Living In Portugal as an Expat - Real Life Stories - Matthew

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?

York, UK

What year did you move to Portugal?


Where do you currently live in Portugal?

Vila Nova de Monsarros, Anadia (Central Portugal)


Tell us about your journey to living in Portugal as an expat…

Portugal was brought to my attention through a community channel I contribute to.

It centred around the topic ‘Freedom Vibes’ on Telegram. As I was living in Shanghai at the time (lived in China for about 8 years) I was getting hungry for ‘freedom’!

As the lease was coming to end for my school (, I thought it would be an opportunity to go elsewhere – somewhere that provides more for me and my family! After a lot of research, I decided on Portugal.

The cost of living seemed fairly low, property is reasonably priced, the environment is taken care of well, the climate is favourable, the people are friendly, it has good infrastructure and of course there are new business opportunities to seek! As my wife speaks Chinese, many businesses here are looking to expand their networks in China, so hopefully we’ll come across people like that. In the future I’d like to reopen my school in Portugal and continue what I was doing over in Shanghai. Although, I’m also looking to simplify me and my family’s lives and be closer to nature.

Why did you choose Portugal? Did you consider other countries?

The main reasons mentioned above. I considered other countries such as Uruguay and Malta, but Portugal came out trumps in the end!

What were the major challenges you faced in relocating to Portugal and how did you overcome these?

Obtaining a visa for my wife was a headache. For myself and my children, it was straight forward as we have British passports.

Apart from the bureaucracy (like anywhere), it’s going ok so far, although I was a little shocked by the fact you need to pay banks to maintain a bank account here!


Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Belem

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Belem

What are the pros and cons of living in Portugal as an expat, from your perspective?

I haven’t been here long to compile an extensive list, but so far I’m really enjoying the climate, the fresh air, the abundance of nature and the diverse landscapes around here.

What do you like to do in your leisure time while living in Portugal?

So far, we are taking lots of day trips out to places, like the forests around Luso, the beaches in Costo Nova and strolling around all the quaint villages dotted in the country. Hopefully, in time, I’ll have time for some hobbies here! Perhaps I’ll try surfing?

How are your Portuguese skills?

Absolute beginner… I’m hoping it’s easier than Chinese!

Describe how easy or difficult it has been to make friends in Portugal.

We haven’t met so many people yet, but where we are staying (Walnut Farm), the family are very hospitable and friendly to us – I hope all people here are like them!

What do you miss the most from your home country?

The ability to converse with anybody I like!

What 2 pieces of advice would you give someone who is thinking about moving to Portugal?

  1. Ask yourself ‘what are my expectations about moving to Portugal?’ Then connect with others who have taken the plunge.
  2. Check your finances are all in order and make sure you have enough money for what you want to do.



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