These are some of the most useful resources I’ve come across over the 10 years I’ve been living in Portugal. It is by no means the most comprehensive resource but I add to it when I find something that may help my readers. I can’t vouch for how up to date the contents of third party websites are but as a starting point, they should help you track down the information you’re looking for.
If you are still wondering whether living abroad is right for you, or where to relocate to, veteran travel writer and serial expat Tim Leffel’s Better Life For Half The Price guide also has different levels of add-on services to give you a little extra support in the decision-making process.
Moving to Portugal
When you’ve narrowed down your options to Portugal but haven’t yet taken the plunge, be sure to read these books before committing yourself to anything. The first one is packed full of contact details for relevant services and advice about buying, selling and renting properties as well as work opportunities:
Get a feel for the cost of living in different parts of Portugal with this calculator and comparison site.
U.S. citizens wondering about the necessary paperwork should take a look at this useful article.
If you need information about tax, VAT and different kinds of tax/residency status in Portugal, Portal das Finanças has some information in English.
The High Commission For Migrations (Alto Comissariado para as Migrações) has a very useful website which answers many common questions about living, studying, and working in Portugal.
If you are a establishing temporary or long-term residency or immigrating to Portugal, these sites will have the information you need:
SECOMUNIDADES.PT For obtaining a Portugal visa
IMIGRANTE.PT Is the official website for Portuguese immigration and information about residency requirements
SEF Portugal’s Immigration and Borders Services (Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras) has the legislative information you need
CNAI The National Centre of Support to the Immigrant (Centro Nacional de Apoio ao Imigrante) provides support after you’ve arrived in Portugal
Healthcare in Portugal
EU citizens who are legally resident in Portugal may be entitled to health care at subsidised costs but private health insurance is an option for those that prefer not to have to rely on the state services, or who are not from the EU.
Be aware that early retirees from the UK may need to make special arrangements. Once you’re of state pension age, you’ll get an S1 form that covers the reciprocal payments for healthcare but in the interim period, you may have to take out private insurance if you’re not contributing to the Portuguese social security system. More details on the UK Government website about health service and pension entitlements.
This table explains the circumstances which grant access to the Portuguese Health Service.
The DECO website is a consumer protection site (in Portuguese) and, among other things, offers a price comparison tool for health insurance in Portugal.
Economising on travel in Portugal
My Money Saving Tips For Travel in Portugal provides practical advice for both short-term visitors to Portugal and long-term residents. Find out how to save money on transport, accommodation, petrol, eating out and more besides.
My Portugal travel deals page also has some great resources for saving money on car rental, flights, accommodation and tours.
Unless you are already fluent in Portuguese, you should find these resources helpful when it comes to communicating in Portugal:
Driving in Portugal
It can take a bit of getting used to so here are my 25 Essential Tips For Driving In Portugal Without Losing Your Cool
If you or your visitors need to rent a car, read this first: How To Rent A Car In Portugal And Avoid Sneaky Extra Charges
If you’re happy using an online platform to cut out the middleman and get the best rates of the moment, Transferwise is easy to use and only takes about a day to get funds from bank to bank.
They have also introduced a new Borderless account which allows you to send or receive payments in other currencies from a holding account and avoid paying currency exchange fees when the money reaches or leaves your normal bank account.
If you’d rather talk to a real person who can negotiate favourable rates on your behalf, especially if you’re purchasing property, Foreign Currency Direct have excellent customer service and a good track record. They deal with regular transfers, such as pension income, too.
Facebook groups for expats
I’ve tried expat forums in the past but find that Facebook groups tend to be more helpful if you have questions or just fancy connecting with other English-speakers for some moral support.
Tip: Look for ones that are well-moderated as people with too much time on their hands sometimes get a bit nasty. Report any nonsense or abuse to the moderator so they can weigh in and ban offenders if necessary.
One of the most helpful Facebook groups I’ve come across for foreigners living in Portugal is Life In Portugal.
Americans & Friends in Portugal is also really useful, especially for Americans trying to find their way through the haze of bureaucracy and visa requirements.
For buying and selling used goods in central Portugal, Second Hand Treasures is great.
There are many others so use the search function to find and join ones that are local to you. The Silver Coast and Algarve have particularly active groups.
There are groups for specific interests, e.g. crafters, gardeners, people doing up old properties and walking groups. Ask around if you can’t find what you want with a simple search.
Safe Communities Portugal is a non-profit organisation that aims to prevent crime and promote safety for tourists and residents in Portugal.
My A to Z of Portugal
A few years ago, I wrote this series of posts, most of which are about my experience of living in Portugal as a foreigner. They include the frustrations, delights and surprises I encountered and may provide you with reassurance, information or just a giggle.
See the list here: My Personal A to Z of Portugal
You’ll find my other expat-related posts in this archive.
Comfort food and supplies
While you can get pretty much everything you are likely to need in Portugal, some of your favourite brands may be noticeably missing from supermarket shelves. If you have not been able to satisfy your craving for Ginger Nuts, Bisto gravy granules or mince pies, you could treat yourself to a ‘comfort package’.
British Corner Shop now do smaller parcels so you don’t have to go crazy when filling your online shopping basket just to meet the minimum order levels. Shop your favourite British foods and products.
Forest fire information
Unfortunately, forest fires are a scary reality every year in Portugal so if you’re living anywhere near a forested area, you’ll want to be able to find out the current situation if there is a fire.
Fogos.pt is fairly good and there’s an app which you can set up to send you alerts of fires in your area.
ProCiv is usually a bit more reliable.
If you’re in Central Portugal, this is a helpful Facebook group for getting current information about fires.
To check which areas have been burnt and to see locations of current fires, the Copernicus site is good, although not very intuitive.
BEFORE YOU GO...
If you're interested in visiting or moving to Portugal, why not get my free insider tips and resources by email? These newsletters also include blog updates and information about relevant products, services and special offers.