Real-life stories of moving to Portugal
Read our real-life stories and experiences from foreigners now living in Portugal as an expat. If you have your own story to share, feel free to contact us to get involved.
Where are you originally from?
What year did you move to Portugal?
Where do you currently live in Portugal?
Caldas da Rainha, Cortém, Vidais
Tell us about your journey to living in Portugal as an expat…
Born in London and trained as an engineer I moved to Munich in 1968 working for Siemens, then on artistic side of the Olympic games in 1972.
Soon after that, I became a sound recordist for film which I did for 30 years forming a company in Munich dedicated to sound for film.
I met Helga a sound editor and my wife in 1993 and took our first holiday together renting a car and with no particular plan for our holiday.
In 2005 we were ready to move to Portugal.
Our love of wine, and a field we bought with the house, made us plant our first vineyard with grape varieties we loved and had drunk in Munich. We converted to organic farming and our first commercial wine was in 2006.
Vinhos Cortém is now a winery with 5 hectares and about 12,000 bottles a year, actually quite small. Our wines have won quite a few international medals and are well-liked especially by wine enthusiasts. Our wines are dry and more of a French style.
We now have a new partner in the company allowing us fewer responsibilities in 2021. We do not think of “retirement” but having more time for ourselves next year and in the future would be wonderful as we have other things we would like to do.
Why did you choose Portugal? Did you consider other countries?
On our first holiday here we almost immediately decided to buy a house as we had just sold ours in Germany and no financing was necessary.
What were the major challenges you faced in relocating to Portugal and how did you overcome these?
Actually, it was very easy for us and we missed nothing. We had been expats for many years already. I had left the UK in 1968 and my wife Helga had lived in Austria for some years.
What are the pros and cons of living in Portugal as an expat, from your perspective?
For us no cons and many pros.
First of all the Portuguese and their culture. Secondly an EU country. Thirdly, the climate. Then many friends from all nations that we have met and who are also changing their way of life here in Portugal.
What do you like to do in your leisure time while living in Portugal?
Not much leisure time. Actually, we love being at home in the garden and in the fields. There is a restaurant on the beach we like to go to once a month to eat fish.
How are your Portuguese skills?
Middle to good. We can speak and write. I have even taught and given lectures in Portuguese, but I still a lot o learn. Memrise is a good online teaching site.
Describe how easy or difficult it has been to make friends in Portugal.
Very easy, but we only have a few good friends here probably because we do not have time for much socialising.
What do you miss the most from your home country?
Nothing. This is definitely our home. Everyone visits us.
What 3 pieces of advice would you give someone who is thinking about moving to Portugal?
- Create something, start a business, do some sort of work that takes you nearer to Portuguese people.
- Don’t try and bring your lifestyle or opinions you had in your last country of residence or “compare” things. Experience new things.
- Try and avoid spending too much time with people from your country of origin. This will help you to learn and use other languages.
Got questions for Christopher? You can find her in the forum, username: @Cortém
You can order Chris’s organic wines by visiting his Business Directory.
Delivery is free across the European Union.
What’s On Calendar
Our community-driven What’s On Calendar is a great place to explore events and meetups in Portugal and online.
- Live gigs, special events, festivals, markets and more
- Online and offline events including webinars and social meetups
- Good Morning Portugal, The Portugal Show & The Wine Club live stream events
BROWSE WHAT’S ON
Do you have questions about being an expat or permanently immigrating to Portugal?
Browse our forum community for your answers and meet our community.