Find information about where to live, health care, residency visas and more as you delve into how to live well in Portugal.

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