Pros and Cons of Moving to Portugal

Expats moving abroad often lose themselves in the process of making parallels between their new destination and their home country.Living in Portugal has a number of advantages and some drawbacks

While this can be a natural part of acclimatisation, it's important not to get too bogged-down in what one may perceive to be apparent positive and negatives.

That being said, some preparation for what people may deem the good, the bad and the ugly is necessary. Here are some pros and cons of moving to Portugal.


The people in Portugal


 PRO: The people are friendly and welcoming

The people of Portugal are incredibly friendly and most helpful; neighbours will bring home-grown tomatoes, share their wine and talk to expats quite happily, despite the language barrier that might exist.

 CON: The slow pace might take some time getting used to

Expats may find the Portuguese people to be frustrating, as they are not in a hurry to resolve issues or deal with problems. The phrase devagar will often be heard it means 'slowly' in Portuguese

The weather in Portugal


 PRO: Portugal experiences warm summers

The weather is great – generally March to October is warm, with July and August being really hot. Temperatures can climb to 104°F (40°C).  

 CON: Winters can be cold

It is not in fact sunny 12 months of the year – the winters can be cold and very wet, but apart from the mountainous areas there is little snow. Inland frost is common.

 PRO: Portugal has beautiful beaches

For those that like beaches, they stretch along the entire western and southern areas of the country, and are white and clean. Only in July and August are the most popular beaches ever crowded.

Visas for Portugal


 PRO: Expats will know what is expected of them for visa submissions

The Portuguese authorities will take the time to explain which papers foreigners need to submit.

 CON: The red tape of bureaucracy can be frustrating for expats

Bureaucracy is thick and not fast. Information from public offices can also be inconsistent.

Communication in Portugal


 PRO: Locals are interested in speaking English

Younger Portuguese people learn English at school, and they are always keen to practice it with expats.

 CON: The Portuguese language can be difficult to learn

Portuguese is a difficult language to learn and pronounce, but a little of the language goes a long way in goodwill.

Transport and driving in Portugal


 PRO: The traffic tends to be lighter than elsewhere

The traffic in Portugal is considerably less than in northern European countries, except in the large cities where traffic jams at peak hours are bad.


 CON: Driving can be dangerous

Portuguese drivers are keen to drive fast and impatient to overtake. This causes numerous accidents, so caution is advised.

 PRO: Portugal has good road networks

There is a good network of highways or dual carriageways in Portugal, and the main ones are not very busy.

 CON: Road tolls can add up

National motorways are toll roads, and while they are excellent and there is less traffic, the tolls can make them expensive.

The cost of living in Portugal 


 PRO: General produce is affordable

Food, wine, bread and normal shopping commodities are generally very reasonably priced. It’s easy to obtain British foods if expats really need them.

 CON: Consumer goods tend to be more costly

Consumer goods can be very expensive, anywhere between 20 to 50 percent more expensive than expats might be used to. British foods are available but are more expensive.

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