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...

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.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Rick Steves Portugal

Alyson Sheldrake Why did I love 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.

By Rick Steves,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rick Steves Portugal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stroll Lisbon's cobbled lanes, cruise the Douro River, and soak up the sun on Algarve beaches: experience Portugal with Rick Steves! Inside Rick Steves Portugal you'll find:

* Comprehensive coverage for spending a week or more exploring Portugal
* Rick's strategic advice on how to get the most out of your time and money, with rankings of his must-see favorites
* Top sights and hidden gems, from the bone chapel of Evora and the palaces of Sintra to seaside street food and lush vineyards
* How to connect with culture: Chat with friendly locals over a glass of vinho verde,…


Book cover of My Portugal: Recipes and Stories

Alyson Sheldrake Why did I love 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.

By George Mendes, Genevieve Ko,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Portugal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In My Portugal, George Mendes, chef and owner of Michelin-starred Aldea, introduces us to the world of Portuguese cuisine, offering 125 mouthwater ing recipes that showcase the wide range of dishes that come from this coastal country. The collection balances Mendes's popular restaurant recipes, such as his signature Duck Rice and Garlic Seared Shrimp, with his takes on classic Portuguese dishes, such as Salt, Cod, Potato, and Egg Casserole; Mozambique Shrimp and Okra with Piri Piri; Eggs Baked with Peas, Linguica, and Bacon; Butter Cookies; and more. His stories illustrate the wealth of culinary resources in Portugal-fresh seafood, savory meats,…


Book cover of First Thousand Words in Portuguese

Alyson Sheldrake Why did I love 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.

By Heather Amery,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked First Thousand Words in Portuguese as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There are 1000 Portuguese words to learn in this classic word book, great for sharing with young language learners. Each busy scene features the wonderful illustrations of Stephen Cartwright, alongside items to spot, each labelled with their Portuguese name. A fun way to build key Portuguese vocubulary, specially revised and updated to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Usborne Publishing in 2013. Readers can listen to every word read by a native Portuguese speaker at the Usborne Quicklinks Website. Don't forget to spot the Little Yellow Duck on every page!


Book cover of Practical Portuguese: Language for Living in Portugal

Alyson Sheldrake Why did I love 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.

Book cover of Living in Portugal

Alyson Sheldrake Why did I love 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.

By Anne de Stoop,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Living in Portugal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Anne de Stoop shares her infectious delight for Portugal via a tour of the diverse country: the Minho and Douro regions in northern Portugal, renowned for their fertile landscapes and port wines; the busy markets of Oporto; elegant country estates and lavish gardens, whose sophisticated designs reflect a rich architectural heritage; the urban pleasures and baroque opulence of Lisbon; the sparkling white villages of the sun-drenched Alentejo; and the unspoiled beaches of the Algarve.


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Book cover of The Twenty: One Woman's Trek Across Corsica on the GR20 Trail

Marianne C. Bohr Author Of The Twenty: One Woman's Trek Across Corsica on the GR20 Trail

New book alert!

Who am I?

I married my high school sweetheart and travel partner, and followed my own advice to do graduate work, and started my career working for the French National Railroad in New York City, mapping itineraries for travelers to Europe. Travel means the world to me and if I don’t have a trip on the horizon, I feel aimless and untethered. I worked in book publishing for 30 years and dropped out of the corporate rat race to take a gap year abroad. I wrote about our “Senior year abroad” in my first book Gap Year Girl. I returned to the US to teach middle school French and organize student trips to France. 

Marianne's book list on by women about outdoor adventure

What is my book about?

Marianne Bohr and her husband, about to turn sixty, are restless for adventure. They decide on an extended, desolate trek across the French island of Corsica — the GR20, Europe’s toughest long-distance footpath — to challenge what it means to grow old. Part travelogue, part buddy story, part memoir, The Twenty is a journey across a rugged island of stunning beauty little known outside Europe.

From a chubby, non-athletic child, Bohr grew into a fit, athletic person with an “I’ll show them” attitude. But hiking GR20 forces her to transform a lifetime of hard-won achievements into acceptance of her body and its limitations.

The difficult journey across a remote island provides the crucible for exploring what it means to be an aging woman in a youth-focused culture, a physically fit person whose limitations are getting the best of her, and the partner of a husband who is growing old with her. More than a hiking tale, this is a moving story infused with humor about hiking, aging, accepting life’s finite journey, and the intimacy of a long-term marriage—set against the breathtaking beauty of Corsica’s rugged countryside.

By Marianne C. Bohr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Twenty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Great for fans of: Suzanne Roberts's Almost Somewhere, Juliana Buhring's This Road I Ride.


Marianne Bohr and her husband, about to turn sixty, are restless for adventure. They decide on an extended, desolate trek across the French island of Corsica-the GR20, Europe's toughest long-distance footpath-to challenge what it means to grow old. Part travelogue, part buddy story, part memoir, The Twenty is a journey across a rugged island of stunning beauty little known outside Europe.


From a chubby, non-athletic child, Bohr grew into a fit, athletic person with an "I'll show them" attitude. But hiking The Twenty forces her to…


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Interested in Portugal, Lisbon, and language?

10,000+ 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 34 books about Portugal
Lisbon Explore 10 books about Lisbon
Language Explore 79 books about language