There is a magical undercurrent that pervades Portugal, a sense of a carefully preserved past. Golden beaches with sparkling clean waters line the western and southern coastlines. Flower-filled meadows stretch toward sloping hills, then rise to mountain bluffs crowned by a 12th-century castle. You can picnic amid a ghostly city abandoned by the Romans, or explore the old palaces and summer retreats of royalty and hike through forests famed for poets.
And it’s the most affordable country in Western Europe—a couple can live well on less than $30,000 per year, immersed in history, culture, and eating out often.
Read on to discover seven idyllic spots in Portugal where the cost of living is low and the quality of life is high:
The former Roman city of Guimarães was chosen by the first king of Portugal in 1128 as his administrative base. Today it is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is one of the most popular day trips from Lisbon and draws tourists from around the world to visit sites like its 10th-century castle. Despite its historical attractions, the population of this very Portuguese city of 52,000 goes on about its workaday business, creating an interesting blend in the general tone of the city.