- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Portugal Guide (PDF)
Expats moving abroad often lose themselves in the process of making parallels between their new destination and their home country. 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.
Culture in Portugal
+ PRO: The people are friendly and welcoming
The people of Portugal are incredibly friendly and helpful. Neighbours will often bring homegrown 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 some aspects of Portuguese culture frustrating, such as the slow pace of life. Locals are not generally in a hurry to resolve issues or deal with problems, and this can slow down bureaucratic processes considerably. The phrase 'devagar' will often be heard – it means 'slowly' in Portuguese.
Weather in Portugal
+ PRO: Hot, hot 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). Sunny days are plentiful, all the better to enjoy the country's lovely scenery.
+ PRO: Beautiful beaches
For those who 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.
Transport and driving in Portugal
+ PRO: Good road networks and manageable traffic
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. There is also a good network of highways or dual carriageways in Portugal, and the main ones are not very busy.
- CON: Driving can be dangerous
Portuguese drivers are keen to drive fast and impatient to overtake. This causes numerous accidents. Keeping a sharp eye out for any sudden or unexpected movements by other cars and reacting quickly but calmly is advised.
Cost of living in Portugal
+ PRO: General produce is affordable
Food, wine, bread and normal shopping commodities are generally very reasonably priced. Shopping at local markets for fresh, in-season produce is one easy way to save money in Portugal.
- CON: Some aspects of life are pricey
Though fresh produce can be found at a reasonable price, consumer goods can be expensive in Portugal. Accommodation and utilities will take a chunk out of the budget, too. These aspects of life bump up the cost of living in Portugal.
► Education and Schools in Portugal is essential reading for all expat parents
► Cost of Living in Portugal gives a useful overview of various everyday expenses expats will incur while living in the country.
"We have experienced no real negatives here. Sometimes it's hard to find certain things that we are accustomed to at the grocery stores, but that's to be expected." Read more about American expat Bob's experiences in Portugal.
Are you an expat living in Portugal?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Portugal. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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