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Living In Portugal As An American (Tips & Tricks)

Living In Portugal As An American (Tips & Tricks)

The warmth of Portugal is enticing as an American.

Americans move to Portugal all the time and it’s due to how intriguing it can be. There’s a sense of charm associated with living in the country and that’s appealing to those who want to appreciate the nuances of a unique culture.

It’s a fascinating culture and one that is full of vibrant people.

Moving to Portugal as an American can be an enthralling experience. The people are great, the weather is awesome, and there’s always something to do during the year.

However, it’s also important to be prepared before living in Portugal as an American.

Here is a look at what you need to be aware of.

Benefits Of Living In Portugal

Good Weather

Let’s begin with one of the biggest advantages of living in Portugal.

This is going to come in the form of the weather here. It’s immaculate.

The weather is excellent because it’s warm for large parts of the year and there’s ample sunlight. This is ideal for those who want to walk outside, explore the greenery, and just not be holed up somewhere indoors.

This can be appealing to those who enjoy the sunlight when it’s wintertime. You will find it here as an American.

A lot of expats talk about this benefit and how it appeals to them. The climate is great in Portugal and that warmth is essential in living a tranquil lifestyle.

You will appreciate it depending on where you are in Portugal.

Diverse Society

Diversity is a part of Portugal.

It’s essential to appreciate this element of the nation and accept it. You are going to see people from all walks of life as you go from one city to the next.

You are going to see people that are more focused on being outdoors, while others are going to have different interests and sometimes this is based on the weather of the region. Colder regions are different than the warmer regions of Portugal.

This is a benefit because it allows you to explore different dynamics within the same nation.

A person that wants to look for as many natural attractions as possible is going to want to look at the core cities of Portugal. These are cities that are laidback and will allow you to be outdoors while seeing what the city has to offer.

On the other hand, those who prefer traditional big cities are going to want to head to places such as Lisbon because this is a city that has it all and it’s common to see expats walking around.

Others love to go to Portugal for its beaches and that’s going to be seen in the South.

Good Healthcare

Are you looking for a nation that has a good healthcare system?

Portugal is not going to disappoint you then.

Portugal is known for having free health care, which is essential for those who want to not pay too much in the form of medical bills. Not only is the health care free, but it’s also efficient which makes it one of the better nations when it comes to taking care of its population.

Low Taxes

Expats in Portugal will get to enjoy a unique taxation scheme.

This lowers the amount of taxes you end up paying.

In general, a person that spends at least 183 days as an expat in the nation is going to receive access to a separate tax bracket. This is going to allow for benefits where tax is exempted on specific earnings for expats.

This is known as the Portugal NHR Tax Regime and it’s empowering for those who are expats and looking to earn a stable income without paying too much in tax. In general, all foreign income is going to be tax-free and Portuguese income is going to have a set rate of 20%.

Best Places To Live In Portugal


Living in Portugal as an American often means heading to Lisbon.

It’s the first major city people think about when it comes to a nation such as Portugal. It is diverse, busy, and has all of the amenities you are looking for from an international city. Plus, the weather is good and there is so much to do.

Lisbon is a world-class city with great museums, arts, gorgeous architecture, and numerous expats spread throughout the city. You are going to fit right in if this is the city you choose in Portugal when moving.

Silver Coast

Silver Coast is a fascinating town and is often appreciated for its quaint aesthetic. It’s different from Lisbon and it is far more laidback with a fascinating design. It’s more tight-knit, which creates a unique setting for those who want to get a more traditional Portuguese experience.

Silver Coast is a town that has a robust flea market, great museums, and also top-tier Portuguese cuisine for those who are foodies.

This is what makes it charming for those who want to eat to their heart’s content.


Just like Lisbon, Porto is also a world-class city and often a second option for those who do want to not live in Lisbon.

What makes Porto special?

Porto is great because it is dripping with history, offers access to a cool climate, and still provides all of the advantages a person wants when moving to Portugal. This includes the healthcare and culture-driving atmosphere.

It is also important to note Porto is great because there is a large expat community here too.

Tips For Living In Portugal As An Expat

Be Prepared To Not Find Certain Foods

This is one of those hidden issues you might not realize until you have to deal with it.

In general, some foods are not as easily available in Portugal. You are going to have to get used to not finding certain American foods in the stores and instead, you will want to invest in Portuguese foods.

The good thing is there are numerous supermarkets around the major cities and you will like the available foods.

Be Okay With Fashionably Late People

Certain things are not going to change in Portugal.

One of those things is going to be how prompt people are. They are going to take their time whether this is a business meeting or a casual meetup between friends. This means people are going to wait at least 10-15 minutes before showing up and that’s what people expect.

Don’t mind when this happens and go with the flow. You will also get used to it after a while.

Pick Up Portuguese Words And Phrases

We always recommend learning the local language or at least picking up a few terms.

This is going to make your life easier.

In Lisbon and Porto, English is going to be fine and you will get away with it. However, other cities are going to require more patience and you will want to pick up a few terms along the way.

Cost Of Living In Portugal

For the most part, living in Portugal is not as expensive as other nations on the continent.

This is why there are so many expats in Portugal.

The cost of living is not high but you gain access to a variety of benefits including good education and healthcare.

In general, you will end up saving 50% of your money when comparing Portugal to America. This means double the money to spend on yourself without changing much except where you live.

Final Thoughts

Living in Portugal as an American is highly recommended.

The nation is blossoming over time with great culture, beautiful sights, and warm weather. Plus, it has a good expat tax program allowing you to save a lot of money on foreign earnings.

Anyone that wants to save money and live a healthy life will want to take a look at moving to Portugal.

Learn more about how living abroad is different, how to move to another nation, and how to handle translations in foreign nations.