AMA: Ask Me Anything April 2022
this is part one; more to come.
life: examined is an invitation to get curious—a collection of ideas, and thoughts about living a creative, intentional life—written from my perch in Portugal for you.
—> Thank you for your support <—
I'm sitting in the sunny corner of my bedroom writing to you. It's one of my favorite things to do.
I was late with last Thursday's edition of life: examined, publishing it on Tuesday this week. And now, here it is, Friday. So yes, this edition is tardy, too, but what luck! You get to hear from me twice in one week. :)
This issue was to be dedicated to Ask Me Anything (AMA) questions.
I solicited questions from my Buy Me a Coffee supporters (supporters get an occasional message just for them) and received an overwhelming response—20+ questions. Of course, not all questions are unique—many are similar questions on a few popular topics.
Too Many Words
I’ll attempt to keep the word count down since you've already received two issues this week. With the wealth of questions that came in, it’ll be best to do this AMA in a few installments.
Today’s AMA will address the most oft-asked question about moving to Portugal and my reply. My reply is just that—it's what I've observed, researched, and heard. It doesn't mean my response is definitive.
I've made a composite of today's AMA question from several on the same theme; this question didn't come from one person.
Keep in Mind: I'm not an expert, but I am a qualified dabbler in all things Moving to Portugal. I’ve been offering my Move to Portugal sessions for
more than two years nearly three years (!) and I have no intention of quitting, yet. Each session is a learning opportunity for me, too. Thank you to those who have spent an hour or more of your time with me—our association enriches my life.
So with more than 250 words of a preamble (ramble, ramble), I present the most commonly asked question for this round of Ask Me Anything:
I'm not sure where to live in Portugal. I love Lisbon, but it might be too expensive. I've been to Porto, but I prefer Lisbon. Cascais seems nice, but is it expensive? What about the Algarve?
Deciding where to live is the biggest decision for most people thinking of moving to Portugal (or anywhere else). It takes careful consideration to assess the most suitable towns/cities/regions for your needs and wants (don’t be swayed by glossy magazines).
BUT, beware the fantasy self!
The fantasy self shows up in various guises. The artsy type who goes to museums and events several times a week (ahem, finger-pointing back at me), the country life romanticize-r (who’s never lived more than 10 minutes from a Costco), or perhaps the ocean enthusiast who doesn't go to the beach that often.
That last one is also me. But, I can't be landlocked and must know that the ocean is right over there even if I make few visits—knowing the sea is nearby makes all the difference in life satisfaction.
A Brief Sketch of Lisbon, Cascais, and the Algarve
Think La Jolla, California, when you think of the charming and tidy seaside town of Cascais.
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal with all that entails. There is gorgeous architecture around every corner, lots of cool shops, galleries, cafés—and people. All the people, and tourists, too.
The Algarve is in warm and sunny southern Portugal, a vast area composed of many different towns—some you might like, some not. Along with Cascais, the Algarve is nirvana for golfers (in general).
Rain, Sun, or Something in-Between?
I suggest you consider climate as your top factor for location decision-making (along with other details like will you have a car or not? How important to you is a good hospital?).
Porto and North Portugal are typically cold and damp/rainy nearly half the year—think the Pacific Northwest (not maligning, just saying) in the U.S. The Algarve, like California, is in a drought (as is much of Portugal, but the Algarve and Alentejo are the worst).
In general, you'll find many retirees, tourists, and Brits (residents and tourists), in Cascais, Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve (with more U.K. citizens in Faro, Portimão, and Lagos, especially).
As noted on the website schengenvisainfo.com, “42,071 Britons became Portuguese residents in 2021, securing the second largest nationality group position for another year, Portugal’s Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) reported.” This is the sixth year in a row that the number of Britons as residents in Portugal has grown.
I tell all my clients: where you land is not where you will end up.
Real Estate in Portugal
The real estate market is tight in the areas mentioned but less so in the rural interior. Prices have gone up everywhere; the scantly-populated regions are no exception.
So can you still find bargains? Of course. It just depends on how long you feel like waiting for that stone house renovation to begin.
Via my real estate agent: Although Lisbon and Cascais have the highest prices per m2, the two areas with the most significant increase in square meter price from 2020 to 2021 are Évora and Setúbal.
A Note on Housing
For the D7, the most popular residency visa, you'll need a one-year lease registered with Finanças to ensure you meet the housing obligation.
Land somewhere safe, accessible, and good enough with services nearby.
You'll be plenty busy the first year just figuring out how to buy groceries (do I weigh the produce at this store, or not?) and all the day-to-day things we do with ease in the U.S. or wherever we are from.
This post still weighs in at nearly 1,000 + words despite my best efforts to keep it well under. I could have written five times the amount to cover the topic thoroughly, but it's Friday, and we don't have time for that.
Let me know if you already live in Portugal or are planning to—and if you have a question for a future AMA, ask!
Favorite Portuguese to English Auto-Translation of the Week:
[…] the project expanded the offer and now has a physical store with everything you need to make the daily life of your big daddy even happier from quality food, to resistant bowls and collars.
There’s a new store in town—so make your big daddy happy!
The Golden Girls of Punk. Four Baton Rouge women defy stereotypes, three minutes at a time, in an act called Your Mom Band. By Jason Christian via Oldster Magazine (don’t miss the video for their song Dessert linked in the post).
Join Americans & FriendsPT on Facebook for DIY visa information (and more). Check out the files section—pure gold.
Thank you Christine, Jorge, Roxanne, Jeanne, Judy, Rich, Ron, @buencamino, Timothy, Sandyweb33, and anonymous other good people for supporting life: examined through Buy Me a Coffee.
—> Not expected, but always appreciated!
Whether it’s a comment, a like, a coffee, or a share—I’m grateful for your support!