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Sintra, Portugal

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Jul 02, 2023

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

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What do I need to know about living in Sintra?

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

"Sintra is a picturesque town known for its stunning architecture, lush gardens, and mild climate, making it an attractive destination for expats looking to retire. Before making the move, there are several things to consider. Firstly, understanding the cost of living is crucial. While Portugal is generally more affordable than many European countries, Sintra is a popular tourist destination, which can drive up prices. This applies to everything from housing to groceries and dining out. Next, consider the language barrier. While English is commonly spoken in tourist areas and by younger generations, many locals, particularly older ones, primarily speak Portuguese. Learning some basic Portuguese phrases can be beneficial. Healthcare in Portugal is of a high standard and is affordable. However, it's important to understand how the system works. Expats from EU countries can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for access to healthcare, while those from outside the EU will need to secure private health insurance. Portugal has a favorable tax regime for foreign retirees, known as the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) scheme. This allows for a tax-free pension for ten years, but it's important to consult with a tax advisor to understand the specifics. The climate in Sintra is generally mild, with warm summers and cool, wet winters. However, the town is located in the mountains, which can lead to cooler temperatures and more rainfall than in other parts of Portugal. Public transportation in Sintra is reliable and affordable, with regular train service to Lisbon. However, having a car can be beneficial for exploring the surrounding areas. Finally, it's important to understand the process of buying property in Portugal. This includes understanding the legal requirements, finding a reliable real estate agent, and securing a fiscal number (NIF) which is required for any financial transactions in Portugal," remarked one expat who made the move to Sintra.

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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.
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What do I need to know before moving to Sintra?

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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