Embarking on a journey to relocate your family is no small feat. There’s a litany of things to research and so many pieces to put together. Now, envision that Portugal is your family’s new home! The allure of this enchanting country promises an unforgettable adventure and lots of new memories. Follow along as we delve into the what, how, where, and why of moving your family to Portugal.

What Makes Portugal a Perfect Family Haven?

Nestled in southwestern Europe, Portugal is a magical blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From the historic streets of Lisbon to the golden beaches of the Algarve, the country offers a diverse tapestry for your family to explore. But why Portugal? Uncover the unique facets that make it an ideal destination for families seeking a fresh start.

Warm and Welcoming Culture

Portugal, known for its warm and friendly locals, extends a genuine welcome to expatriate families. The culture places a high value on family bonding, making it very easy for newcomers to integrate and form connections. Whether participating in local festivals, sharing meals, or engaging in community events, the warmth of the Portuguese culture wraps families with a sense of belonging.

Diverse and Vibrant Landscapes

From the golden beaches of the Algarve to the lush greenery of the Douro Valley, Portugal’s diverse landscapes provide a natural playground for families. Imagine spending your weekends exploring historic castles, hiking through picturesque vineyards, or simply enjoying a leisurely picnic by the ocean. The country’s size offers breathtaking scenery that’s easily within reach by car or train.

Family-Centric Lifestyle

Portuguese life revolves around the importance of quality time with loved ones (and food). The concept of “saudade” (a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing), underscores the significance of family bonds. This cultural emphasis aligns seamlessly with the priorities of families, fostering an environment where shared moments take precedence over a hectic pace of life. This is what we cherish the most about Portugal. It’s so refreshing!

Exemplary Education System

For families with children, Portugal offers an exemplary education system. International schools with English-language curricula coexist with top-notch local institutions, providing very diverse options for children’s academic journey. The focus on a holistic education, coupled with a supportive learning environment, contributes to the overall well-being and growth of young minds. We’ve chosen to join up with Boundless Life, which offers 3-month cohorts in Sintra.

Looking to Live, Work, and Learn abroad? Find out how Boundless Life helps families live out their dreams as digital nomads here. Use code “BLINKS” to get 400 Euros off your next cohort.

Family-Friendly Affordable Living

In addition to its cultural richness, Portugal offers a really affordable cost of living, making it an attractive destination for families looking to optimize their budgets. From reasonably priced housing options to affordable, high-quality healthcare and education, Portugal allows families to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without compromising on quality. It really is a nice change of pace from most economies today.

Safe and Secure Environment for Kids

Safety is paramount for families, and Portugal consistently ranks as one of the safest countries in Europe. Whether you’re strolling through historic neighborhoods, exploring vibrant markets, or just enjoying a day at the beach, you and your family can experience peace of mind. Knowing that Portugal prioritizes the well-being and security of its residents is a breath of fresh air!

Culinary Delights for All Ages

Portugal’s culinary scene is a delight for families, offering a range of flavors to satisfy all palates. From delectable pastries like the pastel de nata to hearty seafood dishes, Portuguese cuisine is a gastronomic adventure waiting to be explored. Family meals become a cherished tradition, as diverse dining options cater to both young and mature taste buds. Typical Portuguese home-cooked food revolves around proteins like pork, chicken and fish, legumes, vegetables, bread, cheese, and cold cuts.

Multifaceted Cultural Experiences for Families

Portugal’s rich history and cultural heritage provide families with endless opportunities for exploration. Museums, historic sites, and vibrant street festivals offer educational and entertaining experiences for all ages. Immersing your family in Portugal’s cultural tapestry will quickly become a way of life and be your path to feeling right at home.

In the heart of Portugal’s picturesque landscapes and warm communities, families find a haven where every day unfolds with the promise of new adventures and shared moments. The perfect blend of culture, affordability, and a family-centric lifestyle makes Portugal not just a destination but a welcoming home for families seeking a life enriched by the beauty of this captivating country.

Your Path to Portugal Starts Here

Relocating to Portugal is a super exciting adventure, and with proper planning, you can ensure a smooth transition for your family. Utilize this information as a roadmap to your new journey.

Research Visa Options

Moving to Portugal involves understanding the intricacies of visa requirements. In this section, we break down the visa process, offering step-by-step guidance to ensure a smooth transition for your family.

Portugal is one of the easiest countries to travel to, as it has agreements with 61 countries. If your country is on the list (the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada), you do not need a visa for short stays. However, if you wish to stay longer than three months, you will need to apply for a long-term visa before coming to Portugal.

Portugal Visa options include:

  • Short Stay Visas (Schengen Visas, less than 90 days)
  • Temporary Stay National Visas (90 days up to 1 year)
  • Long Stay National Visas (Residency Visas, over 1 year)

Navigating the visa process is crucial. Begin by researching the various visa options for expat families. Seek guidance from a reputable immigration consultant to ensure you meet all requirements. Whether it’s a work visa or the Golden Visa program, having the right documentation is the foundation of a smooth relocation.

Gather Required Documents

Each visa category has specific document requirements. Generally, you’ll need:

  • Passport: Ensure it’s valid for at least three months beyond your intended stay.
  • Proof of Income: Bank statements, employment contracts, or pension statements.
  • Health Insurance: Comprehensive coverage for the duration of your stay.
  • Criminal Record Check: A certificate from your home country proving a clean criminal record.
  • Proof of Accommodation: You’ll need to submit a document that indicates where you’ll be staying.
  • Cover Letter: Written letter from the employer or from an inviting entity in the Schengen country.
  • Copies of any Previous Visas: Copy of any past Schengen visas.

Create a comprehensive file with all necessary documents to streamline the application process.

Financial Planning

Moving your family to Portugal involves financial considerations beyond the initial expenses. Consulting with a financial advisor to create a comprehensive budget is highly recommended. Account for living expenses, schooling, healthcare, and unforeseen costs. Understanding the financial landscape will help your family settle comfortably in your new place of residence.

Language and Cultural Integration

Language plays a significant role in feeling at home. Connect with a cultural integration specialist to assist your family in learning Portuguese. Embracing the local language and culture enhances your experience and fosters connections within the community.

There are several ways to learn Portuguese, ranging from downloading free apps on your smartphone to taking summer courses. Whether you prefer a traditional classroom environment, casual one-on-one lessons, or learning online, there are plenty of options to suit your needs and preferences.

Free Portuguese Language Classes

The Portuguese government provides free Portuguese Host Language (PLA) courses to help foreigners integrate into the country. This is part of the Português para Todos (Portuguese for All) program, which was launched in partnership with the Alto Comissariado para as Migrações (High Commission for Migration).

In addition, you can also sign up with Plataforma de Português Online, a platform that allows you to practice listening, reading, and writing skills. Instructions are available in Portuguese, English, Arabic, and Spanish. You can also find learning resources such as books and CDs at public libraries across the country.

Schooling Options

Researching schooling options is so important for families with children. Most educational consultants would recommend exploring both international schools and local institutions. Consider curriculum, language of instruction, and extracurricular activities to find the best fit for your child’s educational needs.

Healthcare Access

Access to quality healthcare is essential for a family relocation. Fortunately, Portugal ranked 25th in the 2023 Health Care Index, meaning that it has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Healthcare in Portugal is under a hybrid system with excellent public and private services. Of course, to avoid crowded facilities and long wait times, you will certainly want to consider the private facilities.

You will eventually obtain your National Health Services (SNS) user number when you get your Citizen Card. Always a good idea to consult with a healthcare advisor to understand the Portuguese healthcare system and secure any additional health insurance. Knowing where to find medical facilities and healthcare professionals should be high on your priority list.

Find Your Family’s Accommodations

Navigating the real estate market in Portugal may require local expertise. We recommend contacting an expert in the area to help you find the perfect home. Consider your family’s needs, preferred location, and budget to make an informed decision. If you want to rent a property in Portugal, you must fulfill a set of mandatory requirements, namely having a Tax Identification Number (NIF) in order to sign the contract and be able to pay the rent as a deposit in case the future landlord requests it. 

The process of buying property is subject to several legal obligations, such as signing a preliminary sales agreement and the deed, as well as paying taxes and insurance. It’s also necessary to have a Tax Identification Number (NIF), which must be requested from the Tax and Customs Authority

Networking and Community Engagement

Building connections within the expat and local communities is vital to settling in. Connect with local community to discover events, clubs, and social groups. Networking fosters a sense of belonging and enriches your family’s experience in Portugal.

Websites like Expats Portugal and Meetup can be great resources. Expats tend to gather in Portugal’s bigger cities, particularly Lisbon and Porto. Plan to attend expat social events, family gatherings, and other meetups to build new friendships.

Transportation Logistics

Understanding the transportation infrastructure is key to getting around Portugal effortlessly. Portugal offers a variety of transportation options, such as trains, buses, trams, metros, taxis, and funiculars. Public transport is safe, clean, mostly reliable, and very affordable. Research the public transit, driving regulations, and the availability of car rentals. Being well-informed will make navigating your new surroundings a breeze.

Our family really enjoys Portugal’s train network for certain parts of the country. It is connected to all the major cities, including Lisbon, Porto, Aveiro, Coimbra, Faro, and Lagos.

Train Tickets and Timetables HERE

Our Family’s Process for Moving to Portugal

Our 3 week Trip in 2022

Last year, our family took a long trip to Europe and spent an intentional 3 weeks in Portugal to explore. We started in Porto, which left us really craving more of the North and really feeling the vibe of its waterfront lifestyle. The kids really fell in love with the neighborhood’s charm and got their bearings very quickly. All of us certainly left Porto, thinking that it could possibly be our home one day.

Read our Porto Family Travel Guide here.

Next, we headed down to the Algarve, where we experienced the charm of small beach towns and soaked up the sun as much as we could. Kayaking into the Benagil Cave, hiking along the coastline, and eating some of the best Portuguese seafood we’ve ever experienced. There was something so special about the Algarve and we could definitely see ourselves living there one day.

Read our Family Travel Guide for the Algarve here.

We spent our last week in the center of it all in Lisbon. Touring all of our favorite neighborhoods, eating more than our share of our favorite foods, and really spending our days like a local. From the historic trams to the endless museums, Lisbon also left a very lasting impression on us, and we were quickly yearning to come back again soon to experience more.

Read our Lisbon Family Travel Guide here.


Ready to take the plunge and make Portugal your family’s new home? Connect with us on social media to hear more about our experiences, local resources, and budgeting tips. Your Portuguese adventure awaits!

More Portugal Travel Tips: