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With some of the most stunning beaches and landscapes in Europe, beautifully warm summers and mild winters, and a relaxed pace of life, Portugal has a lot to offer. Having been voted the number one destination for quality of life in the InterNations Expat Insider Survey 2019, the country is one of the most popular destinations for expats around the world.

Moving to a new country is incredibly exciting and can also be very daunting! There are so many differences to get accustomed to, from the food, lifestyle, medical facilities, and customs to local regulations. Most expats find that local expat forums help them adapt and understand their new community. This isn’t just a great way to meet new people and ask for insider knowledge, but can also provide access to opportunities for work, advice about financial issues such as tax and pensions, and is the best way to get to grips with life in your new home.

Portugal is an excellent choice for relocation owing to the safe communities, friendly people and affordable property market. If you have decided to take the leap, then joining local expat forums is a great idea!

Benefits of Connecting with Expat Forums

  • Tips and advice about local markets and the best places to shop
  • Finding tranquil quiet beaches and outdoor spaces (that the tourists don’t know about!)
  • Working out the best places to live, where to send your kids to school, and which areas offer the best opportunities for work
  • Getting help with pensions, tax, visas and all the other financial implications of relocating to a new country
  • Immersing yourself in the local culture with information about events, traditions and social activities
  • Seeking support with connecting with utility providers, builders and any other trades you might need
  • Having help on hand in your native language

The top five expat forums in Portugal are listed below.

  1. Expats Portugal

This site is dedicated to Portuguese expats and was founded in 2005. With over 6,000 members, this forum offers a great way to seek advice and knowledge from users who have been through the relocation process and are happy to share their experiences!

All posts are in English, so the forum is easy to use whether or not you’ve had time yet to learn the language and offers a business directory alongside to make it quick and easy to find the services you are looking for.

Expats Portugal acts as an encyclopaedia for everything you need to know. It includes guides about public holidays, Portuguese food and the weather. There are guides to help with understanding the education system, driving and buying a car and how the property market works, amongst others.

The forum is very friendly and welcoming, and with such a large membership of people who have already relocated, is a useful resource and go-to guide for anybody relocating or thinking about doing so.

  1. Expat Focus

With a database of content related to moving home, building a property and renovations, anybody considering relocating or having done so will find everything they need to know here!

The moving guide is comprehensive and provides advice in stages depending on how far along you are in your move; whether planning for the future, considering options for insurances and banking, or needing practical advice for the logistics of moving your home and family to a new country.

You can also find lively trade pages here, with a second-hand buying and selling page, and property for sale or rent listings. This is a great way to stay up to date with local knowledge, with forum threads sharing information about market opening and closing times, advertising openings for job posts and sharing invitations to attend events and sporting activities.

  1. Just Landed

As with many expat forums, Just Landed offers services at favourable rates to members alongside the forum itself. You can look through insurance offers, health services and banking options to consider.

The forum covers just about every topic you could think of! The housing and rentals pages contain advice, shared experiences, and listings for properties for sale, for rent, or being sought in a particular area.

A culture page is a go-to for information to help new expats understand how things work, normal opening hours, and traditions and events that will help make sense of the local culture.

Members also share advice about amenities and services to make your relocation as smooth and stress-free as possible – from installing a new telephone line to finding the cheapest flights!

  1. Expatica

Expatica is more of a series of guides than a public forum but provides so much useful information it deserves a place in this list! The guides are easy to read, and created to make life easier for people moving to Portugal to settle in.

There is even an Expatica online dating service, so anybody relocating to Portugal alone or who is single and looking to meet new people and find some companionship has access to a dedicated expat dating site!

Every aspect of life is covered. For people intending to work or run a business, the guides covering Portuguese employment law and working regulations is invaluable to take a look at before considering any job opportunities. The education guides explain options and systems for schooling children, attending higher education and learning the language through accredited tuition providers.

The news section is also really handy to keep up to date with upcoming events and government announcements.

  1. Expat Exchange

A worldwide forum for international expats, the Portugal pages include guides for everyday life in the most popular areas such as Cascais, Lagos, Lisbon and Porches.

Joining a forum is a great way for new residents to be proactive about meeting new people, and with a sociable and friendly atmosphere, this is a perfect place to start.

Whilst politics comes up for discussion now and again, there are new posts and threads daily with either new expats or existing community members seeking advice, recommendations and support.

These include information about obtaining a driving license, help with finding tradespeople nearby, and advice about applying to schools, finding a job and joining sports clubs.

 

Chase Buchanan is a highly regulated wealth management company, specialising in providing global finance solutions for those with a global lifestyle.