Fall in love with the simple things in life

Portugal is an attractive country for virtually everyone. From students, retirees, families, to couples or singles, anyone can start a new life in this friendly, southern part of Europe.

And what are the biggest benefits of living here? There are so many, but let’s start with the weather. The Mediterranean climate is one of the main reasons why citizens from northern Europe choose to move to Portugal. When compared to the rainy UK weather, for example, Portugal offers sunshine almost all year round. If you love a temperate climate, you are going to enjoy hot summers, warm springs and not-so-cold winters in Portugal.

Another huge benefit is learning to enjoy the slow-paced life.

Probably because of the climate, people do like to take it slowly. In Portugal, there is no such thing as a “quick lunch”. You don’t plan one thousand things in a day or rush in traffic to go from point A to B. Such a life is too much hassle and tires you out!

The way to go is to enjoy a Mediterranean-style lunch, slowly savouring different courses, eating freshly caught fish, locally produced vegetables, and washing it all down with some good wine. Depending on your schedule for the day, maybe a well-deserved “sesta” (“siesta” is in Spanish!) would do no harm!

Living in Portugal is an invitation to learn to relax again, just like when you were younger and carefree. You learn to create breathing space around you.

A lot of people from northern Europe grow used to experiencing tension and stress on a daily basis, so much so that they don’t even remember how it feels to be stress-free, relaxed, to breathe and to take it slowly. The slower-paced culture of Portugal helps you to feel all this again.

Trust me, living in Portugal can have this effect on you!

The simple things in life
Other benefits of living in Portugal are having access to the simple things in life and, as they say, these are the best and are cheap! I’m talking about things like a trip to the seaside, a hike in the countryside, a swim in the ocean, a nice glass of wine or a cold beer on a hot day. These are simple, cheap and probably some of the reasons why people fall in love with life again.

Another huge factor to happiness in Portugal is the outdoors. There is still so much countryside and nature all around, and an abundance of clean, natural water and fresh air. You will find many places where you can experience real silence – no traffic, no neighbours, only the soothing sounds of nature. At night, with no light pollution, you can actually look up and see a dark, clear sky, dotted with sparkling stars or a stunning full moon.

As Portugal is still not a consumer culture, it will help you to escape the self-made rat race you may be finding yourself in. People here take life as it is and focus on enjoying the good, simple things, which could be harvesting their oranges and grapes, planting new trees, making jam, going to the beach or having long lunches with family and friends.

Living a simple and satisfied life is deeply calming and probably one of the key factors that make Portugal such a joyful place to be.

By Ria van Doorn
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Ria van Doorn is a life coach and founder of The Expat Centre Portugal. She aims to help international people in the Algarve build connections and friendships through social meetups and events.

Monte Clérigo
Praia do Paraíso