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

Europe on Sale: Buy Now While the Dollar is Strong

Europe on Sale: Buy Now While the Dollar is Strong

Property markets in Europe are moving again—and right now you can find some great bargains in stunning settings. At time of writing, the U.S. dollar is strong which means you get more bang for your buck. In fact, your U.S. dollar buys you 24% more euros than it did this time last year. And, right now your dollar goes further in Europe than it has in over a decade. If you’re looking to buy real estate on the continent, now is the time to buy. A €100,000 property that would have cost you $139,000 last March costs $106,310 today, a discount rendered by the currency-exchange rate alone.

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.

What $100,000 Buys You in Ireland, Spain, and Portugal

What $100,000 Buys You in Ireland, Spain, and Portugal

Investing
By |
July 7, 2014

Thanks to Europe's financial and economic crisis, you'll find some of the best real estate values in the best parts of Europe right now—and some of the best opportunities to profit. Specifically, the deals are to be found in Ireland, Portugal, and Spain. These places were hit hard by the crisis—and pricings finally reflect that.

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.

World Travel Has Changed for Retirees…

World Travel Has Changed for Retirees…

Countries
By |
October 24, 2013

Fifty years ago, if at retirement age you spent a few months in Paris...then moved on to Lisbon for the winter...settled for the spring in Italy...and then steamed down to Panama and Argentina...you were probably either wealthy, eccentric, or running from the law. These days...you’re just a run-of-the-mill vagabond retiree.

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