Americans moving to Lisbon?

Hi everyone.  My wife and I are looking to retire in Europe, via the Golden Visa Program, and we have narrowed it down to Lisbon, Valencia and Barcelona.    While we have been to, and love each place,  living in a place is very different from being there for 1-2 weeks on holiday.   Our favorite currently is probably Lisbon. 

My biggest question is that of language barrier.   We do not currently speak Portuguese, although we plan to learn.     English is always better spoken in more touristy locations, obviously, but what is it like to live here if you only speak English?    From our time there we were very impressed by how many people spoke very good English. 

I am curious as to others' experiences regarding English speaking and how easy it is to live in Lisbon if you ONLY speak English?


If I were you I'd choose Lisbon. And why? Because, unlike the Spanish, 80% of the Portuguese "manage" to understand and speak English/French,etc. "fluently". And they like to help out, so to speak. I'm bilingual (childhood/DC).
Regards (margaret)

Thank you for that reply.  That was the same thing I have observed from my travels to both countries, but it is nice to hear someone else agree with that!   I appreciate it!


You're welcome.
All the best,

Hi Jeff,

We traveled to Funchal last year and found that English is widely spoken.  We are traveling again this year and staying there for 3 months to see if we will be able to integrate into the community.  Have  you looked at Funchal instead of Lisbon?

We have been to Funchal and we really liked it.  But, we are more interested in living in a larger urban area at this time, so we are opting for Lisbon.   But, I could imagine living in Funchal in the future perhaps. 


Hi Jeff,

Are you planning on visiting Lisbon this year?  Would love to connect up with you to chat more.

Not again this year.  We were just there a couple months ago, and won't be returning until next spring I think.   We have a couple other trips planned to other places this year. If you are still in Lisbon next spring, we would love to get together and chat!


Where are you in the USA? We are currently in the US.

We live in Tampa.

We will be in Florida.....Orlando for two weeks from September 10th to 24th.  Would love to connect with you to talk more about Portugal.  Let me know if you and your wife will be interested in meeting? We are planning on driving to Tampa to meet another friend.

Wow. That timing is amazing in terms of "not great". Hahahah. We are headed to Spain this fall and our trip overlaps those dates.  We won't be gone that entire time, but I will be working a bunch right before and right after so I am not sure how much free time we will have. Once it gets closer I can let you know. I won't know my September work schedule for about 5-6 more weeks. I have a different work schedule every month so it is a bit hard to easily predict this far out.


OK. Let me know.

My husband and I will be visiting Lisbon at the end of May.  We live in Minnesota.  We want to retire and  move there.  Happy to meet anyone that went through the same experience.
Thank you,


My boyfriend lived in USA  for the past 25 years and doesnt speak portuguese and is completly in love with Lisbon.

He already bought a wonderful house in Lisboan , got the Golden Visa and comes here every 15 days.

He intends to buy another beach house near to Lisbo, cause the wheather is amasing

almost every  person in Portugal  speak english, and portuguese are very nice people .

any more question feel free to adress me



Thank you Cristina,

We are so excited to move to Lisboa.  We love it so much, and we love the people.   I love that Lisboans are very proud of their city and love to show it to foreigners.   We think your city is beautiful.  We hope to move there within ~2 years, and can't wait to explore every corner of Lisboa! 

I am sure I will have some questions as we get closer to our move, so thank you for offering your assistance!


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