8th September 2023
Could moving to Portugal be the secret to better health?

A free new guide for expats to healthcare in Portugal – Your Health in Portugal from Global Citizen Solutions (published in partnership with the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK and its Moving to Portugal shows) – is shining a spotlight on the country’s health credentials. It is also prompting wider discussion about the health-based merits of moving to Portugal.


“The World Health Organization ranked Portugal 12th globally in its 2019 ranking of countries’ healthcare systems. This is not lost on those considering moving to the country. We receive a regular stream of enquiries from those seeking advice on health insurance and how chronic health conditions are handled in Portugal. One recent caller was about to move to Portugal so the warmer weather would help his osteoarthritis, and he is far from an isolated case. Increasingly, we are finding that health considerations are playing a part in prompting people to leave the UK and start afresh in Portugal.” 

Christina Hippisley, General Manager of the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK


Savills recently highlighted the increasing importance of wellness in relation to second home locations. Its Wellness Indicators Index considered factors such as wellness amenities, property quality and connectivity in ranking second-home locations within easy reach of major global cities. For Londoners, one of the top three locations was the Algarve.


“Second-home locations have to pull double duty by providing traditional sun, sea and countryside as well as the key amenities to promote personal wellness. The locations that excel offer ample gyms, high numbers of golf and tennis courts, and access to spas. Air quality is also a key element in the wellness score, along with internet connectivity and the need to be close to a major world city.”

Kelcie Sellers, Savills World Research


The new Your Health in Portugal guide takes this a step further and looks at Portuguese healthcare from the perspective of those who move there fulltime. It provides information on accessing both public and private healthcare in Portugal, along with details relating to health insurance, the range of healthcare services available, medical emergencies, dentistry and much more, including how healthcare eligibility ties in with residency visas.


Portugal delivers impressive results in terms of its global health and wellness standing. The World Index of Healthcare Innovation ranked it among the top ten countries for healthcare quality due to its patient-centered care and health outcomes. Portugal also ranks above the UK for a range of health-related factors, from air quality (8.1 μg/m³ in Portugal versus 8.9 μg/m³ in the UK, based on annual average PM2.5 concentration) to life expectancy (82.42 years in Portugal versus 82.31 in the UK).


Portugal’s abundant sunshine supports its reputation as a healthier place to live in multiple ways, particularly in areas such as the Algarve, which is the country’s sunniest region, with 300 days of sunshine per year. There, the daytime temperature reaches an average high of 25°C in August, falling to an average of 24°C overnight, according to Holiday Weather. Even in December, the average daytime high sits at 14°C, while the average nighttime temperature is 13°C. This means that an active outdoor lifestyle is easily achievable year-round, with walking, cycling, a huge range of water sports, horse-riding, tennis, golf, padel and more all popular across the region. Many properties, from villas to apartments, also come with pools, meaning that expats have the option to swim daily to boost their health.


On the Portuguese island of Porto Santo, off the coast of Madeira, even the sand has been found to boost health outcomes. Its composition of coral, shell and sea urchin sediments has been scientifically recognised for its ability to treat a range of bone and joint issues, adding a whole new dimension to spending days on the beach. Back on the mainland, the Mediterranean-style microclimate of Alvor in the Algarve, ensures temperatures rarely drop below 15°C in winter and go above 30°C in summer.


For those who move to Portugal and become residents, both public and private healthcare options are available, as 17 handpicked exhibitors will be happy to discuss with visitors at the upcoming Moving to Portugal Show and Seminars in London on 19th October 2023. These companies will all be exhibiting at the show, which is free to attend, along with a range of other experts who will be on hand to provide practical information and guidance on all aspects of starting a new life in Portugal.


Tickets to the Moving to Portugal Show and Seminars can be booked online at www.movingtoportugal.org.uk. The next show will take place at the Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel in London SW11 (near Battersea Power Station) running from 10.30 am to 7.30 pm on 19th October. Anyone interested in enjoying the health benefits of life in Portugal is invited to come along and find out more. 


Photo – Credit: Ombria Algarve