Thinking of Retiring in Portugal

I’ve heard only amazing things about Portugal but am totally lost as to how to begin this journey. I’m very interested in the Golden Visa program but, obviously, need to travel there to get a “feel” of what it would be like to really become a part of the community. We live in Toronto now and am looking to retire and live permanently in Portugal. I want things like modern convenience (internet, health care etc.) access to warm weather is very important. If we’re to travel to Portugal in November 2019 where should I be looking at finding my next “home”? Thanks in advance for your help!

Minimus for golden Visa I Portugal is not 350m€, but 500m€

Hi Jeffrey,
Portugal has a nice climate and the people are welcoming. You have to check all those things yourself - how banks work, how the health service operates (buying insurance is not prohibitive), where there are things that you like to do, etc. it’s very personal. You have to go there, travel around and watch it as a prospective resident, not as a tourist (quite different). I think it’s a great place, but you have to decide that yourself (and your family, of course). It’s a very personal decision.

I would think very seriously before making the move. Portugal has some good points like the weather and friendly , genuine people but in my experience the grass is always greener on the other side. Having lived here for a while the downsides are-
Very hot summers (40C) where the population increases 10 fold in the popular areas. You need to be prepared for this tourist enslaught or have a plan to return to Toronto for the summer months, annually.
Local taxes are high with Vat currently 23%. Most goods are much more expensive than in the rest of the EU. Import taxes are exorbitant so expect to pay a lot for secondhand cars, electrical items etc. in fact any imported goods.
Grocery shopping is much more expensive than the rest of Europe. So is electricity and gas. We used to live in the UK which we were led to believe had a high cost of living but is nothing compared to daily living costs in Portugal. Electricity and gas is more than double that of the UK as all fuel is green. The same goes for grocery shopping. Having lived in Vancouver the quality of grocery stores here is also poor. We ship most of our groceries over from the UK.
Property purchase costs are high in comparison to the rest of Europe and prices have rocketed over the past 10 years. Annual property taxes are also high if your property is worth more than €600000

Compared to the lush green countryside around Toronto, much of the country here is barren and experiencing a bad drought. As a result of this water rationing could well be imposed soon. The cost of water is exorbitant and the councils have tightened up on who can and cannot sink a borehole. Be prepared for artificial grass andd drought resistant plants.

Definitely not the place to retire to unless you are wealthy. The locals struggle on their meagre wages and the young are leaving the country in great swathes in search of better wages which are not difficult to find. Locals work long hours to make ends meet and although friendly can be quite depressing in nature.

They have an expression - ‘manyarne’ which means ’ be patient and it will be done sometime’. Nothing happens fast and so be prepared for a slow, bureaucratic process when attempting to do anything official

Also be wary when you think the grass is greener. Having lived around the world, Portugal is far from perfect. Having said that if all you want is sunshine and you’re wealthy then its great to be here when its winter back home

I would suggest to come over for at least a year before making the move. Then you will know if it’s the place for you.

Good luck!

The language although not difficult to learn to read is hard to speak and understand due to the pronunciation. Make sure you choose an English speaking expat community otherwise you will struggle to converse until you’ve mastered Portuguese which could take several years.

Private Medical care is the only option as the state system is underfunded and there is a serious shortage of doctors and nurses. We return to UK for any serious medical concerns and have both Portuguese and UK private medical insurance which is approx €300 per month.
Providing you move to an area where there are alot of Canadian expats you could struggle to settle. We are lucky to be living in a large UK expat community which has been huge supportive. We are also lucky to have a home in the UK so move between both depending on the season.



Hello Jeffrey, we have started to work with several outbound agencies in the sense of providing that initial service to people in the early stages of their journey. We have a service called a Discovery Tour which is a bespoke trip built around individual criteria. Feel free to be in touch and we will send you a list of qualifying questions which will allow us to immediately narrow the options, and from there stipulate the regions or areas within them, which might be a fit. Regards

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Hi Jeffery

Portugal is grand, but I would suggest you come and spend a few months or a year in rentals before you decide to purchase. That way you get a feel for things, you can move (you don’t have to rent for a full year, the extra money is nothing compared to buying in a place you discover is not to your liking), and experience life before you get a large amount of money tied up. Just take it easy. Travel from area to area. Walk around and sip some wine. If you speak French, Portuguese is not such a huge challenge as the Brits make out. It all depends on your ear and your ability with languages. The people are warm and welcoming. Each small region is different.

Manyarne, I never heard this word. In Arabic they say Shwaya shwaya. Don’t be hasty.