Holiday cost of living

There are definitely a few differences between celebrating the holiday season in Portugal compared to the UK

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Decking the Halls

Christmas decorations in Portugal are much the same as in the UK, with the only main difference being that real trees are quite rare in Portugal, both in towns and in people’s homes. Often, town trees are quite imaginative metal structures, and although a prolonged period of austerity has meant that many Algarve towns have had to cut back on decorations, some are still truly impressive, and you can always count on the shopping centres for opulent festive décor.

Tree decorations in Portugal, just like in the UK, range from super-cheap (usually in the huge Chinese shops) to lavish. If you want to choose a colour scheme and spend hundreds of Euros in the likes of Zara Home, you’ll find plenty of choice!
 
The Food
People spend more money on food at Christmas in Portugal, just like they do in the UK, but the focus is far more on shellfish, bacalhau (salted cod), and ingredients, rather than the luxurious pre-packed foods that are so popular in the UK.

Turkey does feature in some way for the Portuguese at Christmas (and actually much more during the rest of the year than in the UK), but is rarely the “main event.” As such, it’s not usually an enormous expense; we’re talking €25 or so – but we easily make up the difference with the imported products that we just can’t do without. Christmas puddings, mince pies, tins of Quality Streets and other such items cost far more here, as they are imported - but what would Christmas be without them?
 
The Drink
With beer, wine and (most significantly) port taking centre stage at Christmas, we’re onto a winner living in Portugal. Switching from a good everyday wine to a real “treat” bottle means a difference of just a few euros - and even at Christmas a €6 bottle is a real luxury. The same goes for port, and it’s hard not to feel smug knowing that the €4 bottles are the same as those selling for £15 plus in our former home.

Another great thing when it comes to Christmas booze is the champagne. After tasting the local Raposeira brand in both dry white and pink variants, we see no reason at all to pay high prices for the real thing – you simply cannot tell the difference – especially as the local stuff costs about €8.
 
The Making Merry
All in all, you can enjoy a much cheaper Christmas here in Portugal than you can back home, but we probably end up spending about the same. While we don’t have the retail outlets of London to tempt us to spend our money, having family and friends back home means lots of advance present planning and delivery charges. On top of this, we normally make a trip to the UK in early December to see everyone for a “pretend Christmas.” This is where the money truly gets spent!


Further reading for Buying In Portugal

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Viewing Guide

Finding the right property can be a challenge. What do you need to think about early on?
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Hidden Costs

The price of the property as listed is never the price that you will end up paying. There are a host of other costs.
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Legal Matters

Buying a property in Portugal has very different legal requirements to the UK.
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Currency Zone

Did you know that you could save thousands of pounds when emigrating by using a currency specialist?
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