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Portugal - Lisbon

(12 Posts)
OlafLovesAnna Thu 22-Feb-18 19:28:42

We may be on the move to just outside Lisbon to a government job.

It's not somewhere I know a lot about but I speak fluent Spanish so I'm confident I can can get up to speed with a load of lessons and immersion. We'll be taking a 6yr old and an 11yr old so I'm interested in schools, thinks to do with children, nice places to live.

Also any quirks of living in Portugal or need to knows or general opinion or advice would be great.

Sarahlou63 Fri 23-Feb-18 16:59:25

It's bloody great! The weather, the people, the countryside, the cost of living (apart from cars which, are mind-boggingly expensive), the people, the ease of travel both within Portugal and around Europe.

OlafLovesAnna Sat 24-Feb-18 13:37:00

Thanks- I'm pretty excited but I'm not sure where to start with the organisational tasks.

The job rents us a house and pays for a school but I can't seem to get any clues on how to move it forward or what people need from me.

My biggest question at the moment is do I or do I not take my furniture?!

I went to Lisbon for a day about 15 yrs ago and liked it so I'm looking forward to exploring and gaining a bit of linguistic proficiency.

Laureline Sun 25-Feb-18 11:00:56

I have been living in Lisbon since 2016, with husband and child, so happy to answer questions you may have.

If your job is paying for the move, I would keep my furniture, but afterwards it's really a personal choice. I don't think furniture is especially cheap here (Ikea is more expensive here than where I was living before, etc).

As Sarahlou said, cars are very expensive. Actually, a lot of things are not that cheap around Lisbon, and it's good your employer is paying for the house. In which area will you be living? Cascais?

For schools, have you registered the children? A lot of the foreign schools can have long waiting lists.

OlafLovesAnna Mon 26-Feb-18 10:41:12

Laureline- thank you. It's a government job in Oeiras so our move will be paid for and schools will be paid for.

The company organise the house etc which is quite difficult for me as I prefer to be in control! We're renting our our own house so I want to get the process going.

I'm hoping to find out today where the house is, but if you have any recommendations on area / schools etc I'd be very grateful.

Regarding utilities etc how long is the process of getting connected and how do bills compare to the UK? I won't be working I don't think so I'm a bit worried about cost of living etc.

Laureline Sat 03-Mar-18 10:42:06

I'm not very familiar with Oeiras itself, but I guess you want a house that's not too far from transportation. I would want to live as close to the coast and the train into Lisbon as possible. Cascais or Carcavelos can be good options too. You have international schools in Cascais, and I remember there's one in Oeiras itself (we go to the French Lycee so we live in that part of Lisbon).

For utilities, if the previous renter didn't cancel his utilities, it can be posible to transfer them into your name.
But if they have been cut, you'll need to reconnect. Once you have the lease, a fiscal number, a bank account number, and a reading of the meters, you can go to these places that are a sort of shopping center for utilities, where all the providers are gathered (Loja do Cidadão), and you can chose companies to open your utilities. For example, we are with EPAL for water, EDP for electricity, and GALP for gas. It took a few days to get things connected, as the GALP guy had to come to our place physically.

Bills compared to the UK: I just asked my husband as he's the one who follows this.
We're a family of 3:
Water: we pay about 18/19 euros per month. We use showers rather than baths, and have a dishwasher and washing machine we use almost every day.
Electricity: 50 to 60 euros a month (!) and we try to be careful about not leaving lights on, etc. We do not have a clothes dryer, nor do we have electric heaters.
Gas: no idea. GALP made us pay a lot at the beginning, about 100 euros per month, and then they realized they were charging us too much, and we haven't paid anything since last June and still have a 90 euros credit.

Laureline Sat 03-Mar-18 10:53:55

Oh, and we are with NOS for the internet, TV and a mobile phone for my husband, and we pay circa 60 euros per month.

Maybe you could ask your employer if you will be getting help from a relocation company? You can muddle through without them, but it would make your like much easier to have someone help you with all the administration stuff. We had one, and they helped us in particular for:
- opening a bank account. We're with Millenium (website is in English), but I hear that NovoBanco is good too.
- opening our utilities at the loja de cidadao
- registering at the Town Hall (you have to, even when you're EU citizens)
- registering our driver's license
- registering at the Centro de Saude (health center). How are you going to be insured for health?
- registering at the junta de freguesia (sort of mini town hall)
- if you plan to import a car into Portugal, think long and hard because it can be a very time-consuming and expensive process.

If your employer is not providing a relocation help, I know of different providers in Lisbon: Eres, who are based in Cascais, New Way, and Moving On. There must be others, of course. They probably propose packs of services to individuals.

Laureline Sat 03-Mar-18 10:56:38

And I forgot something very important:
- obtaining a fiscal number (NIF / "contribuinte") at the tax office ("Serviço de Finanças"). You cannot do anything before you have one, no lease signing, no utilities, no bank account, no payroll!

OlafLovesAnna Sat 03-Mar-18 13:35:38

Thanks so much for all that information; it's really helpful. We will have someone who can guide us through the process but as you say until you actually move you can't get a lot set up.

Car wise we can bring our own car but the employer will bear the cost but I think we'll probably sell it here and buy a left hand drive in Portugal.

I speak fluent Spanish but very little Portuguese so I'll need to put some work in there and maybe do classes. I'd like to work but in reality I'm not sure how easy that will be.


Laureline Sat 03-Mar-18 15:13:28

I'm sure knowing Spanish will help you learn Portuguese, but they're not the same languages, and also have some significant differences.

I'm French, and can understand written Portuguese okayish (I can work out the sense of most texts), but speaking and understanding European Portuguese I find very tough.

Be careful not to speak to people systematically in Spanish, as some of them might not like it wink

Raybez Tue 13-Mar-18 17:03:54

Hi - just jumping in on this - hope you don't mind. We are also looking at a move to Lisbon. Trouble is, I'm currently very pregnant and therefore unable to visit before we have to commit. I'm very nervous for obvious reasons, but I don't want to miss out on a great opportunity just because the timing isn't perfect - everyone says it's a wonderful place. confused
By the time we'd have to move, we'd have a 6 year old and a 3 month old. We think we'd want to live in the city, to benefit from a nice short (possibly even walkable) commute for my husband, and better access to co-working spaces for me when I'm ready to get back to it. So Cascais and the coast doesn't feel like the right option for us.
We're keen to find an English speaking primary school in the city centre for our son (who only speaks English atm). So, we've made contact with The Redbridge School, where they teach a French curriculum but there is a lot of English spoken. They've assured us he'd be fine there. But the school only opened in September, so I would love to know what other parents make of it so far. Or whether there are any other good options we might have missed.
I'm also keen to know whether Lisbon would be a good place to be as a non-Portuguese speaker with a new baby. Are there playgroups? Would I find other mums to talk to?
I'd really appreciate any thoughts you might have - I'm stuck at home, feeling giantly pregnant, and totally clueless!

Laureline Thu 22-Mar-18 10:02:17

Hi Raybez - congrats on your pregnancy!

I know a few other parents who put theirs kids in Redbridge, and they seem happy with the school.

I honestly have no idea about playgroups but maybe you could look up the websites of American or British women’s associations? They might have something?

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