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International Living having been seeking out the best retirement destinations for the past 35 years, and this year found that Portugal is worthy of the long-standing view that it is one of the best places in the world to retire. In compiling its rankings, International Living looks at climate, cost of living, retiree discounts, infrastructure, accessibility of health care to compile their Annual Global Retirement Index and say they look precisely at best opportunities worldwide for retirement living.

Editors at International Living compile, rank, and rate a series of criteria including cost of living, infrastructure, healthcare, fitting in, real estate, special benefits and climate for an assessment based on real-world data gathered on the ground. In singling out Portugal, International Living explains that as “one of the smallest countries in Europe, Portugal is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. Many fall in love with this little country due to its near flawless weather, an abundance of golf and water sports, and superb fresh food.” Placed just behind Spain in the rankings at number ten, researchers explain the relatively low cost of living here is also a big draw for those who choose to live in Portugal, compared with other European nations, goods and services are still bargains. It adds that “the locals are warm and welcoming to foreigners, making a living here very enjoyable.”

The report on Portugal continues by arguing that “if your dream European retreat includes golden sand beaches, almond groves, picturesque castles, and little frontier towns on wooded hilltops then Portugal is the place for you. Slumbering abbeys, pilgrim shrines, and ancient castle towns are dotted inland while traditional fishing towns of narrow alleys and old houses stand proudly on the coast.”

It also makes reference to relatively affordable property, highlighting the value for money deals currently available along the Silver Coast or the Alentejo. Researchers also found that living in Portugal is relatively affordable compared to its European counterparts, making reference to the below average joint cost of utilities, the price of coffee or a dish of the day. The International Living Retirement Index is topped by Panama, followed by Ecuador, Mexico and Costa Rica.



The Annual Global Retirement Index places Portugal as the seventh best destination in the world to retire. The top three destinations listed by International Living are Costa Rica, Mexico and Panama. Spain has listed two positions below Portugal in ninth and is the only other European nation on the list.

According to International Living’s report, “the third-safest country in the world in the 2017 Global Peace Index, Portugal is not only secure but beautiful.” It adds that “if Portugal’s attributes have convinced you to give it a try, here’s a tip: Begin your test drive in the capital. Lisbon is easy to reach, with direct flights from major cities around the world.”


Business formation with new businesses having been started in Portugal went up in 2017. Over 3,687 new companies were registered in Lisbon (14.5% more than in 2016), while Porto registered 7,107 new firms (5% up on the previous year).

On the other hand, business failures in Portugal fell 12.7% in 2017 compared with 2016 to 6,284, while the number of new companies being set up rose 9.1%, to 40,465. Lisbon and Porto saw the highest number of bankruptcies – 1,683 and 1,330 respectively, but these were still 2.4% and 15.4% lower than in 2016.


According to a monthly report on the employment market released by the Institute of Employment and Professional Training (IEFP), the total number of unemployed people was lower than the number registered in the same month of 2017 (-85,169 or -17.5%), and higher compared to the previous month (788 or 0.2%).

The Government expects the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to grow by 2.2% next year, the unemployment rate to hit 6.3% and public debt to drop to 118.5% of GDP, while promising civil servants higher pay and raising social benefits.

Portugal has seen strong recovery since the 2011-2014 financial crisis, with the economy supported by foreign investment, tourism and rising exports.