34+ Downsides (& Upsides) to Living in Portugal

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Written by: | Last updated on February 8, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 43 minutes

Let’s face it: nowhere is perfect. There are lots of pros to living in Portugal but there are, unsurprisingly, one or two cons as well. Some of these downsides include bureaucracy, low-quality housing, a lack of a customer service culture, the challenge of integrating into Portuguese culture, low wages, and the rising cost of property.

Most articles (and especially YouTube videos) focus on the upsides rather than the downsides but it’s important to get the full picture before you move somewhere new. Portugalist absolutely recommends that you consider moving to Portugal, but it wouldn’t be doing its job if it didn’t give you realistic expectations.

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. – Donna

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 some Portuguese people 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.

As one commenter points out, although there are some downsides to living in Portugal, there isn’t enough space on the internet to list all of the upsides.

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. – Danny

Similarly, despite pointing out a few downsides, Aaron lists a lot of upsides:

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. – Aaron

With that in mind, here are a list of some of the different downsides to life in Portugal.

Paperwork, Bureaucracy, & Inefficiency

Try to get anything done in Portugal, whether it’s starting a business or applying for planning permission, and you’ll run into hurdles. Often it’s paperwork related. Sometimes it’s just down to the fact things move slowly.

When it comes to paperwork, 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.

In all the countries I’ve lived in, I never needed a lawyer to sort my usually regular stuff like taxes, properties, banks. In Portugal, even if I can’t really afford it, I had to hire them. – KC

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. – Martin

It took me 1½ (if I remember correctly) years to get the tax-free import of my car sorted out. 

Kurt

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

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. – Rowena

 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. – Julia

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). – Taurus1

Bureaucracy isn’t unique to Portugal, and it’s something you’ll come across in many European countries like Spain, Italy, and Germany, but many would argue that Portugal takes bureaucracy to new levels. Not everyone agrees, however.

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. – Frank

All that talk of bureaucracy and corruption in Portugal is way exaggerated! – Kurt

Pro: The Kindness of People

This one is quite subjective as everyone’s experience of the Portuguese is different. However, a number of people who have commented on Portugalist remarked at the kindness of Portuguese people.

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…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.

Gloria

And she’s not the only one.

 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.

Christine

I’m a Canadian native, but born to a Portuguese mother and a Japanese father. I have many stories from my visits to Portugal, but I’ll keep it to this: the unwavering, friendly “Good morning”s from strangers and passersby. That warmth and humanity that so many places on this great, wide earth are deprived of. It’s one of the many things that makes Portugal special. 

AA

Con: 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.

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. – WL

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. – Julia

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.

The cold and the noise, both due at least partly to poor insulation, are the main issues with Portuguese properties but at least one commenter has found an issue with the pipes in older houses as well.

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???! – John

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.

Pro: Ease of Obtaining Portuguese Citizenship

After living in Portugal for 5 years, you’ll be able to apply for Portuguese citizenship. This is much faster than in many other European countries. You need to have lived for 10 years in Spain, for example, before you’re able to apply for Spanish citizenship. 

And, unlike many other European countries, you only need to show an A2 level of Portuguese. In comparison, Germany and Italy require a B1 level.

European Portuguese isn’t always the easiest, particularly due to the pronunciation, but, thankfully, there are a lot of courses and resources for learning EU Portuguese.

Con: 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.

Making friends- easy for me as my work entails meeting people. But if your work is by yourself and alone and do not involve other people, it can be hard and lonely. People stay with their close tight knit families and it can make you sad and lonely if you have that sort of constitution.

the Portuguese are to me generally helpful, warm and friendly. Just don’t expect them to show up or call you after you feel like you’ve found a good friend. Most of the ones I met seem to strangely ghost, vanish, flake then they come up the surface again and your like super close again. Okay this might not be helpful but it does affect quality of life.-KC

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. Putting in the effort is worth it, though. While it can take a long time to make Portuguese friends, particularly when compared to other countries, once you have a Portuguese friend, you have a friend for life.

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. – Danny

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. – Frank

…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. – Aaron

Because integration can be so challenging, that means you’ll have to mainly make friends with other expats. While most are wonderful people, and many will become lifelong friends, there are definitely a few you will find yourself trying to avoid.

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 [other expats]! – Carl

But just because it’s challenging to make friends, that doesn’t mean that the Portuguese aren’t friendly.

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. – EM

The challenges of making friends fast 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.

Pro: Large Expat Community

Integrating might be hard sometimes, but at least there’s a large, welcoming expat community.

Having a large expat community has its downsides – as it means people tend to integrate more into expat communities than local communities – but it’s definitely a pro when you first move. You’ll instantly be able to get to know other people, people in the same boat as you, and it’ll be easy to get answers to questions you have about settling in Portugal. 

Con: 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.

I don’t mean to be contrary but I have to say I disagree with you about Portuguese being a difficult language, or it being any harder than other Romance languages. I would say Portuguese is the easiest Romance language for an English-speaker to acquire; the hardest is Romanian. – Fraser

And the rewards are there for those that put in the effort.

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. – Emanuel Sousa

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.

Pro: English is Widely Spoken

English is widely spoken in Portugal, particularly in the Algarve, Lisbon, Porto, and other Portuguese cities. In other parts of Portugal, English is less widely spoken but it still won’t take long to find someone that speaks English. 

Although your intention might be to learn Portuguese, and to learn it to a fluent level, knowing that other people are likely to speak English is very reassuring – particularly when you’re speaking to a doctor, for example. 

However, if you want to integrate even a little, you should definitely make an effort to learn Portuguese

Con: 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.

Pro: The Food

At any Portuguese market, you’ll find a great variety of fish and seafood and excellent fruit and vegetables. Most large supermarkets, similarly, will also have a large fish counter. Price-wise fruit and veg is much cheaper than the US, and the quality is better. By European standards, it isn’t particularly cheaper but the quality is better than in many Northern European countries. 

Eating out in traditional Portuguese restaurants is also extremely affordable, particularly at lunchtime. Here €10-15 can get you a 3-course meal complete with coffee and wine. International restaurants are more expensive and often non-existent in more rural parts of Portugal, but with access to good-quality, affordable ingredients, you’ll be able to make up some great dishes yourself at home.

Con: Standard 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.

We pay taxes like Germany but and have an income like Lithuania or so. – João Pedro

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 was the NHR tax regime, which was 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. This has now been replaced with what many people are calling the new NHR regime, or NHR 2.0.

Con: Feeling Like You’re Part of the Problem

It seems like everywhere in the world has a housing and cost of living crisis, so it’s easy to feel a little guilty if you can afford to buy or aren’t as affected as others by the rising cost of living.

In Portugal, that’s particularly the case. Property purchase and rental prices, in particular, have increased, and that’s definitely in part to the number of more affluent foreigners coming into Portugal.

It’s not that anyone moving here is doing anything malicious, or without caring about the problems they might create: it’s simply a consequence of Portugal’s very open immigration policy. And it’s an open immigration policy because Portugal wants foreigners to come and benefits from the money that’s brought into the country.

Some people will point out that the problem is really the government not building more affordable housing or the low wages despite many companies bringing very health profits. That may be true, but it’s still easy to feel like you’re part of the problem. Then again, there are a lot of other parts of the world, including where you’re moved from, where you could feel exactly the same thing.

Pro: Affordable Healthcare

Particularly for Americans and those outside of Europe, Portugal’s tax-funded healthcare system is a big attraction. There’s no need to worry about having the right insurance when you go to the hospital: access to public healthcare is considered a right. 

For Europeans, Portugal’s healthcare system is less of a novelty and in reality it suffers from many of the same problems as other European countries: emergency healthcare is good, but waiting lists for non-urgent treatment can be long – sometimes more than a year or two. 

However, one area in which Portugal trumps many other European countries is in the cost of private healthcare. Health insurance and the cost of paying out of pocket are much lower than in many other European countries, and many expats are able to use the private system for the majority of their needs, which often allows them to access better quality healthcare than they would elsewhere. 

Con: 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.

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.! – Tom Baum

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.

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. – Confoosed

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.

Pro: Inviting Beaches

Portuguese beaches, particularly those in the Algarve, have been voted as some of the best in the world. So if your dream is to spend your time soaking up the sunshine and listening to the waves, this is definitely the country for you. 

As well as great beaches, Portugal also has several great surfing hubs such as Sagres, Ericeira, Nazaré, and Costa da Caparica. 

If you’re planning on living inland, you don’t be disappointed either. Whether it’s the Douro, Gerês, Azores, Madeira, or Serra de Arrábida, Portugal has plenty of areas of natural beauty for you to enjoy. 

Con: Treatment of Animals

Although it’s rapidly changing, the treatment of animals can be a problem in Portugal. In parts of rural and suburban Portugal, it’s not uncommon for dogs to be left chained up or on balconies all day (which is part of the reason that there are noise problems).

Dogs and the treatment of animals in general is a big problem in Portugal. – Andrew

This isn’t to say that it’s a problem everywhere in Portugal. While you will see mistreated animals from time to time, you will also see pets that are looked after to extremely high standards.

Pro: Lower Cost Of Living

This is a slightly trickier one, but for the most part, Portugal has a lower cost of living. Of course, it depends on where you’re coming from and what you’re buying. If you’re moving from New York or San Francisco to Portugal, you’ll notice a considerably lower cost of living. However, if you’re moving from the North of England or Spain, you won’t see a major difference and you might think Portugal is more expensive. 

Portugal is cheap for some things and expensive for others. It’s cheap for eating out, for example, where a meal in a three-course lunch menu can cost you less than €10. However, other things like cars, utilities, and fuel are typically more expensive. 

Again, it depends where you’re coming from. Americans typically find groceries and cell phone plans considerably cheaper than the US while many Europeans don’t notice a difference or find them more expensive. 

Of course, it’s not just about price but the lifestyle you get for that price. There are few places where you can live close to the beach, enjoy fantastic weather, and eat out regularly for the cost of living that’s found in Portugal. 

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.

Dan

Con: 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.

I have seen more dog poop on the sidewalks while in Portugal than I do in the US but in our Alentejo town, there are dispensers with free poop bags. – Ms G

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. – Andrea E

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.

Pro: A Feeling Of Safety

There’s some debate as to how accurate the oft-quoted statistic of Portugal being the third safest country in the world is, but the reality is Portugal feels incredibly safe – especially when compared to the US, Latin America, and parts of the UK. It’s somewhere where children, the elderly, and women typically feel comfortable walking alone, even late at night. 

In fact, Portuguese culture is incredibly family-friendly: children are adored and the elderly are treated with respect. 

Con: 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. 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.

Pro: Attainable Residency Visas

If you don’t have an “EU Passport” and need a visa to move to a European country, Portugal can be very appealing for a number of reasons. Firstly, the visas are considered more attainable than other European countries: the D7, for example, requires you to have a regular income that’s at least more than €705 per month – an achievable amount for many people while the D2, or entrepreneurship visa, doesn’t specify a minimum investment amount. 

For those that have cash to spend, the golden visa can be particularly appealing because it only requires you to spend an average of 7 days per year in Portugal in order to meet your residency requirements. 

For many people, these attainable visas make Portugal a very attractive country as Portugal offers an easy route into Europe. 

Con: Political Confusion

Portuguese politics can be messy.

In 2023, it was randomly announced that the golden visa was ending. Then the government backtracked. Then it was announced that most of the golden visa was staying, but a few options were going.

A few months later, the government announced the end of NHR. Then the president resigned after being caught up in a corruption scandal.

While far from the political instability of a third world country, the way the Portuguese government can work may come across as very messy and unplanned to an outsider. This is especially the case when you’re trying to move here and the goalposts keep moving.

It’s certainly a con, but it’s worth keeping in mind that the politics in the country you’re moving from may not be the most stable either. The former president of the US is spending a lot of time defending himself in court these days, while still thinking about running for president. Since the UK’s Brexit vote, the UK has gone through numerous prime ministers – one of them lasted just 49 days.

Con: Casual Racism

It isn’t a problem for most expats, but many people – particularly from Brazil and other former Portuguese colonies – report experiencing prejudice or being treated differently in Portugal. It’s probably not something you’re going to see on a day-to-day basis, but if you live here long enough and if you make friends with people of colour from Africa or South America, you may hear some stories.

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. – Brian

But as one commenter points out, it’s quite a complex issue.

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…

…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. – Gloria

Casual racism is a problem everywhere, unfortunately, including many European countries. While Portugal fairs much better than many other Western countries, including the US, this doesn’t excuse the fact that it still occurs.

Pro & Con: 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.

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….

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. – Taurus1

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.

Con: 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.

Portuguese are deep thinkers and are compassionate really to the core. But if you tend to be on the anxious depress side, probably not great place as you’ll be surrounded with melancholy and sadness. It’s not obvious apparent but in years of living here, it does affect you. It’s the reason why people are flaky. Lots of anxiety and depression. – KC

Sense of humor is often lacking, but there is a lot of sincerity (often combined with unhappiness) – Gaius

I disagree with the cant do attitude being attributed to Portugal for this can’t do attitude is very much European. – Frank

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

Con: 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 AIMA (the immigration department previously known as SEF), 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.

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. – Ava

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. – Gargantois Pantagrüell

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. – Jacob

Official complaints in “Livro das Reclamações” are useless. Service providers are always right and their operators rarely apologise. – Antonio

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”. – The Old Ranger

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.

Con: 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.

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. – Portuguese guyy

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.

Con: 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.

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! – David

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.

Con: 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.

Con: The Driving

They drive like (use soft language) crazy and bring themselves and others in dangerous situations just to get in front of you to the get stuck behind the same truck we where already driving. – Martin

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. – Mike

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. It’s just one of those things about Portuguese life that you have to get used to and, depending on where you come from, it mightn’t be that bad at all.

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). – Jerry

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.

Con: 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.

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. – Julia

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. – WL

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.

Con: Overtourism

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.

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. – Mike

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

Con: Deliveries & Customs

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.

The Postal Service (CTT). It is ASTONISHINGLY inefficient and bureaucratic. Many times things simply do not get delivered. The employees are exceptionally unhelpful. – Gaius

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!!! – Alberto

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).

Con: The Smoking

While smoking is on the way out in many countries, smoking is still reasonably common in Portugal. While one commenter like

Second hand smoke is present everywhere here, public transportation, parks, outdoor cafes and restaurants, beaches, where you work and live and so on. – Carlos

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 [source].

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.

Written by

James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

You can contact James by emailing james@portugalist.com or via the site's contact form.

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Comments

  1. I am extremely disappointed with many of the Portuguese on how unreliable, undependable and untrustworthy they are. They keep on making promises that they don’t keep and keep playing mind games for no good reason. Promise after a promise after a promise and never do anything about it, be it the work to be done or the money to be paid in rent an so on. Extremely disappointed with a big part of the nation. Perhaps people are like that everywhere now, but I do not respect such behaviour and will not put up with it.

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  2. I agree with you José! We’ve had multiple daily power cuts during the work hours. Some last “just” half an hour and some last several hours! A couple power cuts lasted a couple days! Most power cuts happen during beautiful sunny weather. Yet the power company will not give us any credit fort the trouble and even raised the bill. Extremely inconsiderate. That destroys my work schedule and my PC. Takes time to restore all the alarm clocks and other equipment in the house after a rude power cut. Feels like living in Burkina Faso, Guinea or Nigeria. How did they accept such country into the EU? Must be the geopolitical thing.

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  3. Frequent power cuts during busiest times of the day and right after people return home from work! Can last for hours and days at a time!

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  4. The darker ones are like flies, they won’t take NO for an answer and will keep on calling and messaging even after being asked to STOP! They would call all the houses for sale in the area and demand the house to be rented to them at a ridiculously low rate with power and everything included!

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  5. I like the following post by a Spaniard on Quora:

    Eduardo Marqués Collado
    ·
    Follow
    Lives in SpainUpvoted by
    Tiago Silvestre
    , lives in Portugal (1996-present) and
    Elma Moneo
    , lives in Spain (1959-present)Updated 2y
    Related
    How different are the Portuguese people from the Spanish?

    We’re quite similar to our Portuguese brothers, but there are of course differences, specially when you take different regions into account:

    The Portuguese character is more subdued, less prone to bombastic statements. They have a more “low key” nature, so to speak. They understand sublety.
    Portuguese people are less noisy. This is a very easy to confirm fact, and thank God for that.
    We Spaniards are night owls, while the Portuguese are morning people.
    The Portuguese like to stay at home more, both for family and party reasons. Us Spaniards love the streets.
    They are also more polite, since after Franco’s death us Spaniards brilliantly concluded that courtesy and respect were fascism’s cousins. Our Portuguese brothers are not as stupid in that regard.
    Portuguese are more pessimistic and melancholic, although one can argue that so are the Galicians as well, which is the Spanish region with the highest level of cultural affinity with Portugal.
    Portuguese people strikes me as more traditional than we are (not to confuse with “conservative”). Us Spaniards are the opposite: We’re very conservative in the strict sense of the word, but also quite neophile at the same time, both for good and bad.
    The Portuguese are more patriotic. Or I would rather say that they don’t hate themselves with our level of cardiac arrest due to our festering, open civil war wounds.
    The Portuguese people don’t share our “whatever”-ism when it comes to things like PDA, public drinking or LGTB issues. They take their Catholicism more seriously than we do, or so it seems.
    Portuguese people are less prone to anger than us Spaniards. They have a sweeter, mellow character. But they also find it harder to feel enthusiastic (not to be confused with “being happy”).
    The Portuguese are even more family oriented than we are, which is already a lot. It can sometimes feel even a little tad opressive (talking from the experience of my fellow Portuguese friends).
    The Portuguese have a way more “no nonsense” attitude than us, and I love them for that. They are very down to earth, in a good way. Once you step out of Lisbon, the pretentiousness level reaches absolute zero.
    However, that attitude can also be self-defeating too, when taken to the extreme. Portuguese people have the talent, but they often lack the confidence to put said talent to work. They view the “think big” mentality with suspicion. Why be ambitious when you know that things are going to get awry?
    The Portuguese can sometimes be distrusful of outsiders. They are not xenophobic at all, but you will need more time to gain their trust. Once you do, however, they will be loyal till the end. Same thing that happens with people from Galicia.

    In short, we’re two countries and peoples with a lot in common: We’re both welcoming, family and friend-oriented, outward-looking, ancient Southern European cultures, and it shows.

    Yes, we have lots of differences as well, and in a way, some people use said differences in order to define themselves and search for their identity.

    But in my heart the Portuguese people are our brothers, so I wish them a long life and eternal prosperity 🙂

    Reply
  6. In the European Union the following countries have banned GMOS: France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Poland, Denmark, Malta, Slovenia, Italy, and Croatia. How about POORTUGAL?

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  7. Why can’t we be protected from this ONSLAUGHT of loud motorcycles driving past homes in towns without mufflers revving at full throttle, even at night?

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  8. Stay away from FedEx Portugal! “Money-Back Guarantee (section 19 of these Conditions of Carriage) is not applicable to local payors based in Portugal, until further notice.” Source: https://www.fedex.com/en-pt/conditions-of-carriage.html

    Fique longe da FedEx Portugal! “A Garantia de Reembolso (secção 19 destas Condições de Transporte) não se aplica a pagadores locais com sede em Portugal, até novo aviso.” Fonte: https://www.fedex.com/en-pt/conditions-of-carriage.html

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    • This “low crime rate” thing needs to be interrogated. First of all–and this is quite an obvious point, I know–not all countries pass along information on reported crimes in the same way. Second of all, and far more importantly, in certain cultures crime is more prone to go unreported. Let me give you an example–and believe me, I have endless examples. Endless. I could be here all day. But let’s just pick one of the most, eh, comical ones.

      We fired a housekeeper when it became known that she was using our house for prostitution. She would take her johns there when she knew we wouldn’t be there–you know, kind of like Walter White and Jesse Pinkman running a meth lab in houses that had been emptied out for extermination. Anyway, this housekeeper neglected to unfriend my wife from Facebook, and a few months later my wife saw pictures of her showing off a bunch of new dresses. All of those dresses were those she had stolen from my wife. There were also pictures of her at a birthday party giving out gifts to her nephew. Those gifts were my four-year-old son’s clothes and toys.

      Pretty stupid to post such stuff on social media, no? Pretty incriminating, no? Wait. It gets better. My wife confronted this woman about it in a phone call, and instead of denying it, this woman opted to TEXT my wife and gloatingly admit to it all. She then proceeded to call my wife a bunch of vile names.

      Naturally, we took all this to the police. We weren’t naive; we knew the police didn’t want to work. But this was an open-and-shut thing. Not a lot of work required to bust someone who had busted herself, right? Well, no. Here’s the basic overview of the conversation:

      COP: You understand she can deny all this, right?
      MY WIFE: But we have her admitting it multiple times in a text, and we have images from social media with all of our belongings. You can’t buy those dresses here. I bought those in a boutique in the US five years ago. Anyway: SHE ADMITTED TO IT.
      COP: Doesn’t matter. She can deny it now.
      MY WIFE: Wait, deny both the crime and sending the text. What? And doesn’t every criminal deny every wrongdoing ever? So, then, do you not do ANYTHING ever to investigate thing?
      COP: Here’s the deal, lady: We investigate her. She denies it. Once you’ve investigated her and nothing comes of it, she, according to Portuguese law, has grounds to sue you for defamation. And you know what, since there’s no proof she did anything . . . she AUTOMATICALLY wins the case. So either you take that eventual loss, or you settle with her beforehand in what amounts to a shakedown. But you know what, she already right now knows she’s won, so why would she settle?

      So there you have it, guys! Thievery is a racket that not only gets you immediate rewards in all these new belongings you have, but comes with foolproof protection, and can even pay more dividends further down the road. And now you see how this thief neglecting to unfriend my wife on Facebook, this thief brazenly advertising what she had stolen, this thief admitting her crime to my wife was in fact quite the opposite of a stupid decision? It was, in fact, the calculated decision.

      And you don’t have to be a paranoid conspiracy theorist to extrapolate that, hm, maybe some of these thieves aren’t, like, I don’t know, the cops themselves?

      So, then, do you think I’ll ever be reporting any more crimes in Portugal? Do you think my friends here–the Portuguese, ex-pats, it doesn’t matter–report crimes here? And do you think that the ones that are actually reported even get passed along to the, say, EU, in a reliable manner?

      Oh, wait. I guess I’ve got another story: A recent report said there were no hate crimes in Portugal in 2017. Hm. That was the year I was approached by two boneheads who recognized me as foreign, was told to get the fuck out of the country, then was punched in the head over 50 times, concussing me and leaving me blind on one eye for a month. Not an exaggeration on the 50 punches, by the way: I have, for one thing, multiple witnesses, all of whom thought I was going to die. Was this reported as a hate crime? Hm; wait. Was this even reported as a crime at all? Nope. Because the police listened to my account, listened to the asasailants’ as well (who, remember this, ADMITTED to the crime AND the severity of it) wrote some stuff down, then I was carted off to the hospital in a daze. A few days later after regaining my bearings, I got suspicious and showed up at the police station demanding to see the report, threatening them with the I’m-American-and-trust-me-I’m-industrious-enough-to-know-how-to-raise-a-stink card (not something I’m proud to use, but something which actually works–at least to an extent!–in these situations.) And, oh, what did the report say? That it was a brief dust-up in which one punch was thrown. You know, the kind of thing that we can file away more easily so we can get back to that really satisfying nap your stupid, annoying hate crime woke us from.

      By the way. Nothing ever came of this. I even had to pay my own medical bills. Supposedly there’s going to be a trial, like, sometime? 2030? I don’t know. But as it’s not the kind of trial in which lawyers and judges, working in concert, can shake down one of the parties, it’s certainly not a priority.

      Please. Portugal is crime-ridden. Statisitics don’t tell the story as statistics don’t apply. And as the entire legal and business infrastructure here is essentially the mafia, the entire country, whose workings are based on a colonial, exploitative model in which money is stolen from hardworking honest people and funnelled to a small percentage of elites at the top, the entire country is a criminal enterprise, thus rendering the whole idea of statistics pointless in and of itself.

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  9. I once went with my wife to a fast food burger restaurant (McD) for breakfast, and we were very surprised when we heard the employee apologize to us for not serving coffee in porcelain cups, but rather in cardboard cups. She said they can’t provide any more porcelain cups because they were all stolen by customers, Portuguese customers. I need to say more? (sighs)

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  10. Portugal, the worst country I have been. The people I have met there were rude, negative, sarcastic, vicious, toxic and had no sense of humor what so ever. I have been scammed by real estate brokers, lawyers who did not do anything, except lying, customer services do not exist in that 3r world country. They are racist towards every one with a black skin, mostly Brazilians and I did not even mention the level of corruption, how they educat their colonial past ( the call it provinces ) the dirt on the street and the poverty. I stop now otherwise I get despressed myself.

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  11. After reading the below article I finally understood why for many years on a continuous basis FedEx Portugal takes 1 to 2 weeks to dispatch documents shipments internationally from Lisbon, Portugal!

    “Portugal is the European country with the highest rate of depression and the second in the world, but it is estimated that one third of the population with severe mental disorders are not being treated, Lusa news agency reported.

    According to the coordinator for the European Alliance Against Depression, psychiatrist Ricardo Gusmão, the United States is the only country that is ahead of Portugal in the rate of depression and mental disorders in general.

    Gusmão believes that, although the use of antidepressants is much higher in Portugal than in other countries, there are still many seriously ill patients without treatment. “The most serious consequence of untreated depression is suicide and most suicides occur in the context of depression,” he said.”

    Source: https://portuguese-american-journal.com/portugal-is-the-european-country-with-the-highest-rate-of-depression/

    Only absolutely mentally ill people and companies run by such mentally ill and depressed people can ignore such business common sense to dispatch shipments ASAP within hours of being picked up since they are a SPEED COURIER for God’s sake!

    Stuck in Portugal being dependent on their horrible Fedex “service”.

    “There are still many seriously ill patients without treatment in Portugal” and they are running businesses in a really depressed way. How do they remain in business that’s another question. Perhaps most of their customers are mentally ill as well?

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  12. Portugal is a wonderful country, but for doityourselvers only. Otherwise, to receive a good quality workmanship and service you will have to pay ten times more than it’s worth and spend years of your life to achieve your goals. If they will show up. If you’re lucky. It’s cheaper to import Norwegians, the Swiss or the Japanese to do the same work and with better quality and much faster. That’s what we did, we had nationals of another western European country fly in their equipment on a charter plane and do the work and that saved us a lot of grief on missed time and targets. My Portuguese wife wholeheartedly agrees with me. Portuguese are wonderful people.

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  13. How come you have never written about the chocolate in Portugal? The pingo doce and continente chocolate is shit. I can only get good chocolate in lidl and aldi. Sometimes in Auchan but it is usually imported chocolate. Why Portugal no like good chocolate?

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  14. I’m not sure whether I completely understand the bizarrely dismissive nature of the Portugalese, but they seem to be extremely sensitive and they react to any otherwise reasonable wording or behaviour by quietly dismissing all the projects and punishing you for any even smallest of your “mistakes” you have made while interacting with them. You have to be extremely, I mean EXTREMELY, I mean E X T R E M E L Y C A R E F U L what you do and what you say to the Portuguese and even when you are absolutely careful, they will still “punish” you for non-existing misdeeds. Even if you paid them more for their work than anyone else ever did.

    A good example is when you work in the garden and throw the weeds onto your driveway so you can take them away or burn the weeds at a later hour, your passing-by neighbours may think you are intentionally throwing the weeds their way and being rude about it. Or you are very politely are asking the worker to do this and that for you, to make sure they don’t cut the wrong tree or build the stone wall in a wrong direction (happened to me too many times!). While the worker quits the job immediately, lying that they will return tomorrow and blaming the drizzle that never came, soon you will be dismissed and boycotted by the entire village (for “throwing weeds at them”, even if they passed by your house within 50 meters of where you threw the weeds and not even in their direction to be exact) and no one will work for you and you will end up doing DIY on everything, or leaving the country.

    No matter what you do, you will be boycotted, no matter how well you behave, because you are not them. Should I say, overly sensitive, inconsiderate, selfish and extremely superstitious nature of Portugalese people is staggering. When they come into your house they will never (almost never) bring anything, even if you donate things to them, they’d rather steal than bring you pleasant surprises, like little gifts, and yes there are exceptions, but not as part of culture. Inconsiderate driving, inconsiderate treatment of each other while standing in line, with some simply cutting in line “since they are in a rush”, too many examples to mention.

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  15. There are too many TIME WASTERS in Portugal, but there are good people in Portugal as well as an occasional good deal, if you’re careful. But beware of scam and fraud!

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  16. Most services in Portugal have all kinds of problems in order to reach them. It is either their website is dysfunctional or some feature is not working and they rarely respond email inquiries or answer their phones. If you are lucky to reach them, they show indifference to “serve” your order or to sell to you, which usually ends up in a disaster, such as bad quality merchandise, wrong colour, sent to a wrong location, items missing, bad installation, workers not showing up. You’re left on your own, to fend for yourself.

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  17. I spent some months in Portugal. They were the worst months of my life. Wanted to buy a property. I met dishonest brokers, lawyers. Being rude, they lie when you ask why they did not follow up. Bureaucracy is a nightmere. Hospitals, doctors do not speak English. Customer services do not exist. Very difficult to make friends with Porutguese. Mostly narrow minded and not very wordly. They are not interested in the rest of the world. They are proud of their colonial past. Racism is a big problem there. Poverty, corruption…. I can go on an on an on. I wished I could have a different opinion, but I do not have from my own experiences. I left the country. Good luck Portuguese !

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  18. Unfortunately I have to admitt that PT, most of the people I have met ( maybe I have been unlucky ) were from not nice to horrible. And everything in between. They are depressing, the envy, they are toxic and lying passive agressive. ( sorry for all the nice Portuguese which I did not meet a lot ) The bureaucracy is better called bureaucraZY. It is a nightmere. The level of English of Doctors, lawyers, architects is none or very bad. I tried to purschase a dwelling in PT and never experienced more mistakes, lying, stress in those 7 months then in my entire life together. I am glad it did not work out and I left asnd will never come back. The Portuguese are rather passive then to step up. Things will never change there. I feel really sorry for the younger generation.

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  19. Most if not all Portuguese services are a failure. Caixa Geral bank website is broken, thus I am unable to login into my bank account in order to pay the 23% IVA import duty (Customs clearance charges). Customs wants to charge me a huge amount for a gift received from United States, but their (CTT, Alfândega = Customs Dept.) website is broken and is severely dysfunctional, always hanging up and having other problems, while CTT (for Customs Clearance) emails always arrive with “broken” images and “dead” links. Thus I have to discover everything myself, which costs time and money. Now the electronics purchases in this country are usually dangerously unprotected and of low quality, failing, while the companies usually do not keep the warranty promise and try to avoid repairing goods or refunding the money. I had two appointments made already with the warranty repair technician who did not show up the second time. Thus I called my bank in order to submit a payment reversal on the split a/c unit (HTW Spanish brand), and the bank’s phone and website appear to be broken and are unable to service my needs… The lawyers are crooks, and so on and so forth and it’s a closed circle trying to survive in this country. What seems to be “affordable” turns out to be very expensive and costly to your health and well being.

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  20. Unable to report my electric meter readings to the local el. power company. Their el. meter reporting center or as they call it a Call Center (in English, no Portuguese version), is not responding. The voice recording after a very long wait says: This number is inactive, use an alternative contact method! There is NO alternative contact method and their website seems to be down. This is the kind of disrespect and ignorance exists in this country. They do not respect people and their customers. They won’t explain why it is down or closed and if I don’t report electric power meter readings today the power company makes their own calculations and issue “fines” for late reporting even if that is THEIR fault! I was never able to get my money back for those “late reporting fines” (their fault). Everything here works like a monopoly. And their grocery stores can close in the middle of day for no reason and no notice is posted on the doors. Screw the customer, they don’t need to know, or perhaps they think the customer “knows” why the store is closed for the day. Such a disrespect and incompetence to the highest, or rather lowest level.

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  21. Portugal might be a good country to live, if, your income is not from Portugal, but overall there are better choices in Europe and in the World.
    To live in a expat bubble, is not a decent life i think, and that is what´s gonna happen to 95% of expats unless you dominate the language and do a lot of effort to integrate, some fault on the expats here, and on the portuguese as well, guilt rarely dies single as we say in Portugal.

    People might find Portugal beautiful, but what they do not know, is that the Portuguese landscape is one of the most modified and deturped in Europe; full of burned landscapes, thanks to the Eucalyptus and Mimosa Trees which are not endemic to Portugal but cover the country onte tip to another, no European country has such cenario, thankfully.

    If you dig deep down, society is rotten to the core, because Portugal was a country created by a elite, it was always dominated by elites, and has a very rigid social hieararchy system, which kills ambition and inovation, and sedates people through football and other means; it’s a country of sad, apathetic, and mentally ill people for the most part, things you wont nottice as a tourist.

    Work and service culture are third world, as it is a lot of the infrastructure outside Lisbon or Porto.

    It is a country that would it has what it has thanks to the EU and you can see it’s not much, i am Portuguese and i live Abroad, and i do firmly believe the cons vastly outnumber the pros, unless you are a tourist or you wanna live in a secluded expat bublle, then it might be paradise, it’s more of a hell to many, many portuguese people, who happen to see and understand a bit further, hope this helps.

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  22. Hello everyone.
    I commented back in 2020 and reading my comment again reminded me of how hard and stressful it was to get all the admin type stuff sorted out here. I think one commenter rightly said that if you are rich enough to be able to afford agents to do all the admin for you then you will be fine. The richer ones will also be able to pick themselves up if they feel they made a mistake. Those coming over on a small budget need to think hard about the decision.

    I am retired. I would never have come here to work. I asked one of the young waitresses in a local cafe what she earned – 2.40€ an hour. Shocking. The wages here are very low. For remote workers, the internet here in Portugal is better than I have ever experienced before.

    I am still here after nearly 4 years and have finally found my piece of paradise in Praia de Mira. I have bought a piece of land in a “condominium” and am currently renting a property on the same estate. I can sit out in the sun from April onwards. It is May now and it was actually too hot to sit out this afternoon. Bearing in mind that this it is much cooler here on the Western coast than in the Algarve.

    But even here in paradise there are cons. I bought the land over a year ago and still no nearer to seeing anything being built. I have been given a start date of January 2024 and I will take that with a pinch of salt. The architect was a nightmare and ghosted us for wanting three changes. As a result, the design took over 9 months. Yes, I should have just bought a house and heeded all the warnings about building a house in Portugal. I guess my emotions took over!

    There is also the perennial barking dog next door but one. We thought that by coming onto a condominium we wouldn’t have that problem, but we still do. There are also some dogs who “walk themselves” around the estate. We think they come from neighboring areas. On the other hand, there are lots of very loving dog owners who take their dogs out for walks (though they still don’t pick up the poo!).

    In the space of three years we have rescued 7 cats. We just couldn’t leave them in such bad situations. The good thing about this condominium is that some of the nice Portuguese owners have taken the street cats to the vet to be neutered and chopped – this is why it is paradise!! Yes, the cats still roam the streets, but at least there are not lots of starving kittens. One thing about Portugal, you can pick up a feral blue-eyed Siamese type cat from the streets for free. It would cost a fortune in the UK, but for some reason there are loads of them in Portugal. We now have two and they are absolutely gorgeous!

    We have noticed prices rising rapidly here, and reckon that food prices have gone up by about 30% since we came here in 2019. Rental prices are astronomical. Also utility bills have gone up a lot, just as elsewhere in Europe. Please don’t believe all the bloggers who tell you how cheap it is to live here. Try doing an internet search on something like Continente online and compare your normal shop. I spend 600€ a month at the supermarkets for two people plus quite a lot of cheap cat food.

    We have signed with the local SNS doctor, but haven’t been provided with a named family doctor, however I can still get a prescription renewed. We tend to go to a local private clinic. 40€ to see a GP, no waiting, just turn up. 70€ to have a 15 minute consultation with an English speaking, highly qualified specialist. There are many local “Analysis clinics” to get blood tests, scans etc, at much lower prices than in the UK. Our Portuguese is a bit better now so we can usually get past the receptionists!!

    I do my tax return online using the Finanças portal. As long as I copy what I did last year, it is now a 10 minute job to do both my husband’s and mine. Much easier than doing a UK paper tax return. I am extremely lucky to have a Portuguese friend, who speaks good English, and she helps me if I have problems. I don’t know what I would do without her, to be honest. I have found Portugal to be a very safe country (apart from maniac drivers), I can walk around here on my own without a worry.

    Sorry for the wall of text, but I know a lot of you want to know personal experiences about actually living here. Although there are a lot of negatives, we are still here, so the positives must outweigh. It is not easy to live here, but it is something that gets easier with time. Good luck.

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  23. WARNING! Do not buy any cars, electronics, home appliances in Portugal! You will most likely get scammed and taken advantage of big time. Most businesses, stores will not honour the warranty! Mark my word. Do not buy anything with a brand name “HTW” such as air conditioning units or “TRISTAR”. Do not buy anything made in Spain, Portugal or Italy. Lawyers in Portugal are useless con artists and so are most merchants and installers. They take cash and don’t give you any warranty or cash receipt! And the services are of the lowest “quality”. If you want to live in a Stone Age, then build from stone, concrete, DIY and that’s it. Use the most durable materials and don’t expect any return for your investment.

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  24. I lived in Portugal for a while. Come from Denmark. I have had very bad encounters in the country. First of all I experienced a passive and fatalistic people. Very difficult to approach. Very difficult to make friends. I have encountered very dishonest real estate brokers who flat out lied in to your face and when you come with proof that they lied, they become angry or just laugh at you. Lawyers who do nothing for their money, are not reachable, do not what thay promised to do. I am not even talking about the very noticable corruption in the country. The Portuguese are proud of their former colonies, are very selfcentered. I cannot and do not want to tell / share all my very bad experiences. I am glad I leaved the country. Back in Copenhagen.

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  25. Stop complaining and move to the Azores, away from the more expensive and crowded main island (São Miguel). The climate is almost tropical in the Azores, with warmest winter nights than anywhere in Europe and temperatures constantly in 15C to 27C and with extremely affordable real estate. Plenty of empty public pols and spectacular coastline and trails. Azorian people are wonderful and no racism at all.

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  26. What a great blog! I think Portugalist either was hacked recently or they must have changed their host since for a couple weeks it had a “hacked” appearance. I was afraid it won’t be restored to its former glory, but it was. Although I think there were more comments pre-2019 if I’m not mistaken. And so very informative! Thank you James and thanks to all the participants.

    Oh and my personal awards goes for the following comment by Jack on September 6, 2020:

    “Only other thing I’d add is how self-absorbed Portuguese can be, in a rather inconsiderate way. I would actually compare it to L.A., but no fakeness here. People do not give a FUCK about others, and it shows.”

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  27. What has happened to PORTUGALIST website and all the comments dated 2019-2023 that disappeared in the past couple weeks?

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  28. To all those foreigners, expats and tourists – don’t come to Portugal bitching, we don’t want you here. We have enough of your complaints and yes, those who live here will have fake or true rumours and fake or true gossip spread around the local community so you won’t be able to get anything done to your house or yard. Stay in your own country, please. Obrigado!

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    • Thanks for your comment Mr Horse, All the negative comments on Portugal and their people have been vindicated by your opinion! Your backward mentality and open hostility and racism have already earned you a ban on the Quora Forum where you incessantly insulted others who were critical on your country. James take note!

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    • Sad to see that there are so many complaints about Portugaland its people. Especially the dishonesty, cheating topic and the indifference about it. With your comments you only confirmed the statements. I would understand the Portuguese frustration if the locals and traditions are not being respected. But purposely lying, cheating and damaging other people’s reputation by spreading gossip and lies about someone to ruin someone’s life just because you can’t stand other people’s luck, success or blessings? So childish and pity jealous behaviour.

      Plenty great Portugese people just sad, disgruntled people like you spoil the country and the reputation of your people. Good job!

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    • Of course you’ll be crying when the foreign money is gone 🙂 and bitching when the foreigners in the EU and IMF bail you out 😉

      xau querido 😉

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  29. Locals are extremely passive aggressive.
    the incompetence and indifference are next level.
    people are rude and uneducated. the friendliness is a facade. The infrastructure and public services are third world.
    rents in lisbon are sky high.
    this country is not at all what it seems to be.
    beautiful scenery and landscapes.
    but rotten to the core. thanks to the people. the overflow of anglo saxon expats makes it worse. don‘t believe the hype. good place for retirees. pain in the bum for ambitious, positive, outgoing go getters.

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  30. This is how crooked many Portuguese services are. Here’s a true complaint of a FedEx/TNT customer in Portugal and there are many thousands of complaints like this coming every day!

    “In early August (2022) I hired a company called Sendmybag to send 3 bags from London UK to Portugal (Coimbra). After much hassle, the bags were delivered to the destination address. 6 months after that, TNT Portugal (now acquired by FedEx) sent letters to the destination address, where I don’t live, charging me customs fees. I’m not opposed to paying those fees, but I want to understand why, after 6 months, they thought it was a good idea to send someone an account. To make matters worse, they sent the letters in the last 2 weeks of December, when everyone is traveling!! Now I’m told that TNT wants to pass the debt on to a debt collector, which is nonsense. I called FedEx Portugal and they said they don’t handle this over the phone, I had to send an email 3 days ago (January 9, 2023) and still no response. This is disgraceful and I demand an explanation from FedEx or TNT or whoever is responsible for this mess.”

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  31. A lot of Portuguese, probably 50%, their services, their workmanship and their products are like this: dishonest, inconsiderate and of a low quality and standard and the entire “thing” has a strong Third World vibe even today. A used item for a Portuguese is still new as long as it is not falling apart. Their “super friendliness” is only superficial. Enter and deal at your own risk. Yes, yes… there are “nice” people in Portugal too that are quite sincere, but not too many. Americanization is also an issue. Welcome to Portugal, the land of past discoveries!

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  32. In Portugal and especially in the isolated and remote islands called Azores the cashiers at the grocery stores have the nerve to abuse their customers by not handing them their card or change back until they submit to the cashier demands. I am not kidding! That’s especially popular at the “COMPRE BEM” supermarkets. Compre Bem cashiers are not trained to be polite. They frequently do not greet the shoppers and often are rude to them and even abuse the customers by rude and very oddly rude behaviour indeed.

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  33. Everyone who has got some issues living in the continental part of Portugal, where some people may be more rude than average, should move to the secondary islands in the Portuguese island called Azores, such as Santa Maria, São Jorge, Pico for instance. If Portugal is considered safe, then Azores are extremely and absolutely safe. Just stay away from local dentists. While there’s some light crookery going on and some of the workmanship and services are of a poor quality, in the Azores you will do just fine, especially if you’re into DIY. The people are just fine and there are many very very extremely kind and friendly ones out there.

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  34. Thank you for this article. I am coming to this thread very late and do not normally post on forums but feel obliged to add my experience to the many helpful and I believe honest testimonies posted here. This because I wish that I had read such accounts before I moved to Portugal and I hope that future readers might realise that this is not just a case of a bunch of ‘whingers’ as some people have written but a genuine effort to warn people of things that they might experience there.

    I lived in Lisbon for about seven years after living around the world for several decades and can attest that I have never encountered anything close to the difficulties and upset that I encountered there.

    Portugal is an absolutely beautiful country, and Lisbon has wonderful museums, an excellent cinematheque and a very impressive cultural offering for a city of that size. The weather and food are fantastic and interactions in shops, restaurants, parks, one’s daily route etc tend, in most cases, to be a joy. Most of all I have rarely encountered kindness like that of a handful of strangers, neighbours and a few other people, whom I encountered during my time there. I will carry an appreciation for their kindness, generosity and honesty (in the midst of what I can unfortunately only describe as a morass of corruption) in my heart for ever and greatly appreciate their gestures and my interactions with them. They are the people who should represent Portugal, and I hope that one day I will forget what I witnessed there, and only remember them.

    However for the most par my experience was relentlessly depressing and exhausting due to a never ending barrage of cheating, devious behaviour, lies, sloppy work, lack of care and professionalism and deep institutional corruption, encountered at so many levels and in many areas of life. This, among other things, necessitated a constant recourse to lawyers, who often turned out to be more dishonest or unreliable and hopeless than the people whom I had hired them to deal with. The fees I paid were in general higher than fees I have paid top lawyers in cities such as New York or London (for excellent jobs) for work that was at best sub standard and more often than not terrible, riddled with errors and lack of care). In at least one case, the lawyer’s stance clearly went against my own interests and begged the question whose interest he and his top law firm were working for. In at least one case, I had to hire lawyers from three separate firms in succession to examine whether my initial lawyer ( partner in a major law firm) was working against my interests. After examining the documentation, all concluded that there was a clear conflict of interest but told me that I would never get anywhere in Portugal making a complaint against such a highly placed lawyer, nor disputing his fees which they confirmed were clearly not as agreed and inacceptable.

    I am aware of several other foreigners who had major issues with lawyers (and real estate agencies) and also have friends who left the country because the issues they experienced with major law firms were so severe that it caused them to loose all faith in the system. I constantly hemorrhaged money both due to the feckless lawyers and the myriad of dishonest practices, people and scams that led me to them. Frequently people who appeared to be kind and constantly smiling at first turned nasty from one minute to the next. I was also threatened on more than one occasion, when it became obvious that I was prepared to go to court or reveal the corruption I had found. Every time I emerged from one problem and hoped to be able to move forward and appreciate the country in a constructive way a new problem would emerge. The above occurred both on a macro and micro level. Among other things, I got a glimpse into high level corruption in an area involving the state, banking and real estate and that caused me to lose faith and trust in political fabric of the country. I began to feel that everything was stacked against the honest citizens of the country, whose function seemed mainly to bankroll a corrupt elite through taxation, which gave them almost nothing in return.

    I did also encounter quite frequently the passive aggressiveness and pettiness detailed in this forum and it was not pleasant, but I think it is something one could try to ring fence and rise above as a downside of living in a beautiful country, if one is not too troubled by such things. However, I never worked out how to avoid the pervasive corruption and relentless cheating and it was utterly soul destroying. I felt stuck in a terrible swamp and came to believe that the only way to live in Lisbon and avoid or not notice it was perhaps to be a digital nomad, live exclusively in an expat bubble, work remotely, never purchase property or live in some form of retirement community or better be a tourist.

    It was a challenge to work out how to ever integrate into the society and make friends in the kind of way that I was used to integrating into, and contributing to, other countries where I have lived. This because of so often being brought back to my/our foreigness and the less than subtler reminders and statements about how foreigners were making life financially unviable for the Portuguese and destroying the city. I completely agree/d that the expulsion of the local population from the centre and the general touristifaction of Lisbon, in combination with the wild west that is the Portuguese real estate market, was unfolding in an outrageous and deeply unjust way but this was almost never discussed, in my presence, in any from of politically constructive way, or in a way that I felt I could constructively respond to, help in any form to solve or contribute to at any level, and after a while it felt more like a constant reproach and an invitation to leave. Living in Lisbon was the first time in decades of living in different countries that I felt that I was an “expat” (with seemingly no way to escape that labelling) instead of a person who happened to have come to live there, with things to offer and contribute and who wanted to participate.

    I agree that noise was an issue (mostly bound up with the out of control tourism and the mayor’s office seeming total disregard for the inhabitants of Lisbon, out of control construction etc). In my area it was only realistic to get about four or five hours of sleep per night, even with ear plugs in and despite other attempts to drown out the noise. But though not ideal, one does get in some way used to it and personally I wouldn’t cite it as a primary reason not to live in Lisbon.

    The country is secure in general. It was a consistent privilege and pleasure to feel that one could walk around safely in much of Lisbon or other cities at night and almost never witness physical fights between people or other violence or feel under threat. However, I, too, question how much crime is actually reported. I was sexually assaulted at around 7 am on a Sunday morning in Lisbon. I managed to fight off the assailant in the midst of his assault but one of the most distressing aspects of the attack was that there was a line of taxis in view of what was going on, with some of the taxi drivers standing beside their vehicles chatting and none of them came to my aid.

    Having fought off the assailant, I started running after him, screaming and imploring the taxi drivers and others come to my aid but instead of helping me the taxi drivers found it extremely funny. When the attacker managed to get away, I got myself to a police station. The police officer’s initial response was to tell me that Portugal was a great place for holidays but that I could forget if I wanted to get justice for a sexual assault and that such things were better dealt with in the North of Europe and best to return to my country. When I kept insisting and asked him to seek out CCTV footage he said there were no CCTV cameras in the area. When I kept insisting that something be done because the man could proceed to attack others, he called for some colleagues to come in a police car. They did not address me directly but took me to their car, commanded me to get into it, and started circle endlessly back and forth around the area where I had been assaulted, instructing me to tell them if I saw the assailant. They did not ask me any questions about the assault or talk to me but just sat joking and chatting with each other, as if I was not there I interrupted their chatter several times to point out that the assailant had run into the small pedestrian streets of the Alfama and that it therefore seemed completely fruitless to circle inanely around the area of the original assault but they just ignored my comment each time and kept on circling, chatting and joking. After a while I found the situation so humiliating that I burst into tears and asked to be released from the car. At no point did they or their colleague at the station, ever ask me if I was OK although I was visibly shaken and in pain, and I had very clearly stated that I had been sexually assaulted. They did not ask if I would like a female police woman to be present or arrange a medical examination.

    After giving up on the police, I decided the next day that the best course of action would be to warn various local women (acquaintances and people I would pass on my route), in the area about the assailant out of fear that he might strike again. I was worried that whereas I had been wearing trainer, they wore high heels or more traditional shoes and that running on the cobblestoned streets, especially if raining, would be difficult. I hoped if I spoke to them they would in turn plan for this and warn other women that they knew in the area to be vigilant in the coming days and weeks. Instead of thanking me for the warning or showing any concern as to whether I was doing OK after a sexual assault, each immediately launched into a monologue about how there were no rapists in Portugal and he must have been a foreigner, asking me questions about details that would have proven he was obviously foreign. When I insisted it was completely irrelevant if he was foreign or Portuguese and that my aim was to warn local women that there was a potential rapist in the area, in the face of the inaction of the police, I got nowhere. It felt as if I had hit on a taboo, their sole interest seemingly to be to prove he was foreign. After a few conversations, I gave up finding it so dispiriting and pointless and I never talked about the sexual assault again.

    I must add that when I had a similar but more quickly escaped (and therefore less traumatic) experience one day in a different area, Parque das Nacoes, a Portuguese woman leaped to my aid and was utterly fantastic and courageous. I continued to run into her in the months after and was always struck by how very kind and caring she was – another example of one of those lovely strangers one can encounter in Lisbon.

    Aside from my own failed police experience, I had a foreign friend who lived in a building in Lisbon full of airbnbs. One night he knocked on the door of an apartment where a loud party was taking place in the early hours of the morning and asked them to stop the party. Two drunk tourists inside beat him up, breaking some of his ribs, resulting in a few weeks hospital stay. The police in his case were also totally hopeless. They did not want to deal with the crime because of the assailants having been tourists. Once again absolutely nothing was done, and he ended up leaving the country.

    All but one of the foreigners who I met during my seven years in Lisbon left, disheartened and in several cases traumatised, although many of them had moved there like me with a plan to stay there for life.

    The things that I have written here, are just a tiny fraction of the difficulties I encountered in Portugal and which I cannot find the words to describe well. I have loved living around the world, speak several languages and am used to working and sometimes living in what others judge to be very tough and extreme conditions. I do not normally give up and tend to adjust to wherever I go/ My experience in Portugal was unprecedented and has left deep mental scars (more impactful than the financial losses) and I am still struggling to rebuild my trust in people and myself, elsewhere. The country is clearly a fantastic option for some people with many beautiful and quite exceptional sides to it, but please reflect on what I and others have written before deciding if it is the right place for you. And taking all our points in mind please carefully consider if you would thrive there or potentially be very damaged by living there.

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    • What country were the tourists from who beat him up and broke his ribs? I hope those touristing criminals were arrested and sued.

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    • Laura, thank you so much for sharing your story. I thought I was the only one feeling like this. I have lived in Lisbon for six months only, but had the chance to feel the effects of the problems you have mentioned full-time and full-width. I come from a poor country which I thought was socially and culturally underdeveloped, where corruption is still a huge problem. I was looking for a better place for me and my children, but the quality of people back home turned out to be so much better. Portugal has a very beautiful scenery. But that’s the façade. Beautiful on the outside, ugly on the inside. You can’t really integrate there. The reasoning behind most cooperation is money and you almost never get good service for a lot of it. I was kicked in the face by most people who offered their friendship unequivocally. And that rate is 100%! Even those who were more “spiritually” inclined, turned to be very business-oriented. Portugal turned out to be a huge disappointment and left a few scars on an already broken heart…

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    • Oh my goodness, I am so sorry the experience in Lisbon was so difficult for you, Laura! It sounds very traumatic on many levels. I hope you are able to heal the trauma from the sexual assault. Thankfully, you were able to leave Portugal and are able to share your scars with those of us who are being mesmerized by the numerous blogs, articles and videos stating Portugal is the best place to live. My husband and I have been seriously considering moving there, but after reading your post along with the others, I feel like the blinders are being removed and Reality is saying “Don’t!” Thank you for having the courage to speak so honestly. I really wish you the very best and know you are a strong woman and will heal the wounds from living in Portugal…and be stronger because of it.

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  35. Extremely slow internet connection and frequent (unannounced) power cuts! One such power cut has just happened before 21 H when everyone was in the dining room celebrating. All of a sudden, DARKNESS and CHAOS. The power was restored 20 minutes later, but the holiday spirit was almost lost. Some guests went home…

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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  36. “What about the fact that the government (finanças) can take money out of your bank account if they think you owe them money? In most countries they send you a bill and you can challenge it. In Portugal they just take it.”

    Yes, Brian that was my and many other people’s experiences in Portugal who did not even live in Portugal but owned property and had a bank account in PT. The crooks (plenty of them in PT, in some communities almost 90% of the population) would purchase a car from the foreigner after he’s done driving it around and not change the ownership of the car. Then the previous owner has road tax accumulating over the years and if they happen to have a bank account in Portugal the Finanças will simply take money from their bank account, unannounced, without a prior notice, just like that! Even if it is €600 or €5000, any amount! Just like that! Like a bunch of thieves!

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  37. Hello everyone and I wish you all a great merry Christmas,

    I’m not surprised to find a blog about downsides in Portugal. I am so pissed, this is so typical of Portuguese workers to call me and ask for work and then to not show up to work nor answer their mobile phone. Or showing up late and leaving early but demanding a full day’s pay. Everything in Portugal has to be done by DIY if you’re a homeowner and avoid being involved in their silly mind games. No wonder their economy is lagging even behind Eastern Europe now. This is such an insult to an employer to be so misled to say it softly by the workers who need work and don’t show up ruining my plans. I will never answers those workers calls again and from now I am hiring Mexicans, having flown them over to Portugal to do the job.

    Good luck dealing with those idiots.

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    • I had to fire 2 cleaning ladies, just less stressful to do the work by myself. Apart from being completely unreliable, their work ethic sucks and they like to argue.

      What a poor mentality and unprofessional egotistic attitude most local people have here, is hardly imaginable!

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  38. What about the fact that the government (finanças) can take money out of your bank account if they think you owe them money? In most countries they send you a bill and you can challenge it. In Portugal they just take it.

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  39. Thank you for the beautiful PORTUGALIST blog and thanks for all the beautiful and friendly Portuguese people that I have met. I agree that deliveries to Portugal take part of our life to receive, especially if they are sent by mail and not by a speed courier. And sometimes our letters are cut open and looked inside and sometimes the contents is missing, but the biggest problem is that mail to the Azores takes 1+ month to arrive from Lisbon alone and it can take 1,5 to 6 months to arrive from China, India, Brazil or America or even from somewhere else in the E.U. It is NOT a small price to pay, because I am a self employed person who heavily depends on my self-employement income and while at the best of economic times I used to make about €1000 to €1500 per month with my limited self employement income, during the crises past the year 2007 and until today my income heavily depends on every whim of worldwide postal services and on every whim of the CTT as well and therefore every mail theft., every mail robbery, every loss, every grocery store raising their prices on a commercial whim and every mail delivery delay and every food price increase takes my family back to stone age where we have to live without enough electricity and water at times. This is why we have moved to the Azores (Portugal) because only here we don’t have to pay property tax for a cheap house under €94000 in value and only here I can surevive on about €150 to €400 per month. And only in the Azores we do not use electricity to heat the house or to even bath. We are must to use cold water to bath. I do not like to ask for any kind of state support, but I ask the Portuguese governement, PLEASE make sure the CTT delivers mails much faster for everyone to the Açores than it is now and please assure a safe delivery of mail cause every theft or loss means we will be undernourished and unwell. And please INVESTIGATE all te PRICE GOUGING going on by the grocery stores cause it hurts the most. The price of milk went up from 50c to 1.05 and we can’t afford to keep our cats anymore because also cat food went from €4 to €9 per 4 kg bag. The kids don’t receive their fair share of cookies anymore. Are you happy? Make rich people happy, will you?

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  40. I have read so much hate here from Portuguese and non-Portuguese reacting to the list. I am Portuguese and agree with every item on that list. Every country has it’s good and bad side, and Portugal is not all sunshine and sardines. Let’s just take this criticism and use it to build a better Portugal, and take what is good about Portugal and share it.

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  41. Phillip, when southern Europeans don’t want to work, they won’t. Unless the weather is perfect they won’t show up to work, even if here’s little drizzle for 5 minutes in the entire work day they will not show up to work.

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  42. I am really pissed on the local workers and everyone else driving into my yard, in the back of it, hundreds of meters into the property, even if gates are closed (but not locked). They open the gates and help the,selves into my property and take whatever they need. Not stealing but just taking anything that’s theirs, that they left there, even if it’s been locked up (to prevent rust from rain) without even ringing my door bell and asking whether they can enter (or not). Oh no, that’s too difficult of a task for them, to ask the property owner whether they can enter! And they will build anything in their own way and style despite me telling them politely, asking them the way I want it to be built, they would say NO, it’s going to be their own way, not my way. This pisses me off completely and I am beginning to DIY everything myself. They don’t care! They don’t need the job. They can live off their €400 “support” that the socialist government seems to be giving them on a monthly basis. This is the Portuguese mentality that really pisses me off. And they seem to be “okay” with that. Guess what, I wanted to have one guy to build a stone wall in a specific way, but he built it in his own way even that his hourly pay was raised by me on his demand, he still did it his own way! Guess what, is €12,50/hour is too little for them while others are making €5 an hour? From now on everyone will work for €5 or get out of my yard. DIY all the way. Don’t cry rivers when your e-con-omy goes bust!

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  43. This is not Portugal, this is worldwide, but I am reporting from where I live, in Portugal. Just recently in 2022 a liter of locally made milk in grocery stores used to be €0.47 or so, then went up and down a few cents but usually stayed around €0.50 but now ALL OF A SUDDEN, BOOM! €1.05 ! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Many food price4s are skyrocketing! Just to hurt us! This is definitely not inflation, but some worldwide “elite” conspiracy to create hunger and rob people out of their savings! And we are voting with our FEET! From a usual €60 weekly grocery bill including some luxury food items now we are spending €30–€40 per week just to HELP destroy or damage all those grocery stores that obey to this sadistic globalist policy to hurt as many people as possible without raising our salaries and we are even losing our income especially those that are self employed. Yes, we are eating less luxury or even “healthy” food but we hope everyone does this just to teach a lesson to the greedy bastards. And the government is not helping, so they will receive less funds as well.

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  44. Thanks everyone for your comments. I do read them occasionally since I am considering moving to the Azores, which are part of Portugal. Yet I am concerned about many, way too many Portuguese companies not delivering to Madeira and the Azores, while they deliver to China, Chile and even to Fiji and New Zealand! They claim that there are no services in Portugal that deliver to the Azores and Madeira which is a huge blatant lie and an absolutely lame excuse. CTT delivers to the Azores, so does Fedex, DHL, DPD, GLS and other delivery services such as EMS, UPS and CTT Expresso. Those Portuguese companies are just too lazy to drop the parcel at the CTT post office or have it picked up by FedEx, UPS, DPD, GLS etc.

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  45. Portuguese category of people that are thieves are masters at stealing cheap but essential, hard to get things, from your house. To them, and some of them are kleptomaniacs, the most important is the game making the loss as painful as it can be and not the value of the stolen stuff. And that is a majour downside. The rest are Upsides!

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  46. We live in Madeira (island) and it’s a beautiful island away from Portuguese mainland, closer to Africa than to Portugal and the people here are wonderful, while the climate is the best in the world. We do not heat or a/c year round including “winter” nights. Yet the CTT (mail delivery) is a huge problem since any internet based order of goods from anywhere in the world and that includes orders from Portuguese or Spanish mainland take months to arrive. Before “CONVID-19” all mail used to take “just” a week from Lisbon to Madeira, but now it takes between 3 weeks and 2 months and we are tired of waiting. Yet Portugal teaches a lot of patience, which is a good thing. Be patient and it will arrive.

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  47. Here is an example of a substandard Portuguese workmanship. The photo is from Facebook of a carpenter boasting of his work. Take a closer look at the fine details of the wood work. I am no specialist but I think there are numerous problems and unfinished work as well.

    https://postimg.cc/hhxfzsfb
    What is the green on the left edge of this furniture? Why are there so many tree “branches”? Only a very low wood is used with “branch holes”. How can the carpenter show off and boast with such subpar workmanship?
    But of course if the price is very cheap I would probably accept such workmanship. And for a rustic home maybe its’ okay! If cheap enough though… but… And if you find anything cheap and affordable in Portugal to order from a catalogue offer, the local furniture store will ignore your order. Yet Portugal is NO Switzerland!

    I bought locally made furniture in Portugal and the work is usually rushed and is properly unfinished yet the price tag is huge, such as €500 for example for a little chest for the kitchen or a wardrobe. The quality is low.

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  48. Here are prices for Sardines in cans in Portugal and with a medium salary of 600 quid per month:

    https://www.portugalvineyards.com/en/113-sardine
    As you can see the tiny cans start at €1.45 per can! The £0.32 or €0.40 price per can in the U.K. is fantastic!

    https://loja.bompetisco.pt/products/sardinhas-em-oleo-picante-120g
    €1.42 per can of 120 g. of sardinhas! That’s cheap! This one more “normal at €2.80 !!

    https://loja.bompetisco.pt/products/sardinhas-sem-pele-e-sem-espinhas-120-g

    These are not foreign sardines! They are Portuguese sardinhas! And their LOCAL fruits should be cheap, right? No! Local town bananas and other fruits for example are much more expensive than imported ones!

    Wow, surprise, €0.99 !!

    https://supermercadolavrador.pt/loja/sardinhas-em-oleo-lider-120gr/
    Portuguese consumer must be rich because they must be stealing and scamming everyone other, right?

    That’s terrible at Portuguese salaries. For a Portuguese salary and a big family it is easy to eat 10 cans of fish a day, so all we can afford is 400 such cans and nothing else! No electricity, no water, no rent payment, only eat sardines and live on the street! Portuguese businesses and services are notoriously greedy, ignorant and unprofessional (low quality) but boasting a lot of their work “experience”.

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  49. Thank JoeB, what a wake up call! Cheapest fish product ever I saw in Portugal is €0.55 for a small 120 gram can of SAMACAIO ATUM in tiny chunks, Made in Azores, but only as a special deal at the CONTINENTE supermarket. All other fish cans and at other supermarkets cost €1 or more now. Avocados were about €4 per kilo and now €5. Two people saving on everything having a very limited income of around €600 total a month we are spending almost €100 per week on groceries. What’s left goes to pay the electric and water bill etc. They have just raised food prices by at least 20% recently and I was shocked the low food prices in the UK. Not all prices are lower in the UK, but some are significantly lower. Keeping in mind that a medium monthly salary in the UK is about £2000 quid and in Portugal where we live is about €700 per month (600 quid). Soon we won’t be able to afford even the basic foods. Gladly we don’t have to pay property tax here because our house is valued at a lower bracket and we save on everything growing vegetables, and fruits of our own. Still, groceries minimum cost is at least €300 per month for two for very limited basic foods refusing to buy any luxury food and of course we never eat out. We buy one tiny chocolate per week and no other sweet or junk foods. Only vegetables, fruits and some black bread (Pumpernickel if lucky) if we can find it here. And there’s often shortage of certain food that we need to survive on. For example whole grain black bread is very hard to obtain in Portugal. The only enjoyment is work in the garden and going for walks.

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  50. You mention food (and wine) being cheap, but I beg to disagree. While wine is indeed very cheap in Portugal, often one fifth of the equivalent product prices in the United Kingdom, food isn’t. Just do a 1 to 1 (exact same product and own brand varieties) comparison today between Lidl PT and Lidl UK. You will find that almost everything is 2 to 3 times more expensive in Lidl PT (Portugal). Lidl UK is the cheaper of the two (again for exactly the same products) by a large difference. Take a can of Lidl Nixe sardine (quite native product here in Portugal); see the prices in the UK:
    https://www.lidl.co.uk/p/tins-and-jars/nixe-sardines-in-tomato-sauce/p44774
    https://www.lidl.co.uk/p/tins-and-jars/nixe-sardines-in-sunflower-oil/p44773
    Can you match these prices at any supermarket in Portugal? Instant coffee, toothpaste, chicken fillets, bread loaf (600-800gm),…. everything is 2 to 3 times cheaper TODAY in the UK.
    Wake up Portugal!

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  51. Portugal is like this: Portuguese people are easy to deal with and are easy to entertain and everyone is your friend, while living in Portugal is a piece of a cake. Although I miss intelligent conversations, but many some people are really clever and they can really be gay and entertaining as well as are easy to entertain. Then they are back to their family and kids. Family is important in Portugal. It is really easy to live in Portugal and bureaucracy is minimal. Yet I won’t talk about services which can be hard or very pleasant indeed. It all depends. And the Portuguese people are absolutely lacking the dreaded entitlement mentality, which has deeply affected the United States. Really easy life in Portugal and very nice people.

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  52. If you think Portugal is racist try living in Spain. The Portuguese are both condescending and judgemental to Brazilians and Portuguese Africans as well as ciganos (gypsies) but confrontational racism is rare. Finding a country in Europe that isn’t racist is difficult. Even the so called educated countries in Scandinavia are extremely backward in their thinking.

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  53. Years ago I have placed a large order at the local aluminium doors and windows workshop warehouse and after they have manufactured and installed everything I went and paid for everything without checking the invoice. A couple months later I had the time to look at the paid invoice and I have noticed that €400 were charged too much and even worse, the car that I sold to them for measly €200 they actually reversed the bill and made me pay the €200 to them instead. So actually I ended up losing €400 for nothing plus paying them €200 to take my car away for free. Next time I went there they wouldn’t do anything for me. I understand why. Because if I did they fear that I will deduct the €600 I lost to them.

    So next time I needed windows, doors, roof material etc. I went to a different company in town. The owner came to inspect and he told me the quality of the previous guy was really bad and that he just for a little extra can do much better. And he did. And I paid him every single invoice of his, and sometimes even paid with cash up front and no problems, except some delivery quality issues (plastic roof panel window arrived bent in half) which I never complained about. Yet over the years he apparently became tired of my orders and started to shun my orders. I would wait many months after placing a large order for many windows and doors and nothing. And he kept telling me to wait longer, but never produced anything. So I quit, and for a couple years I did not even bother them. Then came time to have one window made and he sent me a drawing, which was incorrect despite perfect instructions, so after I corrected him he just never replied to me again. His employee told me his boss is just like that, he does not care. Yet as it seems way too many businesses, almost ALL (!!) are like that in Portugal. Indifferent, inconsiderate, lazy. They just do low quality and they never place you in a queue even if they are busy or simply they ignore you. Same with labourer, workers – they just don’t care to show up and are glad not to work. From now on I order my doors and windows in a Central European country and have them installed myself with a little help from one local guy who seems to need work (surprise!). Oh and I need specific envelopes for my office and the papelaria down the road stopped having them, so I asked them to order for me, but despite promises they never have those envelopes again. This is the attitude and this is why Portugal is poorer than even some of the Eastern Europeans countries now.

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  54. Violent crime is Not a rare occurrence in Portugal however; very under reported or excused as an isolated incident, if reported at all by their public safety officials, Pedro…Violent crime is a fact of life everywhere in the world and therefore to compare it to other regions that have honestly reported the violent crimes occurrences in their country when Portugal represents itself as one of the safest places in Western Europe is extraordinarily misleading. Portugal is no safer than any other Western European nation that actually conducts and accurately reports their crime…

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1392324/British-tourist-dies-brutal-attack-popular–Portuguese-holiday-resort.html
    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/12703350/brit-tourist-stabbed-street-robbery-mugger-portugal/
    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-11231658

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  55. I would just like to emphasize the SMOKING part. This is no joke, there are a lot of smokers, like 30-40% of the population, most flats, apartment buildings and so on have serious smoke infiltration issues from inside and outside, you can’t open a window without smoking getting in. Construction is miserable and we have no ventilation. Some public hospitals even tolerate smoking inside/indoors. It doesn’t matter if it is tobacco or alternatives, this is extremely serious and dangerous for your health. Second hand smoke is present everywhere here, public transportation, parks, outdoor cafes and restaurants, beaches, where you work and live and so on. We are the number one country in European Union with highest percentage of Asthma. If you want to live here make sure you have very strong lungs, otherwise you’ll start to have respiratory problems real soon. A typical Portuguese residential building is a gas chamber with high amounts of VOCs and Gases like formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide.

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  56. Living here is just so frustrating. I had high hopes for this place, but everything that has been mentioned in the article and by commenters is true. They should change the name of this country to Scamtugal.
    I am so disappointed.

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  57. Here is a good example of the mentality that some people have. A thin and fragile collectable book was shipped to me from Portugal. It arrived damaged by dents and bends because the Portuguese seller used free booklets from post office and from banks (free for all, but not to be abused) to protect the book instead of using a rigid cardboard stiffener to protect the corners of the book from damage and to protect the book from bending. That wasn’t done and I was charged a few €uros more than what appeared on the package. Even allowing €5 more for S&H I was still overcharged by at least another €5 for shipping. I would have not complained about that, but because the shipper did not use proper protection (while overcharging me for the shipping) he kept those €5+ for himself instead of using rigid cardboard to protect the book. Now the book’s value has been destroyed by rough handling and lack of protection. Yet that’s not the point. Many sellers do this, but after I complained about the damaged costly book and the €5 was not used to protect it, the seller apologized and wrote that he regrets the situation, but he blamed the CTT for roughly handling the book. That’s the point! He blames the CTT but does not blame himself for not protecting the book with proper packaging and for not insuring it or for not claiming insurance for the damaged book for me. Blaming someone else is the mentality and then it doesn’t cost anything to apologize and to remain polite. But of course. You can kindly rip me off and as long as you apologize and “regret the situation” I should be just fine even if your action destroy hundreds of Euros worth of value. No offer to refund at least those €5 was issued.

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  58. Portugal is the definition of a mediocre country. No dynamic here, zero ambition, nobody takes pride in what they do, total lack of quality in all aspects of life. It’s not just inconvenience, it is a daily piss take. Everybody is out to make a quick buck off a foreigner. Overcharging is completely normal, as is dishonesty and flakiness. Government is completely useless and does not give a warm luke f… about their citizens. The country is boooooming!?!?! Where does all the money go? People with ambition and purpose will have a hard time here. You will be forced into submission. You will be forced to be sad, despressed, melancholic and mediocre. Portugal has absolutely no chance of survival in this world on their own. Asian countries with ambitious, hard working people will eat Portugal’s lunch in no time. Yeah the weather is good, food is ok, living is fairly expensive but manageable, the country is beautiful, but it is impossible to overcome these subtle yet immense cultural differences, and I am from western Europe myself.

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  59. Water is metered in Portugal like everywhere else, yet the toilet manufacturers (and other manufacturers) do not provide spare internal parts for toilets they produce. The toilet that I’ve got is impossible to repair in the way that it won’t leak a stream of water down the bowl. Every day 500 liters or more run down the drain just from the leaking toilet that’s impossible to repair, because the replacement parts are unavailable and those that are available do not match it well thus creating leakage and other problems. That’s leakage of at least 65c a day just from a useless Portuguese toilet. Our household is unable to fit into 8 cubic meters of water per month charged at €0.32 per cu.m. Above 8 cu.m. usage we must pay double rate, which doubles again to €1,23 per cu.m. after 30 cu.m usage are reached. It’s easy to use 1 cu.m. per day or much more if not being extremely frugal. Must purchase a new toilet in Portugal every time the internal plastic crap breaks and the water begins to leak. Even with new toilets water is leaking very easily. Why is humanity while dreaming to move to Mars (dumbest idea ever) but can’t clean up their own oceans from their own rubbish and manufacture toilets that don’t leak?

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  60. Here in Portugal I used to pay a low water bill, such as €5 per month for many years and I forgot how it was before and before (I looked it up) my water bill used to be between €7 and €18 per month (normal, ok, acceptable). Then BOOM suddenly my bill quadrupled to over €20 (usage of 20+ cubic meters at more than a €uro per cu.m!) and for the next month I was promised that my water bill will go up ten times than it used to, or more! Something like €60+!! Because I see now 80 cu.m. on my new water meter since it was installed, so somehow during October we (3 people in the house) used up 60 cu.m. in a single month!! It turns out for the entire 7 years the water meter was broken and the municipality just kept billing me for the cost of the service. Were they nice to me or just lazy, incompetent, inconsiderate? Being busy I did not realize that! Now that they have replaced the broken water meter (contador de agua) with a new one I am watching my every water usage. Strangely enough the water bill does not have a water meter number (record) printed on it and why not? So all those years the municipality did not care to replace the water meter and I was watering a large fruit garden of nearly a hectare all those years without paying for the water. Now that they had me hooked up and after I planted so many fruit trees thinking water is cheap here I do not know what I am going to do the next summer after investing lots of money into all those pipes and fruit trees! Watering of which will take at least several hundred cubic meters at a cost of €1,25 per cu.m. and we have a limited income of around €500 per month for all our survival needs! Now we will have to spend it all on water… If I had a functional water mater I would have never planted so many plants and fruit trees in the first place. Why would a municipality not repair the water meter for all those years? They never told me my water meter was broken and I wasn’t good at reading any kind of meters, until now. Someone even advised that the water here was free until a certain usage was reached. That kept me ignorant. Please share your story.

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    • Thank you for your perspective. My family is American living as expats in Switzerland for the past 7 years and 5 years in London before here. Leaning German is hard and all my friends are expats. Well, one Swiss. We’re researching Portugal for semi-retirement and to see if I can get a Portuguese Passport as my grandmother was born in San Miguel, Azores. My kids e still school-aged though so I found your comment helpful, as I only dream of the weather, the ocean, sustainable communities popping up, and growing my own food! Thanks for the eye-opener.

      Reply
    • Thank you. I had never thought of some of the things you brought up. We are retiring abroad aw well and looking for the right place

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    • Great post, Poppy. As an expat for 20 years now in France, I can agree with all that you’ve said. Just curious, are you still living in GR? We are looking at that as a future option.

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  61. I have to mention frequent power cuts at the most inconvenient times of the day, such as 19 H after work or in the middle of the day after lunch or at 10 to 11 AM in the morning and sometimes those power cuts last for hours. So doing urgent work or stock market trading is too problematic while living in PT. Yet the majority of the people are very pleasant and friendly which almost makes it up for all the downsides.

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  62. I’m moving to work at the university in January and these comments and the article terrified me. But even though I’m not there yet, I’ve already encountered slowness in responses from companies, sky high used car prices unlike anywhere I’ve seen, and high rental prices. Brussels, where I have a friend, is so much cheaper and better regarding rental properties.
    If anyone knows a nice and normal person who loves cats and wants to share a house with big garden in Lisbon district (up to EUR 3000)….

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    • Hi Dawn,

      Sent you an email. Prices are up and it’s definitely competitive, but for €3,000, you should be able to find your own place.

      I’m sure if there’s an article on the downsides of living in Belgium, there are plenty of comments from disgruntled expats as well 🙂

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  63. I am Portuguese, lived there my first 28 years and I had lived, studied and worked the last 20 years in several countries. I own a property in Central Portugal and I go there often.

    I agree with all the 23 downsides mentioned in the article but I’ll add a couple more:
    1. Second hand things seem made of gold, with ridiculous asking prices. Sometimes close to what it costs new.
    2. I cannot trust any service provider, or the government. Every service or request tends to be very slow, unprofessional and/or overpriced. Also as I livre abroad, I am often over charged by traders and builders.
    3. Official complaints in “Livro das Reclamações” are useless. Service providers are always right and their operators rarely apologise.
    4. Courts and justice are costly, slow and riddled with Kafkaesque processes.
    5. Houses are cold. Often it’s warmer outside than indoors!
    6. Electricity and gas are expensive.

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  64. Portuguese workers like to execute the work accordingly to their own liking even that is against the homeowner’s wishes. Once I asked the stonemasons to build me arched niches in the stone wall in a certain way and specific design that is easy to execute. They made wooden forms accordingly to a design of their own and they told me that this is how they are going to build it and not the way I want. I was shocked. It was built the way they wanted even if I protested. I have never had this happen to me in any other country. Such things happened to me at least several times when they do something accordingly to their own decision and liking. And the private property is accessed by foot and even with a shot gun and a shotgun is discharged on my property without permission in a reckless manner a lot of times! No wonder a lot of people are killed by reckless “hunters” in France and Southern Europe.

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  65. @Marsh
    So you know all about it?
    Well the problem is that the media and is not mentioning any of this. Channels boasting and praising their fake lovely lives in Portugal, but are actually miserable and desperate for handouts tru YouTube by making shitty videos. I guess you know the kind I’m talking about, you know those with those fake property videos where they are juicing up the people with fantasy and dreams for witch they fell themselves years ago. Those channels are despicable, I guess you know them aswell. They push the house prices in the region and fill their pocket with YouTube by drawing people to their channels with BS.
    40,1250192, -7,5431670
    I am glad i am not the only one seeing it. Sad people who lie for a living.

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  66. Here’s why in Portugal people are of a zero (nothing) importance to the corporations and big companies:

    Electric “power” company has not delivered its electric bill as usually they do. I have asked around and the other folks also told me they are still waiting for their usual electric bill (to pay). How good people are! They want to pay and not be late to pay the bill. Yet the el. powah company is ignoring our emails sent to them and the rumour is spreading around consumers that they want to raise the cost per kWh, that’s why they are not sending us (via email) the bill and it’s been 17 days past the usual date when we receive the POWAH BILL.

    But there’s more! In the recent past, until around 2017 the el. power company sued to send the bill via CTT and CTT was always late. So when we received our powah bill, we would only have one day to rush to the CTT post office to pay it! And on some monthsCTT would deliver the power bill so late that the pay deadline wouold be expired long ago and the el. power company would send us late charges for not paying the bill in time! When we complained the el. power company told us that we just have to pay it and go complain to the CTT! Almost everything is like that in Portugal with some rare exceptions.

    And so one recent month just a few months ago the electric power company’s meter reporting phone stopped responding. No warning, no notification came from the el. power company. It just shut down and ignored it’s customers! Finally I found out that they got hacked! yes, hacked! So they told me to wait for a week or longer and then try to report the electric meter readings by calling the number “in a week or two”. That’s what I did, after about 2 weeks I reported the el. meter readings. But then when the bill arrived it was abnormally and unusually high. El. powah company’s office explained to me that “this is normal”. Yet I felt like they’re being shady.

    So now, it’s another trick up to their sleeve? No bill. No early notification on what’s going on. No response to the emails. Nothing. Full ignorance of the customers again. Most Portuguese are submissive like sheep, so they just spread rumours and keep on guessing. Never questioning the “”authority” (except a handful of exceptionnelles).

    And so is the water bill. This month the power bill went up 500% for no reason. It says “for water consumption”. Yet we checked, we do not have any water leaks and did not use much water either. Yet at the street counter as it seems they must have replaced the water meter with some piping. So perhaps they are trying to make the consumer pay for their meters! Perhaps that’s how it should be, but why not being honest and state that in the water bill. Be transparent, which they are not. I am not saying this only happens in Portugal, since in the XXI c. around the world people are being scammed by their governments and “elites” with all kinds of staged events, false flag operations, fakely assigned viruses, inside jobs, sky baloney etc.

    We Are Nothing! Yet We Have Woken Up!

    Reply
  67. I have lived and worked in both Portugal and Spain. While Portugal is slower paced and people more reserved and introverted, Spain is more dynamic and vitalistic, more modern in many ways. Spaniards are outspoken and a lively folk who seem to have energy for everything.

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  68. Why Portuguese workers do not value work (jobs) so much? They don’t show up even if they are paid big bucks, such as €3000 per month cash! And the work quality from the most workers is ludicrous. This is disrespectful to the work provider. Only very few show up on tie and do a quality work. I will bring in foreign workers from now on and don’t complain that your other salaries are tiny and you don’t have jobs in Portugal.

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  69. @Martin,

    These are not the groundbreaking revelations you think they are.

    Yes. People with certain titles (e.g. doctors, engineers) often expect you to address them with their job position (o senhor o doctoro). It’s a class based thing to goes back to Salazar’s days. Some people still follow it. Some people don’t. It’s really not a big deal. Much more annoying is that they still put a huge focus on age and respect – respect should be earned not something you get simply because you’ve lived a few more years.

    People buy expensive cars on credit. Yep, like everywhere else. Who knew that people who drive BMWs and Audis think they’re better than everyone else.

    The communist party is popular and powerful in Portugal. They organise one of the biggest music festivals in the country. Your local politician might be a part of the communist party. It’s weird, but just a part of life in Portugal. The bigger issue (if you’re used to a more capitalist country) is that the Portuguese have communistic and socialistic tendencies. Many people would be happy, or would have been happy, if Portugal became communist.

    Can’t comment on freemasonry etc but isn’t this the same everywhere?

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  70. In edition to my message from October 20, 2022 at 8:54 am I have to add the following.

    The people are jealous, and all those with any title it being a doctor, lawyer, judge or whatever, they love the status of that title and will not shy away from using it all the time and even expect you to bow down to these figures.
    The same goes for people “with money” displayed by big cars with (mostly credit) having some proud people inside of them looking down on all those poor people beneath them. We drive a nice car aswell but we never would behave like that.

    Another important fact is that they celebrate communism openly, the hamer and sickle are all over on political banners and invites to communist events.

    Lastly, Portugal being a historical hub for The Nights Templars, Freemasonry, Rotary and Lions clubs are all over. They have a hold of the school-system, hospitals and so on, many scandals to find in the newspapers from the past until now. They even have an Masonic pyramid in Miranda Do Corvo where they hold masonic rituals. To hide it all behind the veil of being a Ecumenical Temple.

    Don’t believe any of the above, just do a short search online and see.

    Just a little extra I forgot to mention.

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  71. Oké, let’s see how this post will be ridiculed or even deleted. We are living in central Portugal for almost a year now. And I can honestly say we are surprised and even shocked how different it is from what you hear in the media like YouTube or articles like this. Everyone seems to walk on eggshells or they are atleast expected to do so. Even here you can see this being played out, just below this article in the responses.
    We did met some kind and friendly Portuguese people but for the most part we have similar experiences like most of the people who gave honest views or criticism on this country and its people. And yes I know if we don’t like it get ‘the F… back to where we came from’. We already saw that rhetoric below plenty of video’s and articles where people where honest about their findings.
    We found, and I am going to generalise a bit just to show that I am not a woke person trying to kiss the ring of the Portuguese people.

    We heard so much good about Portugal but we found the following about the Portuguese people.
    The people we dealt with, it being lawyers, realestate-agents, or just almost anyone we dealt with where absolutely untrustworthy, unreliable and blatantly lying, even the nice ones. With some exceptions.
    As for the local people, the older generation is mostly lovely, but from like 50s and below we found them proud, arrogant and disrespectful. You either going to be ignored or going to be stared at.
    In my home country northwest Europe we learn more than one language, here genaral people and even lawyers in the city’s don’t speak a word of foreign language. And yey we will learn the language don’t worry.

    Service,
    That word is unknown to most people and businesses. From letting wait on the table for ages or not responding to mail, app or phone is very normal here. They just can’t be bothered with anything.
    They drive like (use soft language) crazy and bring themselves and others in dangerous situations just to get in front of you to the get stuck behind the same truck we where already driving.

    The food is tasteless, gas and groceries expensive, and for the foreigners they will use different prices especially for English-speaking people.
    So take my advice and rent before you buy anything and beware for scams and lies.

    This is just a short recap, I can write a book about it.

    In the city’s its a little different and more up to date, the rest looks like it’s ages behind that includes behaviour.

    I know the warriors will tell me off, but this is my experience.

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  72. Maybe my comment is a different angle coming from a south East Asian girl and who have lived in Bangkok, UAE, UK prior to Portugal.
    Consider the factors for me–where I derived my experiences and thoughts here.

    Independent worker. Not retired. 2 people with income. Only 2 people to feed/live.

    Excuse the grammar and English as it’s my 3rd language.

    Maybe hopefully some bits helpful to those who are considering to move here or are already here and deciding. You can skip to the bottom part if you like. With the **.

    In all the countries I’ve lived in, I never needed a lawyer to sort my usually regular stuff like taxes, properties, banks. In Portugal, even if I can’t really afford it, I had to hire them. First, the difficulty of the language. It takes time to learn the language, and dealing with documents in Portuguese especially documents and taxes is another matter even if you speak Portuguese. Without drama or emotions, the lawyer we have hired — who we like very much, a very good warm heart and we think is very efficient when he actually does get the work done– is been strangely flaky, right word can only be ghosting. To the point it’s intense and extreme. He would only call back 2-3 weeks after a phone call or email. Will not reply to WhatsApp messages. And this is us messaging and emailing maybe once a week. Or once in 2-3 weeks (we are fairly patient people and do tive people a lot of space). This happened for over 3 years. We stayed with him because we do put a lot of patience in undertaking people when we live in new places and we are careful not to be burning bridges, keeping people. Yes to a point of stupidity and being played. (But let’s not dwell on this). We stayed because a lawyer having all your history/ documents it gets quite tricky and hard to change services when your in middle of things. And we don’t even have any legal cases this is just about taxes and standings and residency. The point being is that–we experience many of these here with professional services unfortunately. Same with Accountants. (This is the same experiences of my local friends here just that they are trained and maybe or accustomed to it). It’s very very slow to get things done. The big heart is there, Portuguese are warm people–but if you are not retired yet and trying to grow or reach your dreams here in a way–it’s slow going. Small businesses here pop up for 6 months- 1 year is already long and then it closes.

    Portuguese language is very very hard to learn, but very beautiful language. And I am not even too bad at learning other languages. I started learning it and apparently I sound Brazilian and this is pointed out all the time to me. I didn’t know what they were meaning. I am just happy to speak any kind of Portuguese as a starter. I mention this because it does hamper the kind of life you want to have if you don’t speak the language. It takes away a bit of your confidence in yourself and you start to feel a bit stupid. I understand more of it written than vocally, as three four words in spoken Portuguese sounds like one word. And the truth of it is it takes time to learn it. Being able to speak and express yourself in the language is what makes life easier if you move here. if this communication is very important for you, especially if you are not yet retired and about to embark on some kind of work, business or even a hobby that involves other people–have to really learn the language. Unfortunately, even functional Portuguese doesn’t even help much in building a community around you, meaningful friendships. That’s not easy to do anywhere anyway, making friends and building life around you- imagine not speaking the language. This means you will always be relying on other peoples’ help and services due to the language. Every email, message, notice–of course will be in Portuguese as it’s Portugal. You will be missing English even if it’s not your native language, especially if you come from even a fairly big city. English is my 3rd language and I even miss it, it’s like a taking an inhale sometimes and exhale. Then again I do like the PT language.

    Houses and utilities. If you got a bit of money, as in everywhere else life is okay in Portugal. By a bit of money I mean if you are retired and have a bit saved up, you can get decent apartments in decent neighborhood. Everything has gone up considerably now of course. Gas and electricity cost us 80€/ month (for 2 people who are maybe not even home 2 weeks in the month), Wi-Fi, cable and 2 phones with data 80€/mo. Property tax annual 250/year. Food groceries for 2 (and that’s 1-2 meal a day only for us) 180-200/month for a generous budget. 100/150/€ going out to eat etc. (50-80€ to make it a bit tight budget but okay). That’s for a good life here I would say. We don’t even really eat and go out that much. We don’t spend a lot. We are not fancy type people who go to fancy restaurant. But Portugal doesn’t make you feel you can’t do and join the fancy bits when you want. To a degree.

    Many good parts. Depending where you choose to live– in Gaia along the river is really beautiful. Long walks. Safe. Well lighted. Expensive properties like mad sky high prices right now.

    I’d say after about 5-6 years you’d be feeling the slow going pace of life here when your trying to to get things done. The place is insulated in a sort of bubble –world view is only pretty much in Portugal which I think keeps them I guess locked away and fairly safe from the effects of the very fast modern world (but it’s coming). In good and bad way they are insulated. It’s safe because it is insulated from the world (you’d see and know this if you come from a fairly big place/city/country).

    It’s’ slow going and growth for small business is almost impossible.

    *******And this. If you are introverted and okay with lots of quiet–then it’s a great place. Let me just put this for Gaia Porto as I don’t know the whole Portugal. I have in my line of work –without any prior inkling, idea, or without researching or googling anything before I have noticed this–about 4 out of 5 people I have met I have realized and discovered later on are seeing therapist/psychologist. I have no issues with these and good for them if they need. But the point is, lots of people here are in fact sad and depressed. I come from a very sunny disposition always happy and shining to a fault –decades of growing up in sunny places and not having time for sorrow because the hungry stomach you hear first– and therefore without meaning to have been feeling and stumbling this suspect feeling that people are unhappy and dad. After a while, this sunny disposition I noticed had been affected and dwindled down surrounded with melancholy and sadness permeating the air and my line of work. This is because when your happy and sunny you tend to attract the sad people who need your happy energy (don’t worry I’m not woke or need age!) but this is my experience. You tend to listen because well you care and they are lovely. And then this keeps happening,, after a while you realize well you are becoming their therapist. So don’t be. If this is something important to you then do some research. Now I have researched, Portugal is on the top 6 countries suffering high number depression in the whole world. I reckon it’s why they drive a little crazy– it’s the only daily tool that they can expel and express some of that depressed restricted emotions. Chase the demons out. I have an angel of a friend that wouldn’t hurt a fly, and then she drives and something else comes out. That’s my close Portuguese friend.

    Otherwise, the Portuguese are to me generally helpful, warm and friendly. Just don’t expect them to show up or call you after you feel like you’ve found a good friend. Most of the ones I met seem to strangely ghost, vanish, flake then they come up the surface again and your like super close again. Okay this might not be helpful but it does affect quality of life. Just mind, if you like someone here and they liked you a lot–and I’m not just talking about dating, it’s all facets of life–choosing lawyer, accountant or anyone you need help with – mind that it doesn’t mean they’ll be there. They tend to vanish. Ghost. Flake. They are the most intense in this kind of way- of all the countries I’ve lived in. In fact I didn’t know people can be as bad with time, punctuality and reliability before here. Sad truth (I’m not millennial so you can be sure f this is not from a young let’s party observation, I don’t even go out and party). This problem is astounding here, it’s mind blowing. The younger generation in fact – lates 20s-30s are much more reliable in terms of replying to messages, emails if its to do with work and or friendships.

    All the little bits like -they don’t pick up their dogs litter and poop, most Locals working on restaurants don’t always look happy (that’s why they have the Brazilians they say themselves), how hot meals is only really served between 12-2pm if your out eating on a normal cafe/restaurant, and don’t order the coffee with milk (meia de leite) at lunch time they look at you funny (my local friends said they only order it from 4pm)—well these things are small stuff we all can managed and doesn’t impede way of life. (Although I do miss anytime any day ordering of hot meals on any regular small restaurant. You can find these of course but it’s not the practice).

    Tax and lawyers and growing some kind of a dream–is truly challenging in here and I’m not even ambitious or wanting an empire.

    Rest and quality of life, food, security, safety — great 5*

    Business/work. – No. 1*

    Friendships/community– if your very friendly, not combative, not argumentative, quiet disposition, you’ll be fine. Portuguese are deep thinkers and are compassionate really to the core. But if you tend to be on the anxious depress side, probably not great place as you’ll be surrounded with melancholy and sadness. It’s not obvious apparent but in years of living here, it does affect you. It’s the reason why people are flaky. Lots of anxiety and depression.

    Taxes and legal documentations. Hard and challenging even for a small kind of earning /living/ person with no legal cases.

    Language- beautiful but hard. That’s from a person who speaks 4 languages. With effort.

    Weather wise. It’s not all sunny here, we have 5 months of cold damp rainy (non stop rain and gray skies especially February to March /May. weather in Porto. 2 years ago, March it rained the whole
    Month non-stop. Gray skies. 10c. Houses are quite cold here, even the good ones, not well insulated.

    Lots of beautiful beach/coast– in Porto –but all very cold water.

    If your an artist– painter, writer–it’s a very inspiring beautiful place.

    Making friends- easy for me as my work entails meeting people. But if your work is by yourself and alone and do not involve other people, it can be hard and lonely. People stay with their close tight knit families and it can make you sad and lonely if you have that sort of constitution. (This is for Porto Gaia) Lots of older local people here–but all with their families or have families. Older generation do not get together and socialize with expat community like other big cities.

    **Please no need to argue and debate what I have expressed here and no need to get offended for anything. Take it with a pinch of salt. Fight the right battles. Just people argue and debate so many things nowadays.

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  73. 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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  74. 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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  75. 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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  76. 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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  77. Bullshit article from somone who either never lived in Portugal or made any effort to ingratiate into society. Failing that, is socially inept.

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  78. 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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  79. 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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    • that applies everywhere from my experience!
      banks and lawyers are there first and foremost to make money for themselves. you could be anywhere in the world and likely would experience the same. try to find a reasonably priced lawyer!! I can give you a whole list of lawyers that charge minimum 10 $ per MINUTE. with globalization the banking and legal systems have also become globalized. big names that you find throughout the world.
      These are modern day highway robbers from what i can make out. and they are not limited to portugal.but dealing with all this in a foreign language would probably drive me to despair.

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  80. 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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    • i will add courts and bank financial advisors as things to avoid at all costs, banks have only 1 interest, theirs not yours and the legal sysytem here is so hopeless that all it does is cause stress , take endless time and cost thousands

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    • Hey everyone. I’m reading these posts with much interest and as a US citizen who lived abroad (Greece) and who is considering going back as a semi-retired person. Many of us are experiencing a very sorry state of affairs where we don’t believe we have enough retirement savings to live comfortably in our later years in our home countries…and are therefore seeking cheaper ways to live abroad. Others are seeking ways to have a more “comfortable” way of life while earning as digital nomads, etc. So, you know, let’s be real. Countries like Spain and Portugal and Greece seem attractive because the cost of living appears lower. But if you’ve never lived abroad and are coming from highly organized countries like the US or the UK, you’re in for some culture shock. A country that’s offering a golden visa is undertaking a form of a get-rich-quick scheme. If you need to earn an income, what does a residence permit get you without a work permit? When taxes are high or the exchange rate is unfavorable, is it economical to move there? If your ideal social or retirement scenario is having lots of free time in a beautiful place surrounded by new friends, what would you think if you knew that the culture you were moving into is hostile or suspicious of foreigners or strangers? If the culture you’re moving to is conservative or closed, meaning people are born into a community, stay there all their lives, marry there and die there–where will you fit in as a stranger? Living abroad away from your family can be vastly lonely and alienating, especially if the language is difficult to learn (hello Portugal and Greece). How much will it cost you to travel back and forth to see your loved ones? If you encounter health problems as you age but you don’t understand the language, how will you determine whether the health system is up to your standards? If you don’t understand the language although “everyone speaks English”, what will it feel like to be out and about and yet not understand what anyone around you is saying when you are not forcing locals to speak your native language? I moved to Greece in my mid-30s with an infant child and had another baby while we lived there. I was so lucky to have arrived during this time because the culture has such reverence for children–which is to say, everywhere I went I got attention for having children (not for being the interesting person that I was, ha!). But in parks and playgrounds I met (mostly nannies) but moms. And this helped somewhat with integration. But it was so clear that I was a stranger and that they expected me to leave eventually, which I did. If you’re middle-aged, or older, are you ready to have mostly expat friends? Are you ready to be treated badly at the post office or grocery store? Are you ready not to understand why so much of life around you seems disorganized or chaotic? Are you ready to spend five years of your life integrating? When you live in a country whose first focus is family and local friends, and you come from a country where people abandon each other for business opportunities or a chance to live in a prime location, are you ready not to be trusted because your values are out of sync? Yes, the food is phenomenal, the housing is cheaper, you can hop a flight to Paris or whatever, but will you be able to have a sense of humor about the status of women or immigrants, or a lack of entrepreneurship, or the treatment of animals (since I’m reading a lot about that)? Most of us are the most flexible as young people but moving between cultures as retirees can require a kind of blindness. I’m saying this as someone who’s payed her dues and loves her adopted country. But I’m not sure how I would have fared if I’d taken this on in my 60s or later.

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        • I agree. I am a 64 year old woman thinking of moving to the EU for CV the health care, etc. Definitely not jumping ship…concern is how to have a decent life on $1,200/mth Social Security. Might as well stay in NYC.

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          • Hi Lauren,

            It’s definitely possible to live on this amount, however, I think you need to consider a few things.

            * Healthcare is free or thereabouts but not private healthcare obviously.

            * Your biggest cost will be accommodation. If you’re buying a property and have $1200 left over, that’s plenty. If $1200 has to include rent as well, it will mean living in more rural parts of Portugal or smaller towns.

      • As someone thinking of moving abroad to retire (age 55) I can’t praise your post enough, massively interesting, intuitive & informative, thank you

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  81. 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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  82. 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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    • Good post Lola, thanks from Miami. I was getting a little depressed. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change!

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    • ♥️I agree that you should always rent for at least one year before you buy and this is from personal experience not even in Portugal but in the US.
      I really feel that if you’re moving to a place that you’re not familiar with you should always rent first, it’s a lot easier to get off a lease than
      a purchase.
      I will be retiring soon and we’re planning on living part time in Portugal but we will be renting. We have our children and grandchildren here in the US we also have some health issues so we want to be able to come back if needed and not have to worry about property left behind.
      I was born and raised in Portugal but have been in the US since 1976 and visited Portugal (Azores) we have visited 4 times and loved it but we don’t want to make a radical move, at this time our plan is to go for 3 to 4 months per year for the first couple years and than decide
      Wishing you all the best

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    • Lola, thank you immensely for your honesty. I am from the backwoods of Montana, USA where corruption, crime, and inconvenience are paramount and the mentality is akin to Deliverance. I am looking to move to Portugal to buy bare land of 20-100+ acres to build and create an off-grid green building school as well as permaculture agro tourism business. I am moving with my mother and we will not have the worries of public utility, water, nor gasoline as all vehicles will be electric or natural gas provided by biofuel. All I hear of here are people moving into existing builds, in communities, looking for groups and things Portugal provides to them. We are coming in want of living by our own hands, trading with locals, and providing job opportunities for locals not just spot jobs. I had never been near Italy when I went there alone and ended up living there 3.5 years with zero knowledge or language. I left fluent in Italian and with three new ‘families’. I am not so worried about relations with locals personally. From all my research Portugal is spouted to be one of the most forward promoting of off-grid green living and business, which is my utmost focus. I am curious to know what your thoughts and feelings are as to the pheasability of this plan. Also I was wondering if options such as credit unions exist there? (Client owned banking services instead of actual banks.)

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  83. 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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  84. 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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  85. 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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  86. 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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  87. 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.

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  88. 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

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  89. 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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  90. 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!

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  91. 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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  92. 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

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  93. 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!!!

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  94. 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!!!

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    • 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.

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  95. 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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  96. 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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  97. 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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    • 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.

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      • 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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        • In the Azores you will need no heater year round, unless you like to walk around your house in underwear and sit still for hours. Otherwise dress with a sweater, double pants, warm socks and no need for heating ever, since it is 60s through 80s year round and some days 50s.

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  98. 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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    • 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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  99. 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.

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  100. 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!

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    • 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.

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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.

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  101. 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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    • 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.

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  102. 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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  103. 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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  104. 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.

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  105. 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

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    • 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.

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      • 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.

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  106. 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?

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  107. 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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
  108. 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
      • 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
  109. 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
  110. 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
    • 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
  111. Left wing trolls (intolerant of everyone who does not agree with them) may have have infested this website …. BUT having come to Portugal in 1974 and worked and lived from north to south, can assure you, that the Portuguese neither want nor need such intolerance from hypocrites who mistakenly think they are so tolerant. Intolerant left or right, STAY AWAY!

    BTW – all 23 points written by James Cave in the introduction have always been true to differing degree at different times, (well done James) but those who stay irrespective of these!

    Reply
  112. 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
    • 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.
      .

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    • 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
  113. 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
  114. 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
    • 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.

      Reply
  115. 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.

    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
  116. 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
    • You are spot on in your assessment of Portuguese living conditions. I have been living here for 2 years in the countryside. and the indifferent passive attitude of the people drives me crazy. Apart from widespread obesity especiallt the women, I am permanently irritated by careless drivers. unreliable plumbers or carpwenters, noisy yelling kids and complete indifference to your neighbors. On the other hand you have beautiful walks in the natural beauty and clean air, mild climate etc. But I am beginning to miss something and maybe also due to COVID I will come to the conclusion that I have a problem with Portuguese mentality and business conduct.
      Just to make you aware that the Spanish are much more dynamic and open than the Portuguese. However the crime rate in Portugal is much lower and this is really enjoyable compared to countries like Italy which is a chaotic disaster!

      Reply
    • 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
  117. 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
  118. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

        Reply
  119. 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
    • 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
  120. 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
    • 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
  121. You cannot live there for 6 months unless u become a resident now.. 90/180 day rules in schengen zone since Brexit…make sure u do your homework! oh and u will need a fiscal representative if u have a home there..
    Many folks with 2nd homes are now finding it’s not worthwhile..

    Reply
  122. You cannot live there for 6 months unless u become a resident now.. 90/180 day rules in schengen zone since Brexit…make sure u do your homework! oh and u will need a fiscal representative if u have a home there..
    Many folks with 2nd homes are now finding it’s not worthwhile..

    Reply
  123. 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
  124. 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
  125. 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
  126. 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
  127. 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.

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  128. 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

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  129. 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. “)

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  130. If moving to Portugal beware of the Three Whales:

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

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  131. 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.

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    • ¡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.’

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  132. 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.

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  133. 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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  134. 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
    • I also hate it when people call themselves ex-pats because they don’t like to associate themselves with the word “immigrant”.

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  135. 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!

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  136. 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.

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    • 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…

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      • “ 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.)

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  137. 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.

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    • 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.

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  138. 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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  139. 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.

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      • 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.

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  140. 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….

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  141. 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.

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  142. 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.

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    • 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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  143. 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!

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

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  145. 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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  146. I live in both countries. The US and Portugal. I too fear for the future of the US and have read a few comments here that people have become fed up and wish to leave the US.
    I am thankful that at this point in my life, I can live in both places but one day, that may not be the case, for several reasons and a change may be without choice.
    In the meantime I will continue to vote for what I feel is right.
    I have not had the terrible experiences that some write about here. True, the houses are very cold in the winter, some government offices never answer the phone and things can take forever (such as a driver’s license) but I feel at peace, though sometimes a little lonely, in my Alentejo town. I enjoy the natural surroundings and wish there was a train to Lisbon, in or near my town. That would have made life here much better but still I am thankful to have a contrast from the big USA city that I come from.
    I find learning the language is more difficult at my age but not impossible and it gets easier over time and with more effort. For anyone reading this who may want an excellent Portuguese language learning resource, I highly recommend the website “practice Portuguese.” As an absolute beginner, I needed something else to start with but now that i have some of the basics, I find its an excellent program for me.
    I keep reading about barking dogs but my place is lovely. We have univited cats that will sneak into our home (not welcomed though I love cats) but at least i don’t see rats running around.
    As much as our village is not ideal for me (small, not much going on, very little English spoken) iI think maybe we are in one of the best places. It’s easier to change one’s attitude than to change other things. Last year we were here under covid lockdown and I felt I was in the best place for that.
    Lastly, we have nice neighbors around us and that is a plus.

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  147. Hi Nenye, I am a black American, retired and cant offer the Lisbon or Porto living experience since I have only visited on occasion. I live in a small Alentejo town. My own experience as a visitor to those places has been that the black people I have come across have been less friendly towards me than Portuguese and by that, I mean on a superficial level such as eye contact a smile and a greeting. Yet, i have also encountered some who have been friendly.
    My own encounters with the people I live among have been generally positive but there are times when I think I may be encountering racial hostility but it’s hard to know if there is a racial cause at times.
    I see that there are many black people in Lisbon and Porto. If you lived in the US, I think you will be fine here.

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  148. 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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  149. 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.

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  150. 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.

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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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    • 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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  151. Seneca, please stay in Texas. You’re not wanted in Portugal. You are the kind of person the growing number of American expats are moving to get away from.

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  152. 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!

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  153. 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.

    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.

      Reply
    • 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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  154. 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.

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  155. 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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    • just ask around man, don t go to one shop and expect miracles. Just go to 3 or 4 of them. The real power we have as consumers is to choose between the best services and stores

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  156. 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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  157. I heard the same from Portuguese people whose parents own a house in the most expensive neighbourhood, because they have lived here forever. So they are not so horribly off, they couldn’t have afforded it now, they actually were incredibly “lucky” (as it wasn’t planned). But nothing but complaints, that they couldn’t build a new house there now. That guy was living with his parents in that house, paying no rent, ever. and he claimed he didn’t WANT to move out, he wanted to be with family, they wouldn’t abandon their parents like other people did … All in the same conversation. His friend, same job, same age, grew up around the corner, … has his own house there now. So, as he didn’t want to build somewhere else, but ONLY in the same street … … and said he couldn’t … I don’t know, but I would maybe have then invested in an apartment to rent out, instead, as he wasn’t paying any rent but had a very good job (which means still 1400 EUR max though). But he just complained.

    I just know … a typical German family like that would have rented, and not even owned a property, and would consider themselves lucky to have retained their rent amount. Irish, in Dublin, too (though also victim mentality), typically owning – and would take advantage of the situation.

    I heard a story from someone (foreign/expat) who wanted to rent out his apartment in Lisbon to a Portuguese guy in a normal fashion, and that Portuguese guy didn’t sign in the end – because he did NOT have to present a garantor, and all that other stuff, and his family thought that was fishy.

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  158. 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.

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  159. 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.

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    • 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.

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  160. 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.

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  161. 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…

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  162. 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.

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    • 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.

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  163. 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.

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  164. 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.

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    • 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 .

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    • 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.

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      • 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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  165. 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.

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  166. 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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  167. 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.

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  168. 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.

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  169. 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.

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    • 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.

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  170. 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.

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  171. 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.

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  172. 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.

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  173. 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

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  174. 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

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  175. 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

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  176. 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.

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    • 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.

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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 !

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    • 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.

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    • 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

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  177. 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.

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    • 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.