Why many foreigners decide to retire in Portugal

Retiring abroad is becoming a growing trend among many Europeans. With the increased mobility between European Union countries, many pensioners decided to spend long periods abroad looking for a better way to spend their retirement days.

Foreign retirees living in Portugal come mostly from France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland Poland and Brazil.

It is estimated that more than 177 thousand French citizens are living their retirement in Portugal. Being the 3rd abroad destination choice for French people. Their main motivations are the lower cost of living, the weather and the fiscal advantages.

According to an article in the French newspaper, Capital, for many years the preferred destination for French retirees was Morocco, but in the last few years Portugal has increased as is becoming the new retirement Eldorado. And the choice is quite simple because Portugal has advantages like the political stability, security, fiscal advantages, lower cost of living, good climate and easy living and is relatively close to France.

Since the introduction of the Non Habitual Resident regime that allows European citizens to benefit from tax reductions in Portugal for 10 years – the reason why The Telegraph recently called Portugal a retirement heaven – many have chosen to apply for the regime and rent or buy a property in Portugal.

Two of the main advantages of retiring in Portugal are the climate and the proximity to other European countries. Lisbon is 2 hours away by plane from both Paris and London. To better serve expats living in Portugal, Medical Port developed the For Health Card, a card that provides a privileged access to health, fiscal, real estate and leisure services. Click here to read more about the For Health Card.

Medical Port promotes medical travel in Portugal at Riyadh Travel Fair in Saudi Arabia

Following the success of the participation in the Saudi Medical Tourism Fair in November 2014, Medical Port decided to return to Saudi Arabia to be present at another event, this time dedicated to travel and tourism:

“Riyadh Travel Fair is the largest travel and tourism exhibition & congress attracting visitors and delegates from countries and regions that include Middle East, North Africa, Asia and Europe”, according to the organization.

Visitants were very receptive to Medical Port’s offerings and were interested in knowing more about the several medical travel options available in Portugal. There was a high interest in diverse areas such as surgery or physiotherapy and there was also a great interest in the country itself.

Portugal’s history and culture are still very associated with the Arabic presence from a few centuries back. The Arabic heritage is still present all around the country in monuments, food and even some Portuguese words are similar to Arabic. Medical Port wants the bond between Portugal and Saudi Arabia to be strengthened by bringing Saudi clients to Portugal to get to know the country and to be treated in world-class medical facilities, keeping their total privacy.

Medical Port’s presence at the fair had the goal to introduce to Arabic customers the offerings in medical travel in Portugal. The best private hospitals and clinics across the country have partnered with Medical Port to offer the best solutions in a wide range of medical treatments and procedures to those who would like to come to Portugal. These facilities are located in Lisbon – the capital – and Oporto, cities with international airports and daily flights to and from most European countries and other destinations across the world.

See below some pictures of Medical Port’s booth at the fair.

Medical Port at Riyadh Travel Fair 2015
Medical Port at Riyadh Travel Fair 2015
Riyadh Travel Fair 2015
Riyadh Travel Fair 2015
Medical Port at Riyadh Travel Fair 2015
Medical Port at Riyadh Travel Fair 2015
Medical Port at Riyadh Travel Fair 2015
Medical Port at Riyadh Travel Fair 2015

We are what we eat

The debate isn’t new. What we put into our daily meals is what we will become in the long term.

The better we eat the better our health will be in the future. Eating better is mostly a question of education and information, of asking questions and reading labels to make healthy choices. And the ability to make right choices starts in the supermarket.

The World Health Organization explains why most people aren’t eating a healthy and balanced diet:

Increasing production of more and more processed food, rapid urbanization, and changing lifestyles are transforming dietary patterns. Highly processed foods are increasing in availability and becoming more affordable. People around the world are consuming more energy-dense foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats, sugars, and salt. (…) people are consuming less fruit vegetables and dietary fiber (such as whole grains), that are key components of a healthy diet.

Most food products available for children have high amounts of sugar and salt that parents aren’t aware of. According to the World Health Organization, “most people consume too much salt—on average 9–12 grams per day, or around twice the recommended maximum level of intake.” And they also consume too much sugar, that is why the WHO strongly recommends people to reduce their intake of free sugars from 10 to 5% of the total daily energy intake. Free sugars are defined as “(…) monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods and beverages by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.”

The amounts of sugar and salt present in our daily food intakes can sometimes be a deadly weapon and are responsible for diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and obesity. And these diseases can occur in children and teenagers, not only in adults.

The high costs of treating such diseases increase every decade but sadly the investment in prevention doesn’t. Prevention is important to bring awareness to health issues and to educate consumers about their food choices. The more educated consumers are, higher the chance they will go for a healthy diet with a focus on fresh foods such as vegetables, fruits and grains. The Mediterranean diet is a good barometer for a healthy diet, as it focuses on the balance between whole grains and fresh vegetables and low red meat consumption.

Hello Magazine calls Porto the perfect city break destination

Online editors of Hello magazine visited Porto and its surroundings to discover why the city voted twice as the “Best European Destination”

Porto is Portugal’s second largest city, located in the North of the country. For those who associate Portugal to sunny beaches in the Algarve region, the editors created a guide to this city full of history and a rich culture. Highlighting the fact that:

“Culture is also high on the agenda, with Porto’s historical centre listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

The article emphasizes a must visit to the Palacio da Bolsa, the former Stock Exchange, a 19th century building which took 66 years to build.

Being Porto the birthplace of Porto Wine, no trip to the city is complete without a visit to the many wine cellars and a cruise along the Douro river to see the astonishing views of the Douro Valley where wine grapes are cultivated. Douro cruises also offer, according to the article:

“[…] an unrivalled glimpse at the medieval relics, colourful houses and narrow cobbled streets that add to Porto’s charm.”

Douro River Cruise
Douro River Cruise (picture from Hello Magazine)


The modern art foundation Serralves is also a must see place not only for the art exhibitions but also for the “stunning gardens”. Porto surroundings are also a must see. Hello magazine suggests a day trip to Guimarães, the city that was named European Capital of Culture in 2012. It’s must see places are the medieval buildings and 10th century castle, which are a “well worth visit”.

Serralves Foundation
Serralves Foundation (photo from Hello Magazine)

Click here to read the full article on Hello Magazine.

Read about Europe Best Destinations here.

Infertility treatment abroad

Infertility is defined by the World Health Organization as the failure to achieve pregnancy after one year of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. The estimation is that 10-15% of reproductive-aged couples are affected by this medical condition.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) helps couples to conceive with medical assistance. Many couples decide to have this treatment abroad, for diverse reasons such as waiting times, costs, effectiveness or privacy.

Infertility is a problem that involves both partners. Several factors can cause infertility, some of them are specific to women or men. Others can affect both genders like: environmental conditions, consuming tobacco or drugs, excessive exercise, inadequate diet that leads to extreme weight loss or gain, and advanced age.

Medical Port team up with Hospital Lusíadas to offer infertility treatment alternatives that start with an accurate diagnosis of the couple conceiving condition.

These are the treatments available:

  • Ovulation monitoring;
  • Intrauterine insemination;
  • In Vitro fertilization;
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI);
  • Surgical sperm retrieval for ICSI;
  • Transference of frozen embryo as a result of in vitro fertilization.

You’ll be able to perform infertility tests, full couples’ studies, perform medical-surgical therapies and assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments in the same place, even if there’s the need to see physicians from other specialties, namely andrology, urology or psychology, amongst others. According to the ART team in Hospital dos Lusíadas, one out of three couples get pregnant after an ART treatment, and one out four couples that uses in vitro fertilization fulfills their dream of becoming parents.

If you would like to learn more about infertility treatment abroad, contact Medical Port for your ART proposal in Lisbon.

The Telegraph calls Portugal the “ultimate pension freedom”

Retire abroad is a dream for many people that live in the UK. They seek a place to spend their retirement with year round sunshine, great food and where their money can be saved. The Telegraph explains how to retire in Portugal and reduce tax spending.

The article refers to the Non Habitual Resident regime created in Portugal, which allows retirees from other countries to move to Portugal and pay no taxes for 10 years:

If you move to sunny Portugal for example, it could be possible to take your UK pension and pay absolutely no tax on it for the first 10 years. This applies even if you withdraw large sums, a move which in the UK could attract crippling tax charges, as such withdrawals are treated and taxed as ordinary income.

This regime has allowed many foreigners to take residency in Portugal when they retire. Making Portugal one of the best places to retire.

The articles also adds that:

To benefit from these rules, retired people would have to plan the move carefully and make sure they meet strict residence criteria both in Britain and their new destination country. And advice from a professional who has experience with the taxation laws of the country to which you intend to move is a must.

Fiscal advice is important to make sure to get the full benefits from the Non Habitual Resident regime. Aware of this concern, Medical Port developed the “For Health Card” to help foreigners willing to move to Portugal providing them with fiscal, real estate, health and leisure services. Cardholders benefit from fiscal advice to help them apply for the Non Habitual Resident regime and take full benefit from the tax-exempt. Learn more about the For Health Card here.

Portugal has plenty of expat retirees; the majority of them are originally from the UK, and they live across the country but mainly in the southern region of the Algarve. Though it is a small country, Portugal has a lot to see and to explore has a retiree. Besides mainland, Portugal has two islands in the middle of the Atlantic, Madeira and Azores that are known for their natural beauty and breath taking landscapes. Recently The Telegraph wrote an article featuring Madeira, one of Portugal’s islands in the Atlantic calling it “the most enviable island on Earth”.

Using Medical Port services, foreigners living in Portugal will be able to get the help they need when booking medical appointments or treatments. A customer care agent that coordinates all the booking details and the medical care with the medical provider will assist them personally. To learn more about Medical Port’s services, click here.

5 health benefits of mindfulness

Mindfulness meditation refers to the ability that we have of being in the here and now, completely aware of everything we are experiencing both inside ourselves and around us. Training your mind to be aware can provide several benefits for your health and your life in general.

Here are 5 benefits from practicing mindfulness meditation:

Be more focused

Mindfulness is about here and now. Is about focusing in the present and to evaluate it looking for positive outcomes. One of the ways to start practicing mindfulness is to focus on one task at the time. Focus solely on what you are doing and how you are doing it, learn and evaluate all the steps. And achieve a greater focus on everything you do.

Reduce stress

By becoming more aware of your own thoughts and knowing how to control them, you can reduce anxiety. People often get stressed when they feel they aren’t in control of things. So, controlling your mind and direct it towards positive thoughts can help reduce stress.

Make better decisions

After a mindfulness training you will have a choice to stop reacting automatically, give yourself time to think, know how to focus your attention and to remove the negative thoughts. This will lead to better decision-making, as your mind will allow you to take a pause and choose how you react.

Sleep better

Mediation is also known for relaxation, which can lead people to get to sleep quicker and sleep better. With the current practice of mindfulness it is possible to become more aware of the surroundings and to be able to relax and fall asleep faster and sleep better.

Become physically healthier

Recent studies have shown the benefits of mindfulness can be seen at the physical health level like treating heart disease, lower blood pressure or reduce chronic pain. Aligning your mind and your body to achieve a positive outcome can be a very powerful tool.

Learn more about Mindfulness here.

Medical Port can help you start with your Mindfulness practicing with the help of trained and skilled psychologists. Learn more about our Mindfulness program here.

World Health Day

April 7 is the day the World Health Organization chose as the World Health Day. Every year WHO celebrates this day with the goal to discuss health issues around the world that affect millions of people.

This year, the theme is Food Safety. With globalization comes the importance to ensure the safety of food supply, since ingredients travel long distances before they reach the consumers plate.

Medical Port wants to celebrate the World Health Day by discussing a topic that is transversal to everyone no matter their age, gender or nationality. The topic is health prevention. Health prevention is about taking care of your health and your family’s health making sure everything is fine by doing a regular health check-up. Every person should do a health check-up once a year. When was the last time you had one? 

These health check-up exams can outwit diseases that aren’t manifested yet. And early detection is the key to a successful treatment. Appropriate preventive care is important in every stage of life, but it becomes especially important after a certain age, usually 40 for both males and females.

Besides a regular health check-up individuals should live a healthy life, by paying special attention to the way they eat, sleep and exercise. Eat well is one of the main drivers of a good health. The Mediterranean diet, based on fresh ingredients, is a great way to start. Reducing the amount of meat and increasing the amount of fish, vegetables, fruits and grains are the grounds of a balanced diet. Sleep well is also important and a better nutrition brings better sleep. It’s not about how many hours people sleep per night but is about feeling rested in the morning. Practicing exercise is a driver of good health and everyone should do it as part of a healthy lifestyle. Even the ones who can’t practice exercise, everyone should at least walk 20 to 30 minutes every day. Physical inactivity is a major health problem worldwide and the benefits of exercising affect several health outcomes.

A healthy lifestyle is like a circle, where eating, sleeping and exercising go together and influence each other. Influencing the overall health condition.

Celebrate World Health Day with Medical Port by doing something for your health today and set goals for a healthy lifestyle. Let us know what was your decision and if there is something we can do to help you.

World health day
World health day

Condé Nast Traveler puts Portuguese hotel in historic hotels list

Condé Nast Traveler recently named their 2015 gold list of historic hotels. Among the 10 hotels of their choice there is a Portuguese one: Palácio Belmonte in Lisbon.

The prestige travel publication reveals each year the historic hotels that make guests travel in time, keeping luxury in the 21st century. These are hotels where the royalty used to live or hotels where famous writers would go for a refugee.

The presence of Palácio Belmonte is no strange to this classification. Since it became a hotel, guests around the world rate it as an historical luxury wonder. The building exists since 1449 as the house of a noble family of Lisbon and it is decorated with more than 30,000 hand painted Portuguese tiles. The building is considered a monument of National Interest since 1997, and it the oldest palace in the country.

Here’s what Charissa Fay, from Condé Nast Traveler had to say about the hotel:

Lisbon’s Palácio Belmonte, the former residence of a noble family dating back to 1449, has sitting rooms like no other: More than 30,000 blue-and-white Portuguese tiles from the 1700s cover the walls, complemented by dreamy fado music. I felt as if we had the entire palace to ourselves, as though we were breathing in the living history of those walls.

Palacio Belmonte in Lisbon. Photo from Condé Nast Traveler
Palacio Belmonte in Lisbon. Photo from Condé Nast Traveler

The hotel offers amazing views of Lisbon, Portugal’s capital and its most iconic historic sites such as the castle, the Tagus river, Alfama neighborhood and the city center.

Other hotels distinguished in this category are located in India, the United Sates, France, or Ireland.

Read the entire article here.