Portugal is underrated. We don't see flashy billboards of sun-drenched bodies lying on pristine beaches anywhere in the US like billboards for Turks and Caicos. There are no video ads of lovebirds chasing each other amidst warm Portuguese seawater splashes like there are for Barbados and Cancun. As a travel destination, Portugal has zero presence in the United States. And that is a shame.
I was in Lisbon and Porto for a month, and I immediately knew it was a top destination for traveling and living. It may not be the wealthiest country in the European Union, but the quality of life is desired.
The Weather is Fine
The weather in Portugal is perpetually perfect. It is warm and comfortable even in the deep of winter. I was there in September and October, and the temperatures were always sunny and in the high 60s to low 70s. And at night, the comforting Atlantic ocean breeze permeated the land. It was gorgeous and perfect for strolls along Praca De Comercio.
Cheap Cost of Living
Compared to other European countries, Portugal is affordable. The rent for apartments with grand views of the bay is under $1,300 for a one-bedroom. That price will get you a coffin-sized room in Paris or London. Public transportation like the tram cost around $1.50 per ticket. Food is incredibly cheap but fresh. I had a complete brunch of a meat sandwich, fries, and a glass of beer for $7.00. Freshly grilled seafood plate for $8.00. A bag full of groceries for a week is less than $25.00.
The Kindest Humans
The Portuguese treat you like family the moment you meet them. I experienced this first hand. Our AirBnb host, Maggie, picked us up at the airport and drove us around Lisbon before dropping us off at her apartment. She gave us tips on enjoying the city and never said anything bad about her country or citizens. She was humble, down-to-earth, and happy. I thought it was a one-off until I met the next person, then the next. There was never a time when I felt I was being ripped off, even in touristy areas. The neighborhoods might look rough at times, but the people make it safe.
I visited several places in Portugal: Lisbon, Sintra, Nazare, Fatima, Coimbra, and Porto, and all of them have the same quality of life. Portugal is ideal for freelancers/nomads and retirees because it offers so much more for a lot less. Last time I checked, you only need to show the Portuguese government at least a monthly income of $1700 a month to live there. This amount is just a tiny apartment in Jersey City.
So, never mind Portugal's lack of exposure in the US mainstream. Take it from me. Make it your next destination for travel or life.