Australians, all let us rejoice ..... in Portugal

Updated: Dec 18, 2019

If you are Australian, you might have noticed the ever-increasing costs of living in Australia. You may have wondered about your retirement options. Many Australians think of Bali, Malaysia and Indonesia when they want to stretch their finances further. However, if you are looking for a sweeter life in Europe, you cannot ignore Portugal as an ideal country. Like Australia, Portugal has great weather and breathtaking landscapes, all of which are tempting foreigners to invest in real estate there. This fairly small, beautiful country on Europe’s western edge is defined by the Atlantic Ocean, which again appeals to Australians who are also beach lovers.

One of the biggest disparities is in the cost of living. Every consumer prices are 33% lower in Portugal while housing per square metre is 42% cheaper in the city centres and even more outside the cities. The differences in utilities are also remarkable. Internet, water and electricity average out to be 28% less expensive in Portugal. If you enjoy a good cappuccino, expect to pay half for your average coffee. These are all great incentives for Australian retirees who want to enjoy their retirement in a sunny country.

Lisbon is the city of choice for many relocating, but traditional locations such as the Algarve and the Silver Coast, north of Lisbon, are also popular locations. Lisbon’s main airport is located only fifteen minutes from the city centre. It is ranked Europe’s safest capital – with low homicide rates and low criminal activity. The city centre of Lisbon is undergoing an extensive regeneration, giving life to areas, which became redundant as people and business left after the recession. It is now returning to its original beauty. To conclude, Portugal is a great place with a wonderful climate that has a lot going for it for Australians.


All well and good, I hear you say. But how can I get a visa to live there? Well, the good news is that you can obtain a Golden Visa when you buy a house in Portugal.​

The visa programme was launched in 2012 and has been promoted by the Portuguese government as an investment in real estate.The visa allows you and your dependent family (Children & Parents) to gain a residency permit in Portugal for 12 months, which is then renewed every two years. To qualify for renewal, you simply have to spend a minimum of 7 days in Portugal per year. This visa will allow you to travel freely across Europe within the Schengen Zone.

The most attractive part of the visa is that after 5 years of title you can then apply for permanent residency within Portugal and after 6 years you can apply for citizenship. The basic requirement to qualify is the initial investment, a clean criminal record and the ability to spend a minimum of 7 days in Portugal each year. Without the need to reside in Portugal this visa has become the most attractive and popular option across Europe.

Once citizenship has been granted you will become a European citizen and will have the same rights of anyone in Portugal.As of this date, it is possible to apply for this visa through one of the following investment options:

· Capital transfer in the amount equal to or greater than 1.000.000 Euros.

· Create, at least, 10 new jobs.

· Property acquisition in the amount equal to or greater than 500.000 Euros.

· Acquisition of property over 30 years old or property located in urban renewal areas with rehabilitation works totalling the amount equal to or greater than 350.000 Euros.

· Capital transfer in the amount equal to or exceeding 350.000 Euros to public or private national institutions for scientific research.

· Capital transfer in the amount equal to or exceeding 250.000 Euros for investment or support for artistic production, recuperation or maintenance of national cultural heritage.

· Capital transfer in the amount equal to or exceeding 500.000 Euros for the purchase of shares in mutual in investment funds for investment in small and medium enterprises.

If you are Australian and would like to get a foothold in Europe via Portugal, this would be one of the fastest and easiest ways to open up the whole of Europe to you. Which leads me to the next convincing argument for Portugal as a country of choice. Most European schools and universities charge no or very low fees for all the courses on offer. If you have children who want to study, why not save on incredibly expensive study fees in Australia? Most first year courses at Australian universities cost between 20.000 and 40.000 AUD. Imagine saving all that money and sparing your children the burden of study fee debts that many young people end up with if they want to better their chances.

If saving costs is not that important a criteria, well, how about having the freedom to live, work, and travel in all European countries once you have your golden visa? For most Australians this would forever remain an unobtainable dream. Rich cultural experiences are yours if you make the move from our lucky, yet isolated country to ancient and alive Europe where, within a couple of hours, you can listen to another language, eat local food and admire historical buildings.

Speaking of food, you will appreciate the fresh food cooked simply here: grilled fish (with the head, bones, and skin); spicy chicken piri piri, roasted to perfection on a rotisserie; steak with a wobbly egg on top, surrounded by a mound of fries and rice. Like Australia, it’s not surprising that seafood is at the centre of Portuguese cuisine. We suggest dining in local restaurants to experience true Portuguese cuisine. Portions are generally huge but many restaurants offer half portions.

Laid-back lifestyle

Australians are known for their easy-going, “she’ll be right” attitude to life. But, most of us living in big cities would agree that life has become fast-paced and we are not as relaxed anymore as we used to be. When you move to Portugal, you will find a laid-back lifestyle that reminds you of the olden days. Time is more flexible here and lunches take longer. Plus, the Portuguese are really warm, friendly and helpful!

As we know from Australia, blue skies and walks along the beach help to make life much more pleasant Depending on the region and time of year, Portugal enjoys plenty of sunshine, making it an ideal destination for those who love sun and light.The capital city enjoys 3023 hours out of a potential total of 4383 hours of sunlight per year. This makes each day on average sunny for 8.16 hours.

Portugal has a temperate maritime climate with hot summers and wet winters. The climate also varies according to the altitude and proximity to the ocean. In the mountainous north, conditions are generally cooler and wetter while Lisbon, the Alentejo and Algarve regions have long, hot summers with temperatures up to 35–40ºC. The humidity diminishes as you move away from the coast and the interior areas are quite mild. 

On the whole, Portugal is one of the warmest European countries all year round. Combine this sunny climate with the welcoming, hospitable Portuguese people and you will ask yourself why you would ever want to live elsewhere. Moving to Portugal is going to be a life enriching experience for you and your loved ones. With only about ten million inhabitants, Portugal has developed a unique cultural identity that continues to attract Australian expats and visitors. For those who would like to know more about Portugal’s history, please read on. You will see that the sea-faring adventures appeal to the Australian mentality. Like us, the Portuguese are not easily fazed.

Portugal’s rich history and culture

Portugal is an exciting and vibrant country. The name Portugal comes from the Roman name for the town Portus Cale. The area of Portugal was originally settled by the Celtic peoples. During the age of the Roman Empire, Portugal was a part of the Empire from 45 BC to 298 AD. Like everywhere else in Europe the Romans occupied the area first (found in Evora in the Alentejo region and near Coimbra in the Beiras region).Sometime after their demise, the Moors arrived on the Iberian Peninsula, which they conquered in 711 AD. They would hold on to some portion of the area for hundreds of years. Moorish influence can be found mainly in the Algarve and Lisbon-Lisbon coast regions. The Christians in the north began the Reconquista period where they would re-conquer the Iberian Peninsula from the Islamic Moors. This effort took hundreds of years. It was in 1139 that the Kingdom of Portugal was formed. Afonso Henriques was the first King of Portugal.

At the same time the Spanish to the east were also pushing south and ‘east-west’ disputes with them began until in 1249, Afonso III captured Faro, today's capital city of the Algarve. They still had the problem of stopping Spain’s attempts to push the borders. Portugal made friends with England and Spain finally gave up its expansionist drives. The new allies signed the Treaty of Windsor which is still in effect today and utilised as recently as the Second World War.

Beginning in the 14thcentury, the Portuguese were now free to explore the waters, and Portuguese explorers such as Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan (his Portuguese name is Fernao de Malgalhaes) set up colonies of trade all over the world. Portugal established colonies in South America, Africa, and the Far East.The discovery of Brazil in 1500 would prove to be most important one. With trading ports in India, China, South America and Africa, Portugal was an imposing Empire. 

However, in 1578 King Sebastian was killed in battle without an heir to his throne. The great empire was all of a sudden in crisis and Spain's King Philip II claimed the throne through some dubious family lineage. There was opposition to this succession so Philip II took advantage in Portugal’s time of weakness and invaded in 1580. The Dutch explorers started to seize more and more of Brazil. But with Spain’s help Portugal managed to defeat the Dutch. Under the first two Spanish Kings, Portugal was still under their own law, government, currency, and still retained some status. However, when Philip IV came along, he wanted to make Portugal a province of Spain and removed Portuguese nobles from positions of power.

In a twist of fate, Spain was destitute by this time from the Thirty Years War and, sensing good timing, the nobles nominated John, the Duke of Braganza, to lead the resistance, which came to be known as the Portuguese Restoration War. Since Spain helped them retain Brazil, Portugal was able to draw upon its wealth to help fund the war, which would last 28 years. In 1668 Spain officially recognized Portugal as independent.  

20 years later gold was discovered in Brazil and suddenly Portugal was rich beyond belief. The ensuing years brought exchequer excesses, madness and other follies common to monarchies.  The Rococo Queluz Palace and eclectic Pena Palace, both near Lisbon and the Bucaco Palace (now a hotel) in the Beiras region are fine examples of royal indulgences. However, on the morning of November 1st, 1755, a devastating earthquake struck. The quake, the tsunamis and the fires that resulted pretty much annihilated the country and with it the castles, the treasures, the art, in addition to the heavy loss of life. The king at the time was Joseph I and he had appointed the Marquis of Pombal. He rebuilt Portugal quickly through economic reform policies and financial restructuring. His strong leadership ensured the country would not fall into ruin and statues and other tributes to him are everywhere. However, his cost control measures were not favoured by the wealthy upper class, which resulted in him being exiled.

The years after the rebuild period also saw an invasion by Napoleon, who took Lisbon for a couple of years but Portugal called on their English friends for help. Brazil's independence followed in 1822. Political rumblings in the African colonies led to Britain’s Ultimatum demanding the retreat of Portuguese troops from the area known as the Pink Map so that Britain could connect Cairo to Cape Town by rail. As a result, the Portuguese monarchy collapsed. In WWI Portugal sided with the allies.  But post war turmoil and unrest lead to a coup in May of 1926 which gave power to the military and eventually saw the rise of Antonio Salazar. In 1932, Dr. Antonio Salazar took power as prime minister, but ruled more as a dictator. For 42 years, first Salazar and then Marcelo Caetano would rule Portugal.

In the late 1960’s Salazar was forced to retire due to a bathtub brain haemorrhage and turned the reins over to a slightly less radical successor. In 1974 the peaceful Carnation Revolution removed the radicals from power without a single gunshot. Drastic democratic reforms were introduced which included granting independence to all of Portugal's African colonies. This opened the door to bigger and better things but it was really from January 1st, 1986 when Portugal joined the Economic Community that things really started to turn around. Funds were made available to build roads, schools, medical facilities and allowed for foreign investment.  This is what really led to the Portugal we are able to enjoy today. 


Many arguments speak for Portugal as a country of choice. Why wouldn’t you take a closer look at it? Portugal’s people are waiting to welcome you. The lifestyle, the cuisine, the laughter over lunch, the ‘happy-go-lucky-attitude’ will make you feel at home. And the whole lot, with just as much sunshine and beautiful beaches as in Australia while being a lot more affordable.

Five Star Portugal ORBSEO

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