How to retire to Portugal

07 Jul 2022 - Category: Blog /
Retire Portugal

Portugal is ranked as one of the world's best places to retire. The International Living Annual Global Retirement Index ranks Portugal in the top five counties to retire in, but how easy is it to achieve this? Many of us may dream of retiring abroad and see Portugal's sunny climate, beautiful beaches and historic towns as a great choice. However, it's important to look at the many factors that may govern your decision, and we're here to help.

Below we'll look more closely at:

  • Why do people choose to retire to Portugal
  • How easy is it to retire to Portugal for US and UK citizens?
  • The Finance Factor – how much does it cost to retire in Portugal
  • Where is the best place to retire in Portugal?
  • Managing your money with ease in Portugal

Why people choose to retire to Portugal

Portugal has a wonderful reputation for retirees and people simply enjoying a vacation. Portugal is great for purchasing a retirement home and seeing out your golden years because of its low cost of living, great tax incentives and high-quality healthcare system and amenities.

The slow pace of life makes a welcome change for people from busy, fast-moving cultures such as the United Kingdom and the United States. With over 300 days of sunshine, retirees can simply see their days in peace, relaxing and not worrying about anything. Portugal has a fascinating cultural history, so anyone looking to keep their grey matter active will not be disappointed, and your palate, as Portugal's gastronomic treats, do not disappoint. The country is a mix of rural villages, cosmopolitan towns and relaxed seaside communities, giving retirees from all backgrounds a range of options to consider.

How easy is it to retire to Portugal for US and UK citizens?

Both US and UK citizens are subject to similar requirements when choosing Portugal retirement. Neither nation is a member of the EU or EEA, so there are two options to choose from. The options for both US and UK retirees are the Portugal D7 Visa or the Portugal Golden Visa.

Portugal D7 Visa

A Portugal D7 Visa is the most affordable option for people wanting to retire to the country. You need a minimum passive income of €8,460 per year. You will also need to add an additional 50% of your retirement with your spouse and an additional 30% for any dependent children you plan to take with you.

Portugal Golden Visa

The Portuguese Golden Visa scheme is a more expensive option for people with considerable disposable income. To qualify for this scheme, you need to make an investment of €350,000 to €500,000.

Both Visas allow you to gain permanent residence in Portugal after five years, and you can also apply for citizenship after six years, provided you pass a Portuguese language test.

The Finance Factor: How much does it cost to retire in Portugal?

Portugal is widely believed to have the lowest cost of living in Western Europe. This makes it a popular choice for retirees with no plans to return to work or get involved in any business activities. While it varies from area to area, averages suggest you can live comfortably in Portugal's interior regions for around €1600 a month. This increases if you move into one of Portugal's more populated cities, such as Lisbon or Porto.

Where is the best place to retire in Portugal?

There are many different and amazing places to explore in Portugal, but where would you want to live? Here are some of the best small towns in Portugal to retire to and some of the more popular metropolitan areas.


The capital of Portugal has an impressive city center, trademark yellow cable cars and over 60 museums. There is an English-speaking theater, beautiful beaches and a large ex-pat community to get involved with. The international airport also ensures that trips back to your home country are easy.


Porto sits on the Domo River and is the home of port wine, something you can enjoy plenty of when you settle in this beautiful city. Amazing shopping awaits along the Rua Santa Catarina, and there is also a large ex-pat community to make friends with. Porto's history is just fascinating, and it has a slightly cooler climate which may be welcome if you're not used to the searing sun.

Silver Coast

Portugal's Silver Coast is an idyllic region built around one of the world's oldest thermal hospitals. It has a lively and culturally rich old town with fantastic fresh markets and every modern amenity including a shopping mall, high-quality restaurants and cafes. Dom Carlos Park is a wonderful place for enjoying Portugal's greenery, and nearby beaches at Foz do Arelho and Nadadouro provide a welcome retreat.

The Alentejo

The Alentejo is in the hot southern region of Portugal. Extreme temperatures are expected, with highs reaching far above 100F and freezing chilly rains the norm in the colder months. Home to traditional walled cities and relaxed, sleepy villages, this region is perfect for immersing yourself in the quieter ways of Portuguese living. It's perfect for escaping the tourist traps, but you must be prepared to travel to access the healthcare and amenities the big cities offer.

Managing your money with ease in Portugal

Retiring abroad does pose questions about managing your finances. Understanding how to transfer your income can be tricky, but services like those at Small World make it straightforward and stress-free. We provide a range of money transfer services to Portugal, making it easy to access funds.

Our range of transfer services includes partnerships with leading Portuguese banks and financial services providers. You can send money directly to Portuguese bank accounts, utilise our Anywhere pickup service or arrange cash pick up at various collection locations.

Retiring to Portugal is a fantastic decision you surely won't regret.

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