Portugal becomes a top destination for British expats- why is it so popular?

Portugal's easing of travel restrictions discussed by Simon Calder

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The number of British expats is now the highest ever recorded in Portugal as more people choose the Mediterranean country to settle in. The Portuguese Border and Immigration Services revealed there was a 34 percent increase in British expats between 2019 and 2020.

There are currently 46,238 Britons living in Portugal, according to the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce.

While British expats of all ages have made the move, the Chamber of Commerce reported there has been a noticeable increase in young families moving to Portugal.

This is reportedly due to the high quality of international schools, a laid back pace of life and access to the Schengen visa area.

Britons making the move to Portugal can expect a low and affordable tax rate at just ten per cent.

The Chamber of Commerce said: “Several factors have played into the increase, from Brexit to Portugal’s non-habitual resident tax scheme, which allows many foreigners (including Brits) who move to Portugal to benefit from huge reductions in their income tax bills.”

Brexit has had a large impact on Britons’ decision to move to Portugal as in 2016, Brits were only the sixth largest nationality in the country.

However, an attractive lifestyle, warm temperatures and a cheaper way of life have also been huge factors for British retirees.

The General Manager of the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK, Christina Hippisley, said: “Portugal’s lifestyle benefits have long made it an attractive destination for British retirees.”

She added: “We’ve seen a notable increase in those looking to enjoy their retirement here over the past few years.

“The affordability of life in Portugal and the longer life expectancy here both play into this.”

Lisbon recently made into one of the top best value holiday city breaks for British tourists, reflecting the Portuguese capital’s cheap prices.

The average price of a beer in Portugal is just two euros and the overall price of living is estimated to be almost 30 percent cheaper than in the UK.

Although Lisbon is popular with British expats, the majority of British retirees live in the Algarve.

The resort region has stunning beaches, a buzzing golf scene and a wide range of restaurants and bars.

The Algarve is a great choice for Brits who don’t speak Portuguese as many hospitality venues and shops have English-speaking staff.

House prices have risen in the Algarve as the region becomes more popular with millionaires looking for a property in the area’s ‘Golden Triangle.’

However, house prices a little further along the coast are reasonable and most villas come with a pool.

The modern city of Faro in the Algarve, has cheaper housing prices and a quieter style of living for expats who want to be away from the main resort areas.

For those who prefer a city lifestyle, the northern city of Porto is known for its UNESCO classified historic centre and fantastic wine scene.

Health care is not free in Portugal and British expats will need to pay five euros to visit a local doctor while a trip to A&E will cost 15 euros.

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