The best books on moving to Portugal

Who am I?

Alyson Sheldrake is the author of the award-winning Algarve Blog, and she is also a feature writer for the Tomorrow Magazine in the Algarve. She is an accomplished and sought-after artist working alongside her husband Dave, a professional photographer. She has published three books about their Algarve Adventures: Living the Dream – in the Algarve, Portugal, Living the Quieter Algarve Dream, and her latest book is a new anthology of expat stories entitled A New Life in the Algarve, Portugal. When she is not painting or writing, you can find her walking their rescued Spanish Water Dog called Kat along the riverbank in Aljezur.


I wrote...

Living the Dream: in the Algarve, Portugal

By Alyson Sheldrake,

Book cover of Living the Dream: in the Algarve, Portugal

What is my book about?

Could you leave everything behind and start a new life in the sun? Have you ever been on holiday abroad and wondered what it would be like to live there?

Alyson and Dave Sheldrake did. They fell in love with a little fishing village in the Algarve, Portugal, and were determined to realise their dream of living abroad. They bought a house there, ended their jobs, packed up everything they owned and moved to the Algarve to start a new life.

Follow them as they battle with Portuguese bureaucracy, set up their own businesses, adopt a rescue dog, and learn to adapt to a slower pace of life. Laugh with them as Alyson propositions a builder, they try to master the Portuguese language, and successfully navigate the ‘expat’ world. Part guidebook, mostly memoir; this is a refreshingly honest and often hilarious account of life abroad, and is the first of Alyson’s three books in her ‘Algarve Dream’ series.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Rick Steves Portugal

By Rick Steves,

Book cover of Rick Steves Portugal

Why this book?

I am often asked for recommendations on where to go and what to see for visitors to Portugal, and I always recommend Rick Steve’s book. He doesn’t just cover the major attractions, he takes you into the small towns and villages, the remote beaches, and the local restaurants and cafés that will introduce you to the ‘real’ Portugal. Top tips, must-see destinations and clever itineraries will help you to pick out the best spots and the most memorable locations of this beautiful place I am proud to call home.


My Portugal: Recipes and Stories

By George Mendes, Genevieve Ko,

Book cover of My Portugal: Recipes and Stories

Why this book?

One of the things I love most about living here in Portugal is the wonderful local food. You can enjoy hearty meals sat around the table with family, or spend time at a local restaurant sat outside in the sun, enjoying freshly cooked and delicious fish or meat dishes. The Portuguese are proud of their food, and their historic love of travel and exploration has imbibed their food with exotic spices and flavours that can often surprise you. This book, by renowned chef George Mendes, is full of recipes and stories to inspire you or remind you of your favourite holiday in the sun.


First Thousand Words in Portuguese

By Heather Amery,

Book cover of First Thousand Words in Portuguese

Why this book?

This is a great book to help you learn some basic Portuguese words quickly. It is also in European Portuguese, unlike many other books that cover the Brazilian language (always something to watch out for when you are looking to learn Portuguese). This is a nicely illustrated book with labelled pictures and scenes that help you start to construct basic sentences – and you have the fun of trying to spot the hidden duck on every page too! I have struggled with learning and recalling Portuguese words, but the basics in this book are easy to remember and cover most everyday situations.


Practical Portuguese: Language for Living in Portugal

By Sheila Watts,

Book cover of Practical Portuguese: Language for Living in Portugal

Why this book?

This is a hard book to get hold of, but worth hunting down if you want to begin to speak the Portuguese language with some fluency. Sheila moved to live in Portugal in 1987 and found most of the language guidebooks were of little use to her as she tried to navigate her way around the day-to-day reality of living in the Algarve. This is a book for people who live and work here, rather than a phrasebook that would help you book a taxi or order food at a restaurant while you are on holiday. I have found Portuguese to be a difficult language, but it is worth persevering with, and the locals are friendly and will always help you.


Living in Portugal

By Anne de Stoop,

Book cover of Living in Portugal

Why this book?

This is a real treat of a book, with sumptuous photography and detailed descriptions. A book to treasure and rest on your coffee table with pride. Portugal is such a beautiful and picturesque place to photograph – I know, I am married to a professional photographer! This book is a treasure-trove of images and information that will make you want to visit – or even pack your bags and move here to live – which is exactly what we did ten years ago. It was the best move we ever made.


1 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Portugal, Lisbon, and language?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Portugal, Lisbon, and language.

Portugal Explore 23 books about Portugal
Lisbon Explore 7 books about Lisbon
Language Explore 37 books about language

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Last Kabbalist in Lisbon, Estoril, and The First Global Village if you like this list.