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10 Best Places to Retire in Portugal

Pack your suitcases and don’t forget your sunscreen, because we brought you list of best places to retire in Portugal. Some of you may know it also as “European Brazil”, although it should really be the other way around.

Portugal has a rich history, being a pioneer in maritime exploration. Country’s explorers like Bartolomeu Dias and Vasco da Gama, alongside discoveries they’ve made, helped Portugal cementing its place on the map of the world. After this notable period in country’s history, Portugal struggled to remain a significant power on a global plan. Still, things look pretty good right now. Portugal is one of the most peaceful countries in the world, with a high standard of living and advanced economy. The interesting thing about the country is that Portugal decriminalized all drugs for personal use. Still, the drug use rates didn’t go up with drug related diseases and death rates dropping significantly. One of the reasons for that could be a well-functioning health care system in the country.

10 Best Places to Retire in Portugal


Portugal’s healthcare system is ranked 9th in Europe and 12th in the world according to WHO (World Health Organization). Healthcare is provided through National Health Service that is universal for continental part of the country and free for all natives and foreign residents. There are some fees being charged for certain services, but the majority of the system is government financed. Besides NHS, there are health subsystems for certain professions and private insurance systems. According to WHO’s report about the healthcare in Portugal, in 2017 there were 189 hospitals in the country, NHS contributing with 77 and 35 762 hospital beds. It is important to note that the number of public hospitals is decreasing, while privately operated ones are on a rise. When it comes to a number of physicians per 1,000 people, Portugal’s figure of 4.1 is above EU average.

Report from the United States Overseas Security Advisory Council about crime and safety in Portugal for 2017 tells us the same thing we noted earlier in the intro. Life in Portugal isn’t dangerous, but you should still be careful in public transportation and locations that attract tourists. Pickpocketing and petty thefts are common in major cities, especially on beaches with wallets and smartphones being especially targeted by thieves. Burglaries intensify in the summer and during the winter holidays. Mainland Portugal is characterized as more dangerous than some other regions of the country like Madeira. In case that crime and safety don’t play a big role for you, and you prefer more romantic destinations, check out our list of 10 Best Places to Retire in France.

Now, you must be wondering about the methodology for our list of best places to retire in Portugal. Well, first we took recommendations from various websites and forums like Investopedia, Nomad List, and Expat Change. Then, we decided to rank the cities according to their Cost of Living Index (Numbeo) and hospital to population ratio (Google Maps), while giving extra points for optimal temperatures, a small number of rain days and a bigger number of sun days (World Weather Online). After combining everything into our IM Score, our list took shape. Now, there were some recommendations that we didn’t consider since we couldn’t obtain the data about the cost of living index. For orientation, cost of living index listed for places is compared to 100.00 which represents cost of living in New York. A hospital per population ratio represents how many persons (in theory) are assigned to one hospital. Temperatures listed are the coldest and warmest month average in one year. Rain and sun days also represent lowest and highest month average. Let’s get this train going. Now, let’s see our list of best places to retire in Portugal.