10 great places to retire in Portugal

The choice of where to retire is not an easy one. After four of five decades of toil and saving, people naturally want the most comfortable life they can get without breaking the bank. Healthcare quality and affordability is an important factor to consider. Other factors include the climate, lifestyle, insurance, friendliness of the people, and personal security.  When considering where to retire, many people naturally consider Portugal which is ranked the fourth best place to retire in the world by the World Economic Forum.

Some of the elements that contributed to this ranking are

  • Portugal has a 96% positive rating for healthcare
  • 88% positive rating for climate
  • 87% positive rating for housing

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Why retire in Portugal?

It’s possible to retire in many cities of Portugal for as little as $1,400 while still maintaining an excellent quality of life. Many of the areas in the south of Portugal boast over 300 days of sunshine, and the north is known for the warmth of its people. 

Cuisine is unmatched in Portugal, as is the quality of many of its wines. The Mediterranean Diet is consistently ranked the #1 best diet for health by US News’s annual best diets rating. 

The Vision of Humanity’s 2021 Global Peace ranking found that Portugal was the 4th most peaceful country in the world. Crime is low across the country, and most crime is of a non-violent nature. 

The Portuguese government has numerous programs in place with generous benefits to attract foreign investors, professionals, and retirees to the country. 

Where to retire in Portugal

Portugal is full of potential retirement areas that span many climates and styles of life. From rural to urban, warm-all-round to skiing in the winter, Portugal really does have it all.  

With so many gorgeous areas to choose from to retire in Portugal, we have made a list of 10 of our favorite spots, each unique in its own special way. 

Arcos de Valdevez

The municipality of Arcos de Valdevez is situated just 40 minutes south of Galicia’s southern border, and 40 minutes north of Portugal’s Braga, a city considered to be the center of Portugal, which is also home to the country’s oldest cathedral.

Arcos de Valdevez furnishes modernity coupled with comfortable quietude. Nestled in the countryside, the village of 22,000 people is virtually on the border of the Peneda-Gerês National Park, which boasts rugged hills, top-class campsites, and excellent hiking trails. 

Anyone looking to retire in Portugal in a tranquil yet connected town should consider living in Arcos de Valdevez.

Amarante

The Amarante village is located near two powerhouses of Portuguese history—Porto, the progenitor of world-famous Port wine, and Guimaraes, where both Portugal itself and the nation’s first king were born. 

This quiet village is therefore ideally situated for anyone seeking the quiet of the countryside with an easy connection to major cities. 

For retirees who love golf, the village has an exquisite golf course designed by Portuguese architect Jorge Santana da Silva. The course combines the magnificence of nature in all its splendor with the raw challenge of 18 holes.

Aveiro

Aveiro is known as the Venice of Portugal because of its beautiful network of canals. But instead of gondolas, Aveiro has brightly colored moliceiros which have become the unofficial symbol of the town, much like Lisbon’s famous Tram 28. 

English is widely spoken due to the city’s dependence on tourism so Aveiro is an excellent location for anyone who speaks little Portuguese and is yet eager to retire in Portugal. 

Being a small city with a population of approximately 73,000, Aveiro is far less hectic than any metropolis, although the major city of Porto is just a 45-minute drive away. There is also a train to Porto with discounts for people who are over 65. 

Plenty of internet groups arrange meetups for expats in Aveiro, such as an easy night of drinks or a day out in the sun. 

Aldeias do Xisto

On the south and west of Coimbra—home of the country’s oldest university and its iconic style of Coimbra Fado—we come to Aldeias do Xisto, or Villages of Schist. This is a group of eight separate villages in the Serra da Lousa mountain range, in the center of the country. 

Connected trails take you to each village which sports traditional schist and wood homes, water fountains, and tiny streets. It is the ultimate idyllic setting for anyone who wants to live their golden years nestled comfortably within the tranquility of mountainous surroundings. 

The location is perfect for outdoors types who love hiking, Portuguese culture, breathtaking nature, and excellent Portuguese food.

Portimão

For those who prefer a beach-centric location, and the laid-back comfort of great weather, few places match up to Portimão’s renown. 

Although pronouncing the Algarvian town’s name can be challenging for non-Portuguese people, retiring there certainly isn’t. A couple can easily live on $2,500 a month in Portimão. And most of the popular restaurants have menus in multiple languages. English is widely spoken, as are many other European languages. 

What were once fishing docks, harking back to the town’s origins as a fish processing center, are now pedestrian walkways bordered by excellent restaurants and great shops. 

Any mention of Portimão wouldn’t be complete without talk of the Algarve’s beautiful beaches, such as the exquisite Praia da Rocha, located just 5 minutes away by car.

Sines

Sines is a small city and old fishing town of 14,000 inhabitants, bordering the Atlantic Ocean near the south of Portugal. It has become a major tourist attraction.

The ruins of a romantic medieval castle overlook the bay, and the town is surrounded by excellent beaches such as Praia Vasco da Gama, Praia de São Torpes, Praia do Morgavel, and others. 

Sines is ideal for those looking for a beach-centric location with great weather yet far from the high-season bustle of the Algarve. 

Chaves

Chaves is renowned for its thermal baths. It was a popular Roman settlement because of them. The northern city has numerous spa centers to relax your muscles and help cure many common ailments, and its many hot springs offer reprieve during the cold months, which are more numerous here than in more southern areas. 

The city offers plenty of other relaxing things to do, such as visiting the town’s main square—Praça de Camões—for a café or strolling through the Jardim Público de Chaves, the city’s public gardens. 

As with all other Portuguese towns, excellent dining is a given, as is the wide choice of fine wine.  

Serra da Estrela

Serra da Estrela—translated as Mountain of the Star—is Portugal’s highest mountain, and a popular skiing destination for locals during the winter months. The beauty of this area is nothing short of breathtaking, and Serra da Estrela is perfect for anyone wanting to live surrounded by nature. 

Other activities in the area include horse riding and, for the more adventurous, mountain biking. 

This is also the home of the world-famous Serra da Estrela cheese which tastes great with traditional bread. 

Retiring here means living near comfy log fires, snow-capped mountains in the winter, and stunning nature trails.

Terceira Island, Azores

For US retirees who want the good life offered by the Portuguese lifestyle but also wish to stay connected to the states, no place is better than Terceira Island in the Azores

A primary setting in the touching book of Portuguese culture intertwined with US culture, The Tenth Island by Pulitzer Prize-winning Diana Marcum, Terceira Island’s economy is greatly driven by the local support services and businesses that have grown around the US Airbase. 

The island is a gem in itself, with breathtaking views of the Atlantic and splendid sunsets. 

A mild climate all year round, with only moderate rainfall, Terceira Island is an excellent location for anyone chasing down “the good life.”

Sintra

Sintra - Jubilarse en Portugal - Pearls of Portugal

This fairy-tale location is home to some of the most striking forestry and nature in the entire country. It captivated the imagination of many artistic masters such as Thomas Bernhard, Hans Christian Andersen, Lord Byron, and Eça de Queirós, who all spent time there to rejuvenate and grow inspired. 

Much of the area was forested by Swiss-Bostonian-turned-countess Elise Friederike Hensler and her husband King Ferdinand II of Portugal. Their mutual passion for botany was responsible for creating the Park at the Palace of Pena into a magnificent ecosystem of natural life. 

Sintra is just a train ride away from Central Lisbon despite feeling like another world entirely. You can easily pop down to one of the beaches at Costa da Caparica for the day, or to Lisbon for some shopping, before coming back to rest in this modern-day paradise.

Want to retire in Portugal?

The easiest way to retire in Portugal is to hire a specialist who can assist you in all matters of finding a property, getting a residency permit, obtaining the proper insurance, and anything else that’s needed to get you settled in this beautiful country. 

To find out how Pearls of Portugal can help you retire in Portugal, contact us today for a no-obligation consultation

 

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