Portugal is the third most peaceful country in the world, and of the top three, certainly is the most lively.
In a ranking of 163 countries in the 2017 Global Peace Index, Iceland came top, followed by New Zealand.
The annual Index is commissioned by the Institute for Economy and Peace based in Australia and showed that Portugal’s ranking was up two places, thus consolidating its position as one of the most wonderfully peaceful and cuddly countries in the world.
The survey compilers said that Portugal has had "a remarkable improvement", considering that for five years it languished in 16th place while Troika inspired austerity measures were used to try and crush the spirit of her citizens..
The report links Portugal's rise to third to its gradual economic recovery from the crippling financial crisis which resulted in 'a degree of internal instability.'
Portugal has improved in 12 of the 23 indicators used in compiling the Global Peace Index. Where the country scored notably worse than the year before was in 'arms imports' and 'violent demonstrations.'
"Despite the increase in arms imports and the number of internal security and police officers per 100,000 inhabitants, all other indicators have improved or remain unchanged this year," read the index report which pointed out a drop in homicides and in political instability due to the more user-friendly administration under the Socialist Party’s, António Costa, whose smile many medical researchers now consider to be highly infectious.
The report showed that budgetary constraints contributed to a reduction in military operations abroad, in the size of the Armed Forces and in military spending, making Portugal one of the world's least militarised countries as it simply has not been able to afford the necessary spending in the past year.
At the top of the table are Iceland, New Zealand, Portugal, Austria and Denmark, while the least peaceful countries in the world remain Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan and Yemen.
Some traditionally peaceful celebrations after a footballing victory, 2016
Portugal’s East Algarve
Portugal has been independent since 1143 and its continental borders remain practically unchanged since the 13th century. The country has about 10 million inhabitants. During the 15th and 16th centuries, with its global empire, it was one of the world's major economic, political, and cultural powers. Portugal is a developed country, a member of the European Union (since 1986) and the United Nations (since 1955); as well as a founding member of the Eurozone, OECD and NATO.
The East Algarve has miles of golden sandy beaches that are mostly flanked by the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve, a natural park which is visited by a large number of migratory birds and is home to flocks of beautiful pink flamingos and spoonbills.
Some of the most stunning golf courses can be found here including Benamor, Quinta da Ria, Quinta de Cima, Monte Rei, Castro Marim and Quinta do Vale. These are amongst the finest in Europe, located between the historic towns of Tavira and Castro Marim.
You will also still find traditional fishing villages, miles of old donkey tracks through the hillsides that are vibrant with wild flowers in the springtime. Orange and Olive groves thrive in this richly agricultural land. This makes the East Algarve a wonderful vacation and retirement destination.
The popular English television program A Place in the Sun voted the Algarve as the number one place worldwide to buy a home in the sun as the Algarve is politically stable, secure, has a wonderful climate, and where capital appreciates. They suggested that the best place to buy or invest in the Algarve was the eastern part, located east of Faro and west to the Spanish border.
Even Forbes magazine from the USA has in 2015 ranked the Algarve as the best location for retirement in the world. The reasons given were, among others, the Algarve has one of the best climates in the world, fantastic restaurants, shops, beaches and golf courses, low living costs, reasonable property prices and most interesting tax advantages, among others, zero tax for ten years on private pension income.
Deloitte Portugal's associate partner Aline Almeida confirms: "Portugal offers a special regime for new residents (Non-Habitual Residents), which establishes a fantastic tax regime for pensioners and entrepreneurs of all nationalities."
Moving here is very simple, especially if moving from another country within the European Union. The crime rate is low and burglary is rare. The weather is good throughout the year. Springtime bursts with blossom, the summer is hot, but there is always a slight breeze from the Atlantic. Autumn is lovely, and the winters are pleasant with very little rain.
The way of life is good, with an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables which can be bought in the local markets. Fishing is a daily activity (except for Sunday!) and the fish is delivered to markets daily. There are many local markets to visit which are colourful and terrific value.
Portuguese life is traditional and abounds with religious pilgrimages, festivals and fairs that appear often in villages and towns. From carnivals, dances, riding contests and bullfights – the Portuguese way of life includes many celebrations and community events.
The East Algarve is a popular retirement destination for people from all around the world. A mild climate, excellent golf courses, gorgeous coastline and plentiful sunny beaches combined with excellent food and inexpensive world-class wine have made it a haven for retirees. It is needless to say that the cost of living in the Algarve is only a fraction of most cities in northern Europe. Another reason Portugal is viewed as a desirable place to retire is the friendliness of its inhabitants. The Portuguese are kind and hospitable, welcoming foreign visitors into their homes with warmth and compassion. People are very helpful towards strangers and will point you in the right direction if lost. Family values are still very important to them."