Where are the best places to live in Portugal?
If you didn’t already know, Portugal is currently one of the most popular countries to live in Europe for expats, digital nomads and online remote workers.
The relatively low cost of living, pleasant weather all year long, wild beaches and unspoiled nature are the top reasons why so many people decide to relocate to the sunniest country on the European continent.
But if you are asking yourself which are the best places to live in Portugal, there’s no easy answer. A lot depends on your budget or if you prefer the beach to the city or vice versa, as well as your lifestyle among many other factors.
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Best places to live in Portugal
To continue our living abroad series, we are going to look at some popular places to live in Portugal for expats. As expats ourselves we strive to find the ultimate quality of life and safe countries in Europe such as Portugal have lots to offer.
However, if you’re still not convinced that Portugal is a country that you should relocate to, then see these 3 reasons why we believe it is.
- Portugal’s climate is warm in summer and mild in winter, so if you’re looking to fill up on vitamin D, this country is the place to be. Climate changes around the country, the north is rainy and humid, while the Algarve region, in the south, is rather hot and dry. They also say that Portugal is the sunniest country in Europe, so you can stay reassured that the rainy days will be just a thing of the past!
- Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world and it’s often mentioned on the list of top countries where it’s safe to live. It’s quite rare to witness an assault or get assaulted. Women can walk alone without worrying and in general, the crime rates are pretty low. As in any country in the world, you should always be careful, but Portugal is a safe country and there’s only a limited number of places that be considered ‘dangerous’.
- Portugal is one of the most affordable countries in Western Europe. You’ll notice pretty soon after stepping foot in Portugal that compared to other countries such as Spain and Italy having a meal out or even just a coffee is a lot cheaper.
Portugal is a diverse country and offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a digital nomad, a young family or a retiree, there are some amazing places to live in Portugal for everyone which we will cover below.
Best places to live in Portugal
Below is our list of best places to live in Portugal. Places we believe are amongst the top contenders when it comes to living a more sustainable lifestyle and we’ll explain why, but for now, let’s start with one of the most popular of them all:
Faro is the capital city of the Algarve region. Here’s where the airport serving the entire region is based, and the town has even a hospital.
One of the advantages of living in Faro is that the cost to rent and buy a house is slightly lower than in the more touristic areas of the city. Faro is perfect if you’re looking for a mild climate during winters and warm summers.
The city center is small and whether you decide to spend a brief or a longer period of time, here you’ll have the chance to meet both locals and expats who spend the season working here or in some cases, move permanently.
Don’t expect to find a lively night scene or many things to do here, but it’s ideal if you’re searching for a peaceful place to live. Faro is close to the Spanish border and to cities like Huelva and Seville which is also connected by coach.
It’s important as starting point to reach more popular resorts on the coast such as Albufeira, Lagos and Portimão. The closest beach is 9 kilometers away from the city center and you can get there by bus or by car.
In Faro, there are numerous high-end hotels or AirBnbs that you can spend a few nights in to get a feel of what’s on offer in the immediate area.
If you have already saved up a good amount of money, then the capital city is one of the best places to live in Portugal. Living in Lisbon will clearly increase your costs compared to the rest of the country.
However, they are almost always more affordable compared with those of other major European capitals such as Rome, Paris, Madrid and Berlin. For a fair comparison, it is worth looking into the cost of living in Spain for example.
The perks you get of living in Lisbon are: slow rhythms, the chance to go for walks along the river, be close to the ocean and the surrounding hills, the lovely weather most of the year and the high standard of public services.
Another good reason to move to Lisbon is that it has a vast and vibrant cultural activity absolutely worth to be experienced. Even if Lisbon is a big city, it still retains a town atmosphere and you can find plenty of authentic restaurants where you can find cheap and delicious meals on offer.
If you spend a minimum of 3 days in Lisbon you really can get a feel of the city and some of its neighborhoods to get a better idea of what to expect.
Lagos, an important coastal town in the Algarve and one of the best places to live in Portugal for retirees. But it also offers a lot for expats with every budget and of different ages.
Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, thanks to its mild and sunny weather all year round, the splendid coast and the mountains of the hinterland, Lagos is very popular with tourists, but it is only crowded in the months of July and August.
There are numerous places to practice horse riding, golf and tennis, as well as water sports like surf and kayaking. Check out this Kayaking tour for more info.
It can be easily explored on foot (it has just over 30,000 inhabitants) and the average cost of living is 950 euros a month, per person, maintaining a high standard of living. There are not as many services as in the capital city or Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal, but if you don’t have too many pretentious is a perfect place to move.
In our opinion, probably the best place to move to in Portugal if you have a medium budget and want to live the city life is Porto.
Porto is located in the north of the country where the climate is colder compared to the warm and sunny central and southern regions, but the winters are mild and summers never too hot.
The second-largest city in Portugal after Lisbon, which has 215,000 inhabitants is still a city on a human scale. It is located on the banks of the Douro river, not far from the renowned wine region.
The public transport network is very efficient and the quality of food and wine is considered excellent. Here you can live comfortably with just 700 euros a month. Many people like to compare Porto and Lisbon because they both have lots to offer but Porto is a great contender if you prefer smaller cities.
Not far from Porto, Aveiro attracts tourists and expats alike for its beautiful canals, the Art Nouveau architecture and colourful gondolas.
The town is also called the ‘Venice of Portugal’, the city center has been recently modernized and is now much more accessible to pedestrians.
Aveiro is more popular with those planning to live in Portugal who are looking for a quiet area with little traffic, but still want to enjoy the bustling city life.
The city still has good road connections with Lisbon and Porto. Aveiro is slightly cheaper than Braga, another great place to move in this country, and offers a satisfying life at attractive prices.
Now more and more people know about Aveiro and how enjoyable the lifestyle can be here, many more expats are starting to move to this beautiful coastal town.
Coimbra is a city located in central Portugal, about halfway between Porto and Lisbon. It’s perched on a hill overlooking the entire valley and crossed by the Mondego river.
It’s a famous touristic destination as the University of Coimbra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s particularly popular among university students that end up living here for short periods of time during the Erasmus experience.
For this reason, Coimbra is one of the best places to live in Portugal for students and young people. The territory of Coimbra is divided into a western part, characterized by lush plains, and an eastern part, with barren hills.
The climate is Mediterranean, typically mild the whole year, even though summers can be hot (around 35 °C). Coimbra is a vibrant town with a beautiful historical center but also quite relaxed compared to other portugese cities.
It’s well-connected by public transport to the rest of the country. The cost of living is not too high and can considerably change and go up if you rent a flat or house in the city center.
Évora is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal, and the capital city of one of the most beautiful Portuguese regions, the Alentejo.
You can walk around the heart of the city which is full of well-preserved palaces, churches and monuments that are a testimony of the city’s wealth and importance over the centuries.
Its walls are considered one of the jewels of this city. If you want to rent a house here, in a non-tourist area you’ll only pay 300/500 euros per month for a flat that is 70/90 meters square, usually with utilities included.
Grocery shopping is also cheaper compared to most of the cities in Portugal and the cost of living is definitely affordable. You can go to the restaurants and pay just 10 euros for a delicious meal. Basically, you can live in Évora with more or less 500 euros per person, an impossible figure in most touristic European cities!
Best Places to Live in Portugal FAQs
Best Places to Live in Portugal
As you can see, it’s not easy to establish which is the best place to live in Portugal. The final decision is up to you. Think about what’s important in your daily life, your habits and things you want to improve by moving abroad.
Don’t forget to study your budget and based on that, try to spend an initial period of time to ‘test’ out your chosen destination.
What we can guarantee that Portugal offers very affordable cost of living compared to other cities in Western Europe and a high quality of life.
Planning a trip (or multiple trips) to the place you’re thinking of relocating to is always a wise idea. We invite you to read our sustainable travel tips to ensure your research trips have the most positive effect on the local environment.
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