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[Sticky] Why I like living in Portugal

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Posts: 606
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Topic starter
(@gerry)
Honorable Member
Joined: 2 years ago

Before the lock down, my car needed new tyres. The advice I received was to buy the tyres online and have a local company fit them. Instead I went to my local company (family business) and they quoted the same price for the same tyres as I could get online but their price included fitting. Deal struck, tyres ordered and fitted the next day. Then I was told to stop by anytime and they will check the pressures and adjust for free as part of the service. I appreciate this is a smart way to keep my custom but they have my business and my recommendation for as long as I'm around.

It would be great to hear other experiences of good value and service in Portugal.   

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VIP Member
(@christopherdouglas)
Joined: 13 years ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 188
Posted by: @gerry

Before the lock down, my car needed new tyres. The advice I received was to buy the tyres online and have a local company fit them. Instead I went to my local company (family business) and they quoted the same price for the same tyres as I could get online but their price included fitting. Deal struck, tyres ordered and fitted the next day. Then I was told to stop by anytime and they will check the pressures and adjust for free as part of the service. I appreciate this is a smart way to keep my custom but they have my business and my recommendation for as long as I'm around.

It would be great to hear other experiences of good value and service in Portugal.   

Hi Gerry,

Yes, we have had the same treatment 😊

We have been here for 4 years now. When we needed tyres for our British registered car the online advice was to buy online.

A guy in our village works at a service centre in our nearest large town (Covipneus, Fundão) and he suggested going there. So, we thought, why not? We want to be Portuguese so yes, we'll do that. Shop local, support the local economy, and all that.

Well, they have been fantastic. Now that we have a Portuguese 4x4 we have all of our servicing, repairs, new tyres, pre-mot (IPO) done with them. The attention to detail is amazing, the aftercare is amazing, the cost is sensible. Sometimes it's ridiculously cheap!

Our last pre-inspection involved the normal testing of brakes, exhaust, etc, and two new bulbs. Because of Covid they are short staffed. We said ok and left our wagon there for three days. They rang us to say that we could collect it. The cost was €15.

As we have found with everything in Portugal, people have a job. They are proud of that job. They do that job to the best of their ability. (Look at the conductors on the trains! Smart uniform, very proud of their employment)

The UK used to be like that 😳  Not any more 😠

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Posts: 125
Ask Our Expats Consultant
(@cabanastavira)
Member
Joined: 1 year ago

The values exhibited by the people, eg:

... our neighbour, 'we may be a poor country but we know what matters'
... local businessman when enquiring how it was just after the crash in 2008, 'I can pay my men, put food on the table for my family - I am fine'

The simple acts of kindness shown by so many towards us.

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Posts: 8
Community Member
(@rebeccaja)
Active Member
Joined: 1 year ago

I love living in Portugal because of its pace and enjoyment of the small things. Coming from an extreme American work culture, I've been able to see the benefits of slowing down. 

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Posts: 606
Admin
Topic starter
(@gerry)
Honorable Member
Joined: 2 years ago

Thank you for so many nice comments about life in Portugal. Please continue to add replies as we would like to publish a list of these comments in due course.

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Posts: 0
 Anonymous
Joined: 52 years ago

We love Portugal. We visited 5 times before we decided what part of Portugal would suit us the best. We have made so many Portuguese friends. We are adventurers and love to travel and try new things. We have amassed a huge file on a lot of Portugal to share if anyone asks, just our opinion but it's an honest opinion. We have experienced the health care system with two admissions to the HPA and have discovered some fantastic doctors and nurses. We have fitted out 2 homes and have done additions and renovations requiring, overseas movers, local movers, electricians, plumbers, gutters, screens, new kitchen, bathroom issues, pool issues, garden & pest issues, Homeowner association issues, driving and navigating issues, car purchase, house purchase x 2, legal and tax and changing towns with multiple trips to the Junta and SEF. We may have only been here 3 1/2 years but sometimes I feel like it's been a lot longer. And we are so grateful to all the expats and the wonderful Portuguese who have helped us along the way. It will be our pleasure to pay it forward and help others.

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2 Replies
 Anonymous
Joined: 52 years ago

Posts: 0

@peggyl Hi there. You seem to be a fountain of knowledge! My Husband and I are hoping to make a move there January 2021 🤞🏾 so I’ll have lots of questions nearer the time. 

May I ask where you relocated from? Was it the UK?  Also after being here for a few years are you now fluent in Portuguese?  I am learning 5 new words a day. May not seem like much but I figure if I do that every day then by January I might be able to string a sentence together 😂

Regards

Elaine 

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Premium Member
(@mrsbrabbit)
Joined: 2 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 31

Thank you for your positivity and advice. We are moving from Northern Kentucky also! Retiring, and yes leaving our wonderful adult children behind.

Big question (ha! not really): What to bring? We will rent first. We're thinking just the items with sentiment, memories attached. Is there really any reason to bring anything else?

Abrigada!

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Posts: 0
 Anonymous
Joined: 52 years ago

Welcome Elaine, Thank you for the compliments. I don't feel like a fountain but maybe a trickle of what I have learned can help someone else. That is my goal. We lived in Northern Kentucky, USA for the last 25 years. My husband was in the ARMY before that and we were all over. We have 4 children and miss them dearly. They are all accomplished in their own way and scattered across the USA. We are embarrassed that the US cannot get COVID under control. It is running amock just as the president's mouth does. You can message me on this site any time and I will try my best to help. We live in the Algarve just 1 K from the ocean. I am not fluent in Portuguese yet but I try every day to learn new things. Fortunately, I have made a lot of Portuguese friends who are willing to help with pronunciation and don't laugh too hard when I make a mistake. I also use the learning website memrise.com because it is one of the few that has EUROPEAN Portuguese vs Brazilian Pt. It has been a big help. cumprimentos, Peggy 

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11 Replies
 Anonymous
Joined: 52 years ago

Posts: 0

@peggyl Ola Peggy. Thank you for your response Peggy. You will be a fountain of knowledge for sure because you have probably dealt with everything we will come across in the future. 

At the moment our biggest hurdle is just where to start looking.  When we do come over next year we plan on renting something cheap and cheerful and then scouring areas where we would like to purchase a property but there are so many areas. 

We are wanting to be somewhere that has the following criteria so maybe this is something you can help us with? 

1. No more than an hour or so away from a major city and airport.

2. Somewhere that has good transport links 

3. Somewhere that has a decent social scene so that you don’t have to travel too far for a bit of life without having to go to one of the major Cities. 

Any help would be appreciated as we find we are looking at lovely properties but then we realise the area is too far from the city. We’ve heard Coimbra is a good option? 

Obridgada 

Elaine

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 Anonymous
Joined: 52 years ago

Posts: 0

@chocolate

Elaine, There are so many places in Portugal that would meet your criteria. You might decide first the climate that is important to you then look in the area that suits your climate needs. I live in the Algarve, the south because I have arthritis and the year-round tropical temperature is really important to me. But before we found the house that we love in the Algarve, we traveled all over Portugal experiencing the weather. Anyplace that has loads of tourists for the 2 months of the high season will also have the nightlife & shops. There are many small towns where you can walk to everything. Local busses are as frequent as the area requires, trains are mostly just the big trains going north/south, Algarve up to the north and east/west in the Algarve. Trains are relatively inexpensive and easy to hop on with a resident pass. Also, decide if you want to be near the ocean in the south or on the west coast or on the border with Spain. Things are not really very far apart here. You can be from the south to Lisbon downtown in 2 1/2 hours. The two big commercial airports are Lisbon's airport and the airport in the south near Faro. Coimbra is in central Portugal and that is not where we wanted to live so we did not spend enough time around there to give you any insight. You just need to take time to visit places and see what kind of vibe you get. What was good for us might not be what you want. If you do come to the Algarve, we live near Armação de Pera (which is directly on the coast) You can message me and we can show you around a littlein some towns that might interest you.

Peggy

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 Anonymous
Joined: 52 years ago

Posts: 0

@peggyl

Thank you Peggy for that splendid reply! I’m grateful to you for taking time out to write it all down. 
Yes I think we have a lot of exploring to do which will be fun along the way. 
Andrew my Husband has just developed arthritis in his thumb ☹️ but at the moment it’s only now and again if he moves it the wrong way he yelps out in pain. So I’ve said you need the sun on it 😁. One of our problems is we both can take different levels of heat. I could live anywhere hot (I’m half Caribbean so it must be in my genes even though I was born in England 😂) but Andrew has a limit. So for that reason we ruled out the Algarve as we realise that is hotter than say the Porto region. However we’d certainly take you up in the offer of a tour guide should be venture your way.  Most kind of you. 
Many Thanks

Elaine 

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 Anonymous
Joined: 52 years ago

Posts: 0

@peggyl just seen a Good Morning Portugal with you and Gerry on. What a laugh it was. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Particularly liked your attitude of “it’s always noon somewhere in the world” 😂. Think I’ll change to that mantra instead of mine which is “its 4 o’clock somewhere in the world” 😂😂

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 Anonymous
Joined: 52 years ago

Posts: 0

@chocolate

How is your progress getting over here? Peggy

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 Anonymous
Joined: 52 years ago

Posts: 0

@peggyl

Hi Peggy how lovely to hear from you! I’m humbled that you have taken the time out to ask about how things are going 😊

To be honest Peggy we’re having a bit of a nightmare. Not with regards to getting there as we have decided we will have to wait until after December 31st just incase any Brexit outcome has an effect on us and makes it harder to consider moving there in monetary terms. The nightmare we are having is due to having been made aware of some of the downsides to moving to Portugal alongside the good. As you’ll no doubt appreciate its prudent to make sure you look at every angle when considering such a big step and we don’t want to be caught out by looking at everything through rose coloured glasses. 

We saw the Good Morning Portugal show with the guy on who is the Portugalist, sorry his name escapes me, but you’ll know who I mean. Unfortunately some of his cons as opposed to pros list really hit home with us. We’re both really troubled by the fact driving seems to be a bit like whacky races and you take your life in your hands. It didn’t help seeing a YouTube video of a guy on a bike with a webcam attached going through the streets like an assault course. But it may be this is only in certain towns/areas but not knowing the place it puts us at a disadvantage. The other thing was the fact people seem to just leave dogs outside and the constant barking can be heard even on people’s videos that we’ve seen.  Again, maybe this is maybe more in certain areas? The big thing for my Husband is the horror stories re deliveries and the postal system. He uses Amazon a lot here in the UK and so to know that it’s a grey area isn’t music to his ears. 

Of course the Covid thing doesn’t help our anxiety as we don’t feel we can freely come to Portugal at the minute to check things out so at the minute we feel a bit in limbo, disillusioned and a whole host of other things Peggy. 

However if everyone is like you then that is good enough reason not to be put off completely as I really do appreciate the fact you’ve got back in touch. I signed up for us to be on Thursdays webinar social event but I haven’t had an email back confirming our seat so I don’t know if we’ve got it or not. I’m waiting to hear back from Astrid or Gerry as I emailed them to check. 

Id appreciate your input Peggy as I told Andrew it could be some of these supposed downsides aren’t quite as frightening as we think. We’ve certainly learned to expect some fun and games with officials and forms etc so at least we’ve not been put off with that.

Kind Regards

Elaine  

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 Anonymous
Joined: 52 years ago

Posts: 0

@chocolate

Agh, Elaine, Yes there are adjustments to be made no matter which way you go or even where you go.

Or even if you stay in the UK for that matter. It all must work for you to make a happy ending. Best to start a pro & con list and see if you can.... or even wnt to try to overcome the cons. Nowhere is perfect of course. 

Driving can be a bit hair raising but when you get used to it, you learn to deal with it in your own way. Personally I enjoy driving here unless I have a crazy person kissing my bumper. I don't get stressed about it anymore because I know that soon enough there will be a round-a-bout and I can go round and round until all the traffic has gone by and then I exit and proceed on my way. After all, I tell myself those poor people are in such a rush and here I am retired and going around a second time is not too much to do just to be out of their way. I just can't let other people stress me out because of their actions. 

As far as monetary issues, I cannot speak to the issues involved with BREXIT. I do know that it is much, much cheaper to live here than the UK (and the US). There are a lot of Brexit financial advisors about because there are a lot of British expats here. May I suggest you access one of the 2 English- Portuguese papers on-line and choose an advisor who has an email and can answer some of your questions. The ads are in "The Portugal News", the National newspaper is written in English.

 and "The Portugal Resident". 

  Sorry I can't be of more help on this issue but Brexit confuses Brits, the Americans can't even begin to understand. We sailed away & left all of that behind in the 1600's. Now we have our own problems. I can say that for us Yanks, the cost of living is about 1/3 what it would be in the states for the equivelant housing, ocen view, car etc....

 

The dogs, yes the dogs. They are as revered around here as camels are in Sudi Arabia. But I have come to realize that the Portuguese WANT a dog and they don't want the sick or mangy or homeless ones to be put out of their misery and at the same time, they don't much give a damn about the dogs that they have (sometimes) There are areas where there is a lot of barking and sometimes a lot of this is due to stupid holiday makers who are too cheap to kennel the dog so they bring it with them and lock it in the apartment or holiday home all day while they're out on the beach or shopping. I have to say our neighbors have a dog who only barks when someone enters their gate but is easily soothed. We can hear barking in the distance sometimes at night but it seems we have grown used to it. Another neighbor who is separated from us by several vacant lots of fruit trees does have dogs that bark sometimes. They must be partial to 1960's rock and roll because I turn the outside radio up really loud on that side of the house and after a few minutes, they are quiet again. But I do know what you mean about the dogs. If you decide to come for a look, I would visit any house that you are interested in buying at least 6-7 times at different times of the day. That includes noon, evening and night one weekday and one weekend day. 

The CTT, the postal system sucks, no other word for it. But when you learn the ins & outs, it can be tolerable. We don't get a lot of mail-mail. I do order a LOT on amazon. I order through amazon.es (spain) and we are able to get a prime membership with them. It does take longer than the usual 1-2 day prime delivery but hey, at least it's free delivery. The delivery companies all know where we are now. It was tough going for several months because there are a lot of streets, ours included that have no name. I can only give the name of the urbanization, the lote number and the house NAME, Villa "whatever". We used to have to physically go to the CTT office to get all our mail but several trips to several CTT offices including the sorting warehouse where we spoke with OUR delivery man, we finally got it sorted out. We now have a mailbox on our front gate. Anything too big for that, he rings the bell. The neighbors who have lived here for 5 years were so impressed that they got a mailbox too! 🤣 🤣 

Our deliveryman is on a motorcycle and does his best to bring the amazon parcels, pretty funny sometimes, but at other times, it comes by a delivery van. He comes to the gate & honks until one of us sprints down there. Patients is not a Portuguese virtue. I also put the coordinates in the "special instructions" box of every order. But we live in such a small area, I'm sure they just know us by now. If you do decide to come, I would suggest changing to amazon.es and doing prime. It is only 36 euro a year and well worth it. We order the CO2 canisters for my hubby's soda stream and they are very heavy. Also, a lot of things are cheaper in Spain and getting free shipping is a bonus. I don't have to go to the store. The ink for my printer is 67 euro for a multipack here in Portugal but on amazon.es the same ink multipack is 23 euro. 

Not everything is easy here, sometimes the bureaucracy makes me want to pull my hair out but I try and remember that I am in Portugal, their country, by choice. We want to be here, we love it here. We are very safe from COVID here in the south and there are more and more expats who have been such a blessing to us and helped us so much. We have regular once a week gatherings, some groups play cards or lawn games or golf. You may find that the issues to overcome are greater than the rewards to you personally but I hope that you will visit sometime and enjoy a little slice of heaven. 

Peggy

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 Anonymous
Joined: 52 years ago

Posts: 0

@peggyl

Thank you so much Peggy. I love how you have addressed everything with an unbiased view and haven’t just tried to floss over the downsides. Some people on other forums tend to make the cons seem so so bad whereas you’ve still acknowledged them yet given them reason and another way of looking at them.   

Yes we’d definitely be visiting any potential areas at various times of the day and week. To be honest we pretty much did that when we were looking for a house here in the UK. We’re very much “research” people. 

The cost for Amazon.es prime is very reasonable I must say and would definitely be the way we’d go. See it’s things like this which we are grateful to hear about as they start to make the bad not quite so bad 😂

All the info you have given here is wonderful and we will certainly have a look at the two newspapers you’ve suggested. It’s like you say, if the issues don’t overcome the rewards then there would be no point in coming to then spend everyday complaining so we definitely need to do our due diligence and also come and spend some time there. If we do we’ll definitely plan a visit to come and see you 😁

I’ll keep you informed of any major developments Peggy and again thanks so much for your time and effort 🙏 

Best Wishes

Elaine

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 Anonymous
Joined: 52 years ago

Posts: 0

@chocolate

I hope that you are staying safe and still considering Pt. We are so very happy here and it is the best thing that we have ever done for our relationship, our health, and our general overall happiness. 

Now that there is a COVID vaccine in the future, I hope that we will be able to begin planning again for returning to a life of normality. 

Blessings for happy holidays.

Peggy

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 Anonymous
Joined: 52 years ago

Posts: 0

@peggyl

Hi Peggy it’s so nice to hear from you and thank you for thinking about me. 
I’m afraid we have decided to go to France rather than Portugal. There were pros and cons for both but in the end I decided it would be better for my husband to go to a country he is familiar with because he is making the move abroad to keep me happy therefore I thought it was the least I could do as even though I’ve never been to France before I don’t suffer from Anxiety like he does and therefore I am not phased by the unknown. 

We have all our paperwork in place as it’s so much harder to move there and there have been some stressful times but I’m sure it will be worth it in the end. 

I am glad to hear you’re well and enjoying life. If we get to Portugal for a visit we’ll be sure to try and hook up with you. You stay safe and thanks again for caring. 
Happy Holidays to you both. 

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 Anonymous
Joined: 52 years ago

Posts: 0

@chocolate

Best of luck to you both. 

Peggy

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