Portugal one of the top destinations so cheap you might not need to work

The experts at InternationalLiving.com has just released its 30th Annual Global Retirement Index for 2021 which isn’t just for retirees: it’s a great resource for anyone who has ever thought of moving to a country where the cost of living is considerably cheap.

In no way is the Global Retirement Index meant to be a scientific output. It’s designed to be a useful tool for people, constructed out of real-world, on-the-ground information interpreted through a lens of well-informed experience and opinion.

In this year’s Global Retirement Index, International Living’s editor scored 25 top destinations across 10 categories, including cost of living, governance, climate, healthcare and more. “All 25 destinations are worth your attention,” says Jennifer Stevens, International Living’s executive editor. “Whether you’re looking for a friendly, good-value city, a tropical beach, a cool, highland retreat, an historic colonial enclave or a quiet lakeside getaway, this Index can help point you to your best options on the planet today.”

Why: “It’s no wonder that Portugal has topped the charts (5th place) for the best places to retire through the years,” says International Living correspondent Terry Coles. “This tiny country in the southwest corner of Europe has something for everyone. Vibrant cities, miles of golden sandy beaches, green rolling hills, some of the best healthcare in the world, low cost of living and safety.”

Where to Move: Looking to live without a car? For a city full of old-world charm, check out Lisbon – best city for Expat – or head north to visit Portugal’s second-largest city, Porto. Alentejo is the largest and most rural region of the country, with fields of wildflowers, historic towns and a sparse population; check out the cities of Beja and Évora. “Life here is slow, winters are cool, and summers are hot and dry,” says Coles. Another great place to consider: the Algarve – rated as cheapest destination in Europe – known for its Atlantic beaches, fishing villages and hot, dry summers. English is widely spoken.

The Cost: Although it depends on many factors, you can live on about one-third less than America. That’s starting at around $2,020 for a single person, while a couple can live comfortably, but not lavishly, starting on $2,500 per month. If you want to live in Lisbon, Porto, Cascais or the Algarve, bump that number up to $3,000.

Options for Moving: To legally reside in a European country long term, you need a foreign residence and/or work permit. The first step is usually applying for a visa from your home country. Once approved, that visa allows you to enter the country you’re moving to with your passport. You can then apply for a residence or work permit. Portugal is expat favorite and offers easy paths to residency. There are a number of long-term visa options for living in Europe: a student visa, work visa, retirement visa, investment visa, business/entrepreneur visa (for small- and medium-sized businesses), self-employment visa, digital nomad visa, spousal/partner visa and citizenship via descent.

To apply, make an appointment at your nearest Portuguese consulate or embassy. If you need assistance you can submit your request here.


Measures implemented in Portugal December 1st

The Portuguese government has introduced new measures to manage Covid-19 from December 1st, some of which affect arrivals to Portugal by air, sea or land. All passengers, regardless of nationality – including Portuguese – and where they come from, are required from December 1st to submit a negative Covid test in order to enter Portugal. This applies even to people who are already vaccinated or recovered.

 Arriving to Portugal by plane, land or sea

  • Mandatory negative test for all flights arriving in Portugal, even for those who have a digital vaccination certificate, regardless of the point of origin of the flight or the passenger’s nationality
  • RT-PCR Test (or similar NAAT test) – 72h before boarding, or
  • Rapid Antigen Test – 48h before boarding
  • A valid EU Digital COVID Certificate, or
  • a valid recovery certificate issued by a third country, under reciprocal conditions: Albania, Andorra, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Israel, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Morocco, Monaco, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, San Marino, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine, The Vatican
  • Children under 12 do not need to present test
  • All passengers need to fill a Passenger Locator Card (individually) before departure to Portugal or on board

General Rules from December 1st

  • Mandatory mask in closed spaces
  • General recommendation for regular testing
  • Mandatory EU COVID Digital Certificate, or proof of vaccination attesting to the complete vaccination schedule or negative test when accessing:

– Restaurants
– Tourist establishments and local accommodation
– Events with marked places
– Gyms

  • Mandatory negative test (even for vaccinated) when accessing:

– Visits to homes and patients in health facilities
– Large events without marked seats or in improvised venues and sports venues

From 2nd to 9th January 

  • Closing of bars and clubs

National measures –  https://covid19estamoson.gov.pt/ (in Portuguese)
Azores –  www.visitazores.com / Madeira – www.visitmadeira.pt 

Foreign residents in Portugal: the highest ever recorded

The Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) has reported that the foreign population living in Portugal has increased in 2020, for the fifth consecutive year, totaling 662,095 foreign born holding a residence permit. Foreign residents now represent over 6% of the country’s population, the highest value ever recorded.

At the end of 2020, Brazilians remain the main foreign community residing in the country, representing last year 27.8 % of the total, an increase in arrivals of about 22% compared to 2019. The United Kingdom citizens are the second most represented nationality in Portugal.

According to the SEF report, 183,993 Brazilians lived in Portugal, followed by citizens of the United Kingdom (46,238), Cape Verde (36,609), Romania (30,052), Ukraine (28,629), Italy (28,159), China (26,074), France (24,935), India (24,550) and Angola (24,449). About 68% of the foreign residents are registered in the districts of Lisbon, Faro and Setúbal.

Portugal is known for its Golden Visa, which uses tax perks to attract foreign nationals. In this case, any expats who invest in a Portugal property of €350,000 or more (on January 1, 2022, the sum increases to €500,000 or more) will receive a two-year residency permit for themselves and their immediate family. It also includes a tax-exemption on most foreign income—including pensions, dividends, and real estate investments—for up to 10 years. You can renew the visa every two years, as long as you spend at least two weeks in the country during that time span.

Another great option for both retirees and semi-retirees is Portugal’s D7 Passive Income Visa. This popular residency program includes the option to become a non-habitual resident (and reap the aforementioned tax benefit), as well as the ability to actually work while there, whether it’s living life as a digital nomad or being employed at a Portuguese-run business. It even allows access to the country’s extensive healthcare system. The visa is valid for two years, and then can be renewed for three more. Five years in, you can apply for permanent citizenship. 

Requirements: There are no age restrictions for the D7 visa, though you must demonstrate an annual passive income of at least €7,800 (plus €3,700 per adult, and €2,200 per dependent), which is equal to the country’s current minimum wage, to apply. To qualify for the Golden Visa, you can’t have paid taxes in Portugal over any of the last five years.

Portugal 4th safest country in the world

Despite leaving the podium, Portugal continues to be one of the most peaceful countries in the world. Portugal comes in fourth place in this year’s Global Peace Index behind only Iceland, New Zealand and Denmark.

The Portuguese minister for Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita, states in a communiqué “The fact that Portugal is considered one of the most secure countries in the world is an asset and tribute to the quality of life of the Portuguese,” and is a “competitive advantage compared to other countries, contributing to investment and tourist attraction”.

Of the 163 nations analysed, the most peaceful country in the world is Iceland with 1.1 points, unchanged from the previous year. Ahead of Portugal is New Zealand (1.253), in second place, and Denmark (1.256), in third.

Global Peace Index 2021

Alongside climate, safety is an important deciding factor when choosing a specific country in which to buy a house or holiday home abroad. After all, you want to be able to enjoy your life there, or the holidays that you spend there, in peace. Portugal has been known for its excellent climate for many years. The sun shines for about 3,000 hours a year in the Algarve, and the warm sea breeze from the Atlantic Ocean always feels pleasant on the skin. But perhaps less well known is that Portugal is also one of the safest countries in the world. This is mainly because the political climate in the country has been stable for years, and crime rates in Portugal are some of the lowest in Europe.

If you are considering to move abroad you might be interested in knowing the 10 reasons of choosing Portugal.

Algarve rated as cheapest destination in Europe

The 2021 Post Office Travel Money Holiday Report for 2021 found that Portugal was tops for Brits looking for good value. The Post Office barometer monitors the price of eight tourist items – comprising dinner for two with a bottle of wine, a range of soft and alcoholic drinks, suncream and insect repellent.

As Portugal has opened up for non-essential travel for tourists from the UK, this new survey has deemed the Algarve as the cheapest destination in Europe for Brits to visit.

2021 prices in popular European destinations
2021 prices in popular European destinations

The Holiday Costs Barometer takes into account the prices of eight everyday items with the shopping basket for the Algarve coming to a total of £44.13. The everyday items include a bottle of beer, a cup of coffee, a bottle of water and a glass of wine.

For the fourth year running, Post Office Travel Money research has found that holidaymakers can expect to pay less for meals, drinks and other tourist staples in many of the world’s most popular resorts and cities. The 15th annual Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer has found that prices have fallen in over three-quarters of the destinations surveyed.

Last January Portugal has topped the charts (5th place) for the best places to live in the 30th Annual Global Retirement Index for 2021.

How to turn your job into a staycation in Portugal

These days, many of us have been ‘working from home’ – but with the flexibility offered by a raft of new remote work visas, ‘home’ could even be a sunny city in Portugal. These new temporary visa categories are meant to attract so-called ‘digital nomads’, tip-tapping laptop warriors with a stable income and a taste for adventure. If trading your home office for a wifi-outfitted beach sounds appealing, read on to find out how you can snag one of these special work permits.

Why Portugal?

There are many reasons why Portugal has become the go-to holiday destination on the continent: its colourful towns, balmy coastline and laidback outlook give it all of Spain’s main draws, only without the inflated prices that come from years of high tourism. Its sophisticated capital Lisbon has become quite the hub for digital nomads, and thus has some impressive infrastructure to support them – you can’t turn a corner without stumbling on some cool, space-agey warehouse full of laptop-wielders munching custard tarts in between Zoom meetings.

Not to be left out, Portugal’s Madeira island has its own remote-worker boom – in Ponta do Sol, a ‘digital nomad village’ that opened this year and acts as a live-work space for 100 lucky visitors. Each resident gets hooked up with their own workspace, free internet and access to a diverse roster of events at the village’s cultural centre.

Lisbon is a remote-worker paradise / Image: Adobe Stock

The best visa for digital nomads interested in making Portugal their home is the temporary resident permit, which can be renewed for up to five years and is aimed at freelancers and entrepreneurs. In contrast with most other digital nomad visas, though, applicants must prove that they are actively working with (or trying to make connections with) Portuguese companies. 

Basic requirements:

  • Must be self-employed
  • Must earn a salary or profit of at least €800 per month
  • Must provide a criminal background check from your home country
  • Must provide proof of accommodation in Portugal
  • Must submit at least once invoice issued to a Portuguese client

To apply, make an appointment at your nearest Portuguese consulate or embassy. If you need assistance you can submit your request here.


Lisbon 2nd Best City to Raise a Family

When moving to another city to raise a family, there are a number of aspects you need to take into consideration. From finance and childcare to attractions and general health, choosing the right city plays a vital role in the upbringing of your family.

The new study by CIA Landlord (insurance company in the UK) have looked into the best cities to raise a family, analysing the cost of rent, childcare and cost of bills alongside the number of schools, attractions, quality of life and pollution.

Lisbon Ranks Second as the Best Global City to Raise a Family

Lisbon – best city for Expat – follows Reykjavik in second place, boasting 480 outdoor activities, low crime rate levels and affordable monthly rental and bill costs at £1,200 for a three bedroom apartment in the city centre. 

Below shows the top 10 global cities to raise a family in:

Best Global City
New study by CIA Landlord


In order to reveal which location was the best city to raise a family in, the study gathered data on key areas that would be important for parents. The metrics included, quality of life, crime rate index, number of outdoor activities, number of local schools, cost of monthly childcare and cost of monthly rent. The cities were ranked based on these metrics to determine which city was the best location for raising a family.  

Portugal is the best country to visit in Europe in 2021

Portugal has been elected the best country to visit in Europe in 2021 by the European Best Destinations, which highlights the cities of Porto and Braga, the beaches of the Algarve, Cascais, Madeira and the Azores.

Best European Destination 2021
Best European Destination 2021

After Braga won the award for Best European Destination to visit in 2021, Portugal is now considered the best country to visit in 2021, according to the preferences of users of European Best Destinations, an organization based in Brussels that promotes culture and tourism in Europe.

The European Best Destinations website, which is visited by more than six million travelers a year, highlights the beauty of the landscapes, the gastronomy, the “magnificent beaches” and the historical wealth of Portugal. According to the portal, the trip to the country is not complete without a visit to Braga, Porto and its historic heritage classified by UNESCO, the beaches of Cascais and the Algarve (“to recharge batteries in the sun”) and the Madeira and the Azores archipelagos, ideal for nature tourism lovers.

The president of Turismo de Portugal points out, in a statement, that “more than a destination, Portugal is an experience that impacts tourists”. “Because our country has everything, for everyone. From north to south, inland or coast and islands, those who visit us want to return. And this ranking shows us that, despite everything that has happened in recent months, tourists do not forget Portugal and are anxious to return. And we will be here, as always, to welcome them safely and well”, says Luís Araújo.

In the list of the best countries to visit in 2021 by European Best Destinations, based on traffic and research data from the last few months, France appears in 2nd place, followed by Greece (3rd place), Italy (4th place) and Croatia (5th place).

European Commission presents the EU’s vaccine passport

Today the European Commission has proposed to create a Digital Green Certificate to facilitate safe free movement inside the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is it and how does it work?

The EU’s vaccine passport – officially called Digital Green Certificate – will be free of charge, bilingual, interoperable, secure, non-discriminatory and available in digital and physical format via QR code. It will serve as an assurance that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19.

Its goal will be to facilitate “safe and free movement” inside the EU during the pandemic.

The Digital Green Certificate will comprise three distinct certificates:

  • Vaccination certificates, stating brand of the vaccine used, data and place of inoculation and number of doses administered.
  • Negative test certificates (NAAT/RT-PCR test or a rapid antigen test).
  • Medical certificates for people who have recently recovered from COVID-19.

What about the EMA-approved stipulation?

The vaccination certificates will be based on jabs approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). But, in a very important clarification, the Commission said that individual member states could decide whether or not they accept vaccines that EMA has not yet green-lighted. Countries like Hungary are already deploying shots from Sputnik V, from Russia, and Shinopharm from China.

“Where member states accept proof of vaccination to waive certain public health restrictions such as testing or quarantine, they would be required to accept, under the same conditions, vaccination certificates issued under the Digital Green Certificate system,” the Commission said in a statement.

“This obligation would be limited to vaccines that have received EU-wide marketing authorisation, but member states can decide to accept other vaccines in addition.”

The instrument will be valid in all EU countries and will be open for Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway as well as Switzerland. It will be issued to EU citizens and their family members, regardless of their nationality.

Additionally, non-EU nationals who reside in the bloc and visitors who have the right to travel to other member states will also be allowed to apply for the certificate.

Digital, physical and with QR code

Vaccination certificate

A QR code will be the most visible element of the passport. The code will ensure “security and authenticity” and will contain only the “essential information”, such as date of birth, date of issuance, relevant certificates and a unique identifier.

To overcome the digital divide, the certificate will be available in both digital and physical (paper) forms and will be displayed in two languages: the official language of the issuing member state as well as English.

The Commission will not create a database from scratch, but instead will build a so-called “gateway” and support member states to develop software that national authorities can use to verify all certificate signatures across the European Union. Personal data won’t be retained by the verifying country.

The EU certificate will facilitate cross-border movement for work and tourism but will not automatically exempt holders from complying with public health restrictions in place.

“Member states remain responsible to decide which public health restrictions can be waived for travellers but will have to apply such waivers in the same way to travellers holding a Digital Green Certificate,” the Commission said.

“If a member state continues to require holders of a Digital Green Certificate to quarantine or test, it must notify the Commission and all other member states and explain the reasons for such measures.”

A temporary but long-awaited solution

The implementation of EU-wide certificate is eagerly anticipated by tourism-reliant countries like Portugal, Spain, Greece and Croatia, which need a summer rebound in order to kick start their badly damaged economies.

The legal text was presented by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen alongside Commissioners Thierry Breton (Internal Market) and Didier Reynders (Justice).

The Commission is aware that, if it wants to have the certificate ready in time for the summer, the proposal will have to go through a faster-than-usual adoption process in both the European Parliament and the Council.

The Digital Green Certificate system is a temporary measure, the Commission underlined. The instrument will be suspended once the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the end of the international health emergency.

“The Digital Green Certificate will not be a pre-condition to free movement and it will not discriminate in any way. A common EU-approach will not only help us to gradually restore free movement within the EU and avoid fragmentation,” explained Commissioner Reynders.

Not everybody is on board the idea of vaccine passport. In early February, the World Health Organization (WHO) published an interim position paper establishing its unambiguous opposition against “proof of COVID-19 vaccination for international travel as a condition for departure or entry”.

Covid-19 Information, Guidance, And Travel Policies

The Best European Destinations Ready For Vaccinated Travelers

The Covid-19 Vaccine Passport for travelling in Europe is becoming a reality. If no global decision has been taken by the European Union, the President of the European Union Commission, Ms Ursula von der Leyen supports the project of a common vaccination certificate and the World Health Organization is working on an international certificate.

Whether in digital or paper form, the vaccine passport or proof of vaccination will be issued by the country of origin and will allow travelers to move around Europe and to come to Europe from abroad, without having to do additional Covid-19 tests or enter quarantine. 

The document will state the name, date of birth, health system identification, type and date of the test and specific vaccines (date of the two doses taken), including respect for the immunization period according to the instructions for each vaccine.

Destinations open to vaccinated travellers

Some European countries such as Iceland, Sweden, Denmark but also Greece, Portugal, Spain, are implementing lightened health measures for vaccinated travellers by issuing vaccine passports for their vaccinated citizens and by recognizing vaccine passports / vaccination certificates issued by other EU and non-EU countries.

The Best European Destinations Ready For Vaccinated Travelers

Working with the tourism ministries of the European Union, European Best Destinations (EBD), has assembled a list of the “best destinations for vaccinated travelers”. If you want to avoid the destinations most affected by Covid-19 (for fear of getting stuck on the spot if your test is positive), prefer safest destinations in Europe like the autonomous regions of Madeira Islands and the Azores… if you are travelling by car, destinations like the Algarve, are good choices.


Portugal has been identified among those destinations where theft, crime rate and nuisances are below the European average, thus making it one of the safest destinations in Europe.

Covid-19 Information, Guidance, And Travel Policies

Please note that travelling by car does not exempt you from providing a negative covid-19 test. If the borders are still closed but you absolutely have to go to a European country for your work, countries like Italy, Portugal or Croatia are setting up residence permits for digital nomads. These professional visas will allow you to stay and work in the selected country.

The E.U. website, reopen.europa.eu, provides real-time travel regulations for each E.U. country. 


Albufeira’s Falésia beach among TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice beaches for 2021

Highlighting travelers’ favorite beaches across the globe, from sweeping white sand and turquoise waters in tropical climates, to dramatic cliffs and pounding surf in some of the most secluded spots on Earth, the awards are based on the quality and quantity of reviews and ratings from Tripadvisor travelers for beaches, gathered over a 12-month period.

Albufeira’s Praia da Falésia is the only Portuguese beach on a list of the best in the world released by online travel website TripAdvisor.


The beach is placed 13th in a list of 25 “that travelers dream of all year long,” according to the website’s ‘Traveler’s Choice Best of the Best Awards for Beaches’.

About Algarve

The Algarve‘s sunny shores offer perfect escapes for all types, from those seeking the hot nightlife of flashy, energetic Lagos to those desiring secluded stays in rambling Sagres. Portugal’s most southerly region offers historical attractions in former Moorish capital Silves and fascinating Tavira, great golf, fabulous beaches from Praia da Luz to Armacao de Pera, thermal springs at Caldas de Monchique, and miles of limestone caves and grottoes, cliffs and bays along its rugged coastline.

The Best of the Best Beaches 2021

New for 2021, the Best of the Best Beaches also takes into account the volume of “saves” for beaches on Tripadvisor, reflecting the position that many travelers were in for much of 2020 — unable to travel, desperate to explore, lusting after the beaches they wished they could visit.

Top beaches in the world

The list is led by Australia’s Whitehaven Beach, followed by Santa Maria Beach (Cuba) and Baía do Sancho (Brazil).

For the complete list of Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best award-winning beaches for 2021, visit the tripadvisor website on this link.