Lisbon, Portugal Report of what it's like to live there

Personal Experiences from Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal 09/30/16

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No. I have lived in many cities around the world.

View All Answers


2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Home country is U.S.A. Direct flight connections are good to Newark, Boston, Philadelphia. Additionally you can fly via the Azores to Boston. Best flight connections are to Europe, particularly Spain, as well as to Brazil.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

Three years. 2012-2015

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic mission.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Apartment within the city. Many expats live out near the seaside in Cascais, which is beautiful, houses are on offer, but the commute is usually about an hour. My apartment within the city was walking distance to the diplomatic mission, near the metro, near a train station and also 5 minutes to the airport.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Cheaper and better. With the growing cosmopolitan nature of Lisbon, you can also find ethnic markets with just about every kind of groceries in the city. Organic food and cleaning products are also readily available.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

None.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

So many options. I never called for takeout, as there are plenty of neighborhood cafes and restaurants. From Portuguese food to food from all European countries, to great Indian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, and even a classic authentic Mexican taco bar, Lisbon is a culinary delight. You can also dine at exquisite restaurants for a bargain, so much so that high end tourists come to Lisbon just to dine at some of the Michelin star restaurants.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Not really.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

The Portuguese postal system is good, and post offices are conveniently located around the city.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Cheaper than U.S. and other European countries, I paid for a couple hours a week at about 6 euros/hour.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Readily available all over. Price depends on amenities.

View All Answers


4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Yes they are. ATMs are everywhere, as Portuguese use them to pay bills, buy tickets to shows, transfer money to each other and so many more options -- very convenient, especially if you have a local bank account.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

While nowadays the English level of Portuguese is almost as good as that of Scandinavians, knowing Portuguese helps a great deal to make local friends, get around and engage with the locals. Almost all Portuguese understand Spanish, and a lot understand French as well.

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

It's an old city, with a lot of hills -- might be more difficult than others, but public transport and metro have mechanisms to accommodate.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Absolutely. Public transport in Lisbon is superb, with an integrated network connecting the airport, metro system, train stations, trams, bus stations, local bus network, the ferries and commuter rails. Taxis are plentiful and affordable, especially to and from airport. One of the gems, though, are the classic streetcars which are emblematic of old Lisbon. If you are going to be in Lisbon for several years, it's worth getting a transport card, so you can also ride some of the 'elevadores' for free.

View All Answers


2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

I wouldn't know, as I did not bring a car, and was glad I didn't. It kept me from going on some pretty drives outside of Lisbon, but saved me a lot of headaches.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, there are several operators, mostly operating bundled services (phone+cable+wireless).

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

I had two sim cards. One for domestic and intra-European calls, and another (lycamobile) to call my family and friends in other parts of the world, given better rates.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

While this is becoming a global city and there are many jobs on offer, competition is fierce given the low cost of living compared to other European cities and the high unemployment rate. For many local jobs, having Portuguese helps a great deal.

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

There are of course volunteer options available.

View All Answers


3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

For work, Portuguese are quite well-dressed. And on some occasions, Portuguese can be very formal. Bring the full range of dress, from casual to formal.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Compared to the U.S., crime is low, especially violent crime. With the growing numbers of tourists, though, there is a lot of petty crime, especially in tourist areas and nightlife areas after midnight (this city runs until way past midnight, with whole districts of the city thriving until 3-4 AM), so be careful with your wallet and jewelry at night.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Relatively good. Most care available here. Private hospitals are the best.

View All Answers


3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Relatively good, given closeness to the sea. At times, can deteriorate, but expect mostly Mediterranean skies!

View All Answers


4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

View All Answers


5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

Not really. Even during winter, you will get plenty of beautiful, sunny days.

View All Answers


6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Very pleasant. In the summer, dry and warm, in the winter mild. For those from the U.S it is approximate to maybe Santa Barbara.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are several, depending on your origin and choice of language medium. From French, to German, to English and others. For those interested in English medium, at my time in Lisbon, there were three -- one just outside of Lisbon and two in the more expat-heavy Cascais.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

View All Answers


3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Large, very large. Excellent morale. Some expats are long, long, long term

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

As you would in any exciting city -- there is so much to do and see in Lisbon.

View All Answers


3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

It's good for everybody. But carefully pick where you live, as it can really affect your experience. You don't want to be a single person stuck way out in the suburbs!

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes! Definitely. The Portuguese by nature are very accommodating and tolerant, add on to that the change in mindset since they joined the EU and a very active LGBT movement and you have one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in Europe.

View All Answers


5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not really. While Portuguese society is still pretty patriarchal, it has changed and continues to change with each generation very fast. The Portuguese racially are very mixed and proud of their multi-ethnic heritage. There is a lot more acceptance of immigrants here, a lot less racism and more religious tolerance than most cities in Europe. The Muslim and Jewish communities here feel safe, and while there are some problems with disenfranchisement of certain populations (particularly Roma and poorer immigrants from Africa), successive governments have done a lot to try and integrate immigrants and create a more globally-minded Portuguese society and it shows. Lisbon today is so much more cosmopolitan than it was 30 years ago.

View All Answers


6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Wandering around Lisbon, finding new neighborhood cafes and restaurants, long dinners with Portuguese friends, walking through centuries of history, the magic of Lisbon's sidewalks, street artists, traveling around this beautiful country, especially to the islands of Madeira and the Azores.

View All Answers


7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

So much. Porto is another great city. Hidden gems -- Evora, Sintra, Angra do Heroismo.

View All Answers


8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Good shopping as prices are lower here, especially for footwear.

View All Answers


9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Vibrant, global, connected, full of culture, warm and affordable.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

About the Festas de Santo Antonio!

View All Answers


2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

I would and I would move back again and again and again.

View All Answers


3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Heavy winter clothing.

View All Answers


4. But don't forget your:

Camera -- Lisbon abounds with fantastic views.

View All Answers


Lisbon, Portugal 08/12/15

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Not the first. 4 tours in Africa, 2 in South America, 1 in Asia, 2 in Europe.

View All Answers


2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Lisbon, Direct fligts to U.S., but not to D.C. about 8 hours.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

2 years, one to go.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Spouse of U.S. Government Employee

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Most families live out of Lisbon in houses, some have pools. Singles and couples tend to live in the city. But that is also changing and some families are choosing to live in the city, many apartments have pools. The kids do have a longer commute to school if they go to the American School.
Apartments are nice, parking spots can be very small. Some kitchens are small, with small ovens. Not lots of storage. But walking to work is nice and you are close to restaurants, shopping, metro. If you live in Lisbon you can survive without a car.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

If you go to the local markets it is cheap. Buy your meats at the local butcher. Much better quality than in D.C.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Surfboard.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

About the same cost as in the states, maybe cheaper. All the regulars are here.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Maybe a fly or two.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO/APO

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

For one day, to do everything including laundry will run you about US$80.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Embassy has a gym.

View All Answers


4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

We use our cards everywhere.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

A little will help, many people now speak English.

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Would be very difficult to get around if you have disabilities.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

I take taxis at lease once a week. Safe and cheap. Public transportation is also good, if you are going to use it all the time buy a monthly pass.

View All Answers


2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Bring a smaller car if you want to get out to the small villages. A SUV will not make the turns.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, but not sure of the cost.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

I pay monthly for my phone. About 25 Euros and I never run out of time for calls and internet.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No quarantine. Need to be chipped.

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Not really. Maybe teaching. Some jobs at the Embassy.

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

At the school, girl and boy scouts, Diplomatic Bazaar.

View All Answers


3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

A little less formal than D.C. at work. Outside of work, very casual.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Maybe for late at night, if you like to go out late, be sure to be careful and go with friends.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

I use local doctors, they all speak English. Prescriptions are cheaper here than from our company in the States.

View All Answers


3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Not a lot of factories to mess up the air. In the summer it can get a little rough with static air. But usually just a few days. If you have allergies from trees and plants you might have some problems.

View All Answers


4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Lots of allergies from trees.

View All Answers


5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Wonderful.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Most kids go to the American School, but there are many schools to pick from.

View All Answers


2. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

The Embassy has a daycare.

View All Answers


3. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes, but you do have to pay for these.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Medium and morale is good. This is Lisbon, what else can I say.

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Swim, go to the beach, hiking, bike riding, parties at home and out. Lots to do.

View All Answers


3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Great place for everyone.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes. A very tolerate city.

View All Answers


5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Have not seen this.

View All Answers


6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Weekend car trips to other parts of Portugal, driving to Spain. Lots of art and music festivals, food festivals. Going to the Algarve in the winter, beaches are empty. Cruising in the wine areas, trips to Porto.

View All Answers


7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Drive to the smaller towns when they have festivals. The highways here are great, even the pit-stops are clean.

View All Answers


8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Tiles, pottery, cork products, cheese, wine, port.

View All Answers


9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Low cost of living, lots of weekend or longer road trips, public transportation cheap and plentiful. Usually great weather, but can get rainy for long periods of time. Summer (August) can get in the high 90's, but the rest of the time beautiful weather. Lots of outdoor activities such as surfing, bike riding, running and walking trails, swimming. Museums for everything including bread and cheese. Lots of cheap good wine, good food.

View All Answers


10. Can you save money?

Yes.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

Lots of hills, bring a couple pairs of good walking shoes.

View All Answers


2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes, and hope to come back someday.

View All Answers


3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Family and friends, trust me they are going to come visit you!
And leave your high heels at home.

View All Answers


4. But don't forget your:

Umbrella and flat shoes.

View All Answers


Lisbon, Portugal 07/22/15

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Nope. Been to Cambodia, Rio De Janeiro, Asuncion, and Baghdad before.

View All Answers


2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Fairfax, Virginia. End to end, it takes about 13 hours or so. Currently, you can connect through Philly or London depending if you land/take off from National or Dulles, respectively.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

Two years.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

State Department.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing in the embassy pool is not the best I've experienced but definitely suitable. For families of 4 or less, you'll get decent housing whether in Lisbon or in the suburbs. Larger families may be a little tight for space. Housing in the suburbs you'll most likely get a pool and a commute time of about 45 minutes with a per trip toll of US$2 for small cars and about US$3.5 for larger cars. However, for some suburban areas (Parede) you will not have to worry about tolls and commute is about 25 minutes. In Lisbon, you'll get an apartment maybe with a building pool, door man, and separate storage for stuff. Some apartments are close enough to walk to work in 20 minutes or so, but most you'll need to drive in, unless you can walk for 45cminutes.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

I think groceries such as meats/fruits/vegetables are not more expensive than the states. Chicken and lunch meat definitely cheaper. I love prosciutto and it is abundant here and about half the price. Electronics, beauty care tend to be more expensive.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Certain hair products and tooth paste are not available, and you cannot ship those in DPO.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

The food is good here. Local food is cheaper or can be cheaper. For my family of 5, we spend about 60 Euros per local dinner. There's also the all you can eat meat buffets, which is about US$15 per person. KFC, Burger King, McDonalds, Dominos, Subway, and Starbucks all here. Sorry no White Castle, or IHOP (they don't do breakfast here like the States).

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

None really. We have ants in our apartments but not to the extent that I'd call it a problem.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO and Pouch. More and more US based merchants do ship direct to Portugal.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

I think they are too expensive, but we know a few who have them part time. Average rate about $14/hour

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Available here but more expensive than the states. The Embassy has a good one.

View All Answers


4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

You can use them all here. We do have a local bank account though. It makes it easier because only about 70% of places take Visa, but 98% take the local ATM cards.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

There are a few available in Lisbon, and a little more in the suburbs. Best to check the internet.

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Not much to survive. 90% of people in Lisbon speak enough English to help you out.

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

I would say yes, but not on par with the USA. Many places do have ramps and lifts, but not all places.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Yes. All very available and affordable. I love the fact that the taxi drivers do not try to cheat you.

View All Answers


2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Small gas friendly cars are best. We do get the VAT back from the taxes, but still it costs about US$4 a gallon, versus US$6 a gallon. If your car does not have a scratch or dig on it now, it will before you depart.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes. We have cable and internet package with 100mb DL speed, a telephone, and many English channels for about $65 a month.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Buy an unlocked phone from the States. Phones themselves are far more expensive than in the States. Service including data, are pretty cheap.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

I don't think so. Not sure. This is a very pet friendly society. Pets themselves seem very well mannered. Watch where your step, because pick up after your pet is not widely practiced.

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

If you speak portuguese and english and can get a work permit, then yes. Otherwise, the Embassy can help with Jobs at the American schools. 90% of EFMs get jobs if they want one. May not be their perfect job, but you'll get work if you want it.

View All Answers


2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

If you speak Portuguese, very easy. The American/British schools have some opportunities I am sure.

View All Answers


3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

All over the place from suits to jeans.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Nope. Just your ordinary every day life security concerns. I feel safe enough to allow my 8 year-old kid to go to the store a few blocks away by himself.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care is good here. Can be pricey but adequate.

View All Answers


3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Great. Nice breeze from the beaches. Very rarely will it get noticeably muggy.

View All Answers


4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

They don't deal with food allergies well but if you ask they will usually tell you if it has nuts, otherwise, there's no caution. Seasonal allergies are not an issue here because of the constant breeze.

View All Answers


5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Very mild. Summers are the best with 95% chance of clear blue skies with temps in the mid 80s. Winters can be rainy but temps don't usually go below 55F.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Most kids go to CAISL. There's also a British school and a "Catholic" school. We have kids in CAISL who has been accommodating for the most part. They are more equipped to deal with learning challenged kids versus gifted and talented kids. Not saying their special needs kids support is on par with the USA, but between the two, special needs seem to have more resources. I've heard with high school kids, it's hard to integrate with other Portuguese kids unless you speak Portuguese.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

They do have some support. There effectiveness may be questionable. Though many of the teachers are American/English, and the school is advertised as an American based curriculum, you cannot get away from the fact that it's Portugal with the Portuguese laid-back mind set versus the more rigorous process oriented regiment of a truly American based special needs program, including talented and gifted kids.

View All Answers


3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

There are plenty of preschools available in Lisbon. In expensive compared to USA prices, if you are willing to leave them with Portuguese language only care. English language care tend to be more expensive, about US$300 a week for 5 hours or so a day. The Embassy has a day care available which I was grateful for. Price was very reasonable at about US$500 month if I remember right. Plus I got to see my kid during lunch breaks.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Soccer, and soccer are the top two. But CAISL just started a softball league. There is also swimming teams available through NATO. Local tennis clubs and golf clubs offer lessons for your kids at about US$10/hour per kid for group lessons.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Medium size and very eager to expand to new members. Most of my wife's friends are non-Embassy Expats.

View All Answers


2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Sports, outdoor activities, i.e., bar-b-que, biking, beaching, camping, etc. Cafes and Bars. Very good range.

View All Answers


3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Yes. Probably the first place I've served at that has a lot for all family types.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

I would say yes - no worse than Washington DC.

View All Answers


5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not really. I think they look at Africans and Asian as more of a curiosity versus looking "down" on them.

View All Answers


6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Going to the pristine soft sand, blue watered beaches. Local travel in country, and regional travel. Lisbon is a very interesting city to live in with lots to do, from people watching while sipping cafe to visiting medieval castles, you can do a lot. Then you have the day trips opportunities. Every time there is an American holiday, we drive somewhere new and exciting, and be home in time to meet the kids at the door.

View All Answers


7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Local travel is abound. The wine, excellent. We love taking road trips here. The drive is so pleasant, very scenic and not a lot of cars.

View All Answers


8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Cork stuff. Care for cork umbrella? Pottery.

View All Answers


9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Weather, definitely the best thing. Mild year around. Hottest is about 90F, coldest is about 50F. Lots of beaches all around.

View All Answers


10. Can you save money?

No, if you're a normal person. Too many travel opportunities locally and regionally. Flying to Paris or Rome is only about $150, but once there, the hotels and expenses will get at your savings.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

The nice weather! I would have brought a tennis ball machine - since you can play tennis year round.

View All Answers


2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Absolutely.

View All Answers


3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Triple Fat Goose and fur coats, good wine, olive oil, and lunch meat.

View All Answers


4. But don't forget your:

Sun screen, and beach gear!

View All Answers


5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

Anthony Bourdain - No Reservation Lisbon Episode.

View All Answers


6. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


7. Do you have any other comments?

Don't pass up the chance live here and work here!

View All Answers


Lisbon, Portugal 06/10/12

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

This is my umpteenth experience as an expat - others include Hanoi, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Rangoon, New Delhi, Binfield, Incheon, Dehra Dun.

View All Answers


2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

A 10-16 hour trip to D.C. with one stopover - in Paris, Newark, London, or Frankfurt.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

9 months.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Foreign Service Officer.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

The housing pool is divided into two - apartments in the city and houses in the suburbs. The houses, all generally located in the upscale Cascais area, are large, comfortable and have pools, for the most part. They're also closer to the International schools. Traveling to work takes 40 minutes and includes road tolls both ways, which can add up. Some use public transport, but it involves at least two kinds of transportation (train, then bus or metro) and can take upwards of an hour. Apartments in the city are sprinkled in a convenient radius around the Embassy, and generally close to public transportation. With a few awkward exceptions, the apartments are comfortable, spacious.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

The NEX (Navy exhange) will make a huge difference in keeping your shopping bill manageable if you work at the embassy. Supermarkets run at European prices.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

You can find a little of every kind of food in the world in Lisbon. There are Middle-eastern fast food options, Indian/Nepali restaurants abound, amazing pizza joints, classy seafood joints, Michelin starred chefs, traditional restaurants serving Portuguese or Brazilian specialties, chic fusion joints.... Food and drink by itself could completely deplete your checkbook. One caveat: while there are tons of east Asian restaurant choices, very few of them are any good.

View All Answers


5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

There are a multitude of options -- exclusively organic supermarkets, and many supermarkets that have an organic section that spans several aisles. The organic wave has hit big in Portugal. It's very easy to shop and cook vegetarian in Portugal, but eating out can be a nightmare. Portuguese restaurants serve olives, bread, fish, and meat, maybe a salad. Yes, that's over-simplified, but I hope you get the picture - eating out vegetarian is not easy. Pizza again, anyone?

View All Answers


6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

There are insects around if you really hunt for them - they're not a problem.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Another surprise: getting domestic help is relatively affordable - 30-60 Euros a day, I've heard, but I could be wrong.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Gyms will cost you - 100 Euros for the nice gyms. The embassy has a pathetic gym (however historic of a building it lives in) but the price is right (free) and it's convenient for a workout before/after work or during lunch.

View All Answers


4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

You can use credit cards almost anywhere -- and where you can't, you can use a debit card (if it has a pin #).

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Yes, the whole range.

View All Answers


6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Yes. Cable TV with a few channels and hi-speed internet costs as little as 40 Euros a month (and as much as 120, depending on how many channels you want).

View All Answers


7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You really don't need to know the language to get around - everyone speaks great English here. But you will feel at home sooner and enjoy your experience much more if you can read and communicate, and order your coffee the right way in Portuguese.

View All Answers


8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

The cobblestone sidewalks everywhere might prove an inconvenience. Plenty of accommodation exists for the sight and hearing impaired, and wheelchair access is the norm.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Surprise: taxis are very affordable here. Metro is reliable, safe and cheap. Buses, too, if you care to figure out their schedules. Great train system, too (but not fast). Public transport for inside the city, cars for trips outside.

View All Answers


2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Any car will do, but if your car is too big, you'll pay higher tolls. The tolls can be very pricey! Thirty-five Euros or more for a round-trip day excursion, and that's the lowest tolls.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Cellphones are easy to get, easy to change plans, easy to refill. The hard part is choosing which phone you want.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Yes.

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Outside of embassy EFM jobs, No, not really at all. The embassy is only just now getting a reciprocal work agreement with the Portuguese, but considering the state of the economy, it'd be tough and you'd have to speak fluent Portuguese.

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Formal at work (Portuguese are very fine dressers) and casual outside of work.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Pickpocketing, petty theft, and crimes of opportunity. A little situational awareness will keep you right as rain, though.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Public medical care is adequate, I understand, and private care is excellent. It would be the odd, serious, and uniquely complicated illness that would require a medevac to London.

View All Answers


3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Sea breezes are the lungs of the city and keep the air quality pretty good year round. It can get a little hazy if it goes too long without winds (and it almost never does - it's a windy city) or rains.

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

The weather is Mediterranean. Winters are rainy, cool (I wore a heavy coat maybe 3 or 4 times this last winter, at night). The weather really is almost perfect all of the time except for the drizzly winters.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

View All Answers


3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

The U.S. Embassy has a very affordable nursery/preschool on-site, which is a Godsend for parents with infants and young kids who don't want to be far separated from them.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Lots, and of a great variety.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

The morale among expats is great - working in the Embassy is generally a positive experience for everyone here. People complain, because that's what we humans do... be prepared to hear a diatribe against Portugal's hallowed Bacalhau (salted dried cod) as soon as you arrive.

View All Answers


3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Folks have a difficult time squeezing in dinners and hosting events, in between the action-packed social and night life here.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

This posting has plenty for just about everyone. Families with kids seem very happy with the education they get. There is an active night life, with night clubs often pumping until 6 or 7 am (problem is, no dancing starts until around 1 am at the earliest) and a huge drinking district (Bairro Alto) on a hill with dozens of alleys closed to traffic, where revelers spill out onto the streets. There is plenty of family fun too, including parks, museums, amusement parks (the biggest water park in Western Europe is a short drive away).

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

The short answer, it's fantastic! The more nuanced answer: Surprisingly, for a country where gay marriage is institutionalized, Portugal's LGBT scene is hidden away. Despite fantastic legal recognition and protection for LGBT individuals, Portugal remains a society with conservative views and affectionate expression among the same sex is rare to see. (You don't even see PDA from that many straight couples either, compared to France, Spain, Italy). Still, there's plenty of mixed and LGBT bars and clubs, and an underground party scene.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Portugal has an evolving and uncomfortable relationship with its former colonies. Racism is an issue (though Portuguese would never admit it). Racist undertones exist -- graffiti in some back alleys, the occasional awkward social interaction. But discriminating acts are rare, and blatant racism is practically nonexistent. While not the most progressive nation when it comes to women's rights, it's still Western Europe progressive. There is little religious prejudice - Portugal does as well as their European neighbors (and often better) in their relationship with the Muslim community.

View All Answers


7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Very much enjoyed road trips to various Portuguese towns and villages. Many great day trips from Lisbon, including Sintra, Evora, Coimbra, and overnight trips to the Algarve, Porto. The Douro river valley is breathtaking.

View All Answers


8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

View All Answers


9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Experiences! Food, wine, entrance fees. Portuguese leather and shoes are renowned, and there's plenty of pottery and cork products to buy as gifts.

View All Answers


10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Beautiful weather, historical buildings, comforts of living in Western Europe, great beaches, Iberian nightlife, safe to wander alone even at night, a beach IN the city, and great beaches a 40 minute drive away

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

No, you cannot.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Why, yes.

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Consumables - shopping at the NEX is affordable, and you'll want to eat out most of the time, anyway.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

beach wear, appetite for exploration.

View All Answers


4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

View All Answers


6. Do you have any other comments?

View All Answers


Lisbon, Portugal 10/23/11

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No: Parma, Italy; Mexico City, Mexico; Cairo, Egypt; Caracas, Venezuela; Montevideo, Uruguay; Tegucigalpa, Honduras

View All Answers


2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Tampa, FL: average flight times are 12-15 hours. There is now a direct flight to Miami(8hours) with only one connection to Tampa. Another direct flight to Newwark (8 hours), but requires up to 2 more connections to Tampa. There are a variety of connections and flights.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

2009-2012 (been here 2+ years at this point).

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

US Government.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Suburb living comes in any shape and size desirable. Commute to the city if working in central Lisbon varies from 30 min to 1 hour depending on how far out along the linha you are in the suburbs (going north along the coast) and the traffic patterns which are much, much heavier during the school year. City living is apartment living and quite small, but very convenient, many amenities. Can be noisy due to air traffic patterns over the heart of the city. Parking is limited.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

You can find just about anything (expect perhaps Mexican ethnic ingredients).Costs are generally higher than in the US, but not much higher than an expensive city. Beef is very expensive, but fish, chicken and good pork are reasonably priced. We lose on the exchange rate. Often prices are what you would expect in the US, but in Euros (if I'd pay $2 in the US, I might pay 2-3 euros here and lost on the exhange rate plus much higher taxes - up to 25%, but less on many fresh food items)

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Rain gear and winter clothing. Clothing and shoes are expensive here and sized small. On the local economy with babies, ship lots of disposable diapers in array of sizes, they are expensive. Portuguese make their own baby food and the prepackaged stuff isn't as easy to find and is expensive.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

American fast food is limited, but there are a couple prerequisite McDonalds, one Burger King, a couple Pizza Huts. Portuguese "fast-food" is fresh, home cooked style, usually a plate of the day for about 6 euros that is a full sized meal, but made quickly for the lunch crowd. Eating quickly is not in the Portuguese culture. Restaurants and costs are in every range and taste. Local cuisine at a local place on a small street: 6 euros for lunch, 8-12 for dinner and goes up to the most elegant and no price limit. Nice dinner at a nice place averages 20 euros.

View All Answers


5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

There are many bio and natural food and supply stores, but they are expensive. Organic suppliers and markets are growing, but again, more expensive. Vegetarian is widely available and allergy friendly can be easily found in the bio/natural stores. Plenty of gluten free and lots of soy - I find the soy even more readily available in a variety of forms than in the US. I have many vegetarian friends here who have no problems.

View All Answers


6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Flies and mosquitoes are moderate. Ants seem to be built into every house and come and go with the rain and seasons.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Portuguese mail system and international mail to and throughout EU is good. We are with the embassy, though and use mostly the DPO.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Average housekeeper will charge approximately 6-8 euros per hour and babysitting might be as much as 10 euros per hour. Readily available for day work. Very few live-ins unless they are a young college student through a nanny service.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, widely available with varying membership fees to include Golf clubs.

View All Answers


4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Debit cards and credit cards are the norm here. Just check with your home bank on fees. Multibanco ATMs are literally everywhere and almost every retail or food establishment will take plastic. Beware of the typical card scams and stay alert when using cards.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Very few; one each of the following that I'm aware of: Catholic, Anglican and Non-denominational protestant. Catholic in both Lisbon and Cascais, Anglican only in Lisbon and non-denom in Cascais. I believe there is a small English-speaking Jewish community - I'm not sure about the service.

View All Answers


6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Yes, if you purchase a cable package (about 75 euros per month bundled together with wideband internet and landline phone). One good newspaper that is on-line only (free) and one not-so-good print newspaper (2 euros?) that is out of the Algarve and isn't very relevant to Lisbon.

View All Answers


7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Some basics at least. In the tourist areas English to some degree is spoken, but a little Portuguese will get you friendlier service and a few less complications, especially if you get away from the tourist areas.

View All Answers


8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Significant! Although one will find handicapped parking spaces in larger parking lots at places such as malls and many places with elevators, this is by and large a very old city with little modernization or capacity to and cobblestone streets and sidewalks or the lack of plus the lack of ramps and entryways and elevators to accommodate a physical disability are the norm.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Safe, yes. Somewhat limited lines and connections can be time-consuming and inconvenient when coming from the suburbs all the way into the city and usually takes longer and costs more than the commute by car. A monthly pass used regularly can be more cost effective. Average taxi around Lisbon will cost around 10 euros.

View All Answers


2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Small and economical is best for Portugal and all of Europe. Gas is up over $8 per gallon (1.53-1.56 euros per liter, Oct 2011) and parking spaces, garages, driveways and parking garages are all very small. Parts of American made and specs cars are non-existent and finding a mechanic or service for an American vehicle is difficult and expensive. American spec cars must be converted to EU specs with the exception of diplomatic cars which will be exported at the end of an assignment.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes. Bundled together with cable TV and landline phone is about 75 euros/month. There are a plethora of offers, packages and unlimited deals. One has to shop around. There is also wide band mobile - looks like a thumb drive you plug in for mobile internet for starting around 30 euros and pay as you go.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

All of Europe uses GSM and a US cell phone will not work here. Some can be unlocked. Buy a phone once you get here. You buy the phone outright them sign up for the service you want and it's cheaper than in the US and very easy pay as you go options.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No, but do check the internet for EU standards depending on the country you are coming from. Pets coming from the US have no problems with the correct paperwork and up to date vaccines. Coming from Africa - rabies and blood tests and a more detailed and highly documented process is involved.

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Very good - the Portuguese love their dogs!

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

No. Portugal is in an economic crisis, second only to Greece at the moment and there are no jobs to be had and fewer expat opportunities.

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Not necessarily formal, but chic. Europeans like to look good and even with cobblestone sidewalks, most local women will be heals. No sweats and few sneakers in public.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

No. Lisbon is one of the lowest risk threat cities in Europe (however common pick pocketing and petty crime to exist, especially in tourist areas.)

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Very good.

View All Answers


3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Excellent as we are right on the coast; however, it is a somewhat humid/damp climate that leaves many people with upper respiratory and allergy issues. Colds, congestion and coughs seem to hang on forever.

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Climate is mild with 2 distinct seasons (Summer/Winter) and short, barely discernible Spring/Fall. Summer(Jun-Aug) is warm in the low 80sF with the occasional foray into the low 90sF for a short couple weeks usually in August. Winter(Nov-Feb)is rainy and damp with temperatures that vary from 60F as low as high 30sF)Spring and Fall are basically a one month to 6 week transition of increasing or decreasing rain. Because of being on the Atlantic coast, sudden weather and barometric pressure changes are common.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

I am well associated with all the international schools due to my work and find them all adequate with a wide variety of choices for families:CAISL; St. Julian's, International Preparatory School(primary only), Oeiras International School(secondary only at present), St. Dominic's. All have websites.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Very limited and on a case by case basis for mild special needs. Best to contact the schools early with as many details as possible to find out. There are no options that I'm aware of for severe cases.

View All Answers


3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Widely available in every neighborhood. Predominantly Portuguese speaking, some are bilingual and some bilingual with English. They are somewhat costly. The US Embassy has an on-site day care for its employees which is significantly less expensive.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes. Portuguese schools do not have integrated sports programs and the culture depends heavily on sports club membership.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Maybe 5000? Not large and many are retirees. Maybe a few hundred Americans, most are Brits and then other Europeans as Portugal continues to be one of the least expensive EU countries with the best weather.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

Generally good.

View All Answers


3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

There is no limit - from high society and cultural events to rock concerts to dining out, in home entertaining, movies, clubs, dancing, Fado... or just enjoying the outdoors from April-October surfing, on the beaches and at the cafes and sidewalk eateries.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

All of the above! Even living in the city can be good and easy with children as there are many activities and parks and good family spaces as well as many apartment complexes with common green areas and pools. Commute to the schools, which are all in the suburbs, seems relatively equal no matter where students live. High school students tend to congregate and socialize mainly in Cascais.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Some darker skinned expats (Latinos and African-Americans for example) have experienced prejudices that they feel are based on color when they are potentially confused with Brazilians or from the Portuguese territories in Africa or the Islands.

View All Answers


7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Exploring the many layers of the city of Lisbon and it's history and architecture, plus Lisbon is a major stopping place on many cultural and band tours. There are more concerts and cultural activities than one could ever keep up with, though we try!

View All Answers


8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Castles, Palaces, Zoo, Aquarium, parks, cultural activities & festivals, concerts, car & motorcycle racing, equestrian, soccer games, beaches, travel, museums... www.golisbon.com for more ideas!

View All Answers


9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Cork products and accessories - from purses to ties to even umbrellas and shoes. Pottery! Food and wine (although good wine and even food can be more affordable than in the US. A glass of house wine with dinner is less than a soda.)

View All Answers


10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Beautiful country, somewhat old-world still, lots of history, palaces, churches, castles to visit. One of the cheaper countries in Europe and milder climate which is beautiful from April to October. Moderate winters, especially along the southern region of the Algarve.

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

US government employees have access to shopping on the compound and a cola, some with two incomes. If you are totally on your own on the local economy and a US$ paycheck, probably not.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes. I wouldn't want to stay here forever, but it's a charming country that you can spend 2-3 years exploring and enjoying on an expat assignment.

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

n/a - even though winters are mild here, travel to even Spain or other snow countries is easy and many do enjoy going to the snow and skiing vacations.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

Rain gear is a necessity and I would highly recommend good socks and flannel sheets for winter as the damp sets in, beds get very cold.

View All Answers


4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

View All Answers


6. Do you have any other comments?

View All Answers


Lisbon, Portugal 08/24/11

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No. Second. First was Rio de Janeiro.

View All Answers


2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

I'm based in Washington. There are direct flights from NY, which take about 6 hours. Add the connection from the flight from DC and you're looking at 8 hours.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

1 year

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

For Embassy employees, it's either in the city (people are spread all over the place) or Cascais. If you're in the city, you can get to and from work in 10-15 minutes, unless there's a bad traffic jam (happens once in a while). If you're in the suburbs, it's 30 minutes without traffic but the traffic can get very backed up. And you have to pay really expensive tolls. People with kids generally go to Cascais to have a big house and pool, though some recent Embassy employees with kids have bucked the trend for the convenience of the city.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Nothing in Portugal is cheap -- except for wine and cod fish. But most foods are not terribly expensive. And the Embassy has a smallish NEX that sells a lot of U.S. goods at U.S. prices (though they tend to run out of some things -- like ice cream and Diet Coke -- over and over).

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

"Off" spray repellant -- to spray on your arms and legs in the summer. Rogaine -- because you cannot order it from the U.S., they don't sell it in the NEX and you seem to need a prescription to get it here.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Fast food is (almost) as plentiful as in the U.S. McDonald's, Burger King and KFC are omnipresent, though they cost more than in the U.S.

View All Answers


5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

I'm not on the hunt for this stuff, but it seems to be plentiful.

View All Answers


6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

During the summer, there seem to be lots of mosquitos.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

The Embassy has a DPO and personal pouch. You can get most things that way, though there are some annoying restrictions. It usually takes 2-3 weeks to get a package.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

I pay my maid 7 euros and hour and she comes once a week for four hours. She does a good job and works hard, but she's Brazilian (not Portuguese).

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Gyms are plentiful but they are expensive. Expect to pay more than $100 per month and face constant pressure to pay even more for personal training sessions. The Embassy has a small gym that some of the more hearty employees use.

View All Answers


4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Same as in U.S.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Portugal is still predominantly Catholic, though few people seem to go to the country's many churches. You'll find a small Jewish community here as well. And there are some 40,000 Muslims and a big mosque in Lisbon.

View All Answers


6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

With the Internet, you can get all the English language news you need. There is also an English language paper in the Algarve (though it isn't very good).Lots of American TV shows are in English with Portuguese subtitles. You can get BBC News and CNN International in English on cable, as well as ESPN America.

View All Answers


7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

It depends. Most young people in Lisbon seem to know at least some English. There's more variation in the older populations, although waiters at all levels of restaurants frequently speak some English. You'll even find some taxi drivers who speak English (they won't know how to go where you want to go, but they know English).However, without at least a little Portuguese, it might be very tough outside Lisbon.

View All Answers


8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Lisbon is not a friendly city for anyone with disabilities. Ramps are rare and cobblestone streets are common.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Trains, subways and buses are reliable, relatively inexpensive and safe. Taxis are pretty cheap (unless you get the occasional driver who tries to rip off a foreigner).However, taxi drivers can be extremely rude and many don't know how to get to major destinations.

View All Answers


2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

People bring all types of cars here but -- especially if you are going to live in Lisbon -- a smaller car is better. Some streets are very narrow and garages have low-hanging ceilings and narrow ramps and spaces. Larger SUVs may also have to pay higher tolls (not to mention more on gasoline, which is VERY expensive).

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Available but expensive. My service is quite good (I use Zon) but for a package of cable, Internet and a "land line" phone I never use I pay $150 a month.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

If you have a cellphone that will work in Europe you can get a chip and pay as you go. It's not cheap, however. Some of the companies (like Vodafone) are more expensive than others.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Absolutely not. The embassy has only a couple of jobs for family members, and non-American family members are usually not eligible. Outside the embassy, some family members have gotten teaching jobs at the American School. But legally they are not supposed to be working there, as there is no agreement with the government to let diplomatic spouses work. And other than that, you are out of luck. Even if you are fluent in English and Portuguese, your chance of getting a job in Lisbon is low. Unemployment is very high and most employers will reject you sight unseen if you're a foreigner.

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Same as in U.S.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Taxi drivers either drive painfully slow or like maniacs. Other than that, and the type of crime you expect in any modern city, Lisbon is very safe. You can walk virtually anywhere at any time of day.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Health care is on par with health care in the U.S., and in some ways better.

View All Answers


3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

The quality of the air is similar to air quality in the U.S.

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

It can get hot (up to 100 degrees) in July and August but usually it cools off quite a bit at night, with pleasant breezes. The rest of the year it is generally in the 60s and 70s during the day, except during January and February when 50s during the day and 40s at night is perhaps more typical.(On rare occasions it might get into the 30s at night.)

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

View All Answers


3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Pretty big, considering.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

Morale at the embassy is pretty good. It's hard to hate Lisbon, though it may not be a city you fall in love with either.

View All Answers


3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Most of the big music acts come to Lisbon. Restaurants are ok. Cinemas are everywhere. Like any big (or biggish) city.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Lisbon is a pretty good city for anyone. It's not the most exciting city in the world (it can be a little sleepy) but it's relatively cosmopolitan.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

The laws in Portugal are very gay friendly. The people less so. The gay pride parade is small, much smaller than in some Eastern European countries where the laws are far less protective. Lots of gay men stay deep in the closet in Portugal. What gay culture there is in Lisbon seems to have been imported by the Brazilians.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Portuguese present themselves as very open-minded but in fact they can be very closed people. They consider all Brazilians to be criminals or whores. And their opinion of the African immigrant population is even worse. I have had taxi drivers make offhand comments to me about people with dark skin that you wouldn't hear in the U.S. unless you travelled in a time machine back to the 1950s.

View All Answers


7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

I enjoyed visiting the cities of Porto and Coimbra, as well as my numerous excursions to Spain.

View All Answers


8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Bairro Alto and Chiado are two downtown neighborhoods popular with the younger crowd. On the weekend, lots of people go to the beach (but you have to leave the city for the beaches and the drive can be a pain).

View All Answers


9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Blue tiles. Cork products.

View All Answers


10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Lisbon is a lovely old city that is relatively cheap by Western European standards -- although many things are much more expensive than in the U.S. The city itself has lots of old-world charm and the weather is usually pleasant. There are many great getaway spots (in Portugal and Spain) and London, Paris and other EU cities are a short flight away.

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

No way.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yeah, why not.

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

High heels and bicycles. Sidewalks are ancient and Lisbon is very hilly. There are nice places to bike but to get to them you have to go up and down steep hills and avoid drivers who will try to run over you as though you are a piece of paper.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

Sense of humor. The Portuguese are generally nice people (as long as you're not black or Brazilian) but they have some odd character traits. Better just to laugh them off than try to understand them.

View All Answers


4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

There is an old movie called "Lisbon" that is almost impossible to find on DVD. It's not a great movie, but it was actually filmed in Lisbon in the 1950s. Kind of cool to see how it was then. There's a "movie" (actually a miniseries) called "Mysteries of Lisbon" (from 2010) that is or will be available on DVD in the U.S. and elsewhere. Otherwise, not many movies show off Lisbon. It's not a big destination for moviemakers.

View All Answers


6. Do you have any other comments?

View All Answers


Lisbon, Portugal 08/17/10

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Yes.

View All Answers


2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Traveled from Washington. There are no direct flights. I have flown through Newark and Frankfurt. Newark is a shorter flight, but the service and the planes are better through Frankfurt.

View All Answers


3. How long have you lived here?

6 months.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Apartments in the city and houses in the suburbs. They are generally nice, but bedrooms can be on the small side.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Wine, beer, olives, and olive oil are cheap and good. Everything else is expensive -- not Paris expensive but expensive all the same. U.S. Embassy staff have access to the Navy Exchange, which has a lot of American food at decent prices.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

More plug converters.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

McDonald's and Burger King are here, but the menus vary slightly. You can get a beer to go with the burger and fries. Kentucky Fried Chicken is here too, but you only can get the chicken sandwiches, wings, or drumsticks. No breasts or thighs. I have not seen any other fast food. Indian, chinese, and italian are available, but to get any variety you have to be willing to travel around. The riverfront area has a lot of restaurants, but they are a little on the expensive side. For a local treat, try the grilled swordfish.

View All Answers


5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Not much, flies once in a while.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

I use DPO (bring stamps!), but the local post works, too.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Many have part-time help. I do not, so I do not know the cost.

View All Answers


3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Several, but they can be pricey.

View All Answers


4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

No problems.

View All Answers


5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Many.

View All Answers


6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

A couple of weeklies.

View All Answers


7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

It helps a lot, but you can get by in Lisbon without it. Go into the countryside, and English is hard to come by.

View All Answers


8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

This is Europe, not the U.S. Sidewalks are cobblestone, most elevators are sized for two people, not wheelchairs.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Similar to U.S. or a little more.

View All Answers


2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Mid-sized or smaller. People do drive full-sized cars, but the chance of accidents, scrapes and such goes up dramatically. And some apartment parking garages will not accept the larger vehicles.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Availible at a cost similar to that in the U.S.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Easily availible.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No.

View All Answers


2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Yes.

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Maybe, if you speak Portuguese very well.

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Business or business causual at work. In public it looks like America.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Just the normal. Most crimes are opportunity types. Do not leave valuables out in the open on car seats. Smash-and-grabs do often happen. This is a city -- so be aware.

View All Answers


2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Air pollution. I have not heard any complaints about the health care.

View All Answers


3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Lisbon is not a healthy place to breathe. The suburbs are much better.

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Dry and warm, and occasionally-hot summers with wet and mild winters.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

No experiance with them, but there are several around.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

View All Answers


3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

I do not know generally, but people at the American Embassy have in-house daycare.

View All Answers


4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

I believe so.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Large, I guess, but you would not know it in the city, because it is so spread out. In Cascais, it is much more noticeable.

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

Good overall.

View All Answers


3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Whatever you arange and partipate in.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

It is good for all.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

There is a gay festival somewhere in town every year.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not that I have seen.

View All Answers


7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Taking trips to Paris and Madrid, seeing the sights of a ancient country. There is really a lot to see. I have yet to scratch the surface.

View All Answers


8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Beach, museums, parks, travel, etc.

View All Answers


9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Tiles, plates, and carpets -- if you have the money.

View All Answers


10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The city is filled with narrow streets, and hills are everywhere except beside the river. It is also noisy, especially since the airport is located right next to the city. It does offer good cultural sites and access to public transportation. The suburbs are quieter and offer more chances to ride bikes and enjoy the beaches. The only real disadvantage is the tolls, and driving will eat into your pocketbook. There are those who car-pool, which can mitigate the cost but not the lost time. On a personal note, the city is quite isolating for foreigners. Non-working spouses who need or want support and interaction will be happier in the suburbs.

View All Answers


11. Can you save money?

Only if you do not travel.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes.

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

big car.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

spices and other specialty food items -- if you do not have access to a NEX.

View All Answers


4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

View All Answers


6. Do you have any other comments?

It seems like the drivers here all took lessons from Nascar, and double and triple parking is almost the norm. Medians, sidewalks, middle of the street -- it's all fair game for parking. The amazing part is that most rules of the road are obeyed.

View All Answers


Lisbon, Portugal 09/15/08

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No. Guatemala City, Lusaka, Accra, Copenhagen, and Stockholm.

View All Answers


2. How long have you lived here?

2 years.

View All Answers


3. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

Continental flies direct from Newark, any other major airline via transfer.

View All Answers


4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Best housing I have ever had, although we live in downtown Lisbon with a family; something not everyone would want to do. We were the only family with school-age children to live in the city when we arrived, but several others have made the same choice since then.our commute is under ten minutes, while the suburbanites are about 40 minutes if they leave the house by 7:30 am, or much much longer if they leave later. Kids commuting to the American school from the city go counter-traffic and make it in small vans in about 30 minutes.kids in the suburbs ride big buses and it still takes them 30 minutes or more due to all the stops.of the suburban houses, I've only seen one that I wouldn't want to have.all the apartments are nice, but the downtown ones have character and convenience to city life and the ones on the outskirts of town have amenities like pools and tennis courts. The embassy also has a pool and tennis court, so we use that on weekends.

View All Answers


2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries are pretty pricy, except for fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish. The Embassy has a military supermarket on the premises for all processed and/or frozen foods at rock bottom prices.thanks to this military supermarket, our food bills dropped considerably by coming here.

View All Answers


3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Summer clothes, auto parts.

View All Answers


4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Portuguese food is magnificent, especially Alentejano cuisine. Good, relatively inexpensive restaurants are all over. Expect to spend some time at each meal though. One is expected to linger and service isn't very fast. All the international fast food chains are here.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

I have APO, but Portuguese Post works fine if a little slowly.

View All Answers


2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Available at about 7-10 euros per hour, depending on what you want done.

View All Answers


3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

ATMs everywhere. Credit cards at major places, but many smaller shops/cafes only accept debit cards.

View All Answers


4. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Yes, all.

View All Answers


5. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Weekly English paper isn't particularly informative.it's more of a digest of the past week's news. Cable TV has plenty of English language options.

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You can get by without it, but it is so much more enriching to be able to have at least simple conversations.unlike other places, the Portuguese are extremely pleased that one would make an effort to learn their language and are happy to overlook your errors.

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Cobblestones are difficult for everyone; I can't imagine negotiating steep cobblestoned sidewalks with crutches or a wheelchair. The suburbs are much easier in that respect.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Do you drive on the right hand side of the road or the left?

Right.

View All Answers


2. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Yes and yes.

View All Answers


3. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

The smaller the better. Streets are narrow, parking spaces are short, gas is expensive, and tolls are doubled for SUVs.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes. I'm guessing 30 euros per month.

View All Answers


2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

They seem rather expensive, but competition is starting to push that down.

View All Answers


3. What is the best way to make phone calls back home?

VOIP.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

View All Answers


Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

You would need Portuguese for most jobs.

View All Answers


2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Suits for business/government.people are usually well-dressed although not formally dressed for social events.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Good.

View All Answers


2. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

None.

View All Answers


3. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care is professional and competent, if sometimes a bit dated.

View All Answers


4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Crisp clear days about six months of the year, hot bright summers, and chilly rainy winter.all of the seasons are actually pleasant, including the winter.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

CAISL -- the American School -- is, well, adequate. Not bad, mind you, but nothing more than adequate. They will eventually build a sports field, but for our three years here there was nothing but a dirt patch. Teachers were hit and miss; we were lucky with some good ones, but bad ones do not seem to get weeded out.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

I was told CAISL does make accommodations, but I don't know anyone that has made the request.

View All Answers


3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

For embassy folks, there is a daycare in the embassy. I'd never seen that anywhere else and it was fantastic.the center also does summer camp when school is out, so we eat lunch with our kids all summer.there is a pool, tennis/basketball court, and playground at the embassy, so the kids enjoy it here immensely.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Seems pretty big. I wouldn't hazard a guess on numbers

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

We're happy as are most of the people we know.

View All Answers


3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Anything you can imagine is available. Portuguese are late risers and late diners, so I haven't had success with brunches, but dinners and cocktails are very easy to do. Football (soccer) matches are loads of fun and hugely important to social discourse. Choose Benfica, unless a Sporting fan brings you to your first match.

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Yes to all.

View All Answers


5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

I would presume so, since the society is very relaxed.

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

The Portuguese are very open about discussing such things, so it may appear commonplace. I believe, however, that the openness of the Portuguese to discuss such matters actually indicates that it is not a problem. There is certainly wide religious and racial diversity here and women are at the highest levels of society and government.

View All Answers


7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Beaches everywhere, plus mountains, castles, and palaces. Festivals and cultural events almost every weekend somewhere nearby. Sports of every kind (including, believe it or not, American football and baseball for those who want to pretend they are in high school again).

View All Answers


8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Wine, pottery, lace, painted tiles, cork products (they make everything out of cork).

View All Answers


9. Can you save money?

Yes, but at the cost of doing things.museums are free on Sundays, so you can plan to do those things then.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes and I'd run over you to get here.

View All Answers


2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

SUV and your running shoes for anything other than actually running.

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen and sunglasses.

View All Answers


4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

A Small Death in Lisbon. Even if you don't like the genre, it is astoundingly well-researched. Not only is it an incredible source for 20th century Portuguese history and politics, it can almost serve as a guidebook for wandering around the city.

View All Answers


5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

A Small Death in Lisbon. Even if you don't like the genre, it is astoundingly well-researched. Not only is it an incredible source for 20th century Portuguese history and politics, it can almost serve as a guidebook for wandering around the city.

View All Answers


6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

View All Answers


7. Do you have any other comments?

View All Answers


Five stars on Amazon! Don't miss Talesmag's first book of essays, on cross-cultural food experiences from Mexico to Mongolia (plus recipes!)

Read More