Planning to retire in Portugal


(Jakes Maree) #1


We plan to retire in Portugal in 2 or 3 years time and use it as a base to travel Europe. We are 63 & 64 years old.

In the meantime we want to purchase a property and rent it out until we move.

  1. We were thinking of buying in the Algarve and rent to holiday makers or permanent renters
  2. Lisbon
  3. Porto
    We will be coming to Portugal in May/June to get our NIF’s and open a joint bank account and find a property. Probably an apartment or townhouse with minimal upkeep at E150,000 - E250,000.

In our country, South Africa, the seller decides which company to use.

My question is:

  1. What area would you suggest?
  2. Can you help us with the formalities and registration?


Introduce yourself! 👋
(Alexander Dumont dos Santos) #2

Dear Jake,

I hope this email finds you well.

Would you like to have a videocall?

Yes I can help you with formalities and registration. But for me to do a better analysis of your situation I will need more information.

If you are interested please send me an email to

Kind regards

(Dan Bert) #3

In case you’re not aware, there are 2 restrictions affecting your use of Portugal as a base for travel in Europe.

  • If your long-stay visa or residence permit has been issued by a Schengen area country, you can travel to another Schengen area country for 90 days per 180 day period.
  • A temporary residence permit is valid for 1 year, a residence permit for 2 years. During the period a permit is valid, you can spend 6 consecutive months or 8 months interpolated outside of Portugal. There are exceptions. They must be pre-authorized with SEF, or, in exceptional cases, after departure.

After 5 years, you may qualify for a Portugal Permanent Residence Permit. The amount of time allowed outside Portugal increases dramatically. Don’t have the numbers because it will be years before that affects me. I said ‘may qualify’ because there is a requirement for ability with the Portuguese language.

(Felizarda) #4

Hi Jakes
I’m Portuguese, and I don´t live there. I am sorry to disturb your dream, but I don´t recommend going to live in Portugal. There are many many many reasons.

(Mario) #5

…of which you could name but a few perhaps?

(Thomas K. Running) #6

I’d be interested in hearing examples as well. I’ve spent a lot of time in Portugal, and the only significant downside I’ve noticed is the state of the local labor market. But that’s entirely irrelevant (or even a slight advantage) for remote workers and retirees, which is what @Jakes will be.

(Jakes Maree) #7

Please name some of the problems I will encounter in Portugal, bearing in mind that I am a EU citizen with an Irish passport.

(Felizarda) #8

Well this is the way I see portugal, my country of origin. It is a slow people of understanding, rude and arrogant, ignorant, accommodating, selfish, and without common sense. Remenber ; Portugal belongs to the European mafia, which in the long run is a disadvantage, even if at present it can be cool. VERY HIGT TAXES. Public and private services work poorly, poorly prepared and often rather arrogant and lazy employees. Health services a catastrophe. Public transport outside the big cities, long waits, and more expensive than in Zürich, Geneve or Paris. Dirty streets. Food very careful, many agrotoxics. Houses without comfort, such as heating, or thermal or acoustic insulation. The heating of water in the houses is with gas cylinders, very heavy to carry, when the gas runs out and you are in the middle of your shower, it is terrible, much more by cold wether. Very few homes have hot water for electricity, or piped gas. The Portuguese treat animals very badly, and dogs are always barking, there are parts of cities, towns and neighborhoods that it is impossible to sleep because of the noise of the dogs, they start early in the morning, and until the wee hours of the night always the noise of dogs . Portugal is full of corrupt Marxist socialist politicians. portugal is a joke. The 80% natives are poor, they live poorly, they earn very little, and life is difficult. But for foreigners the Government does publicity, thus ruining the real estate market to such an extent that the natives have no more possibility of buying or renting an apartment however small. Misery is constantly increasing and the Portuguese continue to immigrate. I was born in Portugal, but I will never go there again.

(TF) #9

I’ve been resident in Portugal since ~2016 (and spent a few years of my early childhood here too back in the mid-80s). I’ve also lived in 4 wildly different countries (for long stretches at a time) and traveled extensively so hopefully have some authority on judging a host country.

Now that’s out of the way here’s a counter balance to Panelinha’s post based on my experiences/observations:

  1. Food is abundant, cheap, tasty and safe
  2. People are lovely. Daily interactions in shops/restaurants/gov offices etc. are almost always universally pleasant and we have made local friends.
  3. Some bureaucratic stuff is a lot easier/faster here than in other European countries (like France, UK or Germany). Examples: opening bank accounts, getting internet access, interacting with the tax man on-line;
  4. Public transport in the cities e.g. Lisbon is generally good. The metro stations are nice and not too expensive. The ferry is cheap. An express bus from Lisbon to the Algarve is €17. A high speed train ticket is €22.
  5. Lisbon and Faro airports are extremely well served.
  6. Uber is cheap, ubiquitous and the drivers are friendly & professional.
  7. Younger generation all speak English and older generation speak French. A lot of portuguese are tri or even quad lingual. If you pickup some rudimentary Portuguese and also speak English or French you will be able to communicate with 95% of people.
  8. There is a problem with local wages but the situation is slowly getting better (e.g. minimum wage went up this year).
  9. Portugal has historically had a problem with dogs but this is slowly changing. There are lots of wonderful shelters (we adopted our dog from one); a new law came in last year (…I think, possibly earlier) legislating more rights for animals and making it legal for establishments to allow people to take their dogs inside. The older generation is still a little backwards with dogs/pets but the younger generation (anyone under ~45) is fine. In fact, there’s been an explosion of dog and pet owners recently. It’s easy to find lots of good pet stores with nice foods, accessories etc. and dog grooming places. Also, most public parks have dedicated, well maintained dog zones.
  10. I live in the city and my gas comes from the mains. No cylinders. If you live in the country side you will need a cylinder but this is the case for France too.
  11. Corruption has historically been a problem and still exists (as it does in most other countries - look at Spain) but Portuguese tell me it is a lot better now than it was (though still room for improvement).
  12. The country feels to me like it is on the up. Certainly Lisbon has transformed over the last 6 years (according to the locals) and this is apparently also true of the other large cities/areas.
  13. The country is very safe. I feel a lot safer here than I did in the UK, France or Spain. Never had a problem with drunk people, thieves/pick-pockets or aggressive weirdos on the streets. There are areas in the big cities you shouldn’t go to (as is the case in Paris, Manchester, London etc.)
  14. There is a problem with sexism / machoism. It’s not as overt like you often see in France but behind closed doors there are issues with domestic abuse (this was in the news recently).
  15. Despite point 14, there’s still a strong sense of community and family. Old and young freely mix and spend time together. Like with most advanced societies, the Church plays a smaller role for the younger generation than it used to but it is still a big part of Portuguese society (that’s either good or bad depending on your point of view - in my case I’m an atheist so you can guess my feelings).
  16. The weather is very hard to beat :slight_smile:

No comment on quality of health service or schools - I haven’t got any experience with either.

Like any country, there’s lots of room for improvement and injustice/wealth imbalances do exist. But from my experience of other countries, Portugal is no worse than most and in many respects much better. I can see that if you are someone that likes orderly, conformist societies (e.g. Switzerland or Singapore) then PT might not be up your street. But if you like the Southern European way of life, Portugal takes some beating and I’d pick it over most places in a heart beat.

Caveat to all of the above: I am (despite my best efforts to integrate) obviously a foreigner and expat. I also have the luxury of a good income. So I don’t disagree with everything Panelinha says but obviously your experience of Portugal (like in any other country) will vary wildly depending on where you are living, what means you have and who you socialise with.