Last Updated on May 5, 2022 by Letícia Melo
Find out our top choices of places to retire in Portugal and choose your favorite one to live a comfortable life.
Reaching the so-called golden age is one of the most rewarding stages of life. You get to enjoy every moment of relaxation and start having more time for yourself. Most people wonder all their life where they should retire one day. And Portugal is often a number one choice for many expats.
Top places to retire in Portugal
With a great climate, endless nature points in the shape of mountains, valleys, and the Atlantic ocean, and one of the lowest costs of living in Europe, Portugal attracts every year thousands of long-term tourists looking to enjoy their retirement here.
And you could be the next one! The question is: What are the best places to retire in Portugal that will suit your needs? We’ll tell you all about it.
1 – The Algarve
One of the top places to enjoy Summer in Portugal is the beautiful Algarve coast. Paradisiac beaches with beautiful rock formations define the coastline of the most southern place in Portugal.
But other reasons make it such a unique, wonderful place to live: the fresh fish, the calm lifestyle especially during the winter, and the accessible prices when it comes to buying a home or when purchasing the daily basic needs.
In fact, Portugal and the Algarve specifically, were recently recognized as one of Forbes top choices of places to retire abroad. Even the renowned newspaper The Times UK has published this year an article about buying property in Portugal, and, as they say, ‘’Portugal is booming’’, so it’s better doing it now than later.
Pensioners will find themselves surrounded by nature, good people, and a safe environment. Here’s why we believe the Algarve is a great choice for retirement:
- Overall affordable properties when compared to the main cities;
- Cost of living is lower when compared to the main cities;
- It’s very safe;
- It offers different activities – a great place for playing golf, with the best Golf fields in Portugal;
- Food is great – fresh fish and seafood are always available;
- It’s lively without being too crowded – with a great balance between Summer and Winter.
The list goes on, but these are reasons enough to consider spending your retirement in the Algarve. After all, who doesn’t like endless vacations?
2 – Madeira
Madeira is an island in the middle of the Atlantic, which makes it a unique place to visit even to many Portuguese. When it comes to living in Madeira, it is still a one-of-a-kind option that guarantees fun for different reasons all year round.
With a mild climate during Summer and Winter, Madeira is a great option if you’re wondering what are the best places to retire in Portugal. Not only because of the constant good weather but also because it allows you to live a quiet lifestyle with everything nearby while having different activities to enjoy in each season.
With a growing expat community of pensioners, this is the place to live if you love being in constant communion with nature and have always dreamed of living on a paradisiac island for a much more affordable place than the Caribbean.
Speaking of the cost of living, Madeira is highly touristic and knows it, so prices aren’t always the lowest when it comes to eating outside and buying groceries.
In any case, property prices still present great deals and there’s a variety of options to choose from. Especially because, in terms of long-term living, this is still a not-too-popular place to elect as your new home.
There are many reasons that make us believe that Madeira is the perfect place to retire abroad:
- Living the island lifestyle – with all the luxury it has, but for an affordable price;
- It’s surrounded by beautiful natural places and the Atlantic ocean;
- The weather is great in the most unexpected seasons of the year – there’s no real Winter there;
- It’s safe and cozy – you’ll create a close relationship with most locals and have your favorite place for grocery shopping and your favorite coffee shop for breakfast;
- There are amazing properties for rent and sale located in idyllic locations of the island. That offer a high value for money;
- There’s always something to do. Check out the yearly Flower Party – one of the most beautiful events you’ll ever get to witness; and
- They have ‘’bolo do caco’’, which is, honestly, the best bread in the world.
Madeira is a great retirement place for many reasons. So if you decide to move there, know you’ll be choosing a place that will teach you how to admire the little things in life.
From the beautiful flowers to the ancient trees and even the mountains that you’ll have to climb to reach a viewpoint. Every part of Madeira is a hidden gem you’ll want to discover.
3 – The Azores
Think of a paradise on earth where you’ll feel at peace every single day of your retirement life. That’s the Azores. An archipelago of nine islands, with each of them having something unique to offer.
The main island of São Miguel has unforgettable landscapes and the whole archipelago produces the freshest milk coming out of the happiest cows in the world.
Other than that, the Azores are the best place to retire if you love sports and overall physical activities. After all, this is the perfect place for hiking, cycling, swimming, and walking.
Even if you’re one to like the more relaxed lifestyle, with the Azores’ laid-back rhythm where no one is ever in a rush, you’ll always have plenty to do and to enjoy.
Some of the popular activities include lake and sea fishing, golfing, and bird watching. Especially because you’ll be surrounded by nature and nature will become part of your life.
The most popular islands to live in are São Miguel and Terceira. But you can always choose a not-so-well-known island and enjoy to the utmost the quietness and peacefulness this whole archipelago promises.
Additionally, if you’re an American citizen, the Azores islands are roughly 4 hours away from Boston by flight. Which makes it easy to visit home.
The Azores have many reasons to be on your top choices when wondering what are the best places to retire in Portugal. We’ll tell you our favorite ones:
- The mild climate all year round;
- The green of the fields is like no other;
- It’s so quiet and peaceful while having so much to enjoy;
- It’s one of the most affordable places to live in Portugal. Even the VAT tax is lower than in the rest of the country;
- Fresh milk and cheese that comes out of happy cows;
- Properties for sale and rent are much more affordable than in other places of Portugal; and
- It’s been awarded two UNESCO world heritage sites.
There is so much more to talk about when it comes to the Azores. But it would never make justice to the reality that meets one’s eyes when you see it for the first time. It’s love at first sight that lasts for a lifetime.
So the best way to know if this is the place for you to retire is to see it for yourself.
4 – Lisbon
For the city lovers that want that constant frenzy of the main cities, the capital of Portugal, Lisbon, is a great choice for retirement abroad. And since Portugal is in the top 10 of best places to retire in the world, choosing to live in its capital city is choosing to live the best of its lifestyle.
In Lisbon, there’s always something to do and places to go. There’s the small and traditional coffee shop to have the morning coffee every day and the large avenues to shop with style, such as Liberty Avenue. There’s the river with a refreshing breeze and the 7 Lisbon hills to climb if you want to see unique viewpoints of the city.
This is a city where retiring will be easy and fun while being safe. It’s true that property is becoming increasingly more expensive and that living centrally isn’t an option many can afford. But the surroundings are just as good and the accesses by road, train or underground to the city are reliable.
We’re passionate about living in Lisbon for so many different reasons. But there are a few that makes us believe it ticks all boxes when it comes to finding out what are the best places to retire in Portugal:
- It’s the capital – so there’s always movement and things happening;
- The weather is mild most of the year;
- There are many stores and malls to shop with ease;
- It’s close to other beautiful places worth visiting – such as Cascais, Sintra, and Setúbal;
- There’s a significant expat community to engage with;
- It’s not as crowded as other main capitals in Europe; and
- It’s still one of the most affordable cities to move to in Europe. Forbes has actually nominated Portugal as the best place to live in 2020.
Lisbon is a safe option when it comes to retiring because it has everything you want and might need to live the retirement of your dreams.
5 – Cascais
Cascais is a lovely village just 40 minutes away from Lisbon by train. It’s the go-to option if what you’re looking for is to retire abroad with all the comfort and luxury you possibly can find.
Cascais isn’t the most affordable of options, but it’s still more affordable than Lisbon. And in terms of safety and lifestyle, there’s no place like Cascais.
Surrounded by mountains and sea, this little village has everything one needs to live a fun retirement.
From the amazing restaurants that specialize in fish and seafood, to the idyllic beaches and hiking trails. Cascais has the full package.
It’s worth taking a look at luxurious compounds such as Quinta da Marinha, where many Portuguese and foreign celebrities have decided to buy a property and live their retirement days. It’s beautiful and surrounded by nature, well-protected and incredibly near the sea, with breathtaking landscapes for you to wake up to the best views every day.
Cascais is an amazing place to retire in Portugal as it has more to offer than one would think. Here’s why you should consider it on your journey to find out what are the best places to retire in Portugal:
- It’s great to live in all year round – from Winter to Summer;
- It’s lively without being too noisy or overcrowded;
- There’s a growing expat community, mainly of American and Brazilian citizens;
- There are incredible properties for sale worth of a magazine cover;
- It’s known for its beautiful Golf Courses to play this sport or just to walk by enjoying a sunny day;
- There’s fresh fish and seafood; and
- It looks like California with its palm trees and fancy lifestyle.
Cascais is a pleasant surprise for everything it has to offer and that one wouldn’t expect at first sight. It’s a long-term right choice for retiring abroad.
6 – Porto
In here we have a saying about Porto that says: ‘’Porto is a nation’’. And that describes very well what you’ll find if you decide to retire in this beautiful city: amazing people that will melt your heart in different ways. The so-called ‘’tripeiros’’ (locals from Porto) are the ultimate hosts when it comes to receiving people in their land and making them feel welcome and appreciated.
Porto is not a capital but it could be. The capital of empathy. Here, retiring will be a synonym for meeting new people every day, learning how straightforward the locals are and how helpful everyone is.
Porto is about enjoying what life has best to offer, at your own pace. There’s no rush or stress, only beautiful landscapes, and amazing people.
Porto is in our heart for everything it gives us and for the way it makes us feel. We love it for all the reasons below:
- The people – oh, the people – did we already mention the amazing people you’ll meet there?
- There’s so much to do and visit – Porto feels like a small town inside a big town – it has too much to offer to be considered small, but is too cozy to feel impersonal;
- Food is great – the locals are the best cookers in Portugal – no questions asked;
- The Douro Valley is a world’s wonder for its beautiful landscape and tasty wine coming out of its vineyards;
- Everything is near and accessible; and
- It’s safe and even though the weather is not as mild as in other regions of Portugal. Summers are still warm and winters are pretty much bearable.
Porto is not a city to live in: it’s a city to fall in love with and stay. For the rest of your life.
We know other places in Europe and even in the world are a great choice to retire.
We’ve even made a comparison between Spain, Italy, and Portugal in a previous article.
But what makes us sure that Portugal should be your top choice of places to retire abroad is that it has everything one needs to enjoy the retirement days comfortably and happily. Whichever place you choose to live in Portugal, it will be safe, surrounded by nature, and filled with things to do.
Retiring in Portugal is never a boring decision. And we’re ready to show you why!
Visit our country and let yourself be amazed by everything it has to offer.
If in the end, you fall in love with it, moving here can be a smooth and easy process. All you need is the help of professionals that have a passion for Portugal, such as the whole team at Viv Europe does.
We can’t wait to welcome you to our little corner planted by the sea. And make you fall in love with it as we do, every single day.