Spain or Portugal to live

Spain or Portugal to LIve – Which Should I Choose? Many people choose to move to countries with warmer climates as they get older. It is an adventure that gives them new experiences and a new way to enjoy their life. And why not? Living abroad in a country like Spain or Portugal can be fun. Exploring the colorful streets, shopping in the outdoor markets, and enjoying the picturesque coastal towns is one of the best ways to spend your retirement years. But deciding on a country to make your new home can be daunting, especially if you are not experienced with the culture, and don’t really know whether you will like living there.

live in spain or portugal

The best thing to do when in this situation is to visit your countries of choice and spend a few months there. By living for a few months in a city or country, you will get a better feel for the place you want to call home.

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Two fo the most popular destinations for ex-pats in Europe are Spain and Portugal. Both countries have wonderful climates, warm-hearted people, and many different entertainment options, but there are distinct differences that appeal to different people.

The wonderful thing about living in this modern world with so many technological advances is that you can make your home anywhere you want. Expat life can be exciting, challenging, and an adventure.

Read on for a thorough listing of the differences, the advantages and the disadvantages of these two countries, and what differentiates them from the rest of Europe.

Similar But Different, Spain Vs Portugal

To the beginner ex-pat, choosing Spain or Portugal to live in can be challenging. Both countries are similar in many ways. The climate, way of life, food, people, and landscapes are beautiful in both countries. But, still, there are important characteristics of each country which makes comparing them like-for-like impossible.

Moving to Spain or Portugal to live can give you a new perspective on life. It can be inspiring and full of unexpected adventures. So, if your choice comes down to these two possible destinations, it is time to list the benefits of each and decide where you want to live and which of these two countries meets the needs of your favorite lifestyle.

Spain and Portugal To Live – Why? What Do These Countries Offer?

spain or portugal

Choosing Spain or Portugal to live in, could be an excellent idea. Either European country is ideal for people who love the beach, good food, architecture, history, and even football. That is why living in Spain or having a life in Portugal can be difficult. But hopefully, by the time we get to the end of the article, you will know which country offers you the better lifestyle choice.

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The Weather in When You Choose Spain or Portugal to Live

Yes, Spain shares borders with the African country of Morocco, but the weather varies throughout the country. There are four climates in Spain due to its diverse landscape of mountains and coastlines.

In Spain, the higher the altitude, the colder it is. Inland areas have hotter summers and a more Mediterranean climate. Certain areas have extremely hot and cold climates.

The weather in Portugal

Portugal has temperate climate throughout the year. Summers are cool and breezy, with pleasant winds that come from the coast. Winters are a bit wet. In general, though, the weather is like that of the Mediterranean with warmer weather. Some parts of Portugal receive snow, especially in the northern area or in communities with higher elevations.

Spain or Portugal to Live – Where Should I Move?

Which country is best for ex-pats? This is a personal decision, and it depends on several factors like whether you like big cities. Madrid and Barcelona are huge metropolitan cities with an eclectic, urban environment, whereas even Portugal’s capital city has a more laid-back and relaxing feel to it.

Not all cities are the same, and each has a completely different lifestyle. Let’sLet’s take the cities of Lisbon and Porto, for instance. Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal, so if you like the convenience and don’t mind a lot of people, then this might be the ideal place to live. On the other hand, if the beach is more to your like tradition, history, and a view of the ocean, Lisbon is the place in Portugal.

Living in Spain

If you want a quieter lifestyle than that available in your own European country, but don’t want to move to a large metropolis like Madrid and Barcelona, you could try moving to Spain in an area like Seville on the river Guadalquivir, but you can expect it to be more expensive than when living in Portugal.

Spain or Portugal to Live and Their Coastal Areas

A lot of people will agree that both Spain and Portugal have beautiful coastal locations. People often holiday in either Algarve or Costa del Sol. The climate in both locations is enviable, and winters are mild in both locations. Accessing either city is easy from the rest of Europe and most major international airports. Both cities also include wonderful entertainment venues, golf courses, and excellent public transportation. So the deciding factor is the beauty of the city, the ease of communication and the cost of living.

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Cost of Living of Spain or Portugal to Live

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While Spain has had its ups and downs, the economy is on its way up. However, many people would say it suffers from some instability, unlike Portugal. Despite the fluctuation, startups have made their way into some of the largest cities, working for younger generations. The cost of living in comparison to the UK is impressive, about 40% less. Still, the quality and standard of living with access to social activities and other public options also seem to be lacking.

In contrast, Portugal’s Portugal’s economy seems more stable and offers significant work and economic opportunities. Tourism is a major industry here as well as the production of cork. The cost of living is about 50% of that required to live in a city like New York or the UK. Basic healthcare and education are also of high quality in Portugal, and food and clothing are reasonable.

The History And Architecture

It is safe to say that both countries have a vivid and rich history. Spain is listed as a UNESCO heritage site, as is Portugal. The country is known for its beautiful buildings, culture, art, and history. If you lived in Spain, you could explore many monuments and enjoy the architecture and cultural buildings that date as far back as the Renaissance.
Modern day Portugal is much like many other Mediterranean modern cities. However, most cities in this country have a charm that is reminiscent of fairytale villages, castles and quiet ancient monasteries. Many of these ancient structures have been integrated into the modern environment and you can still find vintage furniture from these ancient noble times as they are blended in with modern structures and styles. Narrow walkways and streets were once walked by nobility, knights and even today visitors can see vestiges of these ancient times. These are beautiful walking areas and paths to enjoy a stroll about town or a lazy evening after dinner. Fountains dot the streets and strollers can enjoy their beautiful sculpted shapes along with the terraces where once the nobles courted each other.

A Capital City Comparison

spain or portugal to live

The two capital cities are very different. While Madrid is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, Lisbon is a more open port city wher the architecture reflects the mild winters and moderate summer weather. Madrid can be extremely hot in July and August, often reaching temperatures above 35C which can make it unbearable to live in during these times.

On the other hand, moving to Portugal for this reason alone can make it work your while. Lisbon boasts wonderful weather year-round and it is a much cheaper city to live in than Madrid. Here you can find prices about 20% lower than n Madrid, and the quality of life is also higher. There is a lower air pollution level, less traffic and better properties to choose from.

In job growth, both cities do well, but Madrid has more job opportunities than Lisbon. And again if nightlife is your thing then Madrid stands ahead of the more cultural LIsbon. When considering public transport, we can say that it is comparable to most cities in western Europe. It is easy to get around in either Madrid or Lisbon and the transportation system is exceptional in both cities.

The Sights

When choosing either Spain or Portugal to live in, you should also consider the surrounding areas of the city you choose. You want to live in a country that has many different places to visit. In Spain, for instance, you will want to know about the coastal village of Ibiza, a popular beach destination for many holiday seekers.

Costa Brava is another popular destination for food lovers and a place to enjoy the beautiful coastline. However, keep in mind that these areas in Spain can be quite expensive and real estate prices are very competitive and quite high.

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Portugal has lovely cities and villages. Almost anywhere you go you can feel the fairylike ambiance of Portugal. You can stand and admire the view above a castle, feel humbled by a town that is thousands of years old. The views are incredible and picturest. You might head over to Castelo de Vide, located on the edge of the Serra Sao Mamede region. It is a must-do for a weekend trip, or you may even enjoy making the small village your future summer home.

Portugal offers something for everyone. You will certainly want to visit Algarve and enjoy the Mediterranean weather. However, if you’re looking for a taste of the Mediterranean climate with its vast beaches and fabulous cuisine, the Algarve is the place for you. This area in Portugal is full of olive groves and whitewashed quaint homes that transform the cliffs that dot the coastline.

Culture and Festivals

When considering Spain or Portugal to live in, you should also consider the culture and the famed festivals each country has. If you have the money and enjoy fine dining and metropolitan entertainment then Spain is the place to visit. The Spanish lifestyle can be quite extravagant and the country boasts many religious festivities. In Spain, loud music, flamenco and bullfights are prevalent activities throughout the year.

Portugal is also rich in culture and tradition. The most colorful of its traditions is the decking out of the streets for Christmas. The towns and cities fill the streets with flowers and lights. Another interesting cultural event that visitors must partake in is the festival of Lent. It is a feast that takes place after Lent where large feasts and culinary delights are served.

Spain or Portugal to Live for Retirement

retirement in spain or portugal

While most people still believe that people in Portugal and Spain still take sleepy long siestas in the middle of the afternoon, much has changed in both countries. They are economically sound and the cities are often bustling with busy people at work or play. Yet, the small rural and coastal regions of Portugal still nurture that peaceful way of life many of us desire as we get older.

Portugal continues to rank in the top 5 of the global peace index for its tranquil and calm cities and towns. It is a critical factor that influences the decision of retired people who are looking for a mixture of safety and a socially active lifestyle at a price they can afford.

Expats who need a low cost of living plus the enjoyment of the Mediterranean coast certainly need to take a look at the Algarve region. It is peaceful, lovely, and affordable, whereas Spain is busier, even on the coast, and can grow very rowdy during the tourist season.

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Spain or Portugal to Retire – Consider The Food and Cuisine

Each country is known for its own particular culinary delights. Spain has become well known for all things chocolate. It is served hot, cold, with exotic combinations and the Spanish even believe it has medicinal benefits. Tapas is another type of dish made with cold cuts, meats, and cheese. You are sure to enjoy the tapas with a glass of cold beer.

However, despite the wonders of the cured hams and cheeses, Spanish food has a high-fat content, and many people from other countries find it hard to live on a fat-saturated diet. It may also be challenging to live as a vegetarian in this meat-loving country.

Portugal’s reputation for its cuisine is in expansion. The seafood dishes, vegetables and availability of fresh food have drawn the attention of many celebrated chefs. Cooks find a myriad of ways to cook the salted dried cod known as bacalhau. If fresh seafood is of interest, Portugal is the destination of choice. But the country is also known for its wonderful salads and a great variety of bread and wines.


Although Spanish is widely spoken, in Spain there are many dialects and different accents. So even if it is easy to take a Spanish class or two in your home country, it is not so easy to understand the language. On the other hand, Portuguese is an easier language to learn, and the warm locals are receptive to your learning and practicing with them. Local people often praise ex-pats for the effort they make to adapt to their country.

Which Country Should I Choose?

Both countries are close to all of Europe and make a beautiful warm second home or retirement location for ex-pats from Europe. So if you are looking for a quiet and beautiful country in which to spend the rest of your life, you might want to try to think of Spain or Portugal to live in, but in truth, it is Portugal that meets all of the requirements you have on your checklist. Although in Spain it is very popular to retire in the Malaga area and there are many retirees who prefer to retire in Spain.

About Portugal

Portugal is rich in history and culture. It was the world’s first maritime power and the birthplace of many explorers and it is one of the longest-lived modern European countries in the world.

In its height, Portugal stretched across more than 50 countries including Africa and Brazil. Portugal transferred its last colony, Macau to China in the early 1990s.

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In as far as Capital cities go, Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world and has been in existence for several thousand years, although its official founding took place in 1147.

Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, although it is not a part of the European Union. Its official name refers to its second-largest city, Porto. The country consists of its mainland, the Azores, and the Madeira Archipelago. Each of the nine islands in the Azores is about 1,300 kilometers west of the mainland and many of them are inhabited while two of them remain uninhabited.

All in All

The truth is, Portugal offers everything an ex-pat could wish for, from beautiful coastlines to large metropolitan living. It is just a matter of traveling a bit to decide on which country and which city or village you want to live in.

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