Portugal has long been regarded as a perfect country to retire to, and this claim to fame shows no signs of slowing down. In the 2023 Global Retirement Index, Portugal came up trumps, claiming the top spot due to its sublime climate, low cost of living, and excellent healthcare, amongst many other reasons.
And if you’re a UK retiree looking to move to Portugal, you’ll find a buzzing expat population, with more than 42,000* Brits now calling Portugal home alongside nationals from all over the world.
But where are the best places for retirees looking to move to Portugal? From the sun-drenched Algarve to the historic north, we’ll provide you with the ultimate rundown of the best places to retire to in Portugal. We’ll also demonstrate some of the key advantages of moving to Portugal.
What is the best place to retire in Portugal?
Determining which part of Portugal is right for you can be tricky, and the perfect place for you may be completely different from that preferrered by someone else. So, with so many lovely locations to choose from, where is the best retirement spot in sunny Portugal?
Here are just a few of our favorites. But remember, these are just some suggestions, you’ll find incredible places to retire to all across the country.
It’s probably no surprise to you that we are starting with Lisbon. The Portuguese capital provides a vibrant and varied lifestyle where modernity and tradition effortlessly blend together. There always seems to be something to see and do in Lisbon, and retirees can enjoy the capital’s thriving arts and cultural scene. Lisbon has great transport connections, so you can quickly head to Sintra for a day trip or spend some time further afield.
Porto, the spectacular second-largest city in Portugal, is a must-see and has positioned itself as one of the best cities to relocate to in Europe. The city has excellent healthcare facilities and good transport connections. Whether you are meandering down the charming streets of the old town or marveling at the stunning views of the Douro River, it’s hard to ignore the charm of Porto.
The Algarve really needs no introduction, as it has been a firm favorite with UK retirees for years – and with good reason. Whether you move for the sublime weather – 300 days of sunshine per year – its white sandy beaches, the slow pace of life, or fresh seafood, the Algarve remains a top destination to retire to. With excellent healthcare facilities, high quality of life, and an affordable cost of living, you are sure to live the good life in the Algarve. Also, golf enthusiasts and water sports fanatics will find no better place to retire to.
Just a short drive or train journey to the west of Lisbon, you’ll come across Cascais. Situated on the Lisbon coast, this coastal town is famous for its lovely beaches and charming streets. You’ll find all the amenities you could want here, plus great healthcare services and infrastructure. The Sintra-Cascais Natural Park is also close by, so it’s possible to live a very active life here.
Next, we have Madeira, the “pearl of the Atlantic.” This Portuguese archipelago situated in the Atlantic is renowned for its spectacular natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. With an abundance of delicious seafood and fish, a moderate, subtropical climate, and excellent infrastructure and healthcare, Madeira should definitely make your shortlist when deciding on the best location in Portugal to retire to. Nature lovers can enjoy the Laurisilva Forest, a 20-million-year-old subtropical forest and UNESCO World Heritage site, but there is golf, yoga, plus plenty of activities to get involved in.
Rounding things off is the Silver Coast, stretching just north of Lisbon and extending around 150 kilometers beyond Nazaré on the western coast. There are several delightful towns and villages to consider moving to here, such as Ericeira, with its typical white and blue façades, or Caldas da Rainha, which was built around a thermal spring in the 15th Century. Only an hour away from Lisbon, you’ll find stunning properties at affordable prices, pristine beaches to enjoy, and medieval towns to explore. If you’re looking for a more authentic alternative to the Algarve, then the Silver Coast is certainly your answer.
So, perhaps in the back of your mind, you now have a particular location in mind, but what are the advantages of moving to Portugal? Well, the list is very long, but here are a few of the key reasons why it could be a tremendous idea.
An easy path to residency
Having an easy route to residency certainly makes the relocation process easier, and the D7 Visa – also referred to as the Retirement Visa – is the perfect option. “In Europe, generally visas are offered to non-EU citizens allowing temporary or permanent residency for pensioners, retirees, and those with passive income,” says Joana Mendonca, the head of legal at Global Citizen Solutions, a boutique investment migration company. “In Portugal, a D7 Visa – a long stay visa allowing non-EU citizens to live in Portugal for two years, renewable for a further three – is an excellent option for retired people.”.
Attractive tax benefits
Portugal boasts an attractive tax regime for foreigners under the Non-Habitual Residence (NHR) program, whereby it’s possible to receive significant tax advantages for up to ten years. You will need to stay for a minimum of 183 days per year in the country or maintain a property as your habitual residence to gain NHR status.
Portugal has universal health insurance that is covered by its publically funded National Health Service, and it’s a very affordable and largely excellent service for legal residents of Porutgal. You will also find private healthcare across the country if you prefer to go down this route and you’ll be pleased to know that most healthcare professionals speak a very good level of English.
One of the safest countries in the world
Portugal ranked in sixth position in the Global Peace Index 2022,which takes into account the level of societal safety and security, domestic and international conflict, and the degree of militarization. Locals are known for their welcoming nature and, with a large expat population, you can get to know people easily.
High quality of life
If you move to Portugal, you’ll be able to enjoy a high quality of life. With an affordable cost of living, beautiful landscapes and buzzing cities up and down the country, excellent healthcare, infrastructure, and transport links, and progressive legislation, the country has a lot going for it. This is without mentioning the incredible food and wine that you’ll find here. Portuguese wine is amongst some of the best in the world, from the crisp vinho verde (green wine) to the rich notes of a red Douro.
Stretch your pension further
Yes, we’ve mentioned that the cost of living is generally very affordable in Portugal, but this also extends to the property market. While prices have risen in the last 10 years and Lisbon has the country’s highest price points, you’ll still find that compared to the UK, property prices are relatively affordable.
So, let’s provide you with a nice comparison of what your money can buy in Somerset, a glorious corner of England, and the Algarve. According to Numbeo, the world’s largest cost of living database, the price per square meter to buy an apartment in the city center of Taunton, the county seat of Somerset, was £3,114.59. If we compare this to Faro, the capital of the Algarve, this would set you back £2,108.05.
So if you’re looking to stretch your pension further, perhaps secure a more spacious property or a property with a sea view, then buying property in Portugal could be just the ticket.
Taking the Leap to Relocate to Portugal
If you’re considering moving to Portugal, you’ll find that there are an array of advantages. From a more affordable cost of living and incredible weather through to excellent healthcare and an easy route to residency.
Perhaps the hardest decision is deciding which part of the country is right for you and for this, you’ll need to determine exactly what you are looking for. A beach property with spectacular ocean views? A countryside villa? A townhouse in a charming historic city?
Portugal has it all. Embrace the challenge and take the time to decide what’s right for you. Done correctly, you should be able to find your perfect retirement spot in Portugal.
Article prepared by Global Citizens Solutions