Portugal Sets Stall as One of the Best Retirement Destinations in Europe
Portugal outranks Spain as the favourite retirement destination for Brits abroad
Portugal is often ranked as one of the top places to retire abroad, with the Algarve cited as the best location for overseas retirement, and this is why.
Portugal’s value as a retirement destination has been going up for some time already and there are very good reasons for that.
In 2017 Portugal topped the Forbes’ list of the best countries to retire abroad even beating the traditional British favourite Spain.
The ever-popular Algarve became the darling for publishers writing about overseas retirement in the sun. Even Americans who are traditionally focused on South and Latin American countries for retirement abroad embraced Portugal citing its “old-world” culture as one of the main attractions.
For Portugal it wasn’t a one-off success. For years, various publications have been rating the country among top ten places for overseas retirement. Live and Invest Overseas, for example, rated the country’s Algarve region as the No.1 retirement destination in the world two years in a row, and International Living gave Portugal an 84.8 out of 100 in its 2015 index of best places to retire.
Why Portugal is such a shining star for expat retirees?
There is no secret. The three vital ingredients to the success are the weather, the lifestyle and the government’s efforts to make the country attractive to expats.
The result is that Portugal is growing rapidly in popularity among retirees and semi-retirees from all over the world. They come for famous Green Wine (Vinho Verde), beautifully sentimental Fado tunes, plenty of glorious sunny days and even the potential opportunity to ease their tax burden on pension incomes.
Yes, Portugal is a tax friendly retirement destination, if you know how to go about it!
It is the ultimate dream for many people - to work hard, build up a nest egg and retire abroad to a climate with year-round sunshine. It’s even better if you can avoid having to send too much of your hard saved pension income off to the tax man.
It is possible to retire to Portugal and pay no tax whatsoever on your pension for the first 10 years of living there, whether you decide to take it as one lump sum or as a regular income:
There is a Double Taxation Treaty between Portugal and the UK, which says that pension income of the citizens of both countries is taxed in the country of their residence not domicile. It means that British expats retired to Portugal and qualifying for residency have their pension income taxed in Portugal, not in the UK.
In its turn, the Portuguese government offers a 10-year tax exemption of a foreign occupational pension to expat retirees (Non-Habitual Residents Regime). As long as a pensioner qualifies for a special expat pension tax regime for non-habitual residents, and the pension is an occupational pension, paid from a foreign source, the pension is not taxed in Portugal.
So, if retiring to Portugal Brits can qualify for Non-Habitual Residents Regime, for the first 10 years their pension won’t be taxed in Portugal either.
Despite strong criticism from EU politicians concerning Portugal’s tax policies, the country stands its ground protecting the scheme and it seems to pay off: the Algarve and other regions are filling with happily retired Scandinavians, Britons and other nationals appreciating everything the country so generously offers them.
Mellow days of relaxation – that’s what life in Portugal is like
“Mellow doesn’t always make for a good story, but it makes for a good life” and it’s a perfect description of life in Portugal.
Weather and beaches aside (honestly, there is so much more to the country beside its climate and dazzling stretches of sand in the seaside), Portugal can offer you the most amazing lifestyle you have ever dreamt of!
Portugal is cheaper than Britain and most other Scandinavian and western European countries, ecologically clean, offering wonderful opportunities for a very healthy and inspirational lifestyle. It’s a paradise for golf lovers, fans of surfing, those who love stunning coastal walks, an unrushed pace of life, cultural explorations and healthy food.
Portugal has almost 500 miles (800 km) of coastline. Yet one of the lesser-known Portugal facts is just how good the country is as a surfing destination.
Indeed, Portugal is a surfer’s paradise. Knowledgeable people say the country boasts 364 days of surf. In 2011 at Praia de Norte, a beach near the town of Nazaré, Hawaiian Garret McNamara broke records by surfing the biggest waver ever caught, which was an astonishing 90 ft. high! That’s nearly 27.5 meters!
If you are a devoted surfer or want to learn surfing, or your children and grandchildren love this kind of pastime – retire to Portugal and take advantage of its fantastic surfing opportunities.
Born to play golf yet forced to work? Not any longer…
Let’s face it, what is a retirement about for any golf player? - More golf, that’s right.
If you are passionate about your golf, you have a reasonable sum of money set aside for your annual fees and you are committed to spending your retirement on the greens, then Portugal should be your number one choice!
The country is arguably home to the best golf courses in Europe. There’s about 70 or so golf courses in the country, and the total number of golf club members are less than 20,000. But despite (or maybe thanks to) these modest numbers the quality of golf courses is very high and the country’s popularity as a top golfing destination has been steadily growing.
The Algarve region alone counts for more than 40 golf courses, many of them world-famous championship layouts.
Elsewhere you can play equally esteemed courses along the Lisbon coast and even on beautiful Madeira Island, set in the Atlantic Ocean.
Whether you’re an experienced player or just a beginner, there’s a golf course in Portugal for everybody, with brilliant layouts where you can hone your skills, improve your game, and maybe even lower your handicap into the bargain.
Portugal offers so much more…
Those who have a long-lasting love affair with Portugal and know the country well can probably expand this list to infinity, citing such details as friendly people, excellent healthcare, famous vinho do Porto (port) and amazing vintage Madeira, unprecedented sunsets from Cape Saint Vincent and the most delicious pastel de natas (custard cakes) in the world.
There is a lot to fall in love with in Portugal, and everyone finds their own personal reasons to love living there. Even the downsides, such as notorious Portuguese red tape, erratic driving and the fact that it can take quite a long time for anything to be done, soon become insignificant when the Portugal lifestyle embraces you.
Love Portugal for everything it is, relax, enjoy life and you’ll soon find your Zen.
Further reading: Where are other great retirement locations? - 9 Most Popular Places for Britons to Retire Abroad