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?
I have been coming over to Portugal for some 20 years as I have family already here in Cascais. When I remarried, I brought my husband over and he completely fell in love with everything about Portugal.
We were both approaching our 60’s and decided that we would like to retire to Portugal and spent many hours looking at properties and finally decided we would look in a 30 mile radius of Tomar. Neither of us had been to Tomar but we did our research and the more we read the more we like the idea of being out in rural Portugal. We were not phased about the age or the condition of the property as my husband is a joiner and can turn his hand to most things!
We bought a little farmhouse near Cabacos which needed a lot of restoration and although we could not move out immediately as we still had commitments in the UK we started planning early retirement and works that needed to be carried out. My brother has lived in Portugal for 45 years and so we had a huge amount of help with all the paperwork involved in buying a house, fiscal numbers, residency, NHR and matriculation of the car.
We had our house to sell in the UK and furniture to send over to Portugal, we used a company called Euro Moving who were absolutely superb with not one single hitch from start to finish. We also had an old dog and the thought of flying her over was too stressful (mainly for me!!) so we decided to drive down taking the ferry across from Dover to Calais and then a leisurely drive down to Portugal. I used Google maps throughout the trip and at the end of the day just went onto Booking.com to find a dog-friendly B&B to stay in and we found some lovely places.
We set off 15th February 2019 and arrived at our new house on 22nd February for our new life, my husband set about restoring the house and I set about the garden and growing vegetables!
The whole process of retiring in Portugal took about 2 years, we did a lot of research as we wanted to be absolutely certain that we were doing the right thing. We have not looked back, we have met some lovely people – Portuguese and English. With regard to the language we listened to Portuguese linguist CDs whilst driving to work each day and we understand more than we can speak but I think this is a confidence thing and will come with time.
If we had any advice to anyone thinking about retiring in Portugal it would be to really do your research, it does pay off!
P.S. don’t be sucked into thinking that its wall to wall sunshine 365 days of the year because when it’s the rainy season here it really does rain!!