10 Secretly Amazing Places for Americans to Retire in Portugal

Written by Stephanie Harper
Published: October 3, 2023
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It seems like the conversation about relocating from United States to places out of the country has become incredibly common. Retiring in America is a wonderful thing to do if it’s something you can easily afford, but that isn’t the reality for everyone. Some people love the idea of saving money during their retirement years by living in a place that’s far more cost-effective. Others who aren’t so concerned about finances simply want to retire in places outside of the United States to create exciting memories for themselves. Taking in the ambiance of a new environment is just as exciting and refreshing as you might guess. When you grow accustomed to seeing the same surroundings for too many years in a row, things start to blend together!

When that happens, your experiences stop feeling special. Jetting off to a place like Portugal, for example, for retirement is a brilliant idea for individuals who want to live their best lives. Retirement in Portugal could equate to more happiness and joy in your older age. Portugal is a stunning country in Southern Europe that touches the Atlantic ocean. Some of the architecture you’ll come across in Portugal was built between the 1500s and 1800s, which means there’s a lot of history to admire and uncover. The rich heritage of Portugal comes from its jaw-dropping beaches, active cities, pleasant weather, and exquisite scenery. These are 10 secretly amazing places to think about relocating for your retirement.

Lagos is One City in Portugal to Retire

An aerial view of Lagos city waterside roads and buildings

A jaw-dropping view of city streets and buildings in Lagos.

©Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.com

Plenty of retirees who are thinking about settling down in Lagos have every reason to feel hyped about their decision. The heritage of Lagos can be traced back to Roman times, which means you’ll always be surrounded by a beautifully rich history. Imagine feeling cultured everywhere you go! The cobble roads, lush greenery, and clear blue water are impossible to ignore while spending time in Lagos. If absorbing sunshine on the beach is the way you envision yourself in your retirement, Lagos deserves some of your attention. It costs anywhere from $1,500 on the low end to $2,200 on the higher end to retire in Lagos depending on how luxurious of a lifestyle you intend to live.

Braga is Another City in Portugal to Retire

View of the church of Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga famous for sculpture decorated staircase leading to it, Portugal

Statues located in Braga.


There’s a lot to be said about a city like Braga in Portugal. The architecture, landscape, and history of Braga was deeply influenced by the ancient Romans. Getting the chance to admire buildings that were built so many centuries ago is magical and transformative for just about anyone. It will cost you $26,000 per year to retire in Braga, which means this particular city is incredibly affordable in comparison to plenty of alternatives out there.

A lot of the locals speak English in Braga, making it easier for Americans to get comfortable there. Another benefit is that the people who own restaurants and shops go out of their way to cater to tourists. As an American choosing to become a local in a place like Braga, this is a good thing. Dealing with restaurant and shop owners who know how to cater to Americans is a huge win. The diversity in Braga is absolutely wonderful.

Retire in Guimarães, Portugal is Another Idea

Chapel of Saint Francis at Guimaraes, Portugal

A statue in front of a building in Guimarães.


Retiring abroad in Guimarães is a smart move for any American who wants to stretch their dollar. It will cost about $27,600 per year to live out your life in this city. Some of the most impressive attractions that call out to retirees in Guimarães include the 10th century castle, the breathtaking olive tree growing in Largo da Oliveira, and the many homes designed with Gothic-style arches. Exploring the Alberto Sampaio Museum will give you the opportunity to learn more about cultural history of Portugal. The extravagant churches and convents are also worth checking out due to the beauty of their infrastructure and architecture. The weather throughout the year varies with colder winters and shorter summers. If having perfectly sunny weather all year round isn’t the most important thing to you, this is definitely a place that makes sense for a peaceful and happy retirement.

Caldas da Rainha

Park Dom Carlos I, Caldas da Rainha - Portugal

A water view in Caldas da Rainha.

©Atlantico Press/Shutterstock.com

Consider Caldas da Rainha as an option for retirement in Portugal. This midsized city should be on your radar for a multitude of reasons. Let’s start with its English translation! The city name means “the Queen’s bath” in English. The reason it nabbed such a sweet nickname is that Queen Leonor discovered a thermal spring in the area during the 15th century. Her discovery of the thermal spring is what brought love, admiration, and attention to the city as a whole.

The water from the spring was used for health purposes in the first hospital she ordered to be built on the land. As of today, the hospital is still active. Retiring in Caldas da Rainha means having access to lively festivals throughout the year, weekly street market sellers offering fresh fruits and vegetables, and easy public transit to get around. It costs around $25,000 a year to live here – and that includes your every day needs on top of private health insurance.


Aerial view of touristic Portimao with wide sandy Rocha beach, Algarve, Portugal

A beach view in Portimão.


If the affordability of your chosen retirement location is at the forefront of your thinking, Portimão is easily one of your best bets. This coastal gem will cost about $30,000 a year to cover your basic healthcare needs and other essentials. The line where the Atlantic ocean meets the Arade River is where this port city exists. Anyone trying to escape humid weather will appreciate this city for the summers that it offers.

Instead of dealing with wet humidity, the hot and dry weather is often far more comfortable in comparison. You can also expect to deal with less rain than other parts of Portugal during the winter seasons. Prioritizing a retirement place with clear ocean water may also be something that’s important to you. If so, Portimão is an amazing place to think about. The cliffs people jump off of into sparkling fresh water will remind you of paintings from a fairytale book.


Aerial view of Cadiz with Tavira Tower - Cadiz, Andalusia, Spain

The majestic buildings of Tavira.

©Diego Grandi/Shutterstock.com

There’s something so quaint and charming about to Tavira, Portugal. The boats floating across the surface of the waters, the elegant balconies attached to most of the buildings, and the gorgeous pathways make this city worthwhile in every way. One of the castles you’ll come across during your time into vera was built back in the 13th century. There are also tons of art galleries, museums, and river entryways to explore. The wetlands are ideal for retirees who appreciate leaning into their outdoorsy side. Since a lot of what Tavira offers is perfect for people who appreciate nature, this may not be the best place to retire if you don’t care about spending tons of time outside. As far as Tavira’s cost of living goes, it’s not considered an expensive place to live. The average monthly rent there comes out to about $1780.


View of cityscape of old town of Coimbra, Portugal

The buildings of Coimbra.

©Georgios Tsichlis/Shutterstock.com

Retiring in Coimbra is a dream come true, as far as cities in Portugal go. This particular city is located about two hours north of the former capital of Portugal. Currently, there are 144,000 people living in Coimbra and enjoying their day to day experiences. This particular city is considered quite relaxed and easy-going, despite the fact that it’s a busy metropolis. If you’re concerned about the weather here, you’ll never have to deal with anything as cold or inconvenient as snow.

The month of January tends to be pretty rainy, though, with an annual average of six inches. If you can get through January, your time in this city will be beyond fulfilling. Music is one of the reasons retiring here is such a fabulous idea. The traditional music of Portugal is placed on such a pedestal. If you’re a true music lover who enjoys listening to gorgeous tunes, this is the ideal place to settle down! $28,000 a year is what you’ll need to comfortably retire here.


Aerial view of the Palace of Mafra. UNESCO world heritage in Portugal

Stunning architecture in Mafra.

©Leonid Andronov/Shutterstock.com

Now is as good a time as any to consider Mafra when thinking about cities in Portugal to retire in. After landing at the Lisbon International Airport, it will only take you 30 minutes to arrive in Mafra. The 112 square mile city is small in size, yet always bustling and thriving. Keep in mind that the bustle of this city isn’t too overwhelming for a person who is thoroughly ready to retire in peace. This is the city where you’ll be able to take in all the lush greenery and blossoming flowers that surface throughout the year. The simplicity and beauty of black-and-white Portuguese pavement will remind you of an artist’s work. The spectacular pathways you’ll see while taking strides through Mafra are undeniable. Your basic needs and health insurance will cost about $28,800 per year if you choose to retire here.


Aerial view of the city of Setúbal, Portugal

A beach view in Setúbal.

©Viagens e Caminhos/Shutterstock.com

Have you been thinking about relocating to a city like Setúbal in Portugal for your retirement? If so, you’re well in you’re right to be excited about the city as gorgeous end wonderful as this one. It will cost you $28,800 a year to live out your retirement here, and there are plenty of reasons why it’s totally worth it. The Sado River alone is enough of a driving factor. The river flows straight through town center, which creates one of the most gloriously serene environments for people to spend quality time together. Linking up with your significant other, family members, or friends in town center for a relaxing stroll or brunch will have you feeling totally harmonious with your surrounding area. Shopping for fresh veggies, fruits, and seafood is incredibly easy to do in Setúbal. Having access to healthy food options at an older age is always so crucial.


Faro District, Carvoeiro, Algarve, Portugal

A beautiful view of a beach in Faro.


One of the most top-notch places to consider living in Portugal for your retirement happens to be Faro. Faro is affectionately nicknamed the gateway to Algarave, since it is the designated capital of the Algarave region. Since there’s such easy access to Ria Formosa Natural Park, it’s easy for retirees to spend time in the wetlands of Portugal when living here. Whenever friends and family want to visit you in Faro, they’ll be able to reach you effortlessly. After all, the Faro International Airport is located right there.

Some of the buildings in Faro were built back in the Roman area. You’ll be surrounded by loads of rich history and culture at every turn. The cost of living in Faro isn’t disturbingly outrageous, either. Rent in Faro will cost you about $1466 per month. Budgeting the rest of your lifestyle around such a reasonable rent price means you’ll have a lot of extra money to spend on fun experiences and happy memories. If eating delicious foods is some thing you prioritize, you’ll be able to do that at any of the many restaurants lining the Faro city.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © TTstudio/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Stephanie Harper is a professional writer who graduated from Cal State Northridge with her English degree. She loves writing about animals, travel, and other lifestyle topics.

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