One of the main reasons that foreigners choose to retire in Portugal is due to its pleasant climate, beautiful coastline and reasonably priced property, as well as a relatively low cost of living compared to other countries. Portugal has something for everyone, from old but historic villages to lively cities.
According to Emma Donaldson, these are the best places to live in Portugal for retirees:
The main attraction for pensioners in Portugal is of course the stunning Algarve region on Portugal's southern coast. This region is filled with golden beaches and impressive cliffs and in 2021 was recently recognised as the ‘most affordable option in Europe for retirees’ by Forbes. The Algarve proves particularly popular with English-speaking expats and you'll be surrounded by other retirees depending on where you choose to move to.
Within the region itself, there is plenty to choose from in its 16 municipalities. Property prices depend on location but prices are lower than in other parts of the country, while cost of living is also lower than in the big cities. The region is known for great safety and the Algarve is perfect for pensioners who want a lively and active lifestyle, especially for those who enjoy a round of golf, given the region's fame as home to some of the top golf courses in Portugal and Europe.
Beautiful Madeira is a Portuguese island situated in the Atlantic, around 1,000km off the coast of mainland Portugal and 600km from Africa. This spectacular destination has a temperate climate and experiences warm weather for the majority of the year, making it another great option for pensioners. The archipelago has fewer tourists than the Algarve but at the same time, the expat community here is growing.
Madeira is a great place for those who want to live away from the hustle and bustle of a city as it is close to nature and is the perfect place to embrace an island lifestyle. While the cost of living is a little more expensive in Madeira than in the Algarve, there are also a great variety of properties for sale and rent at reasonable prices. Moreover, the island hasn't been as affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and life in pretty normal on the island.
Another great option for those who want to retire in Portugal is the province of Lisbon. Here you will clearly find the capital city of Portugal, Lisbon, which is in many ways the beating heart of the country and welcomes pensioners from around the world. There is a thriving expat community and plenty going on for those seeking a lively retirement, while Lisbon has also recently been named as one of the top 10 cities with the best living conditions for pensioners.
Real estate is more expensive in Lisbon city centre than in other parts of Portugal, and neighbourhoods can be crowded and noisy, but this is something that can be avoided by living in the outskirts. Another good option in the district of Lisbon is Setúbal, a smaller city but just as charming, which is close to nature and the region's beautiful natural parks, as well as being just a short drive from Lisbon itself.
Often when considering where to live, and retire, in Portugal, people overlook Northern Portugal. Apart from the charming city of Porto which has a large expat community, the rest of this region also has a lot to offer for expats and pensioners. This mountainous area has beautiful countryside and vineyards and is a very affordable option for pensioners who want to live in an area with fewer tourists, including the stunning Douro Valley which is a haven of tranquility and perfect for wine lovers.
Property prices in Northern Portugal are among the lowest in the country, and living in the north doesn't mean you have to miss out on the beach, as this region of Portugal is also home to over 100km of rugged coastline.