Non-obvious advantages of living in Portugal

Are there disadvantages to living in Portugal? And the pluses?
8 min
April 18, 2024

Portugal has many reasons to be considered the best country for living, some of them are obvious, and you’ve probably already seen dozens of articles about them. There are numerous benefits of moving to Portugal and living in Portugal, including its warm climate, close proximity to the ocean and mountains, low crime rate, and relatively affordable cost of living. The country also offers a well-developed medical and educational system, along with preferential tax treatment for residents.

But the others may become evident only after a few months or even years of living here. Here is a list of the reasons why you should choose Portugal as your next home, that you may not have considered yet.

1. To improve your physical and mental health

We all know that the climate is considered one of the main pluses of Portugal. But few people realize the huge impact it may have on their health. Even people who have never practiced any kind of sports for their whole lives very often change their habits in Portugal. I assure you, after one week of sitting on the beach with pizza, while you see dozens of people jogging in front of you by the ocean, you’ll buy running shoes (at least that was my case). 

Honestly, it seems like everyone around is practicing some kind of sport! Tennis, volleyball, beach yoga, pilates… And all these under the beautiful sunset or sunrise, on the beach, or under the trees. Seriously, it is very hard not to become active in Portugal. 

As for mental health, Portugal can change your life for the better. You’ve probably already heard about the slow path of life that is very common in Portugal. But it is very hard to imagine how it will affect your personal life if you have never experienced this lifestyle. It certainly requires some adjusting, at first it may be strange and even a little uncomfortable, especially if you had the achiever mindset your whole life. 

But after a few months, you will see the positive effect of the Portuguese approach to life. This is especially true for those who often suffer from stress. Your anxiety will become lower, your sleep will become better, and in general, you will feel more relaxed and at peace. I can’t emphasize how big of a change it can be sometimes. It’s like you can breathe fully again. 

Of course, you can’t expect that all the mental or physical health problems will disappear after you move to Portugal. It often requires a lot more work and effort. But very often our surroundings can make a big difference. 

Here are the TOP-5 resources you could use to find activities for your physical and mental health, as well as a company to practice those activities:

2. To make new friends

As we mentioned before, it is very common to associate Portugal with a specific lifestyle and mindset. Portuguese people don’t rush, they appreciate little moments in their lives, not trying to earn all the money in the world, but just enjoying themselves each day. So, most of the foreigners who choose Portugal as their destination usually share this mindset, and it often becomes the main reason why they move. 

That is why the expat communities here usually consist of like-minded people with common values, goals, and attitudes toward life. Practice shows that at first, your main social circle will consist of immigrants like you, at least until you start speaking Portuguese. And there is a great chance that among them you will find not just acquaintances, but also close friends. I think we all can agree that it is a pretty hard thing to find after your twenties. But immigration does make people closer, and in Portugal, it is especially true. 

Nowadays the most logical way to start finding friends is to look on social media. There are tons of groups according to your city and interests, here are TOP-5 groups you could start with:

3. To get inspired and create a new business

Even if you are currently employed and have no plans to start your own business, it is quite possible that this will change in Portugal. Often new environments and a lack of familiar things stimulate new (and very amazing) ideas. Portugal is an ideal place in this regard: in terms of service, online products, and many other businesses, there is a huge field for improvement and new ideas. It is very possible to find a niche with a very low competition rate and start making good money.

I personally know a girl who worked in the HR department for many years before moving but decided to open her own beauty salon in Portugal just because she could not find some particular treatments and procedures in any salon in the region, and she liked them very much. So why not start doing them herself and make money on it?

Starting a business in a new country can be tricky, so it may be very useful to start by learning from the successful experience of other businessmen. There are a lot of events in Portugal to do it. Here are TOP-5 resources where you could find them:

4. To reconnect with nature and become more environmentally conscious

Nature in Portugal is amazing, the weather is almost always fine, and the agriculture is very well developed. Even if you choose to live in a big city, within just a 20-minute drive you will definitely find endless fields with grazing animals, orange groves, vineyards, and much more. And if you choose to live in a house in a small village, you will literally be surrounded by nature and agricultural lands, and probably still have very quick access to the nearest town with all the amenities. 

And it really shifts your perception of nature. It is so cool to see your own food growing, to buy vegetables directly from the farm almost all year round, and to start eating locally and seasonally. No doubt, you can (and should) do it regardless of where you live, but in Portugal, it is so easy, it just happens naturally. And it can definitely be a huge improvement not only for your personal life but for society in general.

If you are interested in learning more about the environment you are living in, there are a lot of ways to do it. Here are TOP-5 resources where you could find the way that best suits you:

  • This amazing agency offers a huge variety of farm tours all over Portugal, you can try anything from picking fruits and vegetables to honey tasting and feeding pigs
  • A community of people living off-grid, where you can chat with people, find interesting places to visit, or even stay for some time to find out more about this way of life
  • Here you can find a lot of educational and entertaining events you can share with your kids
  • This great project can be very useful if you ever decide to start a farm yourself, they will teach you and help you to organize everything from scratch
  • Another helpful community that often offers interesting events and workshops on farming and rural life.

What are the downsides of living in Portugal?

There are many advantages to living in Portugal, but it's important to be aware of the potential drawbacks before considering immigration. Here are some key points to consider, that can be disadvantages of living in Portugal.

Winter Climate and Humidity

Portugal generally enjoys a warm and pleasant climate. However, winters in some regions can be relatively cold, particularly in apartments. Nighttime temperatures can drop to +7-10 degrees Celsius, while daytime temperatures range from +12-15 degrees Celsius. Indoor temperatures typically hover around +18 degrees Celsius. High humidity is also a climate characteristic, but it can be managed with dehumidifiers and appropriate clothing.

Rental Costs

Rental prices in Portugal vary depending on the city. Lisbon and Porto have higher rental costs than cities like Coimbra or Braga. On average, a two-bedroom apartment can cost around 1,500 euros per month. To find more affordable options, consider exploring listings on popular rental websites like

Employment Opportunities and Salaries

Finding well-paid jobs can be challenging in Portugal. Salaries in Portugal tend to be lower than in countries such as Germany, France, Great Britain, or the United States. The minimum wage in Portugal for 2023 is 760 euros per month.

Residence Permit Process

The process of obtaining a residence permit (Residence Permit) in Portugal may experience delays. The ongoing reform in the Immigration Service can affect the processing time. Sometimes, the waiting period for a residence permit card after approval can be up to 3 months. Despite this, Portugal still offers one of the easiest legalization processes in Europe.

When considering a move to Portugal, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons of moving and living in Portugal. The country's standard of living, climate, economic conditions, and quality of education are attractive factors for immigrants worldwide. Remember to prioritize your needs and preferences when choosing a place to call home. After all, we have only one life, and it's important to find a comfortable and fulfilling environment to live in.

When contemplating a life in Portugal, it is crucial to carefully evaluate the advantages and disadvantages. Portugal's quality of life, pleasant climate, favorable economic conditions, and excellent education system make it an appealing choice for immigrants from around the globe. However, it's vital to consider your personal requirements and preferences when selecting the best cities in Portugal to live in. Take into account factors such as the cost of living, the real estate market, and the overall quality of life in different regions. Ultimately, finding a comfortable and fulfilling environment in Portugal is essential as we only have one life to live.

Are you planning to immigrate to Portugal?

You can do a lot independently, but contact us if you need expert help:

See more details here. 

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Foto: Zacharu Pearson, Helena Lopes, Shridhar Gupta, Alex Meier

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Anastasia Chepasheva
Immigrant and writer
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