Social clubs and expat associations

One of the most important things you can do to help you and your family settle in is join social clubs. 

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Many people move to Portugal with the intention of fully integrating into the local community. We frequently hear people say “oh, we don’t really do the whole expat thing.” The desire to integrate and speak Portuguese is noble and respectful, but it’s not always as easy as it may have seemed when moving abroad was in the planning stages.

The reality is that Portuguese is a very difficult language to learn, even with a determined effort. Most expats eventually spend at least some of their time in the comfortable company of their fellow immigrants.

If you play golf, you’ll quickly find yourself part of an expat social scene. Often, bars and restaurants organise golf days, with dinner and drinks afterwards. If this kind of thing appeals to you, you won’t need to look far to find it.

Similarly, various other clubs and societies exist, usually centered around a specific hobby or interest such as walking or amateur dramatics. You are obviously more likely to find these in areas with a high concentration of expats such as the Algarve, Lisbon or the Silver Coast.

If you’re a business professional, there are various business and networking groups in Portugal. As with the golf scene, this will probably be the kind of thing that you either love or loathe. What you won’t find in abundance in Portugal are more generalist social clubs. Instead, social groups tend to develop around specific bars.

The idea of an “expat bar” may make you shudder, and it’s fair to say that you will find plenty of “English bars” frequented by cliquey expats who have dedicated their lives to drinking alcohol. But they’re not all like that – you may just need to shop around a bit. Some bars are as popular with Portuguese locals as it is with expats. These can have bilingual staff who help expats with their Portuguese, and an atmosphere that rivals the perfect idyll of a British pub.

So, while you may have to “put yourself out there” a little to find a good expat social scene, you will undoubtedly find one, and one that suits you. We’ve met several people in our local area who have only stayed for one winter and have waved goodbye to many true friends on returning home – Portugal is a very friendly place. 

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Further reading for Living In Portugal

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Finding work in Portugal

There are a number of ways that UK expats can fund their lifestyle in Portugal.
Read more...

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Social life in Portugal

The best way to get settled in Portugal is to find out as much as you can about your new community.
Read more...

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Heathcare

One of the first things you need to do once you arrive in Portugal is find out where your nearest hospital is.
Read more...

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Education in Portugal

Are you emigrating to Portugal with school-age children?
 

Read more...


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For more information on buying in or making the move overseas, contact the Portugal Buying Guide Resources Team on 0207 898 0549 or email them here.


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