‘The grass is greener on the other side’ or so the saying goes. After spending a week in central Portugal, we’ve taken some time to reflect on whether it would be a good place to put roots down in the future…
Our reason for visiting the little town of Góis was to catch up with a family member who has recently moved there. Ellie has been living in Portugal for six months now, so it was a good excuse to go and visit to see what Portuguese life is like.
The cost of living is LOW in Portugal
First example – Toll Roads: One thing that surprised us almost straight away as we sped down the motorway from Porto was the cost of the toll roads. Having been used to paying tolls in France, we were pleasantly surprised when the car hire man told us that some of the tolls were 20-40 cents! To get an idea of a longer distance, Porto to Lisbon (about 200 miles) costs in the region of €23.
Second example – Food and Drink: Since we were staying with Ellie, we didn’t spend a huge amount during the week. On a couple of occasions where we popped out for coffee, we were gobsmacked at how affordable it was. Two coffees and two cakes in a cafe in the market town of Arganil was just €4! Three coffees, two cokes and three ham and cheese sandwiches in Góis was €12! Oh and Lidl sells the nation’s favourite pastry (Pastel de Nata) for just 35 cents!
Third example – Tourism: We took a trip out to Nazaré, home of big wave surfing and visited the Forte de Sao Miguel which sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean. It cost just €1 to look around the fort and take in all the cool surf boards and art exhibition (check out our VIDEO about it). After that, we went along to Tomar so that Ellie could geek out on some Knights Templar history. The cost of entering the hilltop ‘Convento de Cristo’ was €6 each – an absolute bargain for a huge tour of the outside grounds and inside halls, chapels, kitchens and dormitories for a glimpse back in time.
“How much?” We said this a LOT on holiday as we realised how much further your money goes in central Portugal – The MahoJos
The weather is BETTER
While we were there, the average daytime temperature was 14 degrees Celsius compared to an average 7 degrees in our home town of Pontypridd in South Wales. There was still a bit of a nip in the air, even when the sun was out, but it felt so good to be warmer than usual.
In the summer, weather websites reports that Góis gets into the high 20’s but locals tell us that last summer was high 30’s. Either way, a lovely climate with guaranteed sunshine.
You can earn a TAX FREE income
One of the main reasons that Ellie decided to move to Portugal (apart from the good weather and lower cost of living) was the ‘non habitual resident tax regime’. This might sound like a bit of a mouthful, but what it means is that you can potentially live in Portugal without paying tax on your foreign income for 10 years. ‘What? Really?’ we hear you say…yes, it’s true.
In short, if you move to Portugal and receive income from outside of that country (e.g. wages from freelancing or a pension) you could be eligible for their very generous tax break. The scheme has been in place since 2009 with the aim of attracting qualified expats and foreign investment into the country. Worth looking into if you’re thinking of a move abroad!
There are definitely lots more reasons to consider Portugal as a destination to live, but we’re not about to pack up the campervan and dog to head off into the sunset. BUT…spending a week mooching around and living in a rural community has definitely got us thinking!
Where would you move to if you could up and leave with no worries? Let us know on our Facebook page.
After you’ve given this some thought, have a read of our other blog posts.