Raising Children in Portugal as an Expat Family - All You Need to Know!

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Published on 30 June, 2023

By Portugal Homes

Raising Children in Portugal as an Expat Family - All You Need to Know!
Are you considering raising your children in Portugal? From its family-friendly culture and educational opportunities to healthcare and recreational activities, we'll explore the wonders of living in Portugal with kids. As you settle into your new home, immerse yourself in the rich culture, explore the wonders of the country, and forge lifelong connections that will enrich your family's story.


Family Life in Portugal


Welcome to a country where family values, warmth, and togetherness are at the heart of everyday life. Portugal is the perfect place for living with your kids, raising children as an expat family offers advantages that contribute to a positive upbringing and quality of life. 


The strong sense of community in Portugal is a remarkable aspect for expats living with kids. Support networks and community initiatives provide opportunities for families that want to connect and get to know the best places for families in Portugal. If you are thinking of raising children in Portugal, making friends, and building lasting relationships are important and easy things to do. Being one of the safest countries in the world, there is a strong emphasis on safety, healthcare, and well-being, so parents can feel confident that their children are in a secure and nurturing environment. 


Portugal offers a range of options for the education system, including public and private schools, with a focus on quality education. The country’s education system also encourages cultural and social development. 


The outdoor lifestyle and natural beauty of the country contribute to a vibrant scenario while raising children in Portugal. The country’s rich cultural heritage, historical sites, and traditional festivals provide countless opportunities for children to immerse themselves in Portuguese culture, fostering a sense of appreciation for diversity and broadening their perspectives. 


Portugal also offers a range of options to accommodate different budgets, making it possible for expat families to find suitable and affordable housing. This makes raising children in Portugal as an expat family a nurturing and enriching experience. 


Best Place in Portugal to Live with kids


Portugal's captivating beauty and atmosphere provide an array of wonderful destinations for families thinking of moving, living and raising their families. Whether you are drawn to enchanting coastal towns or vibrant cities, each region in Portugal has its distinct charm and advantages for families. Portugal Homes help you find the best places for families to live in Portugal, offering guidance and a range of budget-friendly properties to raise your children.


Lisbon, the dynamic capital city, blends history with modernity and it is a shopper’s paradise, with its outdoor markets and handcraft items. It offers a diverse range of educational institutions, international schools, and enriching extracurricular activities for children. The city's abundant green spaces and parks, museums, and family-friendly attractions like the Lisbon Zoo and Oceanarium ensure endless opportunities for exploration and entertainment.



Porto, renowned for its rich culture and picturesque riverfront, is a delightful city for families looking for raising children. It boasts excellent schools, including international options, and places a strong emphasis on child-friendly infrastructure. Porto's beautiful parks, such as the romantic Parque da Cidade and adventure-filled Serralves Park, provide ample space for outdoor activities and family outings.


Cascais, a charming coastal town near Lisbon, offers a high quality of life and a family-friendly environment. One of the best places for families in Portugal, it is perfect for raising children. It features a range of international schools, sports clubs, and recreational facilities catering to children of all ages. The town's stunning beaches, including Guincho and Carcavelos, provide a picturesque backdrop for memorable family beach days and water sports, ideal while living with kids in Portugal.


The Algarve, located in the southern region, embraces a laid-back lifestyle and a welcoming atmosphere for families thinking about moving to Portugal. It offers international schools, family-oriented healthcare services, and a variety of activities for children. Families can enjoy the nearby Ria Formosa Natural Parks, explore historic sites, or indulge in water sports along the beautiful Algarve coastline and the exclusive Golden Triangle location.


Each destination offers a distinctive experience for families living with kids in Portugal. Embrace the country’s warm culture, enjoy the family-friendly amenities, and create unforgettable memories in your chosen city as you embark on an extraordinary journey when moving to Portugal with your family.




Cost of Living in Portugal as a Family


Planning a move to Portugal as a family requires a thorough understanding of the cost of living. As interest in Portugal grows among families living with kids, navigating the financial aspects is crucial. The average cost while living in Portugal with kids, for a family of 4, is 2,144.1€ without renting costs, according to Numbeo. 


Education & School System


Education plays a vital role in the lives of families living in Portugal with kids, and finding the right educational opportunities is crucial. Let's begin with an overview of the Portuguese education system. It encompasses different levels, including preschool, primary, secondary, and higher education. The system consists of public, private, and international schools, offering diverse options for families. 



Public schools in Portugal provide a comprehensive education, following a well-structured curriculum with high standards. With a rising foreign population growing & settling in Portugal and raising their children, the education system offers benefits such as accessibility, a multicultural environment, and integration into the local community.


Private and International schools are also prevalent in Portugal, catering to expat families and providing education in various languages. These schools offer advantages like smaller class sizes, specialized programs, and a global perspective.

Portugal is committed to academic excellence, evident in the quality of education provided. Portuguese students perform well in international assessments, and educational institutions are recognized and accredited. The curriculum in Portuguese schools covers core subjects, and languages providing ample opportunity for extracurricular activities. Students can engage in sports, arts, music, and clubs, fostering a well-rounded education. 


The Lisbon MBA Católica | Nova is a top-ranked program recognized by the prestigious Financial Times rankings. It holds the distinguished position of being ranked in the top 25 in Europe and the top 100 globally. In the recent Financial Times Global MBA 2023 Rankings, The Lisbon MBA CATÓLICA|NOVA, in partnership with MIT, secured the #24 position in Europe and #85 worldwide.  


Notably, it is the only ranked MBA programme in Portugal. The programme's international experience is highly regarded, placing it as the 2nd most international MBA worldwide. These rankings attest to the programme's excellence and its commitment to providing global business education. 



International students receive support through language programmes and integration initiatives, as Portugal fosters a range of premium-quality schools all over the country, from which you can choose from. Higher education in Portugal encompasses universities and specialized institutions. English-taught degree programmes are available, and Portuguese universities enjoy recognition worldwide.


Portuguese health services for your family


Access to quality healthcare is essential for families, and understanding Portuguese health services is paramount. The healthcare system in Portugal encompasses both the public and private sectors. The country has a reputation for providing excellent medical care, ensuring expat families receive the attention they need.


If you are raising children in Portugal, you can be sure that the country offers family-oriented healthcare services, including paediatric clinics, family doctors, and specialized maternity care. Preventive care and regular check-ups for children are emphasized, promoting a proactive approach to healthcare.


Health insurance options in Portugal include public health insurance (SNS) and private health insurance plans. Each type of insurance offers benefits and coverage, facilitating easy access to healthcare services, even for families living with kids in Portugal. Paediatric care in Portugal is of high quality, with specialized healthcare services tailored to children's unique needs. Paediatricians, child psychologists, and other specialists are available. 



Emergency and urgent care services in Portugal are efficient and accessible. Hospital emergency departments and urgent care clinics are equipped to handle immediate medical attention for families in need. Wellness and lifestyle services are also available in Portugal, promoting a healthy lifestyle for families. Fitness centres, sports facilities, and wellness programmes contribute to the well-being of the whole family.


Family Activities in Portugal


When it comes to family activities Portugal is the perfect and one of the safest places to spend quality time with your children, creating lasting memories. Portugal offers a wealth of outdoor adventures and nature experiences for families, including hiking, beach outings, and visits to nature parks. The country's diverse landscapes, encompassing mountains, forests, and coastal areas, provide endless opportunities for exploration.


If you are raising your children in Portugal, you will have access to the country’s cultural imprint, which represents another avenue for family experiences. Families from the 4 corners of the world, with different backgrounds, can immerse themselves in the historical sites, museums, and cultural festivals, exploring the rich history and heritage of the country.



If you experience the expat life in Portugal, you will know that there are many theme parks and amusement centres, available to families with kids of all ages. From thrilling attractions to entertaining rides, there are plenty of options for families seeking excitement and fun.


Portugal's family-friendly beaches are clean, safe, and equipped with facilities that cater to families. Water sports such as swimming, surfing, and boat tours offer further enjoyment for children and parents alike.



Throughout the year, Portugal hosts family-focused events and festivals that offer entertainment and cultural experiences for all ages. From carnivals to music festivals, these events provide opportunities for families living in Portugal with kids to come together and celebrate.


Family-friendly restaurants are abundant offering kid-friendly menus, play areas, and entertainment options. Exploring the diverse flavours becomes a delightful family adventure if you are raising children in Portugal. 

Sports and recreational activities are available for families in Portugal. Soccer, tennis, swimming, and cycling are a few examples. Sports facilities, parks, and recreational areas cater to families' active lifestyles.


Favourite Places to Visit with Kids


Embarking on a new family adventure in Portugal while raising your children opens a world of exciting opportunities for memorable experiences. From picturesque coastal towns to historical landmarks and breathtaking natural landscapes, the country offers a wide range of family activities that will captivate both children and adults alike.



With over 1.000km of coastline, Portugal boasts some of Europe's most stunning beaches. From the golden sands of the Algarve to the dramatic cliffs of the Costa Vicentina, families can enjoy swimming, building sandcastles, and engaging in water sports like paddleboarding and kayaking. The Praia da Rocha in Algarve and Praia da Comporta near Lisbon are particularly popular choices for families.


Portugal is rich in history, and exploring its historical sites is both educational and entertaining for the whole family. Take a journey back in time by visiting iconic landmarks such as the Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon, the Roman Temple in Évora, or the medieval town of Óbidos, on the Silver Coast. These sites offer a glimpse into the country’s fascinating past and provide an immersive experience for kids living in Portugal.


If you are thinking of moving to Portugal with your families, you will embark on hiking trails in the Peneda-Gerês National Park, explore the mystical caves of the Algarve, or go dolphin-watching in the Azores. The Parque das Nações in Lisbon offers a range of family-friendly activities, including cable car rides, bike rentals, and interactive science museums.


For an action-packed day of fun, Portugal's theme parks are sure to delight children of all ages. The Zoomarine in Algarve offers an exciting combination of marine life shows, water slides, and educational exhibits. In Lisbon, the Oceanário de Lisboa showcases a diverse array of marine species, while the KidZania provides an interactive city where children can explore different professions.



Visit traditional markets like Mercado da Ribeira in Lisbon or Mercado Bolhão in Porto to taste local delicacies and experience the vibrant atmosphere. Attend local festivals and events, such as the São João Festival in Porto or the Festas de Lisboa, where families can enjoy live music, street performances, and traditional dances.


Portugal's culinary scene is a treat for the whole family. Sample delicious pastéis de nata (custard tarts) in Lisbon, savour fresh seafood in coastal towns, or enjoy traditional Portuguese gastronomy in countryside restaurants.  

Portugal values the well-being of families living with kids, delivering reliable healthcare services and family support. Accessible medical facilities provide quality care for children, and parents can find peace of mind knowing their family's health needs are met.


As mentioned, the education system caters to the needs of expat families, with international schools providing quality education in English or other languages. Children can enjoy a multicultural learning environment and get valuable skills for their future and live in the best places for families in Portugal. 



Growing a Family in Portugal: Pros & Cons


Growing a family in Portugal offers many advantages and considerations. As an attractive destination for families. Proximity to nature and outdoor activities is a significant advantage in Portugal if you are thinking of moving to Portugal with your family. Kids living here can enjoy outdoor adventures and quality time together amidst the country's abundant natural landscapes, mild climate, and access to beaches, mountains, and parks.


The family-oriented culture in Portugal is another positive aspect. The emphasis placed on family values and connections create a welcoming and supportive environment for families from every country. Portuguese people are known for their friendliness, making it easier for expat families to integrate and thrive while raising children in Portugal.



The education system is of high quality, encompassing both public and private schools. International schools are also available to cater to the needs of expat families, ensuring a well-rounded education for children. 

The healthcare services and family support are comprehensive and accessible. Paediatric care and family-oriented medical facilities are available, offering peace of mind to families. The healthcare system is known for its affordability, making it easier for families to access the care they need.


The affordable cost of living in Portugal is helpful for families. Compared to other European countries, the cost of housing and daily expenses is more affordable, allowing families to manage their finances. 

Cultural experiences and the country's rich history provide children with valuable learning opportunities. Portugal's historical sites, museums, and festivals offer educational and enriching experiences that broaden children's perspectives. 


Read the Ultimate guide on Moving to Portugal.


The multicultural environment and expat community in Portugal create a diverse and inclusive society. Children have the chance to interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures, fostering cultural awareness and appreciation.


Raising children in a country where Portuguese is the primary language presents language learning opportunities. Children can become bilingual, which offers long-term benefits and opens doors for future opportunities.


As you reflect on your decision to raise your children in Portugal, take pride in the incredible experiences and opportunities you can provide for your family. From the bonds formed with the local community to the moments of discovery and growth, your children can experience. Portugal has become a cherished home for living with your kids, where your family can flourish and where a bright future awaits.


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