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Why Portugal?

According to the Expat Insider 2018 Report, Portugal is a family paradise with an excellent quality of life.


Situated at the western tip of Europe, Portugal is widely considered to be the best country to live in. Learn why a friendly and tolerant society, a low crime rate and a vibrant economy have made it the dream destination for many foreigners.


There are a variety of reasons why Portugal is probably the best country to live in around the world. It could be its rich & healthy cuisine and deep history. Or maybe the much cherished social cohesion that keeps the streets safe. Or possibly because it occupies the top spots in world health statistics. But what else has this small country situated at the extreme west of Europe next to the Atlantic Ocean got that makes it so special?


  • Portugal attracts an above-average percentage of retirees.

  • It also ranks in the top 10 for family life.

  • Expats enjoy the climate and weather.

  • Around eight out of ten feel at home there.

  • A large majority rate the cost of living positively.

Quality of Life

With Portugal’s positive ranking for quality of life, it is perhaps no surprise that almost eight out of ten expats (79%) are generally satisfied with local socializing and leisure activities. Nearly all respondents (94%) state they are happy with the climate and weather, with 84% saying they considered this factor a potential benefit even before moving to the country. Such results are perhaps to be expected, given Portugal’s mild winters and sunny summer climate.


It was also ranked first in the survey’s Quality of Life Index and fifth place for the quality of life in the HSBC survey, rendering it as a peaceful and happy place to live.


The sunshine in Portugal is one of the most important reasons why living in the country is so enjoyable, but it’s not the only reason which makes it the perfect place to live. Portugal also offers a wide variety of options in terms of leisure activities and new hobbies.

For example, the Algarve is considered one of the best places in the world for golf. It is also the ideal place for water sports, with most of its picturesque beaches boasting the prestigious blue flag award.


Portugal has a fantastic climate with more than 200 days of sunshine per year and an average maximum temperature of 20 degrees. Ideal for enjoying winter, spring, summer and autumn.

Hours of sunlight (per year):

  • Lisbon: 2806

  • Madrid: 2769

  • Paris: 1662

  • London: 1633

  • Berlin: 1626

  • Brussels: 1546

Average temperature (per year):

  • Lisbon: 17.5° C

  • Madrid: 15° C

  • Paris: 12.3° C

  • Brussels: 10.5° C

  • London: 10.3° C

  • Berlin: 10.3° C

The traffic in Portugal is also lighter than elsewhere. It is considerably less congested compared to most northern European countries, except in large cities where traffic jams are bad during peak hours. However, the country has good road networks, with an extensive network of dual carriageways and highways which reduces the traffic on the main roads.


With Portugal ranking 9th out of 50 destinations in the Family Life Index, respondents raising children abroad are largely content with family life in Portugal. An impressive 94% are generally satisfied with their personal family life compared to the global average of 79%. A total of 66% of expat parents also state that childcare options are numerous and easily available, while 64% say they do not struggle to afford childcare.


When it comes to educational standards, over four in five parents (81%) say that the quality of education in Portugal is generally high.


It's a great place to raise a family and have a high level of quality of life.


It seems Portugal is the place to be for families, ranking an impressive 11th out of 50 countries for family well-being. Among expat parents, a significant majority of 96% agree that attitudes towards families are friendly overall. Almost all the expat parents (97%) say that children’s safety is good, with another 96% rating their children’s well-being positively. In addition to this, 78% of respondents consider leisure activities for children to be satisfying.

Safety and Social Cohesion

The Global Peace Index has been ranking the safest countries in the world since 2007. In 2019, Portugal came in fourth place, just behind Iceland, New Zealand and Austria.


The Institute for Economics and Peace, a non-governmental organization, produces this annual study. The latest available data on crime backs up this statement: according to the annual internal security report, crime has dropped consecutively for the past seven years.


The country is also considered peaceful by 98% of expats participating in the survey. In the words of one expat from South Africa, “Portugal is safe and secure. The people are fantastic and have helped us in all aspects unreservedly.”


Portugal has a tradition for progressive and tolerant laws. Did you know that it was one of the first European countries to abolish slavery? The Guardian argues that drugs decriminalization policy turn Portugal a successful case study that should serve as an example to the rest of the world. In 2010 same-sex marriage becomes legal in the country. As a result of these legislative initiatives, wider social peace has been achieved in various sections of society. At the height of the economic crisis, while demonstrations became violent in other European countries this photograph of a protester embracing a police officer became famous worldwide.


Friendly and Welcoming People

Expats in Portugal also find it easy to settle in: over eight in ten (82%) feel largely at home in the local culture compared to a global average of six in ten. Not only do 83% say that it is generally straightforward to settle down in Portugal (compared to the worldwide average of 59%), but 85% also face few or no challenges getting used to the local culture.


These positive results are perhaps unsurprising, considering that nine in ten feel that the local population is by and large welcoming and that attitudes towards foreign residents are friendly (87% vs. a worldwide average of 66%). Just under two-thirds (64%) say they have little trouble making local friends, with the majority of respondents (78%) saying that they have either a fairly mixed group of local and expat friends or that they socialize mainly with local residents.

Even if you do not speak the local language, it is still generally easy to live in Portugal, with 65% agreeing that a lack of Portuguese language skills does not make it difficult to live there.


Affordable Cost of Living

As compared to the rest of Europe, the cost of living in Portugal is one of the lowest, making it very affordable. According to a report by Live & Invest Overseas, the cost of living in Portugal is approximately 30% lower than any other country in the area.


When it comes to personal finances, 62% of expats in Portugal are generally satisfied with their financial situation. Just over three-quarters (77%) say their disposable household income is enough or more than enough to cover their living expenses, about the same as the global average (78%). However, compared to the survey average of 51%, a majority of respondents in Portugal (82%) consider the cost of living to be generally affordable, and just over seven in ten (71%) perceived the cost of living as a benefit before moving abroad, compared to the worldwide average of just over four in ten (42%).




The Portuguese National Health Service is a network of over 1500 public hospitals & health centres, and 120,000 health professionals, scattered throughout the country. It was created in 1979 and access is free and universal for all residents of Portugal. If you live in Portugal, you can use this service without any hindrance.


Portuguese health policies have been getting substantial results over the past few years. Do you want two examples? Infant mortality fell 94% in 45 years and is currently the third lowest in Europe. Average life expectancy at birth increased by 17 years between 1960 and 2015.


In addition to this, 85% of expats think that the quality of medical care in Portugal is generally good, which is 18 percentage points above the global average (67%). In fact, over three-quarters (77%) also consider healthcare to be affordable.


Investment friendly


The Portuguese government’s Golden Visa (a fast-track for foreign investors from non-EU countries) and other schemes like urban renewal projects have helped establish Portugal as an attractive destination for foreign research and development companies, entrepreneurs and investors. Lisbon is fast becoming something of a creative and tech startup hub while Portugal is perceived as a stable place to do business and is ranked 29th out of 190 in the World Bank's Doing Business ranking.


The aim was to encourage direct foreign investment and help get the economy back on its feet after the Global Financial Crisis. It's worked, and investors are coming from all over the world, with the Chinese the most significant.


PWC published a report on why Portugal is a top choice for foreign investors, Europe's Best Kept Secret.


The RICS/ci housing market survey is a good barometer of confidence in the local property market. The 2018 report shows property prices expected to rise by around 4.5% over the next twelve months. As the supply of properties coming to the market slows further, house prices are expected to rise by around 5.5% on average a year for the next five years.

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