Portugal has been mentioned as a leading destination for vacation in many articles and placed in the top of various rankings. This year, the World Travel Awards distinguished the country with several awards in different sections.
Photo credits: Bengt Nyman
Portugal conquering hearts
2018 is definitely the year of Portugal as an unmissable touristic place. World Travel Awards awarded Lisbon as Europe’s Leading City Destination 2018 and Portugal as Europe’s Leading Destination 2018.
Also, it is the third time in a row that Lisbon receives the award of Europe’s Leading Cruise Port 2018 and many Portuguese resorts and hotels conquered a prize in World Travel Awards this year. Regarding places hidden in the countryside, Madeira Islands were awarded as Europe’s Leading Island Destination 2018 and Passadiços do Paiva (Arouca UNESCO Global Geopark) as Europe’s Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction 2018.
Lisbon: the chosen place for a visit and for the stay
Lisbon has been in the top of the last rankings as a city break for tourists. The Telegraph explains the main reasons why Lisbon is such a desired destination, considering its restaurants, gastronomy, architecture, street art and closeness to the beach. There are other curious facts about the city: it is one of the world’s oldest ones, it is marked by Portugal’s role in the Age of Discovery and it gets more sun than anywhere else in Europe.
However, Lisbon is just not a city for a quick visit. Very recently it became the home of some celebrities: Monica Belluci, Michael Fassbender and Christin Louboutin bought their apartments in the typical neighbourhood of Alfama while Madonna is in the city’s spotlight because of her struggle to buy her ideal Portuguese house.
What really matters when moving abroad
The living cost, the sun and the quality of life are surely crucial factors that bring so many foreigners to Portugal. Nevertheless, when choosing this country to visit or to settle, there are two essential factors that strongly influence this decision: it is a safe destination and it has one of the few good healthcare systems in the world, as stated by the World Health Organization’s Director-General.
Hernias are a common health issue. They can take years to develop of appear within a short period of time. Either way, hernias always require surgery to get fixed.
Our customer Eugénia Nascimento, from Angola, was among those suffering from hernia who sought the expertise of Dr. Miguel Pinto, a worldwide renown specialist in Hernias. In order to reach Dr. Miguel Pinto, Ms. Nascimento got in touch with Medical Port. We assisted throughout the process of coming to Portugal to eventually get the hernia surgery she needed. The surgery took place at Hospital Lusíadas, a Medical Port partner.
You can learn more about her experience by watching her video:
Lisbon has become very attractive for foreigners looking to run their businesses or just resettle. The Guardian explores examples of the city’s recovery after the economic crisis.
According to this article by the Guardian, Lisbon is a city “of old-fashioned dignity, of arcades and ocean breezes, of the yellow, timber-lined streetcars that get into the tourist pictures, of classical facades maintaining their equilibrium over steep slopes, of delectable cake shops and family-owned seafood restaurants.”
It is described as cosmopolitan city that brings details from other cities together. Trendy co-working spaces set up in repurposed shipping containers and buses, like Village Underground, with cultural events at the workspace, is one of the examples given that resembles the reality of London. Then, there is the bridge that looks like the Golden Gate one in San Francisco and the city’s own Christ statue that recalls Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
Lisbon’s safety is also mentioned in the article, along with being a liberal, open minded and “pro-enterprise” city. Those aspects and the fact that it is much cheaper when compared to London makes it an attractive place for “young creative exiles from the British capital” at a time when the Brexit is still characterized by uncertainty. Additionally, since last year and, at least, until 2018, Lisbon is the host city of the Web Summit, “the largest tech conference in the world”, which emphasizes the city’s innovative side.
Portugal as a whole is more and more attractive to tourists, foreign professionals looking to move and individuals looking to retire abroad. Even during the so-called “low season” of tourism, the numbers of visitors have been continuously increasing, not only in Lisbon but also in other regions like the North region and the Azores islands.
Portugal’s attractiveness reached the other side of the Atlantic. The Boston Globe emphasises how a small country like Portugal has a varied range of offerings, “good food, rich history, great views and temperate climate”.
Lisbon is described as a city that “looks less like a national capital than an unusually large Mediterranean village”, where one can still witness people drying their clothes out in their windows and merchants drying their fish in the sun. The article points out places like Rossio square with its “majestic fountains”, the Commercial Square (Praça do Comércio, in Portuguese) representing the historic connection to the sea, the nightlife at Cais do Sodré, the street art booming throughout the city, Belém and its famous pastries.
300km north, the city of Porto is pictured as “handsome and elegant”, with granite structures “packed on the hilly landscape and covered with colorful tiles”. The D. Luis Bridge, resembling the Eiffel tower architecture, the beautiful tiles of S. Bento train station, right in the heart of Porto, the Harry Potter inspiring bookstore Lello and McDonald’s – yes, McDonald’s – in Porto downtown are some the must-sees mentioned.
Between the days spent in Lisbon and Porto, the article recommends a pit stop in Óbidos, “a picturesque walled town with winding streets” and Sintra, the Unesco World Heritage Site, with the colorful and unique Pena Palace deserving all the attention, though Sintra has much more too offer and definitely worth the visit.
Members of InterNations, an international expat community, put Portugal among the top ten places to live by weather. But this country has much more to offer than the sunniest continental european capital.
Some countries value good weather more than others, but the majority has spoken: Portugal deserves the 10th place on the list, when it comes favourite places to live because of the weather conditions. Over 14 000 people living in 195 countries participated in the survey. Costa Rica, Cyprus and Greece make up the top three on the list.
Besides the weather, 62% of expats who participated in the survey rated their personal safety in Portugal as very good, which is 20 percentage points above the global average. Portugal also ranks third as the “Most Welcoming Countries” and fifth in “Quality of Life” and “Ease of Settling in” indexes.
If we are changing your view about Portugal for the better, you are not alone. International perception of Portugal is up for the third year in a row, according to a report by the consultant “On Strategy”. Economic potential and social context were the fields that registered a greater increase. As Portugal becomes a more and more known touristic destination, the reputation among foreigners tends to increase. Additionally, Portugal remains a stable and safe destination, while other typical destinations are facing some political instability or the threat of terrorism, as we have talked about before.
As some common holidays destinations like France and Turkey deal with the threat of terrorism, the number of tourists in Portugal increases. While this country remains a good choice regarding safety, the government has also worked on improving security measures.
Bloomberg points out that Portugal, along with its neighboring country Spain, is already registering a growth in the number of tourists who are seeking sunny destinations. It comes in the aftermath of multiple terrorist attacks in France and the failed coup d’etat in Turkey, a nation now facing internal conflicts in addition to the already existing terrorism threat.
Tourism represents about 10% of Portugal GDP. In 2015, hotels registered over 16 million guests and 70% of those were foreign. The number of British and German visitors increased the most. Algarve, Lisbon and Madeira were the most sought-after regions.
Investment in the future
Bloomberg quotes the Portuguese minister of Economy, Miguel Macedo Cabral, who says that the country is working to promote different segments to attract more tourists, not only during summer, but year-round. The government is also looking to expand tourism to other places in the country.
However, this is not the only index where Portugal gets an honorable place. It is the 12th out of 207 countries in the KOF Index of Globalization for 2016.The Portuguese health care system ranked 12th in the world by the World Health Organization. In fact, Portugal has some of the highest rates when it comes to available hospital beds and number of physicians. You can learn more about Portugal and the Portuguese health care by visiting our site.
Touristic attractions: as one of the oldest cities in Western Europe, this city offers multiple outstanding places to visit, such as Jerónimos Monastery, Tower of Belém and Praça do Comércio.
A charming city: as US News puts it, “Lisbon offers the same Old World cosmopolitan flavor” as other better known European capitals, but with good weather, and pleasant, clean beaches.
Affordability: Lisbon is one of the most affordable capital cities in Western Europe. The quality of life you get compared to the cost of living is unmatchable.
Healthcare: Lisbon ranks high also when it comes to healthcare quality, and counts with some of the best health specialists in Europe. Plus, medical care is considerably more affordable in Lisbon than in the USA. Language is not a barrier: most doctors and medical staff speak English. If you are considering visiting or moving to Portugal and want to better understand how to access healthcare services, we can help.
Language: There is an established English speaking community in Lisbon, and English is the second most spoken language throughout Portugal.
Cultural and recreational activities are also mentioned by US News, and moving to Portugal is now easier thanks to the Non Habitual Regime and Golden Visa status. You can read the full article – that concludes by describing Portugal as a “welcoming haven”.
There are many other unique characteristics that render Lisbon a great choice for foreign retirees. Keep visiting our blog to learn more.
Following our previous blog post about why Americans should retire to Portugal (click here to read it), we are now sharing an article from The Washington Post with a financial guide to retire abroad.
Plan a retirement abroad requires careful planning and many places can be cheaper than the United States.
The financial guide from The Washington Post includes the following topics that prospect retirees should take into account before making the decision:
Easy residency programs for foreigners – In Portugal, the Golden Visa residency program makes it easy for foreigners to buy property and establish residency in the country with tax benefits
Cost of living and lifestyle –“(…) in the Algarve region of Portugal, named the most attractive place to retire abroad by Live and Invest Overseas, a retiree could live on $1,410 a month, including $600 for rent.”
Healthcare – Medical Port can help you with this. We have special healthcare solutions for foreign residents in Portugal that have health insurance or not. The For Health card is a solution for those foreign citizens who live in Portugal and have healthcare needs that aren’t usually covered on health insurances.
Bank accounts – It is advised to keep a bank account in the home country and another in the country where you are retiring.
Social security – Portugal is one of the countries where American citizens can move and still receive their social security benefits.
Pay taxes – Retirees will still need to pay taxes in the United States.
Buy property – While some countries make it hard for foreign citizens to buy property, others – like Portugal – make it easy like any other national citizen would.
Spend the retirement years in a foreign country is an exciting idea for many Americans who look for better weather, affordable cost of living and the opportunity to experience a new culture.
Portugal is becoming increasingly popular as a retirement destination and has received for the past few years the top places on the best retirement abroad rankings (click here to read more about it).
To learn more about Medical Port’s solution for healthcare for foreign citizens in Portugal, the For Health card, click here.
Financial Advisor magazine says Portugal should be the first choice for Americans to retire, outside of the United States.
As life expectancy grows, the number of retirees of wish to spend their retirement abroad rises. For those Americans who dream of retiring abroad, the choice of the ideal place may be difficult to make. Proximity to the home country, cost of living, language, safety and climate are some of the aspects prospect retirees must take into account when choosing their retirement spot abroad.
Financial Advisor magazine says Portugal, specifically the Algarve region should be the top choice for Americans to retire and there are plenty of reasons to support this statement: “Portugal, takes top honors, thanks to its low cost of living, low cost of real estate, great weather, established expat community, new retiree residency program and endless options for how to meaningfully fill the days and evenings.”
The magazine article adds another two very important reasons why Americans should chose the Portugal for retirement:
English is widely spoken which makes it possible to live in Portugal and speaking only in English – this may be especially advantageous for older people who don’t want to learn a new language.
Portugal is “one of the safest places on earth right now” to live and also to visit as a tourist.
Portugal has been considered for the past few years as one of the best places to retire abroad and the Algarve region was named twice as the best region to retire in the whole world. Click here to read the latest news about why Portugal is a great place to retire.
For Americans Portugal holds another advantage: it is the closest European country from the United States and daily 6-hour flights can take Americans to Portugal.
Portugal has seen a great increase in American tourists in 2015 and the numbers continue to rise in 2016.
Travel Pulse magazine highlights that Americans are among the top nationalities that most recently visited the country. That is why the Portuguese Tourism board set the promotion of Portugal in the United States as a priority. The Portuguese Tourism Board believes that the satisfaction that American visitors get from visiting Portugal is the greatest drive of new tourists, since those who enjoyed their time will tell family and friends to plan a trip too. Also the value for money and the proximity to North America are likely to drive the interest of tourists.
Portugal’s capital Lisbon, offers world-class luxury hotels at affordable prices when compared to other European capitals and flights from New York City to Lisbon take around 7 hours or less. Travel Pulse adds:
“One sign of the country’s soaring popularity is the fact that it’s nearly impossible to narrow down five must-see locales within this small country. The Azores are a must, Porto can’t be missed as the birthplace of port wine, the Algarve is mesmerizing and Lisbon is the country’s cultural hub – but there’s so much more.”
The increase in American tourists in Portugal can also be explained by an increase in overall tourism in the country. In 2015 a record number of foreign tourists stayed in Portuguese hotel, more than 10 million visitors came to the country, according to Portuguese National Statistics Institute. The fact that Portugal is a safe destination right now is also making the number of tourists to rise and 2016 is already expected to break new records.