That's question number 1: "If we go, then where do we go"?
Answer: The answer to this question depends on your personal situation, there's not one answer that fits everybody so we have to look at it generally:
- Portugal is one of the safest countries in Europe, the crime rate is very low
- Portugal (especially the Beiras) is cheap compared to other countries
- The Portuguese Beiras have the cleanest air of all
- Portugal offers more individual freedom due to the hierarchical organisation: the local authority (being the mayor / junta de freguesia) has more influence than on average in other countries
- The Portuguese people are very friendly and helpful
- Portugal offers many opportunities for recreation: hiking, swimming, restaurants, wildlife, sports etc., you name it: Portugal has it
- And we can go on for ages, it's only wise to take a look and find out for yourself what more Portugal has to offer
The Portuguese system differs a lot from other countries; it's quite beaurocratic, but that is not per definition a bad thing. Look at it this way: all the rules and regulations are pretty straight-forward: if you want to buy a house or car, or if you need a Visa to stay for a longer period, if you want to start a company etc. etc. then you can find everything you need to do listed on the websites of the authorities, it's like a checklist and when you have checked all these requirements then you're ready to go.
So it might look like "OMG look at all these requirements", but at least it's clear: no wondering about this or that: just some things that you have to do.
And if you are not sure about things: then you will find out that there are many people willing to help ór you go to a tax specialist, a sollicitadora, an advogado, a financial advisor (or whoever) to whom you pay a small fee and he or she will do it for you.
Very important question!
Besides the fact that it's wise to first go on vacation to Portugal and have a look around, primarily you need a Portuguese tax-number (called NIF). Without that you can't do anything. And it's só easy to get a NIF (ánd it's completely free of charge if you do it yourself): all you need is an identification (passport or ID-card) and a proof of your adress in your home-country (like a letter from some authorities or so). With these two things you can apply for a NIF
- At a tax-office in Portugal (almost every city has one)
- Often the Portuguese ambassy or consulate in your homecountry can help you with it
- You can apply for it online at the website of the Portuguese tax-authority: Portal das Finanças
- Have a professional do it for you