Retirement in Portugal is very good and we have a tremendous amount of new people retiring here.
For the Portuguese who are retiring, because we’ve been through a big economic crisis here and they’ve had to cut down pensions, there are a lot of people struggling. The new government has promised that that’s all going to change but then you’ll wonder where they’ll get the money. But certainly for foreigners coming here, it’s fantastic to retire in Portugal.
There are several reasons its fantastic to retire to Portugal. Number one, the climate; number two, the wines; number three, the weather; number four, the people who are sympatico to foreigners. The lifestyle is easygoing. I think the weather helps a tremendous amount for people who are golf players or riders. A lot of people go horseback riding and a lot of people have brought their horses here. Portugal has an easy lifestyle.
A lot of people will go down to the Algarve, which is completely different to being up in the Lisbon coast area. The Algarve is sort of a permanent holiday atmosphere, almost like an extension of Spain except all of a sudden you’ll hear Portuguese and a lot of English. I’m not a great fan of the Algarve region because I don’t think it has a Portuguese identity. You know, you don’t feel that you’re really in Portugal even though there’s beautiful beaches, there’s beautiful homes, but that’s it, whereas up here you have good theater, you have good concerts, good shows, and you can still do all that—you can ride horses and you can be on the beach.
It really is a relaxed kind of life filled with lunch parties and coffee parties. And with the big expat community that you have here, it’s good social life and a lot of people will entertain at home a great deal.
I live in the Lisbon coastal area, about 20 minutes on the train from the center of Lisbon and if you drive, depending on the time of day, of course, it’s about 20 minutes as well if you haven’t got all the traffic. Nothing’s very far here. We’re a little bit inclined to think, when we’re out in Cascais in Estoril, “Oh gosh, I’ve got to go into Lisbon” and vice versa, but it’s really very, very close. The style of life in Lisbon is more city life than it is along the coast. It’s quite different but I think that it’s mainly because parking is more difficult in Lisbon and there’s a lot more traffic.
(Trains from Lisboa to Sintra, Portugal, pictured.)