Portugal a Pandemic Refuge

A growing number of foreigners are choosing to wait out the pandemic in Portugal.

Portugal has become a top destination for people from all over the world to weather the COVID-19 storm. Resorts and van life have been the go-to for foreigners waiting for the pandemic to subside before they go home, according to Perú21

A large part of those staying in exclusive resorts are retirees and digital nomads, most of them from Europe but there are also people from the U.S., Canada, and Iran, the news outlet reports.

The Sheraton Cascais offers accommodations for those seeking refuge and 60% of their guests stay an average of six months. Among these guests is an Iranian businessman, Mohsen Haydari, and his family. He told Perú21, “I’m in Portugal to have a better and safer life. The waves come and go. What’s important is the government’s behavior, and people respect the rules.”

Warmer weather destinations like the Algarve and Madeira have been highly sought out. Particularly Madeira, which according to Perú21 is one of the safest destinations in Europe. 

Related: New Projects Promote Madeira as Paradise for Digital Nomads

English retirees are gravitating to the island: one couple, Bob and Chris Langstaff, don’t seem to be in any rush to leave. Chris told Perú21, “There’re no flights. We are trapped in this wonderful place.”

Van life has also been a popular option. One couple from England who generally spend their winters travelling through Europe were caught in Portugal in March of 2020 and ended up staying for 14 weeks. The experience proved to be so agreeable that they decided to return this year.

Throughout the interviews with different foreigners opting to hide out in Portugal, there’s a recurring feeling of safety and the impression that authorities were managing the pandemic well. 

Related: Portuguese Parliament Approves 12th State of Emergency, March 2-16

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