The Truth About Living In Portugal – Part 5 – Moving Won’t Solve All Your Problems

"portugal problems"Many people who start a new life living in Portugal see it as exactly that – a chance to start a new life but although the change in lifestyle from your home country to Portugal may see many positive changes happening it won’t solve all your problems in one fell swoop.

That may sound very obvious to anyone sat at home thinking about living in Portugal but it is amazing how carried away you can quickly get when it comes to moving to a new country and with a new home, new work, new schools, new friends and new lifestyle is is easy to see how you can start to think that all your problems can disappear with the clouds that you left behind.

In truth and speaking from experience I can safely say that yes, many of my problems simply vanished when I moved to Portugal and started to live here full time.  Money problems were all resolved before I left the country so that was a huge weight off my mind and child care problems were sorted as I changed the way that I work, while old issues with former colleagues, friends and family members were quickly forgotten about but as with everything a new start brought with it new problems.

My new problems now involved dealing with people in a foreign language, trying to work out how to fight through mountains of paperwork and negotiating matriculation of a car.

So I had a new life and I had my new problems but I have to say that these new problems were far more preferable to those I left behind!  And this is the point about moving to and living in Portugal, life is not going to be perfect for anyone but when you look at the bigger picture about being here the things that trouble me here are far less than those that troubled me back in the UK.

And when it all gets on top of me here I also have the fantastic option of being able to stomp it out along a beautiful beach or along a gorgeous cliff top rather than having to sit in my car in a multi storey car park with the windows up to let out a little scream of frustration (you get funny looks for doing that I found).

Basically Portugal is not the answer to all your problems and if you come to live here to escape problems then you probably find they catch up with you in the end so make sure that when you choose to come and live in Portugal that you resolve as much as possible back in your home country so you can start a new life, and new problems in Portugal!


  1. Celia Hill says:

    Hi Samantha
    I have been following your posts with interest. I have three daughters and grandchildren.
    My whole family are considering moving out to Portugal within the area of Lisbon. we have just returned from a fact finding mission.
    There are many issues to consider … and more.
    I know the Portuguese people adore children and we have been made very welcome.
    we have always loved Portugla and been there many times over the years.
    different though to live there on a permanent basis. I would welcome any opinions and any pitfalls.

  2. Hello Celia

    For me the worst thing is that paperwork never moves fast in Portugal and there is a lot of it plus you have quite a long wait getting registered at the school. So be prepared for paper work city. It really is the only downside I have ever had of living here everything else can not be faulted and I am sure you will have a wonderful time once you have moved. We never looked back!

  3. I suspect that moving to Portugal is no different to moving to any foreign country…. new rules, new culture and of course new language. There were times when I thought the P’guese authorities were having a laugh at my expense when we first moved here. Bureaucracy, red tape, take a ticket, wait in line, come back tomorrow…. triplicate copies of every document known to man (authorised and notarised of course, at vast expense)… the list is endless.
    The truth is you only have to go through this minefield once…. and that’s when you’re a greenhorn. I mean, how many times do you matriculate your car, apply for a fiscal card, bank a/c or Residençia, or set up a DD for your electricity? School registration is, I admit, an annual thing…. but it’s worth it, and you soon get used to it.
    Would it be any different for a Portugeezer moving to England? Is the English system any better? I doubt it. One thing I do know….. the weather here is a darned sight better than up there in Blighty!!

  4. Good Evening Samantha

    Glad I found your website loving all the ins and outs of life in the Algarve. I am looking to relocate early 2013 over to the Silves/Lagoa area of Central Algarve, my husband is retiring from his work here in Scotland and wants to live in the sun for a few years hopefully. I know the situation with the economy at the moment over there as I have a few Portugese friends whom I get updates from but maybe not wholly the truth.
    My main concern is my young daughter of 11 years of age who wishes to stay here and not make the move as she is afraid of the schooling and state school in case she is classed “el strangero” so we would like to know from anyone with regard to the whole schooling issue and the pitfalls with Home purchase or whether we should rent for a while first, we are not strangers to the country and we have had some house viewings and coming back over in December to view homes in Silves as that seems to be the area where I feel at home.

    Any comments good and bad would be much appreciated to help us with this life changing move.

  5. Hello Sandra

    and thanks for your comment.

    Its a tough one with that age range and the state school. And if I am honest if Kyle was the age he is now (11) when we moved I would have chosen international school compared to the schools here in Silves. The way they do it here is that you cant move up to the next year until you finish the previous one so unless your child knows Portuguese they will start him at the bottom with the six year olds. Kyle right now is in the class with children that are up to two years younger than him because at age 8 they put him 2 years below because he didn’t know much Portuguese.

    He was also the ONLY one that was English in his class which I know was very difficult for him though he was fluent because of this in less than 3 months and has a lot of Portuguese friends now.

    I would rent for a bit first while you get used to the system and then you can get a better idea of where you want to buy.

    We do love living in Silves though it’s a great place to live.