It’s from May to September that we receive the majority of people that are looking to live in Portugal. We plan a Discovery Visit, which gives people the opportunity to experience Portugal first hand and gather the information needed to help make the decision of living in Portugal.
In this article we explore some activities that are included in the visit and that are must do's that we recommend.
Let’s start with some practical things to learn a bit more about the Portuguese culture. First thing is to go to a subway station in Lisbon and buy a ticket so that you can use and experience the public transportation network. In the big cities like Lisbon or Oporto a monthly pass is less than 40€ and you will quickly see that you don’t need car to move around in these cities. By subway, bus or train let’s make a pitstop and visit a terrace or traditional café (Brasileira in Lisbon, Santa Cruz in Coimbra or Majestic in Porto are our top choices) to make new friends and discover new tastes!
Portuguese history is always a good conversation topic, you will hear a lot of Portuguese converse about the Portuguese Navigators, culture, and about the "good old times" - in those conversations you will feel an untranslatable word that only the Portuguese use: “Saudade”. The word “Saudade” only exists in the Portuguese language, it describes a very strong feeling that you have when you deeply miss someone or a moment.
Every Portuguese wants you to feel “Saudades” of Portugal after you leave the country. This is because Portuguese love to host foreigners. To your surprise, after a conversation over an espresso, you will most likely be invited to tag along and go to the market (Ribeira or Campo de Ourique in Lisbon or Bulhão in Porto) to buy fresh vegetables and sardines for a grill in a nice home patio or terrace.
With a kilo of sardines costing less than 10 € and the potatoes less than 1€ per kilo you will be tented to buy an excellent Portuguese red wine like Quinta do Crasto Douro Superior (number 25 of Wine Spectator list and that only costs 15€ in the market). By now you have already understood that the cost of living in Portugal is a pleasant surprise. Even if you decide not to cook at home, you can have a three-course meal in a mid-range restaurant for no more than 35€.
Now it’s time for a stroll and know more around the neighborhoods of where you may want to live. For example, if you are visiting the centre of Lisbon within walking distance you will find pleasant cafes, restaurants, shops, theatres, museums and gardens where you can just sit and enjoy the special light that Lisbon beams. Not far from Lisbon, you can walk or bike along the Estoril and Cascais Coast, on the left you have the Atlantic Ocean, on your right the small palaces that give this area a special glamour. For those who are more romantic, we recommend not leaving the country without visiting Sintra, a mysterious location full of history and wonders surrounded by lush botanical gardens.
If your looking to live in the North of Portugal, in Oporto walk around the city and take in the extravagant baroque churches and the stately beaux-arts buildings piled one on top of the another. If you begin to get tired, take a break in the village-style plaza and mingle with the locals, you will discover the true kindness and politeness of Oporto residents. On your visit to the north, don't forget to visit the Douro Valley, simply breath-taking.
If you want to be more in touch with nature, and looking to live in the countryside you have many options in Portugal. In spite of being a small country, Portugal offers a great diversity of landscapes from Alentejo to Trás os Montes. Depending on your lifestyle and expectation, you can select several locations to explore. You will be surprised to see how easy it is to reach every place in Portugal by taking the highway to every corner of the country, you will have broadband connection almost everywhere to skype with friends and family abroad, to work remotely or to catch up on your favorite series.
We always recommend the following test: make a list of the services or infrastructures that are most important for you in your daily life and try them out on your visit to Portugal. We believe that it will be to your surprise how easy it will be, even if you decide to settle in the countryside, you can get to an international airport or access excellent medical facilities in less than an hour or so.
Finally, let’s relax on the beach. We're sure you've heard about the Algarve, but be advised that even thought the Algarve is in fact mesmerizing, Portugal a +500km long coastline. If you are a Surf fan, Silver Coast and Ericeira are great options for you, if you prefer white sand beaches and countryside visit Tróia and Comporta. From Tróia to Algarve down the Alentejo coast you have plenty of beautiful beaches. Whatever your decision will be, search for a restaurant where locals eat by the sea, here you will always find fresh fish and seafood.
There’s of course a lot more to discover and information to gather but this article is already too long. To have a full detailed discovery trip before you make your decision, contact Kleya!
Some of the activities mentioned may be restricted due to COVID-19 measures that will be in place at the time.