How to retire in Portugal? This guide will analyse the most important aspects to move to and retire in this Southern European country
If you are looking on how to retire in Portugal, this guide is for you. Learn how to get to Portugal, open a bank account and sort all the bureaucracy involved in moving to Portugal.
Let’s analyze the advantages and disadvantages of moving or retiring to Portugal. Portugal is one of the most affordable countries in Europe, with one of the best climate in the old continent.
Retire in Portugal: Overview
Portugal is a country in Southern Europe, and one of the best retirement destinations currently in the world. The country has a number of advantages, such as low cost of living, pleasant weather year round and high public safety.
Portugal has been gaining popularity in recent years as one of the best countries to retire in Europe. That is partially explained because other European destinations have become increasingly unattractive. While Italy and France are too expensive, Greece is plagued by social tensions and economic crisis. Portugal on the other hand remains safe and relatively affordable.
Getting to Portugal
Getting to Portugal is quite easy if you live in North America and also in Western Europe. As Portugal is one of the best summer destinations in Europe, it has a good airport infrastructure and many European airlines operate in the country.
The Lisbon Airport is the biggest in the country in passenger traffic, followed by the Porto Airport. The airports in Azores, Madeira Island and Faro also get a decent amount of flights, especially in summer.
Opening a Bank Account in Portugal
Opening a bank account in Portugal is a relatively simple process, but involves some level of bureaucracy. You can open a bank account in Portugal as a resident, or a non-resident.
In both cases you will need your passport, and a NIF. The NIF number can be obtained by citizens of any country, and is your Portuguese tax number. A proof of residence (utility bill) is often required, in Portugal or in your country of residence.
Once you get your NIF you can go to a bank branch and open your account. However each bank has their own requirements and regulations, which might differ significantly among different banks.
Below we have a list with some of the biggest banks in Portugal.
Residence Permit in Portugal
Another important advantage of Portugal, is the procedure to obtain a residence permit. If you are an EU citizen, you have virtually no limitations in regards to start a life in Portugal. If you are a non-EU resident, you can also move and retire in Portugal, and the residence requirements are among the lowest in Western Europe.
EU Citizens: EU citizens can enjoy the same rights as Portuguese citizens in Portugal, in almost every aspect. You can just arrive in Portugal, rent a property and start your new Portuguese life.
Portugal Retirement Visa for Non-EU Citizens (D7)
Non-EU Citizens: Non-EU Citizens have to apply for a residence permit to live in Portugal. The best bet is the D7 visa, for retired people and for people with income originated from abroad. The financial requirements to get this visa are extremely low and much below the minimums in Spain or France.
Portugal is currently one of the easiest countries in the EU to get a retirement visa if you are a non-EU citizen. While some other countries have similar visas like France and Spain, Portugal has much lower financial requirements.
Cost of Living in Portugal
Portugal has one of the lowest cost of living in Western Europe. Despite recent price increases, real estate remains relatively inexpensive in many parts of Portugal. Food is inexpensive and also delicious in Portugal.
The minimum salary in Portugal is among the lowest in the Eurozone, slightly under 600 euros. This is a good indicator of the cost of living in Portugal. If you have an income of roughly 1300 € per month ($1500) you can have an excellent quality of life in Portugal (but in Lisbon you will probably need considerably more).
Best Places to Retire in Portugal
Another flagrant advantage of Portugal is its variety of options in terms of where you can actually retire. Portugal offer big cities with world class transport infrastructure, but also smaller cities for those who enjoy a slow paced living.
Lisbon: the capital is the most obvious choice for those considering retiring in Portugal. It has the best services and direct flights to a number of countries. Lisbon also has the highest number of English speakers among its population. However, the cost of living in Lisbon is by far the highest, specially when it comes to real estate.
Porto: the second most visited destination in Portugal is also a great place to require. While it doesn’t lack services and transport links, it is much more relaxed than Lisbon. Real estate prices in Porto are also considerably cheaper than the capital.
Algarve: the southernmost region of continental Portugal is also a hot spot for retirement. It is constantly sunny and you can get real estate for a fraction of the cost in Lisbon or Porto. The region is more subject to seasonality, and the availability of flights is reduced.
Other locations: Portugal has many smaller cities and towns to be considered for retirement. Among them we can mention Braga, Coimbra, Évora and Aveiro.
Other Resources for travelling in Portugal
If you traveling in Portugal you might want to check some of our other guides to this unique European region. Check the best places to stay in Porto.
For those considering a longer stay in the country you might want to check our post on the cost of living in Lisbon and cost of living in Porto.
Already in Portugal? Leave your thoughts and questions in the comment box below.