Portugal Fast Facts

Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Population: 10,833,816

Capital City: Lisbon

Climate: Maritime temperate; cool and rainy in north, warmer and drier in south

Time Zone: GMT+00

Language: Portuguese

Country Code: 351

Coastline: 1,793km

Explore the Old World in Laidback Portugal

Rocky, rugged Atlantic coasts where salt spray mists the air…green hills and winding country roads…medieval towns perched above deep river gorges…graceful cities of broad boulevards and bustling cafés…

Portugal, continental Europe’s westernmost country, lies quietly in the shadow of the larger, more boisterous Spain. With a sliver of coastline and an interior that can take you back centuries in time, Portugal in many ways still belongs to an earlier era. People are friendly and courteous, with an almost courtly manner. Family and friends are important, and people know their neighbors and the local shopkeepers. Ancient buildings look worn and lived-in, and quiet, cobbled lanes wind through seaside villages.

This is Europe as it used to be. And though modernity is overtaking Portugal quickly, you can still enjoy an old-style, Old-World life here. Cascais, Portugal

Though its coast is the Atlantic, Portugal is typically Mediterranean, with the warm weather and lifestyle that you tend to find in Mediterranean countries. The sea, which forms the country’s western border, still plays a strong role in Portuguese life and diet: You’ll find fish and seafood on menus throughout the country.

Like countries around the Mediterranean, Portugal also produces good food, wine, and olive oil, at inexpensive prices. Try its slightly fizzy vinho verde or its port, the fortified wine that took its name from Portugal’s second city, Porto. Shop in modern supermarkets, or—as many Portuguese do—in the traditional markets found in cities throughout the country.

Overall, Portugal is arguably Western Europe’s most affordable country. Even in the capital, Lisbon—one of Europe’s most charming and underrated cities—a couple can live comfortably from about $2,200 a month in residential neighborhoods just a half-hour’s walk from Lisbon’s central, most tourist-driven areas. (And you’ll leave the tourists behind.) In Portugal’s smaller cities and in the country’s interior, a couple’s budget can run from $1,700 a month.

Enjoy all this…and yet have First-World amenities at hand, including road and highway systems, good telecommunications and high-speed internet, museums and concert halls, chic restaurants, cafés, bars, and much more. Portugal has extensive bus and metro services in cities like Lisbon and Porto. Long distance bus and train services carry you throughout Portugal and beyond, so you don’t need a car here. And modern airports can take you throughout Europe.

From the Archives of Portugal

Three Destinations for Easy Living Near Lisbon, Portugal

Three Destinations for Easy Living Near Lisbon, Portugal

Culture
By |
April 20, 2015

For low-cost living with First-World amenities, few countries in Europe can match Portugal. A couple can live comfortably there for as little as $2,200 a month. Throw in a generally mild climate, rich history, and friendly locals, and you have a country that offers a lot. There are plenty of great places to live in Portugal. Here are three I particularly like in and around Lisbon, Portugal’s lovely, historic capital. Just visiting? These are all great day trips from Lisbon, too.

Europe’s Best-Value Capital City

Europe’s Best-Value Capital City

Portugal's capital—home to half a million people—is a gracious city, yet also one with an odd, pensive gravity: a world-weariness born perhaps of great age and of empires gained and lost. It's also an amazingly inexpensive place: arguably the most affordable capital in Western Europe. A couple could live comfortably here for as little as $2,100 a month. If you're budget-conscious, take heart. Lisbon is a place where you can enjoy a European lifestyle at Latin American prices, with history, romance, astonishing hospitality, and a seaside location to boot.

Where Can the Freelance Life Take You?

Where Can the Freelance Life Take You?

When I was 10 or 11 years old I had a vision that I would grow-up be a freelance writer, and live on top of a hill overlooking the ocean. My vision has come to fruition in Venice Beach, California, for $2,500 a month...St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands for $800 a month...and most recently in Sesimbra, Portugal, just 30 minutes south of Lisbon, for $400 a month.

Freedom, Adventure, and the Open Road…At No Expense

Freedom, Adventure, and the Open Road…At No Expense

Expat-Advice
By |
April 4, 2014

Taking tea with Mongolian herders...cycling through Che Guevara's mountain hideaway...and camel riding in Lawrence of Arabia's footsteps. I thought such exotic trips were the preserve of the privileged—not for me. But these and many other experiences have been mine...since I've discovered the Red Carpet Passport.

Tango in the Park, Markets on the Street…the Fun is Out There

Tango in the Park, Markets on the Street…the Fun is Out There

Expat-Advice
By |
March 18, 2014

Over eight years ago, I decided to leave behind the urban jungle of American cities to travel. At the moment, I'm surrounded by the lush green suburbs of Buenos Aires. I'm constantly reminded of Jumanji out here. Thick green, leafy vines have completely taken over property walls and fences, wrapped themselves around tree trunks and flower pots. Palm trees and banana trees rise up like proud flags beside homes and office buildings.

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