23 Downsides to Living in Portugal

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Let’s face it: nowhere is perfect. There are lots of pros to living in Portugal – the weather is great, the cost of living is more affordable than in other countries, and the beaches are beautiful – but there are, unsurprisingly, one or two cons as well.

Most articles online focus on the upsides rather than the downsides. But it’s important to get the full picture before you move somewhere new. Hence this list. As mentioned, there are lots of upsides to living in Portugal, but this website wouldn’t be doing its job if it didn’t give you appropriate expectations.

It’s also important to point out that this is a list of the downsides of Portugal primarily from the point of view of an outsider (although Portuguese people often agree with some of the things on this list). It’s also not a list of things that Portuguese should change, and it’s definitely not a list of things that Portugal will change – no matter how sensible that change might seem to you. Portugal is Portugal, and you shouldn’t come here hoping for change or expecting change. Instead, weigh up the pros against the cons and then, being honest with yourself, decide if Portugal is right for you.

In no particular order, here are some of the downsides to living in Portugal.

Paperwork & Bureaucracy

files

Try to get anything done in Portugal, whether it’s starting a business or applying for planning permission, and you’ll run into a little thing called bureaucracy. There’s a lot of it in Portugal.

It isn’t so much that there’s a lot of paperwork. That in itself would be manageable. It’s that:

  1. Yes, there’s a lot of paperwork and lots of hoops to jump through
  2. Every government department seems to have a different opinion on which pieces of paper are required
  3. Departments are understaffed so getting an appointment, if you need one, can often takes months

It’s messy and frustrating, and it’s also just something you’ll have to get used to if you live in Portugal.

You can avoid a lot of the headaches if you use a lawyer or accountant rather than trying to tackle these challenges yourself. You’ll still have the challenge, and it’ll probably take a while for it to get resolved, but at least you’ll avoid the majority of headaches. Having a lawyer double check a rental contract, for example, might feel like an unnecessary cost but could save you money and a lot of headaches in the long run.

As well as lawyers and accountants, there are also companies that will:

Bureaucracy isn’t unique to Portugal, and it’s something you’ll come across in many European countries like Spain, Italy, and Germany, but Portugal does take bureaucracy to new levels.

Winter

Aveiro in winter

Although most people associate Portugal with beaches and sunshine, a lot of Portugal, particularly the north, can be very damp and wet in the winter. Even in the south where it’s often t-shirt weather outside (for foreigners), it can be freezing cold inside due to the lack of heating and insulation in many houses. It’s possible to avoid cold winters somewhat, but you need to pick the right location and the right property.

Internal heating aside, winters in the south of Portugal are definitely easier than in the north. Although there’s usually at least a few weeks of solid rain, it does rain a lot less and the skies are generally blue and the weather pleasant. Madeira, similarly, benefits from pleasant winters. If warm winters are a priority, these are two locations to prioritise.

This isn’t unique to Portugal. You’ll come across similar houses in nearby countries like Spain, and of course, anywhere in the North of Europe is going to be cold in the winter months.

Housing issues

Portuguese houses can be cold in the winter – fridge levels of cold. However, it varies considerably from property to property. Some simply require you to put on a sweater while others demand a jacket, gloves, and three or four pairs of socks.

Two identical properties next door to each other could be different due to the ability of one to catch the sun during the day. Some properties also have central heating or another heating system while others have better energy ratings. Finding the right lottery is part knowing what to look for and part lottery.

However, just because you’ve purchased a cold house, that doesn’t mean you’re going to be cold forever. You can improve the insulation or install something like gas central heating or an effective pellet heater. All of that costs money, obviously, but it’s almost definitely worth it.

This isn’t unique to Portugal, and it’s quite common across Southern Europe. Houses here are more designed for summer rather than winter. Thankfully, there are one or two things you can do to stay warm inside.

Integration

In Portugal, the Portuguese and non-Portuguese typically run in different circles. Even people who have lived in Portugal for years will usually be able to count the number of close Portuguese friends they have on one hand.

It takes two to tango though. While the Portuguese can be a little closed, even to each other sometimes, very few expats make the required effort to integrate – at least after a few months of trying. Integrating is a marathon rather than a sprint, and one that requires you to learn Portuguese to a very good level. And it’s much harder if you don’t work in an office, attend university, or do something else that puts you in close contact with people for many hours every week.

This isn’t unique to Portugal. People who’ve moved to other Southern European countries like Spain and Italy, to Scandinavia, or to Eastern Europe often report the same challenges in integrating.

The Language

Portuguese is nowhere near as difficult as Chinese, Arabic, or maybe even German, but many consider it harder than other romance languages and less appealing. That said, it doesn’t take too long to learn enough Portuguese to get by in daily life, and even in more difficult bureaucratic situations. However, it does take a long time to learn enough Portuguese to really integrate – but that’s true of all languages.

Learning European Portuguese is becoming a little easier thanks to all the new apps, websites, and YouTube channels that teach it (in the past there were only dry, boring textbooks). There are lots of great courses, particularly for beginner’s level Portuguese, that’ll teach you the essentials and help you pass those exams, should you decide to apply for citizenship or permanent residency.

This is obviously unique to Portugal in that Portuguese is seen as harder than some other European languages, particularly Spanish. That said, it’s probably not any more difficult than German.

(Some) Things are Expensive

A lot of people think that just because food and wine are cheap in Portugal, everything else is. Unfortunately, that’s not true.

Electricity and petrol are two good examples of things that are really expensive in Portugal. Per kilowatt, Portugal is one of the most expensive countries in Europe. It’s also one of the most expensive countries for fuel. Rent, particularly in somewhere like Lisbon, can be as expensive as a major Northern European city. Then there are cars, furniture, electronic appliances, books, branded international foods, cosmetics, and toiletries, all of which are typically more expensive than elsewhere.

It can be frustrating paying double or triple what you’re used to paying for something, but it’s often offset by the lower prices for other things (eating out, for example) and the fact that you get to live in Portugal.

Taxes

Portugal doesn’t have the highest taxes in Europe, but it definitely doesn’t have the lowest taxes either. Portuguese taxes, particularly when combined with social security, are high – at least in their simplest form. They can also be a little complicated, and requiring an accountant does add a cost that you might not have if you lived elsewhere.

The Portuguese government does have several tax regimes and schemes which are designed to simplify tax payments and to make Portugal more appealing to outsiders. The most famous is the NHR tax regime, which is designed to reduce the amount of tax you pay in Portugal for the first 10 years and, in some cases, allows you to be taxed elsewhere. Despite its apparent simplicity, it can still be complicated and it’s recommended that you speak to an accountant to get an accurate overview of what your tax obligations are likely to be.

Workplace Culture

Sexism, micromanaging, not being allowed to show any initiative – talk to a Portuguese person about the downsides of living in Portugal and one of the main things they’ll mention is workplace culture. It’s not every company, obviously, but it is something that gets mentioned frequently.

Thankfully, it’s a downside that many foreigners moving to Portugal get to avoid as many bring their own jobs here, work for a foreign company, or move to Portugal for retirement.

Noise

Besides being cold, another problem caused by a lack of insulation is the way noise travels. This is more a problem in apartments rather than houses, but even houses aren’t immune from noise problems – the sound of barking dogs, which can sometimes go through the night, is a problem in rural areas.

Generally speaking, however, most noise problems are with apartments. The most noise seems to come from the apartment above, but depending on the way the property is built, may come from the apartment below or to the side as well. As with the cold, noise problems can vary considerably from property to property, depending on when it was built, what floor the apartment is on, and who the neighbours are. In some apartments, you won’t hear anything. In others, you can hear the neighbour’s conversations almost word-for-word.

As with the cold, these problems are somewhat fixable and can be avoided entirely if you spend enough money.

Noise problems aren’t unique to Portugal and are common in some neighbouring countries like Spain.

Dog Poop

Whether it’s the blue skies or the tiled walls, there are lots of beautiful things to look at in Portugal. Don’t look up too long, however. Doing so could mean you step in something you didn’t want to. Similarly, it’s always a good idea to really inspect the grass before sitting down for a picnic.

Dog poop is one of those minor downsides that you get used to with time, and it may not even be that noticable if you’ve lived in other European countries where it’s also a problem.

Corruption

Ask a Portuguese person what the biggest downside to life in Portugal is and almost all will say corruption. According to Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, Portugal was ranked 32nd out of 198 countries for corruption[1]https://www.transparency.org/en/cpi/2021. Backhanders can permeate every area of life, from your local council right up to the higher echelons of government. It’s just seen as a part of life or a tax for getting around the bureaucracy.

While corruption doesn’t affect most people’s lives on a day to day basis – you won’t have to bribe the police to get home – it does affect whether money is properly invested into the country and that can make a difference.

The Slow Pace of Life

The slow pace of life is one of the main reasons that people move to Portugal, but that slow pace of life can also be a downside. When you have something that needs doing, suddenly you find yourself wishing that the slow pace of life wasn’t a thing in Portugal.

Even in simple tasks like going to the supermarket, you’ll find yourself queuing for a lot longer than you would in countries that don’t have a slow pace of life. It all depends on which you value more: the slow pace of life (for when you do want it) or constant efficiency.

This isn’t unique to Portugal, but common across most Southern European or Mediterranean countries.

The “Glass Half Empty” Mentality

The Portuguese mentality can be frustrating for a lot of people, particularly for entrepreneurs and go-getters who see opportunities around every corner. In Portugal, people often look at the world in less optimistic terms. This is changing somewhat, and younger generations and those who have lived abroad tend to look at the world in more of a glass-half-full-sort-of-way but it a can’t do attitude is something you’ll come across from time to time.

This isn’t completely unique to Portugal, but it does seem to be more common in Portugal than in neighbouring European countries.

Customer Service

In Portugal, it can sometimes feel like the customer is never right. Getting a problem resolved is often a battle of wills, and problems can take hours and hours of your time to get resolved. There is the complaints book (Livro de Reclamações) for when you can’t seem to get a resolution, but even that isn’t a threat to some companies (utility and communications companies particularly). Then there’s SEF (immigration), Finanças (tax department), and other government departments, all of which aren’t particularly popular in Portugal.

Again, this is something that is improving but it’s something you will come across from time to time.

This isn’t unique to Portugal. Customer service isn’t always a big priority in Europe and government departments, particularly immigration, seem to be particularly unfriendly in most countries around the world.

Job Opportunities

Portugal traditionally attracts much older expats, particularly retirees. There’s a reason for that, and that’s that people don’t usually come to Portugal to work: salaries are low by European standards, and there are a limited number of jobs here.

The good news is that, even though salaries are still a long way from catching up with other Western European countries, there are an increasing number of job opportunities in Portugal. Many people also bring their work with them – either starting a business here or working remotely for clients outside of Portugal.

This isn’t totally unique to Portugal: Across Southern Europe, job opportunities are fewer and salaries are lower when compared to Northern Europe. That said, Portugal does have some of the lowest salaries in Western Europe.

It’s all about “Who You Know”

To get ahead in a lot of industries in Portugal, it’s all about who you know. This maxim is true in a lot of countries, of course, but it’s especially true in Portugal.

In a lot of English-speaking countries, like the UK and US, who you know opens doors but it doesn’t make it impossible to break into certain industries. In Portugal, not knowing the right people can make it impossible to do business in a lot of industries that you could break into in other countries.

This isn’t unique to Portugal and is quite common across most of Europe.

The Driving

Whether it’s people flashing their lights because they’re desperate to overtake, drink driving, or tailgating, driving in Portugal can be challenging and sometimes scary. Indicators are rarely used, touch parking is common in the cities, and in rural parts of Portugal people often park diagonally across two or three spaces.

Unfortunately, it’s just one of those things about Portuguese life that you have to get used to.

Read more about driving in Portugal

This isn’t unique to Portugal. According to Statista, in 2018, there were more road accident fatalities in 10 other European countries like Romania, Greece, and Luxembourg. However, Portugal faired worse than neighbouring countries like Spain, France, and Italy. And although people often drive somewhat aggressively, it’s definitely milder than the road rage most Americans will be used to.

The Rising Cost of Living

The cost of living in Portugal is on the rise, particularly when it comes to property prices. This is obviously more of a downside for the Portuguese living in Portugal who typically have less buying power on average, but it’s still a downside for expats as well.

The Cold Ocean

A lot of people move to Portugal for the beaches and are surprised by just how cold the water is. Yes, it can be very cold because it’s not the Mediterranean Sea: it’s the Atlantic Ocean. It’s one of those small downsides, but something to consider if you’re planning on spending a lot of time in the water. If you’re a surfer, the quality of the waves may make up for the temperature of the water.

This is unique to Portugal. Other Southern European countries like Spain, Greece, Italy, and Cyprus are all on the Mediterranean Sea so typically have warmer waters.

Overtourism

queues at pasteis de belem
Queues for Pastéis de Belém regularly extend into the hundreds

In the past few years, tourism has boomed in Portugal. Lisbon, in particular, has become one of the hottest destinations to visit and it has attracted millions of tourists from all over the world. Porto, and the Algarve, likewise, have seen a huge increase in tourism as well.

Unfortunately, places like Lisbon and Porto are much too small to handle the sheer volume of tourists that are visiting. The streets are narrow, and the cities themselves are quite compact and small. Historical attractions like the Torre de Belém in Lisbon or the Clérigos Tower in Porto are often full to the brim and very uncomfortable to visit.

Tourism has also led to other problems in the local housing market and has put a strain on public transport and other services. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like over tourism is going to decrease anytime soon, particularly as the Portuguese economy is so focused on tourism – and doesn’t look like it’s going to dramatically shift to anything else anytime soon.

This isn’t completely unique to Portugal. Lots of other cities like Barcelona and Amsterdam are struggling with overtourism.

Deliveries

Many people who move to Portugal come from countries where online shopping is extremely developed, to the point where they can get their orders on the same day. That’s not the case in Portugal, especially as most online shopping is done with companies outside of Portugal. In fact, a huge percentage is likely with Amazon Spain.

The challenge of getting things delivered, whether an online shopping order or a letter from overseas, is a constant complaint amount expats. It is something you get used to, though, and, like many of the other things in this list, is a small price to pay for what you get in return.

Customs

While we’re on the subject of shopping, it’s worth mentioning Portuguese customs. Just about every country has a customs system which charges import fees on products purchased abroad. That’s annoying but reasonable. In Portugal, however, the fees charged for anything imported from outside the EU are so high that it’s not unusual for import charges to equal the value of the product purchased (and sometimes they’re even more). Even gifts that are clearly handmade by family members are stopped, valued at much more than they could ever be worth, and slapped with big import charges.

Even if you agree to pay these charges or they have been prepaid, it can take days, weeks, and even months to get your deliveries released from Portuguese customs. Basically, try to avoid shipping anything from outside the EU (excluding your belongings if you have a certificado de bagagem as these will be treated differently).

Smoking

While smoking is on the way out in many countries, smoking is still reasonably common in Portugal. It’s something that you will get used to with time.

Portugal has been slower to phase out smoking in bars and restaurants than many other European countries—while most restaurants and bars are non-smoking, you will stumble across places that still allow it in sections—but new laws coming into place in 2023 are likely to make smoking even less common inside[2]https://www.publico.pt/2022/06/02/sociedade/noticia/fumar-restaurantes-bares-vai-quase-impossivel-portaria-so-entra-vigor-inicio-2023-2008597.

Portugal definitely isn’t the only European country where smoking is common. It’s similar in France, Spain, and Germany.

Comments Policy: This article attracts a mixture of comments: some people who believe the pros of living in Portugal outweigh the cons and others who are frustrated with life in Portugal and want to vent their anger. While comments pointing out the negative sides of Portugal are allowed, there’s a diplomatic and a constructive way of doing this and there’s a way that’s unhelpful and simply negative. Comments that are negative and without any substance will be removed.

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  1. I will be leaving Portugal as soon as I can, with my Portuguese partner. We are fed up. Getting planning permission to rebuild our house has taken years. We had to hire a second architect as the first one just went awol. The second architect did get planning permission - and then decided she was too busy to oversee the project. Luckily, I found the next one. We found our own builder. Meanwhile the next door neighbour decided to take part of our land while we were away. We are on year two of the court case to get it back - we have had 2 judgements so far in our favour - but they were "prelim". We are back in court next week - it is exhausting and stressful. My partner has his own apartment and decided to refurb it. Another nightmare. Builders never turn up, if they their eventual bill always turns out to be higher than agreed - with no real explanation of why. Our impression is everyone is on the take and generally untrustworthy - and workers and employees in all organisations really don't care at all about customer service. Having lived in the US, UK, Ireland, Spain and Belgium, this is the worst experience. We feel we have no quality of life here. Many of our friends are on the move too.

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  2. Portugal being a great country also has got some downsides, such as PRICES in supermarkets are often unmarked or missing and sometimes the price on the shelf is much lower than at the cash register. That does happen in the United States as well, but in Portugal this happens on a larger scale. Let's take the "CONTINENTE" supermarkets (Portugal). Gosh, how ashamed or embarrassed they are pricing some of their products. Let's take nuts. No price tag. I go to the cash register, she tells me the little bag of nuts costs €5. Since I've got ~€30 to buy food for the week on that particular week I say Thank you to the cashier and walk back and put it back on the shelf. Too expensive. What's wrong with admitting that you want to sell it for €5 and put a price tag on? Those are not accidental because this is on a continuous and massive scale. Price tags are missing at the front of the supermarket while the price checker machine, which often is broken, is situated at the back end of the store. We are not embarrassed to ask for the price since we have limited money available to buy food and it's becoming up to €400 per month that we spend on minimal amounts of food every month, which is a huge expense. Raise food prices further and we will be starving or walking constantly half full and eating unhealthy foods that kill fast. And this is happening in the so called developed world.

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  3. I've heard some interesting things said about Portuguese women by Portuguese men but not the black magic one. I think this was probably a joke that didn't translate. Also taxi drivers worldwide are notorious for talking complete sh*t whether it's about foreigners, politics, or women, so I wouldn't use them as a source of information.

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  4. I was reading this article and definitely there are some things that are accurate, such as gas prices, rents on the rise due to all the foreigners moving in, the driving can be hectic(specially when your driving in a 2000+ year city) and the CTT. But then I started looking at the comments and saw some deeply disturbing things. Portuguese women are not into "black magic", and you should be so lucky to marry one of them, because they cook and clean constantly. Portuguese people are hilarious, you can not be around a group of Portuguese people and be bored or sad, that's just impossible. And someone here said uncultured! Now, yes Portuguese people are passionate and say what's on their mind whether you like it our not. But it's usually for the best. If you make friends with a Portuguese, they will be your friend forever, and will be there when you needed it. In 2016 I came back to visit with my wife and two kids after living in the US for almost 20 years. My childhood friend that I haven't seen in over 25 years, immediately invited myself and my entire family to stay with him and his girlfriend in his apartment in Lisbon. And this wasn't even the only invitation extended, many other friends from my pass reached out wanting us to stay with them.

    Bottom line is, you found 23 things that suck about this place. But there isn't enough space in the internet to list all the good ones. Pastries, food, wine, olive oil, roasted chestnuts outside of the metro station, crime stats, one of the lowest gun violence in the world, drug policy, beaches, water sports, the country side, Fado, fish and vegetable markets, the cheeses, chouricos, vineyards along the Douro River, the amazing amounts of different fruit and seafood (best in Europe), the people, the art, history, architecture, health care, actual freedom...etc

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  5. Bullshit article from somone who either never lived in Portugal or made any effort to ingratiate into society. Failing that, is socially inept.

    Reply
    • Perhaps you could expand your comment a little more? Another commenter, Danny, has the same viewpoint but was able to back up his viewpoint with lots of examples and personal experience.

      Reply
  6. I find most people in Portugal very friendly. Well, at least half of the Portuguese are very nice. While there are many cons, downsides and disadvantages, but it is a doable country unlike Russia, which you can see where it ended up at right now. Owning a house in Portugal is not a problem. There sometimes is a lack of professional workers or builders, such as contractors, but if you learn a little bit of DIY it's all good. But then we Eastern Europeans are used to all kinds of living difficulties, so we can easily survive and do well in Portugal, which is by the way one of the most beautiful countries next to France and Italy, with unique and very tasteful architecture. Regarding the CTT post office service, they have been privatized in 2014 and I find them quite helpful and while there are issues, slowness of mail delivery (as everywhere else) and even occasional mail disappearance, everything seems to be fine.

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  7. I think a lot of US people think "anything European" is romantic and the pace is slower, so you can relax more. However, once you get to the European continent, you immediately start comparing that culture to the US and then gripe because there is "no customer service, the bureaucracy, crazy drivers, etc". One thing you have to remember, first and foremost, is that the Europeans don't care about how things were back home.. you are now on their home ground and if all you do is gripe about things... the living quarters are so small, the walls are too thin, etc, of course you are going to be shut out. I've visited a few places around the world over my business career, and decided the US is best for me. I lived in cities, now I live in the country. I'm an hour from the "big cities of 30-40 thousands" and I love it. Yeah, there are shootings in those towns, but none any where close to where I now live. I have neighbors who I enjoy when we get together, but we also respect each others privacy. For those of you who move to another country, first thing you should do is research .. I did a lot of research before I moved to my present location and I was pretty much up to date on how things were before I moved here... but then I visited and talk to the natives before investing in a house. I'm constantly amazed how people will "believe" what is written without checking out the source. If you visit a place, you have to talk to the natives who have lived there for a long time ... then you have a better idea of what it is like to live there. Is my current location perfect, of course not, but it's pretty darn good compared to where I lived in the larger cities. You make your happiness, you cannot expect others to make you happy. I've visited other countries and would think "this might be a cool place to live", but then I start talking with people who have lived there for quite a while and then realized "that might be tough to live with". So, as an American (half native American), I decided my roots are here, I'm happy where I am, and I have peace and quiet in a beautiful location. I may have to drive 30 minutes to get to a decent restaurant, but I have a beautiful view for my morning coffee, good neighbors (but also privacy) and we look out for each other when requested. Remember it was your choice to move to where you are, so it is also your choice to move if you don't like it. Most of you just need to grow up some.

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  8. I totally agree with most of the above, especially the pervasive “Glass Half Empty” mentality. Here are a couple more to be aware of:
    - The Postal Service (CTT). It is ASTONISHINGLY inefficient and bureaucratic. Many times things simply do not get delivered. The employees are exceptionally unhelpful.
    - Be careful of realtors and car dealers. They take lying to a whole new level and then get very macho and pride-wounded when you catch them in a lie - their lies are SO obvious!
    - The driving is pathological (but I have seen worse).
    - The people are usually very basic and uncultured (but not sure if that is really different from anywhere else).
    - Sense of humor is often lacking, but there is a lot of sincerity (often combined with unhappiness)
    - I have to say that many men spend their time at little cafes drinking and smoking (very congenial places) but I figured out they do it to get always from their wives. My taxi driver today told me that many women in Portugal practice black magic. No comment.
    I have left out the good things because there are so many! What a great country! Just don't marry a Portuguese woman, buy a house or use CTT, you'll be fine!

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  9. So The article is good and I agree with it but certainly not as drastic as so many people are complaining about. Sure I have lived in many countries and so many have downsides and upsides. I struggled a lot when I arrived here but it has grown on me. Sure not perfect by any means but there is lots to love about this country too.

    One comment above talked about rent. My apartment (2 story small) goes for 650 and is in Monte Estoril a good area and looks out into a garden with a pool gym and tennis courts walking distance to beach, supermarket restaurants vets and cafe. BUT yes the rents are getting higher all the time.

    I have made very close Portuguese friends took me a while but worth it as well as loads of other nationalities. I love that.

    I am a surfer and yes some places(as commented) there is localism but so many other places all over the world its the same. I love my surf spots I surf on my own so many times its worth being in the water by 8am 🙂 especially in winter.

    If you chose to live somewhere you have to take the good and the bad. Finally if you are not happy just move and find a new home.

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  10. It is precisely all the French, Americans, English, Germans and Swiss who have overloaded the country too much, and this will have led its major capitals Porto, Lisbon and Faro to enormous radical changes.
    - what they still have today twenty four years later... That is to say, since the beginning of all these changes, it is still very hard to face all these so enormous and numerous changes.
    And that's all.

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  11. I AM AN EXPAT AND I GET TO LIVE IN A WARM COUNTRY BUT I AM SO ANGRY BECAUSE SOMETIMES THIS NEW COUNTRY ISN'T EXACTLY LIKE MY OLD ONE WHILE ALSO BEING WARMER AND CHEAPER! WAH, WAH, WAH!

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  12. Having lived in Spain, and visited Portugal during my first year, decades ago I recognize how Western Europe has changed and the effect of wold economy, the Euro and the EU all impact every country. Portugal while a bit isolated and insulated in the past it now suffers the ills of megatourism, but so many other countries including Spain are surviving the same. Non-europeans will find adjusting to Spain of Portugal if this is their first time to visit. The US lifestyle is so very comfortable and convenient, maybe even economical depending on how much of a home body one is. Western Europe is by contrast, very inconvenient and often uncomfortable on a daily basis. The compensation is the quality of life, often outdoors and slower pace. The bureaucracy exist in both environments and neither are easily navigated. Familiarity with one is not generally helpful in dealing with the other. The native residents in each of the countries don't suffer from the challenges because they are accustomed to all of it , their entire life. Criticism therefore is not welcome and is very poorly received, as you should imagine. It doesn't matter that you are right in your complaints. The goal is to learn the way around each obstacle and pace yourself for the long haul from the start. The "spoiled American" with a great track record of getting. things done their way by perserverance, may meet their match if they are not flexible and ever patient. A cool head is the only way to get through most situations. I learned that the phrase "vuelva usted mañana" was not only a literary quote but rather an important reminder of how you will need to quit, regroup and return tomorrow . "Live to fight another day". Living overseas is an adventure, but it can be so different in unexpected ways. When challenged or frustrated, it is wise to remind yourself , 'it is different here', not better or worse just different. I have lived in the Phillipines, Canada and in 10 states of the US . University study and marriage has provided me motive and opportunity to visit Spain , for months on and off for 44 year. I am actively making plans to stay 5 months this trip and evaluate seriously a long term change to Spain and Portugal. To be a foreigner overseas is an adventure and a daily challenge.

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  13. The localism and surf violence should probably be on this list as well. I have been faced with it on far too many occasions here in Peniche. It has gotten so bad that I will move out of Portugal, since I agree with most of the other points raised.

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  14. Vodafone in particular is terrible. I’ve logged many complains via the official “complaint book” and always get generic responses. They debited over €500 from my bank card and I’ve been trying to get it back for over 18 months. Probably called them over 10 times. This is normal in Portugal. It’s not that they can’t help, the Portuguese don’t want to help. People excuse it because wages are low but the prices for things and corruption in the private sector is out of control.

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  15. A lot of the negative comments on here come across as unhinged (It's not just this Ruud person). If you don't like Portugal (and not everyone does) just leave. Portugal and the south of Europe isn't for everyone. Things are slow, bureaucratic, complicated, and challenging. It's the price you pay in return for all of the other benefits you get.

    There is also this strange obsession with the EU and whether Portugal should be allowed in the EU. That's up to the EU and not some rambling person on the internet. If the EU has a problem with Portugal, they can kick them out. There are standards within the EU and Portugal is clearly meeting them otherwise they wouldn't be a member state anymore. Yes Portugal isn't the same as Germany or Denmark but that's something we all know.

    Creating websites or Quora accounts or coming on here just to slander Portugal is really really odd as unhealthy. I think Portugal clearly attracts people with some issues and when something goes wrong (which lets face it isn't unusual for Portugal) they go off on some weird obsessive quest to bring Portugal down and get them out of the EU. I don't think it's a good place for people with anger issues to move to as clearly there are things that will f*ck you off and some people just can't handle that.

    Reply
  16. It's one thing saying paperwork but sef deserves its own category for a downside. We have been waiting for an appointment for more than 8 months and all the time get told there are no appointments available. This means that our id is now out of date. It's sort of accepted in Portugal as people know about the delays but it means we are nervous to fly anywhere or leave Portugal unless it's by land. A similar thing with the driving licence. It can take more than a year for your driving licence to be exchanged. They give you a piece of paper while you're waiting but this means you are without a driving licence for a long time. It's not suitable for visiting another country. If the only problem was obtaining pieces of paper it would be fine. The problem is the delay in getting appointments or documents returned

    Reply
  17. All the downsides are true however having lived in italy and Spain they are not unique to Portugal. If you want bureaucracy and crazy driving try Italy lol. All the people reconsidering Portugal should reconsider Europe in general if these sound like negatives. For me they are just the price you pay for living here. You will be inconvenienced but that is just part of the culture here. People are nice and if you are nice you'll get by

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  18. There are a lot of miserable people here. Sadly the Portuguese expat community attracts a lot of them. People who complain about their own countries and then move somewhere else and complain about everything there. Then they move back but after a little while start complaining again and then come back to Portugal.

    I came to Portugal to be happy and I am happy to be here. Yes there are some things I wish were different but overall it's a great quality of life. But unfortunately I don't speak Portuguese so I am surrounded by these people!

    Reply
  19. Agreed.

    The Portuguese work hard when there's work to be done. They just know when to relax when there isn't work needing to be done.

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  20. I have lived in Northern Portugal fot 17 years. All the negatives above are soo sadlly true. There are many more unseen problems. In my case favoritism from the medical center was the cause of me not getting medical referrals for 7 years. This fact has cost ne a fortune. I also had a dear death car accident. The court was biased and so was the legal system. Also I had to pa 1,000 euros for a tranlztor for the trial. No traslator was provided. Ia planning to move to Malga as soo as I can Enough is enough! Eileen vicente

    Reply
    • There must be a reason why the country is cheap.You get what you pay, always!! Visited Portugal multiple times as a tourist, it was very obvious to us some of the issues addressed in the article. Hard to get use to burocracy,corruption and inefficiency when you come from a “functional “ country. Awesome place to visit, hard place to reside.

      Reply
  21. These are only a handful of the problems with Portugal. Don't get me wrong, I love Portugal, but Portugal has far more problems than this. You forgot the main ones. The Portuguese peoples incapability of taking criticism and the roads. Denying the existance of these problems won't make them go away.
    I detest how Portuguse people can't take criticism. Just read the article, which is obviously written by a Portuguese person, who pretends to point out the negatives of Portugal..........but quickly proceeds to try to justify them by informing us that other countries are like that too, as if that makes it okay then. Pathetic. And then read the comments underneath the article from mostly Portuguese people, incapable of taking criticism. of their country. Wow! Great way to live your life and improve your country.

    As for the roads, everything is a problem there. Drivers are extremely rude and aggressive and dangerous. I have yet to meet a polite Portuguese driver. The cost of fuel is shocking, all from sub-standard 'service' stations. And vehicles are old and noisey and a haven for pollutants. And don't get me started on the roads. They are horrible. They are dreadful and in order to go from A to B, you have to go all over the place, even on the so-called motorways that cost a fortune to pay for, are sub-standard. The most expensive I've ever come across. Paying a fortune for a pothole ridden 'motorway' that goes from A to F to Y to Q to Z......to get to B. Ridiiculous.

    No-one wants to think that their country is bad at something, but denying a problem won't change it. It will just continue to be exist. Gtow up and address your problems. Learn to take criticism and work on improving it.

    Believe it or not, I love Portugal, not so much the people, and this is why it is so frustrating for me to see that the Portuguese people deal with their issues by proclaiming that 'it's worse in other countries'.

    Gggrrrrr!!!

    Reply
    • You nailed it. You said everything that I think about Portugal, but when I say these things, I get called a hater and Portuguese say I've never been to Portugal. They think that anyone who goes there will fall in love with the place. It is beautiful, but it's not the country for me. As you said, they can't take criticism and you can't improve until you accept you faults.

      Reply
  22. All of what written here is true, as a Portuguese guy, life is hard for the average person here, there is no merit system in the workplace, it's all about who you know, wages are the lowest in Western Europe, and civil society is dormant.

    There are a lot of historical, sociological and political causes for this, the half a century dictatorship has left it's scars inf the form of submissivness, to the status quo, strong patriarchy, formality, etc ; the age of discoveries also dteriorated the identity of the Portuguese as a Iberian European Nation, through a ideology called "lusotropicalism" which said that portuguese people were specially apt to live and mingle with third world populations, hence, many trees that you see in cities are tropical, strong brazillian and african cultural influence, and of course that is a recipe for disaster.

    Environmentally speaking the country is rich, or it was rich, it's the country in all of europe who has most of its land covered in a invasive and foreign species (eucalyptus and acacia trees) so environmental conscious is weak here.

    Life is expensive, things are surely cheaper than in most european countries but not that cheap, specially housing and renting, which foreigners are indirectly guilty because they can buy at higher prices making them go further and further up.

    People are mostly dull and there is a lot of mental illness in the country, not a horrible country, some people are open minded, and not insane but most people will be either crazy, flaky, or just dull, if you learn to speak the language integration will be easyer, if not, expect to live in a expat bubble the rest of the time you are here, the world is vast and there are better options honestly.

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    • All of this is really depressing. How many of you can make small talk in Portuguese? Have you ever bought and read a newspaper a magazine or a book in Portuguese? How much do you know about Portuguese history? How many cities or islands have you visited in Portugal? In a nutshell, who much do you know about the country where you live or wish to move to?

      Reply
  23. Well, the content are quite intuitive and with facts. Bureaucracy, yes be ready especially for a foreigner like myself that doesn’t know portuguese, I only have a Portuguese husband that helped me a lot with papers, without him, I couldn’t cope. The people that will attend you in those public establishments, whether it is the bank, SEF, parish council, etc., is always a matter of luck, because it will depend on who will attend you or not, there are a lot of inconsistencies with information so be mindful of that. With Portuguese people I couldn’t complain much, at first yes I was shock with their behaviors, some were really arrogant+ignorant but then when you started to know many of them, not all of them are bad, like not all germans are nazi, not all muslims are terrorist like they said. I am proud to say that I have more portuguese friend that my own country fellow here in this place. Some portuguese let’s say won’t really give a f… and they won’t care, so you might think they are snob but no, it is the economic crisis that led these people like this. We cannot blame them as some Portuguese are paying too much because the prices are every expensive, young portuguese people cannot live independently unless they have their parent’s house or sharing a room(small rooms). In regards of noises, it will really depend who will be your neighbor, i lived in an apartment so quiet and calm 2 years ago, sometimes I regret leaving there for changed, but it is what it is.

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  24. It’s a pity that we didn’t read this article before moving. From myself I’ll add minuses that are annoying. They don’t respect the environment here, everything is strewn with cigarette butts, it’s normal for locals to go to the toilet under a bush or in a gateway. People are so lazy that they don’t they clean up the garbage that the wind blows near for their house. The country is not friendly to dogs, it is very difficult to find housing in good condition, where dogs are allowed, it is also difficult to find a cafe where animals are allowed. Public transport in the suburbs is rare. In many houses are no washing machine’s,only special sink for washing clothes by hand. It is normal for neighbors to move furniture and make noise in the middle of the night.

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    • Wow, people are lazy here, Portuguese people are hard working people, not sure where you get that idea of being lazy. Obviously you leave in a bad area but not the norm in Portugal.

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    • In other words, Portugal is an Eastern Euopean / African country. Not to insult those Eastern European countries that now are wealthier and more efficient than Portugal, or always were.

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    • Worst housing in Europe. They know it and still get away with corrupt ways of construction. In the Algarve they mix sea sand with cement - no wonder everything is mouldy and grim. A 4 year old could have drawn the houses/flats. They are all the same with no sense of beauty, function. Ugly, primitive place.

      Reply
      • The apartments built in the second half of the last century are ugly, yes, but they're ugly everywhere in the world - in Spain, Germany, the UK, Eastern Europe, wherever, the focus was on cost rather than style.

        The buildings in Lisbon and Porto on the other hand are incredibly beautiful. The tiles on the outside are wonderful. Plenty of beauty. Definitely not primitive in design.

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  25. Wow. What a depressing experience reading these comments. Really negative, sad and angry. I can only assume that it must accurate. Frankly its really taken the wind out of my sails in wanting to move to Portugal after having gotten pretty far along in the process. A serious majority of you in the comments have made it sound like one of the most horrible places in the world to emigrate. I totally get that every country has its downsides (I'm in the US so I understand all too well how things look to the outside world right now) but I had much better hopes about a good and rewarding life there. But you guys have hit upon pretty much every aspect of life there being terrible: food, employment, housing, crime, theft, rejection of new people, language, day to day misery of the actual citizens, etc. Everything that should make a person feel secure in their decision to find a new way of life in Portugal is a lie according to many of you. This place must be horrifying the way it's being described in the comment section. What am I to think otherwise?
    Really heartbreaking and discouraging. Now I have probably lost money and time considering this as a good choice on my part. Damn.

    Reply
    • Hi Brian,

      While there's definitely truth to some of these comments, I don't think they present an accurate picture. I could write an article on the downsides of any country in the world and it might attract similar comments, creating a very skewed and biased picture of that country. Portugal isn't for everyone, and I do think people should consider this before moving here, but the majority of people who move here tend to find there are one or two big downsides (e.g. bureaucracy) that really get to them, the rest aren't a big deal, and overall, the downsides are worth bearing in return for the upsides.

      Reply
      • I think Brian was being sarcastic, and making fun of the people complaining. I’m looking to move to Portugal and am exploring right now. I love the place so far.

        Reply
        • The points of many people are valid, although some make it sounds more dramatically than it is e.G the typical "they don't treat their animals well" - it is not even that common and just an ignorant view of some lonely foreigners with 5 dogs who get all their attention, while rest of the people would see so much attention as not healthy for animals, and from my experience foreigners are the ones not following the rules with their pets, like not keeping their dogs on leash. A lot of subjectivity in it, but technically it is not the Portuguese breaking the rules here, and being a nuisance for people without dogs.

          It really depends what your goals are, and as James said bureaucracy is really brutal in Portugal and shouldn't be underestimated, especially for people looking for more than a place for retirement. I wouldn't recommend Portugal for people who get totally stressed out because of completely unpredictable bureaucracy, or if their business model can't deal so well with it. Every situation and character is different.

          Reply
    • Brian,
      Having just moved to Portugal from the US recently, I can thus far only say "Bah humbug" to all of this negative talk. The people I have found more often than not delightful. The cost of living far lower than the US. The weather, architecture (aesthetics), culture, transportation, etc. far superior. As is the cuisine and entertainment. And I couldn't care less about many of the whiny sounding so-called "negatives" such as cigarettes, narrow streets, pedestrian woes, etc, etc. In one week I felt much healthier, more relaxed, than I had in years anywhere in the US. Life is, as always and everywhere WHAT ONE MAKES IT! I suspect many of the commentators
      here wouldn't be happy anywhere... Come to Portugal. You'll be glad you did.

      Reply
    • I am in exactly the same situation as you Brian. I am a US citizen who has been researching places to expatriate to for the past year. I had pretty much settled on either Panama or Ecuador. But I had heard from many sources that Portugal was considered the number one place to emigrate to. This article and the accompanying comments are enough to cause me to completely re-evaluate my thinking on this. Sooooo disappointed but unfortunately this is a very credible presentation.

      Reply
  26. The biggest problem is not corruption, it's the price of houses or even a small place to live like a room.
    Prices are rising as hell because foreign people come with money and pay for the absurd amount they ask for. For their standards is cheap, for people who actually as to live and work in Portugal is more likely to still living with parents or living in the streets 🙄
    There are people trying to throwing out elder people so they can make money with foreign people, that's very nice 🥰

    Reply
  27. When a Portuguese bank calls you and asks you what is your profession and a source of your income and assures you this is a mandatory information that they must have to let you have your money then you realize how BADLY you want to move to or remain living in Portugal!? If you have not experienced this yet, just wait until a CROOKED branch of a Portuguese bank that tried to steal your money and to swindle you out of part of your cash withdrawal asks this QUESTION! And then you DECIDE whether you want to continue living in Portugal or whether you want to move to Portugal!? This is SERIOUS, folks!

    Reply
    • Portuguese banks are basically bankrupt and have so far been funded by the ECB with uncollatralised interst free loans. Now this is changing and their loanbooks are about to implode as Portuguese borrowers are not so keen to repay their outstandings as they are the most indebted in Europe. I tried to open an account here, but was declined because I just wanted to make a sabbatical year in this country, Their conclusion, no work, no credit, no account! I am not astonished that the Portuguese economy is one of the weakest in the EU and the average Jose makes barely 800 Euro per month.

      Reply
      • Where I live in Portugal €800 is a very good office clerk's salary and most people I know work for around €560 before taxes are removed. Those are foresters, airport workers, FedEx staff, and I suspect that grocery store cashiers make even less, probably around €400 a month, which is on par with extreme Eastern European country salaries such as Moldova, Albania, Georgia, Bulgaria. Construction workers, helpers make about €25 to €40 a day (cash) and stone masons, electricians, carpenters, and guys with chainsaws make a whopping €65 to €80 a day (cash and no benefits). Most of better specialists and younger people are usually going to other countries for gastarbeitership.

        Reply
        • The minimum wage in Portugal for someone who works full-time and with an employment contract is 700€/month, which, although far from being brilliant, is still much higher than what's being suggested here. The problem is that average salaries haven't improved significantly in comparison with the considerable increase of the minimum wage in the past 5 years, bringing average salaries closer to it.

          Reply
        • That's illegal. Minimum wage is 740, unless you work less hours...
          And please, tell me where receiving 800 is good in Portugal because I want to move there. With 800 I don't know how you pay your bills unless you already have a payed local to stay in.

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    • Indeed, I didn't even get a Portuguese bank account because the amount of paper work was mind blowing. I just can add that the entire process was also quite unprofessional with bank employees not acting as we agreed on, not returning calls, documents etc. With this type of behavior I would be really worried to let any substantial amount of money with a local bank branch there. But ok, usually you don't need it, unless you want to use some of their national payment system, but there are also way around it.

      Compared to another countries where I would get a local bank account after a video call and showing my ID...sorry, that's just not good enough for country that wants to compete against another places in the same price range.

      Reply
  28. It's a fantastic place to live for the weather, the scenery, the cost of living, and the cost of eating out, and people are very tolerant of those who speak little of the language. The downsides are as touched upon by this article - very difficult to become friends with Portuguese people - their family ties are so tight. The bigger downfall is the lousy quality of lawyers, accountants, and estate agents. Many are in each others pockets and at times, it feels like the wild west,

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    • I agree! All or at least most services in Poortugal are of an absolutely unprofessional, low quality and lousy (to say it mildly) level on the very lowest level of any country experienced even in the Third World.

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    • we have been living in Portugal for a while, and speak the language fairly well. We decided it's time to move out of Portugal. Cost of living in opposite of what people think is high. A very, very simple lifestyle will be approx. 2,000/month. Some of you guys might think this is ok. Compared to what ? keep in mind apt. are old, small, and of low quality. An old , small, ran down apt. will cost around 700-900 Euro/month. If you would like to live in a nice areas in Lisbon or Cascais the same apt. will cost you approx. 1,200/month. And is still old and small. Wanna do a business ? Good luck dealing with license , permission etc.
      I personally think a major correction is due in Portugal. It's all over-hyped and the PR agencies hired to promote Portugal are doing a great job attracting people to move to Portugal. 10.5 million Portuguese are paying the price for it. High cost of living, for a country that is considered as one of the poorest in EU.

      Reply
      • 100% agreed! Portugal is next in line for a devastating cost of living crises! 8% inflation, individuals are the most indebted in Europe and most of these loans have adjustable rates! And Portuguese live significantly above their means. Next 12 months will be very hard for this country, and for most of the hardship they will have themselves to blame. I will also quit, the people and their depressed mentality are really not inspiring!Overrated, overhyped and full of unhappy local people!

        Reply
      • I've been in Porto for four years, and I am gritting my teeth for another one year, in order to apply for citizenship and then move to another EU country. It is definitely overhyped, and I feel sorry for the thousands of people who have recently moved here, or are planning to. They'll have this vision in their heads that the people are friendly and warm, that they are actually welcome here, and that they will enjoy a life of dining out, coffees with friends, and posting selfies and pictures of delicious food, just as they have seen the vloggers that spent a weekend here do.

        Instead, they will end up being fleeced by a "legal representative" charging them 700 Euros + for a NIF, another 500 for a bank account, and 400 in "unexpected expenses". Then the landlord will want 12 months rent in advance, for a crappy place that has no heating, no cooling, no insulation for either temperature or sound. They will be serenaded by the neighbours shouting, the feral child next door screaming uncontrollably, and furniture scraping at 3am.

        Their latte will be served by a surly, resentful person who rolls their eyes at any sound of the English language, muttering some local slur in response, and insisting on being paid in cash. The pastéis de nata will definitely not look like something they want to put on their Instagram feed (and people are sick to death of them anyway).

        Nobody will talk to them. But, the locals are happy to be best friends with their wallet. Fake smiles, being called "Mr" or "Mrs" will undoubtedly make them feel they made the right decision, and people are so respectful.. Until they realise it's a confidence trick.

        Any attempt to find an income here, will lead them to mistake the salary is per week, instead of per month. If they do decide to take a job, their co-workers will insist they learn Portuguese, starting with the word "caralho", which must be said loudly and enthusiastically at every opportunity. Lunch with the co-workers - if they can be bothered to invite you to join them - will be somewhere cheap that accepts food cards, and they will be regaled with the troubles and complaints of their co-workers. The casual racism will come as a real shock.

        At the end of the working day, they will leave, rather dejectedly, and make the journey through thousands of angry drivers, back to their small, old, noisy, apartment. And realise the dream was just a mirage...

        Reply
        • * Yes, there are some sharks but there are also now a few companies offering a NIF and bank account for much less.
          * Apartments are just built like that in Portugal. Not a lot you can do. But yes, the youtubers never tell you this but that's probably because they're staying in much more expensive accommodation from all the money they're raking in. Some of them are literally millionaires.
          * Service isn't always friendly but this isn't America. Yes, you should speak Portugues when you order. That's surely a given.
          * The pastel de nata quality varies from place to place, the same as the quality of tacos vary in Mexico or croissants in France.
          * Salaries are low. Who knew?
          * Yes, you should learn Portuguese in a Portuguese workplace.
          * If you don't try to learn the language and join in with words like caralho, you're probably not going to get invited back for lunch again. Like it or not it's camraderie and you need to have it to get along with people you work with.

          I do agree with some of your points. Don't trust youtube bloggers. If a stranger is friendly there's a good chance they're trying to sell you something. There are plenty of lawyers and accountants out there who overcharge and provide a terrible service.

          I think the problem is these youtubers sell Portugal as a problem-free paradise. In reality it's what anyone should assume it is, a poor country which means salaries are low, the quality of things are low, and people will want to create a business making money off foreigners who have more to spend than the local population.

          Reply
          • > Yes, there are some sharks but there are also now a few companies offering a NIF and bank account for much less.

            Well, isn't that kind of them? I did it myself for about 25 Euros all in.

            > Apartments are just built like that in Portugal. Not a lot you can do.

            Apartments are completely overpriced, both for rental and purchase. The quality is Soviet, for Northern European medium-level prices.

            > Service isn't always friendly but this isn't America.

            Service is often non-existent, and sometimes combative (depending on where you live, there are American enclaves in the two big cities now; I wonder what they think of it... I am not American).

            Two days ago I had a delivery person bring a parcel, then complain to me that my address was wrong, and that I must change it. I pointed out that was the official address, recognised by the Municipal Police on my residence permit, and is on the lease of my apartment, and on the Financas registration of the company I run from that address, and the freguesia is even printed on the street sign she just drove past. She was having none of it, and pointed to her GPS not finding that address. I even did a postcode lookup on my phone, which said the correct She would not let it go, and in the end stomped off muttering and shaking her head.

            > Yes, you should speak Portugues when you order. That's surely a given.

            And surely you understand that takes time? That's surely a given. The only people who move here, who already speak Portuguese, are often treated with overt racism.

            > The pastel de nata quality varies from place to place, the same as the quality of tacos vary in Mexico or croissants in France.

            That was a throwaway; no need to focus on that as if it is a core reason to relocate to a country.

            > Salaries are low. Who knew?

            The Portuguese. And they complain about it every time I talk with them.

            > Yes, you should learn Portuguese in a Portuguese workplace.

            Already covered that above, where you raised learning Portuguese previously.

            > If you don't try to learn the language and join in with words like caralho, you're probably not going to get invited back for lunch again. Like it or not it's camraderie and you need to have it to get along with people you work with.

            I do speak functional Portuguese, it doesn't really help. When the locals speak socially, they use slang. You still won't fit in with a social group unless you spend a long time immersing yourself in the everyday use of informal Portuguese, and learn to swear a lot, and frankly, the results don't seem worth the effort.

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      • Thank you for your insight.
        All you said is true, it's being impossible to live here.
        Wish you luck and good things in your new life 💖

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      • You are right, a severe financial correction is expected worldwide, the indicators are pointing in that direction, it's expected to hit by christmas 2022, what will happen to this country, two more things not mentioned is well educated Portuguese take their diplomas and go work elsewhere, hospitals have no doctors, don't get sick here, a brain drain, who is left, who will work and pay taxes.

        Reply
    • Its extremely hard to make Portuguese friends. Americans, especially African Americans don't know the real Portugal, but when they do, it's not going to be pretty. They generally don't like foreigners, and they really despise Black people.

      Reply
  29. It's becoming unsafe in Portugal. We were shot at close range by some neighbour, who claimed shooting birds in our property as if it was not an issue (for them)! Shot right at us and they could not not sere us right in the field working! Then there is an issue of continuous certified and registered mail theft and many other issues. This is not what should be happening in a developed and safe country that it claims to be.

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  30. We Portuguese as a society, as a system are very egotistic, egoistic and egocentric. Despite our over-hyped "friendliness" what lies beneath is egocentrism sometimes to the extreme. We hold back many things instead of sharing them and letting them go. All those polite sentences that accompany each message are made to hide the EGO and the unwillingness to help and to do the work properly. It's all me, me, me first mentality and that includes me and my extended family as well. And the crookedness as well. Trust me, we won't return your lost wallet in most cases and many of us will try to steal stuff having an opportunity. With some exceptions, of course.

    Helsinki vs. Lisbon: https://abcnews.go.com/Business/helsinki-honest-city-dishonest-lisbon/story?id=20375063

    Reply
    • I just returned from Portugal, and I have to say that people were polite and friendly, I speak Spanish and we were able to have long conversations about everything even politics, I am very political. I left a brand new Iphone worth $1500.00, I called my number, someone answered, and the taxi driver returned my telephone to the hotel where I stayed, needless to say, I left him a thank you gift of $60.00 euros. What I truly hated was that the Carris, metro, many taxis and even the tourist tour buses had no air conditioning in such extreme hot weather. No transportation was accommodating for the elderly or disabled. to top it all, the elevators did not work at the metro station in Lisbon, so I had to carry my luggages up three flights, and I am already 64 years old. I saw a man with one leg doing it too. If you cannot walk long distance uphill, or carry heavy things, please take a taxi, it is worth every cent and it is not expensive for Americans. For Spanish speakers Portugal is a great place for us Cubans it is familiar, the food, the people and the architecture to Habana, so I felt great. I like Porto or Cais Cais a lot more for retirement and quality of life. Loved Portugal, it is the first European country where I found that I belong. The beach is cold like the Pacific in California, but like us, where we have Mexico nearby, they have Spain too and great transportation. I loved the comboi trains, they are more expensive, but comfortable. Good way to travel.

      Reply
      • Hi Gloria,

        I'm glad you enjoyed Portugal. Yes, Lisbon is extremely hilly, so it may not be suitable for everyone. Things (lifts, trains, etc) do break down from time to time, but it is a very comfortable place to live and ideal for retirement.

        Reply
        • James Cave

          I will quit this space as you continue to censor me and do not publish my opinion. F.ex a respose was given to anuel Cardoso 3 dats ago, but u didnt bother to publish it! I beg politely to disagree with your approach!

          Reply
          • Hi Tom

            You referred to the people in your village as "Neandertalers" in that comment. I think it should be pretty obvious why some of your comments cannot be approved.

            Reply
            • HiJames,

              I posted a response yesterday to Kay Miners, This post certainly did not contain
              any word that could be viewed as offensive as you seem to be extremely vigilant on this issue which is ok but in my case i believe I am not crossing any red line.
              You see that a lot of foreigners in this country have had bad experience in dealing with Portuguese people, something that I am sure will happen less in other EU countries. So I would encourage you to let people express their grievances because this seems to be a real issue one has to bear in mind when relocating here!

              Reply
              • Hi Tom,

                You are welcome to comment on this article, but you will need to refrain from using words like lazy, dumb, or neanderthalers if you want your posts approved (and any other offensive words). There are plenty of approved comments from people who have had negative experiences in Portugal. As long as people can share their opinions and experiences in a polite way, I am happy to publish them.

  31. I'm a Brazilian living for the last 20 years in the US, WA state. I'm considering relocating to Portugal, for the following reasons:
    My house is 222 square meters. I pay per year, of property taxes, $9,000. Yes, nine thousand dollars. My electricity and gas bill, monthly in the winter is around $300, in the summer is quite low, $90. Garbage is $35 per month, car insurance is $122 per month, with yearly tax I have to pay to receive new tabs, about $65. Gasoline, you now, five dollars a gallon now. Water is $260 every 2 months. An outing to a middle expensive restaurant, with 20% tip was $75. But the thing that kills me it's the cost of medical. I pay about $100 for my meds monthly, $787 per month for health insurance for 2 people. Last year I had a hysterectomy, went to the hospital on Thursday morning, had surgery, went out on Saturday morning, by taxi, total cost: $67,000 (sixty seven THOUSAND dollars). Since I have medical insurance, I only had to pay $8,500 . But if my other family member also needed a surgery, I would have paid $17,000 for both of us. And I had a crown come loose. Dental price, $3,400 to replace it. My kid when had braces done I had to pay $10,000. Private school? $1,200 for 10 months. Price of food with 4 times a month outing to restaurante, about $900 for 3 people. Wanted to replace the roof, and cost was $15,000 dollars, available only 4 months later. The most inexpensive quote was $12,000, the most expensive one was $17,000. Plumber, about $200 or more for doing almost nothing. Good thing is, there is a Home Depot nearby that I go and have almost everything or parts needed. I even changed the toilet by myself. Amazon delivery very good, return also is excellent, customer service in US usually excellent. But my kid received a message from his college last week saying there was an active threat at his college, to stay home. And I think here is one of the most peaceful places in the US. Oh, and my dad changed location for his business to someplace with less expensive rent. Then his Income tax this year was $35,000, from $10,000. And you know why? Because the US lives off of the middle class.

    Is living in Portugal as expensive as here? Or medical expenses crazy like this? Or repairs to the house? Can somebody give me numbers, please?

    Reply
    • The first thing in the US is making choices. Peoples have different priorities and are willing to pay for them.
      You always can live in low costs states, and pay little taxes or so.
      I would like to go to Indiana than Portugal. For people with low income, a lot of help is provided. You are going to be older every day, unfortunately. The quality of medical care in the US is still the best in the world. Keep smiling and look around.

      Reply
      • Best in the world is nationalistic and subjective. The quality is good, if one can afford it. Here lies the problem….

        Reply
      • The quality of medical care is far from the best in the U.S. It's not even in the top ten. And apparently Portugal isn't the 3rd best in Western Europe either, as I had repeatedly heard on these promo videos.
        I feel so let down right now..fortunately I haven't invested anything financial but my heart has been vested in Portugal and my dreams to retire to a country that had a completely different picture in my mind based on everything I had seen.
        I feel like this has been the biggest of the scams because not being honest about some of the negatives was and is complete fraud...
        particularly if you are claiming to aid people in acquiring temporary visa's. These are life decisions. Not everyone has half a million to 5 million saved. Some may have 100k and would be living off their SS.

        I was invited to apply for Portuguese citizenship a couple of years back as part of a lg group of "sephardic jews " (members or descendants of Spanish & Portuguese Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism or face expulsion from Spain after 1492)
        It's a very tedious process and takes a good year proving your connections & documentation so I procrastinated...but continued researching Portugal... never imagined the videos of older people would be scamming people my age and older. I still have 3 yrs until my son's out of college.

        Right now I feel like I've been drugged, spun around 50 times, thrown in a van, and been driven to a strange place called Portuhell...not quite the place I imagined.
        I have no idea what to do with all this. I'm done here. I know that.
        America is no longer what it once was. It's time to move on.

        Reply
        • Hi Karen,

          I imagine the claim about Portugal being third best refers to safety. It frequently gets mentioned as one of the safest places, based on rankings from the Global Peace Index.

          I don't think there's a scam here. These promo videos (which, importantly, are typically made by YouTubers rather than the PT government) don't mention the downsides but every country obviously has its downsides. They paint Portugal as a paradise but that's surely not believable. And for most people that move here, the downsides are manageable, especially for what you get in return - and especially if you're looking for an easy way to get out of the US right now.

          Reply
        • The United States is one election away from becoming a Fascist dictatorship so I agree 100% with you: it is time to move. And like you I was beginning to have my heart set on Portugal based on all the information I had read about the country. After reading this article and the comments it is back to the drawing board. Looking seriously at Cuenca Ecuador and Boquete Panama now.

          Reply
      • If you are a millionaire, you'll get better medical treatment in the US than Portugal. If you're an average Joe, you'll get better medical treatment in Portugal rather than the US. Even with health insurance (recommended) it also won't bankrupt you.

        Portugal isn't the best in Europe, but care is good and the private system is very affordable.

        Reply
    • Not nearly. But are you retiring? 'Cause there you have to pay huge amounts of money, but you have money for it. Here you'll struggle to pay your bills. So don't look just at prices, look for the cost of live.

      Reply
    • Michelle,
      As an American living in Portugal, I can tell you that the Cost of Living is much better/cheaper here than in the USA. And the Quality of Life far better. And the people friendlier, the culture superior, etc. I couldn't get out of the US fast enough and am much happier (and healthier) in Portugal.

      Reply
  32. We moved to Lisboa 6 years ago after living in london for 30+ years. we are both from africa - my wife is white and I am black. most of what is said is true but what is really important is what weight you give to these issues.

    the best thing about portugal is its people. yes, they’ll scam you if you have to deal with them professionally and aren’t careful; yes, they won’t turn up on time; yes, i almost always experience racism especially when dealing with older people or in establishments that cater to rich people and the way they treat Africans can be jaw dropping. but they are always relentlessly humane. i know that i can always find the humanity in them; they are the most unassuming people i have ever met;

    sometimes the kindness i receive from total strangers brings me close to tears. once i was leaving a metro station in the pouring rain trying to use a newspaper for cover when someone appeared beside me and offered me an umbrella and insisted i take it. another time i was trying to hail a cab with bags of shopping when an older gent told me they wouldn’t stop there and then proceeded to lift my bags and take me to a place where i could catch a cab and patted me on the back when i thanked him profusely.

    Right in the centre of Lisbon is a square that has been colonized by Africans - i can’t imagine any other country in Europe allowing that (portugal has been cosmopolitan for hundreds of years). I have lived and travelled in many parts of Europe but nowhere have i seen Africans more completely at home than in Lisbon i have seen African women with their babies strapped to their backs and once an African woman carrying a load on her head and walking along.

    If you stop in the middle of traffic to do something you won’t hear a single person blowing their horn. At first this made me think they were inefficient but now i appreciate the live and let live nature and i tell myself “be portuguese” when i feel my stress levels rising.

    When i encounter bureaucracy and i really need to get something done i just refuse to go away - the Portuguese will not simply ignore your pain. Yesterday, a young boy and his brother raced across a fairly busy road in Guimaraes on their powerful go karts while the pedestrian crossing was red (luckily nothing happened). Everybody in the area (about 20 people) was rooted to the spot until their father was located.

    I have been ripped off by builders, looked down upon because of my skin colour quite a few times, had to deal with maddening bureaucracy and crazy driving but for my money, these are the best people i have encountered in Europe - unassuming, polite, warm and helpful to strangers and often showing such tenderness as you are unlikely to find elsewhere. There are many things to like in portugal but the best thing about portugal is the portuguese.

    Reply
    • thanks grav for detail explanation and examples , its really helpful , we are also looking to move Portugal soon .

      Reply
    • grav, I have been living in Portugal for three years. I am white, so have not experienced the racism you have. I am so sorry you have ever experienced it at all. But the kindness of the people you described, I have experienced many, many times. I have also been brought to tears by this kindness. It is remarkable. I am so happy and feel so privileged to live here. I hope the racism here becomes a thing of the past soon. I have a feeling it will, as younger people here are even more tolerant in this way, it seems.

      Reply
    • Grav this is a fantastic comment. You capture the contradictions well. And all the better to hear it from an African. As white American it doesn’t appear racists here as I don’t see confederate flags and other glaring examples but I know from Brazilians there is racism here. I have also heard comments from Portuguese about Brazilians that could be taken as racist. But it doesn’t feel like it is in the nature of the Portuguese to chase black people out of a neighborhood or march down the street chanting Jews will not replace us! And maybe that is because they don’t have leaders encouraging it.

      Reply
    • I have been coming to Portugal for over 34 years. I am an American married to a Native. I like what you said about the weight that one places on these negatives. I am now retired and live here full time. We live north of Lisbon where we have owned an apt for 15 years, it has more than doubled in price. I left the US because as a retired firefighter we don't have access to health insurance until we are 65yo. My wife and I were paying over $1000 a month for health insurance. I feared becoming ill and loosing all we worked for due to the sky high price of any hospital procedure. Here a policy for us is 165 euros a month. I have had an operation in a private hospital, 5 star service. You cant move to another country and expect it to be the same as the one you left. All of the statements about red tape are true. Yes there is a large amount of dog crap on the sidewalks from north to south. Working wages are low. People can seem rude and short in the government service offices. I am the one that handles legal things in our home and it can be daunting, almost impossible to resolve anything. Been trying to trade my drivers card for 2 years now, still waiting. Despite all these things ,I love it here and plan to stay. I don't recognize the US. I was a city Firefighter and I have seen the dark underbelly of American life. Shootings, stabbings, poverty, racism. Most cities or towns have an area where this happens regularly. Not to mention the lustful worship of weapons and mass shootings. Kids don't have shooting drills here in school. With all its imperfections Portuguese kids aren't shot in school. Shootings are rare. I am lucky and look at Portugal through the lens of a retiree who worked his ass off in the US, saved money and now enjoy the Portugal of someone retired with nice pensions. I speak the language well and have many Portuguese friends, and some family. Life is completely different for someone working here with the current wages. I see the major cities becoming so expensive most locals cant afford to live there, like NYC, San Fran, Chicago, etc etc. Its not perfect but it is safe. The Portuguese people are hospitable, generous, kind and caring. But unlike the US where people pretend to be nice (fake) immediately. Here they are little more reserved, need to know you first, you have to build a relationship. Portugal is a great place to live, I am lucky and privileged to be here. But it took me 3 decades of work and savings in the US to live the good life here. The streets aren't paved with gold. Temper your expectations or stay home.

      Reply
    • Grav, I've lived in Portugal for 26 years now and couldn't be happier. I too find the people kind, friendly and unassuming. The red tape as far as renewing one's Residencia is concerned is a horror, I'll admit, but it's best to get a professional to do it for you, who you have to pay of course, but at least you're spared the headaches and frustrations. The reason the price of houses and flats have become ridiculously high is very much due to the fact that many people who have come here can afford to pay these prices which has made it very difficult for the Portuguese themselves to buy property. Which brings me to say that what is really horrifying is all the construction going on which means that Portugal (and here I'm talking about Sintra and the Cascais areas) is rapidly losing it's lovely personality. All the beautiful green areas are disappearing rapidly, to make place for rather ugly and expensive 'condominios'. Greed has taken over. But I doubt whether Portugal is the only country going through this. So driving can be a bit frightening, but I've lived in other countries which are far worse, so it's no big deal. People here aren't armed, there are no mass shootings and it's safer here than in many countries. Actually I feel very priviledged living here and can't think of anywhere else that I would be so happy.

      Reply
  33. If we didn't have internet, people would be a lot more humble and accepting of the countries they live in. We can't all have the greatest and best of everything.

    This is a great article though.

    Reply
    • Dear Jonny,

      I moved to Portugal over two years ago. If I had it to do over again, I would never move here. Last October I was attacked and robbed. According to the robbers, they were put up to the crime by the owner of a small real estate agency. Reports of Portugal being safe seem to be largely written or at least backed by the Portuguese. If you research the subject they have hundreds of thousands of very serious crimes committed yearly. Not even murders are investigated. When I reported the very serious assault and robbery, I was told they do not have the money to investigate crimes. I brought them DNA and finger prints of the criminals. They said they could not afford to analyze the evidence and refused to take it. The weather, on the other hand, is okay.

      Reply
      • Theda, I am sorry that you went through that, but your personal experience does not make it all the same anywhere in Portugal. It is an isolated case, and let's treat it like that.

        Reply
        • No, it's not isolated. What she is talking about, at least in part, is the systemic corruption and incompetence in Portugal (they go hand-in-hand: one leads to the other which leads back to the other, etc. etc.) You perhaps can feasibly make the claim that the crime she experienced was isolated, but the resultant corruption and inefficiency she encountered when trying to redress that crime was, as any Portuguese (yes, including you) can tell you is the norm, the status quo.

          Speaking from personal experience--which, yes, is still anecdotal evidence, I understand--I've had an enormous robbery in my own home go uninvestigated by the police even though the thieves admitted to the robbery in text messages (emboldened of course by their knowledge that the police would do nothing); I've had over 100,000 Euros straight-up stolen from me by corrupt appellate judges (being a business owner here does nothing but put a target on your back. Being an honest business owner makes that target enormous.); and have been waiting for five years for a trial to take place regarding a random hate-crime assault in which I was punched in the head over 50 times by two individuals.

          Portugal is a nightmare. The thing is, because I'm not myopic, I understood this before I experienced any of these problems personally.

          Reply
          • I wholeheartedly agree with Todd. It's systemic! Beware! Only those who have lived in Portugal for at least 10 years can advice you best and you should listen to them if you want to stay away from all of it! This is extremely fraudulent society hidden beneath a superficial "politeness" and "friendliness". They themselves claim to be "passive aggressive" and this is what hides beneath which is worse than living in a crime infested city. Mark my word!

            Reply
        • I don't think it's an isolated case, i live in Quarteira, once upon a time you could turn to any news channel on TV and nearly every crime report started with ''today in Quarteira,,,,,'' i notice now very few stories about my city are broadcasted but i am a local and so are all my family, i get a feeling they don't want to harm tourism, no bad reports will air on tv news, only good pink rainbows and unicorns.

          Reply
      • Today I was almost attacked by a young aggressive guy who rode his motocross bike across the vinyards at at least 40mph. I was really furious and pretended to throw somme pebbles at him which I obviously faked! The guy stopped, yelled at me and tried to kick my head with his helmet. I was in panic because there was no one nearby! He insulted me and threw pebbles at me and told me to return to my home country! I thought what a rude and vicious bastard. Unfortunately this incident reinforced my already very bad opinion about Portuguese people! i have lived in 4 different countries, but I have never seen such a primitive, rude and brutal people, especially the male population is the worst the EU has to offer!
        I have also decided to return to my more civilised home country as I can no longer put up with these retarded folks!

        Reply
        • If you pretend to throw rocks at someone riding their motorbike (even if they're going faster than they should) what do you expect?

          Based on all your other comments (and your questions on Quora) It seems you have a really bad opinion of Portugal and an obsession about it leaving the EU. I really don't know why you care so much. Whether or not it's a member really doesn't affect your day to day life.

          Things go wrong in Portugal, but most people that move here just get on and enjoy the sunshine, the beaches, and the cheap wine. You seem incapable of doing that.

          Reply
        • Please advise what your civilised country is, hopefully within Europe, so I can move there as well. I can't stand theft, fraud and violence.

          Reply
          • I think Southern Europe in general is somewhat tough for us Northerners! But at least in Italy or France people share an interest in you and its easy to have good conversations! In Portugal people seem to be self centered, indifferent, and have no other interest than their family , football and their mobile phone screen. And.. it is normal to have ones dog barking all day on the balcony of a condominium. Truly antisocial behavior is easy to find!
            I have decided to quit as staying more years would be a waste of time and its really depressing to live around these folks!

            Reply
  34. My experience is limited to only a two week visit, so I sure am no authority, but I was surprised to read about a "can't do attitude." I wonder if this varies a lot, depending on where you are and what's going on. I found what seemed to me a generally respectful culture where people seemed to take some pride in their ability to do a job well -- though their definition of well done may be up to them, so if you disagree it's just your tough luck.

    It is for sure a tough economic situation for most people - and was far worse in the memory of people living today. Sometimes from looking at pictures of old houses in the country, it looks like living conditions were medieval primitive, even in the middle of the 20th century. They moved up fast, and the residential housing industry hasn't gone as well as it should have. Part of the reason is that the thrifty Portuguese apparently don't routinely hire building inspectors who can detect problems with a house, so these problems go undetected and the industry has no incentive to improve their practices, or perhaps even the awareness that there's a problem. People considering a house purchase don't need to follow their example.

    As for the food - no complaints here, but just wanted to mention that at lunch in Azeitão, my arroz de tamboril came with a bottle of hot sauce that probably would have put me in the hospital if I'd used it incautiously. While it isn't usually so hot as that, peri-peri or piri-piri is a bottled hot pepper sauce that should be widely available in Portugal - making it the hot sauce capital of Europe, am I right? And if you're cooking at home, look for the jar of "vinho d'alho", not hot but it's a simple way to avoid blandness.

    Reply
    • Not always fab.

      I moved to Portugal over two years ago. If I had it to do over again, I would never move here. Last October I was attacked and robbed. According to the robbers, they were put up to the crime by the owner of a small real estate agency. Reports of Portugal being safe seem to be largely written or at least backed by the Portuguese. If you research the subject they have hundreds of thousands of very serious crimes committed yearly. Not even murders are investigated. When I reported the very serious assault and robbery, I was told they do not have the money to investigate crimes. I brought them DNA and finger prints of the criminals. They said they could not afford to analyze the evidence and refused to take it. The weather, on the other hand, is okay.

      Reply
  35. These are all good but youre missing the biggest downside of them all...the flushes in the toilets. Some have been unbelievably weak!! If I'm going to be stuffing my face full of bacalhau and cream I want a crapper that can take a bit of a beating, not something I have to flush twenty times to get it to work!!! Is there bureaucracy in the pipes as well???!

    Reply
    • I hate low flow toilets but not enough or it to be the biggest downside of them all. It is, however, one of the top 3 things I don't like about my apartment. I'm glad the things I do like about it far outweigh those 3.

      Reply
    • Get a ToTo toilet, they use little water and can handle whatever you throw at them. Best toilets in the world. They are probably available in Portugal.

      Reply
    • You must have a huge outlet that produces a LOT of poo that cloggs the toilet no matter how strong the flushwork is.

      Reply
  36. So much anger! Just leave. Return to your countries today - what is stopping you? Perhaps you miss the random shootings in schools, at work, at concert venues, and other public places. Perhaps you miss the loss of women rights over their own bodies or the right to vote. Oh, I bet you miss seeing streets lined with homeless tents. No, it must be the lack of access to healthcare that you miss the most. Sure, I get it. Portugal is so horrible because it lacks all the above issues. Just go home already and take all your anger with you.

    Reply
    • I went already somewhere else, and I am very happy about it, so it's quite a weak argument to tell people "to go home", how do you want to improve the situation when you forbid people to share their experiences?

      I like to chime in here because the author of the article writes very fairly about all the issues with Portugal, which is a nice counterbalance to all the expat agencies and YouTubers showing only the good sides for clicks and clients.

      All what I can say - with a budget of $1000-$5000 (area dependent) for a person/family you will get a better living standards, health care, rule of law and more developed country/society, career outlook in USA/Germany/Spain or even Dubai. In some cases Portugal might be better, but its mostly limited to retired people and people who work for their foreign companies and foreign salaries, so not truly dependent on Portugal.

      Reply
      • "its mostly limited to retired people and people who work for their foreign companies and foreign salaries, so not truly dependent on Portugal."

        I first came here in 1974 and your comments are PERFECT!

        Reply
    • You are directing your comment to US-Americans. But the US is definitely not the centre of the world. No random shootings in my home country Austrian and we hardly see the homeless - as we don't see many homeless in Lisbon where we moved to. So cool down and look at your despise for the US. (There will be upsides and downsides wherever we move to on the planet). Looking at the good a n d the bad is helpful to people). A downside in Lisbon: Unbelievable noise level if you happen to live under the flight path. Which is basically half of Lisbon. Everything around Marques de Pombal and left of it is affected, not to mention the fumes. You don't want to live there if you are sensitive to noise or have small children)

      Reply
      • Why do Germans move to the US, 10 for every one American moving to Germany, of Europe is so wonderful???

        Yes there are rare shootings that are highly isolated in very specific areas most Americans avoid. . I’ve never been robbed, shot at or attacked in the US.

        Reply
    • Dear Annie,

      I moved to Portugal over two years ago. If I had it to do over again, I would never move here. Last October I was attacked and robbed. According to the robbers, they were put up to the crime by the owner of a small real estate agency. Reports of Portugal being safe seem to be largely written or at least backed by the Portuguese. If you research the subject they have hundreds of thousands of very serious crimes committed yearly. Not even murders are investigated. When I reported the very serious assault and robbery, I was told they do not have the money to investigate crimes. I brought them DNA and finger prints of the criminals. They said they could not afford to analyze the evidence and refused to take it. I've already booked my flight to leave and I am counting the minutes.

      Reply
    • Annie Goldmann, i totally agree with you. I have lived in Cape Town and trust me Portugal is a very nice place to live. good people good weather and many many more..

      Reply
    • You sound a bit angry yourself. I am sorry you are filled with such hostility towards Americans. The universe gives you permission to let it go. Release yourself from the shackles of your poisonous contempt.
      .

      Reply
    • The writer wasn’t angry. It was a personal piece or blog on their own positive and negatives on the country. You clearly live in the US, no one is wishing they were there with you sweetheart. YOU sound angry. Leave the writer alone, disagree if you like but pathetic that you attack. Perhaps leave your own country seeing as you sound so miserable there.

      Reply
  37. Spent a decade in Portugal and was treated both ways, but again and again they confirmed that the Portuguese have such a LOW self respect for them-all-selves and such a passion for "belittling" others. I am losing the respect for those "western euro" countries that had MI-RA-CU-LO-US-LY had acquired overseas colonies in their DEEP past... and gaining a LOT of respect for some of the Eastern European nations that are growing STRONG economically. As it SEEMS the Portugeese love to kiss up to the Americans and to belittle the Eastern Euro-Peons. This must originate from their own extremely low self esteem as a "Eastern-alike" country battered by many decades of Stalin-like dick-tator-ship. I was shocked when my seemingly "Best Friend" all of a sudden spoke up about me, thinking I can't understand when she is talking to the other person, but I was well aware of.

    Reply
    • I noticed the double standard too, although being considered "rich American" is not always better when being in Portugal since the level of dishonesty among professionals can be quite high and they would try to rip you off. Nonetheless, considering the fact that Portugal is EU member for way more years than Eastern Europe, the difference in economic and societal development is very high in favor of Eastern Europe, and they begun to take over Portugal in domestic purchasing power parity and other metrics.

      The fact that some Portuguese speak about their colonial past with proud is actually very weird, considering colonialism included slavery and worse things. I never heard it from a Spaniard or a British, yet apparently enslaving some places in Africa etc. centuries ago was the last successful thing for Portugal and they like to bring it up as their time as an empire, and as part of the national pride.

      Reply
    • If not for being in the EU, Portugal would be a basket case. I love the country but the article was spot on on many of the issues.

      Reply
    • Don't worry about it, soon the country will be overrun with Brazilians and we are to change our dialect to their language, start learning.

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    • Well even tho most or even all those things are true or can be true, it is clearly written by very demanding person that want to whine about everything ... some would say written by Karen.
      I mean, to be honest most of those things are not important at all. And if they are, then there are no country that don't have same problems, more/less. Also most of those things can be avoided by location and other ways.
      If you need all those things to be non existant then you really should not move at all since you have enough problems in your life and you can't avoid any problems possibly cos of financial reasons that also brings up the question, why do you even more to Portugal. It is not the place to start building your wealth, it is place to move when you are wealthy and you want to have more sunshine in your life and want to get away from everything related to work, stress and all that. If you are moving there when you can actually afford it, then it is easy to avoid all those problems, except cold water in ocean, but that is just a worst problem to bring up. It is as stupid downside as it would be bringing up warm weather in Australia as a major downside, moving in there. Also cold Atlantic ocean is only Portugals problem, right.
      Well, lets see if that makes any sense and see what actually can be easily avoided:
      Smoking - pretty easy to avoid
      Noise - easy, by picking your location, if you can't pick then should you even move?
      Customs - there is no must for importing stuff in all the time is there?
      Getting things delivered - is that a must thing, really. You go there for good weather and you need to sit home all the time and wait things to be delivered to you. Go outside it is good for you. Anyways, it is really super important, NO. Is that the reason you move there to get faster delivery?
      Overtourism - really, huge problem to see that area that you like to live in attract people around the world. Can you avoid that ... hmm, you can pick your location and you don't need to hang around main tourists attractions all the time, do you, so I guess you can avoid that. Go to the countyside if you hate people...
      Cold ocean - can you avoid that ... NO. You are forced to go swimming by Portugal government. There are no pools in Portugal, so can not be avoided. Also rest of the world have only warm oceans and seas around them, so that is major downside. I haven't been in the ocean for many years, still alive.
      Rising Cost of Living - That is huge. There is no other country that have same problem. Around the world everything is going cheaper, all the time ... only Portugal is getting more expencive. Inflating FIAT also is only Portugals problem.
      Driving - can be avoided. Don't have to be driving all the time. Pick your location where most things you need are walking distance, stay healthy and be green. Also there are bad drivers all around the world.
      'Who you know' attitude - well where isn't. Isn't that even a meme in social media, were people love to start with 'do you know who I am' and stuff. I'd say it is problem around the world, you help me, I help you. Blood is thicker than water and so on... Pretty sure in every country it is harder to start something if you are not local. Who likes some foreign people to 'steal' local peoples possible income.
      Job market - as I sayd, Portugal is where people move to spend, not to earn and it is not even close to the countries that have lowest pays and least available jobs. But this is probably one of the downsides actually worth mentioning in this list unlike most. And it is true, but again, even just in Europe Portugal is not the only one, with same problem, most southern EU countries have exactly the same problem. Portugal, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Malta (some more some less) ... you name it.
      Lack of costumer service - can not be avoided most cases, but not only Portugal's problem, so bringing it up as a downside to Portugal, not really good point. Pick any EU southern country again and those are all the same, really. Pay is not motivation enough, warm weather make people lazy and distracted so what do you expect. There are plenty costumer service where workers can earn more if they make an effort, unlike occupations that pay you same no matter how much you try. Isn't really only Portugals unique problem again. Many countries again, same same.
      Slow pace of life, glass half empty - could put those things all under one topic, along with lack of costumer service. All connected to pay. If you are not motivated by the money you make that gets you nowhere, why bother. Haven't seen too many people going extra mile, earning minimum wage anywhere else eighter.
      Unless the work for tips as well.
      Corruption - yes, could agree with that and that can not be avoided in cases. Even tho we all know Portugal is not the only country with that element and not even the worst, it is still probably one of the countries worth mentioning. Tho we all know what is the reason behind it. Like all most corrupted counties in the world, corruption excist due people earn too little money and can't pass the oportunity for some extra due need of survival, that salary can't provide in many cases. Corruption rate goes down if wages go up since noone want to risk they're job, life and family well being over few extra $ that they don't need for survival. Until they earn less than they need it will go on.
      Dogs - really, it is ridiculous to even bring it up.
      Language - I remeber how easy it has been in every country to learn they're language. That is not the case in Portugal. It is the only country in the world where picking up the lnguage is hard. Everywhere else it is soooo easy. Ridiculous ...
      Taxes - only Portugal have taxes. Thank god I don't live in there. Just so you know, Portugal is one of the worlds tax heavens, and people move to Portugal for that reason. Some things you need to digg deeper I guess.
      Cold homes and areas - again, it is your pick, where you move. Do you think rest of the world has warm homes by default or mby they have been made warm? Alaska also has gold winters, noone ask you to move there.
      Some things are expencive - yes, that is again only Portugals problem, everywhere else everything cost the same and nothing is more expencive than somehwere else. Again very ... point
      Lot of paperwork - name one country where there is no paprework. There is none. This is how things work in the world.
      Hard to make friends - after reading this article I am sure it is hard for you to make friends for sure. If you would pull out that thing bothering inside you, it would all go better, I'm sure.

      This article is more acurate if you call it 'Downsides in every country in the world, also Portugal, for a Karen's of the world', for the rest it is not that bad, if you have any skills adopting and making things work for you, you are fine.
      Lets be real here. What would normal people think if I would tell them that my reasons for not moving to Portugal were dogs and cold ocean water. Well, I think they would think that I am ridiculous idiot.
      So that whole article is a joke to me. There are few points that are worth mentioning but other than that it is a joke.
      Don't get me wrong. I understand that this is part of living in there, but is it really a downside worth mentioning or is it just life, that is more-less same everywhere ... You can pick any place in the world, there is same problems and few other problems Potugal don't have and few less problems Portugal have. If there was a perfect world, then it would excist until people discover that and soon it will be the same as the rest of the world.

      Reply
      • I strongly disagree.
        Oh sure, I can live in a 5 million $ villa and avoid all that? Noise, dogs, low build quality, freezing during winter. Right? Great....
        The only tiny detail you miss, I can avoid most of all that inconveniences while living for average salary somewhere else, and do not need to spend that much to make a place bearable.

        The quality of the homes for the price is really bad. Paying double for the same quality as somewhere else doesn't make the point invalid. I can have a fairly well insulated home for average market price somewhere else, but not in Portugal. In Portugal you have to pick something high end for much higher price or total low quality, there is no fair quality - only overpriced low quality apartments, or even more overpriced "luxury apartments".

        Not getting stuff delivered? That's a big inconvenience, precisely because I don't want to to drive and prefer to spend time outside in the nature, than in some shopping mall. And there is stuff you can only order online, stuff you can't buy locally. In such expensive place like Portugal, it shouldn't be considered as some type of "luxury", I got stuff delivered in Spain to a 300$ village apartment, stuff delivered in Colombia the same day, in Germany, in USA, but somehow I couldn't get stuff delivered in Portugal to a 1000$ apartment in a fairly sized city? Laughable and not acceptable, sorry. I need stuff delivered reliably for my work, its not even a choice.

        Paperwork? Compared to another countries the amount of it in Portugal is horrendous. Only because you have to deal with 10% of it somewhere else, doesn't make the point wrong.

        Bad customer service? I can deal with it in a third world country and a complete 3$ breakfast, for a 30$ thing in Portugal I except slightly more.

        I could go on, but I guess my point is clear. I could live with all the downsides like no deliveries, low quality, bad services etc. if it were for a fraction of a modern country price. The problem is - Portugal has first world prices, while a lot of the stuff is at developing country level. Not a good deal considering all the downsides moving to another country brings with it.

        This article is perfectly balanced, and a good counterweight to all the hype about Portugal. Frankly, Portugal isn't a terrible place, but it is currently overhyped and definitely not for everyone, especially for dynamic people looking for a a fair value for what they are willing to spend, and overall good work environment.
        All downsides from the article are true, and even if the stuff exist somewhere else, those places are either much cheaper, or the downsides are much less significant and occur less often- if similarly priced.

        Reply
        • I agree with you on everything. And I want to add that dentists in Portugal are really mostly dishonest and bad quality crooks, and yes, the dog bark is out of control since these people do not understand anything about respect for their neighbour, only act "polite" on the surface, but deep inside as they say: "We are passively aggressive", which are not downsides, but just information for future expats.

          Reply
          • True, passive aggressive, with nice on surface is accurate, and usually not giving a crap about their neighbors blocking floors with their bikes, furniture and not doing anything about barking dogs. Professionals are usually a rip off, not valuing professionality, and wont care about a client losing money/time they could easily prevent, simply but keeping their deadlines and what they signed in contracts, usually giving some cute excuses instead.

            Indeed, it is just a description based on my experience, and I can understand when some people prefer a lifestyle with less rules and less strict social norms, but the weird mixture of modern country prices for low overall low quality of everything, with social standards and low work ethic similar to Middle East is just not for me, and it will surprise many future expats.

            Reply
          • The dog bark is absolutely unbearable, I have a woman living 100m away from me , in another house and she lets the little bastard on the balcony all day, today at 10 pm the beast is still barking, but apparently everybody of my so much appreciated Portuguese neighbours has no problem with this.!

            I think living in Portugal can be just ok when you limit contact to the locals to a minimum! Most of them have n ot learnt civil duties!

            Reply
            • The dog barking I can just about deal with - it is the children that scream and run about, encouraged by the parents, as if the screaming should be shared by everyone.

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      • Calm down, start breathing slowly... the your anger will vanish and you will see that most of it is actually true, regardless of how you want to cover it for yourself.

        Reply
      • Maybe all those things are not important to you but they are important to the rest of us who are writing here and after all, this article says it clearly what most of us, expats are thinking so it must be true ! And no, it's not like that everywhere....Of course, we are not 'forced to go swimming' as you mentioned but it would be nice to be able to when it's 35 degrees at the beach ! It's possible in France, Spain and Italy to name a few places, so no it's not the same everywhere. People come to Portugal mostly for the 'sun and beaches' so it's very disappointed unless you don't like swimming of course. Anyway, people are entitled to their opinion and if those comments help some who are considering moving to Portugal, it's good for them to be aware of those downsides before.

        I wish I had read all those comments and well written article before making the mistake to move here.

        Reply
        • I wonder...why was moving a mistake..? Because the ocean is cold...? I mean isn't that a pretty obvious fact, aren't you supposed to make research or have common sense before moving anywhere? You know such things can be undone...just move away no? Honestly, this is a ridiculous discussion...it seems like you guys are all spoiled. Firstly, perfection- if there ever is such thing- is subjective, not objective. If one comes to Portugal for swimming in warm waters...that's a little stupid...and not a disappointment. Disappointments are a displeasure caused by the non-fulfilment of one's hopes or expectations. Hopes and expectations should be based on real facts, and not some imaginary dream one has. So stop complaining, and content yourself with what you have, or either wise you will keep doing your so called 'mistakes' throughout all your life. No one is forcing you to stay, or keeping you from solving your 'mistake'. Why complain, if you can act?

          However, I do believe it is crucial to discuss downsides as much as upside, and this was a really interesting and nice article to read, so thank you.

          Reply
          • The problem, if you google about moving to Portugal most results popping out are some relocation agencies and dishonest influencers/lawyers praising Portugal as the heaven on earth, praying on gullible people.

            And some people sort of are...Cold ocean? It's literally a thing everyone can google in few minutes. I really don't get how some people can be disappointed abut it.

            On the other hand, some stuff can not be googled. Excessive bureaucracy, TRUE prices, business conduct, service levels, everyday culture etc. Quite many negatives so similarly priced countries. The only way is to read as many experiences as possible and talk to people. And most experiences shared on internet are not very positive, although there is also some preventable poor decision making among them, like the water temperature disappointment, so not sure if those should be taken 100% seriously.

            Moving to a wrong place is usually not an existential mistake, it can be fixed easily, yet doing some proper research and visiting it BEFORE a move is usually less work and much cheaper. From my own experience as an ex-immigrant in Portugal, I can only suggest to reconsider it.

            Reply
          • You're cherry-picking one bullet point, cold seawater, when the article carefully detailed about fifteen more serious issues.

            Know another problem here? Intellectual dishonesty and bad-faith arguments.

            Reply
        • Yes all the comments should have been read. I'm very happy for all of you sharing the truth. The Google searches only promote retirement in PT. I am definitely reconsidering the move. Not as much of a tax haven anymore. For those retiring NHR won't cut taxes as you have no employment income. Some of us aren't well to do, looking for our money to stretch no longer possible in Ontario and to escape the winters as our bodies age. Noone has explained the consequences on TFSA etc. CRA doesn't know and PT very vague. I was warned about relocating from an authority who speaks to internationals frequently. I visit end Dec 90 days. My eyes will be open. If Canada is allowed in with pandemic restrictions in winter.

          Reply
      • Quite contrary, I enjoyed reading the author's "23 downsides" with some amusements (in reflection of the stumplings . As a current expat resident living in Portugal, I can associate most, if not all, of these downsides. I appreciate the author's effort in sharing these insights.

        Would I still choose Portugal if I knew all these downsides before moving? Absolutely yes. Does it mean these downsides are just some useless/meaningless bickering? Absolutely not.

        Take poor insulation of Portuguese houses and high electricity cost for example, I sort of knew it but never expected it to be soooo bad. My electricity bill for the first winter month in Portugal was 3 times more than what I paid in Switzerland's winter even though I already tried to accept/cope with lower indoor temperature! It was a nasty surprise. I've found ways to adapt by now so it doesn't stop me from enjoying life in Portugal.

        Take cold ocean for another example, I also kind of knew it but still hoped to find warmer ocean down the south. Once I realized that I can't stay in the ocean comfortably for more than 30 minutes in Lagos - one of the most visited areas in Algarve in southern Portugal - even in August, I gave up the ideal of limiting myself to southern Portugal.

        The point I'm trying to make is that everyone has his/her own priorities that lead to the final decision of settling in Portugal or elsewhere. Unbiased information, such as this article, is always nice to have and appreciated.

        Reply
      • This is a serious rant. And to invest all the time to dispute all the points of the opinion. Or as we say here in States, “opinions are like assholes…everyone has one”. It would make one think you have a rooting interest in making sure people keep moving to Portugal. Like maybe you are in a business that is tied to people moving to Portugal. Otherwise why waste your time replying? 🙂 By the way I am considering Portugal, and my family is Dutch. I love Europe.

        Reply
      • Sounds like you can’t handle the truth. The author is spot on and just giving notice of things he does not like. I agree with most of what he says. I am portuguese and live in the south but agree with the author. I lived in the states and one problem there is the prevalence of violent crime. By your logic if we move there we should ignore it because there is violence everywhere.

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      • “ It is not the place to start building your wealth, it is place to move when you are wealthy and you want to have more sunshine in your life and want to get away from everything related to work, stress and all that.” Excellent point, couldn’t agree more!

        Reply
      • I have lived in North America, Asia, UK, Western, Central and Eastern Europe, I consider myself international and not tied down to any country my parents were both from 2 different nationalities meaning I am from 4 and from the foreign country in which I was born.

        This being said I had bought a cell phone in Asia and was moving to Portugal and at the custom office at the airport I needed to pay a 280 euros tax fee for the cell phone that cost me the equilvavency around 120 euros in Asia, but I am a freelancer, all my contacts, all my business is on that phone so I need to pay twice in import tax that my phone was worth. SO YES customs is a big issue in Portugal and its not the case in many other european countries.

        I really enjoy living in Portugal, for me its one of the best countries in the world, I find the people friendly and pretty much easy going, making friends is difficult for Portuguese are very family oriented, but I don't see this is a bad thing. Portugal is a lot safer than most European countries and that is one of the reasons.

        Bureaucracy, well as I mentioned previously I am international I think Belgium, France and others have no less nor more bureaucracy than Portugal, and the corruption is probably about the same.

        Corruption is a big thing in Portugal but it is worse in some other EU countries, in some countries the police tells you to leave the station without taking a report after you been assaulted or your car has been stolen. Portugal is corrupt for the EU is corrupt, the EU did not even want to accept the democratic referendum of UK where the population had voted, and still wanted to control UK borders and immigration policies etc, they did not want to even recognize the sovereignity of the UK, and did everything to try to force UK to do a second referendum and to punish UK for having the audacity for leaving the EU.

        For me the biggest pro for living in Portugal its not the great food and wine, but safety there is no terrorism here and very low muslim community, which is one of the biggest reasons that many western europeans leave their home country.

        I disagree with the cant do attitude being attributed to Portugal for this can't do attitude is very much european in other EU countries I needed to pay in taxes and social security up to 75% of my income, in Portugal I pay about 40% which pretty standard around the world, if you want to pay low taxes go to UK there it is 21%.

        Tourism is a problem all over EU and not just for Portugal go to Italy, France or any other hot spots for toursim, and the truth is all want money from tourism but nobody wants the tourists.

        However without the EU Portugal would return to one of the poorest countries in Europe and that is a fact.

        Racism yes Portugal is racist towards the many rich western europeans, and towards their old colonies cape verde, brazil and others. This is because the western europeans increase the cost of living of the Portuguese and their salaries don't increase, and the immigrations increases the taxes, just like all the countries in the EU.

        I think the list in this article is quite accurate and you are just angry that someone says bad things about your country, but you know what no country is paradise, but overall pros and cons, I think Portugal is one of the best countries in the EU.

        Reply
      • I’m sorry to say, but your comment is the one that strikes me as a Karen attitude. The article is simply sharing information, is not telling people what to do with it. You, on the other hand, seem to be pointing fingers at every reported fact, feel entitled to not only question the authors right to share them as also to ridicule his choice of topics, ranking them as irrelevant and telling people how they should or should not react to them. Personally I find the topics spot on, as they address many of the most frequent expectations foreigners have about Portugal.

        Reply
    • Does anyone have experience living on the mainland and living on Madeira? I am wondering if any of the negatives mentioned here and in the 700 plus replies differ between the two? We are currently looking at Madeira. One difference mentionioned was that apparently indoor smoking is not going on in most restaurants. What about the housing stock there? Noise, cold, etc.? I have mostly read all positive things about the island but would love more insight! Thanks!

      Reply
      • If you move to the Portuguese islands (Madeira, Azores etc.) you will have the same problems, but multiplied by several fold: bad services, low quality goods, limited shopping, and god forbid you purchase a house... you won't find anyone to remodel or build anything, and finally if you complain, or even if you don't complain, after some time the entire island will ignore you and you won't be able to do anything, only to suffer or leave. This is information, but not a downside. It is an upside actually for some.

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    • Thank you for writing this article. I have to agree with everything that's being said, unfortunately. While it's true that food and drinks are cheap, when it comes to everything else, it's quite expensive. The most disappointing part for me is that I am constantly freezing in their apartments due to the lack of heater and I am spending a fortune paying trying to stay a little warm. True that we have to stay fully dressed at home and it's becoming unbearable those cheap constructions and energy drainers houses. Another really disappointing point is that despite all those beautiful beaches, it's impossible to swim due to the ocean being so cold. I wrongly assumed that the water would be as nice and warm as the Mediterranean sea, big mistake. There is nothing more enjoyable than swimming in the Mediterranean sea, I have to say now and I miss it so much that I am considering leaving Portugal. Portuguese bureaucracy and lack of customer service is another bad point. True that people don't help you and you have to figure out everything by yourself. So frustrating. Even for the bus stop, something that should be simple is dam complicated ! They do not write where they are going and at what time so you have to constantly do research for simple obvious things that should be written. Real estate is not even worse buying since constructions are so cheap and not up to standards, not to mention outrageously expensive ! At the end of the day, yes the food is cheap and wine also but is that enough to make you stay in a country ??? My answer is no. Oh one more point, it's true that it's quite impossible to make friends if you are a new comer to Portuguese. They are very close minded unless you are buying something from them or using a service. Honest ? Not all. My first landlord ripped me off really bad and I had to move after 1 month since I could never sleep at night due to the neighbors talking loud non stop as it's very common for Portuguese to be loud and since the apartments are not insulated at all, you can hear everything. Well, too bad. I wish I had read that article before moving to Portugal but hey, live and learn, as they say.

      Reply
      • I agree! And beware of fake gossip about you and the crooks. That hurts. Otherwise it's a fantastic place with cheap food and cheap wine, although not the cheapest around. And guess what, some people are quite normal and polite, which is usually expected.

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  38. Thank you for your article - it's insightful and truly describes the reality of living here. After 1,5 years which I spent in Porto, must admit the backwardness resembles stories which I heard before but from Moldova or Kazachstan. You said that people are honest here? No. There is a difference between rudeness and honesty for sure. Also, they are super racist toward black people and Brazilians...

    Reply
    • I've worked with lots of Portuguese clients. I think I can honestly say they've all paid me on time and without any issues, certainly no more than any other nationality I work with. However, I have been very careful about who I work with.

      Sure, Portugal can be a bit behind the times but in contrast to that, you also find that young adults in the cities tend to speak English to a level no other southern European country does and are usually educated to a degree if not masters level. It's a country of contrasts in that sense.

      As for attitudes to black people and Brazilians, I won't say I haven't heard some things that have surprised me. Portugal is generally very tolerant of foreigners, but, unfortunately, nowhere is free from intollerance.

      Reply
      • There is clearly a cultural difference between the Portuguese and Brazilians and unfortunately the stories I'm hearing about Brazilian behaviour leads me to be wary.

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    • That's very disturbing to hear. I planned to spend some of my retirement in Portugal. The fact that they are racist towards blacks is awful! If you are black, then you should link up with a group called Black in Portugal. Get to know the black people that are in Portugal.

      Reply
      • I did not notice any racist issues in Portugal, but then perhaps I am communicating with the "wrong" (right) people. Although I have noticed that immigrants from Portuguese colonies do not have respect for private property and park their cars blocking exit and entrance of private homes. That's not a race issue though, but cultural or educational.

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  39. I think you were spot on getting these points. Both me and my wife are Portuguese that emigrated to the UK about 12 years ago, and so far, we do not plan to go back home, precisely because the downside of the Country’s management was hindering our career progression. Many of the criticisms made by other readers are accurate, except for food, in my opinion: unfortunately, Portugal and the Portuguese are very closed to experiment with international cuisines, which makes it very difficult to have an international variety; I think the closest you get are either sushi or MacDonalds (I’m being extremely reductive and unfair probably). Portuguese food has a big tradition and it’s actually quite easy to find healthy solutions as much of the cuisine follows a “homemade” type of philosophy. We do not do spicy food, but that is hardly a factor to call it bland! Also, try to know from the locals where the best places to eat are, and I’m sure you’ll be surprised.
    Culture is also one of the very best points about Portugal, from fine arts to poetry, prose, music, performance, theatre, but again, you’ll have to be embedded in the culture to enjoy these.
    The Anglophone people are extremely lucky to have a language that is universal in a sense, and you can communicate to natives, no matter where you go, but bare in mind that Portugal was closed to the world until 1974, under one of the longest dictatorships ever and believe it or not, we’re still recovering from that, mush of the organisational mentality is still the same as it was 50 years ago, there’s context to consider why a country is the way it is.

    Reply
  40. Quite a few Portuguese are masters in cutting in line and that happens a LOT more often than you would expect or have experienced elsewhere. Or am I just unlucky?

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    • Nope, you’re right, people do that, not all of them, but once in a while you get a “chico-esperto” (smart ass) who’ll do that. One of the best examples is when you’re in line to pay for whatever, the tills are closed except one, but as soon as another opens, people behind you will jump ahead to the available new one. I’m Portuguese but I could never understand that damn behaviour, super rude!

      Reply
      • This is why cashiers in Portugal are trained to announce "line up in the order you were in" when opening up a new check-out. I've lived all over the world, and I've never seen that kind of thing be necessary elsewhere.

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  41. We live in rural Algarve, and our toilet seat broke 3 weeks ago. In 3 weeks, our landlord went 5 times to the local plumbing store. It was always closed for no reason, or the manager was on lunch break, and finally... they did not have the part. Our landlord thus had to drive 1 hour to a bigger store to get the part, which might or might not work... we will see soon. Maybe this week after 3 weeks, the toilet seat will be fixed. Maybe it will take a couple more weeks. In the meantime I fixed it with tape... I live in a villa for nearly $2000/month w/ utilities with a duck taped toilet seat.
    This is just a ridiculous example for how inefficient and slow everything is here. Our landlord is great, bless him for wasting so much time on this. But when a toilet seat takes a month to be fixed, it gives you an idea of the struggle everything else is.
    Want to get some food? Don’t rely on the opening hours on Google Maps. Want to call the restaurant to make sure it’s open? Good luck hoping they’ll answer the phone. Need to go somewhere? Too bad my phone data is suddenly not working. Let’s use the mall’s WiFi? Too bad, that’s not working either today. It’s just the way it is here, at least in southern Portugal, and it’s *definitely* not for me. I am building a business and can’t see myself getting anything done here.

    I don’t think that it’s necessarily that the locals are lazy. It’s mostly that they like it slow. They don’t see what the problem is with not answering the phone or closing the store unexpectedly. They don’t think it will bother anyone because nobody lives here to get things done. You live here when you have time. I’ve come to understand: it’s not their mistake for being slow, it’s mine for wanting to move fast in a slow place. This is not New York City or San Francisco where everybody is trying to make a gazillion dollars and everybody wants to help you get from A to B as fast as possible. This is not a place for ambition. This is a place for dolce vita, retirement and humble family life.

    NOW... We decided to move to the Lisbon Cascais area in 2 months... and I’m praying things will be different. Does anyone feel like things are at least more efficient in the posh neighborhoods like Estoril/Cascais? If you have experience, please let me know.

    I don’t know, we’ll try... but that area + taxes + cost of transportation and goods make living there just as pricy as living in a major US capital, so if it ends up being the same ridiculous waste of time that it is down in the Algarve, my plan is to hustle to try to get myself a new visa for myself and my family in the US. At this point, Estoril/Cascais is my last bet on Portugal... and to be honest, I’m losing patience by the day.

    Reply
    • Being honest, it sounds like you're in the wrong country. Perhaps a state in the US with good weather would be better, or perhaps just come to Portugal for a vacation every few months?

      Portugal is somewhere you come for the good weather, lower cost of living (in some cases), and a slow way of life. You can run a business here, but you're probably going to spend more time dealing with bureaucracy and other hurdles than you would if you lived in a more efficient country. Some people are happy with that trade-off and enjoy being able to live somewhere like Portugal and still run a business. Others prefer to make their money somewhere else and just come to Portugal to relax.

      You can't really expect to come to Portugal and expect it to be like New York, though. Portugal is Portugal. That said, three weeks to fix a toilet is a bit ridiculous.

      Reply
      • Thanks for your reply. You might be right!

        That being said, I said I knew this wasn't SF or NYC.

        Nonetheless, there is a difference between a slow way of life and some crucial things being less efficient than a 3rd world country. For example, the IMT (for foreigners: driver license government office) is basically completely broken at this point. Their driver license exchange process can take up to 2 years. Nobody answers the phone or emails. Tens of thousands of people like me are stuck either with a temporary license that only works in Portugal (so you can't rent cars anywhere else if you travel), or with an expired foreign license (my case now).
        It's pretty much the same for the SEF (immigration office).

        I wasn't expecting Portugal to be NYC, but I wasn't expecting it to turn me into an illegal driver with no ability to travel. In some of those ways, I feel like moving here has been like shooting myself in the foot. And sadly, that's not something I had realized from visiting. You can only realize this stuff once you're faced with the processes.

        It's just a maddening mess and it makes me wonder how it's even legal or possible for a country of the EU to collect those high taxes and not deliver on basic services required for basic living.

        Maybe it was different before COVID... I don't know.

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        • There are obviously backlogs due to covid, but I think things are probably slightly better now overall. Emails are sometimes answered now, whereas, in the past, I would never send an email and expect an answer. Being honest, I would still try to do everything in person. From speaking to people who've lived in other Southern European countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece, I don't think it's only a problem in Portugal.

          I guess it's hard to imagine from abroad what people mean by bureaucracy. It's easy to assume it just means a lot of paperwork, which would be time-consuming but manageable, but bureaucracy issues here are rarely just a case of filling out a piece of paper. Unfortunately, this makes Portugal a difficult place to live if you're running a business and limited by time.

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        • I appreciate your honesty. I am contemplating relocating to Portugal but a little apprehensive because I never traveled outside the U.S. Every point that you brought up is useful to me.
          Thanks

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          • Sorry to tell you that you will be disappointed for the most part. I used to live in the USA so I know how comfortable things are when you are at home, at least. Well, you will be cold inside your apartment or home in Portugal due to poor construction and you will spend a fortune on electricity and gas bills. Customer service : non existent ! People extremely slow (except on the road). You will spend your time doing research just about everything, probably even more in your case because you come from the USA. People usually don't help you. Well, you can try but I wouldn't totally give up what I have in the USA to come to Portugal and definitely don't rush into buying a property. Take your time ! That's all I have to say. I am European but can't get used to their way of life after 3 years....

            Reply
          • I share your sentiment about relocating to an unknown country, its a big decision. I too have my minds eye on Portugal but try temper my fantastical imaginings with reality. The only real way to know will be to try. An extended stay in Portugal will be my preferred way to discover the beauty.

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        • Hi, Portuguese here living now in Silicon Valley. The IT companies are amazing, but the rest it’s like living in a third world country, services are terrible, taxes are insane for the what you get back, roads full of litter and potholes, people steal at constantly, not to mention the odd shootings in the dodgy areas, everywhere is dirty and filled with human waste, homelessness, etc. Quite frankly, if it wasn’t for the job, Portugal would be a paradise for anyone living here. You need to get out of your bubble

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          • Just double checking: Are you talking about the US of Portugal? Disclaimer: I live in The Netherlands so please forgive my ignorance.

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          • you are spot on Luis. I live in a very peaceful, friendly city in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta. I am visiting Portugal in August with an eye to summer vacations there in the future while Mexico is so hot. I am through with the conditions in the US and never plan to return. I look forward to seeing your beautiful country and sampling port, which I adore.

            Any advice?

            Dr. Carol Jordan
            Professor Emeritus

            Reply
            • Hi Carol, glad to see you leave the US and not come back. I'm 80, lived in the US my entire life so far, and I love my country and I love where I retired. I've lived on both coasts, in the mid west, and the southwest. I've visited all 50 states. I retired to central Arkansas where things are quite good... basically it is the largest (landwise) gated community in the US (we have people from all 50 states plus 22 countries). The taxes are low, services are plentiful in the immediate area, and big city is less than an hour away. We have great neighbors, a lot of good friends in our Village of 15000, peace and quiet, and excellent quality of life, including a very safe place to live.
              I always liked reading about Portugal being a great place to live, but I had some friends who lived there for 10 years, in 3 different locations, and have since returned to the US... where according to my friend's statement "got down on his knees and kissed the ground, thankful he was back home. Their experiences in Portugal were a real mixed bag, some good, but others were very frustrating and perplexing. They had a few good friends who still live there, but they have no plans to go back to Portugal, even to visit. I personally think the country is a beautiful country (based on the pictures) but I have known several Portugese living in the Northeast, and based on them, I would never want to live next to them, which means I wouldn't want to live where they came from. To each his or her own is the catch phrase, but obviously you are a liberal college prof, and we here in the US are happy you live elsewhere. In case you wondered (probably not lol), I hold several degrees in 5 different areas, based on various jobs I've had over the years, and even with a non-president in power, I'd still rather live here in the US. The only countries I would consider outside the US would be Italy (my grandmother's side) or Ireland (my grandfather's side), but all in all, I'll stay right here in the US. Good luck to all of you posting, and I hope you find a good place to live, no matter where you decide to go... it's a big world and no place is perfect.... but we're pretty close here in the Village.

              Reply
              • It's because of ppl like you, ranger, that I'm leaving the States, election deniers, insistent ignorance, adherence to the big lie, a corrupted right wing Supreme Court, demands for civil war, and calls for the execution of USAG Merrick Garland, FBI and IRS agents is frightening to those capable of reasoned thinking. Breaking down the rule of law and calling for national christianity to rule instead of the Constitution is a major step toward fascism. Increasing violence against Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, LGBQT+ communities, and denying the existence of Trans people, plus striking down basic health care for women, shutting down entire libraries because there are books with LGBQT+ people, removing books like the Diary of Anne Frank, changing history/math/social studies etc. text books to favor right wing beliefs, and giving guns more rights than any living person all points to the end of our country as a democracy.

                I have called Republican Senators and Representatives who are pushing the big lie and are inciting the extreme right to begin a civil war. Almost every single representative of those in Republican congress stated "they didn't care" about my concerns. When I told them that a civil war would mean they would have no safe place to rest or sleep, no money, no electricity, no safe water, no stable food source, no medical help, no medicines, no transportation other than their legs or a bicycle if a working one could be found, millions of people would die in the war, but tens of millions more would die of disease and starvation, and they would most definitely care when they the ones dying.

                The Republicans have maneuvered and planned and paid for our country to be in this state, so one of them could be King. Republicans have pushed so that the elite could rule in absolute power and those not in the white male army would become slaves of the State or worse.

                A very dark and dire future. Republicans are charging as fast as they can toward that future as they refuse to use reasoned thinking. And I'm leaving the States before The Handmaids Tale becomes fact.

                So for me, the few vagaries of Portuguese paperwork, slow pace of life, and other complaints are minor almost quaint when compared to the purposeful destruction of the United States.

        • Just for your information, official government services in germany ( which is obviously not a third worls country) also nearly shut down. It was too dangerous for them to work.
          And if you want an appointment, come before opening hours and hope they still give you one and not more people had the same idea.
          Applying for your drivers license test? Might easily take 3-8 months!
          So I do find Portugal not quite that bad, beraucuracy is a nightmare in any country!

          Reply
    • I would have gotten that toilet seat myself, online or drove that 1 hour or 2 hours to get it and presented the bill to the owner. Try Russia for a change. And yes, Portugal is like that and it can be much much worse or better at times. I found some guys here who charge a bit more and work very fast, faster than I can keep up with them.

      Reply
    • You are right,
      for myself Portugal wasn't worth it, and I don't miss it at all.

      The country itself is a very strange mix between "dolce vita" and high cost of living and not getting done anything.
      For dolce vita the weather isn't just good enough and loses against Mediterranean countries, same with food etc. Example Spain - better weather, more developed, often cheaper at some spots, yet still close to the sea, and not as crowded off season.

      And on the other side, the costs in Portugal are extremely high considering what you get on the government level and the general development of society/business conduct/ job opportunities, it can be really "third world-like", and I am saying it only because I don't know how to better describe it, the people I met in third world countries were actually more reliable and task oriented than in Portugal.

      Yes, the country itself is safe, that's a big pro, but the potential loss of earning because of terrible lawyers, contractors etc. can be also very high and more hurtful than a stolen phone or bike.

      I think Portugal is only good option for retirement, and few people under NHR, but they will move out in the most cases once it runs out.

      Reply
    • I would get insurance. Most insurance have a home repair section, proteção lar, and thru them you can get a reputable and quick service guaranteed by the company. I use liberty seguros but any company will have that service. I got fed up with bad service, over pricing, waiting and lack of reasonable response.

      Reply
    • I live in Lisbon city for more than a year.
      I know Cascais-Estoril area. There is obviously more modern services as it’s around the capital, and there is certainly a dynamic of young entrepreneurship trying to improve things.

      But globally, I’m afraid you will be disappointed by the overall picture: as you already expect it, high prices (housing is incredibly expensive in Cascais Estoril area!) and not much to do around (cold sea, boring malls…). This area is mostly residential with no life energy, except the little centers of Cascais or Estoril (but nothing to get very excited about…).

      When I visited apartments in Cascais area I knew I would never be able to live there, or I would sink into depression…
      (To give you an idea of my perspective: I’m French and previously lived in Paris, and Lima (Peru). So I love feeling a buzzing energy around, something lively.)

      Lisbon city itself, at least has a rich cultural aspect: there is the charm of the old city, very nice gardens, museums, etc.
      Of course the restaurants are everywhere, cheap and good.
      And also more modern and dynamic areas.

      But I must say that deep down there is something “low” in the energy here (even in Lisbon city) I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s definitely the vibe I feel.
      Maybe the “saudade” ?

      Reply
  42. Despite all the pros i.e. positive aspects of living in Portugal I must admit there is a dark side as well. It's all about crooks, fraud, scam that many Portuguese companies commit. Take a look at what TNT/FEDEX Portugal (and probably TNT Netherlands as well) are really up to:

    https://portaldaqueixa.com/brands/tnt-express

    And now take a look at the customer reviews of Azores Airlines (ex SATA):

    https://www.airlinequality.com/airline-reviews/sata-air-azores/

    And so many others. Typical "customer service" response in Portugal is they hang up the phone or never pick it up.

    Reply
    • Hi Haluk,

      It can definitely be hard to fight big companies and get your money back, even with the complaints book or by using a credit card.

      That said, I don't know if I'd use parcel couriers or airlines as examples. These types of companies are notorious for poor customer service in most parts of the world (although I believe TAP was listed as the 9th worst airline in the world, so maybe you have a point).

      Reply
  43. My wife and I are Americans who moved to Lisbon for her work. I work remotely.
    My impression after a few years is that Lisbon is the most-overrated city on the planet.
    Posters in this thread who are saying things like "yeah, well, there are people on youtube who say it's wonderful here!" are completely delusional. Those influencer types are selling you a product, period. Visiting and living are two very different experiences. Just because some wanker online or on CNN raves about it as a vacation spot, doesn't mean that living there will be worth it. Or maybe it will? Here are some points to consider:

    The upsides:
    -great wine and cheese.
    -mild winters with plenty of sun.
    -fantastic pastries.
    -coffee all day, every day.

    The downsides:
    -anything regarding the SEF - any you will have to deal with them at some point.

    -the food is bland beyond belief. If you like spices (Thai, Mexican, Indian) then you will hate the typical Portuguese national dishes. Then again, if you come from somewhere with even worse food, perhaps you will love this slop.

    -Noise is intense and completely unregulated. Planes, traffic, barking dogs.

    -Constant construction and renovation.

    -The worst home quality in all of Europe. You will be cold in the winter, and you will hear everything that your neighbors are up to. The walls are do not have insulation. It is pathetic. If you are coming from the USA, you will be appalled at the lack of quality. Consider yourself warned.

    -the insane amount of tourists who are here because Anthony Bourdain raved about it or whatever. Even the smaller cities outside of Lisboa feature the ubiquitous "instagram tourist spots" so you will be sure to see all the brain dead people stumbling off of huge buses, waiting their turn to take a selfie in front of some giant letters or a fountain.

    -The rise of a far right party called Chega. They are making big gains each year in the government and it's not hard to see them becoming like Vox in Spain.

    But hey, it's sunny and there are beaches so it must be paradise, right? LOL.

    Reply
    • Spices aren't typical in most European cuisines. If you want to eat Mexican, Indian, etc you should consider those parts of the world or a country like the UK/US where the food is more international and less traditional.

      Reply
      • I agree. I spent some time in Kuala Lumpur and I thought the food would be spicy... it wasn't.
        However, since they also have large populated areas that are from India and from China, you can get plenty spicy food in those areas of KL, but Malaysian foods are quite bland. My friends who lived in Portugal for about 10 years (in 3 different areas) said... 'you better like seafood' if you live close to the Atlantic. The foods further inland are more geared towards pork and fowl, which was more to their liking, but they had to add seasoning to get more flavor. But then, Texans do like their spicy...

        Reply
    • Mike I have to say I can't beleive you say the food is bland . It's amazing food. I'm Canadian and married a Portuguese man. We've been married 31 years and have visited Portugal many times and always look forward to eating at various restaurants in different towns and cities. I'm lost for words when you call it "slop". I have to admit that we keep to the North mostly so that may be the difference.

      Reply
      • My dear Kiki,
        So much has to do with your frame of reference.
        I came to Portugal in 1974 and still live here near Lisbon, but have used it as a base and have been very fortunate to have experienced many cuisines all over the world, from China, Thailand, India in the Far East to the Middle East, different African nations as well as Latin America and most of Europe, even Russia. Portuguese food is far better in the North, that is a fact, but all my family agree that it is extremely bland if you have traveled the globe and my Brazilian son-in-law who works as a chef in a top class Lisbon cuisine said his fellow workers laughed and agreed with the description many times of "slop".

        Reply
  44. I live in Portugal in a remote area in the mountains, it is so quiet that you can hear your blood circulating through your body when there is no wind, everyone I have met is kind, generous and helpful, I have dogs that don`t bark a cat that meows a lot and a wife that is bonkers...I don`t even drive anymore, given up on cars like I did humans in the UK.
    Would I be anywhere else? I don`t think so, I can go days without seeing another human and longer without speaking to them, the next best thing to an island...Just don`t anyone reading this get any ideas of moving here, it is awful

    Reply
      • Hi!!
        I am wanting to visit or stay in Portugal. I should be able to speak Portuguese in a couple of weeks.
        Could you please reply to me? I don't care about the downsides of Portugal; I still believe that I will love it.
        I need a contact person as soon as I get there.
        I am respectful, humorous, and gentle.
        My email is [email protected]

        PLEASE RESPOND????? LAURA

        Reply
    • Exactly where do you live? It sounds terrible i must investigate. 😀
      But on a serious note is there a problem with crime ? I live in the south and read about issues in isolated homes being burglarized and even violent crime.

      Reply
  45. I´ve been here for about 25 years and still haven´t really "adapted". As a Canadian of Portuguese ancestry, I´d recommend the following to those that plan to move here:

    1. Move here for 6 months, if you can (obviously workers will need to get around that, retirees not so much)
    2. Keep your home or living place where you are now, you never ever want to feel stranded.
    3. You will like many things, you will dislike many things, overall it is a more polarizing country than other European countries.
    4. It is a Southern European country on the ATLANTIC as said. So it´s a little different from every other place in Europe.
    5. The Algarve and Silver Coast are probably the closest to the postcards you see.
    6. Attempt to build a home or be as involved as possible in finishing a home. You´ll save money in the long run.
    7. Drive as little as possible.
    8. Ask those who have made the move what they think, specifically regarding areas of life you value.

    Reply
    • After spending 15 miserable years in Canada we came to Portugal with high hopes. We spent a lot of time on YouTube watching 360 Portugal videos (oohing and arhing!) But the bureaucracy has nearly broken us. Yes we realize now that a lawyer might help (might). I am ready to call it quits. No one should take the downsides lightly. Paradise it ain't.

      Reply
  46. If moving to Portugal beware of the Three Whales:

    1. Prepare to DIY everything.
    2. Beware of Crooks
    3. Beware of Dentists

    Reply
  47. After reading some of the harsher comments, the only recommendation I'd make to anyone who is thinking of moving here (or to any other place in the world, for that matter) is to not look at a country the same way you would look at a hotel. The romanticized expectations of life here as an everlasting "glass of wine by the beach" are obviously delirious, as they would be for anywhere else in the world. It's a real place made up of real people who have to deal with their own daily struggles, not a resort populated by waiters and servants at your disposal and ready at all times to accommodate every single one of your needs. Moving to a different place without putting in any real effort to adapt and understand the local people and culture, expecting all the pros from your home country without any of the hassles, seems to me a decision bound to end up in frustration and disappointment. Portugal can feel at times as heaven on earth and on many other occasions it will feel as the unhappiest place on the planet. That’s part of it’s charm and it certainly isn’t for everyone. As a Portuguese person who still to this day has a very troubled relationship with his own country, and who on occasion still feels the strong urge to leave and emigrate to the wealthier and certainly more organized parts of Europe, I can however say that the peacefulness, the natural and architectural beauty and a sense of proximity and community between people do make this a place where you can always find a redeeming reason to be in, despite all the very good points made in this article. It does however require the will to open yourself to it and might not come easy at first.

    Reply
    • ¡Bien hecho! Apologies, wrong language, bem feito!
      I think you make a valid point, relocating to somewhere new is a serious undertaking. The popular relocation advice given to me (and never followed), is to live somewhere on a temporary basis, in a rental, to see if it works out. I have a troubled relationship with sleepy Suffolk but given that I've been living in the Bay Area, US for over thirty years I decided to "embrace" my re-immersion into rural life. It's not so bad the second time around, or perhaps now I'm retired it's easier to 'go with the flow.'

      Reply
      • One more thing, per an opinion piece in the New York Times based on the UK Mappiness Project, the activities that make people happiest include sex, exercise and gardening. Being with a romantic partner or friends will give you a boost. Weather plays only a small role in happiness, except that people get a hearty mood boost on extraordinary days, such as those above 75 degrees and sunny. People are consistently happier when they are out in nature, particularly near a body of water, particularly when the scenery is beautiful. Work, and being sick in bed are ranked the lowest amongst 40 activities in the happiness stakes. Interesting thought, what would the results or a Portuguese Mappiness Project be?

        Reply
  48. We love it here.
    Down near Lagos there is a new family and kids communitty movement. 2 new alternative schools.
    Waves. Sun. Nature. Fresh organic food. Nice, old school, farming neighbours. Simple life. Lots of new friends, for us and for the kids (3).
    It is a bundle, no place is perfect, but if you smile, enjoy life and are not looking at the half empty part of the glass all day, this is a WONDEFUL place to live in.

    We are thankful for coming here and for the portuguese people to accept us as a new immigrant family.
    (Expats are immigrants that dont accept they are ones 🙂

    So if you have kids and want to join, just ask around Lagos area and you will be welcomed with lots of Love.

    Reply
    • Greetings
      Have an interest in moving to Portugal... would enjoy more information from a once removed native family😁
      Find the informational part if this full of those looking to make profit.... and truly have not interest in helping one gain insight into jobs housing etc

      Please contact [email protected] [email protected]
      Thanking you in advance...
      Chuck Rylie

      Reply
      • Hi, thinking to move there, a bit concerned about jobs, I work as audio visual technician in London, but want to move…. Any hints? Many thanks, Rogerio.

        Reply
    • First off, thanks for your informative comment. Would you be so kind to share which community this is and where we can find more information on this?

      Many thanks from The Netherlands.

      Reply
    • I also hate it when people call themselves ex-pats because they don't like to associate themselves with the word "immigrant".

      Reply
  49. Don't rely on the Portuguese in general. To find out the attitudes please read the SATA (Azores Airlines) reviews on AirlineQuality website: https://www.airlinequality.com/airline-reviews/sata-air-azores/

    Reply
    • If we based our opinion of people off of their airlines, I think you'd have to say the Irish are rude, unhelpful, and keep threatening to charge you to use the toilet.

      Reply
  50. In Portugal they poison all cats with no remorse. Including neighbor's cats.
    The cars are ridiculously overpriced.
    Contractors are too lazy to show up, let alone to start working.
    Oh yeah, it's a nice place to live, if you can deal with that!

    Reply
    • Gerard,

      I've been looking into moving to Portugal, and your comment is the first I've seen about pet cats:
      "In Portugal they poison all cats with no remorse. Including neighbor's cats."

      Is the Portuguese attitude toward cats, even in non-rural areas, truly that hostile? Would I be condemning my indoors/outdoors pet to death by bringing her to Portugal?

      I appreciate the warning.

      Kind regards,
      Donna

      Reply
      • I know lots of people who have outdoor cats and let them out without worrying. It's possible this has happened before, but not enough that pet owners keep their pets indoors.

        Although animals are often treated as animals rather than pets, I do see a lot of stray cats and dogs getting looked after. People leave food out for them (without poison) and there are plenty of council-run cat houses in Lisbon and the Algarve (and probably elsewhere too).

        Reply
      • Hi Donna, I am English and married to a Portuguese man. I have stayed in Portugal many times in the last 23 years and have never seen this happen, cats in the rural areas are seen as useful to keep mice ect away. I know pets are seen a bit differently, they have a purpose, but even the street animals are fed and watered by the neighbourhood. My portuguese brothers in law love their cats. This may have happened in odd places but its not the norm.

        Reply
  51. I want to move out of Portugal, but can't sell my house.

    1. Can't do attitude!
    2. Shipping and delivery problems!
    3. Mentality is a killer!
    4. Sad place!
    5. Friendships only work one way. When you stop giving, friendship stops.
    6. Extremely backward, worse than the extreme Eastern Europe in terms of economy.
    7. Thieves and crooks everywhere.
    8. Extreme Eastern European salaries €500/mo. create depression in Portuguese minds and huge emigration culture. This country is NO Western Europe!
    9. Backstabbers!
    10. Socialism!
    11. Rude barbarians.
    12. Very friendly until you become closer, much closer with them. Never too close though.

    Reply
    • I agree with most points. The exception might be

      11. They're not barbarians. They're rude Iberians. Celts.

      Interestingly you can get similar problems elsewhere. I lived in Africa. The main problem there is recession. Otherwise my list could have even been smaller.

      Reply
    • I have to agree. It must be quite frustrating not to be able to sell your home. I also have some French friends who have been trying to sell their home for the past 3 years.... I am glad I never felt the 'desire' to buy anything in Portugal so I could escape quite fast if it comes to a point where I can't take it anymore because of many of the things that you mentioned. I feel lonely as hell. The pandemics didn't help either but in general Portuguese are very close minded. I feel like I don't belong here but I am European so it's difficult to move anywhere outside Europe...

      Reply
      • “ I feel lonely as hell.”

        I couldn’t rely more with this one… 14 months in Lisbon and no social life despite trying.
        Even the expats seem “contaminated” by this closed mentality.
        I feel I do not belong or fit here.
        (Made friends in many other places though, so it’s not just me.)

        Reply
  52. I found the discussions comments and experiences on this forum to be very interesting.
    I have lived in many countries and visited numerous others; Denmark , 5 years, Mozambique 5 years, USA 15 years. Many of my friends retired to or are retiring in Portugal. I picked a modern new development at planning stage because the modern day amenities matter to me, including safety and security, access to shopping and markets, clean well kept surroundings. I have encountered amazing people who have been so helpful along the way from residence permit (2019), house hunting, purchasing, hanging out, taking care of my house while I was setting up property management arrangements when I am away. I lived mostly in Tavira before I purchased my new home. Tavira was not for me for long term because it was kind of too slow for me. Cascais was too pricey for what I wanted, but it is beautiful. Lisbon was not for me either.

    What I am not so crazy about; in Tavira, there was a house with a dog that barked at everything. The barking was not audible from inside my house. Generally there is no rush, the kind I am used to living in New York. That is ok. Yes, sometimes I do miss the convenience of pretty much ordering anything online and have that delivered fast , these are not deal breakers. I think one has to think through what they want, list them, look at different countries, write down pros and cons, visit and then decide. I considered several countries; Panama, Ireland, Belize. Portugal was the right choice for me. Maybe I am fortunate that I have options to be in Portugal in winter and can be elsewhere for summer, if I chose.

    One thing for certain, there are bad neighborhoods in almost every country. Therefore where you pick to live matters. I personally wouldn't write off Portugal at all, its lovely and most of the the people are decent and kind.

    Reply
    • Hi Jo. Interesting reply. You mention Tavira too slow and Lisbon Cascais not for you also. Wondering where you decided to settle in Portugal ? We're considering visiting Portugal Algarve for retirement but I worry that in winter it becomes too quiet.

      Reply
  53. I may be living in an alternate reality, but after three years in Portugal all i can say it's a great place to live.

    Having been an expat in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, all over South America and most of Southeast Asia for almost three decades,
    i've experienced more than a fair share of being treated like a crap, getting ripped off, having to deal with corrupt officials and real bureaucracy, barking dogs and garbage everywhere.

    Portugal is not nearly as horrible as so many people here are trying to make you believe!
    Yes, it's not perfect - but there is no such thing as a perfect country. Everywhere you go there will be something annoying the daylights out of you.

    In my experience most Portuguese people are down to earth, friendly and helpful.
    MANY do speak a very decent english - good luck having this experience in Spain or Italy.

    I am ordering online a lot - every single parcel arrived within 10-14 days. From all around EU. Paying a bit extra for DHL instead of going with the cheapest version may help of course...

    As for the neighbours - and i have been staying all around Portugal - mine have received my parcels when i wasn't at home, have left countless baskets of fruits at my gate and have driven me to the vet when my dog got injured.

    The weather is pleasant if you pick the right area. I most definitely wouldn't be able to walk around in a tee mid November anywhere in North Europe.

    While the whole planet was in a lockdown, i was hiking with my dog in east Algarve daily.
    My friends in Spain weren't even able to sit in their own backyard without being bothered by the cops.

    The highways are mostly in a fantastic shape.
    I've dealt with three diffrent dentist. All well educated, highly skilled and using the latest technology. I've paid pennies on dollars compared to Germany.
    Food is lovely, especially if you find some artesanal bakeries and small delis.
    My pupper got dental cleaning with ultrasound.
    75 € as opposed to 170 € in Austria.
    I've hired an english speaking personal assistant to help me with paperwork.
    10 € per hour. Stuff got sorted out quickly and easily.
    My lawyer billed me 100 € for answering like 12 questions in a lenghty email.
    A swiss lawyer would probably not bother to say good morning to me for that amount.

    Do i love everything?
    Hell no!
    I yell when they can't keep a decent distance while driving a car.
    It drives me nuts when they race in a 30 zone and take a nap while driving on a highway.
    They really seem to print they own driver licenses at home themselves.
    It breaks my heart when i see how they treat their animals.
    The cars are ridiculously overpriced.
    Some companies are a nightmare to deal with - don't get me started on MEO.
    Handymen are notoriously late.

    But all of this are minor annoyances compared to what i have seen in many other places.
    And i choose to live with it because the positive far outweights the negative for me.

    I do understand when someone gets sick and tired of a place or a situation. Happens to all of us.
    What i don't understand is why would you stay put in that place instead of going somewhere else?
    You are not a tree after all.
    The world is big, there is plenty for you explore.
    Unless you prefer to cultivate your state of fury of course.
    In this case more power to you 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks Charlotte,

      This is a nicely balanced writeup of Portugal. Everywhere has its pros and cons, and it's all about weighing them up and deciding whether Portugal is right for you or not. I think living in other parts of the world, like Asia, South America, and even other European countries really helps give perspective on how good or bad everything really is.

      Reply
      • I live here and have finished jumping through the copious numbers of hoops. We hired consultants who were incompetent and great lawyers so it worked out ok. We also had a relatively uncomplicated immigration situation. My perspective comes from an American who was living in rural northern England. I agree that there is a lack of standards and corruption but the way we have thought about it was that at least we can pay someone to fix our problems. In the part of UK where we lived we had most of these exact issues with inhuman bureaucracy, pessimism, lack of quality, but with no means of sweetening the deal (so to speak). Complaining in the UK goes nowhere and people are not empowered to help you even if your situation is Kafkaesque. And no you can't talk to anyone higher up about that. In the US you might be able to argue and annoy your way to a solution. Here, I find myself hindered by every single bureaucrat having their own personal standards and rules for every possible document, but I find that I am grateful to have the luxury of being able to make myself a polite loveable pest and possibly even pay someone to bully or bribe. In the UK my issues had so solution and no prospect of ever having a solution. Your complaint letter will be read, apologized for the fact that you feel wronged, and then nothing. People complain about Portugal vaccination, but in the UK they do not and may never acknowledge foreign administered vaccines and have no plans to ever acknowledge them in the future. You also can't get boosted or revaccinated. In Portugal, you have to hustle but at least you can hustle. It would be better if there was a standard and you didn't need to do that, but this is the world. I like that it feels 30 years behind the rest of Europe. I hope it can learn from what these 30 years have shown (hmmm maybe skip Amazon and beanie babies) and progress better with that wisdom. Portugal has so much potential and I hope it will be realised for the benefit of it's citizens (and perhaps us immigrants too). I don't know if that will happen. They could tax us NHRs marginally more and it would still be a good deal to live here. They also need to finish disbanding SEF.

        Reply
    • Hello Charlotte,
      where are you living in Portugal?

      Life in Germany is getting worse and I was thinking of moving to Portugal with my family. All the complaints here have put a bit of a damper on me, but your comment gives me hope. I'd be happy to get in touch if you'd like to share your experience.
      Michael

      Reply
      • Hi Michael,

        Do your homework before going to Portugal!

        Worst housing in EU ->https://www.theportugalnews.com/news/2021-12-12/portugal-has-some-of-the-worst-houses-in-europe/64042?fbclid=IwAR2UPJAm_YcnVo3O9MLgsHAbcddlVZKYRiPku_OZD67ra_XKAKHZDANJ0Ng

        And today ->https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/22/luxury-homes-short-lets-and-shacks-inside-lisbons-housing-crisis

        Housing quality and housing crisis is real. Only for the very rich. You will be ripped off by many as you look for housing.

        Reply
        • I agree 100% with you. Worst housing ever and I travelled a lot, Even in Latvia, I was warmer. At least, they had a good heater. Thing that is impossible to find in Portugal. Result : you freeze most of the time at home.

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      • MIke,

        From a Portuguese...No place is perfect but here's a piece of advice:
        - Foreign people here don't want every other expats to come...that would ruin their paradise 🙂
        1. Housing is expensive...for Portuguese income. No for you guys. Buy a house directly to the owner or through a local major company. (REMAX, CENTURY21, etc..);
        2. Socialism keeps a slow economy but...no problem for foreigners who are retired or work for foreign companies.
        3. Portuguese are generally* very hospitable, warm and "life-enjoyers"...the thing is to get to know/get familiar. Learn Portuguese. *Not even in Tibete everyone is nice...
        4. Only on the interior and north the Winter is cold. But cold in our standards...to get 4-5 C is the worse you can ever get (except for Northern interior, which can drop to 0 or a little less) ..and only for short periods of time. Lot's of Sun year round. I'd know. Living here for 42 years.
        5. Food and wine....The best in the world. Vegetables, Meat, Fish, desserts,...everything is a wonder and has still, a "Mediterranean-Medieval-Grandmother" touch. Everyday food..Not referring to Michelin star restaurants...Those are for Tourists and show-off locals...Be sure to balance it with workouts 🙂
        6. Crime..,.it's residual.
        7. Corruption, burocracy, paperwork, price of fuel/utilities, taxes are major downfalls...but keep in mind that for your income it's not that dramatic.
        Bottom line: Sun, Food, Nature and a high standard of living with most North and Western European income patterns.

        I am from the Algarve (Lagos - Western Algarve) but live in Lisboa.

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        • Joao, just to say thank you for sharing some positivity, as my wife and I are in the process of immigrating to your country...

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      • You can have the best attitude and intentions, however it's still freezing in their poorly constructed apartments and the ocean is still dam cold all year round even though it's 35 degrees on the beach ! What does attitude have to do with those bad points ? Absolutely nothing.

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      • Anne This is so true I am now almost 5 years in China .. and never ever had one negative encounter with the Chinese people or the laws of the land because of my attitude .. I think after my Chinese experience Portugal will be a paradise to retire. In China deliveries are fast fast fast ... fix things in my apartment super easy .. but my company deals with it! So DV Sept 2023 I will see you !!

        Reply
    • Charlotte, I live your attitude and very helpful suggestions.
      I have lived in a few different countries, not nearly as many as you. No matter where we choose to live, we have challenges. I am planning to move there. I also plan to come and rent for a period before making the big move of buying a place. Coming for a several week long discovery trip in the fall.

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  54. After the clinic tested my blood and urine, with very dangerous results for diabetes showing up in the laboratory test results and they did not even do the blood glucose testing and "my" family doctor is unreachable to explain the test results to me and prescribe treatment or even hospitalization, I begin to think it could be really dangerous to live in Portugal for those with dental problems (bad bad dishonest and discriminating dentists here) and any critical health issues. You may end up with an erroneous lab test or even worse with a doctor that is unreachable to help you. I had to go through a lot of talking until I was able to retrieve my lab test results on paper. Other doctors (on the internet) suggested that this lab test is wrong and that they did not d the most IMPORTANT: blood glucose testing, which could be critical and urgent.

    Reply
    • Medical staff in general brims with arrogance and ignorance. I always call my doctor in my home country if I need answers. Private heATHCARE is omewhat better, but the doctors are generally below average in the EU. A lot of malpractice happens, but compensation is verylow. Your fault if you trust in Portuguese medics. Better to invest in a flight home!

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  55. I have just moved - within Portugal - to improve my living situation, and I think after only 1,5 weeks that it was a big mistake (not to leave altogether).
    All of the bad things mentioned in the comments, are heightened,- it is a smaller town, and I actually had forgotten about some of the most annoying things in the more remote areas of Portugal. Such as ... impossible to find organic vegetables, a print shop, etc.
    When I looked at the apartment before renting I noticed the bad smell, but I was told, it had been empty as an unused vacation apartment, for the past 3 years. I didn't look inside the closets, inside the washing machine or under the sink, unfortunately. I moved in, I noticed mildew in every single closet, everywhere. One chest of drawers had real mold, under the sink, there is a big smelly leak, and of course the heating, which was the reason I decided for this apartment, did not work ....
    It took the landlords days to react at all (like, ... why would I need a place to put my things, or be able to cook, wash my clothes, etc., right ...), then they showed up in the early morning without warning with a cleaning lady.
    Some basic help, but she undid a lot of my own disinfection efforts, by wiping over cleaned surfaces, etc. with a dirty rag from cleaning some insides of closets with mildew ...

    The worst thing is though -- I don't even expect anymore anything done in time, and in a normal, efficient, good manner, and no hygiene expected anymore. Internet: no WLAN anymore, I an incompatible router, it took the guy 4 hours to find out the issue. He gave me an ethernet cable, until I had the correct router and GLUED IT TO THE WALLPAPER ... and I never got a reaction, answer, .. from the internet company, not even when going AGAIN to the shop in person.
    Also, someone came to fix the heating after many days, .... - again, I didn't even expect much anymore. Otherwise I would have freaked out. Such arrogance, not-doing-any-work attitute, incredible.

    Regarding professionals like real estate agents, I feel like prey. Nothing else. Never ever any factual answers, it's like fairy tales. And beware criticizing any facts. Or service.

    I keep trying to find out what expats like about this country, or why they want to move here. Turns out, most have never lived her for longer. Spent vacation days here, and had contact with people like real estate agents and other highly paid service providers promising them stuff. Those who truly have lived here for longer and like it, live in their own bubble. For Americans, they love it that they get more for their money.

    I miss most a genuine life, culture, and being integrated. I don't think it will ever happen, and I don't think I can ever get used to some sides of the arrogant, self centered society here - or to stray cats shitting on my terrace, or all the barking dogs and dog shit EVERYWHERE.
    Smaller towns look like Eastern Germany before unification, it is like over 30 years back, shops like from 50 years ago, so many run down houses. I do wonder, how that all will develop in the coming decades, and if buying property now will be a good investment or not. But I don't think I want to hang around to find out.
    And I can't deal with the climate, nor do I want to deal with the price for devices here for dealing with it. I can't find an ozone generator to deal with my mildew & mold issue and smell anywhere and amazon delivery not working at all. I can't find a simple washer for the sink anywhere to connect my mini dishwasher. Dehumidifiers are extremely expensive. Electricitiy, fuel, ... extremely expensive.

    Everything at the ocean closed down.
    I am more depressed than before moving. I honestly think that to be happy in Portugal, you 1. need a high income to afford what is "luxury" for Portugal (normal elsewhere), 2. be either in a city / closeby in a really nice area, like with fast access to Lisbon, and/or 3. have your own community and don't expect anything but an expat & tourist community. As in most cases, you will either be at a complete tourist place, or in a place with nomads and expats. I don't think anyone comes to live to have a low paid job here and live in a rental ghetto?? Some people seem to be happy living here with their family, and maybe find more connection to other families, but I don't recommend Portugal for a single woman.
    I don't feel women are respected much, and I found some Portuguese women to be incredibly aggressive and hostile and 100 % unhelpful.

    As a single woman who tried and wished to integrate with locals, -- I cannot recommend it. And I am sick of nomads and retired expats alike. I don't think it's for longterm living.

    The person who commented on Portuguese people living off expats, and having 2nd villas and expensive cars - yes, totally. It is a weird 2 class society, very weird. There are super uneducated people, stunningly uneducated, and living in horrid surroundings, and there are educated professionals, ... and families with several houses or apartments, etc., not doing any work themselves, such as cleaning, car maintenance, etc. -- I am not sure how that works. But I didn't find more connection there either, but have indeed met them only in settings where they profit off me. Almost never in just social settings, and if, then either not accepted at all, or being preyed on again, this time as a woman for a one-night-stand. Never with respect for anything serious.

    I am now back at a less foreigner-oriented place than the Lisbon area, and that also shows much in the food ... to me, it is just disgusting, as I don't like fish, nor other meat. Those cakes in small town Portugal -- ... something my mother made in the 70ies for children's birthday parties. I liked buying fresh organic produce where I lived before, here, it is not available. Restaurant service can be incredibly rude, arrogant, unclean, super slow, and I don't trust some places as a vegan, as had repeatedly ordered vegan dishes but got non-vegan things mixed in - and lied about them. Btw lying and excuses are so common, it it just sickening, also people saying "yes" when they didn't even try to listen at all.
    Egoism at a very low level.

    Reply
    • everything you mention was explained and wiritten beforew by disgusted residents like me , I got the sME WEXPERIENCE AND WILL LEAVE NEXT YEAR AFTER 3 YEARS of which 60% destroyed by COVID!

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    • I had expressed the same experience before in my various posts! Imagine how this country would look like if they were not part of the EU and would not receive 100s of billions to build useless museums , mayoral offices or lonely cycling paths! This country would be an excellent candidate for departure, maybe the Portuguese would then develop a more proactive and professional attitude! Nice nature, wrong people!

      Message to the site controller - there is no need to delete not post messages that are objective, well written and factual! And if there is, I would appreciate a message that provides the reason for not posting!

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      • Hi Tom,

        Many of your comments lacked balance, and some couldn't be published. I understand many people have a negative experience while in Portugal, and I'm happy to publish those stories, but a comment that describes all Portuguese people in one way is not objective.

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        • I am disgusted in the way some people talk about Portugal, just because they have had a bad experience doesnt mean that the whole of Portugal and the Portuguese people are the same. I have lived in Central Portugal for a while and I have been shown nothing but kindness, eggs, vegetables and even a lovely casserole left on my doorstep. Of course the food and culture are different, do people expect to find there own country ways in Portugal! I am English and I love the slow laid back life in Portugal and allowed time to get things done, patience is all you need. If you wanted the rat race why leave it. There are rude people and bad places to live in every country and corruption behind a lot of doors. I am moving back to Portugal this year for good I hope. I believe to be happy in any country you have to accept it warts and all. I am going out there under no illusions about live being a fairy tale but I am going to be happy xx

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    • Thank you Nica,

      The problem starts with the YouTube vloggers who promote a false picture of what it's like to live in Portugal. This is why so many are sucked into the dream of becoming an expat in Portugal. None of what the vloggers promote is a reality for day-to-day living.

      Your comment nailed just about every one of my concerns. I'm a healthy skeptic and I always seek both sides of the story. When you read about Portugal's government and the levels of dysfunction and corruption, what good can come from investing time and money in a country that is barely surviving? When the young Portuguese LEAVE their country to find a better life and opportunity elsewhere, that alone should provide insight and raise numerous red flags.

      Thank you for your candor and for sharing your experience. You've saved me from making a serious and expensive mistake. I expect that many others will one day soon be filled with regret. The super-rich however are impervious to the downsides of life in Portugal. They can easily cut their losses if necessary.
      Thank you,
      Donna

      Reply
      • Most vloggers just move for the sake of content production from one place to another, so they have always something to talk about. They do not promote normal day-to-day living, they even can't, they rarely work "inside" the country and rely on their foreign income. They also never integrate, because they know that they gonna leave in a year or two, and rely on their English-speaking audience as income source.

        Being rich helps definitely to soften the high level of personal and state dysfunctions, your lawyer "knows" people at the city hall etc. Paying some "extra fee" here and there doesn't really matter, its the price for a second villa in a sunny place. And they don't have to rely on the Portuguese services, infrastructure or government. Being physically in Portugal is actually quite nice, it is just not so nice to be reliant on anything there.

        For normal people, there are so many great alternatives to Portugal - cheaper, less bureaucratic, better jobs, way more professional in the way to do business etc. I think the hype about Portugal comes partially from the fact, that their Citizenship By Investment programs, and ways to obtain EU residency, are quite decent. I really doubt those investors/people gonna stay in Portugal once they get their paperwork done.

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        • What do you consider "great alternatives" to Portugal? We wanted to be in Italy, but their bureaucracy makes Portugal look like a walk in the park. But there are two things that drive me totally mad in my country: dog poop/trash all over and cars parked in driving lanes and on sidewalks. I don't need to jump from the frying pan into a fire. Sorry I'm one of those with enough money to avoid certain inconveniences. But some of this stuff feels unavoidable.

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          • I would say it depends from your goals and preferences. Your preferences seem more like the choice of the correct city/neighborhood, less of the country itself. There are also great, clean, relatively dog-poop-free neighborhoods in Portugal after all.

            Spain is somewhat cleaner than Portugal, and climate is better, but the dog poop is also a problem. You could avoid that probably, living in more decent area, but if you have too much of "enough money" they have a nasty wealth tax AFAIK, although if you don't want to be a resident that wouldn't be an issue. Less of bad parking, or staying in driving lane and honking for 15 minutes like in Portugal.

            South America is nice and easy going, good food and apartments for the money. But from what I saw certainly not very clean, dog poop is also common and quite chaotic when it comes to traffic and parking. Crime is also an issue.

            Safe and clean? Dubai is very, very clean and safe. Haven't seen dog poop a single time. However, very hot and not the cheapest place. Also another things that are not for everyone like Sharia Law. Good services though and no taxes. Not the best drivers, but parking on sidewalks is not very common due to high fines.

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        • This was very helpful, thanks. The pendulum swings wide on experiences and opinions here and your comments help explain the discrepancies. The more affluent experience far less of the housing, bureaucratic headaches than those of more modest means - not unlike most places in the world. I have read through all of the comments and for the most part, have appreciated people's candour in sharing their own experiences and I really believe people have been brutally honest, which really is helpful. I think some people can overlook certain things others cannot. For me, this has highlighted certain areas that actually do give me pause for concern (crime stats not being accurate due to many unreported incidents, setting up a new business pitfalls) It's always good to know what you are really getting yourself (and your family) into as much as possible before a major relocation. I think any relocation is stressful and rarely things are perfect but the experience alone, even a brief stay that doesn't work out, might be worth it, providing no real physical/financial harm was done. I always ask 'what's the worst part of...?' when speaking to folks about moving somewhere. I find that's where the story begins. That way I have a more balanced perspective. I am always super positive and tend to miss some glaring red flags because I always want to see the best in a place/company/restaurant/culture and I love adventure. The negative comments have been valuable, even the cranky rants, because when the same comments keep coming up, you know it's not just an isolated incident or a disgruntled ex-pat and you know you may very well have to navigate this issue(s). The question is, does it add up to a deal-breaker?

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    • You sound really unhappy in Portugal. Maybe you should go back home! I agree with you in most things you have expressed and have always wonder why do foreigners leave their high standard lives in their countries to come and live in Portugal. I never understood it!

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    • I believe where ever you live attitude is so crucial. You can not change others but you can change yourself. Before any huge life change it is your responsibility to dig deep and realize what you are getting yourself into. Being to Portugal my experience is so the opposite of your. Wish you the best!

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    • Dear Nica, what a sad and depressing story. I guess you completely failed do understand the portuguese essence. The beginning says it all, "after 1,5 weeks i saw it was a big mistake!".
      Everything seems to be a problem and a tragedy for you. It seems like you ended up on an island created by your negative and depressive nature.

      Don´t understand me wrong... Portugal has many issues... its not a walk in the park and will require some adaptive skills but it can be a wonderful place... especially if you approach it with the right energy, open mind and some humility.

      If you move expecting everything to be perfect do not come here!

      My advice, if your thinking of coming over: visit before you move and make the correct research.

      Finally, i think happiness travels with us. Obviously you can be happy in portugal with little cash. Start by choosing a place that fits your needs and expectations.

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    • I have to agree with you for the most part. As a single woman, this is definitely not the right country to come to. Portuguese men are some of the worst and less serious I have met... They worship 'soccer' which is at the center of their life ! To conclude, even with lost of money, many things will remain the same and it may be much better to find another more suitable country. Portuguese are not very sociable people except when it's time to sell you something. In that case, they easily talk to strangers and they seem to speak perfect English and French on those occasions but definitely not when you need help with something.... How strange.

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  56. Hey Folks, all great insights. I plan to relocate from India to Porto for work purposes, with my spouse and kid. Looking to work for a year or two to gain some foreign exposure. In all, would you advise me to really refrain from moving to Porto, or it is still a good bet for a year or two, to live and work in one of the beautiful countries. Request your inputs, please.

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    • Hi Manoj, you should look at some other European country as this one certainly isn't! Firstly, if you don't know the language, don't even bother as very few people speak English and the ones that claim they do, speak half a sentance. People here con foreigners with higher prices and false promises. Difficult to find good tradesmen and people who are honest and/or say sorry if they get things wrong. The weather isn't everything. Rents/prices are too expensive. Most of the Indians/pakistanis/Bangladeshis here are fruit pickers and it is difficult to make friends even with the Portuguese. The indian groceries are basic, the desi restaurants are terrible. Please read other people's comments before you decide and best of luck.

      Reply
    • Looks like my previous reply to you was not posted. Please read the other blogs about life here. Will point out the following to help u decide.
      Beautiful beaches and good weather.
      Plenty of money required to live here as you get conned everywhere, by people, companies, traders.
      Everything is overpriced, for example, specs, cars, petrol, hotels, having work done in the house.
      Portuguese will not tell you the truth, and not say sorry when they get things wrong.
      One should know the language to live here as very few people can carry out a conversation. They claim to know but cannot go beyond the basic greetings.
      Property prices and rentals are overpriced and lack value for money.
      Dogs bark and do their dirty business everywhere and incessantly.
      I suggest you look for a European country to go to as this country certainly ain't European by any standard.
      Indian food is scarce and basic stuff is available. The Indian restaurant are bad quality. Most of the Indians here fruit pickers and menial workers i. e. not educated. Very difficult to make friends here.
      Best of luck.

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    • Hello, Manoj, I started in Porto but soon found it nicer, more genuine, more gree and more friendly just 20-30 kms out. I have found the smaller towns have more! More parks, more libraries, more cultural centers, as well as a more laid back, family-oriented feeling. If you need anything in the city it is always close by train, Uber or excellent roads. Have fun!

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  57. Here's another point why Portugal will never become a wealthy and a fully developed country:

    I have a yard tractor and parts are very hard to find for it. I inquired the local agricultural suppliers to order parts for me. They responded with available parts listing and prices. The problem is their prices are sky high, but availability of parts if laughable. For example: they have screws available (at a cost of €15 per screw) of the lawnmower deck but not the blades. Then they have another kind of washers, but not screws and then finally they have the part but not support for it. What is the use of those parts then?

    Then another example: I was looking for specific long roofing screws. The local hardware store told me they don't have them, and they can not order them for me and they added that they are sure that the entire country of Portugal do not have these screws available. Then how come everybody are suing them for their roofs? Oh and they say they do not order anything from Spain. What happened next I went to the hardware store in the next street and they had all the screws available for me.

    I can write a book on these kind of stories.

    This kind of CAN NOT DO mentality will never make this country a winner for its own people, but only a sad loser and a tourist infested place at best.

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  58. I forgot to mention 2 things, -
    Dogs and parasites: I got fleas here. I don't have any pets. But when it got hot, I had fleas bites all over, for weeks, as I couldn't figure it out, as I fxxx NEVER in my life had anything to do with fleas etc. ever. It was beyond horrible, I am still covered in hundreds of marks head to toes. So, I wondered, where did they come from ... how ... when it dawned on me that when it got hot, I had left the apartment door open with ventilator once or twice to get any fresh air movement in ... So, the hallway here has carpet OMG (God knows from when), and there is now and then dog hair on it, from the multiple dogs of my neighbour on this floor ... I saw her once in front of the house combing out the dogs.

    Delivery: I gave up. Amazon client since the beginning, worked perfectly fine ... until I moved here and had to deal with amazon Spain. A different delivery service wanted my tax nr. before they would hand me my parcel. I didn't return something as I couldn't figure out how their special method worked. Have still to find reliable food delivery service.

    Speaking of which ... my landlady refuses to let me pay electricity in my own name, and I have to go to a PayShop to pay, as I can't use direct debit and transferring is suuuper complicated and one needs to write several emails doing so ...

    Again, speaking of which. I have yet to come across a Portuguese house or apartment where the main fuse doesn't blow as soon as you plug in the electric kettle along with another high voltage device.

    Did I mention how I got thrown out in the middle of Lisbon in the middle of the night by an uber driver, when he noticed that I wasn't the correct client? Or how we got thrown out of the train at night, because of a disturbance -- first 1 hr waiting in the train without any information whatsoever, then they just threw us out. Just like that. No buses, no help, no information. And a LONG way still to go.

    I am sure Lisbon is great as a short term tourist or self proclaimed nomad, or for retirement with a partner, ... and when you live in the city center along with other expats, which is the only part that gets cleaned at night and police all around. I even liked Porto later for 1 weekend as a tourist (not the beggars or cats on restaurant tables though).

    I wanted to add before that no, in Germany you are not allowed to smoke inside in clubs and bars, I know of no other place where this is the case, only here in Portugal, no dog barking in Germany, police would come, ... and though not a service paradise you still get reliable service and people are somewhat trained to do their job. With a minimum wage of about 4 EUR I don't expect much of employees here, though a lack of training and management is often evident. When you do complain, there is more often than not a lengthy explanation about how it is not their fault but everyone else's, how they are always the victim, or even insulting you. I often encounter a "wanting to help" attitude, but just incompetence. I tried to contact several cleaning companies, and also people via private ads, as I thought, oh, cool, 5 EUR/h maybe for a cleaner? Didn't happen, as noone got back to me to make an offer.
    In Germany, we had often Portuguese kids in school, and Portuguese neighbours, ... they were never treated as foreigners are here sometimes.

    As someone else said, yes, victim mentality, and conformity and being comfortable. If that means that everyone is on top of each other, instead of anyone taking own responsibility, fine.

    I just remembered a detail I came across ... young Portuguese men often have the names of birth dates of their mother or grandmother, sister, ... tattoed, ... on the arm, shoulder, etc. ... so sexy, along with them often looking 10 years older than they are.

    I think I should give up trying to adapt and just leave.

    Reply
    • Very egoist society, I agree, and superficially "friendly" with too many crooks in between the incompetent ones. Don't expect any help on the road. I always try to help them, send them stuff they want, but when I ask a tiniest favour that costs nothing to them, it's like oh no we can't do that.... and smile so helpless and "friendly" face. And if they don't like you they will spread false rumours about you, so you can't get any service or buy anything from them, which is their know PUNISHMENT MENTALITY. Portuguese claim they are PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE and are always SAD and ENVIOUS. And PUNISHING you for everything with their own ways. But hey, there are some nice people, just don't ask them any favours.

      Reply
    • Your stories of being thrown out of Ubers and trains are intriguing. What exactly were the "disturbances" that you were involved in?

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    • I think you are right Go to Germany...or back home...must be hard not to find any positives in a beautiful place like Portugal, I wonder if u will be happy anywhere

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    • It's funny how other Europeans tolerate the Portuguese at other countries. You come to their country. You learn about mediocrity. I'm still a nomad here.

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  59. This is so spot on. I think to be happy here, you need to live in an expat bubble. I know of very very few people (2) who got a Portuguese partner. Normally doesn't happen. They still can't speak Portuguese and still live in an expat bubble. So this, and enjoying nice views and that it doesn't really snow in winter. And cheap wine which you will need.

    I had first come to Portugal 2 or 3 years ago, after living in Ireland for some time, I rented an old house in the very north in a not-even-village. Yes, dogs ... annoying driving ... super backwards shops ... and I felt watched by the ONE present neighbour all the time. You forgot to mention the continuous smoke and fumes in winter from heating. I swear that the father of my landlady sneaked into the house while I was sleeping several times, and when I was away, door left open. I am not paranoid, and strange occurances stopped when I had finally a key for the door between the garage in the basement and the living space.

    I moved to Porto after 2 months -- most horrible mold ever, no vacuum cleaner in the house, no hot water in the kitchen, window not closing and it was so cold all the time- Both in the country house and also in that house in Porto -- no heating, no insulation. Portuguese people will all tell you to wear blankets around your shoulders all day long. Never mind that everything always stays damp, I was unable to dry my clothes. Then moved to a different apartment, outside Porto (right outside, urban area) to a modern apartment, sharing - it had "central" heating, so nice. Yes, you always hear neighbours, and dogs -- we saw a dog outside the window in a very small yard in a small space, always just there.

    Agree that one of the worst things is the dirt and dog poo, even in "good" areas, right in front of houses.

    In Porto, my car got broken in, window smashed with an umbrella. 50 m from our house. Everything stolen (like ... rain jacket, ... shoes, ... nothing valuable in the car, of course.)

    I returned to Ireland, where everything is clean, safe, no dogs barking. The dogs aren't trained at all in Portugal, people don't know how to keep them. Yes, I feel too, that everything is 30 years behind. Totally. Everything. E v e r y t h i n g.

    I was living now in Ireland, right next to a super clean, calm beach, normal living standard house, no noise, no dirt though basically on a cow farm. No dog barking at all, dog poo of course not on road in front of house etc. Then came the lockdowns, and one thing I do have to agree with is that also an Irish village is very much a village of people who have lived there literally all their lives, and their extended family, and you will always remain a blow-in. But the Irish are much much much more friendly, communicative, welcoming, normal, helpful, and the bureaucracy is low. They will still make friends with you, while for Portugese, they tell you in the face that you don't belong to their friends as they don't know you since childhood, and my impression is "all friends can go to hell, my family only counts" attitute, ... e. g. they might be able to fit you in after dinner with their parents at 10 pm, or maybe for coffee between lunch and dinner with their family, or meet for 5 minutes before driving (perfectly able to drive herself) mother into town.
    So, total lockdowns, city in Ireland not an option because of rental prices, and I had no better idea than to move to Portugal, to Lisbon.

    On the one hand, not the worst idea, and I must say - I had no idea about the amount of tourists until now. It was sooo nice during and right after lockdowns ... without them, omg. It is like disneyland here with tourists returned and that's not even all of them. I am thoroughly, thoroughly sick of Lisbon. Yes, I adore it, it is beautiful, but all tourists and "nomads", superficial, overrun, expensive, no REAL culture anymore going on because of all the many, many expats, "nomads", tourists, ... no normal Portuguese people live in Lisbon. The ones I met at meetups were there for the women. Speaking of which .... No matter where, or when, I have found it impossible to meet normal Portuguese men with manners and education. Sorry. Yes, I found some with education, but ... still no manners, I was never so insulted and harrassed in my life. I, too, heard stories of harrassment of women, like slapping them on an open street, how men talk to women here if often unbelievable.
    At the moment I am living in one of the richest, cleanest areas of the country, and the dog barking, dog poo right in front of the door, etc., running cars, noise, smoking ... like, it is really impossible for me to live in this higher end apartment without constant ear plugs, checking if I can open the window, etc. No ventilation, no heating. Too cold in winter, too hot in summer, mold.

    The bureaucracy and the total lack of service and extreme slowness are mind boggling, numbing, infuriating ... my stress level here is waaaay higher than elsewhere, and people make me aggressive, and I have never ever met such aggressive women. I am used from Ireland to taking a lot of time at checkout in the supermarket, but out of niceness eg. towards older people - not because it just IS slow. And then those women all the time with super thick huuge wallets then searching forever for their cards and numbers.

    Driving, parking, also esp. on a bike - life threatening.

    Hygiene: on the one hand super clean, then again, not so. I don't advise anyone ever to watch a restaurant kitchen, etc. And other issues. The Covid "wash your hands" regime really did nothing here.

    Rental and property prices are getting super high now after lockdowns, also restaurant prices, as expensive as Ireland. Thanks Golden Visa, etc. Also, prices triple, when someone hears that you are not Portuguese.
    You also get lied to no end. If you think Prague or so in the worst tourist trap, think again.

    I am in the process of deciding where to move to next, as I can finally, finally leave my horrible apartment. Just contacting real estate agents / answering to ads, and e-mails about how apartments are furnished, and what the conditions of the rental agreement are make we look into other options, like ... moving to the other end of Europe. I had also looked into buying a plot of land or a house to do up, as it is suuuper complicated to build yourself. The lack of information by real estate agents, and right out lies and false statements and also offers that are simply illegal is incredible. I wonder why I should continue looking, when what I get for it is a damp, horrible apartment with thin walls sub standard. Yes, there are very nice places, with heating AND fire place, ... but those are costly and you end up in one of those huuuuge apartment blocks or ghettos (most expats I meet have actually never seen those apartment skyscraper ghettoes, lol), ... I all my time in Portugal, so 1,5 years combined, I have maybe met 4 me who did NOT live with their parents. They all say "to help with the bills".
    The condition of some houses and apartments offered for rent or sale is incredible ... and I mean "move-in-ready" offers.
    So, to buy anything here will take me a much longer time (if ever), as it is so, so varied, and every information must be double checked by myself, even the location. Previous lack of construction and renovation standards, makes it all very difficult, and while some offers are eyebrow raisingly low, so one wonders why, others are extremely overpriced.

    This morning, I went to the market and then on a short walk, I heard English only, btw.

    I also btw. like PsyTrance parties, and those ARE mostly filles with Portuguese people, but ... they are so strange, also like 30 years backwards disco parties, ... hard to describe. You either get those plastic outdoor chairs, and no deco, and the worst toilets ever, or you get tourist hip artificial "in" places. And when you go to a PsyTrance party in Germany, Ireland, Czechia, people talk to you. Here, not so.

    Yes, yes, yes, there are super nice people, amongst them even the people I had dealt with at Financas (so, why on Earth do you need to organise a tax nr to rent an apartment and then they tell you they need a contract with your address to get it which you don't have because you need a tax number .... ), and people trying to be helpful, ... but it always stays at a superficial level. Maybe in 10 years , .... as it only took people in the local shop and food place 1 year to recognize me now.

    Reply
    • Oh yes, the extreme slowness... Recently, I had inquiry with German bureaucrats - I had my answer within two days, all that per email, no fees, they wanted to see only basic documents. Same task with with paid lawyers in Portugal, a lot of fees, back and forth questions, endless documents required, everything feels like rocket science, yet their slowness and lack of motivation is so irritating. It takes weeks.

      Some people blame the lack of training, I think it is a country-wide cultural thing. Actually, the "white collar" like bankers, lawyers and real estate agents were the worst from my experience, and they are supposed to be educated. I mean they are in certain sense, but their business-attitude makes you want to never deal with them again.

      I was considering buying real-estate in Portugal, but I decided to leave instead. I am a laid back person too, but Portugal has definitely too much of it, to the level where nothing works, and nobody takes the responsibility for anything. I think the Portugal might be ok to live when you do all your paperwork somewhere else, and all your work is PT unrelated.

      Reply
      • I think even Italy shines in comparison with Portugal.Its not a secret that inward investment into Portugal is tiny compared to Eastern Europe. But in one sense the Portuguese are leaders in Europe, private debt levels are bt far thehigh est in the EU. This is why you see so many German limos around!
        It seems to me that Portuguese prefer to spend rather than to earn money through hard work!

        Reply
    • so you hated Portugal and moved back to Ireland. Then, inexplicably, you moved back to Portugal? I'm sorry, that makes no sense.

      Reply
    • After all the initial bureaucracy I first stayed at a "nice" area in Portugal as well. My neighbour upstairs spent 24/7 of her time dragging the furniture. It must have been her natural behaviour. The noise pollution was everyday, frequent and unbearable. It was a one-woman job, but there was no authorities to complain to. It should say something about the civility of Portuguese people. I'm now on the rural outskirts of Lisbon. It's damp and there's mildew everywhere. Hygiene conditions are terrible. Yes walls are very thin too. The rent is priced accordingly, but I would not know that it's even worth moving house around here. I lived at the same location almost three decades abroad. It's been little more than half a decade here. I've moved twice and yet want to move again. There's nomads and expats everywhere. People are arrogant and unfriendly, hardly any useful to anybody other than their own "cousins". Very little honesty the same. I continue to manage surviving this place. I don't see any point in wanting to live at countries with populations like this. Sometimes you have this citizenship by birthright. I can hardly make any use of it. Mediocre.

      Reply
  60. I'll make this brief because it is a sad truth. I am a retired American woman and got caught in a situation in a very posh Algarve town where I was assaulted by the woman partner of my landlord and systematically abused, had windwhield broken, utilities turned off, signs put on my car and door humiliating me, and the assault was savage. She didn't like that I was living there and not her. The landlord a known man in town, CTT stole my acceptance for legal aid, the police kept me in the dark until the case was dismissed without me knowing it.
    Tried to reopen it and the Portuguese bullies hacked all my technology. The law enforcement did the bare minimum of filling out a sheet of info. The drunken attackers were protected and everything was done to keep me from any justice...so far. Will keep at it. The police, lawyers, post office, nobody did anything to help me as the victim.

    I would advise that you think about Portugal as this is not an unusual situation. The legal system is terrible.

    Reply
    • Are you actually claiming that the authorities conspired to hack all of your technology? I find that hard to believe, since everybody on here is saying they are 30 years behind.

      Reply
  61. Forgot also to say I met a Portuguese business guy who had by co-incidence also spent part of his childhood in England. Now lived mainly outside Portugal in South Africa, Brazil and other places, and came back to Portugal occasionally. He said to me "the Portuguese are basically still peasants".

    Well - he said it. And he knows.

    The thing about the unfriendly cafe. I often encountered that in Lisbon. They seemed suspicious of customers, or at least new customers, faces they hadnt seen before. Again - a backward peasant style mentality. And this was Lisbon, not some place way out in the country. Never experienced it eg in Germany.

    Reply
    • Now imagine how we "suffer" living in a small village in the Azores 1700 km west from Lisbon, in the middle of Atlantic ocean. The services are terrible, the awful incompetence and ignorance and the cruel dentists, oh my god!!! And the ever permeating "punishments" by the locals spreading false rumours about you and thgen you are unable to do anything or get any help...

      Reply
      • Sorry to hear that. I would argue that moving into a small village in Portugal, Spain and basically most of the European countries is always a risky move. Those people live next to each other for generations and it is very difficult to fit into such society, one bad interaction and you upset the entire village since most of those people are always kind of relatives. It is also hard to move out since properties in such places are hard to rent or sell. I would not even do it in my own country.

        Reply
    • Well, that says a lot about that PRT guy...
      I wonder how magnificent his experiences in South Africa and Brasil might be...For a death wisher 🙂 🙂
      People in Lisboa are being force out of the city for the sake of Tourism...that's why low income locals are not friendly. It's not your fault but it is what it is. Outside of Lisboa, people are friendlier and easy-going. Remember, PRT are proud people. It takes two to dance. Make an effort. Learn a bit of PRT.
      BTW - It's not nice to be called peasant. I've been to Germany a couple of times and, in spite of the stereotypes about Germans, I can only say I was very well treated by everyone. (in Bavaria at least)
      João Pedro - a peasant. ")

      Reply
  62. Very good analysis of the downsides of Portugal. Interesting also to read the comments.

    I spent a year in Lisbon, coming from Germany where I have lived for many years as well as in other countries so I have plenty to compare with (expat from UK).

    I had been interested in Lisbon as a potential relocation destination having seen a lot of "digital nomad" location independent type blogs and videos, so then went to the city for 3 weeks to see what it was like.

    Had a good impression, it helped also that it was Spring when I went and not winter. Was aware of the "backward" aspect of some things, plus all the hills - not so good for me because I like cycling. Germany has cycle paths everywhere, whereas in Lisbon if you cycled you were an oddity. I lived outside Lisbon city in a suburb, but even so there was no cycle infra for the most part. It was also extremely hard work with all the hills. People would hoot at you in amusement as they drove past in their cars.

    Anyway, I greatly enjoyed the three week reconnaisance trip. But I then found that visiting and living in a place are indeed two very different things.

    The point about the dogs barking I hadn't anticipated until I lived there. Practically every house in my street - a villa area, had a dog or often several dogs in the front yards (all locked and bolted - which makes the area seem like a set of fortresses. People in houses in England do not generally live behind locked and bolted gates and high fences.

    Even apartments often had a dog on their balcony barking all day long. Whenever you walked down the street a load of barking would start up from each side of the road, it got very tedious. Keeping dogs like that and just letting them bark all day - and often in the night as well to me seems like a form of backward rural or gypsy behavior.

    In Germany it is just not permitted, illegal. But in Portugal it is accepted as normal. Even the house where my apartment was the owners on the ground floor had two noisy dogs, out in the yard all the time, barking sometimes even after midnight. I think Portuguese consider dogs to be a sort of standard accepted burglar alarm system. Have a house (or apartment?)... then you must have a dog. Or preferably two or three or more. And let them bark all the time.

    There were rows of terrace owner occupier houses - with the most gaudy designs and colors eg pink turrets etc, and with locked front yards, where the dogs would bark and cack on the ground all day while the owners were away at work paying the mortgage. Yuck. Imagine having to clear that up every single day first thing when you come back from work. Rather them than me.

    Other things: the incredible backwardness with e-commerce and internet and also snail post and parcel delivery. Amazon and Ebay dont even have websites for Portugal, people tend to use the Spanish ones instead (and they both have them for Netherlands and Belgium, so it is not due to the smaller size of the country). Also makes running an ecommerce business very difficult.

    Also importing, even from within the EU, the Portuguese authorities obstruct. Lots of protectionism - despite all the bla-bla about "Single Market" and "Level playing field in Europe". Load of crapola from Barnier and co.

    Cars cost a fortune so I hear. And trying to import one from more cheaper countries in the EU is made intentionally very difficult. More protectionism.

    The winter was not pleasant. In fact I have never been so cold in my life - and I have lived in UK and Germany. Never again. The building did not have any central heating. Clothing and bedding went moldy within 1-2 weeks. It was a horrible experience.

    The locals could be a bit backward. Not just the dog keeping thing, but also things like people tending vegetable/chicken coop plots on derelict building land among the ruins. And this was the suburbs of Lisbon.

    I heard a lot of things from other expats about sneaky and troublesome behaviour of locals, jealousy if a northern European bought a house in their area etc, rumor spreading, making trouble, gossip etc. Again that is all socially backward stuff. Also problems with businesses, services, utilities, bureaucracy. I also experienced this myself.

    I remember a cafe on a beach front, pleasant inside, and on my first trip there had free-wifi. Run by a family, but they weren't very friendly and seemed even hostile and cold.

    Then when I moved to Lisbon, I visited it again - and found they had removed the wifi. Not only that they now had a notice up in Portuguese and English saying "No working on laptops or tablets". And they were just as cold and unfriendly as before. So I thought, last time I come here. Pity. And very strange. Funny attitude to business. Once again - backward.

    Also all the tourists in Lisbon got on my nerves. All doing the same dumb things. Tram number 14 or whichever it was, I never went on it, but its the one they all go on. Locals who live on the route cant get on because of all the stupid tourists going up and down. Pickpocket Express so I hear.

    Queuing outside that one custard tart shop in Belem etc (there are other custard tart bakeries!). Etc etc. Not real Lisbon, its a tourist disneyland form of it. But I guess thats a problem everywhere so not solely a Lisbon or Portugal thing.

    All in all I would not move to Portugal to live. Its fine to visit and stay for eg a month or so, but don't try to live there if you are a northern European, you will be disappointed and frustrated and will curse the place.

    Go to Lisbon to visit, go on tram 14 and visit the custard tart shop where you can queue for ages outside and be fleeced once you get in. But don't expect much else. Keep Portugal at a distance, dont expect it be better, and you won't be disappointed.

    As a result of experiences in Portugal I am wary also of Spain. I hear they go in for the barking dog thing.... Also cold buildings in winter. And chaos, chaos chaos. I will stick to Germany and northern Europe.

    Reply
    • This literally looks you are making an hotel review.
      Its a country not a perfect place for you to live peacefully.
      If you want no noise, no dogs , just a place to make you happy and confortable go to a villa in Algarve .

      Reply
    • Thanks Rick your description of expat life in Portugal could not be better! As a German who has lived 15 years in London and 3years in Italy, I agree that Portugal is probably the worst people experience. Imagine where this country would stand without the excessive funds they get from the grear EU and build cycle paths to nowhere or outsized office buildings for incompetent local authorities!

      Reply
    • Yes as you say, nice country to visit but not to live. As soon as all the touristy activities are done, there is not much left to do. I find life boring here in Portugal. Lisbon has become so expensive but still no quality when it comes to real estate. Everything is overpriced and doesn't meet the comfort standards of a developed country. Portuguese not that friendly except a few but you have to look really really hard. Little by little, the bad sides get to you to the point that you wonder 'what the hell you are doing here ?' I am stuck here for the time being but looking elsewhere more suitable for me.

      Reply
      • I am at the same stage as you. Cant put up with the Portuguese anymore, dying a slow death from loneliness, I wonder what I should do next and where to move. Then there is COVID, the war, my father died this year and you hear about everything malfunctioning, forest fires raging, unbearable heat and this indifferent and ignorant bunch of locals! I will give it another winter and then move!

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  63. I moved to Portugal almost ten months ago and I’ve traveled all around to decide where I wish to live. First of all, the people have been most welcoming. From immigration to getting paper work done, only USA immigration officials have been inappropriate and arrogant. Here, you’re treated like a human and not whatever label society has given you. I do notice that the Portuguese are friendly, but keep to themselves. I haven’t entirely been able to integrate with them although I am learning the language and can say a few things here and there. From the Algarve to Porto, each area has its pros and cons. The Algarve seems great for retirees but not for younger folks looking for a social life. Madeira island is a dream of a place if you wish to live on an island. Porto is by far my favorite area, but apparently has terrible winters.
    No place is perfect. All in all, the friendliness of the people (they actually say good morning), the quality of the food, and the beauty of the country, make me feel like I made the best decision ever for my quality of life. I’m also aware that I’m a privileged expat and make more money than the locals. They struggle with low wages but still seem
    much friendlier and happier than many people I have seen around the world.

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  64. I would like to mention something about safety since many people take it into consideration, specifically about Portugal being "ranked 3". The global peace index is relatively useless when measuring personal safety, it includes things like weapon exports, military expenditure, neighboring country relation (good to be an island or having only one neighbor), UN funding etc.

    So how can a relatively corrupt country like Portugal be safer than for example, Switzerland or Japan? It is not. When it comes down to the actual crime index rate, Portugal is placed around ~30. Therefore, it is relatively safe, but behind many developed countries, and certainly nothing overwhelming safe like many of the expat services suggest.
    Furthermore, just like in the most places, you get what you pay for. Cheap apartment in a filthy area - probably not the most pleasant people around.

    Reply
    • Hi Smith,

      I agree with you on the Global Peace Index.

      Anecdotally, however, I would say Portugal feels safer than some other countries I've lived (like the UK) and travelled (like the US), and that's what a lot of people will be comparing Portugal to. Cheap apartments in filthy areas are best avoided anywhere, but they're not as bad in Portugal. Still wouldn't recommend, though.

      Here, I don't really have to worry about muggings or random violent crime and, generally speaking, feel safe walking around at night in the towns and cities. That's not to say these types of crimes don't happen, but it's less of a concern here.

      Reply
      • Hello James,

        Indeed, I feel the same, Portugal feels generally safer then UK, France or Italy, and it doesn't have the extreme crime rate differences between neighborhoods like in the US where feeling very safe/unsafe mainly depends from your wallet. Portugal seems to me like a non-violent culture overall, which is also a big plus.
        My point is only - if safety is top priority there are better choices than Portugal, where you will feel even safer.

        Reply
  65. I moved to Portugal in May hoping to make it my permanent home base after 8 years on the road as a digital nomad.

    During those eight years, I have lived in Australia, Mexico, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Spain, and now Portugal. And to be honest, of all these countries, Portugal is the place I like the least, by far.

    I have to agree with all of Jame's assessments. Many are just a minor inconvenience. But the one I have found the hardest to deal with is the Portuguese penchant for being so damn negative about everything. Even the way they carry themselves and the look on their face as they walk down the street is depressing. They have zero positive energy. It's like permanent-grieving is the national past time here. So even once you make a Portuguese friend, you don't really want to be around them, because they're such a freakin' downer all the time.

    So if you're like me, and your emotional state is easily affected by those around you, I suggest you consider Spain, where the people are notoriously happy 24-7.

    And then there's the bureaucracy, which at normal times is bad, but right now is downright dangerous. Give serious consideration to moving here if you have any health issues, or at least until the covid epidemic is truly over.

    As others here have already posted above, no matter how many hoops I jump through, documents I bring, etc, etc, I keep being denied access to a vaccine. That is, unless I want to (wink, wink) pay a 3rd party agency who will then bribe the government official with part of my fee to get me an appointment.

    When push comes to shove, you see the true character of a nation. And a nation that would deny foreign residents access to basic healthcare that could save their life, even though they are law abiding and tax paying, is not a nation I would ever choose to live in. Because no amount of sun, cheap living, or good surf is worth risking my life.

    Reply
    • Hi Xavier
      Thank you for your input, it was grate to read you!
      It has been very useful to know so many things, that are important for a future life abroad. I was thinking very seriously to move to Portugal, now I will think it better.
      Regards,
      Cristina

      Reply
    • No wonder they all look miserable - it's an ugly country, filthy, high prices for very low quality, stuck in another past century, dog poo everywhere, people are loud, ugly and primitive. Portugal is ok only for the rich who come to retire and haven't a clue about the country is about. It's a total rip off for tourists.

      Reply
      • I am curious as to where in Portugal you have been and how long you stayed. I have visited four times since 1974 and have never found the people to be loud, quite the contrary, nor have I found the country to be ugly or primitive. I have been to all the regions except the Algarve as I don't really care for beaches or hot weather.

        Reply
      • Please see my post on Quora Whats so bad about Portuguese people? It seems that you have copied me! Intersting how the Portuguese start to insult once you cpomplain about them!

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        • HI Tom,

          I feel bad you had a bad time here. A part from politics and economy, i think my country is very hospitable and it is no wonder why so may people want to live here. I think you should adapt your criteria to this country's reality. We are not Germany, UK or France. Much to our fault, we are much poorer, i think you should judge us by the same level as powerful and rich countries like those afore mentioned. We pay taxes like Germany but and have an income like Lithuania or so.
          I really hope there is time and/or opportunity to change your opinion about my country. In spite of it's shortcomings, it's natural and cultural life is rich and 800 years proud.

          João Pedro

          Reply
      • Wow. Stong words to describe a great great country and beautiful people. It seams yo me you are the ugly person. We love Portugal, the people, and weather. We own several properties and have helped many friends buy home too.
        Dita

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      • First of all, you are the one who is ugly, filthy minded, xenophobe. If you had a bad experience maybe you provoked it unnececerly. We welcome many tourists, but many of the tourists are just cheap ones, that think the welcoming country should treat them like kings. We have loads of patience with such stupid, upnosed tourists, that look down at us, like we are disgusting beggars that should lick their feet.. We dont need tourists like you, dirty, demanding, uneducated tourists like you. We welcome those who come to learn , to experience, to know what is the country, without bringging made up ideas. And we have pleasure to guide them to show our country. Sadly, earing the comments in this blog we feel that you are ungrateful and unthoughtful.
        We are not curiosities subhuman creatures to be exposed in a fair, as it was in the beginning of the century with indigenous people. In that time it was acceptable because they were ignorant, today this idiotic ignorance is NOT!
        Why don´t you ask an opinion from a Portuguese. Even better a portuguese woman like me? Most of the comments made here in this ....blog..... where insulting, shortsighted, uncultured and misinformed. First we are not third world issue, nor we are basic or behind the other european countries . Of course that we suffer from many problems, such like other countries. We are not under educated. We are polite, kind, generous. We are a very secure country. If you ask for help or ask for directions in the street of a big city, or even in a small village, YOU cAN FIND THOUSANDS OF PEOple that speak at least three languages, and if they dont they can figure it out. So , if you don t like our country, dont come, You will see what you have disdained.

        Reply
        • Most complaints about Portugal here are written by various people that have had similar negative experiences throughout the country. I'm on my way out of Portugal as fast as I can go and will never look back. I share most negative experiences that others have living in various parts of the country over years now. I would really like to see you prove your part. Thing is, the countries mentally reflects in the economy. Do yourselves a favor and get over yourselves. Shape up, take responsibility and learn what it means and takes to build up a reputation and why that could benefit you. Good luck

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    • Just go to your local public health centre and sign up for the Utente number. After being registered in the public healthcare service you can book your vaccination appointment online. It`s a very simple process. All that talk of bureaucracy and corruption in Portugal is way exaggerated !

      Reply
      • I doesn't work that way. As a new resident it takes some time till you get your Utente number, even longer during pandemic. There is a nice form you can fill out without the Utente number, and they are supposed to give you an appointment, but it will never happen. I had exactly the same experience. Only solution - I could pay some agency, or go there and simply be lucky.
        AFAIK, it was recently a topic of the Portuguese government, they know that they made it very difficult for new residents. I don't think it has been done on purpose, but once again incompetency and "I don't care" approach.

        Such things are something to consider, I wouldn't blame Portuguese people though, but the Portuguese bureaucracy and corruption can hit everyone very hard at some point. Do you need some paper work done? There is low predictability how long will it take, and what you might need. At some point you gonna lose money, opportunities, time, or health, because of such things.
        Of course, I could cope with high bureaucracy and corruption in a country with very low cost of living and low taxes, but in a country with developed world prices and over 40% taxes I see it different.

        Reply
    • My only caveat to your comment is that you can't really tell the character of a nation regarding foreigners by the individual experience of a foreign resident with healthcare. Perhaps a better measure would be the difference of experience between foreign and national residents in that regard.

      I find it plausible/likely that your experience is unrelated to any attitude of the Portuguese people and/or instututions towards foreigners, but rather a damning statement on the overall state of the Portuguese healthcare system and its inability to cope with present conditions.

      That said, you're totally on the money that no amount of local pleasantry is worth risking your life.

      Reply
      • Yes, unproven chemicals that hundreds of millions of people have taken with almost no negative reactions. I get why you might not want to get the vaccine (they are made by the same pharmas that created an opiod epidemic in the southern and mid west USA) but the vaccine is proven like all the other vaccines we have taken over the years.

        Reply
    • Hey Xavier, from your name you sound Spanish right? No wander about this review of yours and the final conclusion GO TO SPAIN . Sure Portuguese are different than you in much more interesting and exciting ways

      Reply
  66. I agree there is a lot of barking dogs in Portugal, however I do not mind them at all. The real problem here is all the feral dogs and the dogs that people allow to roam free. I have a small dog and he has been attacked here several times by unsupervised or feral dogs. We have had dogs stalk us and I had to chase them away. I have been pretty badly hurt protecting my small dog here. I have had many, many dogs charge at me while riding a motorcycle and I have to kick them to keep them away from me. I was staying on a mini farm in a small city and the feral dogs would kill the animals here. They lost a young sheep, 2 chickens, and a mother turkey and her young child all within a short period of time.

    Aside from the dogs running out into the street I think the driving in Portugal is fine. I would take driving here any day over driving in Southern California or along the US East Coast. The gas here is ridiculously expensive though, probably double to triple what it costs in the US (about $2 per liter).

    Reply
  67. It's all okay except the fact that when we order something from a foreign country it takes like 1 to 3 weeks to arrive to Lisbon, but from Lisbon to the Azores we almost always wait for 1 month to 2 months!!! And sometimes the parcels disappear or there are attempts by the CTT staff to steal them from us.

    Reply
  68. I'm looking forward to moving to Portugal soon, lived in Portugal before, living in the United States now. Considering there are hundreds of thousands of foreigners living in Portugal and only a few hundred that are not happy is encouraging. There are lots of YouTube videos with testimonials from happy expats living in Portugal. Many newspaper and magazine articles with testimonials of expats living in Portugal, most experiences are positive.

    I don't think Portugal is the right country if you are seeking employment, wages are very low, good jobs are hard to find; But for retirees and people with foreign income, it is a great possibility! Yes bureaucracy is terrible, think California Department of Motor Vehicles. Yes, buyer beware, due your research. Not all homes have bad insulation, not all neighborhoods have dog barking issues, yes, you can buy a home for under $100,000 euros and you can also buy a home for over $20 million euros. The jails in the United States are full of crooks and even more crooks out of jail. Yes, you will have crooks everywhere. Yes, bad contractors in the United States will do bad jobs, recent building collapse in Florida is an example. Yes some restaurants will have bad service, go somewhere else.

    Foreigners in Portugal are a double edged sword. I fear a tsunami of foreigners from all over the world moving to Portugal in the next few years. The Portuguese worry that cost of living will go up due to this, yet foreigners will also help the economy. I think most Portuguese welcome people who want to live there.

    You can live in the Algarve, Lisbon/Cascais, Porto and Funchal without needing to learn Portuguese. However, I think it always helps if you try to learn at least a few phrases.

    I think the judicial system in Portugal is terrible therefore I would avoid situations where judicial courts are needed. I also intend to hire trusted professionals to deal will tax, residency, real estate matters. If you enjoy pain, you can always try everything yourself. As my former boss used to say "Better you than me!"

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    • Hey David, I am from the US too. I was looking forward to living here but the real estate market here is a nightmare. Before you move here I suggest that you start researching house prices at least 6 months in advance. Portugal does not release home sale prices to the public, the price a house sells for is kept hidden from everyone. There is no sales comps here, and there is no record of how long a property sits on the market. It takes a very long time to understand market value here. Most homes are priced 20% or more above market value and they will sit on the market a long time hoping that a naive foreigner will purchase it. A home priced near market value will get lots of interest and offers and it will sell very quickly. The real estate companies here are horrible, especially the international companies. I have been hearing many horrible stories about buying a home here, and there is no title insurance here either. We have given up and we are making plans to return to the US. I strongly suggest that if you want to move to Portugal you should consider renting rather than buying. Save yourself the stress!

      Reply
      • Hello Jerry
        I could not agree with you more. My personal story is I have lived in Portugal for 6 years with one advantage over many expats is; I speak, read and write Portuguese fluently. Although not my first language but proficient enough to tackle my way through the judicial system. It seems to me that nobody in the public service is capable to provide full and complete information requested and with an attitude as if I should excuse myself for disturbing them, UNBELIEVABLE!!! I have heard testimonials of British expats have been taken for thousands of euros (in one case €20k) when they entrusted lawyers through proxy in Portugal and the authorities turned a blind eye. I, personally have been three times in judicial disputes and when I read the judgements rendered I can not believe the belligerent contradictions and when the articles of law were sited and testimonials provided all were completely ignored. Needless to say I lost all the disputes.

        The real estate business in Portugal is at best completely incompetent and dishonest as compared to U.S. and Canada. I can only laugh when an agent offers to do a market study of my property when there are no sales comparatives or any other trustworthy data available. All a sad Joke!!! My experience in Portugal has been a mix of good and bad and a huge culture shock and I am having to rethink my decision to live in this society.

        Reply
        • Nathan, I read your comment and I’m in a similar predicament. It’s quite sad actually. I moved to Portugal almost four months ago - I have Portuguese ancestry and thought that this would be an advantage. I was aware that there was some litigation (involving my late grandmother’s estate). In summary this litigation involves some random people who befriended my grandmother just before her death so she could sign a will in their favour. These people then instituted proceedings against my (widowed) mother, step sister and I - on the back of this, they joined my late father’s family to the litigation (who I have either not met or never heard from again since my father’s death. I have also discovered that my Portuguese step sister removed finds that are the estate’s before the estate was finalised. All of this resulted in me being sued for money I have never even seen and involving Portuguese natives that I wish I was not related to and never met. The litigation is at a standstill and basically the process has shown me the incompetence and corruption of everyone involved.
          Before knowing the extent of all of this, I was about to purchase a home but now cannot do so because there’s an attachment order for anything I own to be taken away. Also, the property I was interested in revealed a dishonest and unprofessional agent and seller - when I asked to add in clauses to protect myself from the red flags I was seeing, they cancelled the process. All in all, from the few short months I have lived here, I regret my decision to move here. I also am pregnant with twins and dread that they will be exposed to all of this filth.

          Reply
      • Thank you for the input Jerry. I do plan to rent for at least the first year and I do plan to hire both an attorney to look over title issues and contracts. I'll also be using professionals for tax matters. CNBC the investment channel showcased an American family that just bought their second home in Portugal and no issues with either of the two purchases. One was in the Silver Coast, not sure where the second property was. Youtube has several other videos of Americans and Brits who have bought properties in Portugal, most of them used attorneys and real estate agents . There's an American lady that lives in Vila Real de Santo Antonio in the Algarve that has helped many expats with real estate purchases. I don't think she's an agent herself but she has contacts with several real estate companies in the Algarve and also with Coldwell Banker in Cascais.

        Reply
      • So true. I usually like to buy a property when I move to a country but for some reasons, my heart is definitely not in it when it comes to Portugal. I don't feel it and for the first time in my life, I am renting and do not regret it. In fact, their apartments are not comfortable to say the least and it's constantly cold. My friends have been trying to sell their house for the last 3 years....I am just so glad I haven't bought anything in Portugal and while I am looking at another country, I continue to rent but at least, I don't feel 'stuck' here with no way out and an expensive house to maintain and high property taxes to pay. I think as you said, it's better to rent it unless you are really sure this is the country for you.

        Thanks for your feedback !

        Sometimes, I feel like it's just me who feel that way but I am glad I am not alone and all those comments reassure me in a way.

        Reply
    • Portuguese people are generally welcoming to foreigners, the outdated bureaucracy and business culture are not.

      Your plan sounds great, just be careful with "hiring a trusted professionals to deal with tax, residency and real estates" - finding the right and trusted one is just as painful as the rest, yet you can not do a lot without one. In most cases they are not even crooks with bad intention - they simply do not care about customers, and things taking very long, also paying more money does not fix it.
      Definitely rent first.

      Reply
      • Thank you for the heads up Martin. I do plan to ask for referrals from several expats. I'm at least two years away from moving to Portugal as I have to achieve financial independence before making the move. Renting first for at least a year.

        Reply
      • Nick best wishes on your possible move to the Algarve! Algarve is one of my possible choices too. I'm at least two years away from a move as I need to achieve financial independence first.

        Reply
    • It's all marketing and the government makes it easy for foreigners. Quality of life? Barely meets basics. A very primitive country still stuck somewhere 60-80 years in the past, still excusing it's inefficiency and laziness on account of the dictatorship (which ended over 50 years ago). If anyone is vaguely still alive and has 2 cells ticking in their brains, they would go elsewhere - somewhere worth it. Definitely not this primitive backwards place.

      Reply
      • If it is so bad for you, then go live somewhere else. Apparently you do not have good quality of life there so why stay?There are 195 countries in the world according to Google. Go ahead and pick one, live there for a few years and see how it compares.

        Reply
  69. I've lived here for 13 years, ranging from Lisbon, to the central interior mountains, to now near the coast by Figueira da Foz. I speak Portuguese fluently but will likely always have my English accent. I'm now a Portuguese citizen. I've been in Rancho Folclórico, briefly in the Bombeiros, and other social groups in Portugal.
    There is a substantial amount of camaraderie amongst males, particularly with alcohol involved.
    (alcohol consumption is one of the few activities that occur socially in many smaller villages. Small villages exist even near to urban areas, and the mentality will be countryside rather than urban)

    I've found it difficult to meet any single women. I find it generally a shy culture, despite the boisterous voices in the café. I see plenty of men out and about, and older folks (the old generation still works hard and moves a lot here, it's inspiring. they "have salt" as it's said.) walking and carrying things about.
    I generally get a whiff of "don't bother me please" from women ages 20-50 or so, as if there were pushy men bothering them often. I'm not sure if this is the case, or in which contexts it is (I have female friends who say that the men here on dating apps can be rather vulgur, despite being basically mommy's boys at age 30-40 still, unable to wash or cook properly etc.) as most of the men I see are either married or act otherwise uninterested in flirtation etc, like they would like nothing better than some beers with the boys.

    I'm not interested in acting pushy or bothering anyone, but it's been years and years since I dated anyone and I'm not ugly nor poor nor lazy, etc. I'm foreign. I will always be foreign. I will never enter their world, and that basically is clear to me, that underneath all the liberal-minded rhetoric, that one is welcome to be a foreigner spending money here, but that one is probably best off staying in ones own enclave.
    I'm not surprised that many Algarvian Brits find it all peachy, as they rarely leave the English-speaking bubble. I LIVE in the world of Portuguese and can say that I miss:
    Symphonies, classical cultural appreciation, foreign foods (Food nationalism is a thing here.) actual forests with mixed species of trees, and possibly other things. (there's too much pop music and plastic pop culture here, it's like total worship for the American Nightmare)

    I can say that here we have:
    Amazing fruits and vegetables, amazing raw materials for good cooks (only partially taken advantage of in culinary traditions) lots of egg-creme pastries, cheap quality tipple, cheap quality meats, compassion for other humans (very important) and great emergency medical care (the SNS is great. consultations can take some time to get bookings for, and generally Concelhos will vary in terms of the competency and friendliness of the local health center and getting assigned a family doctor, etc.)
    It's a great place to raise children and generally very safe and family-oriented, which is probably the cause of some of the boredom I've complained about above. I get the sense that family and village life basically overshadow any independent decisions people make, and they are concerned about social judgement at every turn.

    Reply
    • Hi Aaron,

      Thanks for sharing your 13 years of experience here. It's always great to hear people's stories and insights.

      Reply
    • Hi Aaron,
      Thank you for your comments. Are very helpfull for me. I am getting information because I would like to retire in Portugal.
      I will think it better. I know not any country is perfect.
      Regards
      Cristina

      Reply
    • sounds like Austria! i.m from Vienna and live on the countryside for almost 20 yrs, they are basically 90% thugs in some way, from noise, illegal buildings and off course lost lawsuits against locals....i search for 3,5 yrs now for a new country as i got retirement...as it seems it,s the same everywhere.....thanks for the info,,,
      and yes: never critizise anyone or trust any smiling face ever,,,,,your description sounds so alike , it,s hell....

      Reply
    • Hi Aaron, re dating I understand how you feel.

      I’m asking myself where all the healthy, mature and available bachelors are.

      Have you had any luck since? (Every bit of good news boosts my hope! :))

      Reply
    • Hi Aaron,
      Thank you for sharing some positivity, as my wife and I are seriously considering selling up in SA and immigrating to Portugal, we've actually started the process.

      Not everything you might change to suit your lifestyle to is a bed of roses, however it's how one approaches issues and predicaments/challenges. ..that gain a little respect.

      Reply
    • Hi Aaron,

      I am Portuguese.
      Great comment. Very accurate description, even from a national guy perspective.
      About the romance part: Hang in the fight 🙂 Better choose correctly than making mistakes; In terms of local women, PRT ladies are more/generally...family oriented and tend to choose guys with balanced temper. Of course, economic stability, looks and charm will always be a central part.... Make them laugh, amuse themselves and be prepared/open to hear what they have to say (which is a lot 🙂 ! )...This will improve your chances.
      BTW - I will only be remain a foreigner as long you feel that way. Speaking PRT and involved in community and social as you seem to be...You'll soon be more PRT than me 🙂
      João

      Reply
    • So far, the most decent opinion I've read.
      I've been living in Portugal for 39 years and I agree with a lot that has been said, but I also disagree with some other opinions.
      Yes, Portugal has a lot of corruption, and the Portuguese complain a lot about it, but keep voting on the same parties (PSD/PS), that have been leading the country pretty much ever since the dictatorship has ended, and this is probably one of their biggest flaws, as the corruption affects how the money is distributed in the country. Nonetheless, and this might have two different point of views, Portuguese people are very peaceful, and although many show their disappointment and discontentment towards the government, there usually aren't any riots or violent ones. And that's something to applaud on one hand, but also something to pity, because after the 74's April 25th, when the Portuguese took down in a very peaceful way the dictatorship, the country has actually been through a lot of meaningful and progressive changes, but it seems like they only get together and grow stronger in events such as football or charity (generally speaking, Portuguese people have great hearts, but I'll come to that later). It's a small country with almost 900 years of existence, where traditional values are very strong and where old habits die hard, but its people are hardworking, have a strong way of welcoming other nationalities, as Portugal has a strong history of migration throughout the years as well, mostly to USA, Canada, and France and nearby countries, but also to Brazil, Venezuela and Australia. You hardly hear people boasting about unfortunate historical accomplishments, but yes, there's a minor part that reminisce about their time in the African colonies, the ones who are getting very close to their 60s though).

      Education and Healthcare are two main concerns for the Portuguese, as salaries are under what would be considered fair, but professionals work their asses to provide the best services. Both are free, apart from mild payments still necessary and trustworthy. There are great public universities and hospitals, and the only reason professionals leave is because of the lack of employment or better working conditions. That being said, let's focus on other address topics. Let us start with safety first.

      Crime- I agree with the article. It's common sense and one must take the same precautions as in any other busy city in the world. There is shocking news once in a while, such as secluded houses in rich neighbourhoods in Algarve or nearby Lisbon, where people are assaulted, held in captivity, hurt badly or even killed, but gladly, that's not something that happens often. In most districts you feel quite safe, although bad things may happen and you must be careful, of course. The large number of crimes seem to be passionate ones or among people who are related somehow.

      Driving - well, to be fair, there's some truth in the article. Portugal is far from being a busy city in India, or a version of a Fast and Furious movie (although it seems like the next sequel is going to take place in PT), but yes, Portuguese could act a little more like the Canadian. If they can still have a chance to pass when the traffic lights are changing from yellow to red, they will, and if they see that there's a slight chance that they will make it in the roundabouts... Some also have a heavy foot when it comes to speed. But I've witnessed some good sports as well.

      Now, talking about fuel... That's where you will feel ripped off... Vehicles are also very expensive, especially if they are bought new. Food - the prices have been increasing a lot and branded stuff is getting quite expensive, but outside the big cities, there are plenty of farmer's markets, and still accessible prices for good meat and fish. Going to a regular restaurant for lunch will cost you about 10 euros (soup, dish, dessert and coffee- the Portuguese drink a lot of coffee (an expresso costs about 0,80 cents in most places). Toiletries, make up, perfume, and things like that depend on their brands - obviously, high end brands are pricey. The same goes for clothes, shoes, (Portugal is really strong in the shoe industry, actually).

      Public transports are not unbearable, the "metro" exists only in Porto and Lisboa. Secluded areas don't have many bus drives and during the summer holidays it gets worse, so you will need a car.

      Housing - it totally depends on where you are heading. If you want to live in Lisbon, it's going to cost you. It's becoming unbearable for the Portuguese. Of course, it depends on the house you want to live in, but rents are pretty high. And buying a place is an adventure, unless you are loaded. In the outskirts of the city, prices are also rising and if you go about 60 km away from it, if you want to settle somewhere close to the coast, it's not as expensive, but locals are now complaining a lot. A minimum wage person can hardly make a living in the outskirts on its own. Salaries are quite below other countries in Europe. Obviously, the noise, the warmth of the place, the toilet and so on will depend on the house you are in. I'm currently living in a T1, on the main street, above a bakery, 5 minutes from the beach, 80 km north from Lisbon and the rent costs 400 euros, minus electricity, gas and water. The apartment has solar pannels, and the house gets a lot of sun, so there's no need to heat it in the colder season. But it’s pretty noisy. Dogs, people on the street, people in the bakery, cars... But in the same council, two or three kilometers away, you have access to great housing, with a lot of space and peaceful surroundings... And if you want to spend a little more, you will also find good apartments with good sound isolation...

      There's dishonest people but for each one of those, you'll find 100 hundred of honest ones. Good neighbours, smiley faces, and talkative people. Smoke, dog's poo, and chilly water: in most public places it's not possible to smoke, most people collect their dogs ‘dejects when taking them for a walk, but you see a lot of dogs that just go for a walk by themselves too, so...

      The temperature of the ocean... Algarve is still the best place for a more certain summertime concerning water and weather, that's right, but it's also too crowded. The Alentejo coast might be nicer for some, as you go north, both weather and water temperature might not meet your standards, but there's a lot of beautiful, less crowded, worthwhile, beaches.

      The Language - it comes from the Latin branch, so it is a little bit difficult to learn, comparing it to English, but it's not harder than French and it's surely easier that Russian or Mandarin...

      Anyway, wherever you turn, there will be good and bad opinions, but if you are truly thinking about moving to Portugal, the best thing you should do is to come and visit the country, not as a tourist, but with a citizen approach, talk with a lot of people, with the locals, with other foreigners that have moved to the country as well. I'm sure you'll find great reasons to stay if the country suits you and a couple of more to leave if this is not the place for you, just don't be so eager to badmouth it just because you went through a certain experience or you don't quite fit in the quarter you've decided to settle. A whole country cannot be put to shame just for a couple of stuff. Still, there's a lot to think about. A lot of Portuguese, despite loving their country for all its amazing characteristics, still had to make the difficult choice of leaving in order to be able to find better conditions and a better life, with the promise that they would return, though, to spend their retirement in their beloved birthplace.

      Reply
  70. Hi!

    I'm Nenye and I'm a Nigerian who is looking to move to Portugal in a few months with my girlfriend. I have lived in the US and China so I have seen my fair share of discrimination based on the colour of my skin. I was wondering if there are any black persons or people of colour who might be willing to share their experiences living in Portugal( preferably living in Lisbon or Porto)

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Nenye,

      Welcome to Portugal (if you made it across)!

      I live in the Algarve (way down south) and have found most of the locals warm, friendly and helpful. A lot of the women try to mother me actually, which is quite sweet. I’m also learning Portuguese, which, as others have pointed out, helps.

      Lisbon and Porto are cities with a good mix of nationalities. Believe there’s also a budding Nigerian network in Lisbon (Google that).

      Anyway, my thinking is, brown skin stands out against certain backdrops. I’m aware of the colonial history between Portugal & Nigeria and narrative, but choose to engage with people as a human being, not based on the colour of my skin. If ever anyone attempts to make it about skin colour, I’m intelligent, educated and self-aware enough to show them how small-minded and prehistoric that viewpoint is.

      Let me know how you get on.

      Reply
  71. We are 75 and 86 and are retired English living in the Algarve…have been coming here on and off for many years to our holiday apartment. Loved it so much that we took out residency pre Brexit, and said Tchau to our friends and family back in Blighty. Of course they can and do come to stay, or did before Covid. Yes I miss them all but thanks to social media can keep in touch. So, do we regret our move? No, it is great here, but I do have some regrets.
    The downsides are , for us, the medical issues. Of course we can access the Portuguese national health service and for the one emergency we have had in the last three years, a trip to the local hospital A and E department proved brilliant. Excellent service with timely care and attention. However, our town does not have a family doctor and if we need to renew our prescriptions or see a g.p we have to go to the next large town to the Health Centre to take our chances with whoever is on duty. This might be a Cuban doctor , a Portuguese or whatever, none of whom have spoken English. With my attempts to supply the information needed in rudimentary Portuguese and with the assistance of Mr Google s translations we’ve managed to make ourselves understood. One of us has a long term cancer and the treatment obtained in the U.K. is not available here on the nhs, nor is there a local oncologist…we are met by the Portuguese shrug when we asked for a referral. So, what we do is adopt a pay as you go method. ( we’ve both been turned down for private medical insurance as we are both too old and with existing conditions.)
    We visit a private doctor for a repeat of the regular prescriptions we had in the U.K., pay the going rate, order the medication from the pharmacist, paying the going rate and thus find ourselves self medicating. . Blood tests can be obtained locally from private clinics. If anything is untoward then it would be back to the private quack. So far we remain fit and able to function but we do worry what will happen when we get older and and more frail. I do miss the British NHS where you get a yearly medication check etc and you can at least speak to someone on the phone.
    The other downside is the post Brexit bureaucracy. We’ve had to change our U.K. driving licences for Portuguese ones and the delays on this are immense. No government departments ever pick up the phone. You have to go to them, queue, make an appointment and then wait sometimes months for resolution. We are waiting for a biometric residency card which has been over a year in the pipeline. And don’t get me started on the online application for a proof of Covid vaccination certificate…..a website in my opinion not fit for purpose.
    Another downside…parcels and post. Forget getting international birthday presents and Christmas parcels… you won’t receive them and you can bet the Quinta your parcels won’t reach their destination either! There must be a huge hangar somewhere with abandoned correspondence between Portugal and the rest of the world.
    What else is disappointing? Graffiti, dog poo, barking dogs…yes, all that. But not too noticeable in our area fortunately. Maybe worse in the cities.
    It’s a bit of a cultural desert in the Algarve though maybe I’m just ignorant about what is possible…I’m interested in the history of the Muslim occupation and this isn’t very well documented… or perhaps not well advertised. I’m working on it. Museums are here but. You’d need the cities for theatre though we sometimes get a special orchestra concert in the next town. Still you can travel further afield for this.
    However, we have terrific beaches, boardwalks, nature trails, flowers, mountains, fresh wholesome food, heavenly bread, wine, glorious sunshine, clean public areas, friendly, courteous, helpful honest locals, plenty of societies to join eg. Golf, bridge, yoga, language classes, many charities to whom you can volunteer your time, well stocked markets and shops,bars, cafes, restaurants, a plethora of barbers, hairdressers, nail bars, day spas and so on , churches, crown green bowling, ordinary bowling, football , motor racing, keep fit classes…plenty of different nationalities joining in. No need to feel isolated. If you want peace and quiet you can find places to chill, no problem.
    I mustn’t forget to mention Afpop either who are an excellent organisation to join for help and advice on all things relating to your new life in Portugal. They also provide social outings in different areas to get you started off . They’ve been invaluable for residency queries and help with tackling officialdom since we moved here.
    I can definitely recommend the Algarve for retirees,as we love our life here, but suggest you air and b or rent somewhere before making the final plunge… and try to get the basics of the language before you come, it really helps.

    Reply
    • As an immigrant in Portugal it’s about time you learn the language. Why should they speak English to accommodate your needs? Try going to the GP in England, speak Portuguese and complain that don’t understand you!

      Reply
      • I come from a country with eleven official languages (there should actually be 12) and even here English is the common language for the most part. English is the most widely spoken language in the world and thus a default second language for most bilingual people. The same cant be said of Portuguese unfortunately so your suggestion is not really appropriate given the above.

        Reply
        • Wish you the best on trying to impose your native language in any foreign country....

          Just maybe you should be the one trying to learn the local language when those "12 official languages" are missing.

          Good look old tart.

          Reply
      • Yeah Bob,
        I hear what your saying. I’m planning on retiring outside the USA. Portugal is number 1 right now. Before I make the move(3 to 5 years) I will learn as much of the local language as I can.
        I really bothers me here in the US when immigrants refuse to learn any English. I’m not going to be that guy.

        Reply
      • Actually they phone a translator in the U.K. - a Brazilian friend does this work in the U.K. & gets calls from U.K. hospitals they must have a contract with companies give her a number code & then she speaks to the patient in Portuguese (of course Brazilian Portuguese but people of EU Portuguese also work for service to) & then gives the doctor or nurse a translation in English & calls could be from anywhere in the U.K. so there is a translation service was n the U.K. possible

        Reply
    • Hi Margaret,

      Thanks for your information.

      May I know which part of Algarve is good for living and daily swimming.
      And why rare English speaking Healthcare staff at Algarve which is well known as English speaking community?

      Why's "the treatment obtained in the U.K. is not available here on the nhs, nor is there a local oncologist…we are met by the Portuguese shrug when we asked for a referral.". Shortage of good doctors or SNS does actually cover some diseases?

      Thanks

      Reply
    • Hi Margaret
      Thank you for your honest, clear and well balanced information.
      I am (or was) thinking to move to Portugal next year, for my retirement.
      I tried to fly one month ago, to visit Portugal, but it was not possible due to the virus.
      Your information is helpful and make me clear that not everything is like a thought. easier, lighter.
      Thank you so much
      Cristina

      Reply
  72. Amanda, I live in SE Asia and have identified Funchal as a possible second home. Two questions:

    Is the Funchal area good for a bike rider?

    What is the bureaucracy (immigration and social services) like in Funchal? I used to live in a major town in my current country of residence and immigration was a nightmare. Recently moved to a town of 65000 and night and day experience. Immigration is very easy to deal with.

    Reply
    • Is the Funchal area good for a bike rider?
      Absolutely not! Islands too small for bikers unless you like tunnels full of petrol fumes
      Funchal stinks of fumes from buses and 100's of taxi's.
      Search Margaret Fields before moving to Madeira and check the local papers.
      I just read Madeira police stripped naked a 70 year pensioner and chucked him in prison because he had apparently written emails to his debtor in another country.
      On Madeira, the blood line is long and deceit is common. Personally, I'd stay away. Bureaucracy is a nightmare, not just on Madeira but also mainland

      Reply
    • Funchal has a very dangerous airport, with no alternatives. That's what prevented me from moving to Madeira. Planes crash in Funchal, people die, because of short runway and terrible side winds. Try São Jorge island in the Azores instead.

      Reply
  73. Hi

    I’m looking to move to algrave with my gran, we both hold EU passports. We are currently in South Africa where there are power cuts , no water for days and no real government benefits unless you pay for everything yourself. In terms of creating your own job are expats there more of a community and helping other expats or is it basically Everyman for himself? In terms of opening a small business is there a forum anyone could assist with?

    Thank you just so tired of getting no where..

    Reply
    • Hi Jaci,

      I'd say it's somewhere in the middle. There is a good community of expats in the Algarve, but I imagine that, like anywhere else, you would have to get to know people before asking for favours. If you start a business, ultimately it'll be your responsibility, although I think you'll get plenty of answers to your questions in the various expat Facebook groups (e.g. South Africans helping South Africans).

      Reply
  74. In Portugal most services and companies will more or less spend some effort to attract your money, but after you pay you can forget about it. Once you pay, you are at their mercy and don't expect high quality of service or goods. Forget about a refund unless it is a box store. They will respond to emails at their convenience and most emails won't be responded if it creates inconvenience to them. It's totally unpredictable therefore you must be EXTREMELY CAREFUL (!!!) what you buy and how you send your money. Most means not all. There are honest and hard working companies and serv4ces as well and there are those in the middle range. Yet in general a selfish and unpredictable attitude prevails. Amanhã usually means much much later or never, but never tomorrow or even next week.

    Reply
    • Completely agree , you are obliged to prepay everything and then you can expect the worst. In more developed cpuntries you pay 2 weeks after delivery and can return the items without any sinister restriction.
      If you call or email them, you need to have patience and perseverance!

      I for my part have decided to refrain from any online purchases alltogether, experience is just too traumatic when you have to deal with lethargic, depressed and unresponsive folks!

      Reply
      • I feel exactly the same. Online shopping is not an option. They wont deliver it to your home, you have to pick it up or it disappears. Goods delivered are also neither cheap or of good quality. No option of "supporting the local economy". Amazon is much better, but even then you have to deal with Portuguese shipping companies who don't want to deliver.

        Other professionals I met like lawyers, repairmen, internet provider or real estate agents are also very unreliable.
        Portugal has some friendly laws/regimes/people, but benefiting from it is another story, because many fundamentals things people take for granted are not working in Portugal. For example, with the documentation it takes to open a simple bank account in Portugal you could open elsewhere several companies

        Reply
        • I wholeheartedly agree on everything you wrote. We tried to find good quality thermos. Not possible. The cheap ones for say €9 are crap. The more expensive ones for €20-€40 are also crap, break down quickly and don't hold the heat for longer than 2 hours. One water tap broke into two pieces after 7 days after it was installed. And yes, the "professionals" in Portugal are poorly trained, but I found a couple handymen who are doing a fine work, albeit expensive at €12 per hour. Regarding banking, well, they now charge you to talk to live staff at the bank and one CGD branch has a Master Crook as branch manager. We reported him to the CGD management, ut years later he still works there and the second time I did business with that branch the Master Crook manager tried to pull a much steeper con on me. He made the ATM machine jam with my card inside. Yes, as soon as he saw me walking to the ATM machine (the other ATM was being worked on) he ran quickly to the back of it, from his managerial position, opened the back door of the ATM and did something and them my card jammed and would not come out. I already did the withdrawal digitally, but no cash or receipt or even my card came out! I knocked on the glass door since it was past 15:00 hours and they were closed to the public. Took a while to convince him to talk to me. He then told me that I already got my cash and that my card was in my pocket. Insisted again and again, finally he caved in and took my card out of the ATM and gave me the withdrawal receipt but not the cash. Then I insisted again and told him I will go to the police station and report him to the bank's HQ., Finally he caved in and gave me my cash. This is how they do it in Portugal. Sure this has happened in the US as well, many times, the cashiers over there are smart and are good psychologists.

          Reply
          • oh yes, I'm quite sure everybody believes that a "Master Crook" singled you out by doing something to the ATM. If you were conned by this "Master Crook", why in the world would you go back to this branch where the "Master Crook" is obviously lying in wait for you. Oh brother.

            Reply
  75. Although I appreciate your comments, it is quite obvious you are not from, nor have ever lived in, the "glamorous" city of Miami. Corruption? Bureaucracy? Customer service? Closed social circles? Expensive? Noise? Driving? OMG, I'm on the FLOOR lmao!!! Portugal is a piece of cake, comparatively speaking!!!

    Reply
    • Right on brother: I live in Edgewater so I will be prepared for Porto and able to "deal." Living here 30 years has prepared me for all that coming up with the move; here is like New York on the water.
      Noise may be a problems in Porto but not like the cut off mufflers on cars the police don't do anything about that sound like a bomb exploded and you can hear them still three blocks away!

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  76. WOW!! What a bunch of whingers. I get there will be some downsides to living in PT and some of these items raised are no doubt real. Anywhere you live will have bad and good points. Would say you have left somewhere for the same reasons. Wherever you live wont be perfect. Maybe some of you (not all) just are miserable and will be unhappy wherever you live.

    Anyway I am still going to move over there within next 6-9 months. I hope I dont turn into one of the many in hear.

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    • I would say it depends.
      Some people might actually have some mental problems and always hope to find paradise, just to be completely disappointed short time after arrival.
      Others are just not that experienced and have no idea what problems might arise when they move to another country. For example, poorly insulated houses in PT. They are not just cold, it makes also noise levels go up like hell. Narrow streets, poor insulation in houses, a lot of motorcycles and dogs all year long results in very noisy residential areas. Good luck as remote worker or noise sensitive person.

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    • Aj, thank you for your positive comments on moving to Portugal. My husband & I are considering the same thing next May. We are looking at Lisbon for 3 months then will decide from there. I, too, hope I remain positive through my experience.
      AJ

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    • No AJ; that won't happen; these folks have prepared us for all the pitfalls so we'll be aware and work our plan! Thanks people.

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  77. Hi James,

    You've generated a productive debate, teased out a lot of feedback, thank you. Tales of corruption and neglect are very familiar and are not Portugal specific. It's more likely to affect immigrants or the poorest of locals, again, like everywhere else. I appreciate how painful the dashed hopes for sunny, orderly, cultural paradise can be.

    At the end of it all is a question - "is it worth it for me & my family?". This is what expats are saying here, in comments, and I couldn't agree more. EVERY country has a historic context, a lot of common behaviour is a result of adaptation to adverse conditions of the past (or present). It takes a generation or two for serious changes to take roots. There is no quick fixes. There is no paradise. But it is possible to find a likeminded community where you feel home enough, even if the dogs go spastic barking for hours.

    Thanks everyone for sharing opinions, hope you all find happy living compromise in Portugal. I am going to, once the pandemic is dealt with.

    P.S. I found that Pimsleur European Portuguese audio course is good, old school learn/practice method.

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    • Hi Ellie! Thanks for the Pimsleur tip; I may try it. I stumbled on a couple of US expats living abroad for the past 9, Kalie & Josh. A lot of good tips from them. I'm going to have to locate their website again because I thought I heard them recommend a certain language program because it was local portuguese dialect as opposed to general Portuguese that the Brazilians speak. Do you know which one is Pimsleur? Will get back with you to their website videos when I locate it, thanks.

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  78. A belated thanks for this very helpful list.

    I am a dual UK/Canadian citizen and was considering retiring to Portugal because of the D7 visa and its much lower income requirement than Spain (now that Brexit has made the UK a third country).

    I couldn't receive my pensions till after Jan 2021 so can't clear the Spanish financial bar. Portugal appealed, for many reasons, and I already speak passable Spanish and am learning Portuguese.

    However, research and your list have convinced me to stick to extended visits in the Med instead of upping sticks totally. After all, we still have 90 of every 180 days to spend in the EU. I abhor the extremist, nationalist political climate in England specifically. So six months abroad and a move to Scotland for the other six will suit me. This is a compromise that perhaps more should consider.

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  79. My previous comment seems to have not survived mediation review.
    I took a lot of time to relate my experience, but in the interest of not redoubling that effort, this one will be short.

    Labyrinthine bureaucracy coupled with poor training and incompetence makes for frustration and a hamstrung economy in normal times. In times of pandemic, it is dangerous.

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  80. I'll chime in.

    We've been here for almost 4 years, but today, I can officially say I regret our decision to move here.

    I have been trying to get my 79 year old mother vaccinated here. The government has officially declared that everyone, even if they are not legally here, can get the vaccine. My mother has completely legal residency here. I have been to the local health centre three times now, to try to get her 'utente' number, without which they will not vaccinate her. They keep asking me for something different that I do not have, each time I go there. They have even asked me for a document that I was able to explain to them made no sense, so they retracted that demand. Today I brought the document they told me was needed last time I was there: they barely looked at it, and asked me for something new.

    Online, the health authority says you need only two things to get this 'utente' number: a residency card, and a tax number. I had both of these at the ready the very first time I went there. But in Portugal, there is no such things as standardisation across government offices. In your local offices, they can make up anything they want. You will get a different story about what documentation you should bring, from each new individual you ask. And their word will be law. And you'd better hope that person is there the next time you come in, or the 'law' will probably change. And if that person is there, you'd better hope they are in a good mood, like your face, and that they remember what they told you.

    I knew this about Portugal before moving here: we starting having these sorts of experiences from the very moment we called the Portuguese consulate in Melbourne, Australia. And we were able to make our peace with it... until now. Because now, with the pandemic and the risk we take every time we get sent on a new wild goose chase to another office, to get another document that the health centre shouldn't even be asking for, this is actually dangerous.

    My mother is 79 - they have finished vaccinating her age group here months ago. I even signed her up on a web page for people to get vaccinated with no 'utente' number, but nobody ever contacted us. My mother has been in her 1 bedroom apartment, non-stop, for over one year now. Her mental health is suffering. I can put up with all kinds of stupidity, until it becomes dangerous.

    We're here now. We probably won't move again. My mother is too old, and my partner and I are too tired. But for any of you who are wondering whether Portugal is right for you: heed my story. If you move here, on a long enough timeline, chances are this kind of tipping point may well happen for you too.

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    • Hi there, first of all my sincere apologies not only as a portuguese native but as someone who lived her last 10 years in developed countries such Netherlands, Belgium and UK and just return to be close to my own family. I am really sorry that you and your mother are going through all that, but as a portuguese and as a human being I am making myself available to help. Let me know what clinique you re using and some more details so I can talk with those bastards.

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      • Daniela PLEASE run for political office, become Mayor of a town and clean house of the "bastards" as you call them. All countries have their problems and a list of things that need to change. Italy is easily the closest southern EU competitor to Portugal in terms of the lack of regard for people in government buildings. Of course I refer only to non Italians experience when they are visiting these buildings. Actual Italians would never put up with what goes on here in Portugal. Upset Italians about anything, they all go on strike until they get what they want. Pay in Italy is much higher than in Portugal, and Italians get the most paid days off per year of all EU countries. Portugal has an issue with bank corruption. In Italy when an Italian goes to court against a bank, there is a 70% chance the Italian wins the lawsuit. Italian juries side with the people. Their "take no crap" attitude produces results. Remember the yellow vests in France a couple years ago? Bridges, highways...even the airports were blocked by the upset locals. All of that in-the-street action produced results.
        I have a young Portuguese friend who had to wait almost 3 months just to get a drivers license. Ridiculous. In my opinion the Portuguese people settle when they should be mad, organize and demand change.
        We used to live in Costa Del Sol, Spain. Estepona has a mayor that actually cares about doing his job. When campaigning he promised a new stadium, a new hospital, and to reduce debt. He did all. Estepona plants more flowers than much richer Marbella. Getting help while visiting a government building there is a given. Estepona operates extremely different (better) than all the others between Malaga and Gibraltar. All this from a new Mayor/attitude.
        Things can change for the better. It takes people decent people like you to do it.
        Please run for office.

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    • Definitely take up Daniela on her offer. I took a pt friend to get set up with medical and she bossed them around until they sorted it out. By yourself they can just keep ignoring you.

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  81. The thing about buying an old house in Portugal in the sticks is that most Portuguese don't want old houses in the sticks. They want new, modern homes. So if you don't like living there, your pool of buyers will be limited to other ex-pats who are as gullible as you were.

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    • But would you really want to live "in the sticks" and on top of that renovate an old house with potentially incompetent trades people. I wouldn't want to do it.

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      • Its true...there is no healthy médium class standard in portugal housing unfortunately, like italy or france..lets Face it, is more ibérica or Arabic quality in portugal.You might get burnt alive in those 70 k prairie houses or petrify inside. And about people what can u say, there s 5 Lovely old women and the rest, is just questionin what the f..is your deal in their country, sort of...can i invade you or are you rich? hahah they re the ultímate trickers(No, we Know...you are better than Brasilians.. sure!), Middle east a bit further up

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  82. I have lived in Portugal since few months now, mainly because of the NHR regime, not because I felt love in the country during some tourist trips. In fact, it is my first time here.

    Some of my thoughts I would like to share:

    1. Slow, things are slow. Professionals are slow and quite expensive for the average salaries here and service provided. So, taking a lawyer or any type of professional won't save you from the bureaucracy.
    2. Weather is quite nice, but not phenomenal like in south of Spain or Canarias, because of the chilly winds. Beaches are great though.
    3. I think people are quite friendly, but not very open to strangers. Finding friends would be probably difficult. Older people are definitely traditionalists and I definitely wouldn't move to a Portuguese village looking for some modern vibes. Had more good experiences than bad ones, especially with younger people.
    4. It is quite expensive. Gas, rentals, good food, services etc. Living in some trendy places would be even more expensive. It is something to consider for those who can afford only a farm house in rural Portugal but would like to live among academics, think twice. Either you can afford it, or you have to live next to some farmers with barking dogs. It is still better than cheapest areas in USA or Germany with scarier things than chained dogs, but not necessarily a great place to live.
    5. It feels very safe compared to many western countries. However, driving culture is questionable.

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    • Hey Martin,

      I'm Junior I am 31yrs old I live In NYC, USA. My girlfriend has her heart set on moving to Portugal sometime in the near future, however I am skeptical about this move as I'm fearful of many of the items mentioned on this list especially the job market. I currently work in IT support and my girlfriend is a lawyer, I did notice in the article most expats bring their work with them. My girlfriend is trying to persuade me by the mention of being able to grow cannabis in Portugal. Point is I was just looking for your thoughts on my background and your current experiences living in Portugal. Also thank you for your post.

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      • Hey,
        I will just share my thoughts based on my experience.

        I don't know a lot of cannabis business here, but I would assume there are many regulations for that, especially if someone wants to do if for profit. Decriminalized use might sounds good, and it probably is, as long we speak about your own use. I don't think you can grow big quantities and sell it without permits. Not in EU, especially not in Portugal.

        If your girlfriend is a lawyer licensed in USA and have studied the American law, I don't think that there is a lot of work for her in Portugal. Maybe some international companies which are doing business in USA. Local lawyers companies practicing Portuguese law probably not really.

        Yes, most expats bring their work with them, or are financially independent. Salaries doesn't seem very high in Portugal, you have to speak the language in the most cases. Furthermore, they have decent amount of immigrants from former Portuguese colonies who speak the language perfectly. Another thing is that the income tax cat get easily over 40%, so depending from what you earn and what you pay now it is something to consider.

        With NHR, which is basically tax benefits program for new residents, you might get a better deal, eventually. Just be careful which lawyer you gonna take who does your paperwork. There are many bad ones.

        You should also consider your immigration situation. A lot depends from which passports you and your girlfriend are holding. If you don't have an EU passport you probably gonna need a visa.

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        • Hi, Martin.
          Like you, I immigrated recently - from Denmark in this case. I am going for the NHR scheme to. Live in a rented apartment in the Seixal area on the southside of the Lisbon river. Am 53 years old and some part time hours on accounting and taxes for danish companies.
          On the NHR, I just had a bad experience on my first try to hire a lawyer and accounting in a 2-person-company to help me on the NHR and other tax and finance related topics. After signing and paying, I get no feedback/help.

          Martin, do you have an advisor on NHT etc that you can recommend ?

          Reply
          • Hello,
            sorry for my late reply, not checking the comment section very often.

            My first experience was similar, greedy, zero feedback, slow, incompetent - overall work with the "local" in-person lawyer was more like pulling a teeth with a lot of nonsense, but after many weeks I got my residence.

            My second online law firm is called "Lexidy Law Boutique". NHR process was fast, finance related topics not so much (less responsive, small errors here and there). Not sure if I can recommend them, but they were cheaper and more professional than the first lawyer. First call was also for free.

            Overall, many lawyers were asking me 200EUR for a consultation alone, in order to speak about a very generic and simple task. It is really hard for me to find someone decent. For that reason alone, I had to postpone my plans to buy a property in Portugal.

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      • Although decriminalised cannabis isn't legal. You'd maybe get away with a few plants but anything over 5 or 6 you'd still probably go to jail. Cultivation and owning seeds (weirdly) are contentious issues and you are only supposed to have 10 day supply at a gram a day to get off with a warning which is like a rehabilitation course as far as I can tell.

        Unless you're a Canadian or Chinese company investing hundreds of thousands € into medicinal to benefit Swiss and Germans forget it as a business.

        Even a small grow is likely to draw attention from neighbours unless in a big city then rents will be high. I've overheard myself been accused of being a narco because why would a foreigner move to a small village in Portugal. A lot of older Portuguese are insular and suspect of foreigners in my experience.

        It's a crazy reason to consider such a big change and I doubt you'll be satisfied upon further research. Move to another state which is more accommodating of weed or somewhere that has no issue with it and a cheap cost of living like Colombia or Uruguay. Spanish is easier, cost of living is much cheaper, can use dollars and they are probably better places to live and people to be around. Spain is more tolerant, Czech Republic or Netherlands. It's the worst reason to move here.

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      • Heyy,
        growing cannabis is not legal here, You can own it but not sell or smoke it ( at least not legal) so I wouldn't do that for a living.
        Avarage wages are about 800€ per month and without speaking portuguese fluently it is impossible to find a good job.
        Maybe you should really talk for your girlfriend about it. Right now it seems that you both have good jobs, but here you would either have to work for a forgein company or in a poorly paid job.
        Good luck for the future

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    • Hello Martin,

      Thanks for your insights.

      I also recently moved (3 months ago to be precise) and chose Portugal over Spain due to the NHR regime. I am a contractor working via my UK ltd company and my client was happy for me to relocate initially and work remotely. The pay in the UK was substantial, so I wasn't in any financial stress.
      Unfortunately, I am suddenly faced with my contract being terminated unless I return to the UK. I was lucky enough to get a job here in Portugal in the same IT field but the pay is ridiculously lower in comparison (60%lower) to my current UK pay.
      Now I'm in a difficult position where I either go back to the UK with my son or stay here pinching pennies just to have a "better standard of life". I'm beginning to rethink my move and might just go back to the UK which is sad.

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      • bear in mind that costs are also 30-40% lower than in the UK, but if you need to work for a living, you are better off in the UK. Portuguese economy is terminally sick!

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  83. Forgot to mention the investigative nature of many Portuguese and their businesses. The ones who sent me half of the goods what I paid for their website asked me whether it I would allow them to record my visits and make research on my shopping throughout internet. Gladly there was an option to say NO. The local phone company when they call me they always know so much about me ad not only them, the everyone else as it seems know me to the very fine details including my neighbours who are watching every step of mine while I say hello to them and talk to them, not everyone says hello in return. That makes Portuguese very intelligent people since they are so much into intelligence.

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  84. Hi James,
    Thanks for the counterbalancing post, very enlightening.
    Portugal sounds to me to be a bit like New Zealand... where you move to slow way down and rewind a few decades... but also a place often oversold as paradise, but in which reality can be quite different, if not harsh for some.
    Perhaps an odd question, but I'm just wondering if you feel that the can't do attitude in Portugal is maybe due to some form of masked depression, or is it more of an isolated cultural perk? Are people in Portugal lively in general?
    Excuse the poetic license, but where I live people seem to have lost their zest / lust for life, there's no sparkle in people's eyes, folks are dozing off at the wheel, and are collectively fading into shades of