Seven Places to Retire in Portugal for Under $30,000 per Year—


BALTIMORE/ JUNE 25, 2019 (STL.News)

“Portugal offers Western Europe’s best-value living today,” says Dan Prescher, Senior Editor, International Living. “People often assume life in Europe is out of reach, but that’s not true. Portugal, in particular, provides all the modern comforts you’d expect, but at an Old World price and pace.

“On a $30,000 budget, which could easily have a retiree scrimping and saving at home, it’s possible to live very comfortably in Portugal—enjoying the rich culture, dining out, going to the beach or hiking in the hills. This country offers a very easy lifestyle, for less.”

Though it faces the Atlantic, Portugal has a Mediterranean vibe, with the warm weather and lifestyle associated with Mediterranean countries.

With a long coastline and an interior that harks back centuries in time, Portugal in many ways still belongs to an earlier era. People are friendly and courteous, with an almost courtly manner. Family and friends are important, and people know their neighbors and the local shopkeepers. Ancient buildings look worn and lived-in, and quiet, cobbled lanes wind through seaside villages.

This is Europe as it used to be. And though modernity is overtaking Portugal quickly, it’s still possible to enjoy a slower-paced, Old World, genteel lifestyle here—for $30,000 per year, or even less.

Here are safe, welcoming, beautiful, big-value Portuguese destinations International Living’s editors recommend:


Mafra lies just 30 minutes northwest of Lisbon International Airport. A population of about 76,000 spread over 112 square miles translates to the feel of a thriving yet pleasantly-paced small city. Most of the tree-lined streets, including the main boulevard of Avenida da Liberdade, are covered with calçada Portuguesa, the traditional black-and-white Portuguese pavement. Lots of green areas dot the community, bursting with blossoms year-round.

Mafra is home to Portugal’s National Palace, built in 1717 and a royal domicile until 1910. The Palace lends its Baroque and Neo-classical charm to the city.

Summers are warm, dry, and mostly sunny in Mafra. Winter is the rainy season, and average annual temperatures range from 46 F to 80 F, with extremes being 39 F and 91 F. A couple can live well in Mafra on about $2,400 a month including rent, which comes to $28,800 a year.


Two hours north of Lisbon lies Portugal’s former capital, Coimbra, home to one of the oldest continually operating universities in Europe. With a population of 144,000 spread over 123 square miles, Coimbra is a busy metropolis, yet it retains the mellow undertone that Portugal is famous for.

August is the hottest month in Coimbra, with an average of 73 F, and January the coldest, averaging 51 F. January is also the wettest month, delivering about six inches of rain. For beach time in the summer months, just head west to Figueira da Foz, which has an active expat community.

Fado is the traditional music form of Portugal, and other than Lisbon, there’s no place better to hear it than Coimbra, where it is sung only by men, and where it plays a big part in University life.
Between tourism and the youthful student population, English is widely spoken in Coimbra, so being able to speak Portuguese is not a requisite to enjoying all Coimbra has to offer.

A couple can live comfortably in Coimbra for $2,430 per month including rent, which comes to $29,160 a year.


Porto, the second largest metropolitan area in Portugal after Lisbon, is located on the Douro River where it flows into the Atlantic. The city is home less than 240,000 people in the city center (about 2.4 million in the greater metropolitan area) and has a small city’s feel and friendliness. But it’s also a thriving international business city, with many expats finding all the amenities they need, including an international airport.

The richness of culture available makes the city an ideal place for retirement surrounded by elegant parks with fountains, statues, and exotic plants, leafy boulevards, and cobbled streets lined with historic buildings. Porto’s cool, mild, climate means temperature averages around 65 F in the dry summer season, and 50 F in winter, which lasts from December through March and can be wet.

For all Porto’s natural and architectural beauty, fine food and wine, and pleasurable pastimes, it’s surprisingly affordable to live here. A couple can live well in Porto, including rent for a one-bedroom apartment, for about $1,550 per month, or $18,600 a year.

For four additional locales worth attention in Portugal, see the full report, Seven Places to Retire in Portugal for Under $30,000 per Year, posted here: Seven Places to Retire in Portugal for Under $30,000 per Year

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