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Living in Portugal

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Portugal is one of the most popular overseas locations with Britons considering moving abroad for a better lifestyle whether before or after retirement. For an honest reality check, we give you the good and the bad about living in Portugal.

The Good about Living in Portugal

Portugal is arguably home to the best golf courses in Europe and if you are passionate about your golf, you have a fair amount of money put by to afford your annual fees and you are committed to spending your retirement on the greens perhaps, then maybe Portugal should be your number one choice!

The weather is certainly something to write home about – the further south you go, the hotter the summers and milder the winters, and if you like it scorchingly hot, head into the beautiful interior of the country.

The price of property in Portugal away from the resorts and the coast is affordable. You can get some serious bargains in some stunning inland villages or larger towns and still only be a short drive from major urban areas and the beach. There you'll find more traditional properties rather than developed modern homes, but you can certainly find reasonably prices properties if you look around.

The coastline in Portugal is stunning – as the country lies on the Atlantic and is sometimes lashed by breathtaking storms in the winter, this has led to dramatic rock and cliff formations on the coast. In the summertime explore the beautiful beaches all the way up the western edge. Portugal is also home to mountains and plains, national parks, lakes, olive groves and rivers – it offers a geographically diverse and fabulous landscape.

The pace of life in Portugal is laid back – initially for those coming from fast paced and stressed out countries like the UK this can seem like a dream but feel like a nightmare because it can take just so long to do anything! Queues in banks can stretch for miles as the staff chat about anything and everything with their customers, and customers chat amongst themselves. Once one gets into the pace of life however, it is a dream come true. It is such a healthier way to live.

The healthcare system in the country is so much more sophisticated in some ways…for example, more medicines can be bought over the counter from a pharmacist who is able to ‘diagnose’ and assist people with what medicines they should have and this makes it easier to get treatment for minor illnesses.

The bad about Living in Portugal

The worst thing about Portugal is the language – for most Brits, it really is a difficult language to learn and many people struggle to get much further than the basics and every day pleasantries. However, for those who will be living in the more urban and populous areas where there are lots of expats, international citizens and professional Portuguese, you will find English widely spoken.

The bureaucracy in Portugal is not comparable to the UK's. There are reams of paperwork and hours of queue standing just to achieve the most basic of tasks from taxing your car to getting a new bank account for example and this can be irritating. Just don’t attempt to rush and don’t stress when things take time, just be prepared for it. Embrace the Portuguese lifestyle and go with the flow otherwise you will drive yourself nuts.

Property prices in the most popular parts of the country are simply exorbitant. They have risen sharply and make it hard for people to get a place to live in the most sought after areas.

The Atlantic Ocean is very different from the quieter Mediterranean - this may sound an obvious statement to make – but the Ocean can be rough even in the summer, making it unpleasant to swim and not as warm or as much fun as the Mediterranean for those who like messing about in the water for leisure and relaxation time.

Despite the bad, we think Portugal is a fantastic country to consider – it really does offer a fantastic quality of life and is well worth a closer look. Omar Hadjel – marketing manager

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