Madonna moves to Portugal, rated new star destination for expats

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LISBON (Reuters) – New Lisbon resident Madonna has been extolling the delights of living in the Portuguese capital Lisbon, the most illustrious of a growing number of foreigners in the newly-fashionable city.

“I used to be a basket case but now I live in Lisbon,” she wrote on Instagram on Sunday under a photo of baskets hanging from the ceiling of an old Portuguese kitchen.

Local media say she has bought a 7.5 million-euro ($9 million) estate in the mountains of Sintra, outside Lisbon, and will continue to stay at the Pestana Palace hotel, where she is in the royal suite, while it is refurbished.

The 18th century Quinta do Relogio estate mentioned by various news outlets was still up for sale on the Engel&Volkers real estate agency’s website on Wednesday.

People walk next to Belem tower in Lisbon, Portugal September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

If the reports are true, Madonna – who wrote that “the energy of Portugal is so inspiring” – joins film stars Michael Fassbender and Monica Bellucci who have bought properties in Lisbon in the past year.

Among the reasons the pop star has come to Lisbon is that her 11-year-old son David Banda has started soccer training at the youth academy of Benfica, according to the Lisbon club.

She also arrives as Portugal has been named Europe’s best destination for expatriates to live in 2017 and the world’s best for quality of life, in a survey published by social network InterNations on Wednesday.

In the overall global rating for best expatriate destination, it soared 23 positions from 2016 to No. 5, making it the leading gainer worldwide.

Portugal, which boasts sandy beaches, golf courses, historic castles and some of the lowest prices in Western Europe, was hard-hit by an economic and debt crisis in 2010-13, but has been on a steady recovery since and is going through a tourism boom.