25 Top Bad Things About Living in Portugal

Portugal is an amazing country with many wonderful places, but it isn’t paradise. Read about the 25 bad things about living in Portugal, and see if you can relate.

If you are thinking of moving to Portugal or already living there, this article will help you understand what it’s like to live there, the good and the bad things.

If you don’t know anything about Portugal yet, you will get an insight into what it’s really like living there.

The List of Bad Things About Living in Portugal

1. They don’t speak English

The first thing that immediately comes to mind when you think of the word Portugal, is the language. Portuguese speakers are not fluent in English and it can be really difficult to live there if you don’t speak any other languages.

It’s not uncommon for people to grow up without ever hearing a word of English throughout their childhood, so this is something that takes some getting used to.

2. They don’t serve tapas

Portugal has just about everything you could want. The food is amazing, the people are friendly and welcoming, the beaches are beautiful, and it’s not as expensive as in other European countries.

But there are a few downsides to Portugal that you should know before moving here. For example, they don’t serve tapas. Tapas have become a staple of Spanish culture and one of my favorite ways to eat.

3. Winter is cold and long

Portugal is one of the warmest countries in Europe, but winters can still be quite cold. It’s not uncommon to see snow on the ground from November through March.

The weather doesn’t provide many opportunities for outdoor activities, but there are indoor pursuits like skiing and ice skating that are popular during this time of year.

4. Cost of living is high

The cost of living is high, food is expensive and sometimes you might not even be able to find your favorite brands. Portuguese people are always complaining about something and it’s hard to find a good balance between work and life.

It’s difficult to learn the language because it has so many different dialects which are hard to understand unless you speak Portuguese as well. The

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There aren’t many nature reserves or parks here so if you’re looking for peace and quiet then this isn’t the place for you. You’ll have trouble finding natural fruit juices as well because they often contain added sugar.

5. Health Care System leaves much to be desired

The Portuguese healthcare system is a cause for concern. The country ranks 55th out of 191 countries for its overall healthcare system, according to the World Health Organization.

While the country does have one of the lowest rates of infant mortality and life expectancy at birth, there are still glaring shortcomings.

6. Roads are dangerous

Many of the roads are narrow and can be difficult to navigate. Speeding is very common, and the number of pedestrians on the road increases the risk of accidents.

The speed limit is usually 70 kilometers per hour (43 mph), but drivers often exceed this limit. It’s not uncommon for cars to drive with their headlights off at night or tailgate other vehicles. In 2014, 877 people were killed in traffic-related accidents.

7. Taxis are unreliable

Taxis are unreliable and more expensive than in most other European countries. If you’re looking for a taxi, good luck. Most of the time you’ll be waiting at least 20 minutes for a cab to come by, if not more.

And, even then, it might not be the type of taxi that can take you where you need to go. You’ll often find yourself asking someone on the street for help or flagging down an Uber driver who’s just passing through town.

8. Trying to find an apartment is a nightmare

One of the most frustrating parts of moving to a new country is finding an affordable place to live. In Portugal, it seems like no matter how much you look, there’s always something wrong with the apartment.

9. Paperwork, Bureaucracy, & InefficiencyInefficiency

One of the most frustrating aspects of day-to-day life is the amount of time and paperwork you have to spend on getting things done. If you want to buy a car, for example, it’ll take at least three weeks just to get your car’s insurance sorted out.

And then there are all the other steps involved go to the police station, go to the insurance company, go back to the police station, and so on.

10. Housing issues

Housing is one of the main issues when it comes to living in Portugal. It can be difficult to find a place and even if you do, you often have to pay a hefty deposit upfront.

You may also need a guarantor which can make it difficult for some people looking for somewhere to live.

11. Winter

Portugal is a great place to live, but it’s not perfect. Here are the 25 worst things about living there: The buildings are too close together, so you can’t see the stars.

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The tap water has sulfur in it and smells really bad. Sometimes it reminds me of eggs. You can’t get corn-on-the-cob or any other fresh produce when they’re in season because they have weird seasons and don’t grow much food here.

12. Housing issues

Portugal is one of the most expensive countries in Europe to buy property. House prices are steep, and mortgages are difficult to come by.

The government has introduced some incentives for first-time home buyers, but it’s not enough to make a real difference.

Families with kids can’t afford to live close to their schools, so they have to get up an hour earlier or later than they want.

There are often two wage earners just so one can work from home – because apartments in Lisbon don’t come cheap either.

13. Integration

It can be difficult to find a satisfying job. The minimum wage is low, and the unemployment rate is high.

Portuguese people speak a different language than most other Europeans, which can make it difficult to integrate into the culture of their country.

The cost of living is relatively high. It can be hard to learn how to navigate the public transportation system due to a lack of English translations. Public transit is often crowded and delays are common.

In many cities outside Lisbon, the subway stops running after 11 pm on weekdays.

Portugal has recently switched over to driving on the right side of the road instead of the left side, which can make driving feel unnatural if you’re not used to it already.

You will have less access to medical care because healthcare systems are not as developed as they are in other countries like France or Germany.

14.  Portugal has one of the highest rates of unemployment in Europe at 12.5%

The Portuguese language can be very difficult to learn, especially if you don’t start early enough

Compared to other European countries, there isn’t much diversity when it comes to food and culture, and English speakers might find it difficult to get by on their own because most people don’t speak English very well or at all unless they’re from England or Ireland.

15. Some Things are Expensive

There are plenty of positives to moving to Portugal, but there are also some negatives. One thing that is always a challenge is the cost of living.

When you move to Portugal, you need to be prepared for costs that are much higher than what you may be accustomed to.

For example, if you’re used to eating out three times per week, your new budget will probably look something like two or three times per month and that’s just for lunch!

16. Taxes

Portuguese income tax is one of the highest in Europe. The standard rate is 28% and rises to 48% when personal allowances are exceeded. A high-earning individual could end up paying as much as 75% of their income to the Portuguese government.

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In addition, there is a non-resident income tax rate of 25%. This applies to anyone who has resided outside Portugal for at least 183 days over 12 consecutive months.

17. Workplace Culture

Portugal has a work culture that is very informal and relaxed. They have a long history of taking extended time off for holidays, which makes it hard to maintain a high level of productivity.

However, they are also very friendly and welcoming people who make an effort to communicate with non-native speakers.

18. Noise

Portugal is a beautiful country. The culture, the people, and the food are all fantastic. However, there are some downsides to living here as well. First of all, it’s very expensive to live here.

You can remember how many times you’ve heard friends or coworkers say they had to move back home because they couldn’t afford to live in Lisbon anymore.

Second of all, their work hours are really long and often don’t allow for much time off between shifts.

19. Dog Poop

There is dog poop everywhere. Seriously, if one stepped on it in the morning. It’s not just because of the many dogs roaming around but also because of the many people who don’t pick it up when their dog leaves it behind.

The smell is so bad that you can smell it from your apartment building and sometimes even at work.

20. Corruption

Portugal ranks 66th on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, so corruption is a problem. The country has been ranked as the most corrupt member of the EU.

When it comes to bribes, Portugal is ranked the 17th worst out of 24 countries in Europe. Anyone can be affected by corruption, but it disproportionately affects lower-income people and women.

21. The Slow Pace of Life

Portugal is a beautiful country to live in, but the pace of life can be really slow.

If you want to get anything done then you’ll have to be proactive and find ways to make things happen yourself.

This can be frustrating at times, but ultimately it’s worth it for the lifestyle that comes with it.

22. Customer Service

It’s hard to find good customer service because there are few people who speak English, but more importantly, Portuguese.

Portuguese is a difficult language to learn and it has a very different alphabet than the English alphabet.

23  Job Opportunities

Portugal is a beautiful country with rich culture and history.

The people are friendly, the food is fantastic, and the weather is mostly mild. However, there are some downsides to living in Portugal.


There are few job opportunities for foreigners, it’s difficult to buy property as prices are high, and the language can be difficult to master due to Portuguese spelling rules. Having seen the Bad Things About Living in Portugal, Check Out 20 Bad Things About Living in Charlotte NC and The 6 Best Schools to Study Data Science and Get a Top Job After Graduating.

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