Updated: June 12, 2024


guarda-header-districtMore expats than ever before have their sights set on Portugal. From the alluring beaches of the Algarve to the spellbinding capital city of the country, Lisbon, foreign nationals have their eyes turned towards this charming southern European country. And with good reason.

From excellent healthcare, stunning landscapes, and bustling cities, combined with a welcoming population, progressive legislation, attractive investment opportunities, and the fact that Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world, it’s no exaggeration to say that living in Portugal is a dream for many.

While the bright lights of bustling city life and mile after mile of sandy beaches may be alluring to some, if you are looking for a quiet spot to enjoy your golden year of retirement in style – and peace – then Guarda, a charming city and district in Central Portugal may be just the ticket for you.

In this article, Retire in Guarda, Portugal: Your Ideal Retirement Destination, we provide you with key insights into why this could be the ultimate retreat for you.

Why retire in Guarda?

Choosing the perfect location in Portugal to enjoy your golden years will depend on your lifestyle preferences, as each person will have something slightly different in mind. In Guarda, you are guaranteed a peaceful life with a high quality of life where staggeringly beautiful natural landscapes and great food will quickly become the norm.

Below we outline some of the top reasons to consider retiring in Guarda.

  • Climate: Guarda boasts a temperate climate. While it can get unbearably hot in some parts of Portugal in the summer months, given the high altitude of this part of Portugal, the heat is never too much, and you should be able to enjoy hiking and spending time by one of the many river beaches throughout the year should you choose to relocate here, allowing you to live a healthy lifestyle. The winters can get a bit chilly, so make sure you have good insulation in your property.
  • Nature galore: Surrounded by picturesque mountains and rolling hills, living in Guarda is bliss for nature lovers. From pristine rivers to the magnificent Serra da Estrela Mountain range – the highest in mainland Portugal – you’ll be able to enjoy the killer views year-round.
  • Rich culture: Guarda is a city of rich historical and cultural significance, shown through its well-preserved medieval architecture and the Guarda Cathedral. The city and municipality host various cultural events showcasing local crafts and gastronomy and celebrating the history of the city.
  • High quality of life: Guarda offers a peaceful and tranquil environment, ideal for retirees seeking a slower pace of life. You will also be able to live a very active life should you like hiking and you will also find many good healthcare options. 
  • Safety: Guarda has been pinpointed as being the safest district in Portugal, taking the crown above Santarém and Bragança, which came in 2nd and 3rd position, respectively.
  • Community spirit: While you may need to learn some Portuguese given the fact that English is not as widely spoken as in other parts of the country, once you are settled and got to know your neighbors, you’ll find that Guarda has a true community feel, enhancing the overall living experience.

Cost of Living in Guarda

Guarda is an inexpensive place to retire, even by Portugal’s standards. From dining out to property prices, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the reasonable prices, which are amongst the most affordable when compared with other EU countries.

GC-ICON-61Housing prices

You will find a wide range of properties available in Guarda, whether you are looking for a spacious country home or a modern apartment in the city center. When it comes to property prices, the average asking price for property in Guarda stands at €689 per square meter. This is also the average asking price, and the sales price can be significantly lower than this as sellers aim to sell by a specific date.

If you are looking to rent a property, perhaps to use as a base while you scout around for the perfect property, a three-bedroom apartment in the city center will cost you around €650 euros per month, while outside the city center, this will cost you around €500 per month.


The cost of utilities (electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage), for an 85m2 apartment in Guarda will cost you around €117 per month.

Eating out and groceries

Dining out in Guarda is very affordable, where a great meal in an inexpensive restaurant will cost you €9 and a three-course meal for two in a nice restaurant will set you back €47.

Alongside this, your weekly shop will also not break the bank, where you’ll be able to snap up everything you need for around €30 to €50 per week. Living in Guarda allows you to save money by paying less for the essentials and where you’ll be able to treat yourself to an incredible dinner out much more than you may be able to in more expensive cities.

Healthcare for Retirees in Guarda, Portugal

Healthcare-in-PortugalIf you retire in Portugal, you’ll find that healthcare is generally excellent and very affordable compared to other European countries, ranking 19th in the 2024 Health Care Index.

In Guarda, you have access to several hospitals, including ULS – Unidade de Saúde Local da Guarda and Casa De Saúde Bento Menni, ensuring quick access to professional medical assistance. As a resident of Portugal, you can make use of the SNS (National Health Service) at a minimal or low cost here. For those preferring private healthcare, there are various options available, though not as extensive as in larger cities. Notably, if you are relocating to Portugal from a major city in the USA, you’ll find private healthcare and insurance to be staggeringly less expensive.

Transportation Options for Retirees in Guarda, Portugal

While Guarda is serviced by local buses, having a car will make it much easier to live in this part of Portugal. You can easily get to Aveiro, the so-called Venice of Portugal, Porto, the charming second-largest city in the country, and the Spanish border via the A25, while Lisbon is also reachable through the A23. You’ll also find reliable train links to get around Portugal.

From Guarda you can also easily explore some incredible landscapes in the north of the country, such as the Douro Valley, home to some of the finest wines in the world.

Activities and Leisure in Guarda

Portuguese life is generally very relaxed, and for those searching for a calm spot to call home, Guarda is one of the most peaceful parts of Portugal. As we’ve mentioned, for lovers of nature, Guarda is one of the very best locations to retire to. From being able to enjoy the majestic views of Serra da Estrela, the largest mountain range on mainland Portugal to being able to easily go for a dip in one of the many river beaches that you’ll find in the region.

In this section, we’ll provide you with a few of the very best leisure activities in Guarda.

Outdoor activities for retirees in Guarda, Portugal

The stunning Serra da Estrela mountain range offers retirees breathtaking landscapes, winter skiing, and summer hiking. This tranquil haven features a charming market at the mountain’s peak, where you can enjoy local produce, such as the famous Serra da Estrela cheese, and affordable leather jackets.

For those who are looking to enjoy their golden years with some well-deserved relaxation, Guarda features serene river beaches such as Vale do Rossim and Loriga, perfect to unwind completely. With pristine waters, these spots are ideal for picnics, sunbathing, fishing, and swimming, attracting both locals and tourists seeking leisurely moments by the water, especially refreshing during the warm summer months.

The UNESCO world heritage site, the Estrela Geopark also extends through Guarda, where you can enjoy sweeping land formations. As well as boasting outrageous views, the scenery is very varied due to geological transformations and human occupations, which date back to the start of the 4th Century – a place of real interest to history enthusiasts.


Guarda celebrates local produce, such as local cheeses and cured meats, which are sought after across Portugal. You’ll quite regularly see locals get together for a communal breakfast or coffee, adding a community layer to dining out as everybody seems to know each other. While international restaurants are not as common as in other bigger cities in Portugal, you’ll find international cuisines are beginning to emerge in Guarda.

Cultural experiences for retirees in Guarda, Portugal

Guarda’s museums provide a fascinating look into the region’s rich history, cultural and historical heritage. Highlights include the Museum of Guarda, with local art and artifacts, and the Museu do Pão, celebrating bread-making history. The Museu do Côa, one of the largest museums in Portugal, is another must-visit for history enthusiasts, which details Paleolithic art.

Get your golf fix

For keen golfers, you don’t have to venture to the Algarve or Cascais to discover top golf courses. You’ll find the Montebelo Golfe course just over an hour away from the city of Guarda, which has immaculate greens and top facilities.

Health and wellness centers

You will find many thermal spas boasting significant health benefits in the Guarda district, offering modern facilities where you can relax in style. These wellness centers look set to increase in popularity in the future as more and more expats look to Portugal’s stunning countryside for some rest and recuperation.

Residency Options to Move to Guarda

sell, rent, dedicated team, international network, ideal homes Portugal - FaroThe Portuguese government provides an array of different visa options for non-EU retirees and expats to relocate to Portugal, with the most popular being the D7 Visa, also known as the retirement visa or passive income visa, and the Portugal Golden Visa, where you can secure residency in return for a qualifying investment.

If you are an EU citizen, you won’t have to secure a residency visa to relocate to Portugal, and the process is extremely straightforward. You will simply need to apply for a registration certificate at your local city council should you wish to live in Portugal for more than three months.

With both of these visa options, there is the possibility to secure permanent residence and even apply for Portuguese citizenship after five years, provided you meet all the requirements, such as having a clean criminal record and passing a basic Portuguese language test.

In this section, we’ll provide you with more information on this visa type, plus other visa options.

D7 Visa

The D7 Visa is a popular option for individuals seeking residency in Portugal. This visa is designed for those who have sufficient financial means to support themselves without needing to work in Portugal.

Financial requirements: To qualify for the D7 visa, applicants must demonstrate they have a stable income or sufficient savings to support themselves and any dependents. This income retirement savings can come from various sources, such as pensions, investments, or rental income.

Application process: Applicants must submit their D7 visa application to the Portuguese consulate or embassy in their home country. Along with the application form, they need to provide supporting documents, including proof of income, a criminal record certificate, and health insurance.

Proof of accommodation: Applicants must also show proof of accommodation in Portugal. This could be in the form of a rental contract or proof of property ownership.

Residency permit: Once the D7 visa is approved, applicants will receive a residency permit that allows them to live in Portugal for two years. This permit can be renewed for a further three years, provided the applicant continues to meet the financial requirements.

Path to permanent residency and citizenship: After residing in Portugal for five years with a D7 visa, individuals can apply for permanent residency and even Portuguese citizenship, provided they meet certain requirements such as having a clean criminal record and passing a basic Portuguese language test (A2 Level).

The Portugal Golden Visa program

One of the great things about relocating to Portugal is the vast array of visa options on the table. Alongside the D7 Visa, another popular route to Portuguese residency is the Portugal Golden Visa, which allows you to live in Portugal in return for a qualifying investment starting from €250,000.

At present, the Golden Visa investment funds pathway is proving to be an incredibly popular route to secure a golden visa and gain residency in Portugal.

If you are considering moving to Portugal, you’ll need to get a Portugeuse tax number, known as your NIF number. This is required to make any significant transactions in the county. Following this, we recommend that you open a Portuguese bank account to avoid hefty transaction fees.

Conclusion: Is Guarda the right place for your retirement?

Retirement-in-PortugalIs Guarda the right spot for you? Well, should you be searching for fantastic natural landscapes, a relaxed pace of life, and a focus on local produce, then Guarda may be the place for you.

However, before making any hasty decisions, it is important to visit Guarda and this part of Portugal and determine whether you can see yourself enjoying your golden years here. The interior areas of the country are a delight, but should you yearn for the bright lights of city life, then perhaps Lisbon, Porto or Coimbra could be a better option.

One thing is for sure, for nature lovers seeking tranquility, an authentic slice of Portugal, and a place to retire on the doorstep of some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the country, Guarda may be just the ticket. You’ll find properties in the city itself and more spacious houses in the surrounding countryside, catering to suit your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions about Retiring in Guarda

Guarda offers retirees access to modern healthcare facilities, including the Guarda Hospital, numerous clinics, and specialized medical services. The region ensures quality healthcare with both public and private options, catering to the diverse needs of retirees. It is worth bearing in mind that you may need to speak some Portuguese as English is not so widely spoken in this part of Portugal. Also, regarding private options, you will find fewer choices than in bigger Portuguese cities.

The weather and climate for retirement in Guarda, Portugal, is largely perfect, as it doesn’t get too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter.

Guarda boasts a mild Mediterranean climate, perfect for retirees. With warm summers, cool winters, and plenty of sunny days throughout the year, retirees can enjoy a comfortable and pleasant environment. Ensure you have good insulation in your property, as it can get chilly in the winter months, and many older properties may lack good heating. Also, it could be a good idea to invest in air conditioning as it can get quite hot in the peak summer months.

While Guarda has local bus services, owning a car significantly is more convenient to make the most of living in this part of Portugal and exploring the wonderful nature that surrounds you. The A25 provides easy access to Aveiro, Porto, and the Spanish border, while the A23 connects to Lisbon. You’ll also find reliable train links to get around Portugal easily.

Retirees in Guarda can enjoy a rich array of recreational and cultural activities. From scenic hiking trails, river beaches, and parks to historic sites, museums, and local festivals, there are plenty of leisure activities, particularly for nature lovers.

When it comes to safety and security for retirees in Guarda, Portugal, Guarda is the safest district in the country. The community is welcoming, and the city has well-maintained public spaces and responsive local law enforcement. Portugal ranks in 7th position in the Global Peace Index, and Guarda is known to be one of the safest places, perhaps due to the community feel and relaxed pace of life.

While you won’t necessarily find many expat retirement communities in Guarda, Portugal, you will find expats in the area, and you can use expat groups and Facebook groups to get to know other internationals in this part of Portugal. Seeking out expat communities in Guarda, Portugal, will help you to settle in this part of Portugal and provide you with useful tips.

The D7 Visa allows retirees and other expats to secure residency in Portugal, provided they have sufficient income to support themselves in Portugal. Applicants must submit their D7 visa application to the Portuguese Consulate or Portuguese Embassy in their home country. The application must include supporting documents such as proof of income (such as pension income or retirement pension), a criminal record certificate, and health insurance.

In Guarda, Portuguese is the primary language spoken. However, many residents, particularly in service industries, will speak English to some degree or another foreign language, such as French or Spanish. Bear in mind that English is not as widely spoken in this part of Portugal as in the major cities of Lisbon, Porto, and other regions such as the Algarve or the Silver Coast.