The Ultimate Portugal Info In Our 2021 Portugal Virtual Conference

Porto, Portugal cityscape on the Douro River.

The Ultimate Portugal Info In Our 2021 Portugal Virtual Conference

Pining For Portugal…

Today is my birthday. The fact that our annual Live and Invest in Portugal event is happening the same week—as it did when I first visited Portugal two years ago—has me feeling a little melancholy…

Thinking back to that trip… back to pre-COVID days, back to travel, back to beaches, back to restaurants and bars, back to celebrating birthdays in style, back to a hundred or more people being in the same room…

I can only see that first (and, for the moment, the last) trip I made to Portugal tinted in rosy sepia… the memories almost feel unreal.

I will eventually get back there… hopefully this year. Meantime, I’m glad to have the excuse to talk with some far-off friends at this week’s event and hear about how things have changed for Portugal over the last year, momentous and tumultuous as it has been.

Until then, I’ll share with you my first impressions of Portugal, as penned on that trip two years ago…

Surviving On Sardines And Seafood…

Don’t judge a country by its food.

Or, at least, by the first dish you experience.

On my first day in Portugal I feared that the Mediterranean diet wouldn’t be for me. The Portuguese seem to eat nothing but meat… and often in a hardy form.

Picture a lasagna of pork, chorizo, bread, and gravy and you’ve got yourself a Portuguese special.

When I ordered a veal appetizer, out came a bowl heaped with red meat—no additions or adulterations. (My best guess is it could only have been intended for multiple diners.)

Could I make it through the next week as a hardcore carnivore?

Now, I’m not usually a fish eater. But, hearing rave reviews about the local seafood, I figured that sea creatures were my next-best option for survival…

And, I was surprised. Clams, prawns, oysters, cod—they’re all insanely fresh, tasty, and (just like my veal meal) presented with minimal tampering.

What surprised me more, though, was the status of tinned fish. Who’d have thought you could make tinned sardines, trout, and anchovies into a national treasure?

Portugal fish shop with tinned fish
Don’t miss your chance to stock up on tinned fish
(Copyright: Glauco Damas)

Comur—the national cannery chain—has shops all over Portugal (as well as its own factory museum) that manage to turn a mundane product into something weirdly fun and entertaining.

I was glad to have some vacation time to act the absolute tourist—especially on this, my first-ever visit to Portugal. But soon it was time to make my way down to Carvoeiro for our Live and Invest in Portugal Conference.

One of my favorite things about coming to conferences is catching up with past attendees…

And, on the first morning of the event, George White, who I’d met while MCing our Italy event last October, caught me to proudly announce that he’d not been back across the Atlantic since he last saw me…

“I decided to stay on in Pescara for a few more days to see some real estate and just get a feel for the place outside of the classroom.

“Then I got into housesitting. I love all of Italy, but Sorrento has my heart. So my next move was to housesit there for a few weeks… until I realized I was about to overstay my Schengen visa…

“I had to fly to Scotland, where I stayed in a US$15-a-night Airbnb, just steps from the nearest castle and to the library where I could do some research every day.

“So that’s what brings me here to Portugal. I need a visa that lets me stay here longer than 90 days at a time… because, apparently, I don’t seem to be leaving anytime soon!

“I’m considering residency in Italy, but the bureaucracy is off the charts. From what LIOS tells us, Portuguese residency is much simpler and quicker to sort, so I’m here to get the details. Plus, the income requirement is about half in Portugal than it is in Italy…”

Portugal: The Former Powerhouse Of Europe

Porto, PortugalAs one of the most unassuming countries of Europe today, it’s easy to forget the power trip that Portugal enjoyed for centuries…

I’ve spent so much time in Spanish colonial cities in my life, but I’ve still not been to Brazil. I didn’t make it to Goa while in India either. And, until two weeks ago, I’d never visited the motherland herself.

So I return from this first trip with a smattering of trivia on the country, her culture, and history. Turns out, modest little Portugal made some pretty astounding impacts that persist to this day…

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to stumble on Japan and the first to establish trade with it. Many Japanese words derive from Portuguese, though some of the most popular stories are questionable…

You might hear that obrigado, Portuguese for “thank you,” gave the Japanese their arigato. That’s nothing more than a fun legend.

But tempura-style cooking? Tempura comes from the Portuguese temporada—seasoned meat. That one’s true.

It was a Portuguese explorer who was the first European to reach China by sea and to “discover” Hong Kong. Yet another Portuguese sailor—this one a pirate—soured relations with the Chinese, leading to an edict that banned men with Caucasian features from Canton, modern-day Guangzhou.

The name Canton stuck for centuries and comes from the Portuguese cantão, which was simply how the Portuguese mispronounced the city’s original Chinese name. This flub—still honored by much of the English-speaking world today—ended up in the annals of history, printed on maps and in atlases used far and wide.

***

That’s just a taste of Portugal’s colorful history…

But What’s Going On In The Country Today?

I’m eager to find out…

I’ll be tuning in along with a couple hundred attendees starting Wednesday to hear from our expats and experts on the ground about the state of Portugal today. There’s nothing more valuable than getting news straight from the horse’s mouth, and that’s exactly what we like to deliver at our Live and Invest Overseas conferences.

There are a few things, though, that I know haven’t changed down in Portugal…

  • Portugal is still a safe haven—currently the fourth-safest country in the world…
  • It’s a friendly country. Plus, in the Algarve, at least, English is widely spoken… allowing you to make connections more easily…
  • It’s a great base for exploring Europe. Faro—the Algarve’s airport—is well connected to Northern Europe. And, from Lisbon, you can connect to almost anywhere in the world…
  • It offers a low cost of living. The cost of living in Portugal is one of the cheapest in Europe… especially for Old Europe…

Over the coming days, with the help of our Portugal experts and expats, you’ll find out…

  • How to get the best deal on a rental or purchase…
  • Your best options for health insurance in this country…
  • How to open a bank account, for yourself or your business…
  • The top residency visa options… and how to obtain them…
  • Several itemized budgets for day-to-day living, for those with budgets big and small…
  • Terms for borrowing locally for the purchase of real estate…
  • Real-life tales of success from expats already living and doing business in this top emerging retirement and investment haven…

And so much more…

If Portugal is on your hotlist and you’re not yet signed up for this event, this is just about your last chance to get your name on the list…

Sign up here. (Remember to use your exclusive Coupon Code PORTUGAL50 to save an extra US$50 on your seat.)

Kat Kalashian
Editor, Live and Invest Overseas Confidential