How to retire in Portugal

How to retire in Portugal?  From the best towns to retire in Portugal, to a guide on immigration options for retiring in Portugal,  we provide detailed information for expats who are interested in retiring in Europe’s sunny nation.

Retire in Portugal: The pros

To retire in Portugal, there are several points to consider. This includes:

Fantastic weather Fantastic weather
Warm and welcoming people Warm and welcoming people
Relaxed lifestyle pace Relaxed lifestyle pace
Thriving culture, food and arts scene Thriving culture, food and arts scene
Lower cost of living Lower cost of living
Affordable real estate prices Affordable real estate prices

Retiring in Portugal: What to expect

Portugal living costs for retirees

The cost of living in Portugal is really affordable in comparison to other European countries or the US. You can live comfortably with an estimated €1,300-€1,500 (US$1,500-1,700) per month in small towns or €1,700 ($2,200) in larger urban areas such as Lisbon or Porto. Groceries, eating out, rent, utilities, and healthcare are especially affordable in Portugal.

Healthcare for retirees

Portugal has universal health coverage through its publicly funded National Health Service (called the Serviço Nacional de Saúde, SNS). It’s free for Portuguese citizens and mostly free for residents.

However, the quality of care might not match your standards, especially if you have had private healthcare in your country. Portugal’s SNS is also not entirely free, you’ll need to pay a certain amount each time you need treatment or a procedure (relatively low fees). 

You can easily subscribe to private health insurance for foreigners for an affordable price. The insurance could cost between €20 and €50 a month, depending on your needs and required services. This means you can pay anywhere between €400 a year for a basic plan and €1,000 yearly for a more well-rounded coverage.

Portugal inheritance law and wills

To retire in Portugal it’s important to understand the inheritance tax rules in Portugal. According to the Portuguese government, inheritance tax is governed by the home nation of the deceased. What this means is, that unless stated in a will, your estate will be handled and taxed according to the inheritance laws of your respective country.

Buying property in Portugal

With a diverse and stable real estate market, buying property in Portugal is a great investment to make. Due to Portugal’s popularity, the country has seen an increase in real estate purchases from foreign investors in the last years, leading property prices to rise. However, Portugal’s real estate is still cheaper than lots of European countries and provides for incredible real estate options: from typical houses and modern apartments to old buildings and barns available for renovations. 

Typically, properties located in Portugal’s biggest cities such as Lisbon and Porto will be more expensive than properties located in the Silver Coast or the central region of Portugal.

Big expat community in Portugal

When retiring in Portugal, you’ll be greeted by many international retirees from all corners of the globe.

The expat community is big and only growing in Portugal. In fact, Algarve is the most popular destination for retirees, and there are many British and American retirees settled here already. With a large English-speaking population, you’ll feel quickly welcomed.

There are also many expat community groups you can join. Platforms like InterNations and Meetup are great ways to meet like-minded people and make friends.

Elderly couple walking on the beach | GCS

Best place to retire in Portugal

There are many different regions to choose from in Portugal. If you are looking to live in buzzing cities with lots of entertainment, restaurants, and top health services Porto or the cosmopolitan Lisbon are ideal choices. Close to Lisbon, the Portuguese Riviera is also a great but more quiet location.

Hands down though, the Algarve is the best place to retire in Portugal and is also the most well-known for retirement, and for good reason. Its incredible beaches, warm water, and endless sunshine make it an incredible place to live. The existing English-speaking community means that there is a considerable amount of administrative support available to help take care of the Portuguese retirement process.

Those looking for a less developed and more authentically Portuguese region also pick the Silver Coast or the Central region of Portugal. You’ll find plenty of peaceful and tranquil areas filled with nature and space.

Person holding Portuguese Passport | GCS

Visas to retire in Portugal

Non-EU citizens will need to apply for a residence visa in order to retire in Portugal. Portugal’s retirement visas are the D7 visa and the Golden Visa. Both visas offer retirees the possibility to call Portugal home provided they fit the requirements. 

The popular D7 visa is adapted for retirees able to sustain themselves with their own fundings during their stay in Portugal; while the Portugal Golden Visa is meant for retirees seeking to make an economic investment in the country through real estate or investment funds for example.

Meant to accommodate different profiles of retirees, both visas are conveniently a pathway to acquiring Portuguese citizenship.

Frequently Asked Questions about how to retire in Portugal

How much do I need to retire in Portugal?

You can retire in Portugal with an income of between €1,400 – 2,400 per month, depending on which part of the country you choose to live in.

Where is the best place to retire in Portugal?

The best place to retire in Portugal depends on your interests. If you like beaches, then the best spots will probably be in the Algarve. If you like cities, check out Lisbon or Porto. Portugal also has beautiful vineyards, farms, mountains, and quaint villages throughout the country.

Besides Portugal, where else can you retire abroad?

Retirees have many options to choose from for retirement. A study by International Living recently released a list of top ten countries in the world to retire in.

How to retire to Portugal as a foreigner?

You can retire to Portugal as a foreigner by either applying through the D7 visa route or the Golden Visa route.