If you’re about to move to Portugal, you’ll have the opportunity to snap up a bargain property. With a new network of roads and a low cost of living, life in Portugal has its perks.
After years of being in the doldrums, the Portuguese property market is recovering, thanks to foreign investment – but there are still plenty of apartments and houses available at low prices. Expats usually prefer to buy in Portugal, but it’s a good idea to rent while you get to know the area.
Although you’ll get by with English, most Portuguese will accept you more readily if you know some Portuguese. English is widely used in cities and tourist areas, but fewer people speak it in other parts of the country.
Portuguese bureaucracy can cause long delays, particularly when government agencies are involved; some of these function more slowly when compared to their European counterparts. However, the good news is that there are ways around this, and we, at GETiN, are here to help you.
Portuguese don’t place much importance on punctuality. They can also be abrupt, but they aren’t being rude if they don’t indulge in pleasantries or say please and thank you.
Women can have a difficult time adjusting to the traditionally patriarchal Latin culture – staring and catcalling is something of a national pastime for many groups of men, especially in rural areas.
While Portugal is a modern European country, there can be some potentially frustrating attitudes and bureaucracy to deal with, especially in rural areas. But you should settle in quickly if you keep an open mind
Education is compulsory for children aged between 6 and 16. The school year runs from mid-September to the end of June with the main holidays in December/January and June/July. Portugal’s public schools have good standards and are free for expat children. You can also choose from a wide range of semi-private, private and international schools.
Education Expenses per Student
State education is free for children aged between 3 and 18. You’ll have to pay for books and extracurricular activities – and classes are in Portuguese.
Subsidised by the government, semi-private schools have low fees and smaller classes than public schools. They follow the national curriculum – and most classes are in Portuguese.
There are lots of private schools, both religious and secular, with varying standards and facilities. All charge fees – the more prestigious schools are very expensive.
You’ll find a good choice of international schools in and around Portuguese cities. Most follow the British curriculum, but there are some that follow the American curriculum or the International Baccalaureate. Fees are usually high and competition for places is stiff.
Do you need to know more? Consult GETiN’s School Search programme
Healthcare in Portugal
Portugal has a good public healthcare system that can be used by expats with a Portuguese social security number. Medical staff is well trained and often speak English. Excellent private care is also available at a price.
National authorities run the Portuguese National Health Service (SNS). Expats who qualify for public healthcare have to pay around a quarter of their treatment costs, as well as some prescription charges.
To avoid long waiting times, many expats prefer to use the hundreds of private hospitals and clinics across the country. This can be expensive – so you’ll need medical insurance.
Ask GETiN insurance experts at firstname.lastname@example.org
Medical insurance is essential if you want to use private healthcare facilities. It can also be used to cover public healthcare costs. Because most Portuguese insurance providers tailor their policies to the local market, an international scheme may be a better option for expats.
Ask GETiN insurance experts at email@example.com
There are plenty of pharmacies across Portugal – they all have a flashing green cross outside. Some medicines that you’d need a prescription for at home can be bought over the counter.
Portugal’s emergency medical services are managed regionally. Private ambulances are also available, but they charge a fee and their services aren’t always covered by medical insurance.
Portugal has a comprehensive network of buses and trains, which is particularly useful if you live in the heart of a city where parking is a problem. Most expats living outside urban centres own a car, but even remote villages are usually served by public transport.
Keep in Touch
Get connected ... in urban areas Portugal has widespread and reliable communication services. This is not the case in more rural areas.