Portugal is home to Europe’s best beaches, 1,115 miles of coastline, and 300 days a year (3,300 hours) of sunny skies.
However, to think of this special place as merely a beach getaway is a mistake.
Portugal’s borders date back to 1139 B.C., making it the oldest country in the Old World.
To state the obvious, that’s thousands of years, meaning more history has happened here than most places on Earth. The upside of all of this history is that you’ll never run out of ancient places to discover.
The entire country is a cross between a national park, a museum, and a coastal resort—all with the backdrop of the charms of the Old World.
Sure, if you wanted, you could spend all of your time relaxing and enjoying the beach, but there’s so much more than summer fun to be had in Portugal.
In the mornings, you could explore the caves and coves of the world’s most fascinating coast…
Hike the Roman walls and medieval castles around noon…
Play a round of golf at one of the world’s best golf courses, located right here…
Or ride a rickety tram up narrow cobblestone streets to get to the Castelo de São Jorge overlooking the ancient city of Lisbon.
Then, to cap it all off, you could enjoy dinner at a vineyard where the local chef has put together a tasting menu.
You can indulge any interest you could imagine here, from boating, diving, and hiking… to museum and gallery afternoons… and regular nights out at the theater.
And all this comes at a bargain price. One couple we know is living in a villa in a charming town, close to the beach, on a budget of about US$1,600 a month.
Fresh fish is always available, Wi-Fi is fast, and everywhere the people are friendly.
Safety In Portugal
In fact, Portugal is one of the most peaceful nations on Earth. It is regularly ranked among the world’s safest countries in the Global Peace Index, ranking behind only Iceland and New Zealand.
Those are both beautiful and worthwhile places, but neither is easy for residency… especially if you’re retired.
Portugal, on the other hand, boasts a welcoming list of tax incentives and easy-to-get visas for foreigners. In other words, Portugal rolls out the welcome mat.
Life For Expats In Portugal
An estimated 50,000 of Portugal’s more than 100,000 resident foreigners are British. This longtime Anglophone presence means that most Portuguese speak English (and Portugal’s schoolchildren study English for at least nine years). No matter where in the country you settle, you’re sure to be able to plug into a strong network of English-speaking expats.
Plus, the Portuguese are extremely welcoming to expats. If you get lost, they’ll point you in the right direction. And, if you’re about to spend 6 euros on a glass of wine, don’t be surprised if they tell you where to go to get it for half the price.
The infrastructure is top-notch. The health care is world-class… and a fraction of the cost of care in North America. Become a resident, and health care is free (no kidding).
Retirement income is not taxed. Various other income is not taxed either…
And property can be a bargain, both to buy and to rent, depending where in the country you’re shopping.
It’s little wonder that Portugal has come out top in our Annual Overseas Retirement Index eight years running.
Editor, In Focus: Europe