Living in Portugal can be a dream come true. From the enviable climate to the fantastic locals to some of the most vibrant cuisine anywhere in the world, the appeal of Portugal is easy to understand.
But just as is the case when relocating to any foreign country, there’s an initial learning curve to negotiate. It will take some time before you feel completely at home, but you’ll most likely find the new lifestyle easy to settle into.
Whether you’ve just arrived at your new home in Portugal or you’re planning to relocate in the near future, here are a few simple yet essential tips to help you get settled:
Table of Contents
1. Give Yourself Plenty of Time
First up, it is essential to avoid the temptation to attempt to rush the transition. Yes, you’ll want to dive head-first into all the wonderful new experiences and cultures on your doorstep. At the same time, you can’t realistically expect to instantly adapt to all the changes relocating to a new country brings your way. Take your time, expect the occasional challenge along the way, and try not to put too much pressure on yourself.
2. Learn the Language
At least, to such an extent as to be able to exchange pleasantries, and to place orders in bars, restaurants, and so on. Speaking the lingo with the locals may feel awkward at first, but your efforts will be both appreciated and rewarded in kind. Even if you relocate to a place where English is the locals’ unofficial second language, it will always go down well if you make the effort to speak their first language. Again, even just a few pleasantries will go a long way in helping you build connections, and settle in your new home.
3. Prepare for Paperwork
The Portuguese immigration system is not nearly as complex as that of some EU nations. Even so, you can expect a fair amount of bureaucracy and paperwork along the way. All of which can take time and effort to negotiate, calling for a fair amount of patience. Thankfully, it’s a small price to pay for all benefits that accompany starting a new life in such a fantastic place.
4. Make Connections
One of the best ways to make connections when relocating to Portugal is to simply stroll around your neighbourhood and check out some local shops/markets. This will give you the perfect opportunity to put your new Portuguese language skills to the test, while at the same time rubbing shoulders with your new neighbours. If there’s anything you want to know about the local area or could simply do with a few suggestions on where to go and what to do, you’ll never have to look far to find a friendly face.
5. Embrace the Café and Bar Culture
Another great way to make connections in Portugal is to fully immerse yourself in the local café and bar culture. Bear in mind that this does not necessarily have to mean partaking in alcoholic libations, if you do not wish to do so. Keep an eye out for the kinds of places that never fail to pull in a vibrant and buzzing local crowd. These are the places to focus your time and effort on, given how their clientele will be comprised primarily of your new neighbours.
6. Meet the Expats
Surrounding yourself with people from your prior home country may seem counterproductive, when looking to settle in a place like Portugal. In reality, it’s one of the best things you can do to both build a support network and gain invaluable insights into how things work. The longer they have been living in Portugal, the more helpful advice they can offer to help you get settled. Plus, making connections with a few expats will always make the transition to life in a new country a little less daunting.
7. Open a Bank Account
You will find it much easier to conduct your affairs (especially where employment is concerned) if you have a Portuguese bank account. Thankfully, opening an account with one of the country’s major banks is not particularly difficult. You’ll simply need to provide proof of your identity and your Portuguese home address, in order to set up a basic bank account with the fundamental features you’ll need.
8. Explore Further Afield
Last up, a fantastic way to convince yourself you’ve made the right decision to relocate to Portugal is to spend some time exploring further afield. There’s plenty to take in around your new address, but the charms of Portugal are so wildly different from one region to the next. Take every opportunity to soak up the best of the country you now call home, and enjoy a world of incredible opportunities for adventure and exploration – right on your doorstep!