Benavente: How is this town and its rural areas?

What kind of town is this and its rural area...is it good to live with 2young kids? How does it compare to rural areas of northern towns like Leiria and Coimbra? I love both coimbra and leiria and surrounding rural areas but can't find much on benavente. I like that this town is not far from Lisbon but don't know anything about it.

How are the infrastructure, people etc compared to the northern counterparts.

Hi Navaras,

are you sure you want to consider rural areas with 2 young kids?  I can offer a first-hand account on living in a rural small town not far from Benavente, which is in the Santarém district as you know and this is an farming area.

As you would expect in a low-density setting, public transport is virtually non-existent, though you'll see an empty 40-seat bus speed down the road a couple of times a day. 

There is normally only one doctor to assist the community which means that there are long waiting lists and most likely you'd better master Portuguese if you want to survive and explain your needs to the nurse taking appointments (or to socialize with your neighbour).

Do you expect that scattered, self-absorbed English-speaking communities will be there to help you?  Think again: some expats are too snobbish to greet you, while others are too busy enjoying the cheap wine and spirits to mind you.  Mostly are retired and came to rural areas to avoid driving and either spend as little as they can in local grocery shops or shop at Tesco once a month (the wealthiest).  Neither  speak Portuguese (apart from the ubiquitous "bom dia / obrigado" and little else) nor wish to become part of the communities they live in.

If you need technical assistance or professional help in rural areas budget for twice the average time and twice the expected amount: as you’ll need to have the job redone, and of course you’ll pay 23% more if you ask for an invoice.  But look at the upside: you’ll learn what patience is (it's your time they are waisting) and why the locals smile at you, after all you'll turn into a good source of income.  Soon you’ll understand why some north Americans sum up the experience of living in rural areas as “one step forward and two backwards”.  In any case, you'll have given your contribution to Portugal GDP and its progress while offering on-the-job training to undefined technicians (who charged you twice for the same tardy job).

This is a country that went from a rural economy in the 80's to an economy based on call centres, restaurants and real estate speculation.  Apart from some private companies in the north, the main employer is the state.  Most state services are centralized which adds to the complexity and impenetrable bureaucracy of the system.  I won't mention nepotism nor favouritism.  I'm already off-topic.

Environmental consciousness is slowly, very slowly making progress and only among the young. 
Unkempt rural areas need a massive clean-up: builders' rubbles in the greenery along with some ruins littering the scenery are the norm as are deadly wildfires.  It's been like this for decades and tradition-bound locals don't see why they should change anything.

Of course the air is clean and the place is quiet (and boring after a while) but so it is in northern Québec.

I'd wait a decade before considering moving to rural areas in Portugal.  You know, I’m an optimist.
I'm moving to Porto.

Hi there, good morning.
I am Dutch and lived many years (about 10) in benavente. My parents live there together with some other family. I live in Samora Correia wich is about 6 km from benavente. Personally i prefer Samora Correia but ok, that depends on what you like. I work in Lisbon while my wife is a teacher in benavente.
Benavente is quit calm. it´s peachfull place and absolutely recomended, just like Samora Correia.
Samora is closer to Lisbon and it´s easy to get to some nice shopping areas like alcochete or Montijo.
If you´re Dutch i must say it would be nice to get to know some Dutch people near me besides my parents. I have two sone, 11 and 13 YO. My 13 YO son goes to school in Samora Correia and usually goes by hisself. May time he has lunch at his grandma´s house who lives 5 min. walk from school.
My 11 YO son goes on school in benavente and it´s my wife who brings him.
All iin all both places are very very nice although i prefer Samora Correia which is just 30 min from Lisbon in case you need to go there.
If you would like some more information, please send me a mail to fft35[at]hotmail.com. I´ll be happy to help you with some further information.
Best regards,
Fred

Good morning.
After i read your article about benavente i can only conclude you don´t know this area at all. Not all you write is as you said and believe me, I came from amsterdam 32 years ago.
My wife´s from Lisbon and after she moved to Samora Correia, which is about 6km from Benavente, she wouldn´t go back for anything in the world. It´s all very nice and there´s nothing in short.
Naturally i respect your personal opinio because living in the country side isn´t for everyone. Many people just need to noise and city rush whereas i rather live in the peacefull villages in the middle of the country. Neverhteless everything is at hand. Transport (i go every morning by bus to Lisbon), healthcare, hospital (10 min ride and attendance for kids for free), great playgrounds (at my street there´s a football playgroud with grids arround and an infant playground as well), shoping areas like freeport or the mall in Montijo are close as well.
Bothe benavente and Samora Correia are quit peacefull with extreme low criminailty. In fact i can´t rememeber last event at that level occured. It´s true that benavente gets more dull after a year so Samora Correia is nicer. It´s also less traditional than Benavente.
All in all it´s great to live here but ofcourse it all depends on your personal taste. I came from amsterdam and moved out because i don´t like big cities. I rather live in a big town (althoug samora Correia is quit bigger than benavente) in the countryside.
Best regards,
Fred

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