From Dublin to Almada for the quality of living

  • expat in Portugal
Interview
Published 2 weeks ago

Coming from Toulouse, Marine is a young wanderer at heart and lifestyle blogger. Following her stay in Dublin, she flies to Southeast Asia for a four months vacation with her husband. As an entrepreneur couple, their quest for new opportunities and a better quality of life lead them to Portugal. She talks to Expat.com about her expat experience and entrepreneurship in Portugal.

Hi Marine, can you please introduce yourself?

I just turned 27, and I love traveling. I have a lifestyle blog where I talk about my passions. My husband and I became expats three years ago when we decided to move from Toulouse to Dublin. We took up a professional challenge for two years. However, the quality of life in Dublin wasn't that great, so we decided to look for somewhere in the sun! Following our honeymoon trip in Southeast Asia, we finally moved to Lisbon.

What has motivated you to look for new opportunities in Portugal?

We had been considering Portugal for a while even though we had never been there before. Portugal is a booming country, especially with prestigious events like the Web Summit. The business climate is excellent.

For how long have you been in Portugal?

It's been four months as we arrived on May 1st, 2018.

What brought you to Almada?

We prefered Almada to Lisbon for its serenity. Here we are, halfway between the bustling capital city and beautiful beaches. This is exactly what we had been looking for.

 vivre au Portugal

What are the formalities to move to Portugal?

The first thing to do is to obtain your Número de Identificação Fiscal (NIF), also known as Número de Contribuinte – which is your tax number. We then applied for permanent residency. The fact that Portugal is part of the European Union makes things so much easier.

Tell us what you like the most and the least about Portugal.

The weather, the warm and friendly locals, the taste of oranges and the smell of BBQs in the streets. What I like the least is the traffic congestion on the way to Lisbon on April 25.

How would you describe Almada in a few words?

Almada is an authentic city where we are in complete immersion in the Portuguese culture.

What has surprised you the most about Portugal?

The fact that so many people speak English and French. This was really helpful.

Is it difficult to find accommodation in Almada? Which are the types of accommodation available for expats?

On our arrival, we visited eight housing units in total, but not only in Almada as we had not decided yet where we would rather be. What surprised me the most was the amount of money required to book accommodation. The owner requested for four months advance rent. One owner even demanded eight months advance rent! Also, in spite of our good income, we needed guarantors.

paysage du Portugal

How is the startup scene in Portugal? How easy or difficult is it to start a business in Portugal?

We were lucky enough to keep our customers since we work online. We didn't have to set up a new business in Portugal. However, we are currently considering to transfer to Portugal our company which is still registered in Ireland.

Which are the most popular festivals and social codes in Almada?

I don't know all of them, but there were a bunch of popular festivals like Santo Antonio since we arrived here.

What do you think about the lifestyle in Almada?

I really like it here. On the one hand, it's calm and, on the other, we had all the necessary infrastructure and comfort.

How do you get around in Almada?

To travel to Lisbon, you can choose from the bus, tram and boat. For my part, I prefer getting around on foot.

Have you adapted to your new way of life and the society in Portugal?

I would say that adapting to a new country depends on your openmindedness and your personality. The lifestyle in Portugal is closer to that in France than Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon countries.

plage au Portugal

How is everyday life for you in Portugal?

I've learned to get the most of life since I'm here. It's so quiet and peaceful. Since we work from home, it saves us time as we don't have to travel in the morning.

What do you do in your free time?

I explore the country, write on my blog and do yoga.

How's the nightlife in Almada?

I haven't tested yet, but the choice seems limited compared to Lisbon.

What new habits have you adopted in Portugal? What old habits have you quit?

I now have a healthier lifestyle, especially regarding food. I buy my fruits and vegetables in bulk, which helps me reduce waste. Also, I'm back to sports.

What do you think about the cost of living for expats in Almada?

Compared to Dublin, the cost of living is lower, but not as much as some people pretend. Count around 1 euro for some bread and 2.50 euros for a boat ticket to Lisbon. A beer costs an average of 3 to 4 euros.

vivre a Almada

Is there one thing you would like to do in Portugal, but haven't had the opportunity to do yet?

I really want to try surfing!

Share your most memorable experience in Portugal.

Our first outing in Lisbon was exceptional. We had been here for ten days only. Following an event, we had dinner in a restaurant close by with some French people. That was the day I had the best tapas in my whole life!

What do you think of the local cuisine? What are your favourite dishes?

It's excellent and rich in olive oil. My favourite local dishes are the pastels de nata and the bacalhau.

What do you miss the most about your home country and other countries you have lived in?

The French baguette! Honestly, I'm satisfied with the quality of bread here compared to other countries I've lived in.

cuisine portugaise

Have you had a moment that you almost felt like leaving Portugal?

Not yet since I'm still new to the country.

Give us some useful tips that soon-to-expatriates in Portugal will benefit from.

Do your research first. Consider testing the waters before moving (even though we didn't). Our savings allowed us to settle and furnish our accommodation and pay the advance rent.

If you had to advise an expat on five items to bring with them in Portugal, which would that be?

Your swimsuit (even though the water is cold), sunscreen, good shoes to walk around, a good camera and a pinch of humour.

What are your plans for the future?

We are looking to expand our professional network and business here. Whenever possible, we would also like to buy property here.

What is one thing that you will take with you from Portugal?

The climate.

What if you had to move to Portugal all over again?

There's nothing I would change.