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Located at the most westerly point of Europe, Portugal is a country with a long history and a diverse culture. Given the weather, the wine and the sports, there’s no surprise that more and more Brits are moving to Portugal – especially when typical flight times between London and Lisbon are a measly two hours.

60,000 Brits now live in Portugal some or all of the time, with the Algarve, Lisbon, and Porto being popular choices.

The Algarve is famed for its beautiful weather, scenery and beaches. With summer temperatures averaging 30 degrees, Lisbon is the European capital to be for lovers of warm weather. With bars, restaurants, beaches and yearly events, you’ll never miss out on local culture and community. And Porto, while being most famous for its Port wine and its football club, also offers stylish bars, restaurants and business opportunities aplenty, at lower prices than in Lisbon. The best thing about Portugal is that it’s compact, so you’ll easily be able to experience all these places, regardless of where you decide to make your permanent home.

Cost of Living in Portugal

Compared to other EU countries, Portugal’s cost of living is relatively low, and citizens do have access to free healthcare, schools and social security. On average (according to data from Numbeo):

  • Consumer prices in Portugal are 25% lower than in the UK
  • Rent in Portugal is 28% less than what it is in the UK
  • Eating out in Portugal is roughly 40% less expensive than eating out in the United Kingdom

It’s perhaps no surprise that Investopedia references Portugal as “one of the, if not THE, most affordable European retirement destinations”. However, job prospects are low (with an average annual disposable income of around €18,000), so, despite the cheaper prices, average local spending power is comfortably less than in the UK.

This is why Portugal is arguably a better place to retire to than for furthering your career prospects. Unless you’re a remote worker, in which case you can do all the work you were doing in the UK with substantially lower costs and more sunshine hours. An annual trip back for your UK office party and, boom, you’re sorted.

So: if you’re moving abroad, why Portugal?

Portuguese Food and Drink

Portuguese cuisine is very diverse, with each region having its own traditional dishes. The most common dish is bacalhau (dry cod), featured in hundreds of recipes – so many in fact that you could make a different recipe every day in 2019 and still have some left for 2020. Other popular fish recipes include grilled sardines and caldeirada, a potato-based stew with different types of fish. When it comes to meat, popular choices are beef, chicken, lamb and pork, such as cozido á portuguesa and frango de churrasco.

Another culinary icon of Portugal is the famous Portuguese pastry, which had its origins in Portugal’s medieval network of monasteries. Today’s pastry chefs use a range of common ingredients such as flour, eggs and almonds to create a variety of different pastries, including pastéis de Belém (pastéis de nata) and ovos moles.

Last but not least, we have the wine. Portuguese wine is internationally recognised, in particular Port wine and Madeira wine.

Portuguese History, Culture and Traditions

Mainland Portugal has a lot of history and culture, sometimes hidden from plain sight.

Traditional Portuguese architecture revolves around Manueline, a rich and lavish 16th-century style straddling the Late Gothic and the Renaissance. Appearing at a time when Portugal was arguably the centre of the world, buoyed by wealth from newly international sea trade, Manueline incorporates maritime elements and discovery representations from voyages into its design.

Portugal also has a rich history in painting, dating back to the 15th century, with influences as diverse as Northern European styles, the Age of Discovery and Modernism. Notable Portuguese painters include Nuno Gonçalves, Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro, Júlio Pomar, and José Malhoa.

For those interested in the heritage (especially religious or architectural), Portugal has 15 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including:

  • Convent of Christ: a former 12th-century Templar stronghold in the city of Tomar.
  • Jerónimos Monastery: a former monastery of the Order of Saint Jerome in Lisbon, built in 1601. It is a prime example of the Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style of architecture.
  • Belém Tower: Originally built on a small island near the shore of Lisbon in 1514. Built in Manueline style, it played a significant role projecting Portuguese naval power by defending Lisbon from the mouth of the Tagus River.

Coming as no surprise for a country dominated by community and religion, there are many festivals and events held across the country every year. Most notably, Semana Santa or Holy Week features processions over the 7 days (Sat-Sun) before Easter Sunday. Another is FIESA, an international sand sculpture festival in Pera, Algarve – where artists use over 40,000 tonnes of sand to create amazingly detailed sand sculptures.

The Portuguese Weather

And did we mention that Portugal has warm weather nearly all year round? This is one of the biggest drivers for Brits moving to Portugal.

Although not bordering the Mediterranean Sea, Portugal has a Mediterranean climate in the interior and southern regions, while most of north has an oceanic climate. The Algarve has a temperature similar to southern coastal Spain or South West Australia. And let’s not forget the Portuguese islands …

The archipelagos islands of the Azores and Madeira have a subtropical climate, making it difficult to predict the weather conditions. Some of the islands in the Azores are classified as having a Mediterranean climate due to long dry summer months while others have maritime or subtropical climates.

Sport in Portugal

Like most European countries, Portugal’s most popular sport is football, with famous clubs such as S.L. Benfica and FC Porto dominated the Portuguese League. But football is not the only sport to check out. If you’re a golf fan, Portugal is one of the best destinations to check out, having won several World Golf Awards. And the World Surf League holds one of the stages of its annual competition in Portugal, taking advantage of the big (well, massive!) waves on offer:

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