Best cities to live in Portugal for expats

Best Cities to Live in Portugal

With endless sunshine, breathtaking landscapes, and optimal quality of life, Portugal is a fantastic place to live in. From the Northern region of Portugal to the Algarve in the South, there are so many wonderful places to choose from. If you want to move to Portugal but don’t know where to go, this guide is for you. We will take you through a tour of the best cities to live in Portugal for expats.

About Portugal

Portugal is definitely one of the best countries to live in Europe. With its 300 days of sunshine per year,  fantastic quality of life, efficient health system, and great culture, what is there not to like about Portugal? Gifted with breathtaking landscapes and hundreds of long stretches of golden-sandy beaches, Portugal is famous for its diversity and beauty throughout the world.

Its uniqueness makes it very popular among international expats seeking to relocate to Europe.

Since 2012, Portugal has launched its own Portugal Golden Visa scheme, allowing non-European citizens to get Portuguese residency in exchange for an investment in the country’s economy. The program is very popular and has allowed numerous investors, families, and retirees to call Portugal their new home.

Best cities in Portugal for expats 



One of the absolute best cities to live in Portugal for exapts is the capital: Lisbon. It’s a bustling and exciting city to live in. For those on the lookout for activities, there is always plenty to do and see in Lisbon: from restaurants and museums to concerts, movies, theatre and much more. As it is the capital city, you will find everything you need in Lisbon: jobs with high pay, hospitals, banks, administrative buildings, schools, etc.

Compared to the rest of the Portuguese cities, Lisbon is a bit more expensive than average, but you can still find attractive property deals if you look well. Some of the best neighborhoods to live in Lisbon are Alameda, Areeiro, Entrecampos, Almada, and Oeiras. Another pro about Lisbon is that it is located very close to fantastic beaches, offering amazing getaways from city life.


Located in the North of Portugal along the Douro river, Porto is one of the best cities in Portugal for expats. It’s a beautiful city to live in. Picturesque and authentic, Porto is the second-largest city of Portugal. It is notably famous for its Porto wine, gastronomy, and architecture, which have attracted many tourists over the years. For those looking to work in Porto, the city has been an upcoming hub for the start-up scene, with many international entrepreneurs relocating to Porto.

A bit cheaper than Lisbon, Porto has some great neighborhoods to live in such as Foz do Douro, Riberia, Boavista, Campanha, and Avenida do Aliados. The only con about Porto is that its weather can be colder than the rest of Portugal. Apart from that, living in Porto is absolutely worth it.



Faro is the main city of the Algarve, the southern region of Portugal. It is considered a place of sun, sea, and delicious seafood where many expat retirees have chosen to settle down. Some of the advantages of living in Faro are: wonderful weather all year long, proximity to some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world, a very relaxed lifestyle and slow pace of living.

With a booming real estate market, Faro is a comfortable city to live in, with rental property prices cheaper than in Lisbon. Well developed with efficient transportation and health infrastructures, it is only a two hours’ drive from the capital city. With a huge expat community living in Faro, you will feel at home in no time.


Viseu is a city located in the Central region of Portugal. It has been ranked as the best city to live in Portugal multiple times, as well as one of the best cities to live in Europe. This is due to Viseu’s excellent quality of life. From great weather and excellent education to efficient public transportation and an outstanding healthcare system, Viseu has all it takes to be happy.

In Viseu, the housing is not expensive, and the job market is thriving. The city’s Renaissance architecture is also very charming, and as it is surrounded by nature, living in Viseu is perfect for hikers and excursion-lovers. Considerably less well-known than Lisbon and Porto, the city is a perfect place to live in for expats looking for an affordable, tranquil and top-quality lifestyle.

GCS Best cities to live in Portugal


Évora is the main city of the Southcentral region of Portugal called Alentejo. With the temperature rising above average all year long, Évora is a beautiful and calm city with medieval architecture to live in.

Famous for its ancient history  — Évora is full of charm and wonders to discover.

Relatively small in size, Évora is very agreeable since it isn’t crowded. If you choose to live here, you will enjoy a very relaxed pace of living, as well as plenty of delicious cafes and restaurants to go to.

How to live permanently in Portugal

Depending on your situation, there are several options available for non-Europeans to live permanently in Portugal. The most famous visa option for non-European expatriates is the Portugal Golden Visa.

The Portugal Golden Visa allows investors and their family members to get Portuguese residency, and eventually a Portuguese passport, in exchange for an investment in the country’s economy.

Advantages of having Portuguese citizenship are multiple: freedom of movement in the Schengen area; the ability to live, work, and study in one of the most stable European countries; and many more worldwide opportunities.

Take a look at our Portugal Golden Visa Ultimate Guide by local experts

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Portugal real estate

In recent years, Portugal’s real estate market has experienced significant growth. Not only is the Portuguese real estate market full of exciting and diverse properties, but investing in Portugal real estate is also a way to get Portuguese citizenship.

The rise of tourism in Portugal has also increased the demand for rental properties, which provide investors with the opportunity to buy real estate, with high investment returns.

To learn more about how to buy property in Portugal, take a look at our ultimate guide by local experts.

Take a look at our how to buy property in Portugal Ultimate Guide by local experts

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The D7 Visa


If you would like to move to Portugal, but don’t wish to invest a considerable amount, then the D7 visa is probably the best option for you. This allows non-EU citizens to secure Portuguese residency provided that they have sufficient funds to sustain themselves during their stay in the country. 

The D7 visa is perfect for individuals from all walks of life, from retirees to digital nomads, who are looking to live in Portugal without making a major economic investment. The visa can be renewed after one year for two successive periods of two years and can be exchanged for a permanent residence permit after five years. Additionally, holders of the D7 visa will be able to request Portuguese citizenship after five years, provided that they fulfill the other requirements in the Portuguese national law.

Benefits of the D7 Visa include:

  • Permanent free entry and circulation in the Schengen area
  • Live, work, and study in Portugal without any problems
  • Tax benefits through the non-habitual residence (NHR) scheme
  • Benefit from the excellent Portuguese health service
  • Fast visa processing times
  • The entire family is eligible

More on Portugal

Portugal Golden Visa Background Check
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Online Renewal of Golden Visa In Place in Portugal
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The Portugal Golden Visa Biometrics Appointment
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Portugal’s Cultural Production Golden Visa
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Frequently Asked Questions about the best cities to live in Portugal for expats

How can I live permanently in Portugal?

There are several visa options available for foreigners to live permanently in Portugal. The Golden Visa scheme is one of the best ones, as it gives Portuguese residency to investors and their families in a few short months, provided that an investment is made in the country’s economy.

The Portugal D7 visa is also an excellent option whereby you can secure Portuguese residency as long as you can show proof that you have sufficient funds to sustain yourself for the duration of your stay in the country.

What are the best places to live in Portugal for expats?

Some of the best places to live in Portugal for expats are Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Viseu, and Évora.

What is the best place to live in Portugal by the sea?

Depending on the type of lifestyle you are looking for, Lisbon and Faro are some of the best places to live in Portugal by the sea.

Can I get the Portuguese passport as a non-European citizen?

Yes, you can get a Portuguese passport as a non-European citizen. Thanks to the Portugal Golden Visa Program, it is possible for investors and their families to get a Portuguese passport in five years’ time in exchange for an investment of at least €350K in the country’s economy.