Many British move to Portugal even after Brexit. But what attracts them, and is it really worth relocating? Find out in the complete article.

Last Updated on September 24, 2023 by Victor Queiroz

The UK and Portugal have the oldest alliance in the world. The two European countries have been friends for a long time, they have gone through some wars together, and their citizens are still connected to this day. Even after Brexit, thousands of British move to Portugal. But what really invites them to stay beside the holidays?

The expat community grows with every passing year, and we love to welcome them. They’re hardly seen as outsiders because the country helps them mix in like they’re a part of us. Eventually, the British find a home away from home. 

Find out what makes the British community one of the most significant expat communities in Portugal, especially in the Algarve, Cascais, Madeira, and Porto. Discover 7 reasons why the Brits choose to relocate permanently to Portugal in this article.

Reasons why the British move to Portugal

Why do the British move to Portugal? 

Apart from being able to fit right in with the Portuguese, there are many reasons why the British prefer to say goodbye to the UK to live in the fourth-safest country in the world. 

Rain and snow aren’t for everyone, and that’s just one reason why expats relocate.  You could say the weather tops most of the reasons, especially for people who had never gotten used to the weather in the UK.

But there are still 6 more reasons people decide to make this move. Let’s talk about them one-by-one!

1. Good weather all year

Portugal’s good weather is no secret to the Brits. The sunny country is one of Britain’s favorite summer destinations. But beyond that, living in Portugal means experiencing all seasons.

Depending on the region, skies are almost always blue, and rain is just a rare and warm visitor. Very different from the traditional UK climate.

Summer temperatures often exceed 30 °C, and winter temperatures hardly go below 0 °C. In other words, the weather in Portugal is more pleasant, with better conditions to live in than in their country of origin.

“Better” may be subjective to your preferences, but we’ve noticed that most British move to Portugal because they’re in search of something new. It’s not easy to live in extreme temperatures amidst inflation and climate change. 

And the Portuguese beaches are too good to stay away from! British tourists often visit during summer to relax and soak up some golden sun. Those that fall in love decide to make this their new home. 

2. Tax incentives

The Portuguese government offers one of the best tax incentives to expatriates who intend to live in the country; therefore, many Brits can save money in taxes by relocating here.

Specifically, the famous Non-Habitual Resident Tax Regime grants each eligible foreign citizen:

  • Tax rate of 20% for the IRS for any income obtained in Portugal
  • Tax rate of 10% for the IRS for foreign income

The Non-Habitual Tax Regime offers up to ten years of tax savings! This competitive scheme was curated to facilitate passive income earners and highly qualified professionals in Portugal.

Depending on your financial situation, Portugal can be your savings best friend. Our advice is to speak to an expert to analyze your case in depth. Bureaucracy can be complicated to understand, and it’s best to ask a professional for advice.

If you wish to know more about Taxes in Portugal, take a look at the answers to the Frequently Asked Questions on the topic.

3. Easygoing way of life

Culturally, Portugal’s lifestyle is less focused on work and more linked to Carpe Diem. The Portuguese like to enjoy every moment of life and try to make the most of it. That’s why the lifestyle is kind of slow-paced.

This may come as a big shock to the British citizen since the UK way of life is based on production, making money, and drinking a nice beer during the breaks. 

British families living in the Algarve Portugal

There’s nothing wrong with this; we’re simply saying that there are significant differences between the two lifestyles, and people who prefer an easygoing one are usually the ones to relocate first. 

Portuguese people spend more quality time with their families. Sunday lunch gatherings are common, and so are taking two-hour lunch breaks on the weekday. Work is important, but it’s not the only thing the Portuguese like to do. 

Also, getting a little bit late for an appointment won’t be the end of the world. Being late isn’t a norm since the Portuguese do respect people’s time, but it’s also okay not to reach exactly when the clock strikes. 

Adopting the Portuguese way of life, therefore, can lead to quality of life, less stress, and better mental and physical health. Life is too short to stress about things that won’t even matter in a couple of years. 

4. Beautiful settings

Portugal may be a small country, but it is huge in beautiful, diverse landscapes. From the forests and waterfalls of the north to the golden cliffs and rock formations of the Algarve coast, to the Alentejo meadows and the beaches of Arrábida, to the stunning mountains and volcanoes in the islands of Azores and Madeira archipelagos, Portugal is giant.

These beautiful settings aren’t just tourist attractions; they’re a part of everyday life. It’s where people reside, waking up to the stunning landscapes or beaches every single day and appreciating nature all around. 

It’s a breath of fresh air in a world that makes it so hard to value the little things. The mild weather makes everything even better because it doesn’t restrict the residents to stay home instead of going out. 

This humble country and its welcoming people surprise and enchant foreigners. No wonder, with each passing year, more and more people emigrate here.

Soon enough, you’ll want to be a tourist to explore Portugal even after relocating here. Every city has some unique castles, parks, wineries, or beaches, so there’s always room for a weekend getaway. 

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5. Rich and diverse cuisine

One of the highlights of Portugal is, without a doubt, the food. Portuguese cuisine is one of the Mediterranean, rich in seafood and fish, but also with a lot of cheese and beef, pork, goat, and chicken.

Quality oils, wine, dried fruits, and exquisite sweets also characterize the country’s cuisine, which is definitely one of the reasons why so many British move to Portugal.

The Portuguese love their food; they prioritize Sunday lunches, coffee breaks, and often every meal of the day. When you’ve got fresh delicacies from the Algarve and the world-famous Port wine, it’s really hard to stay away from thinking about what to eat next. 

It’s not like all they eat is seafood, but a huge part of the diet does include the traditional codfish, sardines, and cataplana. The importance of home-cooked meals also helps to lower food expenditures because eating out is not a huge part of the culture. 

6. Lower cost of living

Living in Portugal with wages or income made in the UK is to maximize your earnings. You make a lot more money in the UK than in Portugal. And, to further improve the lives of the British, much less is spent in Portugal than in the UK.

That means your pounds are worth a lot more in Portugal. The cost of living in Portugal becomes very low in a direct comparison. Therefore, in the eyes of the British, everything in Portugal is very cheap.

For an example, see in the table below a summary of how much is spent in a month in Porto’s surroundings:

ExpensesCosts in PortugalCosts in UK
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre€770
(£681)
€1,014
(£897)
Utility Bills€120
(£106)
€209
(£185)
Groceries€200
(£177)
€250
(£221)
Health Insurance€50
(£44)
€125
(£110)
Mobile Internet€34
(£30)
€35
(£31)
Public Transport Monthly Pass€40
(£35)
€74
(£56)

Estimates are from Numbeo (as of December 2022).

Of course, living costs vary greatly depending on the city and one’s consumption habits. However, a couple without children can live very well in Portugal with around €1,500 monthly expenses.

7. Short distance from the UK

After all, the UK will always be home.

It’s great to live in a different and sunny place like Portugal, but for some reason, the British seem to miss those cold mornings, the typical English breakfast, and the feeling that you belong here. It’s tough being an expatriate. Our homeland can never change.

It’s okay to visit the UK as many times as you like. Moving to Portugal does not mean you are never coming back to Britain.

If you ever get homesick in Portugal, take a cheap and quick direct flight to your town. The land of your ancestors is less than 3 hours away by plane. Many British moved to Portugal, but none of them stopped being proud of their British heritage.

Dealing with Brexit and Visas

Before Brexit, many UK citizens used to live in Portugal and never even registered themselves as residents properly.

Ever since the UK is no longer part of the European Union, they must apply for and obtain a residency visa to relocate legally to Portugal.

That means dealing with a lot of paperwork and the worldwide famous Portuguese bureaucracy. When the British move to Portugal nowadays, they usually come with a Golden Visa or Passive Income Visa, later exchanging it for a residence card.

Fortunately, visa processes are not complicated enough to prevent anyone from living in Portugal. And if you prefer, you can always hire an Immigration Assistance company to take care of every detail for you.

Are you a British that wants to move to Portugal?

Living here is an excellent choice for expats looking for a country with mild weather and a lower cost of living. In fact, most British move to Portugal for these two reasons precisely. 

If you’d like to get in touch with UK expats who’ve already made the big move, join our Facebook Group – All About Portugal For Expats. We have a community of over 9,600 Portugal enthusiasts excited to guide you on your journey better. 

But there’s only so much they can guide you about. Viv Europe has helped relocate numerous families, and we’d love to help yours too! Contact us today, and let’s start working to make your dream come true. 

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