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.
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.
IM Score: 13
Cost of Living Index: 60.53
Hospital to Population Ratio: 22,589
Rain Days: 4/25
Sun Days: 5/27
If you are a fan of architecture and historical sites, Guimaraes has a plenty to offer. The city’s center is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site and Guimaraes is widely known as being a place where most of the country’s conquests began. There are many festivals taking place throughout the whole year and the Atlantic Ocean is just around the corner. The downside is that the city has the biggest cost of living index on our list.
IM Score: 15
Cost of Living Index: 50.01
Hospital to Population Ratio: 110,526
Rain Days: 4/25
Sun Days: 6/27
If you don’t mind living in a crowded place, Porto offers something for everyone. Like Guimaraes, Porto’s center is also listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will especially like Porto if you enjoy music and art since the city hosts lots of cultural events. We shouldn’t forget about the famous Portuguese port wine, produced within the city’s borders.
8. Viana de Castelo
IM Score: 16
Cost of Living Index: 52.97
Hospital to Population Ratio: 17,745
Rain Days: 3/26
Sun Days: 5/28
In the birthplace of fado music, you will feel calmer than in some other destinations on our list of best places to retire in Portugal. Although the city was an important trade center throughout the history, it lost on the significance in the recent decades. There are currently plans to make the city more attractive for new residents, so you can benefit from that if you choose Viana de Castelo.
IM Score: 19
Cost of Living Index: 51.99
Hospital to Population Ratio: 156,777
Temperature: 56/80 °F
Rain Days: 2/20
Sun Days: 9/28
After checking out the city’s weather averages, we are not surprised Lisbon, the next on our list of best places to retire in Portugal became country’s capital and its largest city. Lisbon has pleasant temperatures throughout the year with lots of sun days and a bearable number of rain days. From all European metropolitan cities, Lisbon has the warmest winters. Of course, another major benefit is that you will reside in one of the oldest cities in the world and a center of Portugal’s cultural and economic life. And don’t get us started on the beautiful beaches and astonishing architecture. If you don’t mind the higher cost of living, tourists and constant buzz, don’t think twice about choosing Lisbon.
IM Score: 20
Cost of Living Index: 48.05
Hospital to Population Ratio: 26,151
Rain Days: 4/25
Sun Days: 6/28
If you are on a budget, but still want to be close to the Atlantic Ocean, Aveiro, the next one on our list of best places to retire in Portugal is surely worth considering. Although the cultural life isn’t over the top, the quality of life is high with pleasant weather and low cost of living.
IM Score: 21
Cost of Living Index: 48.71
Hospital to Population Ratio: 20,845
Rain Days: 4/24
Sun Days: 7/25
If the culture is something you appreciate, then Coimbra’s title of “major cultural center” will surely appeal to you. The city is known to have the oldest academic institution in Portugal and rest of the Portuguese-speaking world, which helped to shape Coimbra’s diverse cultural life. In the recent decades, the city evolved into a significant touristic destination, thanks to the rich history and monuments.
IM Score: 21
Cost of Living Index: 47.91
Hospital to Population Ratio: 34,250
Rain Days: 1/26
Sun Days: 5/28
Braga won’t hurt your budget, being the city with a second lowest cost of life index on our list of best places to retire in Portugal. On top of that, if you like museums and sacred places like churches, cathedrals, and chapels, you’ll feel just like home.
IM Score: 22
Cost of Living Index: 51.50
Hospital to Population Ratio: 12,432
Rain Days: 3/27
Sun Days: 0/19
Now, we will depart from the mainland Portugal and head to Madeira archipelago. Funchal, the number three on our list of best places to retire in Portugal is its capital and popular touristic destination. If living on an island is all you ever wanted in life, then Funchal will be a perfect fit. Although the temperatures are very pleasant, you will have to deal with lots of rain throughout the year. Also, November will bring you nothing but the cloudy sky. On the other hand, Funchal has the best hospital to population ratio on our list.
IM Score: 25
Cost of Living Index: 52.73
Hospital to Population Ratio: 20,621
Rain Days: 0/15
Sun Days: 14/29
For those looking to spend their retirement days chilling under the parasol, Faro offers a spectacular weather. The temperatures are not too high and the rain days averages are considerably smaller compared to other entries on the list. Also, from June to October, 20 sunny days is a monthly average. You can choose to spend them on the beach, or wandering through many of Faro’s gardens and parks.
IM Score: 26
Cost of Living Index: 46.42
Hospital to Population Ratio: 20,621
Rain Days: 3/23
Sun Days: 7/28
The final entry on our list of best places to retire in Portugal may not be appealing in terms of proximity to the sea and historical importance like some other entries, but Chaves sure has its charm. It has the lowest cost of living index on the list and pleasant weather. Also, if you enjoy the nature, you can visit one of many natural parks in city’s proximity, visit the forests or just enjoy Chaves’ thermal springs. The city has a rich military history, so you can feast your eyes on numerous forts and medieval castles. Now, we gave you everything you need to know, it is up to you to list your priorities and make a definitive pick.