In the survey, Portugal comes out in fourth position out of 52 destinations assessed. The country makes it into the top 10 of the Quality of Life (4th), Ease of Settling In (7th), and Personal Finance (10th) Indices. While it also ranks in a good 19th place in the Expat Essentials Index, it does not perform so well in the Working Abroad Index (35th). However, overall, 85 percent of expats are happy with their life in Portugal, compared to 71 percent globally according to the survey of almost 12,000 respondents from across the world.

A better quality of life

Portugal also comes out in fourth in the Quality of Life Index. The survey found that 24 percent of expats moved to Portugal for a better quality of life, the most common reason for relocating there. More than nine in ten (94 percent) enjoy the climate and weather (vs. 62 percent globally), and 89 percent are happy with the air quality (vs. 65 percent globally). Portugal ranks seventh in the Leisure Options Subcategory: expats are particularly happy with the opportunities for recreational sports (87 percent vs. 75 percent globally).

Safe and open

Beyond that, 93 percent of expats find it easy and safe to get around on foot and/or by bicycle (vs. 77 percent globally), and 82 percent feel that they can openly express themselves and their opinions (vs. 64 percent globally). For the latter factor, Portugal actually ranks first worldwide. When asked what they like most about life in Portugal, an expat from India states: “the good environment and peaceful life”.

A place to call home

Portugal lands in another top 10 spot in the Ease of Settling In Index (7th). “I enjoy the beauty of the country and the relaxed way of life of the Portuguese people and their kindness,” shares an expat from the Netherlands, and a respondent from Germany points out that “people are friendly and open”. 82 percent of expats describe the Portuguese as generally friendly (vs. 66 percent globally), and 80 percent consider them friendly towards foreign residents in particular (vs. 65 percent globally). They also find it easy to make local friends (51 percent vs. 42 percent globally) and are happy with their social life (67 percent vs. 56 percent globally).

Maybe this is why 77 percent generally feel at home in Portugal (vs. 62 percent globally), and 41 percent even feel completely at home there (vs. 30 percent globally). Overall, 45 percent of expats intend to stay in Portugal forever, while just 35 percent of expats worldwide say that about their respective host country.

Low costs — Low salaries

The low cost of living (8th) is another highlight of expat life in Portugal. More than seven in ten (71 percent) rate the general cost of living positively (vs. 45 percent globally). However, just 63 percent are satisfied with their financial situation (vs. 60 percent globally), and 74 percent feel that their disposable household income is enough or more than enough to lead a comfortable life (vs. 72 percent globally) — both shares are just slightly above the global average.

Admin issues

Portugal ranks 19th in the Expat Essentials Index. While the survey shows an average-to-good performance for most factors surveyed in this index, this is not the case for administrative topics. More than half the expats (52 percent) find it hard to deal with local bureaucracy/authorities (vs. 39 percent globally), and 24 percent are unhappy with the availability of administrative/government services online (vs. 21 percent globally). “Dealing with the government bureaucracy is a significant challenge and a paperwork nightmare at times,” says an expat from the US.

The best and the worst

According to the Expat Insider 2022 survey results, Mexico (1st), Indonesia, Taiwan, Portugal, Spain, the UAE, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, and Singapore (10th) are the best destinations for expats. The top five destinations stand out with regard to the Ease of Settling In and Personal Finance.

The worst destinations for expats are Kuwait (52nd), New Zealand, Hong Kong, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Japan, South Africa, Turkey, Italy, and Malta (43rd).


Originally from the UK, Daisy has been living and working in Portugal for more than 20 years. She has worked in PR, marketing and journalism, and has been the editor of The Portugal News since 2019. Jornalista 7920

Daisy Sampson