Portugal has been crowned the champion of European living and the number two haven on the entire planet by International Living in 2024.
This sunny Mediterranean nation was named second only to Costa Rica in the guide’s 2024 Annual Retirement Global Index with Mexico coming out in third place in this years report. And little wonder. Portugal continues to charm the world with its blend of golden beaches, vibrant culture, 300-plus days of sunshine, low crime rate and warm welcoming spirit. Retirees join the growing ranks of affluent expats who have made a beeline for the nation.
According to the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK, the foreign population in Portugal has doubled in the last decade, reaching over 800,000 new residents. Many of which have brought investment or high value professions along with affluent retirees, spending their wealth in the country. Much of that growth has been fuelled by the allure of its route-to-residency schemes for non-EU citizens. They have been spearheaded by the hugely popular Golden Visa and the D7 ‘’Retirement Visa’’ as it’s become called – which both open the door to a Portuguese passport and with it access to the Schengen zone for work and travel. The Golden Visa requires an investment of EUR 500,000 in approved private equity or venture capital funds in Portugal. Alternatively, there is the Cultural Production Golden Visa options which, for a more philanthropical contribution to a cultural project, can offer a path to residency from just EUR 200,000. These regulated Golden Visa approved investment visa opportunities are also creating economic growth for the country and jobs. These investment opportunities include vineyards to tech companies to options to invest in stocks and shares. They also open up the opportunity for families to bring their wider family under this investment, who will also benefit from not only having a passport to their country of origin but moreover, 26 European Schengen region countries.
Portugal consistently shines in international rankings for its exceptional quality of life (ranked among the top globally in 2023 by the Social Progress Index). This is courtesy of factors like affordable healthcare and a focus on sustainability. Portugal also boasts a significantly lower cost of living compared to other European hotspots. The overall average cost of living being 26.5% lower than in the UK and there are similar comparisons with many other international locations in Europe and North America in particular.
From the historic capital of Lisbon to the dramatic cliffs of the Algarve, Portugal offers a variety of visual and cultural delights. Portugal also has a number of historic sites and medieval castles as well as Roman ruins to explore. Transitioning to life in Portugal is a fairly smooth process. The Portuguese government offers a streamlined residency program for retirees and remote workers, and the locals are renowned for their warm hospitality and friendly demeanour. English speakers will find it relatively easy to navigate daily life, thanks to the growing wealthy expat communities and a sizeable portion of the population with English proficiency. The country is also becoming a beacon not just for retirees but also many professionals and entrepreneurs are also investing in the country or relocating through the D2 Entrepreneur Visa or the D8 Digital Nomad Visa.