Former Wenatchee, WA, resident Mike Sager answers three questions about day-to-day living in Portugal.
What about language: Can you get by without knowing how to speak Portuguese?
You can get by with just English, especially in the tourist areas, no problem. I would say about 50 percent of the people you would come in contact speak excellent or some English.
Portuguese is somewhat like Spanish, so if you can speak Spanish that helps with learning Portuguese.
You can get by here with no Portuguese other than “abrigado”… “thank you.”
Lots of English speakers here, much more than in Ecuador.
What about personal safety: Are you afraid for your wife and son?
This is one of the reasons we came to Portugal. Ecuador is an awesome place, but does have its share of robberies and petty crime.
Portugal seems to be exempt (for the most part) from such happenings. It rates very high in safety and security for your home and personal being. Plus the penalties here are severe for such action whereas in Ecuador the thief gets a “slap on the hand” and put back on the street in a few days… not good.
You see kids playing by themselves in parks, you see people leave something unattended on the beach and no one slips by and then off with their stuff. There is a higher level of respect for other’s belongings here and for each other in general.
Overall, Portugal has a lot to offer the person/family looking for a place that is stable, very affordable, pleasant year round weather and a fun place to explore.
It is sort of the “gateway” to Europe if you like to travel. Flights here are cheap between all of the countries in the European Union. You can find specials all the time to any country here for 19 to 39 euros on the European based airlines. You want to go to Paris, Venice, Stockholm, Rome, Amsterdam… pick a place and get on board.
And for the more adventurous or romantic, train travel is still big here in Europe and at times faster than air. There are many high-speed railways here and those babies cruise at around 300 mph.
Fun ride and amazing to watch the scenery just out the window whiz by at that speed.
What about money: How much does it cost to live there?
I would say if you have $1,500 to $2,000 coming in a month you can live very comfortably here and enjoy life, not just sit in front of the tube all day.
Prices are still very good for moderate sized 1 or 2 bedroom condos on the front line to the beach, especially if you go out and beat the bushes.
An example is the condo we bought in Portimao (tourist beach town) for 105,000 euros (a euro is worth about $1.10 U.S.) on the front line with an incredible view. We then put another 15,000 euros into remodeling/updates and have been offered 190,000 euros for it in less than six months of ownership.
That sure beats renting and kissing say 6,000 euros goodbye in six months (our place would rent for about 1,000 euros a month, that’s what I am referring to if we were renting). Of course, you do what you can do and enjoy life with either approach.