Wed. May 29th, 2024
Whether you’re drawn to the lively atmosphere of a bustling metropolis, the allure of coastal living, or the budget-friendly charm of a smaller town, Portugal has a place for you. To simplify your decision-making, we’ve curated a list of the 5 best places to live in Portugal for expats:
  1. Lisbon
  2. Porto
  3. Faro
  4. Braga
  5. Cascais

We’ll delve into each city’s distinct personality, international appeal, job opportunities, cost of living, and safety to guide you towards the perfect choice.

1. Lisbon: Portugal’s most international city

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is a city that combines a vibrant lifestyle, a rich history, and a diverse expat community. It boasts a thriving arts and culture scene, delicious cuisine, and stunning architecture. All in all, Lisbon balances the modern amenities of a capital city and the traditional charm of a small town, making it the best city in Portugal for expats.

Internationality in Lisbon

Lisbon is a cosmopolitan hub with a solid international presence. It has become a favourite among expats and global visitors for its friendly atmosphere and diverse population. English proficiency is fairly high in Lisbon, especially among the younger generations and in urban areas. Many international companies and startups call this city home, and English is frequently used in workplaces.

Job opportunities in Lisbon

Lisbon offers many job opportunities, particularly in technology, tourism, finance, and the creative industries. While the job market can be competitive, Lisbon has more job openings than smaller cities.

Cost of living in Lisbon

Living in Lisbon can be relatively expensive, especially compared to other Portuguese cities. On average, a single person should budget around €702 per month for daily expenses, excluding rent. For a family of 4, monthly costs without rent can reach approximately €2,481.

Once you search homes for rent in Lisbon, you’ll notice that rents tend to be on the higher side, especially in trendy neighbourhoods.

Here’s a breakdown of the average monthly rental prices for various types of accommodation in Lisbon:

Type of Accommodation Average Monthly Rental Price
1-bedroom apartment €2,005
Studio €1,212
Private room €510

Safety in Lisbon

Lisbon is a safe city to live in. But as in any large city, it’s essential to be cautious and safeguard your belongings. Violent crimes are rare, but petty theft and pickpocketing can occur in crowded tourist areas.


2. Porto: A vibrant cultural gem

Porto, known for its tech scene and beautiful riverfront, is the second in our list of the best places to live in Portugal. The old buildings have stories to tell, and the famous port wine adds some sweetness to the mix. This lively cultural hub is full of art, exciting nightlife, and fun festivals, and it welcomes people worldwide. Situated by the scenic Douro River, Portugal’s second-largest city offers breathtaking views and relaxing boat rides.

Internationality in Porto

Much like in Lisbon, English proficiency is quite common in Porto. English is often used in multinational companies, and you’ll discover a growing international community in the city.

Job opportunities in Porto

Porto boasts a thriving tech sector and manufacturing, tourism, and services opportunities. Job competition may be less intense than in Lisbon, making it an appealing option for career-minded expats.

Cost of Living in Porto

Porto is an excellent choice for budget-conscious expats seeking to settle in Portugal. Estimated monthly expenses for a single person, excluding rent, hover around €635. For a family of 4, the projected monthly costs, excluding rent, are approximately €2,239.

If you’re looking to discover houses for rent in Porto, you’ll be happy to know that accommodation prices in Porto are roughly 27.5% lower than in Lisbon.

Here’s a breakdown of the average monthly rental prices in Porto for various types of accommodation:

Type of Accommodation Average Monthly Rental Price
1-bedroom apartment €1,200
Studio apartment €900
Private room €435

Safety in Porto

People generally consider Porto a safe place to live in. While it may have some areas with higher crime rates than others, it generally maintains a low crime rate compared to other European cities.

3. Faro: A relaxing coastal haven

Faro is a charming coastal city in the Algarve region. With its warm Mediterranean climate, stunning beaches, and rich cultural heritage, it’s no wonder it’s one of the best cities to live in Portugsl. Faro offers a relaxed and laid-back lifestyle__, perfect for those seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The city boasts a vibrant culinary scene, historic architecture, and easy access to the picturesque Ria Formosa Natural Park.

Internationality in Faro

Faro has a small but diverse international community, including expats and international students. English proficiency can vary, but it’s generally lower than in larger cities like Lisbon and Porto.

Job opportunities in Faro

Job opportunities in Faro are often linked to tourism, hospitality, and related fields. Finding work in other industries might be more challenging, and the job market can be competitive.

Cost of living in Faro

Living in Faro is budget-friendly, especially when compared to major cities in Portugal. For a family of 4, estimated monthly costs, excluding rent, can reach €2,191, while for a single person, it’s around €619.

Rental prices are significantly lower, about 68.3% less than in Lisbon.

Here’s a quick look at the average monthly rental prices in Faro for different types of accommodation:

Type of Accommodation Average Monthly Rental Price
1-bedroom apartment €683
Studio €550
Private room €350

Safety in Faro

Faro is generally considered a safe city. The crime rate is low, and the city maintains a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere, making expats feel comfortable in their day-to-day lives. Like anywhere else, it’s a good practice to keep an eye on your belongings and avoid poorly lit or isolated areas at night.


4. Braga: Affordable living in Portugal

Braga, often called the “Rome of Portugal,” is a city full of history, culture, and religious traditions. It’s a lively place with a mix of old and new buildings, bustling squares, and charming streets. Braga is famous for its traditional festivals like the Semana Santa (Holy Week) processions and the São João Festival, which celebrate local customs and culture.

Known for its historical and religious significance, Braga is affordable, has a strong sense of community, and is experiencing economic growth.

Internationality in Braga

Although Braga may have fewer international residents than larger Portuguese cities, its expat community is experiencing a rise. Braga is favoured by international students and professionals looking for a cosier, less crowded, and more affordable city.

Job opportunities in Braga

Braga’s economy is on the rise, providing opportunities in technology, manufacturing, services and education. While there are fewer international companies, the job market is competitive.

Cost of living in Braga

While Braga might not be the absolute cheapest place to live in Portugal, it’s undoubtedly one of the most budget-friendly options while still offering a high quality of life. A single person’s monthly expenses are estimated at €614, excluding rent. A family of four can expect monthly costs of around €2,125, excluding rent.

Housing costs in Braga are also on the lower side. Here’s a breakdown of rental prices for different types of accommodations in Braga:

Type of Accommodation Average Monthly Rental Price
1-bedroom apartment €647
Studio €550
Private room €300

Safety in Braga

Braga is renowned for its high level of safety. The city has a low crime rate, and serious crimes are uncommon. Well-maintained, well-lit public spaces, streets, and neighbourhoods create a sense of comfort and security in Braga.

5. Cascais: Coastal paradise close to Lisbon

Cascais is a picturesque coastal town that’s become a magnet for those considering a move abroad. Cascais offers a high quality of life with its stunning beaches, charming historic centre, and easy proximity to Lisbon.

The mild climate ensures pleasant weather year-round, making outdoor activities and beach days a regular part of life. The town’s vibrant cultural scene, fantastic dining options, and a range of international communities make it an attractive destination for expatriates seeking a friendly and welcoming environment.

Internationality in Cascais

Cascais is a diverse and welcoming city with many international residents. Similar to Lisbon, Cascais has a relatively high level of English proficiency, especially in areas frequented by expats. International businesses, schools, and events add to the city’s international flair.

Job opportunities in Cascais

Cascais benefits from being near Lisbon, offering job options in different fields, especially in service, tourism, technology, communication, marketing, and English teaching. The job market in Cascais can be competitive, and networking is essential.

Cost of living in Cascais

With prices similar to Lisbon, Cascais can be considered a relatively expensive place to live in Portugal. The estimated monthly costs for a single person are €674, excluding rent. For a family of 4, estimated monthly costs are €2,305, excluding rent.

Housing costs in Cascais are on par with Lisbon, with high prices, especially in the most desirable areas near the beach or downtown.

Here’s a breakdown of the average monthly rental prices in Cascais for different types of accommodations:

Type of Accommodation Average Monthly Rental Price
1-bedroom apartment €1,037
Studio €850
Private room €500

Safety in Cascais

Cascais is a safe place for both residents and expats. The city has a low crime rate and a strong police presence, which helps everyone feel secure. Of course, as with anywhere, it’s a good idea to follow basic safety precautions.

So, what’s the best place to live in Portugal?

Lisbon and Porto are great choices for those seeking cosmopolitan living and job opportunities, while Faro and Cascais offer a more relaxed coastal lifestyle. Braga might be a good option for those looking for a smaller city with a strong sense of community.

Now that you’re familiar with the top 5 best cities to live in Portugal, it’s time to look into the relocation guide to Portugal to prepare for your big move.



By Lala