Future retirement

My wife and I are considering retiring to Portugal in a few years.  I am a teacher and my wife is a public health nurse currently living in Nova Scotia.  We would hope to find someplace small and economical (perhaps two bedrooms if guests come).  We would hope to have some English-speaking contacts close by.  We would also like to be close to water.  It's hard to figure things out from a distance whether or not the Porto region is best, but we are looking for advice.

What are the thoughts regarding renting vs. buying?
What would be a good location as a base for traveling around Europe?

Maybe best weather is on the South coast - Algarve.  Plenty of property near or even on the beach.  Of course, consider the taxation issues if purchasing.  Nonetheless , it may be prudent to rent short term to allow you to make a more informed and rational long term decision.

Thank-you.  I'll look into it.

It's always best to visit for a while and get your own feel for the place. Also, it makes it so much easier to get together everything you need for your visa. We loved the Porto area but it's expensive. There are some coastal towns south of Porto that may be good options. Regarding English, the larger the city, the more likely English will be available. Many of the places you are interested have at least a few expats. In Coimbra, English is so widely spoken it makes it a problem to learn Portuguese as it is to easy to default to English. The weather, in Porto in winter is wetter than the Algarve. However, the Algarve in the summer is very hot and flooded with tourists. There are certainly places to go to get away from the tourists but the towns get really crowded and rowdy I hear. I have heard a lot of good reasons to buy vs. renting. Depending on your age mortgages can be cheaper than renting. However, for us, we were not ready to commit. Also, there are lots of unseen costs in buying especially taxes that people tend to forget to take into account. There may be some restrictions on mortgages if you are over 70. Not sure about that. Both Porto and Faro have airports so access to Europe is easy. When you are ready I would suggest getting in touch with a good expeditor who will walk you through the Visa process. The rules are always changing and without an expeditor, it is easy to make mistakes which will result in delays. A good expeditor will cost between 150 and 600 euros. Do not spend thousands. Those are the rip-offs you want to avoid. Some of the expeditors can do everything for you so you don't have to leave home but I recommend coming and spending time, meeting people and identifying resources.

Great information.  Thanks so much.

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