Californians Moving to Portugal, Living their Dream (2023)

Californians are moving 5,500 miles away to beautiful Portugal. Does it seem strange to you? Well, if you haven’t been to Portugal, then you might wonder what all the fuss is about. Our opinion at Portugal Homes may be biased, but believe us when we say that once you visit Portugal you will for sure love it as much as we do!

Some wondered why celebrities such as Michael Fassbender, Scarlett Johansson, and John Malkovich are flocking to beautiful Portugal, purchasing homes in the heart of Lisbon. Or, more famously, when Madonna made the move from London to Lisbon, back in 2017- yet stayed for over 3 years living blissfully in historic Quinta do Relogio, a €6 million 18th century Moorish revival mansion in Sintra, Portugal.

Californians Moving to Portugal, Living their Dream (1)

Portugal offers the Californian appeal with its laid-back attitude, sandy beaches, hidden grottos, and coves, a country sought-after for its sunny disposition, friendly locals, safety and peace of mind. Best of all, a fellow Californian won’t feel homesick, as so much of Portugal can resemble some of California´s most memorable landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Point Reyes National Seashore, La Jolla Cove, Santa Monica Beach, Torrey Pines State Reserve, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and Monterey County.

The southern region of the Algarve is especially adored by Californians, featuring breathtaking coastlines, towering rocky cliffs, and surrounding rich woodland encompassing golden sand beaches with crystalline ocean waters. Incredibly reminiscent of Big Sur California’s central coast, and its mountainous oceanside scenery.The Algarve is a mecca for amazing beaches, this ultimate beach destination features over 133 beaches along the coast for an avid beach lover, and surfer to choose from, offering plenty of relaxing leisure time by the Atlantic sea. Get to know all 133 beaches in sunny Algarve, here!

Californians Moving to Portugal, Living their Dream (2)
Californians Moving to Portugal, Living their Dream (3)

This region of Portugal not only offers a great beach destination but has wonderful fishing towns to visit that offer an amazing culinary scene, especially rich with seafood and fish, much like California, the Algarve also offers one of the best places in the country for fresh seafood! You can venture onto Portimão, and Lagos, along the coastwhich offers a feeling of being in Torrey Pines State Reserve, surrounding rock formations in the same ochre tones. , and get a feel for life in the Algarve at our detailed guide, here. Portugal is equally architecturally intriguing, filled with an endless rich history in its cobblestone streets, museums, castles, palaces, churches, and to forget the Californian doppelgänger of the Golden Gate Bridge in “International Orange”, with the Ponte 25 de Abril connecting Lisbon city to Lisbon South Bay.

Californians Moving to Portugal, Living their Dream (4)

It is understandable for a fellow Californian, to be looking elsewhere to live; after all, the cost of living in California has dramatically increased over the years, in comparison to other American states. On average, a Californian spends over $680,000 USD on home versus in the rest of the United States, which averages about $290,000 USD.

(Video) Californians are packing up and moving to Portugal

As life in California has become more costly, with the rise of real estate prices, whether you are a celebrity or not, the prospects of moving and living in Portugal are optimum!Read in detail at our guide, providing you insight intorelocating and living in Portugal as an expat, here.

Purchasing homes in Portugal whether to invest, or relocate has been immensely popular for Americans, in fact, Travel + Leisure Magazine selected Portugal as a top 10 countryfor American expats to live in! This can simply be due to the cost of living comparison betweenthe USA´s Californian main city hubs such as Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, and the cost of living in Portugal, which isconsiderably more affordable and offers a great quality of life, with a balance in mind between work life and personal.

If your curiosity peaked on getting more insight on the cost of living in Portugal, take a look at our extensive article, here.

Portugal has also become an upcoming technology-driven city, host of the Web Summit since 2016, the largest annual technology conference held in Lisbon. Over 104,000 attendees from 100+ countries, welcoming all levels, and sectors of the global high technology industry. The capital city of Portugal, Lisbon acquires every year a high traffic of entrepreneurs, tech talent, and savvy investors looking to branch into startups, making Lisbon the main startup hub.

The Web Summit´s 2022 speaker lineup include: Nathan Blecharczyk, Co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer of Airbnb; Naomi Gleit, Head of Product Meta Platforms of Facebook; Sumbul Desai, VP of Health for Apple; Nik Storonsky, Founder & CEO of Revolut; Russell Glass, CEO of Headspace, and many more! For full line up speakers details of the 2022 Web Summit in Lisbon, view here.

Portugal, definitely makes a great country for creative entrepreneurs, tech enthusiasts, and digital nomads, as Portugal being one of the highest English-speaking countries in Europe, ranking at 7th place in the world, and having the archipelago of Madeira as Europe’s first digital nomad village. Especially since remote working has become an essential must during the pandemic, and back to office policies remain flexible, and many are looking to relocate for better work opportunities, one main reason that makes Portugal a great place tomove and live in.

(Video) Californians in Portugal (Americans Moving to Portugal) part 1/3 - The Global Talks Podcast

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Expats consider Portugal to be one of the best countries to live and work in

Portugal offers co-working spaces opportunities for fellow creatives all over the country, in Lisbon, there is Heden, Outsite, and Work Hub, which are popular among digital nomads with flexible spaces for a wide variety of group work, and collaborative workshops. There are creative neighbourhoods within Lisbon that are great for fellow designers to exchange ideas for possible co-design concepts; this is experienced in TODOS, a larger-scale creative hub in east Lisbon. Over 62 independent creatives under one roof, services to offices, gallery and event areas, large spaces for filming, and more!All creative space rentals are available at a daily rate and booked directly through TODOS.

(Video) Why Americans Are Moving to Portugal for a Better Life!

In the parish of Alcantara in Lisbon, you can experience a more actively creative scenery at the LX Factory, an industrial brick factory turned into a hip neighbourhoods with loft developments, local artist shops and boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, pubs, and featuring one of the most quirky bookstore - the Livraria Ler Devagar.

Californians Moving to Portugal, Living their Dream (9)

The city of Porto, in the northern region of Portugal has become a hotspot for designers, and artists; being a cool and hip city with the juxtaposition of traditional and modern. Historically beautiful in its architecture, and exuding ever charming views by the river Douro; not a doubt that any creative mind will be thinking a million possibilities filled with pure inspiration. Porto is not only recognized for its port wine, but affinity for the arts and crafts movements, featuring a strong manufacturing, textile and fashion industry - Portuguese linens are known to be of premium craftsmanship, and quality. Various co-working spaces are also available in the city of Porto, such as WOW, Porto i/o, and Selina Navis.

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(Video) 14 Best reasons NOT to retire in Portugal! Don't live in Portugal!

Californians Moving to Portugal, Living their Dream (10)

It will be a breeze for a Californian moving to Portugal from the USA, or any expat looking to settle down in Portugal; the essential is to remain open-minded, and willing to immerse yourself in a new country, language, and culture. Year after year, Portugal has been given a multitude of awards for our hospitality, quality of life, healthcare system, safe cities with low crime rates, and overall accessible housing market.

Now, Portugal is one of the most affluent countries to emigrate and reside in, especially for investment purposes. Thus, investors have the right to live, work, and study in the country and hold visa-free travel within the Schengen area.
Portugal Homes can guide you to your first real estate investment in Portugal with our Golden Visa Programme! We offer exceptional property locations with huge recapitalization and profitability-get in touch with us for further details. We are sure you will be living that “California Dreaming” under the Portuguese sun.
Get to know more about the Golden Visa Portugal Programme in our extensive step-by-step guide with Portugal Homes Managing Director and CEO, David Poston
Portugal Homes is headquartered in Portugal, pleased to assist you in your future real estate investment needs and guide you through to acquiring your Portugal Golden Visa.

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Portugal in 4th place among world safest countries


Why Californians moving to Portugal? ›

Citing the state's high cost-of-living, wildfires, water shortages and at times its politics, many Californians have moved elsewhere in the U.S. Others have decided to relocate internationally. Americans now are among the fastest-growing groups of Westerners moving to Portugal.

Why are Americans relocating to Portugal? ›

Why do Americans move to Portugal? An excellent year-round climate, fantastic beaches a short distance from the capital, great food, high quality of life, and low living costs are some reasons Americans move to Portugal. There are also some successful tax incentives that US citizens can benefit from in Portugal.

Is Portugal a good place for Americans to move to? ›

With progressive legislation, excellent health care and education, and being one of the safest countries in the world, Portugal has rightly become one of the most popular countries for Americans seeking a new life. Once you enter Portugal, you'll quickly get to grips with the slow pace of life.

Is it easy for Americans to live in Portugal? ›

According to Expat-Insider, 83 percent of expats find moving to Portugal and settling there to be very easy and straightforward, where the worldwide average is 59 percent. Besides, the Portuguese culture is so welcoming that 82 percent of expats living in Portugal say that they feel largely at home.

Is it cheaper to live in Portugal than the US? ›

Overall, Portugal is considered one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe and is, on average, 50 percent cheaper than living in the United States.

Does Portugal tax U.S. Social Security benefits? ›

Portugal typically taxes all income. This includes pension income and income from international sources.

Why are so many people leaving Portugal? ›

The main motive for emigration, at least in modern times, was economic. Portugal was long among the poorest countries in Europe. With the countryside able to support only a portion of farmers' offspring and few opportunities in the manufacturing sector, many Portuguese had to go abroad to find work.

How long can a U.S. citizen live in Portugal? ›

A US citizen can enter Portugal without a visa and stay there for 90 days. For a long-term stay in the country, you will need to obtain a long-term visa or residence permit.

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Portugal? ›

A couple with a mid-range income can get by with €1,700 a month in the smaller cities of Portugal. If a couple is starting out in Lisbon, their monthly expense will be €2,000 onwards a month. If you are single, you can get by comfortably with €1,200 a month in Porto or Lisbon, and even less in Portugal's smaller towns.

What are the pros and cons of Portugal? ›

Living in Portugal offers many advantages: a warm climate, the Atlantic ocean, mountains nearby, a low crime rate and a relatively low cost of living. Medicine and education are well developed here, and residents are offered tax exemptions. The disadvantages include the need to learn Portuguese and carry cash on you.

What is the easiest country for a U.S. citizen to move to? ›

Which are the easiest countries to immigrate to from the US? Portugal, Malta and Spain are some of the easiest countries to relocate to from the United States. American citizens can either gain permanent residency or apply for citizenships via each country's Citizenship by Invest programs.

Is it hard for Americans to get a job in Portugal? ›

It can be difficult to get a job in Portugal. However, the tourism and tech sectors are continually growing, so you should be able to begin working in Portugal without too much difficulty. Additionally, many international companies are moving to Portugal, so it is becoming easier to find a job in the country.

Which European country is most like California? ›

Similar weather and geography

This is one factor that Portugal and California have in common. While Portugal is in Europe and California in North America, these two destinations have a cool Mediterranean climate that is appealing to most people.

Why is Portugal so popular with Americans? ›

The country has become one of the most popular relocation destinations in the world. And there are many reasons. Idyllic scenery, security, generous tax breaks, and one of the lowest costs of living in Western Europe.

What country is most similar to California? ›

Spain, in the Mediterranean Basin, is California's climate cousin. On every continent except Antarctica, the west coasts share a similar climate, called the Mediterranean climate.

How much does a house cost in Portugal in US dollars? ›

The national average price of a 2,000-square-foot home in Portugal is $278,000. Buying a house in Portugal as an American is about 40% cheaper than the U.S. median home price, which is roughly $455,000.

How much is an average house in Portugal in US dollars? ›

The average house price in Portugal reached $248 per square foot in January 2023, averaging $496,000 for a 2,000 square foot home.

Do American debit cards work in Portugal? ›

Will my credit or debit card work in Portugal? Yes. Many Portuguese shops, restaurants, and museums will accept international cards, especially in more touristy areas. American cards like Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are accepted in a majority of locations.

What happens to my Social Security if I leave the US? ›

If you are a U.S. citizen, you may receive your Social Security payments outside the U.S. as long as you are eligible for them. However, there are certain countries to which we are not allowed to send payments.

Is there free healthcare in Portugal? ›

Yes, Portugal does have state-provided healthcare, which is free for all citizens and legal residents in Portugal. Even though medical care is mainly free, you may have to pay some fees when visiting emergency rooms, your family doctor, or requesting ambulance services.

What are the cons of retiring in Portugal? ›

Some cons of retiring in Portugal include:
  • Bureaucracy can be slow.
  • Understanding double taxation can be tricky.
  • Winters can be cold.
  • Learning Portuguese is difficult.
  • Cultural shock.
  • Slow pace of life.
  • Lots of tourists.
6 days ago

How much is a gallon of gas in Portugal? ›

For comparison, the average price of gasoline in the world for this period is 1.73 Euro. Use the drop menu to see the prices in gallons.
Portugal Gasoline prices, 27-Feb-2023.
Portugal Gasoline pricesLitreGallon
1 more row

Is Portugal stressful? ›

Portugal places as the third most stressed country in Europe. The Iberian nation has the second-highest divorce rate in Europe, with 58.7 divorces per 100 marriages, in addition to one of the lower employment rates in Europe, with 56.1% of the population employed.

Why is Portugal crime rate so low? ›

One of the key reasons is down to the political climate in the country, which has been stable for years. In addition to this, Portugal has some of the lowest crime rates in Europe.

What nationalities visit Portugal the most? ›

2United Kingdom2,145,902
14 more rows

Are Portugal people friendly? ›

Portuguese people are known for being a very welcoming nation and receive other people with great joy. While first impressions in some cases may tell you otherwise, the majority of Portuguese people will make you feel right at home and will happily go out of their way to help, making them great hosts.

Why do people want to go to Portugal? ›

The weather and variety of landscapes ensure that a visit to Portugal is sunny, interesting and active. Lisbon, with its steep hills, yellow trams and blue-and-white tiles, is a vibrant treat for the eyes. The wine country to the north is lush and serene.

What city has the best climate in Portugal? ›

The Algarve has the best climate in Europe, meaning the most days of sun, and it also gains from prevailing winds. Between the water and the wind, this region is never unbearably hot and rarely humid. Temperatures range between about 60°F and 90°F with humidity hovering around 80%.

Where do most Americans retire in Portugal? ›

The Algarve proves particularly popular with English-speaking expats and you'll be surrounded by other retirees depending on where you choose to move to. Within the region itself, there is plenty to choose from in its 16 municipalities, as well as many retirement communities.

Can I live in Portugal on my Social Security? ›

If you have social security credits in both the United States and Portugal, you may be eligible for benefits from one or both countries. If you meet all the basic requirements under one country's system, you will get a regular benefit from that country.

Do you need health insurance in Portugal? ›

It's important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment.

Can a U.S. citizen have dual citizenship with Portugal? ›

Portugal allows dual citizenship, meaning that foreigners can gain Portuguese nationality without having to give up the citizenship of their home country. However, you will first need to check with your home country if it also permits dual citizenship.

Can you live in Portugal on $3000 a month? ›

Portugal offers the lowest cost of living in Western Europe, where a couple can live nicely on $2,500 to $3,000 a month outside of the major cities.

How much does it cost to rent a house in Portugal? ›

But the cost of renting varies greatly from one part of the country to another. In the town of Cinfães (Viseu), for example, renting a house costs only 2.21 euros per square metre, i.e. a tenant in a 100m2 property would pay the landlord just 221 euros per month.
MunicipalityMedian value per m2
14 more rows
Oct 1, 2020

How much do you need in the bank to move to Portugal? ›

Proof of means of living in Portugal (usually the € 7,980.00 in your Portuguese bank account) You may need to show more if you are applying for a family reunion application. Proof of having a net regular passive income of at least € 9,000.00 per year.

What is Portugal like for Americans? ›

Portugal is considered to be an excellent place for many Americans to live and one of the best European countries to relocate to, mainly due to its picturesque cities, beautiful landscapes, and great climate.

Why are Californians moving to Portugal? ›

Citing the state's high cost-of-living, wildfires, water shortages and at times its politics, many Californians have moved elsewhere in the U.S. Others have decided to relocate internationally. Americans now are among the fastest-growing groups of Westerners moving to Portugal.

Why do people like Portugal so much? ›

This country has delicious food, great vineyards, gorgeous beaches, and the fascinating history travelers crave. This 2022, according to My Dolce Casa's study, Portugal got first place as the favorite destination to move or retire for Americans.

What country are most Americans moving to? ›

Mexico is the top destination for Americans moving abroad, followed by the U.K., Canada and Australia. So far in 2022, ~75% more Americans have moved to Mexico than Canada. Portugal has seen the biggest percentage increase in Americans moving in (+122% from 2019-2021)

Where are most Americans moving to? ›

Florida (318,855), Texas (230,961), and the Carolinas – North Carolina (99,796) and South Carolina (84,030) – were the states with the most net domestic migration gains in 2022. Positive net domestic migration and positive net international migration significantly boosted population growth in these areas.

What country is best for an American to move to? ›

Best Countries for Americans to Move to
  • Portugal.
  • Spain.
  • Australia.
  • Uruguay.
  • Costa Rica.
  • Thailand.
  • Greece.
  • Germany.
Feb 12, 2023

Are Americans welcomed in Portugal? ›

Portugal is home to over 500,000 foreigners from the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, other European countries, Brazil, Central, and South America, Africa, and more. Everyone is accepted and welcomed here. The Portuguese people really do welcome foreigners with open arms.

What jobs are most in demand in Portugal? ›

The most popular jobs in Portugal include tourism and hospitality-related work. Many work opportunities are available in retail, dining, customer service, resorts, and hotels. Tech-related jobs in IT are also on the rise in Portugal, and call center work is almost always available.

What jobs pay well in Portugal? ›

  • 10 Best Paid Jobs in Portugal. Written By Lara Silva. ...
  • General Director in the Private Health Sector. €120,000 – €150,000 per year. ...
  • Chief Information Officer (CIO) €110,000 – €140,000 per year. ...
  • Commercial Director. ...
  • Shared Service Center Director. ...
  • E-Commerce Manager. ...
  • Software Engineer. ...
  • Cybersecurity Specialist.
Sep 26, 2022

What is the main reason people are leaving California? ›

Well, there are a few reasons. The decision to leave were partly fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, including new opportunities for people to work from home. Also, the high cost of living in California also drove people out.

Why are Millennials moving to Portugal? ›

Portugal is cheaper than many Western countries

“A lot of the costs of the services that you buy are labor costs. Portugal's poorer. Wages are lower.

What state do most Californians move to? ›

Texas is currently the number one destination state for those leaving California. That's been true for several years, though some of the other top destination states have shifted recently. Research from UCLA showed that between 2015 and 2019, Texas held the number one slot.

Does Portugal tax US Social Security benefits? ›

Portugal typically taxes all income. This includes pension income and income from international sources.

How long can a US citizen stay in Portugal? ›

U.S. citizens may enter Portugal for up to 90 days for tourism or business without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. If you plan on transiting a Schengen country, review our U.S. Travelers in Europe page.

Why are so many Californians moving out of California? ›

Rising State Taxes

High taxes are one of the main reasons why people are leaving California. California's income tax rate is 13.3%, the country's highest. If you take a look at the sales tax ranging from 7.25% to 10.75%, it's not much better.

What kind of people are leaving California? ›

Whites and African Americans have the highest rates of net migration out of California. Cost of living is clearly a major factor, as lower-income members of every racial and ethnic group leave more often than they arrive.

Can California tax me if I move out of state? ›

The AB 2088 Bill is responsible for the California wealth tax over 10 years ruling, whereby if you leave California, the State can tax you for up to 10 years.

Are expats happy in Portugal? ›

Diversity of foreign diasporas.

In 2021, Portugal ranked among the top 5 countries for expats: 84% of those who moved to the country were satisfied with their lives. For comparison, the global average satisfaction rate is 75%. Foreigners make up 6.4% of the Portuguese population.

What is the number 1 state people are leaving? ›

1. California

Rising housing costs, rising taxes and politics seem to be driving many people to look for opportunities elsewhere. Other factors that emigrants have cited are the rising threat of wildfires and the constantly increasing cost of living.

What state has the least amount of Californians? ›

Small ones: Delaware got the fewest Californians, only 161. Next was North Dakota at 404; West Virginia at 940; Vermont at 1,048; and New Hampshire at 1,110.

Does moving to California make you happier? ›

Practicality aside, it turns out moving to California probably won't make someone happier. The problem lies in the word itself. According to Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, there are two different ways of looking at well-being: current mood and overall satisfaction.


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