From the moment I set foot in Portugal, I knew this country was special. Fortunately, I had the chance not only to visit it as a tourist but to also live there for a while. I fall in love from the first day there and I still carry Portugal in my heart. I keep many warm memories of my experience and sometimes I look back to this time with nostalgia. In this article, I have complied a short list ( that easily could have been longer) of reasons why Portugal is the best country in Europe.
5.Settling and security
Portugal is generally easy to settle down. Although not as organized as the Scandinavian’, Portuguese administration is “used to deal” with foreigners. You can easily register for many services and often information could be found in English.
In addition to that, Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world. In 2019 it scored 1.274 on the Global Peace Index rankings, taking third place juts after Iceland and New Zealand. Recent data shows that crime continues dropping in the past years. Not counting pick-pocketing at the famous tourists spots, Portugal is quite safe place to leave in.
4.Nature and Architecture
Portugal is not the biggest country in Europe. However, it offers a great verity of natural landmarks and architectural sites. Amazing beaches, natural parks, gorgeous castles are just a few examples. With 15 UNESCO Heritage Sites and great climate, Portugal is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. On top of that, the country is well connected through trains and buses (and sometimes boats) so you can easily travel from city to city. Lisbon, Porto, Sintra, Algarve, Faro are just a few of the amazing places you can visit. In fact, even the small towns and villages can turn out really charming with colorful architecture and exotic sites.
3.People & Culture
Something that makes Portugal particularly welcoming is its people. Portuguese people are warm, helpful, and very often speak English (at least a little) which makes communication easier. Plus, due to the county’s colonial past and maybe because of its geographical position, there are lot of expats and internationals now living there. You would meet all sorts of people coming from far and away. And in most of the cities you can find exotic restaurants, interesting coffee shops, and cultural clubs.
All this makes Portugal very diverse, tolerant country where everyone can find their place.
Portuguese people know how to cook, don’t they! Portuguese cuisine has taken the best from the French and Mediterranean. It includes fresh vegetables and fruit , good quality meat, and most importantly a lot of seafood (all sorts of fish, crabs, lobsters and shrimps, octopus, scallops, clams, etc). The most famous ingredient is the bacalhau (cod fish), which Portuguese people can cook in 365 different ways – one for each day of the year. Bacalhau à Bras – one of the most traditional dishes – is also one of my favorite meals.
And, once you have enjoyed your dish, there comes the dessert! Portuguese sweets are not short of sugar, pastry and cream – all that’s worth living!
Last, but not the least, Portuguese wine! Portugal produces a large variety of different wines (from grape varietals) and is among the top wine exporting countries in the world. Nothing makes a meal better, or your day, than a glass of good Portuguese wine!
Portugal has a vibe, it awakens special feelings.
This county is splendor, ugliness, modernity, decadence – all together make you feel enchanted and overwhelmed at the same time. Noises, smells, colors fill the streets of every city. And, sometime catching distant music around the corner brings sensations from past lives.
This country is home for many, a crossroad for others. A sanctuary. An inspiration. An everlasting love story.
Living in Portugal will leave you scarred, deeply and for a lifetime.