Is Portugal the California of Europe?

7 April 2023
 Is Portugal the California of Europe?

What Makes Portugal the California of Europe?

The similarities between Portugal and California are astounding, right from the climate, beaches, and even nature. 

You will find plants and hills that are almost identical in both places. While California is relatively larger than Portugal as a country, there are so many similarities that they share. Let’s discuss.

Similar weather and geography

What attracts most ex-pats to Portugal is the fair weather all year round. This is one factor that Portugal and California have in common. 

While Portugal is in Europe and California in North America, these two destinations have a cool Mediterranean climate that is appealing to most people. 

The weather is relatively similar, but Portugal experiences more hours of sunshine per year than California, and also winter is less harsh. 

Similar to California, Portugal is home to beautiful mountains and other amazing scenery that is common in the Mediterranean climate. 

Similar Vibes

The cities in Portugal; Lisbon and Porto have a lot that will make them appear as California’s twin from Europe. 

First off, both Lisbon and Porto are home to a diverse population with a thriving urban culture and nightlife similar to California. 

The cosmopolitan cities of Portugal are different from other rural towns, Lisbon is bustling with life and has embraced the western lifestyle. 

Other than that, Portugal has an expansive beach that attracts surfers from all over the world. The beaches are not only for surfers; you will find families spending a good time down at the beaches. 

Southern California Turns into the Algarve Coast

One could easily assume that southern California and the Algarve in Portugal are cut from the same cloth. 

Right off the bat, the Algarve is also the southern part of Portugal and shares several similarities with southern California. 

One common thing that immediately sticks out is the beautiful and expansive coastlines that both destinations have. 

To be fair, Algarve has the best coastlines of the two, but this doesn’t take away the fact that southern California has some breathtaking coastline and beaches too.

 Again, both of these destinations are massive surfing spots with tides that attract the best wave riders from the world.  The warm lovely beaches, gentle sea breeze, and moderate climate altogether add to the destination’s allure. 

Lisbon Has its own Golden Gate Bridge

As if all the similarities were not enough, you should know that Lisbon has its own suspended red-painted bridge across the Tagus river that closely resembles the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Fact is, the two bridges are not the same however if you lean your head to the right and slightly squint your eyes they could look alike. By now you surely understand why Portugal is considered the California of Europe. 

Cost of Living in California vs Portugal

So far, Portugal and California seem to be similar in more ways than not. However, where a huge difference comes in is in the cost of living. 

One of the main motivations for most people to relocate to Portugal is the rather inexpensive lifestyle

For anyone who is used to American prices, you will find Portugal quite inexpensive. The surprising fact is that the relatively cheaper living in Portugal doesn’t translate to poor quality of life. 

According to statistics, Lisbon in Portugal is 28% cheaper than California in the USA with a cost of living index of 51.23 and 79.71 respectively. 

Expenditures like rent and groceries will cost up to 86.7% and 92% higher in California than in Lisbon.  

You should know that while the cost of living seems to be relatively cheaper in Portugal as compared to California, it all comes down to your individual lifestyle.  For example, cooking meals at home will save you money but you won’t experience the restaurant culture in Portugal. 

So in essence, you will need to find a fine balance in your life. One thing to keep in mind while in Portugal, communities, where many expats reside, tend to have a generally higher cost of living. 

Most expats from the USA or other European countries have better wages than the local Portuguese resident, therefore, the local markets always adapt to their purchasing power eventually. 

A good example is regions like the Algarve or Lisbon which attract expats. The cost of living is generally higher than in other rural towns.

Quality of Life in Portugal vs California

There is more to quality of life than simply good weather and amazing food. Factors like your safety, education, physical and mental well-being are often overlooked but are important. 

When it comes to a comparison between Portugal and California as far as quality of life is concerned, both places are good to live in. 

Both destinations have proper health care systems, education, leisure parks, and also good weather. 

However, Portugal is relatively better as far as safety is concerned. According to the 2021 Global Peace Index, Portugal has ranked the 4th safest country in the world.  In fact, in the previous years, Portugal has been the third safest country in the world according to the peace index. Which makes the quality of life in Portugal higher than many other European countries.

Remember, once people in any country feel safe, at ease, and with no debt, life becomes good and consequently, the quality of life also improves.

Portugal Is Not Better or Worse Than California, Its Just Different

In all fairness, there is no better country than the other. Every person considers where they come from as the best. 

There are so many perks of living in Portugal and the same can be said for California as well. The same goes for disadvantages too. 

Looking at the two destinations through the lenses of trying to figure out which country is better than the other is where we miss the mark. 

We must acknowledge that each country is different, this doesn’t mean bad. The culture, lifestyle, or even climatic differences are what bring uniqueness between countries. 

How to Move From California to Portugal

Over the years, Portugal has become an expat magnet from all over the globe. Immigrating to Portugal from the US is possible through tight channels. 

While EU residents might not need a Visa, all non-EU members including anyone from the US will be required to get a Visa

There are several types of Visas, for instance, study visas, tourist visas, a visa to work, or even one to relocate permanently. 

So if you are looking to permanently relocate to Portugal, you should check out the Golden Visa program that will eventually lead you to get permanent residency in Portugal. 

Remember, regardless of the type of visa you are applying for, there are documents that you must present; a passport, proof of accommodation, proof of subsistence, international medical insurance, criminal background certificate, and a SEF form.  

Are You Ready to Move to Portugal?

If you have reached this far, then it means you now understand how Portugal compares to California. 

We can all agree that Portugal is more similar to California than you had anticipated, right? 

If you are considering immigrating from California or any state in the US, then you have enough to make you feel at home while creating a new home in Portugal. 

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