Europe’s Best-kept Secret Uncovered by American Travellers and Retirees

River View in Porto, Portugal

Not only did their day-to-day lifestyle improve—enhanced by warm weather, friendly locals, and beautiful surrounds, but their cost of living plummeted at the same time.

Long an under-the-radar destination, today Portugal’s low costs, rich culture, historic towns, warm weather, and varied landscapes are attracting American retirees in increasing numbers, according to a new report from the editors of International Living.

Five years ago, International Living Correspondent, Tricia Pimental and her husband moved to Portugal. Not only did their day-to-day lifestyle improve—enhanced by warm weather, friendly locals, and beautiful surrounds, but their cost of living plummeted at the same time.

“Keith and I immediately saw our expenses fall to between one-third and one-quarter of what they were back in the U.S. The truth is, almost everything in Portugal is less expensive.”

The strong U.S. dollar means great bang-for-buck for Americans traveling to and living in Portugal today. Right now, greenbacks go further than they have in years. “Thanks to the strong dollar, we can live in a four-bedroom, four-bathroom home with a bonus churrasqueira, a separate structure with built-in barbecue,” says Pimental. “This would easily translate to about $3,000 in the Indiana suburb where our son lives; here we pay a mere $988.”

Tricia is hardly the only American to fall for Portugal’s charms. Expat Jamie Sung rented a charming old house in the historic northern city of Porto. “Including expenses it cost about $780 per month,” she says. “For someone who was paying $1,500 per month for a room in a two-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica, California, this dramatic decrease in living expenses allowed me to spend less time working just to pay the rent, and more time actually living and experiencing life.”

“No matter how many times I buy fresh produce, I am still pleasantly shocked every time I get the bill. For about $5.50, I can walk away from a family-owned local produce shop with a bag full of bananas, grapes, pears, apples, kiwis, plums, garlic, spinach, onions, carrots, and cabbage,” says Sung.

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