Portugal is a popular holiday destination for many European residents. Tucked away in south western Europe on the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal is popular for its sunshine, wine, seafood, golf, historic villages and architecture.
Portugal is a developed country with one of the world’s highest qualities of life. It is a member of the European Union and the currency is the Euro. The official language is Portuguese, although English is also spoken in tourist spots. Spanish should never be used in place of Portuguese; to the Portuguese it is highly offensive! Portugal enjoys a Mediterranean climate with warm sunny summers and mild winters which are generally well above freezing along the coast. The Algarve in the south has a rolling terrain and a warm, dry climate similar to southern Spain. Flights are cheap from all over Europe making Portugal very accessible.
Although there has been an influx of visitors to buy holiday homes on the Algarve, immigration into Portugal is not huge. Some retirees, seeking a warmer place to retire with a good infrastructure, healthcare and a laid-back lifestyle are finding Portugal very attractive. EU residents also benefit by not having to obtain a visa and healthcare is covered under the EU agreement. There is a national healthcare system, but other nationalities may need private health insurance.
Portugal currently has just over 10 million population with just 332,000 legal immigrants mainly from Brazil, Ukraine, and former Portuguese colonies of Africa. Romanians, Moldovans and Chinese groups have also settled here. EU citizens who have settled in Portugal are mostly retired professionals, such as doctors, business managers and nurses.
Portugal’s economy is based mainly upon the software and auto industries. Oil refineries, cement production, paper, furniture and cork are major exports. Textiles, clothing, footwear and soft drinks manufacturing are now in decline. Tourism also generates an important income and Portugal is the eleventh largest producer of wine in the world. Fishing is important and jobs can be found in most of these sectors. Visas may not be required for EU citizens, but check what other paperwork may be necessary to work in Portugal.
Although the cost of living in Portugal is low and it is a less wealthy country than many European neighbors, Portugal has a high quality of life. Modern housing is quite expensive, on a par with English prices and estate agents fees are high. Although there is currently no inheritance tax, Capital Gains Tax rules have changed recently so check the latest information before you buy. Portugal has a modern water supply and sanitation system and the largest solar power plant in the world. Healthcare is good and Portugal is developing as a destination for health tourism and health and wellness vacations based on its thermal baths.