AFAR magazine names Portugal the most popular non-U.S. destination

According to AFAR travel magazine, Portugal was the most visited non-US location in 2015 and is the 5th must go destination for 2016.

AFAR analysed the most searched terms and cities for trip planning in 2015 by their website visitors and compiled the list of the most visited places. Portugal is number 2, only followed by the American city of New Orleans.

NY Daily News magazine published AFAR’s list and here is their opinion about Portugal: “The major draw of the country is the beautiful Algarve’s beaches featuring bright blue-green waters and interesting rock formations. The hilly capital of Lisbon is known for its café culture and bars and restaurants. Bacalhau (white cod), Pasteis de Belem (custard cups) and Caldo Verde soup are mainstays in Portuguese dining and a must-eat if visiting the country.

AFAR recently released their January/February 2016 issue which contains the “The Top 10 Destinations on Our 2016 Travel List” and Portugal is number 5, and these are the reasons why: “Portugal is heating up as a cultural hub. Foodies are flocking to the capital city of Lisbon, which is radiating with exciting new culinary experiences. In addition, the city is getting a swanky new port hub to support the building river cruise traffic. Porto has quickly emerged as a top art scene and the central coast 200-mile stretch between the two cities is becoming loved by beachcombers. Locals and newcomers alike are breathing new life into Portugal’s smaller villages. With these experiences, Portugal truly has something for everyone.

All these reasons make Portugal the most popular non-U.S. destination of 2015 and probably 2016.

Read the full articles here: NY Daily News  and AFAR.

 

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Portugal awarded for hospitality and ability to speak in English

Portugal and the Portuguese people have been known for their hospitality throughout the years.

From tourists to expats, foreigners tend to feel well received in Portugal not only because what the country has to offer but also from the friendliness of Portuguese people.

One of the reasons why Portugal is gaining so much popularity as a place to retire abroad is because English is widely understood and spoken. Expats in Portugal can have a great living experience even if they don’t speak Portuguese, as English is widely spoken in the country. Another reason is due to the fact that the country welcomes foreigners with ease and there’s a great tolerance towards other cultures. Portugal is one of the countries where English is more widely spoken in the whole world. According to the ranking by EF , Portugal is the 13th country in the world with the best English skills. In the 2015 English Proficiency Index, Portugal is placed among the countries with the better English skills, categorised as a country where people have a high proficiency of English. There were 70 countries analysed in the index. The top places belong the Northern European countries and the bottom places belong to countries in the Middle East and Asia.

Also according to the Global Peace Index by the Institute for Economics and Peace, Portugal is the 11th most peaceful country in the world. Portugal is considered to be “very high” in terms of peace. The Global Peace Index is “The world’s leading measure of national peacefulness, the GPI measures peace according to 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators”, according to the Institute. The ranking evaluated 162 countries in the world for several indicators like perceptions of criminality, intensity of internal conflict, neighboring countries relations, among others. Portugal got minimum scores in almost of all of these indicators, meaning the country has low representativeness in those indicators.

 

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Portugal’s residence program for foreigners is the best in the world

According to a report from Henley & Partners, the global leaders in residence and citizenship planning, Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit Program is the world’s best residence-by-investment program in 2015.

This program allows foreign citizens to invest in Portugal and obtain a residence visa.

Among the 19 residency programs for foreigners analyzed by Henley & Partners, the Portuguese one is the one that offers more advantages to foreign investors. Portugal is followed by Austria (2nd place) and Belgium (3rd place).

The programs were ranked according to 10 indicators: Reputation, Quality of Life, Tax, Visa Free Access, Processing Time and Quality of Processing, Compliance, Investment Requirements, Total Costs, Time to Citizenship and Citizenship Requirements. Portugal ranked highest on “Total Cost” meaning the initial investment required is lower when compared to other programs. Portugal shared the top spot with other countries in the following indicators: “Tax”, “Visa Free Access”, and “Processing Time and Quality of Processing”. Meaning that foreigner investors have light tax burdens and the processing procedures are quick and efficient.

Some of the reasons to move to Portugal, according to Living in Portugal:

  1. Great climate with an average of 3300 hours of sunshine per year, one of the highest rates in Europe
  2. The satisfaction of 80% of the tourists who visit the country and want to come back
  3. The average housing prices in Portugal are very competitive compared to the main European cities
  4. Taxation is light on foreigner investors as Henley & Partners already highlighted in the report
  5. Portugal is ranked as the 17th safest country in the world among a list of 153 countries

Medical Port serves foreign residents’ healthcare needs through the For Health Card, a card that gives access to the top private healthcare providers in Portugal with discounts and specialized services. To learn more about the For Health Card please visit our website.

 

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American news website, Newsday, writes about a memorable trip to Porto, Portugal

Porto – Portugal’s second largest city – was recently classified as “intoxicating” by an article on Newsday, because of its amazing views and smells.

The author took a trip to Porto and realized the city is full of contrasts and offers stunning views for its visitors.

Porto is described by its two sightseeing landmarks: “The city offers two high-impact sightseeing thrills: the postcard-perfect ambience of its riverfront Ribeira district and the opportunity to learn more about (and enjoy) the port wine that ages here. Porto also has sumptuous churches, worthwhile museums, beautifully tiled buildings (even the train station), and a bustling Industrial Age market hall.

The fact that in Porto is possible to find in a short distance away a street crowded with tourists and cafés and another street filled with local overlooking the neighbourhood in their little balconies amazes the author. It is possible to see within a short walk the touristic Porto and the typical Porto with its natives.

Food and drink is another serious subject when a trip to Porto is described. The author tried seafood, the typical Francesinha sandwich, and the world-famous Port wine.

The article says that a trip to Portugal isn’t complete without a trip to Porto. Whether you are considering visiting Lisbon or the Algarve region, make sure to include Porto in your itinerary because as it is stated in the article “Whether you’re enjoying Ribeira’s riverfront promenade, cruising the Douro, or sampling port in this port city, Porto gives you a fine taste of authentic Portuguese culture.”

Read the full article here.

 

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Portugal in the top 5 countries with best quality of life

Portugal is ranked as the 5th country in the world with the best quality of life.

Internationally recognized expat website, Internations recently announced the 2015 quality of life index ranking.

The Index includes 64 countries, ranked according to different factors such as leisure, personal happiness, travel and transport, as well as health, safety, and well-being. This year, “affordable healthcare”, “quality of environment” was added as new questions and “political stability” and “peacefulness” was considered individually to reflect new thoughts and feelings.

Portugal jumped 8 places from last year’s ranking where got the 13th place. In 2015, Portugal is the 5th country with the best quality of life index leaving behind countries like Spain, Japan, Germany and many other European countries.

Besides the overall rank, there are four sub-categories, which are leisure options, personal happiness, travel & transport, and health, safety & well-being. Portugal ranked number 3 in the health, safety & well-being subcategory and number 7 in personal happiness.

The first 5 countries are:

  1. Singapore
  2. Ecuador
  3. Austria
  4. Switzerland
  5. Portugal

Below is the full list of the 64 countries analyzed:

 

Quality of Life Index 2015

The 2015 Quality of Life Index confirms that Portugal is one of the best options for expats to live, whether to work or to retire. The country enjoys mild temperatures all year-round, above the average and affordable healthcare and it is an overall safe country to live in and to travel to.

 

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Portugal named in the top 10 great retirement spots for golfers

U.S. News gathered the list of the best retirement spots for American golf lovers to retire abroad.

Those who like to golf usually look for a retirement spot where they can practise their skill and live a comfortable life. U.S. News writes: “Many people dream of spending their retirement years lining up the perfect putt while enjoying the grass and sunshine. Golf generally helps you get plenty of exercise and fresh air and provides opportunities to meet other golfers and make new friends.”

Those retirement ideal spots can be found abroad, where the cost of living is cheaper than the United States. According to U.S. News, Quinta do Lago, in the Algarve, Portugal is the 8th best place to retire for golf lovers:

“Portugal’s Algarve receives top marks in every category of importance to retirees, including cost-of-living, climate, infrastructure and residency options. In addition, this region is dense with golf courses, including Quinta do Lago. With three award-winning championship golf courses, – the North, South and Laranjal – excellent practice facilities and the only Paul McGinley Academy in Europe, Quinta do Lago makes this corner of Portugal a golfer’s dream retirement choice.”

Great retirement spots for golfers, U.S. News
Great retirement spots for golfers, U.S. News

After being recently named the best region in the world to retire abroad, the Algarve is getting the attention of the press all over the world as we wrote in a previous post (click here to read it). In the Algarve (as well as in the entire country of Portugal) the sunny weather attracts many expats who enjoy the Mediterranean style food, the reasonable cost of living and the overall quality of healthcare and other important services for expats living in Portugal.

The other countries in the top 10 of the best retirement spots for golfers are: Nicaragua, Italy, Vietnam, Thailand, Argentina, Mexico, France, Dominican Republic and Ireland. Click here to see the full list.

 

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TripAdvisor says the best aquarium in the World is in Portugal

Lisbon’s Aquarium (Oceanário de Lisboa) was recently voted the best in the world according to TripAdvisor users. The 2015 Travelers’ Choice Award winners by TripAdvisor were revealed recently.

The Lisbon Aquarium has 11579 reviews from which 10745 either classified it as “Excellent” or “Very good”. These reviews made Lisbon Aquarium to the first spot in the best aquariums list in the world. Last year, Lisbon Aquarium got the second place, and this year, changed places with Georgia Aquarium in the United States. The variety of marine species (animals and plants) and the education on nature and water conservation and preservation are the strong points of the Lisbon Aquarium. It is also considered the number 1 attraction to see while in Lisbon and should be visited at least half a day, according to the reviews of previous visitors.

Lisbon Aquarium, Portugal
Lisbon Aquarium, Portugal, photo courtesy Oceanario de Lisboa

Travel website “Travel Pulse” shared the news about the Lisbon Aquarium and describes it: “While the Oceanário de Lisboa opened fairly recently, in 1998, the building has built up quite a varied number of sea creature species, and the aquarium has a focus on teaching people about the animals and how to protect them.” 

ABC News, wrote “Put these on your bucket list: World’s top zoos, aquariums and more” after the winners were announced by TripAdvisor.

 

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2015 Global Peace Index puts Portugal in the 11th place

Climbing 7 places from last year, Portugal is now the 11th most peaceful country in the world, as stated by the Global Peace Index by the Institute for Economics and Peace. Portugal is considered to be “very high” in terms of peace.

The Global Peace Index is “The world’s leading measure of national peacefulness, the GPI measures peace according to 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators”, according to the Institute.

The ranking evaluated 162 countries in the world for several indicators like perceptions of criminality, intensity of internal conflict, neighboring countries relations, among others. Portugal got minimum scores in almost of all of these indicators, meaning the country has low representativeness in those indicators.

In the 2014 ranking, Portugal was placed in the 18th place, the rise of 7 places from one year to another, shows how important it is for the country to maintain its peace and security standards.

The report explains why Portugal improved its score both in the Global and in the European ranking: “Portugal’s score was boosted by a reduction in political instability following its exit from the EU/IMF economic and financial adjustment program. Like neighboring Spain, Portugal also benefitted from a reduction in the likelihood of violent demonstrations at anti-austerity marches.”

From the 2014 study to this year’s, the researchers concluded that 81 countries became more peaceful while 78 became less peaceful, regarding geographical areas, “For 2015, four out of the nine geographical regions experienced an improvement in peace while five became less peaceful.”

 The 11 most peaceful countries in the world are:

  1. Iceland
  2. Denmark
  3. Austria
  4. New Zealand
  5. Switzerland
  6. Finland
  7. Canada
  8. Japan
  9. Australia
  10. Czech Republic
  11. Portugal

Read the full report here.

 

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Summer vacations in Portugal, according to international press

Portugal was recently considered to be a great destination for summer vacations from several newspapers around the world.

The French edition of the Huffington Post voted Porto Covo beach in the south of Portugal to be the second most beautiful beach in the world. Only toped by Paradise Island beach in the Bahamas. Porto Covo is in the top 3 according to the Huffington Post because, “There are cliffs and great beaches but the village is also worth a visit. It is a fishing village of just 1500 inhabitants, far from the tourist places of the country.”

Read the full story on the most beautiful beaches in the world, here.

According to U.K.’s newspaper, Mirror, Portugal is the most popular European destination for Brits traveling abroad this summer. The data was taken from a TripAdvisor poll that ranks the 10 favorite destinations for British holidaymakers.

You can read the full top 10, here.

Condé Nast Traveller ask their readers to rank the best beach restaurants in the world, and the restaurant “Sal” in the famous beachtown of Comporta was named number 1. Readers highlighted the quality of fresh fish, Portuguese picanha and fruity sangria.

See the full gallery of the best beach restaurants in the world here.

 

British newspaper, The Guardian, has also recently mentioned two regions in Portugal as some of the best places for a family summer vacation in Europe. Portuguese region of the Algarve is known for its white sand beaches with turquoise waters, “It’s all about the beaches in this southern region of Portugal, close to the Alentejo border; long, wild and often empty, it has them in spades.” And Coimbra region in the center has innumerous options for those who like a nature vacation: “Go paddling in the Mondego river, visit hillside villages, explore historic Coimbra, spend a day at the coast (90 minutes’ drive away) if you’re craving the sea, and pack a picnic for hiking, biking or kayaking trips in the Serra da Estrela mountains.”

You can read the full article on The Guardian, here.

Portugal is definitely hitting the spotlight in the media around the world, highlighting different aspects that make the country a great place to visit, and a perfect destination for your medical travel.

 

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Portugal among the best 15 tourism-friendly countries

According to the World Economic Forum, Portugal is the best 15th country to visit as a tourist.

The organization ranked 141 countries across 14 dimensions on their ability to receive tourists giving each dimension a score from from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest).

Portugal’s overall score was 4.6.

Portugal received the highest scores in the following dimensions: Safety & Security, Health & Hygiene, Tourist Service Infrastructure, and Prioritization of Travel & Tourism, which placed the country among the best 15 countries in the entire world to travel to as a tourist.

In the dimensions of Safety & Security and Tourist Service Infrastructure Portugal’s overall score placed the country in the 10th place. Meaning Portugal is one of the safest countries to travel to and that there are plenty of tourism infrastructures to help and support tourists needs. Portugal is placed at the 17th place in the dimension of Cultural Resources & Business Travel, implying the country it is a great option for those who travel looking for Culture and History and for those who travel for business. The country ranked number 12 for the number of World Heritage (UNESCO) cultural sites. Regarding the sub index of Infrastructures, Portugal got the 1st place for Quality of Roads meaning the roads are considered efficient and extensive by international standards.

For Health & Hygiene, Portugal got the 1st place in the sub dimensions of Access to Sanitation and to Drinking Water, with a score of 100% meaning, the entire population is covered by those two basic needs. For physician density per 1,000 people, Portugal is in the 20th place of the whole ranking.

Overall the report classifies Portugal as a safe destination with good infrastructures for tourists and prepared to welcome them and give them the support they need.

The first place in the report is occupied by Spain. Read the full report here.

 

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