“I’ve got two places I like to be. Portugal is one.” - Cliff Richard
Expats are often seen as brave people who are willing to take the leap and move to another country. It’s true, but there are still 60,000 Brits living in Portugal, which mean moving is worth it.
Portugal is a move that makes sense as it’s a country with a wonderful culture that will make many Brits not want to move back. From Porto in the north to the Algarve in the south, there are plenty of great reasons to move to Portugal.
That said, it takes a bit of organisation if you want to move to Portugal, but don’t panic, we’re here to help.
Top 10 Reasons to Move to Portugal
Be it the cost of living, lower taxes, the culture, or the weather, there are plenty of reasons to move to Portugal. There are also everyday advantages you can enjoy once you’re there.
Here are our top 10 reasons to move to Portugal:
- The cost of living is lower than in the UK, leaving you with more money to spend.
- There are 300 sunny days each year.
- Portuguese food is delicious.
- Portugal is full of wonderful places to visit including the Vale do Douro, the Lagos Marina, and the Belém Tower.
- The average temperature is pretty bearable any time of the year.
- The Portuguese nightlife is vibrant and fun.
- Portugal is a stable country.
- It’s a country in Europe that’s well connected in terms of transport.
- The cost of property in Portugal is quite low.
- Taxes are pretty low in Portugal.
Choosing to live in Portugal comes with a lot of benefits. From financial reasons to personal reasons, Portugal can tick a lot of boxes, which is why so many Brits don’t come back.
So how much does it cost to move to Portugal?
We’ll have a look at all of that and more in this article!
How Much Does it Cost to Move to Portugal?
Whether it’s the Algarve, Madeira, or Lisbon, moving to Portugal isn’t free and you’ll need to think about your budget before you go.
There are three main ways to move:
- The cost of movers to Portugal is around £2,500 but this will vary according to what you’re moving.
- Hire a van and do it yourself. This can be quite expensive if you’re leaving the van in Portugal, too.
- Send your stuff from the UK to Portugal.
So while the buying power in Portugal is lower than in the UK, there are still some costs to consider.
Depending on where you are, the average rent is around €800 a month, phone and internet for around €100, transport for €50, shopping for €350, and health insurance for €150. Your life in Portugal will cost €1,600 per month on average.
Don’t hesitate to budget €3,000 for the first month as there are a few fees like the deposit (equivalent to two months) if you’re renting a place. Of course, the prices will still vary a lot depending on where you are.
You may also want to invest in Portuguese lessons to help you get settled. You’ll find things like opening a bank account much easier if you speak the lingo.
The Alto Comissariado Para as Migrações (High commissioner for immigration) offers free online courses from levels A1 to B2.
If you don’t have the time, you might want to start studying before you go with a private tutor like the ones available on Superprof! For around £75 a week (or £300 a month), you could get intensive Portuguese lessons from a native speaker. Not bad for getting started.
To get settled in Portugal, you’ll want between €6,000 and €8,000 put aside and you won’t have anything to worry about once you get there.
What Do You Need to Do When You Arrive in Portugal?
Far from holidaying in Portugal, there are administrative steps to living in Portugal. Whether you’re buying a house, living there, or working there, there’ll be a few things that you have to do once you arrive.
To get a flat and be able to work, there are a few things you’ll have to do like citizens of any other country.
For example, you’ll need to register with the proper tax authorities as there’s the potential of paying less tax. This might seem bizarre to those still living in the UK, but this system has benefited a lot of expats in Portugal.
Some agencies and services can help you with all the admin and paperwork before you move to Portugal.
There are some things that you can do yourself quite easily such as getting your Fiscal Identification Number (NIF) and Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) status. Once you've got your NIF, you can open bank accounts, register your vehicle, and find a flat.
If you're moving to Portugal with your children, there may be other administrative steps including enrolling them in schools and getting them a lot of the same documentation that you have.
You'll also need insurance that covers your healthcare in Portugal. Similarly, you have to register with the Portuguese National Health Service using your ID, residency certificate, and your Portuguese social security card.
What Level of Portuguese Do You Need to Live in Portugal?
Portugal is a nice country, but it’s still a foreign country with a language of its own and you’re probably wondering how much Portuguese you’ll need to live there. The downside to living in Portugal is that the Portuguese economy isn’t as large as that of the UK and unemployment is much higher.
However, speaking the language will undoubtedly help you find work, meet people, and do your shopping. There’s generally a good level of English spoken in Portugal, but when it comes to admin, listening to the radio, or living life to the fullest in Portugal, you’ll have to speak the language.
If you want to avoid surrounding yourself with other British expats, the Portuguese language will open doors. Of course, Portuguese could also help you if you decide to return to the UK. This language is also spoken in Brazil (though not in the same way) and is a good skill to have on your CV.
Once you get there, you’ll see why so many Britons move to Portugal and don’t come back. Whether you’re planning on retiring in Portugal or going to work there, the low cost of living can afford you a better quality of life than you can get in the UK.
Just make sure that you carefully plan your move and get everything sorted before you go!
If you've decided that you'd like to learn some Portuguese before you move or once you get there, you can search for Portuguese tutors on the Superprof website.
You can learn Portuguese face-to-face with a tutor, online, or with a tutor in groups. Each type of tutoring comes with pros and cons in terms of the teaching approach and the cost so think carefully about which will work best for you.
Face-to-face tutorials are an excellent way to learn a foreign language. For one, you'll always have a tutor on hand to correct any mistakes you make and teach you exactly what you need to know. Similarly, as you're the only student in the class, you get a lot of opportunities to practise speaking your new language.
One-on-one tutors can tailor every lesson to their student, but this extra time spent planning every lesson can come at a cost and these are usually the most expensive type of tutoring available. Of course, since every minute in the session is spent teaching you, they're often the most cost-effective sessions.
Online tutoring is another great way to learn a foreign language. As the tutor doesn't have to travel and can schedule more tutorials each week, they tend to charge than face-to-face tutors. With online tutoring, you can also find tutors from all over the world. This means that you could even find a tutor from where you're planning on living in Portugal, learn some Portuguese before you move, and then start getting face-to-face tutoring from them once you arrive.
For those on a budget, group tutorials are an excellent idea. While you mightn't get as much time practising your Portuguese with your tutor, you can practise with the other members of the class. This is useful as they'll often be at a similar level to you. If you're moving to Portugal as a family, this is something you could all do together before you go. In this case, it'll probably be cheaper per person per hour but more expensive than a typical one-on-one session with just one student.