Deciding to uproot and move to a different country isn’t an easy decision to make, and yet it’s one that millions of Brits have made.
As many as 4.7 million Britons are currently living abroad, having chosen to say goodbye to the UK’s temperamental weather in search of sunnier climes and a more relaxed way of life.
Portugal can offer a lot to expats; here are six reasons why Portugal is increasingly becoming the place to start again.
The wonderful weather
Sun-worshippers will adore Portugal’s incredible weather. When you live in Portugal, you will enjoy warm conditions from March to October, with the hottest months being July and August. Temperatures can soar to as high as 40˚C, so make sure you live somewhere with a pool or that’s close to the beach! Naturally, the climate varies according to where you live.
The Algarve is actually one of the driest and warmest places to live in Portugal. In the north, you can expect the climate to be similar to the south of the UK, but usually ten degrees warmer.
Don’t throw out your hats and coats just yet though – just like in the UK, Portuguese winters are cold and wet. Fortunately there isn’t much snow; only the mountainous areas of Serra de Estrella, in the north east, see snowfall in winter.
Portugal’s beautiful beaches
Out with the stones and in with the sand – Portugal boasts some of the best beaches in the world. They’re in great abundance, too, stretching the entirety of the western and southern parts of the country. Plus, they’re safe, clean and blessed with white or golden sand.
There are so many incredible beaches in Portugal you’ll no doubt have trouble picking a favourite. We highly recommend Vale de Centeanes in the Algarve. It’s sheltered by large cliffs, giving a secluded feel and the golden sand spans some 400m. Parents will also be pleased to know that, during the summer, it is supervised, so you can be sure your little ones will be safe.
In Portugal, the language is not a huge barrier
While it is always wise to learn the language of the country you’re emigrating to, you don’t need to speak fluent Portuguese before moving to Portugal. English is widely spoken – kids are taught it at school and young people are more than happy to practise their skills. There are thousands of Brits living in the Algarve, so you are never far away from an English speaker, although most Portuguese people in the western Algarve are used to speaking English.
You will also have no trouble speaking English in the Lisbon area. The further north you go, while you will find people who understand English, they tend to speak it less.
Perhaps most importantly, the Portuguese people don’t let a language barrier hold them back from being generous and welcoming towards their new neighbours, which brings us nicely onto our next point.
The Portuguese people
The Portuguese are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet – something which all British expats can attest to. No matter which region you choose to live in, you’ll more than likely be welcomed with open arms - and a bottle of wine or two...
Your new friends will be happy to leave you to your own devices, but getting to know your Portuguese neighbours will enrich your experience. Portuguese people are wonderful at criticising their country’s status and their politicians while also being very proud of their identity, their heritage and their food.
Get to know them and learn the language and you will make some great new friends.
The food and drink
Foodies and wine-lovers will adore what Portugal has to offer in these departments. The country has produced wine for centuries, with Port and Vinho Verde being two particular specialities. However, you’ll find a huge variety of wine to sample in any supermarket, as each region produces something different.
Since Portugal is on the coast, fish is rather a big deal here. You can get fresh fish every day at the local markets, including stone bass, sea bass, mussels, oysters, golden bream, clams and so much more – not to mention Bacalhau (dried codfish).
If you’re not keen on fish, not to worry – there is so much else to enjoy. Olives, almonds, pine nuts, grapes and figs are all grown locally. Plus, there are the wonderful cheeses, cured hams and the divine acorn-fed black pork to try.
There’s so much to do in Portugal
You’ll never be bored in Portugal – there are so many activities you can try. You’re bound to find at least one that’s right for you. There are a huge number of golf courses and, thanks to all the beaches, watersports are in abundance too. You can go surfing, parasailing, water skiing or scuba diving – when you’re not working on that tan, of course. Alternatively there’s fishing, mountain biking, bird watching, tennis, go-karting…the list goes on...
Naturally you’re not just limited to sports – Portugal’s culture is regularly celebrated with large events. You can lose yourself in art exhibitions and museums, or spend the evening at a concert hall. Kids, on the other hand, can enjoy the many theme parks, waterparks and zoos Portugal has to offer. They’ll never spend another weekend in front of the TV again.
When you read the above it’s easy to see why so many of us are choosing to give living in Portugal a try. The slower, more relaxed way of life can be a bit of a culture shock at first, but you’ll soon be glad you moved away from the hustle and bustle of the UK.