In this guest post, Kalie from ExpatsEverywhere shares the reasons why she and Josh chose Portugal over all the other countries on their list. Here’s their story…
I get asked this question a lot: Why Portugal?
Obviously, there are a variety of reasons that someone chooses to move somewhere, whether that’s in their own country or abroad.
There are a lot of great options for places to move abroad, but we are extremely happy to currently be in Portugal.
Before I go into why, let me give you a quick backstory…
My husband, Josh, and I moved from the US in 2009. Our first stop was Spain, then South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore.
So Portugal was tricky because it starts with a “P” and we had a really good streak going with countries starting with “S” haha.
But seriously, we had been living abroad for a while with no intention of moving back to the US.
While we loved our time in Singapore, we felt like we wanted to get back to the European lifestyle. We had been in Asia for quite a while.
During our time in Spain, we had visited Portugal a lot and really fell in love with the country, specifically the city of Porto.
It was always on the back burner as an option so when we started looking for our next move (and I kid you not, we were looking into Slovenia which just so happens to start with an “S” too) we were reminded of Portugal.
Josh started doing a bit of research to figure out just how hard it would be to move to Portugal. What’s the visa process like? What do we need to prove to get the visa? What’s a realistic budget? Questions like these. He found a very doable visa and path.
At the time, it was just the D7 visa which was classified as living off of individual revenue. A lot of people called it the retiree visa but it wasn’t just limited to being retired and passive income.
We found that we could apply being self-employed along with some passive income we had. Things have changed a bit with that, but more on that later.
Why We Chose Portugal
So why did we choose Portugal and, specifically, Porto?
We used to joke that Portugal was the hidden gem of Europe. Nobody knew where it was or even considered visiting.
Americans would plan a European trip and go to places like London, Paris, Rome, etc. No Portuguese city was ever on that list.
Boy has that changed! Even when we started our move in 2020 (yes, crazy timing I know) Portugal wasn’t that popular of a place to move to.
There are lots of reasons to consider Portugal as a good destination. One of the big reasons we decided to move to Portugal is safety. It’s currently ranked #7 in the world and #5 in Europe on the Global Peace Index.
This was a massive perk as we had recently had a baby girl and I like the city life so I wanted to be able to move around the city on my own and with her while feeling and being safe.
English Speakers in Portugal
Another great perk is the overall English language proficiency. Portuguese is a hard language so as I learn, it’s nice to know I can fall back on English.
Portugal is currently ranked #9 in the world for English and they teach it early on in schools. Obviously, smaller towns will have fewer people who are proficient but we wanted to live in Porto so we knew we would be ok.
Why Porto, Portugal?
For us, it has everything. We can live in a city with all the amenities we need but not be in an overwhelmingly large city.
The beach is nearby and easy to access by metro and bus. We also have a beautiful river to enjoy.
Some people will classify Porto as gritty. We know it’s not for everyone but we love it. We don’t mind the cooler weather in the winter (because we get the cooler and most pleasant weather in the summer too) and a little rain off and on doesn’t bother us.
It’s an overall vibe and we are definitely Porto people.
Portuguese people are notoriously nice but there’s something overly nice about the people in the north. It has a bit more of a humbler beginning and we don’t have the rush of being a capital city. People are very accommodating and helpful.
I could go on and on about why we chose Portugal as a place to live but it ticks all of our boxes for the stage of life we are in.
We know it’s not for everyone and Porto specifically is not for everyone. However, we are really enjoying being back to the European lifestyle and being able to easily and cheaply travel around Europe.
Travel, the lower cost of living, and the reasons I listed above are all major perks of being an expat in Portugal.
Remember earlier when I mentioned we came in on the D7 visa? The D7 still exists for passive income but now there’s a D8 visa for active income. We are happy to help you with this or any other questions you might have. We love promoting Portugal as an amazing place to live!
Let’s get movin’!
Watch a Video About Why Josh & Kalie Moved to Portugal
Kalie and her husband, Josh, own the company and YouTube channel ExpatsEverywhere. While this channel focuses on life in Portugal, they also have other resources for living all over the world. They are from The United States but have lived abroad since 2009. Their family has grown along the way, first with a dog and then with a daughter. They currently reside in Porto, Portugal with their now 3 year old daughter and 13 year old dog. They believe that living abroad transforms lives, whether that’s yours or those you come into contact with. Join them on the journey!