Lush hills, big surfing waves, a fresh evening breeze that takes away the edge of hot summer nights, delectable seafood, a local passion for crispy white wine, and sun-drenched winters. Sounds like the perfect description of life in LA, but don’t get this wrong. This is how life sounds in the most charming corner of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal and for many familiar reasons, Americans are flocking to this European country in search of a new life.
Last month’s report from the Portuguese border control (SEF) states that 121 resident permits were given to applicants investing in Portugal, the so-called Golden Visa. Unsurprisingly, The USA ranked number one among the top 5 nationalities granted this visa, surpassing China, Turkey, India, and Brazil. With Portugal ranking as the 3rd safest country in the world by the Global Peace Index, it is not difficult to see why this is such a popular destination for relocations. But beyond the west-Coast-like weather, what makes Portugal a special choice for US citizens?
1. The cost of living in Portugal versus USA
The cost of living is undoubtedly a strong pulling factor. Life in Portugal is considerably cheaper than the cost of living in the US. As a matter of fact, consumer prices, rental prices, restaurant prices, and grocery prices are on average 38% cheaper in Portugal than in the US. Eating well is actually very financially accessible, as Portugal is notably renowned for its fresh seafood, excellent wine, and delicious pastries which can be found pretty much anywhere at affordable costs.
Renting costs in Portugal are also considered low-cost compared to the rest of Europe, and 45% cheaper than in the US. You can for example rent a one-bedroom flat in the center of Lisbon for just €670 per month, a deal hard to find in New York.
2. Affordable and free healthcare
US citizens are also drawn by Portugal’s very good – and affordable healthcare system. It has universal health coverage publicly financed by the National Health Service, which gives all residents of Portugal heavily discounted healthcare, in local and regional health centers and hospitals. And if you are a Portuguese resident under 18 or above 65, you can benefit from Portugal’s free healthcare which is ideal for retirees and families moving to the country.
3. English is widely spoken
Unlike other EU countries, it is easy to get around if English is the only language you speak. In general, Portugal’s population is well educated, and one in three Portuguese people speaks English. This number is noticeably higher among younger Portuguese people, especially those under 25 because English is widely taught in Portugal’s public and private schools.
4. The great outdoors
Portugal is a wonderland of leisure activities. If you love golf, look no further than the Algarve, with some of the best courses in Europe. If you’d rather sample the gastronomic delights of Portugal, consider Lisbon, with its burgeoning food and wine scene.
Want nothing more than to lounge on the beach by day and tuck into a fresh-from-the-ocean seafood dinner every night? Portugal has an Atlantic coastline going for 600 kilometers from north to south, with beaches along the whole way.
Due to the fantastic lifestyle and freedom that being an expat in Portugal offers, many foreigners are relocating to Portugal annually. British, Dutch, German, and French make up the biggest expat communities in Portugal. However, the last few years have seen an increase in American expats moving to Portugal with Lisbon and the Algarve being especially famous places among American expats living in Portugal. With the assistance of social expat initiatives such as Meetup and Internations, finding your American expat communities in Portugal has never been so simple.