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

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

The people are incredibly friendly and most helpful; they will bring you home-grown tomatoes, share their wine and talk to you even if you don’t understand a word!
The people can 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 is good - generally March to October is warm, with July and August being really hot.   
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.

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

 Temperatures in summer can climb over 40 degrees.

The Portuguese will take the time to explain what papers you need.

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

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

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

As compared to northern European countries, the traffic in Portugal is considerably less, except in the large cities where traffic jams at peak hours are bad.
The Portuguese driver is keen to drive fast and impatient to overtake: this causes numerous accidents, so do be careful.

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

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

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

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

Our Portugal Expert

JohnNorton's picture
Cape Town, South Africa
John Norton has a wealth of international business experience which he uses in working with his customers to develop and...

Got a question about your new country?

Search Expat Arrivals

You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.
, after login or registration your account will be connected.
Login with your Facebook account (Recommended)