Are you interested in living in Portugal? Portugal regularly tops the list of top countries in the world for expats. Thousands of people have moved to Portugal for a variety of very enticing reasons, Portugal allows a comfortable and convenient lifestyle, in one of the most pleasant climates and locations in all of Europe.

However, before deciding if Portugal is the perfect location for you to move abroad and make your new home, it’s important to take a look at some of the disadvantages that are a part of life in Portugal. Just like with any major life decision it is critical to look at the pros and cons of living in Portugal. Making sure

Generally, the climate, affordable living, and advanced medical and educational system are the best characteristics of living in Portugal.

On the contrary, the problems you might face in this country are fewer English speakers, inconvenience in the money transfer system, and most importantly, lower salary range.

However, these are not all. Today, we will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of living in Portugal with detailed statistics. Let’s decide on whether to move to this country or not.

Quick Summary

Portugal is a beautiful country that has both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s check the following:

Pros

  • Comfortable climate and weather

  • Safety and affordability

  • Easy immigration options

  • Advanced healthcare and educational systems

  • English Commonly Spoken

Cons

  • Poor job selection

  • Lower salary ranges

  • Inconvenient and outdated housing systems such as heating, air conditioning and plumbing

  • Smoking and traffic

Is Portugal a Good Country for Expats?

Yes, Portugal is a good country for people who want to live in a new country. For its pleasant climate, affordable living costs, and rich cultural experience, newcomers find this country comparatively more convenient and easy to go with.

From the healthcare system to education, Portugal is well-heeled in almost all the sectors of modern life. Additionally, Portugal has a welcoming attitude towards foreigners, with many English speakers and international communities.

If you want to move to a country with charming landscapes, delicious cuisine, and a relaxed lifestyle, you can choose Portugal. Expats often find it easy to integrate into Portuguese society, with numerous social activities and events to participate in.

Portugal provides a comfortable environment for expatriates looking for a new place to call home. This is a safe country with almost no political instability. So, it’s always a good place to settle down.

Pros of Living in Portugal

Let’s learn about the benefits of living in Portugal.

The best thing is the natural beauty of this country. From its eye-soothing coastline to the aesthetic green countryside, you will love every inch of this country.

Let’s see what are the advantages of living in this beautiful country:

1. Pleasant Climate

Portugal’s best part is its mild Mediterranean climate with 300+ days of sunshine annually. Summers in this country are warm and dry. However, the winters are mild, so this place is an ideal destination for those looking for a temperate climate year-round.

On the stunning beaches of the Algarve or the historic streets of Lisbon, the pleasant weather in Portugal will enrich your living experience.

Learn how to be an expat successfully here.

2. Low Crime Rate

Compared to other European countries, Portugal maintains a relatively low crime rate. Violent crime is very uncommon. Portugal is safe for residents and visitors.

Also, kids are considered safe outside their home in Portugal. The sense of security is strict in this country. Expatriates can enjoy peace of mind while focusing on exploring the new place. So, if you are looking for a safer place, keep this country’s name on your list.

3. Advanced Healthcare

Portugal’s healthcare system is also considered a world-class one. The government offers a modern and efficient healthcare system with high-quality medical care. Both public and private healthcare options are available with similar features.

Here, public healthcare is comparatively more accessible and affordable for residents through the National Health Service. Expatriates can rest assured knowing they have access to advanced medical facilities and skilled healthcare professionals in Portugal.

4. English as the Second Language

Even though Portuguese is the official language of Portugal, English is widely spoken and understood, especially in urban areas and tourist destinations. You can find people, shoppers, and locals who fluently speak English.

In commercial spaces like markets and offices, people use English for communication. For expatriates, these English-friendly locals are very helpful in navigating daily life.

They can easily interact with locals, and access services without language barriers. Besides, many schools and universities offer English-language programs for expat families with children.

5. Easy Immigration Schemes

Portugal offers different immigration schemes and visa options for expatriates who want to relocate to the country.

The Golden Visa program, for example, provides residency to individuals who invest a certain amount in Portuguese real estate or create jobs in the country. The Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) program offers tax benefits to retirees and expatriates with specialized skills.

6. Smoother Lifestyle

Portugal is well-known for its relaxed and laid-back pace of life. This country lets residents enjoy each moment and a better work-life balance. Life is not so hectic here if you have financial support.

With leisurely meals with friends and family and long walks along the coastline, Portugal has a slower pace of life for people of all ages. Also, if you are a retiree and want to move here, it’s even better than many other countries because of its smoother lifestyle.

7. World-class Educational System

Portugal has an advanced education system with many schooling options, including public, private, and international schools. Public education is free for residents up to the secondary level. But as an expat family, you may have to pay the tuition fees.

The country has numerous reputable universities and higher education institutions. Expatriates can choose from different educational opportunities for their children to ensure quality education.

8. Affordable Cost of Living

Compared to many other European countries, Portugal offers a relatively affordable cost of living. Affordability is a reason why Portugal has become an attractive destination for expatriates who usually stretch their budgets without sacrificing quality of life.

Housing, groceries, dining out, and entertainment expenses are generally lower.

Let’s have a common insight of the living cost in Portugal from the table below:

Expense

Average Monthly Cost (EUR)

Rent (1-bedroom apartment in the city center)

600 – 900 Euros

Utilities (electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage)

100 – 150 Euros

Groceries

150 – 250 Euros

Dining out

10 – 20 Euros per meal

Transportation

30 – 50 Euros

Internet

30 – 40 Euros

Health insurance

50 – 100 Euros

Entertainment/Leisure

varies

Total (approximate)

970 – 1,410 Euros

9. Delicious Portuguese Food

Portuguese cuisine is renowned worldwide for its delicious flavors, fresh ingredients, and mouthwatering taste. Here, you will find fresh seafood dishes like bacalhau (salted codfish) and hearty stews like cozido à portuguesa.

Portugal’s expansive culinary experience is like no other. The country’s wine industry produces excellent wines. The list includes port wine, vinho verde, and Douro wines, which pair perfectly with the local cuisine. No matter what country you are coming from, you’ll love Portuguese food.

Also, less traffic, welcoming and friendly locals, common expatriate communities, and a stable political environment should be considered the pros of living in Portugal.

Cons of Living in Portugal

Now, let’s put light on the dark sides of living in Portugal. Please remember that these disadvantages are not the same for all people. The disadvantages will have impacts differently for different people. So, check them properly and then evaluate the changes according to your perspective.

1. Lack of Central Heating in Homes

Most homes in Portugal, especially older or traditional properties, do not have central heating systems. It can be a significant drawback during the winter, particularly in northern regions where temperatures can drop considerably.

As expatriates, you must rely on alternative heating methods like portable heaters or fireplaces. For sure, it can be less efficient and more expensive. If you find a home with a central heating system, the rent or house price will get higher.

2. Limited Job Opportunities

Portugal offers job opportunities in different sectors, like tourism, technology, and agriculture. However, the job market is limited compared to larger European countries. Lack of job opportunities can be a real challenge for expats and International students.

To secure employment, especially in highly competitive fields or industries is comparatively more difficult as the unemployment rate is slightly higher here.

3. Lower Salary

Compared to other European countries, Portugal generally offers lower salaries through different industries. As a result, it becomes more challenging for expatriates to maintain a proper living standard.

4. Inconvenient Card Payment System

In Portugal, it is difficult to pay by card. You need to carry cash in your wallet to pay at shops and other places. The Multibanco system usually issues the card for money transfers in this country.

Also, don’t think of using your Visa or MasterCard in this country. These two card types are not allowed in Portugal. So, it might be difficult for you to live here if you used to live a cash-free life with a digital money transfer system.

5. Overcrowded For Tourism

Portugal’s popularity as a tourist destination can sometimes seem very hectic because it makes this country overpopulate during the picking season. Particularly in popular cities and tourist hotspots, it’s very crowded and you won’t love to live in such a place.

6. Smoking in Public Spaces

Another irritating reason why non-smokers don’t love to be in Portugal is its permit to smoke outside. Generally, smoking indoors has been banned since 2008. However, smoking in public spaces is still permitted in Portugal. This can be super unpleasant for non-smokers, especially for elders.

7. Cold Ocean Temperatures

Despite Portugal’s warm climate, the ocean can be surprisingly cold. Nortada wind phenomenon along the coast is a vital reason. As a result, you may not enjoy the beach life in winter.

Other considerations are the summers are very impacted by crowds and tourism leaving many locals to feel overwhelmed and unhappy in Portugal in the summer months.

Lastly working with the government and bureaucratic system can prove to be a very frustrating experience as wait times and customer services are slow. This can lead to significant frustration when dealing with living circumstances, finances and visas.

FAQs

Is Portugal A Safe Country?

Yes, Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world. This country has the lowest rates of violent crime. It is even safer for children and elderly citizens.

What Is The Most Common Job In Portugal?

IT Center Job is the most common job in Portugal. Even though this country has fewer opportunities to offer expats, IT expats have always prevailed here.

How Much Does Portugal Pay Per Hour?

The pay rate in Portugal is relatively lower in comparison to the neighboring European countries. Here, the average pay rate is €5.14 per hour.

Wrapping Up

Even though there are tons of attractive and beneficial sides to living in Portugal, some demerits like income sources, lower salary ranges, and inconvenient heating systems should not be neglected. That’s why we suggest you take more time to think wisely about all the pros and cons of living in Portugal to decide appropriately.

While deciding, you should prioritize your source of income, place preference, and family members. Hopefully, you will make the right choice about Portugal.

To learn more about life in Portugal, you can check an experience blog on a week in Lisbon.

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