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NHR 2.0: Portugal’s New NHR Tax Regime 2024

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2023 was a big year when it came to changes to the tax system for new residents in Portugal. It was announced that the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime was coming to an end as parliament argued it was no longer beneficial to the country.

For the last 15 years, the NHR was available to all new tax residents in Portugal who were not Portuguese tax residents for the five years prior, granting them a 20% flat rate on personal income tax for 10 years. 

This was incredibly beneficial to new residents, especially those making over around 80,000 euros a year where the general rate for the population is 48%.

If you were not lucky enough to enjoy the NHR regime before it ended, you might still have a chance of enjoying some tax benefits with the new NHR regime, known as NHR 2.0. 

Grandfathering Rules: Is the initial NHR regime still available to me?

But before we get into the new NHR regime, make sure that you are not still eligible for the initial NHR. Although it has officially ended, you might still qualify if you started your move to Portugal back in 2023. According to Sam Daynes, from Holborn Assets, you are still eligible if you fit into the following Grandfathering rules:

  • Promissory employment agreement or promissory secondment agreement (or employment or secondment agreement) signed by 31 December 2023 to perform activities in Portugal or
  • Lease agreement or other agreement granting the use or possession of property located in Portugal and concluded before 10 October 2023 or
  • Reservation or promissory contract for the acquisition of property located in Portugal concluded before 10 October 2023 or
  • Enrolment or registration for dependents at Portuguese educational establishment by 10 October 2023; or
  • Residence visa or residence permit valid by 31 December 2023; or
  • The procedure, initiated by 31 December 2023, is for granting a residence visa or residence permit with the competent entities in accordance with the current immigration legislation (e.g., visa appointment in 2023).

The New NHR: Non-Habitual Residents in 2024

Now, let’s get into the new NHR for non-habitual residents in 2024. The new regime focuses on employment, primarily scientific research, and innovation, while no longer benefiting retirees and other high-value jobs.

The benefits remain the same – a 20% flat tax rate on personal income and a tax exemption on other passive income. Therefore, you will also not pay any tax on dividends, interest, royalties, capital gains, rental income from real estate outside Portugal, and income from employment in another country.

Keep in mind that this 20% flat rate could be incredibly beneficial when you look at the 2024 general tax rates for personal income in Portugal:

Up to €7,703 13.25%

€11,623 –€16,472 23%

€16,472 –€21,321 26%

€21,321 –€27,146 32.75%

€27,146 –€39,791 37%

€39,791 –€51,997 43.5%

€51,997 –€81,199 45%

Over €81,199 48%

Broadly speaking, employed or self-employed roles such as higher education professors, scientific research technology, and also start-up companies are eligible. But let’s get into more detail on who qualifies for the new NHR regime in Portugal.

Want to become part of the large community of US expats in Portugal? Sign up for Holborn Assets’ live webinar on the challenges facing US connected clients moving or living in Portugal. Find out all about the financial perks of moving to Portugal and have all your burning questions answered. The event is scheduled for March 27 at 5 pm (Lisbon Time) / 12 pm EST. If you would like to schedule a one-on-one call instead, you can book one here.


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Who Qualifies for the new Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) Status in Portugal

  • Educational activities in higher learning institutions and scientific investigation, including employment in scientific roles within entities, structures, and networks affiliated with the national science and technology system. This also includes positions and individuals serving on governing bodies within entities acknowledged as technology and innovation centers in Portugal.
  • Employment positions and individuals serving on the boards of organizations that receive contractual tax incentives in Portugal through agreements with IAPMEI or AICEP. These incentives are applicable to substantial investments exceeding €3 million.
  • Highly qualified professionals working for entities benefiting from the Investment Promotion Tax Regime (RFAI)…
  • Or in industrial and service companies that export at least 50% of their turnover in the year of starting work or the prior two years.
  • Research and Development personnel whose costs are eligible for the R&D tax incentive system (SIFIDE).
  • Job positions and members of entities certified as start-ups under the Portuguese Start-Up Law. A start-up is defined, under Portuguese law as follows:
    • Less than 10 years of activity
    • Less than 250 employees
    • Less than €50 million turnover
    • Not held by a large company
    • Based in Portuguese territory or have more than 25 employees
    • Be an innovative company, have one round of VC financing, or investment from Banco Portugês de Fomento.

How to Obtain Residency in Portugal

In order to become a non-habitual resident, you must have lived in Portugal for more than 183 days in the space of 12 months. You can also have lived in the country for less than 183 days but have bought property in Portugal during those 12 months or performed public functions in the name of the Portuguese state for the last 12 months.

If the last two options were not the case for you, you will need to obtain residency in order to be eligible for the non-habitual tax regime. Portugal has some attractive long-stay national visas, also known as residency visas, that allow you to make use of the 10 years of tax incentives of the NHR status. Take a look at these guides for Portuguese visas: the Portugal Golden Visathe Portugal D7 Visa & the Portugal D2 Visa.

Keep in mind that the Portuguese Golden Visa no longer allows for investment through property since October 2023. Instead, the current investment routes include:

  • Donation to Arts €250,000
  • Venture Capital/Private Equity Fund €500,000
  • Donation to Research Activities €500,000
  • Company Creation 10 employees or €500,000 + 5 employees

Guide to the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) Tax Regime 2024

For 15 years, the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime in Portugal has attracted thousands of residents by offering reduced tax rates and even full tax exemptions for the first ten years of residence. NHRs are taxed at a flat rate of 20% on their income and are exempt from paying taxes on global income. 

However, in late 2023, it was announced that the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime was coming to an end as parliament argued it was no longer beneficial to the country.

If you were not lucky enough to enjoy the NHR regime before it ended, you might still have a chance of enjoying some tax benefits with the new NHR regime, known as NHR 2.0. The benefits remain almost the same, but the pool of those who can apply has become a lot smaller. Moreover, the new regime focuses on employment, primarily scientific research, and innovation, while no longer benefiting retirees and other high-value jobs.

Benefits of the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) Tax Regime in Portugal

Bear in mind that the following benefits only last for 10 years. After that, you will become a regular tax resident like other citizens and will have to abide by the traditional fiscal regime.

Personal Income Tax (IRS): 20% Flat Tax

Those who work in Portugal (freelance or regular employment) under the NHR tax regime only pay a 20% flat rate on personal income tax (IRS). 

Global Income

You will also not pay any tax on dividends, interest, royalties, capital gains, rental income from real estate outside Portugal, and income from employment in another country. These will be paid in the source country if your country has a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) with the country. The UK, USA, and many more countries have a DTA with Portugal where this is the case. 

Other Taxes

If your pension income happens to be taxed in Portugal as you are not eligible under a DTA, it will only be taxed at a flat rate of 10% which includes retirement savings and insurance. Those with non-habitual residency status pay pension tax like income tax, which can go up to 48%. You will also not pay any inheritance or wealth tax.

Want to become part of the large community of US expats in Portugal? Sign up for Holborn Assets’ live webinar on the challenges facing US connected clients moving or living in Portugal. Find out all about the financial perks of moving to Portugal and have all your burning questions answered. The event is scheduled for March 27 at 5 pm (Lisbon Time) / 12 pm EST. If you would like to schedule a one-on-one call instead, you can book one here.


Register Your Spot

Eligibility & Requirements: Who Qualifies for Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) Status in Portugal

Keep in mind that you must have the right to be in Portugal through a long residency visa such as the Portugal Golden Visa, the Portugal D7 Visa, or the Portugal D2 Visa. Here’s a list of who qualifies for the new NHR in Portugal:

  • Educational activities in higher learning institutions and scientific investigation, including employment in scientific roles within entities, structures, and networks affiliated with the national science and technology system. This also includes positions and individuals serving on governing bodies within entities acknowledged as technology and innovation centers in Portugal.
  • Employment positions and individuals serving on the boards of organizations that receive contractual tax incentives in Portugal through agreements with IAPMEI or AICEP. These incentives are applicable to substantial investments exceeding €3 million.
  • Highly qualified professionals working for entities benefiting from the Investment Promotion Tax Regime (RFAI)…
  • Or in industrial and service companies that export at least 50% of their turnover in the year of starting work or the prior two years.
  • Research and Development personnel whose costs are eligible for the R&D tax incentive system (SIFIDE).
  • Job positions and members of entities certified as start-ups under the Portuguese Start-Up Law. A start-up is defined, under Portuguese law as follows:
    • Less than 10 years of activity
    • Less than 250 employees
    • Less than €50 million turnover
    • Not held by a large company
    • Based in Portuguese territory or have more than 25 employees
    • Be an innovative company, have one round of VC financing, or investment from Banco Portugês de Fomento.

How to Apply for Non-Habitual Residency in Portugal

How to Obtain Residency in Portugal

In order to become a non-habitual resident, you must have lived in Portugal for more than 183 days in the space of 12 months. You can also have lived in the country for less than 183 days but have bought property in Portugal during those 12 months or performed public functions in the name of the Portuguese state for the last 12 months. If the last two options were not the case for you, you will need to obtain residency in order to be eligible for the non-habitual tax regime. Portugal has some attractive long-stay national visas, also known as residency visas, that allow you to make use of the 10 years of tax incentives of the NHR status. Let’s go through our favorites: the Portugal Golden Visa, the Portugal D7 Visa & the Portugal D2 Visa.

Keep in mind that the Portuguese Golden Visa no longer allows for investment through property since October 2023.

Portugal Golden Visa

The Portugal Golden Visa was launched in 2012 to increase foreign investment in Portugal and boost the economy as it requires an investment of at least €350,000. With the Golden Visa, non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens can live and work in Portugal, as well as travel freely within the Schengen area. The visa leads to permanent residence after 5 years and citizenship after 6 years. However, you do not need to live in Portugal to obtain this visa. You must stay in Portugal for at least 7 days in the first year and 14 days in the subsequent years. The most important thing is that you make an investment with funds from outside of Portugal.

Since 2023, the Golden Visa investment routes have changed and property investment is no longer an option. Instead, the current investment routes include:

  • Donation to Arts €250,000
  • Venture Capital/Private Equity Fund €500,000
  • Donation to Research Activities €500,000
  • Company Creation 10 employees or €500,000 + 5 employees

Take a look at our full guide to the Portugal Golden Visa here.

Portugal D7 Visa

The Portugal D7 Visa is suitable for retirees, digital nomads, and remote workers with proof of a stable income. The D7 Visa was introduced in 2007 and allows non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens to obtain permanent residency in Portugal after 5 years and citizenship after 6 years. This might sound similar to the Golden Visa, but unlike it, it does not require an investment. All you need is to prove that you have a solid passive income that can come from a retirement pension, a financial investment, real estate income, or salary.

The minimum income required is €8,460 per year for the main applicant. For a spouse, you must add 50% to this (€4,230) and for a dependent child, you must add 30% to this (€2,538). Therefore, for a couple with one child, you would need around €15,300 a year to be eligible for the D7 Visa.

You must also spend at least 16 months in Portugal during the first 2 years of the visa, as well as have a clean criminal record and show proof of residence address in Portugal (rental or purchase).

Take a look at our full guide to the Portugal D7 Visa here.

Portugal D2 Visa

The Portugal D2 Visa caters to entrepreneurs, freelancers, and independent service providers who wish to reside in Portugal. Non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens who want to start a business in Portugal or relocate their existing business to the country can make use of this visa. Another option is choosing to invest in a Portuguese business. Like the Golden Visa and D7 Visa, the D2 visa allows for permanent resident status after 5 years and citizenship after 6 years.

To be eligible, you must prove that you have the financial resources to sustain your business. Although there is no number set in stone, the recommended minimum is at least €5,000. You will also have to show that you can financially sustain yourself

You will also have to present a business plan that demonstrates your business is economically viable and that will be reviewed for its social, economic, and cultural impact.

Keep in mind that the non-habitual resident tax regime applies to your personal income tax, personal capital gains, pension allowance, etc, but your company will still have to pay the normal corporate tax (21% in mainland Portugal) and social security fees (23.75% on top of each employee monthly wage).

Take a look at our full guide to the Portugal D2 Visa here.

Updated 2024: Cost of Living in Lisbon

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Residing in Lisbon comes with advantages, including its closeness to beaches, access to culture, and incredible food scene. What sets it apart from other European capitals is the affordability of living, though the cost has been noticeably increasing, posing a challenge for the residents on a local Portuguese salary. Still, Lisbon is around 30% cheaper than Paris and 50% cheaper than London. 

Keep in mind that the highest cost for anyone moving to Lisbon is the rent. The average price for an apartment in Lisbon is 21€/m2 (December 2023), a 17% increase in comparison to December 2022. Let’s take a look at the average monthly budget in Lisbon for expats without children, families, and digital nomads in 2024. 

Guide to Lisbon

Cost of Living in Lisbon for an Expat

  • Housing: For a one-bedroom apartment that’s around 60 m2, expect to pay over €1200. Alternatively, you can also find studios for €700 to €900 a month but expect cramped conditions. Rooms in shared homes tend to go for around €600 at the moment.
  • Utilities: You need to budget at least €100 to €150 for bills such as electricity and gas, but this can go up in the winter with a lot of use of your heating. Also, keep in mind that your internet and phone bill should run you around an extra €50.
  • Groceries: The price of groceries depends on your lifestyle, diet, choice of products, as well as where you shop. But for a safe bet, budget at least €100 a week for groceries for one person. 
  • Eating Out: Full meals for €10 are a thing of the past in Lisbon. While you can still find a few bargains, prices this low are rare and hard to find. A meal out will cost you at least €20 without alcohol at most mid-range restaurants but can be a lot more expensive. If you eat out twice a week, for example, you will need to budget at least €160 a month, but this amount is still pretty conservative. 
  • Transportation: Lisbon has new transport passes for €40 called Passe Navegante which allows you to use all public transport companies in the 18 municipalities in greater Lisbon.
  • Healthcare: Much like the UK’s NHS, Portugal’s public healthcare system provides essential medical services free of charge to residents, though certain state healthcare services may necessitate standard user fees. These fees range, with examples including €15 for Accident and Emergency Department visits and €5 for basic GP appointments. If you want to go private for easier access to appointments and a wider range of services available (dermatology and dentistry, for example), health insurance will cost you anywhere between €40 to €100 a month.

Cost of Living in Lisbon for a Digital Nomad 

  • Housing: If you are looking for a short stay of less than a year, you might still be able to rent a place with a rental contract and pay around €1200 for a one-bedroom. However, it’s more likely that you will have to book a place on Airbnb. This will cost you at least around €1500 for a small apartment during the low season, and anywhere from €2500 to €3000 during the summer. Alternatively, renting a bed at a hostel for around €30 could help you save some money. 
  • Groceries: Digital nomads tend to want to explore the food scene since they might be staying in Lisbon for shorter periods of time. However, if you are keen on making most of your food at home, budget €100 a week for groceries for one person. 
  • Transportation: Lisbon has new transport passes for €40 called Passe Navegante which allows you to use all public transport companies in the 18 municipalities in greater Lisbon. Uber and Bolt also offer quite affordable fares in Lisbon.
  • Eating Out: A meal will cost you around €20 at an average mid-range restaurant without alcohol. But you can easily spend €40+ on a meal for one at certain restaurants in Lisbon.
  • Sightseeing & Leisure: Make the most out of Lisbon while you’re here. The city has plenty of museums, theaters, cinemas, and bars to explore. Budget around €30 to €50 a week for these kinds of activities. 
  • Coworking: Coworking spaces in Lisbon are becoming more expensive, matching other European cities. Renting a desk for a month can cost around €200 or more.

Cost of Living in Lisbon for a Family of Four

  • Housing: A 3-bedroom apartment in Lisbon will cost you around €2,100 but can easily go up to €3,000. You can find more affordable apartments in areas just outside Lisbon like Odivelas (13,2 €/m2), Amadora (13,4 €/m2), and Loures (12,9 €/m2), but then having a car is recommended. 
  • Utilities: You need to budget at least €200 for bills such as electricity and gas, but this can go up in the winter with a lot of use of your heating. Internet and phone bills will depend on the amount of phones, but budget at least €100 for a family package.
  • Groceries: The price of groceries depends on your family’s lifestyle and food choices. But for a safe bet, budget at least €200 to €250 a week for groceries for a family of four.
  • Transportation: Lisbon has new transport passes for €40 called Passe Navegante which allows a person to use all public transport companies in the 18 municipalities in greater Lisbon. But for families, the deal is even better! Each family only needs to pay a maximum of two passes for €80 and the whole family gets transport included. If you have children under 12, they can also get a pass for free.
  • Eating Out: A meal out will cost you at least €20 without alcohol at most mid-range restaurants but can be a lot more expensive. If you eat out once a week with your family, for example, you will need to budget at least €300 a month, but this can be a lot more depending on the choice of restaurants.
  • Education: Schools can easily be the largest portion of your budget unless you opt for free Portuguese public schools. If you are looking for an international environment and English-speaking schools, private international schools can cost you anywhere between €7,000 and €20,000 a year per child. A private Portuguese school will cost you around €6,000. 
  • Healthcare: Portugal’s public healthcare system provides medical care for free to residents, though certain state healthcare services include standard user fees (like €5 for basic GP appointments). At this moment, however, your family is unlikely to be given a family GP as there are none available, making access harder. Therefore, if you want to go private, you should get health insurance for your whole family which can cost at least €200, depending on factors such as age and previous illnesses. 

Portuguese Public Holidays in 2024

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In 2024, Portugal, a nation rich in religious, historical, and cultural days will experience a series of national public holidays recognized by the government. These holidays play a crucial role in the Portuguese calendar.

The general rule is that every worker is entitled to 22 working days off for vacation. However, with public holidays that might lead to extended weekends, you can maximize your time off. 

Keep in mind that not only do you get days off, but expect shops and businesses to be closed as well. Moreover, Portugal’s public holidays, known as feriados, come with an interesting twist.

Unlike in some other countries, if a holiday falls on a Sunday, it doesn’t extend to the following Monday. The country features a range of both mandatory and optional holidays, with some being celebrated nationwide and others holding regional importance.

Let’s explore the list of national public holidays set for 2024. 

Nationwide Public Holidays 2024

  • January 1: The first day of the year, on a Monday.
  • February 13: Carnival Tuesday, and businesses might still decree a “ponte” (bridge) where Monday is also off.
  • March 29: Saint Friday
  • March 31: Easter Sunday 
  • April 25: Carnation Revolution, celebrated this year on a Thursday
  • May 1: Labour Day, which falls on a Wednesday
  • May 30: Corpus Christi Day on a Thursday
  • June 10: Camōes Day on a Monday
  • August 15: Day of the Assumption of Our Lady, the only holiday in August which falls on Thursday
  • October 5: Republic Day on Saturday
  • November 1: Day of All Saints on Friday, allowing for a long weekend
  • December 1: Restauration for Independence Day
  • December 8: Day of the Immaculate Conception
  • December 25: Christmas Day on a Wednesday

Local June Holidays

In the month of June, many cities in Portugal celebrate public holidays related to Catholic saints. These lead to celebrations all over the country, often known as Santos Populares. 

June 13: Lisbon’s Saint Anthony Day on Thursday

June 24: Saint John’s Day in Porto, Braga, and Tavira

June 29: Saint Peter’s Day in Évora

Lisbon City Hall approves requalification of palace into housing instead of tourist accomodation

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According to CNN Portugal, the Lisbon City Hall finally approved the requalification of an old palace (Palacete Touzet) located in Alcântara, Lisbon.

Dating back to 1888, Palacete Touzet served as the headquarters and atelier of the Touzet construction company, which was funded by the French constructors Charles Vieillard and Fernand Touzet, the authors of a large amount of the industrial patrimony that was built in Lisbon. The Central Tejo complex is one example of that patrimony.

This beautiful old palace, which can be considered a historic and patrimonial building, has been closed for years. Its conservation state has been deteriorating, and today, only the facades and the stairs remain.

The proposal for the new project has been around since 2017, but it was only approved very recently. Initially, according to the first proposal the property was going to be transformed into accommodation for tourists, but now it will be used for housing.

Given the characteristics and the value of the property, in terms of urban space, the Lisbon City Hall chose to approve the requalification under the condition that the facades are maintained. This decision aims at preserving that same value.

This type of requalification, which has been called ‘demolition’, is somewhat polemic. According to the article published by CNN Portugal, the property will be demolished but the facades will be preserved. However, considering that there is nothing but ruins inside, calling it a ‘demolition’ may induce the wrong idea.

What is rotten will be taken down, but the image will be preserved. Within the facades, a new building will emerge. One that considers and preserves the value of what it once was.

When the project is complete, Palacete Touzet will regain its image (not the old ruins), and its inside will be transformed into one studio apartment, one T1, five T2s, three T3s, and five T4s.

50 radio stations boycott the Portuguese elections

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Around 50 radio stations from all over the country joined to boycott the upcoming legislative elections, in protest against the dying out of the sector.

According to a statement released by the Portuguese Broadcasting Association, the recent changes to the radio law, which added to the inexistence of favorable measures taken by any of the last governments, were the last stroke.

The boycott officially started with the European elections in 2019, extended to the legislative elections of that same year, and will last, at least, until the end of this year’s election cycle. There will be no broadcasting of any material related to the elections. No interviews, no debates, and no campaign time.

Hopefully, with the boycott, the current and future decision-makers understand that things cannot keep going as they are. In the last years, the government has not only not accepted any measure proposed by the sector, but also has not kept any of the promises made and approved within the State Budget.

Furthermore, earlier this month, the Portuguese President of the Republic promulgated the new radio law. The new law increases the minimum broadcasting amount for Portuguese music (now 30%) and adds even more obligations to the radio operators. According to the Association, this is unbearable.

As a result, a considerable number of radio stations chose to protest, hoping they will make enough noise to be heard, and considered.

Cacilhas – A Great Lisbon Day Trip

Staying in Lisbon for a few days and looking for something new to do? I’ve got a great place for to visit just a 10-minute ferry ride from Cais do Sodré, one of the largest transportation hubs in the city and right in the middle of all the tourist action. It’s called Cacilhas!

Taking the Ferry to Cacilhas

Ferries leave from Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas every 15 minutes from 5:35 am to 1:40 am. These are commuter ferries so taking a ride will make you feel like one of the locals. The last train back from Cacilhas is at 11:30 pm. You can try to get a photo of the Ponte 25 de Abril during your crossing, but it’s honestly best to save your pictures until you reach the other side.

A couple with the Cacilhas ferryboat in the background, Pedro Ribeiro Simões, Flickr

The ferry drops you off right at the intersection of all the fun. Locals often connect to a regional train here that travels further into Almada while a lively mix of tourists and Lisbon residents either turn right and begin walking down the Tagus along the pier or head towards Cacilhas’s main street known as Rua Cândido dos Reis.

When I got off the ferry for the first time in Cacilhas, I honestly wasn’t that impressed with the immediate surroundings. It looks like the pauper compared to the prince across the Tagus in Cais do Sodré. But, as you start walking down the pier and watch the fisherman stare out at the river holding their poles or peek into the abandoned factories and warehouses on your left-hand side, the water just far enough away to not spray up into your face, you will discover the raw charm of Cacilhas. This place feels like a rough-and-tumble adventure with plenty of jaw-dropping beauty along the way.

Fisherman, Matt Leys, Flickr

Let me bring you back to where we got off the ferry because this is the order that I would do things on your day trip to Cacilhas.

1) Lunch First on Rua Cândido dos Reis

There is nothing quite like Cacilhas’s main street in the center of Lisbon. Each time that I visit Cacilhas, I feel like I’m visiting a Greek Island that packs all of its restaurants closest to the harbor in order to make the biggest impression on hungry tourists. Unlike Greece and even the center of Lisbon, the variety of different cuisines on Rua Cândido dos Reis is impressive for a single street and leaves visitors spoiled for choice.

So do you go local and try Portuguese cuisine or do you try one of the many different ethnic cuisines? Of course, it’s entirely up to you, but I prefer Portuguese fusion, which I will recommend in the list below. The great news here is that there is something for everyone. If one of you feels like pizza, another wants octopus, and someone else wants sushi, no one will go home hungry! Let’s take a look at some of the best restaurants on this street.

Restaurante Farol de Cacilhas

“Farol” means “Lighthouse” in Portuguese and sits at the edge of Cacilhas, as the name might suggest, close to where you alight from the ferry. It offers a range of traditional Portuguese dishes including bacalhau assado à lagareiro (codfish with olive oil and baked potatoes) and other fresh seafood dishes. This restaurant provides adequate service, but it is not the best Cacilhas has to offer, in my opinion. So, if you’re looking for something more unique, keep walking down the main thoroughfare.  

Os Cunhados

Os Cunhados stands out for its delicious roasted chicken with homemade sauces. Roasted chicken served with piri piri sauce is a favorite meal for the Portuguese people. If you’re a chicken fan and also love a bit of spice, tuck in for some of the best chicken in Lisbon.

Boteco.47

When I mentioned Portuguese fusion earlier, this is actually one of the places that I had in mind. You can choose from a selection of tapas served with an interesting mix of ingredients from friendly, knowledgeable staff. Be sure to try the ceviche, sardines, and a dessert called brigadeiros. The menu changes slightly every day and the staff can explain each dish to you. Try to book ahead if possible.

Kamikaze

So your friend that wants sushi? This is the place. Mind you, it’s not great sushi, but it will do the job. Pad Thai here is another favorite, but it’s not going to taste exactly like you expect in Thailand. Still, it’s impressive that sushi has made it to Cacilhas and you have the option.

Pita Gourmet

This is a Greek chain in Lisbon that has its own branch next door to Kamikaze. Perhaps it opened here because the owners also felt like they had just landed on a Greek Island when they first walked up Rua Cândido dos Reis. If walking around Cacilhas has made you hungry for Greek food, this is the place.

Máfia das Pizzas

If you passed on the Japanese and the Greek, why not try something even more familiar right next to Pita Gourmet – Máfia das Pizzas. That’s right – the mafia have also made it to Cacilhas – and they brought the pizza. Choose from a number of different pizzas and pastas here and have a familiar favorite. I do like the name and, hey, there’s always that moment when you feel like pizza.

Arco Bistro

Keep walking a few buildings past Máfia das Pizzas and you will find Arco Bistro on the right-hand side, one of the newest and highest-quality restaurants on the street. Ladies and gentlemen, we have returned once again…to Portuguese fusion. If you like your food inventive and delicious while also keeping it local, this is the place for you. Try the seabass or octopus with potatoes. You can’t go wrong with the price/quality ratio and the friendly service here.

The Corkman Irish Pub

At the other end of the spectrum and also at the end of the line of restaurants on Cacilhas’ main street lies the Corkman Irish Pub. What more can I say except that they have typical Irish pub food and drinks along with a cheery pub quiz on Sundays? This recommendation is more for those staying in Lisbon for a while. I wouldn’t stop in if it was my first time in Cacilhas.  

2) Time to Put on Your Walking Shoes

Once you’ve finished lunch on Rua Cândido dos Reis, it’s time for a walk and some gorgeous views. Walk back towards where you arrived on the ferry and head down the path along the pier. This is where you will see a few fishermen and a line of abandoned warehouses.

Archway, Cacilhas, Achim, Flickr

In case you’re wondering, the area where these warehouses sit has been deemed unsafe for new construction so the buildings remain as remnants of times gone by. Some enterprising people have set up small shops inside these buildings including one vintage/antique shop with a man often trying to bring people in to make a donation. Keep walking and you will reach two restaurants at what appears to be the end of path. Walk past these restaurants for the next stop in our itinerary. We will come back to them later for dinner.

A walk through Cacilhas, forever_carrie_on, Flickr,

Elevador Panorâmico da Boca do Vento

Just beyond Ponto Final, which you have now discovered is not the Final Point, you will see a huge elevator called the Elevador Panorâmico da Boca do Vento. It is free to take the elevator although there can sometimes be a wait. Once at the top, you are greeted with breathtaking views of the river and Lisbon’s skyline. The elevator’s upper platform is an ideal spot for capturing the beauty of Lisbon from a unique perspective.

Elevador Panorâmico da Boca do Vento with Jardim do Rio at the bottom, Colin Hepburn, Flickr

From the top of the elevator, it is possible to walk to Cristo Rei, the famous statue of Jesus Christ with his arms outstretched facing Lisbon. This statue of Christ was patterned after the more famous one in Rio de Janeiro and expresses gratitude for Lisbon and its people escaping the perils of WWII.

Cristo Rei Lisbon, David Lurie, Flickr

Be forewarned, however, that the walk to the statue is around 2 km one way and takes longer than you think. You might want to stop at the elevator itself and arrange to take a car later from the ferry point to reach the statue.

Jardim do Rio

 After you get back down the elevator, sprawl out in the lush grass of the Jardim do Rio at its base. Take a break and watch the boats go by along the Tagus River, pull out a book, or enjoy a quiet conversation. You might even be offered a caipirinha by a street vendor or hear a guitarist practicing a new song.

3) Time for Dinner with Beautiful Sunset Views

After you’ve recovered from your walk in Jardim do Rio, it’s time for dinner and the biggest attraction in Cacilhas – the gorgeous sunset views. There is something so relaxing and inspiring about enjoying a glass of Portuguese wine sitting at the edge of the Tagus with the incredible Ponte Abril de 25 in the background. Let’s dive into your two dinner options.  

Atira-te ao Rio

The first is called “Atira-te ao Rio,” which translates to “Throw Yourself in the River.” While it has the opposite of a romantic name compared to its more famous neighbor “Ponto Final” (Final Point), the views here are still quite nice and it’s easy enough to walk around the edge of the restaurant and see the views that everyone is getting at Ponto Final. The insider tip here is that it’s much easier to get a reservation at Atira-te ao Rio, which can be done on their website compared to Ponto Final, which only takes phone calls and books out well in advance.

Atira-te ao Rio is celebrated for its rustic charm and dining here feels like a serene escape, with the gentle sounds of the river complementing the tasty dishes. Although you can see Lisbon on the other side of the river, you feel like a world away.

Atira-te ao Rio, encantadíssim, Flickr

Ponto Final

A short walk beyond Atira-te ao Rio leads to Ponto Final, a restaurant with one of the most romantic sunset views of Lisbon. The terrace seating of Ponto Final juts directly over the river, offering diners a unique experience as they enjoy the fresh local cuisine. While the food is delicious, the incredible views and element of discovery when you first turn the corner along the path and spot this restaurant are what give it its cachet. Try to book at least two weeks in advance if you’re trying for the golden hour, which is usually around 8:00-8:30 pm in summer. You might have more luck on a weekday or a slightly earlier dinner time.

Ponto Final, Udo Steinkamp, Flickr

Final Thoughts

Cacilhas is so close to the heart of Lisbon and yet seems like a world away. It has a raw yet traditional vibe that brings you much closer to the river and provides a different experience to the tile-lined narrow streets of central Lisbon. Although it is touristy in its own right, the journey on the ferry and the walk along its abandoned piers will make you feel like one of the locals. I would recommend that you wait for a sunny day to enjoy this day trip to the fullest. For those looking to explore beyond the well-trodden paths of Lisbon, Cacilhas is a destination that should not be missed.

Arouca 516: Breathtaking Views over Arouca Geopark

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Arouca 516 is the second-longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the entire world. It stands at a height of 175 meters, directly above the Paiva River. The pedestrian suspension bridge is a must-see for those who enjoy adventure and adrenaline, as well as nature in a pristine form.

There are no buildings around, nothing that disrupts the serenity of nature. One noticeable manmade structure, however, is called Passadicos do Paiva (Paiva Walkways). These take you to the mountaintops that grant access to Arouca 516.

Without any further ado, let’s discover more about Arouca 516!

Some Details About Arouca

Arouca is a Portuguese municipality located in the Aveiro District (in the North Region of Portugal). Don’t worry, it’s not too far inland, as Arouca is still within the Metropolitan Area of Porto.

Certainly, the most interesting aspect about Arouca is the fact that the entirety of its territory is considered a geopark. The city is part of the official global and European geopark networks and is well known for its geological heritage.

This might also be the reason why Arouca 516 was built in the area. On the one hand, it favors educational projects/programs being deployed in the area. On the other hand, it heavily promotes geotourism. For example, according to Câmara Municipal de Arouca, the Paiva Walkways, since their opening in 2015, have been traveled by more than one million tourists.

The city of Arouca is riddled with history, especially Christian settlement influence. While you must discover it on your own, we should at least mention the village of Tebilhão. It stands on the terraced foothills of Arouca and makes for an impressive view over the valley and the hills that guard it.

Who Built Arouca 516?

There are two parties involved in the construction of Arouca 516 – ITeCons, a Portuguese research institution, and Conduril Engenharia, S.A. ITeCons designed Arouca 516, whereas Conduril Engenharia, S.A. built it. The approximate total costs for this impressive suspension bridge were north of 2 million Euros – 2.3 million, to be precise.

The construction of the Arouca 516 began in May 2018 and was finished two years later, in April 2021. Then, on the 2nd of May 2021, the suspension bridge was officially opened to the public.

As you may have already guessed, Arouca 516 is 516 meters long. It takes under ten minutes to cross it at normal walking speed, but trust us, it will take a bit longer!

It doesn’t matter if you’re scared of heights – if you want to take as many pictures as possible or suspend yourself at the moment for as long as you can, you will most likely spend more than just ten minutes on the impressive Arouca 516!

How to Get to Arouca 516?

Two ways can get you to the Arouca 516 suspension bridge. One starts in the parish of Canelas, and the other one in the parish of Alvarenga, both of the Arouca municipality.

The Canelas route takes up to one hour and involves experiencing the Passadicos do Paiva, which we strongly recommend. However, if you don’t feel like going up 500 stairs, the Alvarenga route is the ideal choice, as it takes only 20 minutes to complete.

  • Canelas Route – for this route, you can rely on your car until you reach the Areinho River. There, however, you must start traveling on foot – you’ll be roughly 1200 meters away from Arouca 516. Shortly after you start walking, you’ll have to access and then conquer the Passadicos do Paiva – 500 stairs, an 8-km-long route with an incredible view from each turning point (the stairs are not in a straight line), and almost one hour of somewhat intense exercise.
  • Alvarenga Route – the shorter route implies traveling to Albisqueiros, the place where you’ll also trade your wheels for a pair of comfortable shoes. Albisqueiros is 1000 meters away from Arouca 516. This route is straight and to the point – you’ll find a marked route that will take you to the entrance to the suspension bridge. If you’re fast enough, you’ll be there in less than 20 minutes.

Arouca 516 is great for impromptu visits, especially if you find yourself traveling through the region. The municipality of Arouca makes sure that you won’t have the chance to miss it by keeping the bridge open all year round, except for Christmas Day.

Arouca bridge. Photo by Bruno Alves (Unsplash)

What Can You See in Arouca, Possibly Even From the Suspension Bridge?

As mentioned above, Arouca is a fully-fledged geopark – every inch of this municipality’s territory holds significant geological importance. As such, it’s no surprise that there are 41 geosites to be witnessed in Arouca.

Some of the most impressive geosites are as follows:

  • The Detrelo da Malhada viewpoint – is constructed over metasedimentary rocks; it offers a panoramic view over the northern side of Freita Mountain and the valley, where Arouca is located.
  • São Pedro Velho – a granite dome overlooking the incredible natural gems of the region, including the Montemuro mountain range..
  • Frecha da Mizarela – the highest waterfall that you can find in mainland Portugal; it flows over 60 meters high; the location also offers an excellent view of the granite of Freita Mountain and the impressive green steep slopes surrounding the waterfall.
  • Pedras Parideiras – it showcases a geological phenomenon in which a type of mineral emerges from a mother rock, resembling nodules. The phenomenon known as Perdas Parideiras can be seen only in Portugal and Russia, in Saint Petersburg.
  • Castanheira Fold Field – a beautiful display of geological folds, a testament to the Earth’s long history.
  • The Paiva Gorge – an enchanting haven of nature, isolated in between hills where the Paiva River narrows; the bridge dates from the 18th century, from where the Aguieiras waterfall can be seen.

Out of the 41 geosites, we strongly recommend visiting the Castanheira Fold Field and the Frecha da Mizarela waterfall. Don’t forget to check out the Canelas Geological Interpretation Center as well. It features an impressive fossil collection, notably the largest trilobites in the world – gastropods, cephalopods, brachiopods, and many others.

What Is the Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge in the World?

Arouca 516 once was the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world. However, in May 2022, the Czech Republic opened Sky Bridge 721, a pedestrian suspension bridge located roughly 3 hours away from the country’s capital.

Sky Bridge is, as the name implies, 721 meters long and stands 95 meters above the ground.

It is worth mentioning that there has been some uncertainty and disputes regarding Arouca 516’s standing as the longest pedestrian bridge in the world even before the construction of Sky Bridge 721. Specifically, there’s a bridge in Nepal that was, at the time, considered the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world, measuring 567 meters long.

In response to this, officials from Arouca affirmed that various details were taken into account when attributing this slogan (length, altitude, construction scope, and capacity). As such, they stand by the bridge’s attribution as the largest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world and consider it accurate.

Either way, don’t let these technicalities stand in your way! Arouca 516 is definitely worth a visit if you’re anywhere near Porto. You must not skip any of the 516 meters that make one of the most impressive pedestrian suspension bridges in the entire world! Who knows, maybe you’ll even want to return to Arouca someday, possibly during a different season, to enjoy nature at its best!

The Castle of Marvão: Echoes of History in Stone

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“From Marvão one can see the entire land… It is understandable that from this place, high up in the keep at Marvão Castle, visitors may respectfully murmur, ‘How great is the world’.” – words signed by the famous Portuguese author José Saramago.

Located on a hilltop at the border with Spain, the Castle of Marvão greets thousands of tourists yearly, offering them a glimpse into Portugal’s history.

Although most people visit Portugal for its oceanside cities and unbelievably charming beaches, they do not regret distancing themselves from the busy coastal areas. That’s how many travelers end up at the Castle of Marvão (and other castles as well – the country is actually filled with them!) and fall in love with the place on the spot!

Let’s discover some facts about the Marvão municipality, the castle’s history, and details about visiting the area! Enjoy your trip!

A Little About Marvão

Marvão is located in the Portalegre District in the east of Portugal. It is quite a small municipality, with a total area of 154 sq km and a population of only 2,972 people, registered in 2020.

The region is a gem for anthropology enthusiasts, as it is surrounded by several carved tombs and burial chambers, suggesting that it was once home to small farming settlements. Furthermore, archaeologists discovered a necklace in the region dating from the 3rd millennium BCE, as well as decorative objects like ceramics and deity sculptures.

Without getting into too many details because we want you to have the privilege to discover them by yourself, we’ll just say that Marvão is a dream destination for anyone looking for an authentic, history-rich town to enjoy on a one-day getaway.

Marvão should also be a top pick for travelers keeping an eagle eye on aesthetic treasure – it overlooks the Tagus basin and the Serra de Estrela, making for stunning views!

Marvao. Photo by Elvira Nimmee (Flickr)

History of the Castle of Marvão

It is believed that the Castle of Marvão dates back to the 9th century, having been built by Ibn Marwan, also known as al-Jillīqī, a Muwallad (Muladi – population native to the Iberian Peninsula who adopted Islam in the aftermath of the Muslim conquest). Allegedly, he built the castle between 876 and 877. In the 10th century, the settlement acquired the name Amaia de Ibn Maruan or Fortaleza de Amaia.

Between 1160 and 1166, the region was conquered from Moorish forces by Christian forces loyal to Afonso I of Portugal. Years later, Afonso III donated the settlement to the Order of Malta, which would later be awarded to D. Afonso Sanches, his son.

When King D. Dinis, the eldest son of Afonso III, rose to power, the settlement found itself trapped in a dispute between the sovereign and D. Afonso. In 1299, it was conquered by the forces of the sovereign.

Ferdinand I of Portugal, who ruled between 1367 and 1383, named Marvão a sanctuary place. Over the next century, Marvão underwent works of reinforcing the walls and expanding the settlement. The region’s castle was remodeled multiple times – first, it acquired the turrets, then the corbel, and, lastly, the reinforced bastions.

In 1641, after the castle had been named a primary line of defense, it was attacked by the Spanish forces, who left the fortress in ruins, and required serious repairs. Not long after, the army commanded by the Duke of Berwick conquered the fortification, only to surrender it a year later to the army commanded by Count of São João.

Over the next several hundred years, the Castle of Marvão continued to stand as a defense fortification, having suffered multiple attacks. Its location was probably its key strength – it could only be accessed from a narrow, very steep road.

However, it wasn’t only the attack of foreign forces that took a toll on the castle’s majesty. In 1997, the Southern Barbican (a fortified gateway) was struck by lightning and completely destroyed.

Although many details of this castle’s long-standing history spanning over several centuries were omitted in our article (we’d have to write a book to share everything!), we can definitely state that its contribution to the country of Portugal is undeniable and substantial.

Visiting the Castle of Marvão

Carrying proof of won and lost battles, the Castle of Marvão lies at an altitude of 800 meters on a rocky, steep hill, overlooking the whole region. Its extensive walls enclose the medieval town, further adding to its charm and value. The cistern in one of the castle’s courtyards is among the things that impress visitors the most. The fact that it is still functional stands as evidence of the region’s authenticity.

As you walk through the area, you’ll delight in the picturesque, out-of-this-world views that will take your breath away. You’ll probably start envisioning yourself spending all your evenings there, wondering how it would be to live in such a serene place…

As such, taking your time to visit the Castle of Marvão should definitely make it to your must-do list. However, we must warn you – the roads are quite narrow, so you should drive very carefully.

On the positive side, although the region has become quite a popular tourist destination in recent years, its location (far from the ocean and more difficult to access) doesn’t make it to the top of the list for all travelers. That’s why it is usually very quiet, without the busyness of other popular tourist spots. Therefore, you can enjoy a peaceful evening watching the sunset over Europe’s most beautiful lands.

The Castle of Marvão is open daily and the entrance fee is 1.5 EUR. In the winter, visiting is allowed from 10 am to 7 pm, while in the summer, the castle is open from 9 am to 9 pm. We strongly recommend checking the hours and entrance fee beforehand to ensure nothing has changed.

Marvao Castle. Photo by Alvaro Rodriguez (Flickr)

Other Landmarks to See in Marvão

Since you’re already in Marvão, take your time to check out some other landmarks in the area. Visit the Santa Maria Church and the Municipal Museum located within it. The museum is home to rich collections of sacred art and archeological pieces outlining the region’s history.

You can also visit Antiga Casa do Governador, which opens the doors to 17th-century architecture and decor. Don’t forget to add Capela do Calvario and Capela do Espirito Santo to your list as well.

During your stay, don’t hesitate to enjoy lunch or dinner in Marvão. This way, you’ll be able to try some of the region’s specialties. In addition, souvenirs are truly unique there (and at excellent prices!). So if you haven’t had time to buy anything yet, we’re sure you’ll pack your bags with lots of ceramics from Marvão!

The Best Time to Visit the Castle of Marvão

Naturally, you should schedule your visit depending on your preferences and availability. However, we recommend checking the weather forecast beforehand. Bear in mind that the castle is at a higher altitude, and you definitely don’t want strong winds on the day you get there!

During the winter, the weather in Marvão may be slightly colder than in Lisbon, for example. It may also rain frequently. Sometimes the rain showers are frequent but short, interspersed with sunshine, while other times they are more constant, making it quite unpleasant to walk around the city.

If you haven’t decided on a season yet, we recommend visiting the Castle of Marvão in the spring, preferably May, or in the autumn, preferably September. If you’re looking for a magical destination for your next Christmas, you can give Marvão a chance as well. The holiday atmosphere is truly enchanting in the region!

Life After NHR: Latest 2024 Update

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Well, there is no doubt that 2023 was a rocky year in Portugal’s rich political history. The year saw changes to the very popular Golden Visa program, the withdrawal of the fantastically popular NHR (non-habitual residency scheme), and the eventual resignation of Prime Minister Antonio Costa.

As we now settle into a new year and a fresh start, it is time to start thinking about life after NHR. For people who are already registered on the scheme, the benefits will continue. For those who made it into the grandfathering period, the same luxury will apply.

The government-approved budget for 2024 saw no significant changes to the tax regime. Income tax bands increased with inflation and the tax bands for the first five income bands were reduced, to help lower to middle-income earners.

That aside, a new regime will be introduced to replace NHR but will be focusing mainly on employment with no benefit to those retiring in Portugal. Those who qualify will benefit from a flat 20% rate on employment and self-employment income.

NHR was introduced back in 2009 to enable qualifying professionals to enjoy beneficial tax planning for a period of 10 years. Portugal will now be divided by those who are on NHR and those who are not. One thing as sure as death and taxes is that the number of people on NHR will reduce year on year until around the year 2035 when there will be no beneficiaries left.

Want to become part of the large community of US expats in Portugal? Sign up for Holborn Assets’ live webinar on the challenges facing US connected clients moving or living in Portugal. Find out all about the financial perks of moving to Portugal and have all your burning questions answered. The event is scheduled for March 27 at 5 pm (Lisbon Time) / 12 pm EST. If you would like to schedule a one-on-one call instead, you can book one here.


Register Your Spot

There are more than 11,000 NHRs in Portugal but whether you are lucky enough to be one of them, or missed the boat in applying, there will be a point where NHR will end for everyone. For those who are finishing their 10-year period, the decision will then be made as to whether to stay or go.

Portugal still offers many hidden gems, not just in its beautiful scenery but also in its financial structure. There are investment wrappers designed to dovetail with NHR (or standalone) that can provide an increasing tax benefit the longer they are held. This investment can reduce tax liabilities by up to 60%, providing a significant reduction in tax on investment or pension income.

People who are benefiting from NHR need to be looking at these long-term strategies. By putting plans in place now, you can reduce the tax you will need to pay after NHR ends. Significantly reducing the impact and making the transition far smoother.

For those who do not qualify for NHR, it is important to structure your finances in a way that protects you long-term. There are many benefits to be had in Portugal, it’s just essential that you identify these early to reap the rewards.

Portugal will always be a popular destination for people seeking a life in the sunshine. There are few other countries that can offer the same climate, scenery, and relaxed pace of life. The changes over the last year should not detract from this, but instead should just act as a further incentive to do your planning and make sure that you position yourself in the best possible way to live the life you always dreamed of.