Portugal and Greece share a lot of similarities across many aspects. One example is the sunny, Mediterranean-influenced weather, with both countries boasting mild winters and warm summers. Another is the savoury, rich gastronomies which often rank among the best in the world, and the fact both countries have an affordable cost of living. These are far from being the only reasons why investors seek these countries to establish a second residency abroad.
Portugal and Greece are chosen partly because of their sociopolitical contexts. As countries in the European Union, they are both havens of safety, with stable governments and strong economies.
For these reasons alone, it is no wonder why Portugal and Greece are such sought-after locations.
Usually, the biggest draw of these countries is the benefits they extend through their Golden Visa programs. As Residents of either Portugal or Greece, there is an increase in international mobility, access to higher standards of education and healthcare, and the possibility of bringing one’s family with them.
If you are seeking residency in the European Union, investment immigration programs such as the Portugal Golden Visa and the Greece Golden Visa present the perfect solution, allowing you to bypass bureaucratic and time-consuming processes. Both initiatives hold their merits, setbacks, and benefits, and are worth considering, but is there a better one?
Golden Visa: Portugal vs Greece Explained
The term “Golden Visa” is an umbrella term for specific programs that allow investors to easily obtain Residency by investing significant amounts of capital into the country’s economy.
Created around the same time, with Portugal kickstarting its program in 2012, and Greece following suit in 2013, these programs have awarded tens of thousands of investors Residency in the European Union and have generated billions of EUROs to their respective economies.
Both Golden Visas offer a wide range of investment options, including contributions, donations, and purchase of bonds and shares, among others, but the purchase of Real Estate property has always proved to be the best, most enticing option, bringing more benefits than others.
In 2023, the Portuguese government announced the discontinuation of the option to directly acquire Real Estate as a way of securing Residency in Portugal. However, the program still exists through other options.
Greece, on the other hand, still has the option to buy property in order to obtain Residency in Greece. Right now, it represents an alternative opportunity to get Residency status in the European Union, starting with an investment amount of €250,000 in most regions of the country, though this requirement was raised in 2023 in certain regions of the country to €500,000.
Golden Visa: Impact in the Economy
Both the Golden Visas have generated a tremendously positive impact on each respective country’s economy. Over a decade, between 2012 and 2022, the Portugal Golden Visa produced more than 6 billion EURO for the country among all the investment options, proving a major source of income. In 2023 alone, from January to September, the Portugal Golden Visa resulted in more than half a billion EURO, with the option of directly purchasing Real Estate accounting for more than 410 million EURO to the country’s economy, meaning it was responsible for more than 70% of the total amount.
In total, according to the latest information, more than 12,000 Residency Permits were issued by the Portuguese authorities. Considering this is no longer an option, the future remains unclear for the Portugal Golden Visa.
With Greece, recent data from January to May 2023 reveals a total of almost 4,000 submission requests for Golden Visa verification on Real Estate acquisitions, an astounding increase when compared to 1,444 during the same time period of the previous year. This represented about € 1 Billion invested in the Greek economy through the Greece Golden Visa alone, and the increase of local developments and the creation of jobs in specific areas of the country, according to the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum.
The Greece Golden Visa is a compelling choice, offering several investment options all over the Greek islands, securing EU Residency, the possibility of acquiring citizenship, the ability to bring your family, visa-free travel, and a unique cultural experience.
Golden Visa: Is Greece becoming more popular than Portugal?
The most recent revision to the law that regulates the Portugal Golden Visa revoked buying property as a way of getting Residency in the European Union. Other options remain for Portugal, starting at an investment amount of €250,000, but the Greece Golden Visa is set to take the stage with the same amount.
This is occurring because Greece offers the opportunity of acquiring Real Estate as an option, as it represents an existing physical asset that can serve as the basis for a Plan B in situations of political instability. Thus, it stands to reason that, yes, the Greece Golden Visa is becoming more popular, not only due to its appealing benefits but also because it arguably provides more value for the cost it requires.
However, investing in Portugal’s Real Estate remains an excellent choice. Even if the best Golden Visa option no longer exists, there are other, compelling alternative solutions that can also be a path to Residency in Portugal and the European Union by investing in Real Estate.
Lifestyle: Portugal vs Greece – Where to Live?
Portugal and Greece offer, overall, a similar lifestyle. Despite being physically separated for more than 2360 miles, the countries have evolved similarly in some aspects.
Moving to Portugal will still anyone to feel the influence of the Mediterranean, even if the country is not bathed by the sea itself, as its breezes stretch over the country, soothing its weather, and producing warm summers and mild wet winters, similar to Greece. The influences of the sea do not end there, as both Portuguese and Greek cuisines heavily revolve around the use of olive oil, seafood, salads, vegetables, and fruits.
The Portuguese and the Greeks share an intense sense of family and community. There are strong ties between parents and children and extended family, and it is common for them to be a part of each other’s daily life. In fact, it is also common for children to live with their parents until later in life.
Both countries boast a relaxed way of life, which is reflected in a more laid-back approach to life. Social gatherings of friends and acquaintances can commonly be found across cafés and restaurants across the streets of major cities, often enjoying meals, drinks, and each other’s company late into the night, as the tendency in both is to eat dinner late, usually after 8 p.m.
However, as there are similarities, there are also differences. Generally speaking, Portugal is safer than Greece. In 2023, Portugal ranked 7 in the Global Peace Index, while Greece occupies the 60th position.
Not to mention, the Portuguese and Greek languages are as distinct as they come. This extends across cultures, traditions, and customs as well. The Greece of today descends from a civilization that birthed democracy and a history spanning millennia and its culture is deeply its own. Portugal, a younger country, is the result of several influences, including Roman, and Moorish, with its highlight in time being the Age of Discoveries.
Greece is the only country in the world to recognize Eastern Orthodoxy as its state religion, with the prevailing variant being the Greek Christian Orthodoxy. Portugal, despite having close ties to the Catholic Church, is a more secular country, hosting no official religion.
Ultimately, there is no better or worse choice. Portugal and Greece both have their pros and cons, and the decision should be made based on personal preferences.