Living in Portugal
The huge number of foreigners currently living in Portugal will testify to the fact that it is a great place to live, with more positive reasons to go there than you can shake a stick at. Some of the pros about living in Portugal are:
Climate - the weather in Portugal is uniformly sunny, especially in the southern regions, and mild all the year through. In winter, if you can call it that, the Algarve has lows of 15 degrees centigrade and highs in the summer of 28 degrees centigrade. On average there are 12 hours of sunshine every day. The climate is due to the influences of the Atlantic, which tempers the heat and makes for brilliant but bearable long hot days.
Welcome - the Portuguese have a reputation for being a welcoming and friendly bunch, and in particular there is a long history of friendship between the British and the Portuguese.
Cheap flights - many discount flight operators are now flying to Portugal so it is easy for people to visit ex-pats living in Portugal.
Property boom - the housing market in Portugal is still substantially cheaper than in the more expensive parts of northern Europe and, whilst prices are going up, the cost of living is also lower making it all seem like a good deal.
Food - surrounded on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal offers its visitors a wealth of great seafood and it also has a variety of excellent wines to accompany the main course, which are often as good as more popular Old World wines but without the price tag.
Golf - if you are a golf fan then Portugal is definitely the country for you: it has well-maintained and stunning golf courses in many prime locations.
Some of the downsides to living in Portugal are:
Salaries - these tend to be lower than in other parts of the EU and so could be a shock to the system if you are moving from abroad.
Recession - Portugal has suffered a deep recession, at its worst in 2003, but the Euro 2004 football tournament has hopefully helped the economy to pick itself up.
Tourist areas have better infrastructure than the more out-of-the-way destinations but can be unbearably crowded during the summer.
Language - Portuguese is quite a tricky language to master and you may find it hard to really become part of the local community if your language skills are underdeveloped.
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