5 Reasons to House Sit in Portugal

house sitting in Portugal

Portugal is a sunny land, abundant with beautiful beaches and delicious, cheap foods. It's no wonder you want to travel to Portugal! As house sitting means free accommodation it can be the perfect match to your visit to Portugal. Thus house sitting in Algarve Portugal was a dream come true for us. This house sit has quickly made it onto the list of our three favourite house sits. It's that perfect. So to celebrate this we've written a list of the top 5 reasons to house sit in Portugal.

Our Top 5 Reasons to House Sit in Portugal

#1. Portuguese Houses are Just... Magical!

trustedhousesitters portugal

One of the things we love about House Sitting in Portugal is that your accommodation is not only free but you're also guaranteed that it is:

  • Better than a hostel - privacy, luxury etc;
  • Equipped with all your home comforts - washing machine, kitchen;
  • Different every time.

We are lucky that almost every house sit we've done has come with its own 'perk': be it a sauna or a pool or your own vineyard. This Portuguese house sit is no exception: it comes with its own orange grove! Like the vineyard we house sat in Italy, there's not a lot for us to do in terms of actually looking after the oranges - they are watered by a timer. All that's left for us to do is enjoy the fruit! Fresh orange juice has never been fresher. 

house sitting in portugal

The house itself is comfortable and beautiful - with an excellent coffee machine and an awesome shower. The rest of the garden is wonderful too - perfect for practising yoga (or giving up and sunbathing) and spotting lizards:

house sitting portugal

Of course, we can't guarantee that your house sitting job in Portugal will have oranges or lizards, but we can guarantee that the house will be beautiful. All the houses are beautiful in Portugal, they really know which colours are the best for house painting (usually pink, white or orange) and they know how important a garden should be to a home. 

#2. The Home Owners

housesitting portugal

Another thing we enjoy about house sitting jobs is the fabulous homeowners we meet. These ones really welcomed us to their home with a fantastic Portuguese style feast complete with roast chicken, chorizo, wine and fresh orange juice - of course! They introduced us to the locals and gave us lots of insider tips. I already feel like we are good friends with them (they will probably read this now and think I'm weird). But they are really great people who want to make sure we have a good time in their home and area. 

#3. Experience the 'Real' Portugal

house sitting in portugal

One of our favourite things about house sitting jobs is that they actually give you a real insight into actual life in that country (rather than stimulated life in a hotel). We feel that it goes a lot deeper than any travel guide could. Even without the homeowners' insider tips, we're still in the real area - we've gone to the local markets and the coffee shops and spoken only Portuguese (actually, I tried really hard, but on two different occasions they thought I was German so we had to speak German for a while instead). 

It also takes you to locations you won't necessarily have heard of/thought about going to (and hence tourists haven't either). This House Sit is located in Algoz, a tiny weeny village in Portugal's Algarve (i.e. the South). It's so gorgeous, everyone is very friendly and life is sweet here. Algoz is far away enough from the beach for it to be almost devoid of tourists and thus completely authentic and unspoiled. But the beaches are still close enough (10-minute drive) for us to visit, which is great because they look like this:

#4. You'll Have Pets to Keep You Company!

trustedhousesitters discount code
She's called Hyena - isn't that the best name for a dog?!

House sitting jobs Portugal almost always come with a friendly pet or two to look after. On this particular sit, we are looking after a dog who is a complete softy and we absolutely adore. We love all dogs but some you really just click with. Like this one. She just gets me. 
house sitting in portugal
I call her hihi 
We are also pet sitting our first ever turtle! We can't say that we've bonded as much with the turtle as we have with the dog, though not from a lack of trying. I've tried pointing out that we both love sunbathing and thus have a lot in common, but I don't think he speaks English.

house sit portugal

Incidentally, how do you look after a turtle? Well, you mostly leave it be and don't try to talk to it in Portuguese. You feed it dry shrimps and turtle food and you clean it out when it gets mucky  (at least once a week). But always double check with the homeowners first, maybe their turtles have different tastes. 

Again, we can't promise you'll be looking after a dog or a turtle. Maybe you'll get a whole pack of dogs or a couple of cats or maybe no pets at all. Whatever you do, please only apply to house sitting jobs Portugal that you can actually cope with :) All in all, these animals, the house, our homeowners and Portugal itself are all really perfect which brings me to my final point: 

#5. You May Want to Stay Forever :-)

house sit portugal

What with the weather, the pretty pink houses, the cheap, delicious food and the lizards, we are so tempted to stop house sitting and just live in Portugal!! Luckily for this housesitting blog, we still have lots of other exciting opportunities ahead. But if you are serious about moving to Portugal (or anywhere really), we highly recommend house sitting in Portugal first. It will give you a real insight into the way of life of that particular country and help you make a more informed decision. Of course, it may create further problems for you: we now have to choose between living in Portugal and living in Italy. But only after we've house sat our way around the world.  

trustedhousesitters discount code

Wondering where you should start house sitting abroad for the first time? Check out this house sitting blog post where we help you decide!

#Bonus Reason: Trusted House Sitters Discount Code

Last, but not least, we can offer you an exclusive Trusted House Sitters discount code so you can start house sitting in Portugal yourself. We got this particular Portugal house sit from this website.  It's actually our seventh country that we've house sat in thanks to them (the others being Australia, England, Germany, Spain, Italy and Finland) and thus we highly recommend them. The sign-up fee is around $10 a month, but for Travelling Weasels readers like yourself, we can offer you an exclusive 10% discount. Find out more here: Trustedhousesitters discount code

trusted house sitters portugal

We loved house sitting Portugal and we'd love to help you house sit Portugal too, so here is:

Everything you need to know before house sitting in Portugal

What you will learn in this section:

  • 7 tips that will prepare you for house sitting in Portugal
  • 3 tips that will prepare you for pet sitting Portugal
  • Useful Portuguese words to know as a house sitter in Portugal
  • Our personal experiences of house sitting Portugal (giving you a taste of what it's really like). 

So without further ado, let's reveal those 7 tips that will prepare you for house sitting in Portugal:

#1. Beware of the ants when house sitting Portugal

As Portugal has lovely hot weather, it also has a lot of those nasty creepy crawlies that come (inside) with it. Probably the most annoying, and definitely the most important one to be aware of as a house sitter is the ants. There are a lot of (big) ants in Portugal, and you need to make sure that the house you are sitting doesn't get over-run with them. Luckily this is pretty easy to do, by making sure you don't leave dirty plates out overnight/for too long as this will attract the ants. (And really, to be a good house sitter you should always avoid leaving dirty plates out, full stop!)

trustedhousesitters discount code

Sometimes though the ants just can't be avoided, so check how your homeowner likes to deal with ants before they leave - it might be with poison, it might be with something else.  

#2. Don't bite off more than you can chew with the Portuguese gardens

The land is pretty cheap in Portugal, so chances are the house (or villa) you'll be sitting will have a nice big garden, probably with an orange/olive/lemon/fig tree - or 30. Fresh fruit from the garden sounds like the dream (because it is), but be careful you're not biting off more than you can chew (pun intended). 

Our house sit in Portugal had over thirty fruit trees, which needed a lot of water, but luckily for us, they were watered on a timer and all we had to do was enjoy the fruit. However, on some house sits you might not be as lucky and will find yourself watering all day - check with the homeowner first. 

#3. The hot weather house sitting Portugal

house sitting portugal

If like us, you love sunshine then you'll find the Portuguese weather sublime. On average the Algarve has over 300 days of sun a year.  As a house sitter there are some things that come with this of course: ants (see above), keeping the car out of the sun where possible, and perhaps turning it on every now and again to make sure that the battery doesn't go flat. And in general, making sure that both you and the animals you're looking after drink enough water. 

#4. The cold weather house sitting in Portugal

It does get cold in the winter in Portugal! Sure it doesn't get as cold as northern Europe, but it can often feel colder. Portugal is well equipped for hot weather: it has houses designed to keep the house cool and the breeze running through, but the houses don't change for the winter - hence it can feel nippy indoors even though the sun is still shining outside. Not a lot of Portuguese houses have central heating and heating a house costs a lot. 

To illustrate our point, we have a friend from Russia who lives in Portugal. The Portuguese laughed at him when he said he was cold in the winter  ("but you're Russian, how can you be cold?") The fact is, he was used to well-insulated houses and efficient heating systems, which they just don't have in Portugal. So wrap up warm if you're house sitting in Portugal in the winter. Or of course, you could just make sure you're not in Portugal in the winter and avoid this whole problem. (Like us.)

#5. The food is cheap and delicious in Portugal

You need to be prepared for how cheap and delicious the food is in Portugal. It's great! Pastel De Natas (Portuguese custard tarts) really are to die for, they're crispy and beautiful. Aldi and Lidl are still probably the cheapest places to shop in Portugal, but even shopping at your local isn't going to set you back thousands. We really recommend checking out your local fruit and veg stall/markets. The food is fresh, tasty and still cheap. We always embarrass ourselves with our lack of Portuguese and point and smile, but they are very friendly. 

#6. There are lizards when pet sitting Portugal

house sitting in portugal

The warm climate means that there are lots of cute lizards in Portugal. They're not dangerous but if you're cat sitting you may have to put up with one or two being eaten (or presented to you as a fabulous gift). Also, if you care about lizards, you have to be a bit careful when opening and closing doors, so that the lizards don't get squished in-between :(

#7. Driving in Portugal as a house sitter

If you're lucky, your homeowner will lend you their car and you won't have to rent a car in Portugal. It's worth noting though that Portugal has one of the highest rates of car accidents and fatalities in Europe. If you're dog sitting or cat sitting, you'll probably need access to the car on the (off) chance you'll need to take your pet to the vets. 

Pet Sitting Portugal: 3 Things You Need to Know

trustedhousesitters portugal

#1. There are scary dogs when pet sitting Portugal

house sitting portugal
this is not one of them 
We house sat one of the sweetest dogs ever in Portugal but were surprised to hear that a lot of people were afraid of her (she is quite big). Then we met some Portuguese dogs and they were scary - firstly some people in Portugal haven't got the memo about being kind to dogs, and so some dogs are tied up in front of the house all day (in the sun), to bark at strangers and deter burglars (no need for house sitters there)! 

Secondly, and more importantly, there are also feral dogs in Portugal, which you need to keep away from - especially if you are walking the dog you are sitting. Like most feral dogs, they're generally more of a threat to your dog than to you, but it's good to always avoid them. 

#2. There may be feral cats when pet sitting Portugal

pet sitting portugal

As with the feral dogs, the feral cats are more something to be aware of than something to be afraid of.  Firstly, they can be a bit skanky - they tend to have fleas and can be a bit inbred and scrawny.  Secondly, depending on what your homeowner does, it may not be a good idea to feed them - if your homeowner usually doesn't it's not a good idea to start - the homeowner is going to come home to some unwelcome guests, and the cats are going to suffer when their food supply stops. Thirdly, if you are dog sitting, it's a good idea to try and keep the dogs away from the cats.

#3. You might have to pet sit an exotic animal or two

portugal pet sitting

You do of course get house sits in Australia and the UK that come with a reptile or two, but it's not the norm. However, for almost every house sit we've seen advertised in Portugal, they've all come with an exotic animal (or two)! Actually, when I say exotic I'm including donkeys in this - there seems to be a lot of Portuguese house sits with donkeys! 
Other than donkeys, we've seen sits with parakeets, lizards, tarantulas and turtles. (Incidentally, our Portuguese house sit came with a turtle). 

Don't be immediately deterred because of an unusual pet (though equally don't jump straight in with an animal you can't handle). Generally, reptiles are easier to look after than most dogs (if you have clear instructions). And donkeys are super easy - just give them hay, water and lots of love. 

#Bonus: Useful Portuguese words to know as a house sitter

The amount of English a Portuguese person knows varies from person to person. You can definitely survive in Portugal knowing no Portuguese, but we think it's always nice to make an effort and know at least a few words of the country you're staying in. At the very least it's good to know:

Oi - hi 
or if you're super British like me and can't bring yourself to say 'oi' to someone, then try:
Olá - hello
Por favor - please
Obrigado/a - thanks (with an o at the end if you're a boy, and an a at the end if you're a girl)
Desculpa - sorry
Tchau - goodbye 
Cão - dog
Gato - cat
Tartaruga - turtle
Veterinário - vet 

We got by with an embarrassing mix of Spanish, Italian and enthusiastic nodding. 

House sitting in Portugal: Our Personal Experience

To end this post, I will tell you about our own personal experience of house sitting in Portugal - this should give you an idea of what it's really like to house sit in Portugal. 
  • Location: Near Lagoa in Portugal's Algarve (i.e. the South). 
  • Animal: One lovely dog and a turtle
  • House duties: Nothing out of the ordinary, just feeding the dog, watering the plants and dog, feeding the turtle and cleaning out its cage
  • House benefits: Location! Really sunny and beautiful location near the beach. And the garden! Lots of figs, orange, lemon, pomegranate and apple trees to enjoy. 

housesit portugal

This is one of our absolute favourite house sits - we love it so much we went twice in one year. The location is just outside the touristy area (so it's peaceful and the food is cheap). But it's also close enough to the awesome beaches!

house sitting portugal

The dog is an absolute pleasure, she's really loving and fun to be around. She's also extremely easy to look after.  The turtle is easy to look after too, but he's not as loving. 

trustedhousesitters discount code

Another great thing about this house sit Portugal is the family who own the house - they are some of our favourite people ever! 
All in all, we loved house sitting in Portugal and will definitely house sit Portugal more in the future. 

trustedhousesitters discount code

Summary: Where to find house sits in Portugal?

We found our Portuguese house sitting job, and indeed all our other house sitting jobs from Trusted Housesitters. They have a whole page dedicated to house sitting jobs in Portugal here: Trusted House Sitters PortugalIf you haven't house sat before we highly recommend you check out this page: How to start house sitting, which tells you everything you need to know.

So what do you think? Do sunshine and beauty appeal to you? If you have any questions about house sitting in Portugal just let us know! If you have questions about House Sitting in general, check out one of our latest posts: Should I Become a House Sitter - your FAQs. And, as always, if there's anything we haven't covered, connect with us via Facebook or email and we will get back to you asap! So there you have it, everything you need to know before house sitting in Portugal.  

P. S. Trustedhousesitters.com was kind enough to provide us and our readers with a 10% discount -- click on the link to use it!

Share this:


We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


    Disqus Comment
    Facebook Comment
comments powered by Disqus