If you are an American seeking to move to Portugal, you’ll be pleased to know there are already many American expats in Portugal who’ve settled here happily. Portugal has more than 300 days of sunshine per year, a very affordable cost of living, and fantastic cities to live in! For more details, we have compiled a handy guide to help you live your best expatriate life in Portugal.
Where to live in Portugal as an expat
Best places in Portugal for expats
Portugal is famous for having some of the best cities to live in Europe. Depending on the type of lifestyle you are looking for, different cities will accommodate different needs. If you are looking to live in a big city, full of activities and opportunities, you should move to either the capital city Lisbon, or Porto — the second-largest city of Portugal. Here, you’ll find an enriching community of expats and social groups to join, packed with outings and events to encourage socializing.
If you would like to lead a peaceful lifestyle by the beach, head to the Algarve, in the Southern part of Portugal. Smaller cities such as Faro, Lagos, Monchique, and Alcoutim are perfect places to relax by the ocean. With a community of roughly 40,000 expats resettled there. Many expats in the Algarve appreciate the fact that the local population speaks good English and is very welcoming to foreigners.
The central region of Portugal also has wonderful and very affordable cities to live in. Viseu and Évora, for example, are both beautiful and historic cities filled with cafes and restaurants, and praised for the optimal quality of life they offer. They offer a welcome and relaxed pace of living, away from the rush of Portugal’s bigger cities.
Buy property in Portugal
There are plenty of property options in Portugal and prices vary depending on the regions. Lisbon and the Algarve are for example the most expensive areas to buy property in Portugal, while the central region of Portugal is the cheapest.
If you are moving to Portugal from the US, buying property in Portugal is a great investment to make. By purchasing and keeping ownership of a property for at least five years, you can be eligible for permanent residency and even a Portuguese passport, while offering high rental yields. An important thing to keep in mind is that the property investment in question must qualify under the Portugal Golden Visa scheme.
If you are interested in buying property in Portugal, we recommend taking a look at our property guide.
Cost of living for US expats in Portugal
The cost of living in Portugal is considerably cheaper than the cost of living in the US. As a matter of fact, consumer prices, rental prices, restaurant prices, and grocery prices are on average 38% cheaper in Portugal than in the US.
Eating well is actually very financially accessible, as Portugal is notably renowned for its fresh seafood, excellent wine, and delicious pastries which can be found pretty much anywhere at affordable costs.
Renting costs in Portugal is also considered low-cost compared to the rest of Europe, and 45% cheaper than in the US. You can for example rent a one-bedroom flat in the center of Lisbon for just €670 per month.
Healthcare insurance for expats in Portugal
Portugal has a very good healthcare system. It has universal health coverage publicly financed by the National Health Service, which gives all residents of Portugal free and basic healthcare, in local and regional health centers and hospitals. So as long as you are a Portuguese resident and pay taxes, you can benefit from Portugal’s free healthcare.
Private healthcare and health insurance are also available in Portugal, giving you access to specialized practitioners, and private health services.
How to make the move: the Portugal Golden Visa
If you are willing to move from the US to Portugal, the Portugal Golden Visa is one of the best visa options. Launched in 2012, this immigration investor program gives investors and their families the incredible opportunity to get Portuguese citizenship in exchange for an investment of at least €270,000 in the country’s economy. Investment routes are multiple and suit different budgets.
American expat communities in Portugal
Due to the fantastic lifestyle and freedom that being an expat in Portugal offers, many foreigners are relocating to Portugal annually. British, Dutch, German, and French make up the biggest expat communities in Portugal. However, the last years have seen an increase in American expats moving to Portugal with Lisbon and the Algarve being especially famous places among American expats living in Portugal. With the assistance of social expat initiatives such as Meetup and Internations, finding your American expat communities in Portugal has never been so simple.
Frequently Asked Questions about American expats in Portugal
Where to live in Portugal as a US expat?
Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Viseu, and Évora are some of the best cities to live in for expats.
Can I find American expat communities in Portugal?
Yes, you can find American expats communities in Portugal. The past years have seen an increase in American expats living in Portugal. Lisbon and the Algarve are especially famous among the American expat communities in Portugal.
Is living in Portugal as an expat expensive?
Living in Portugal as an expat is very affordable. The cost of living in Portugal is relatively cheaper than many other European countries, and definitely cheaper than the cost of living in the US. Rents are for example 45% cheaper in Portugal than in the US.
Are there health insurance plans for expats in Portugal?
Yes, there are health insurances for expats in Portugal, giving you access to public and private health facilities. If you are a Portuguese resident you can benefit from free healthcare.