Living in Portugal

Portugal is another country in Europe that is rated highly for its quality of life and as a top place for expat workers to settle in.

In fact, the 2022 Expat Insider survey ranked Portugal as the #1 destination in Europe for expats and #4 overall out of the 52 countries that were evaluated.

According to the InterNations 2022 Expat Insider survey, “Expats enjoy the high quality of life, find it easy to settle in, and are happy with their personal finances in Portugal.”

The 2022 Expat Insider survey further states, “93% of expats find it easy and safe to get around on foot and/or by bicycle…and 82% feel that they can openly express themselves and their opinions.”

In short, Portugal is a comfortable country for expat workers and their families to live abroad.

Why Portugal?

There are many reasons expat workers are moving to Portugal including:

  • Friendly – The 2022 Expat Survey reports that 82 percent of expats consider the Portuguese people to be friendly.
  • Comfortable – Most expats (77 percent) “feel at home” living in Portugal (2022 Expat Survey).
  • Affordable – Expat workers and their families can enjoy a low cost of living in Portugal.
  • Jobs in Portugal – There are jobs in Portugal for expat workers in healthcare, information technology and other sectors.
  • Freedom – Freedom House gave Portugal a rating of 95 percent for civil liberties and political rights in 2022.
  • Healthcare – Expats who work in Portugal generally enjoy the same public healthcare rights as Portuguese citizens.
  • Peacefulness – The 2022 Global Peace Index ranked Portugal the 6th most peaceful country in the world.
  • Beautiful – You will find beautiful cities, beaches and natural landscapes living in Portugal.
  • English Speakers – Portugal is rated as the #10 best English-speaking country in Europe.
  • Permanent Residence – Expats can become permanent residents after living in Portugal 5 years as temporary residents.
  • Citizenship – After living in Portugal for 5 years as a legal resident, an expat worker can apply for citizenship in Portugal.


NOTE: An immigrant who is at least 18 years of age and has lived a combined total of 5 years with a Residence Permit and/or Permanent Residence Permit, and who meets all other criteria, can apply to become a citizen of Portugal. Adults applying for citizenship in Portugal can include their children in their Portuguese citizenship application.


Portugal is located on the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula, bordered by Spain to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, north and south.

The country is divided into seven regions from north to south as follows:

  • North Region (Porto is the regional capital city)
  • Center Region (Coimbra is the regional capital city)
  • Lisbon Region (Lisbon is the national capital city of Portugal)
  • Alentejo Region (Évora is the regional capital city)
  • Algarve Region (Faro is the regional capital city)
  • Madeira Autonomous Region (Funchal is the regional capital city of this Portuguese island chain in the Atlantic Ocean)
  • Azores Autonomous Region (Ponta Delgada is the regional capital city of this Portuguese island chain in the Atlantic Ocean)

Portugal is a scenic country with mountains in the north, rolling hills dotted with trees in the south, and beautiful beaches lining its western and southern coasts.

Several of the best beaches in Portugal are found in Algarve, including Praia da Manta Rota, Praia de Rocha, Praia da Falésia, Praia do Amado and Camilo Beach.

Some other beautiful beaches in Portugal are Nazaré Beach (famous for its giant waves) in the Center Region and Carcavelos Beach west of Lisbon.

The longest river completely in Portugal is the Mondego River (Rio Mondego), which stretches 234 km across the country.

The Tagus River is the longest river on the Iberian Peninsula, flowing 1,007 km from Spain in the east to the Atlantic coast of Portugal in the west.


Portugal has a growing economy with an annual gross domestic product (GDP) of $256 billion USD.

The service sector accounts for 78.5 percent of Portugal’s GDP, with industry making up 19.4 percent and agriculture 2.1 percent.

Around 69.8 percent of the people who work in Portugal are employed in the service sector, 24.7 percent in industry and 5.5 percent in agriculture.

The major business sectors in Portugal include: textiles, manufacturing, chemicals, information technology, aerospace, tourism, footwear, clothing, wineries, telecommunications, automotive, cement and other building materials, timber, paper, glassware, ceramics, cork, ship construction, and dairy products.

Portugal’s key trading partners are Spain, France, Germany, the United States, Italy, The Netherlands, Brazil, China and Angola.

The average salary in Portugal is about €33,000 ($35,700 USD) per year, however, some people who work in Portugal earn more or less than the average salary.

Average yearly salaries for select jobs in Portugal include:

  • Accountant = €33,960 ($36,738 USD)
  • Chef = €20,160 ($21,809 USD)
  • Construction Manager = €50,280 ($54,393 USD)
  • Dentist = €78,000 ($84,380 USD)
  • Electrical Engineer €31,680 ($34,271 USD)
  • Finance Manager = €84,380 ($91,282 USD)
  • Hotel Manager = €58,800 ($63,610 USD)
  • Marketing Manager = €58,680 ($63,480 USD)
  • Nurse = €31,920 ($34,531 USD)
  • Physical Therapist = €54,480 ($58,936 USD)
  • Physician = €77,640 ($83,991 USD)
  • Restaurant Manager = €40,320 ($43,618 USD)
  • Software Developer = €43,618 ($33,737 USD)
  • University Lecturer = €46,320 ($50,087 USD)


Please note that these are the average annual salaries for select jobs in Portugal and some workers earn more or less than the average salary, depending on their specific occupation, education, level of employment (entry level, mid-level, senior-level), years of experience, location of employment, or other factors.

NOTE: The EUR/USD exchange rate was as of February 5, 2023.

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