The perks of living in Portugal have long been known, with the country frequently featured in digital nomad wishlists over the last few years. Foreign nationals have been visiting the country for years, with many retirees, families, and young professionals relocating to this Mediterranean gem. From the spectacular landscapes in the Algarve to the vibrant, cosmopolitan city of Lisbon, Portugal accommodates all types of people – retirees, investors, and entrepreneurs. The welcoming locals, balmy climate, and relaxed lifestyle have each helped position the country as an exceptional location for digital nomads in Portugal to enjoy.
What’s more, as of 30 October 2022, Portugal’s new Digital Nomad Visa allows digital nomads to set up shop in the country. Remote workers who make at least four times the Portuguese minimum wage are eligible to apply, amounting to around $2,750 (€2,836) per month. With the Digital Nomad Visa – a specific remote worker visa – remote workers can easily live and work in Portugal for up to one year or apply for residency and stay for a longer period in the country.
Over the last few years, the Portuguese government has invested in a robust, high-speed internet infrastructure and has promoted direct foreign investment in companies and startups through its Golden Visa program, which was introduced in 2012. As a digital nomad living in Portugal, you will find the country very up-to-speed in catering to your needs.
In this guide, we’ll arm you with everything that you will need to know about being a digital nomad in Portugal, providing information on the following:
- The Digital Nomad Visa program
- Cost of living in Portugal
- How to find a place to stay in Portugal
- Coworking in Portugal
- Where to live in Portugal
- Plus much more!
The Portugal Digital Nomad Visa Program
From 30 October 2022, under the new Portugal Digital Nomad Visa program, you can now live and work in Portugal as a remote worker. The Portuguese government announced the Digital Nomad Visa earlier this year to allow digital nomads to stay or settle for a certain period in Portugal. Many countries now have Digital Nomad Visas, and the Portuguese version is very appealing.
The Portugal Digital Nomad Visa is for remote workers that are looking to work remotely from Portugal. The requirements are that the individual has to make four times the national minimum wage to live and work in the country, which amounts to around $2,750 (€2,836) per month.
Portugal’s Digital Nomad Visa is split into two categories. Remote workers can either apply for a temporary stay visa for up to one year or a residency visa that can then be renewed for up to five years. The two categories are very appealing, whether you are looking for a short-term temporary stay visa or are looking to obtain a residency visa and perhaps live longer in the country.
If you obtain a residency visa, after five years, you can apply for permanent residency and even Portuguese citizenship, provided that you fulfill all the requirements. With citizenship, you will have the right to live, work, and study in any European Union (EU) member country.
This visa type is a nice alternative to the D7 Visa (also referred to as the Portugal Passive Income Visa), which is ultimately a visa for passive income earners. Portugal’s Digital Nomad Visa provides an entire visa type focused on attracting remote workers and entrepreneurs to the country.
Concerning the application process, you can visit the Portuguese Consulate in your home country or at SEF (Portuguese immigration and border services) if you are already in Portugal. You will need to show proof of income (bank statements) for the past three months, tax residency documents, and either a contract of employment or proof that you are self-employed. The application process is relatively straightforward, whether you apply in your home country or at SEF.
Recipients are also able to travel throughout the Schengen Area visa-free without having to deal with border control – one of the key advantages of the new visa.
The COVID-19 pandemic was, in many ways, a catalyst for remote working. The Portugal Digital Nomad Visa allows you to work anywhere in the world and live in Portugal. For example, you can work for a company in Singapore, the United Kingdom, or the USA and live in a beautiful Mediterranean country.
Cost of Living in Portugal
As an expat in Portugal, you will be pleasantly surprised by the cost of living. Compared to other countries in western Europe, the cost of living in Portugal is relatively affordable. It is considered to be one of the key draws for many retirees, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. Eating out in restaurants, going for a coffee, or doing your weekly grocery shop is very affordable.
You should be able to have lunch, coffee, and dessert for around €7-€10 in local eateries. Public transport is also relatively cheap, making it easy to get around the country.
One important thing to note is that Lisbon has its own price range in comparison to the rest of the country. However, compared to capital cities in London, Paris, and the like, the city is still very affordable. The rural parts of Portugal are very cheap indeed.
How much you spend will inevitably depend on where you live and your lifestyle. If you choose to live in the heart of Lisbon, a couple can live well from €2,000 to €2,500 a month. If you are looking for something cheaper, you can always consider the Silver Coast, Algrave, or Porto, where you can live comfortably for €1,500 a month.
How to Find a Place to Stay in Portugal
When you enter Portugal, it’s nice to have accommodation already sorted. There are different options to consider when it comes to finding a place to stay in Portugal. Do you want to live alone? With other expats? Or in shared accommodation? Note that prices will also vary considerably based on what you are after and the location that you want to live in. For example, in Lisbon, some neighborhoods will be more expensive than others.
The Portuguese real estate market in Portugal has received considerable investment in recent years, particularly focused on Lisbon and Porto. Here you can find brand-new Airbnb units that are perfect for young professionals. However, if you are looking to stay for a longer time period, it can be a good idea to find a longer-term rental. In coastal areas, you can find nice hotels and hostels not far from the beach.
In the interior of Portugal, you may find it a little more difficult to find a suitable place to stay. You may find some apartments from a quick Google search, through Booking.com and Facebook. There are many digital nomad Facebook groups to keep up-to-date and look for tips.
There are several choices open to expats when it comes to accommodation options. Portugal has invested heavily in real estate infrastructure, and the major cities have many chic apartments on offer. Outside Lisbon and Porto, cities such as Braga are also picking up speed in terms of real estate, and you should be able to find several excellent Airbnb options.
Book for at least one month at a time
If you are looking to book for a greater period than one month, you are likely to find better deals. While this may not be possible, depending on your lifestyle and how much time you would like to spend in one place, booking for at least one month will likely be beneficial to your wallet.
Negotiate with the host
Negotiate with the host for a better deal. Many hosts will be accommodating to your requirements and may lower the cost for you, especially if you are staying for a longer period. There is often no harm in asking, and you may be pleasantly surprised.
Try to grab your booking early
If you know that you will be coming to Portugal a long time in advance, it is worth getting your accommodation sorted out sooner rather than later, as you will likely be able to find a cheaper deal.
Booking.com acts as a middleman between travelers, hostels, hotels, guesthouses, and vacation rentals. You’ll often be able to find some very good deals, particularly if you book in advance. You’ll find many choices, including inner-city apartments, beach houses, hotels, and country abodes.
Places To Work: Coworking in Portugal
Over the past few years, Portugal has become an exceptional hub for digital nomads. From Porto to Lisbon, there are several excellent options open to you. However, they do tend to be focused on the areas that are popular with expats. Here, we’ll provide you with some of our favorites.
If you have set Porto in your sights, then Porto i/o is a very good option where you can get to know and socialize with other expats. There are four locations: Douro Riverside, downtown, Santa Catarina, and by the seaside, each with its own unique characteristics. They also provide a regular schedule of lectures, workshops, and informative talks.
Liberdade229 is located in central Lisbon and has spacious offices with plenty of natural life. There is also a communal kitchen, so if you are new in town it’s easy to meet fellow expats.
Located in Peniche, Largo is an excellent option by the coast where you can get to know fellow expats in the heart of Portugal.
Ocupa Cowork Aveiro is a new, modern coworking space in Aveiro. Enjoy free coffee, meet fellow expats, and enjoy the quieter side of Portuguese life in the so-called “Venice of Portugal.”
During the day, Factory Braga is an excellent space to knuckle down and work, while meeting people from all works of life. In the evening, you can even boost your career with the Factory Digital Academy Training. What’s more, Braga is an exceptionally beautiful city, where you are well-positioned to enjoy the north of the country.
Best Destinations for Digital Nomads in Portugal
So, where are the best places in Portugal for digital nomads? There are several beautiful locations to live in Portugal, from the cosmopolitan capital of Lisbon to the historic city of Porto, from the quiet of the Silver Coast to the sublime beauty of the Algarve. Here, we’ll run over some of our favorite locations.
There’s just something about Lisbon. With its vibrant mix of tradition and modernity blending together fabulously, there is nowhere else in the world quite like it. Many entrepreneurs are coming to call Lisbon home, as its tech and startup scenes are booming, not least exemplified by Websummit, the largest tech festival in the world, moving to Lisbon. To be a digital nomad in Lisbon is an excellent option.
Although Lisbon does have its own price tag when compared to other parts of the country, it is still a very pocket-friendly city. You can head out for dinner for €20, grab a beer for €1-2, and get your coffee fix for as little as 60 cents.
Where to work in Lisbon
There are probably more coworking spaces in Lisbon than in any other part of the country. One of the best ones to consider is Liberdade229, which has large, spacious offices, plenty of natural light, and is very well located.
Here you will find many entrepreneurs, start-up enthusiasts, and digital nomads starting their day with a coffee in the communal kitchen, and it’s a great place to meet a variety of passionate individuals.
You can see our article: Living in Lisbon.
If you stop by Porto, you will quickly come to the conclusion that the second city of Portugal is a very special place indeed. The cobbled streets, enchanting castles, and age-old traditions will make you believe you have stepped back in time.
If you are lucky, you may be able to find suitable accommodation in the Ribeira area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. What’s more, the Douro wine will keep wine lovers happy, as the region houses some of the best wines in the world. With beaches close at hand, top surf spots, and cute restaurants and bars, there is something here for everyone.
Where to work in Porto?
As previously mentioned, Porto i/o is excellent for coworking and has four different locations. With lectures, workshops, talks, and more, it’s a great place to meet fellow expats while boosting productivity with work.
For more information, check out our article: Living in Porto: A Guide for Foreigners.
If you want to get out of the city, then Peniche is a safe bet. Peniche is a local surf town that is considered to be one of the best spots for surfing in Europe. Check out Supertubos beach in the summer, and you’ll find countless surfers amongst the waves. For beginners, there are also surf schools to be baptized in the sport.
Where to work in Peniche
Largo is probably your best bet for coworking spaces in Peniche, although there are not so many options, given the small size of Peniche. However, Largo is cheap, and accommodating, and you will definitely meet some great people after a great post-surf session!
You can find out more in our article: The Silver Coast in Portugal: the most desirable place to live for expats.
The picturesque northern city of Braga is a must-see. If you are looking for a quieter city, where you can enjoy the authentic side of Portugal, then this city is an excellent option. You will also find several lovely Airbnb apartments with excellent amenities.
Where to work in Braga
There are a surprising amount of coworking and networking opportunities in Braga. For example, Braga I/O, Factory Braga, and Regus Branch are excellent options. What’s more, Braga has a very advanced tech scene.
You can find out more in our article: Living in Braga: A Guide for Foreigners.
If you are considering the Algarve as your digital nomad stop-off point, we recommend Sagres. Uniquely positioned on the southwestern tip of Portugal, you will find beautiful beaches spread out in the east and top surf locations to the north. There is also a vibrant array of resorts, bars, and restaurants to enjoy.
For nature lovers, you will find much to enjoy. There are many hiking opportunities in the region, and even in the autumn and winter months, you may be able to spend the day outside in a t-shirt.
Where to work in Sagres
Coworksurf is a global network of workspaces that was cofounded in Sagres and is particularly good for surfer digital nomads. You will have very fast internet, friendly coworkers, and are a short walk from exceptional beaches.
You can find out more in our article: Sagres Portugal Real Estate.
Coimbra is excellent for digital nomads who really need to focus, as the city has a quiet-town vibe. Nonetheless, as a student city (with the oldest university city in Portugal), there are also many restaurants, bars, and a vibrant social scene.
Where to work in Coimbra
The Nest Collective is the perfect workspace located in the very heart of Coimbra. Simple, affordable, and elegant, this is the perfect spot to snap into focus mode and get your work done and dusted.
For more information on Coimbra, you can consult our article: Living in Coimbra: A Guide for Foreigners.
Ponta do Sol, Madeira: the Digital Nomad Village
The autonomous island of Madeira has a ‘Digital Nomads Madeira” project, which is essentially an entire digital nomad village in Portugal. To be a digital nomad in Madeira is a very attractive option.
The town of Ponta do Sol has a population of 8,200, with the town welcoming up to 1000 remote workers at a time. You will have access to the Slack community, continuous fun activities, and events that are aimed to foster networking and meeting new people. The Digital Nomads Madeira is a joint initiative set up between Startup Madeira and the government of Madeira, with the primary aim to be community benefits from the social and economic impact of attracting passionate digital nomads onto the island.
The Digital Nomads Madeira website can be found here for those that want to know more.
The Not-So-Great Parts of Living in Portugal
Yes, Portugal can be seen as a mecca for remote workers and entrepreneurs, and if you are looking to move to a foreign country for a while, then Portugal is highly recommended. However, in every paradise, there are some negatives. If you decide to move to Portugal, be aware of certain things.
Crime: Pickpocketing and bag snatching
In many major cities, pickpocketing and bag snatching can be problematic. In Portugal, these are reported as the most common criminal cases in a country that is generally considered one of the safest in the world. The thieves often use little children to distract people, so watch out for this trick. Public transportation, hotel lobbies, and airports are the most common spots where trouble can occur, so be vigilant, just in case. Take some precautions. If you are carrying a bag, keep it out of sight if you are in a busy area or keep it close to you. With valuables, you should also take extra precautions.
Portugal is known across the world as having an exceptional climate. However, the winters can be very cold in the winter, particularly if you do not have a good heating unit at home. This can be an issue for expats flocking into the country over the winter months.
Quick Tips for Digital Nomads in Portugal
Here are some tips for digital nomads in Portugal:
- Portugal has an excellent healthcare system, and the faculty also extends to digital nomads. If you have qualified for all the residency formalities, you will be able to access the healthcare system in Portugal. You can also opt for private health insurance if you so wish. You’ll find private health insurance in Portugal to be quite affordable.
- If you are thinking about a longer-term plan, it is relatively straightforward to buy property in Portugal. Given the popularity of Portugal, you can even get some very attractive returns on investments.
- Try to shop locally and avoid buying imported products to save money.
- To save money, don’t frequent the fanciest, most expensive bar every weekend. There are plenty of trendy bars that will not break the bank.
- Country markets and stalls offer fresh produce, where you are helping local businesses and will often find cheaper products and establish relationships with the seller.
- It can be a good idea to set up a Portuguese bank account if you are planning on living in Portugal for a while, and you will save money on currency exchange rates.
If you are looking to invest in Portugal, you can also consider the Portugal Golden Visa, which allows you to gain residency by making a financial contribution to the country, which can lead to Portuguese citizenship in five years’ time. You can read more about the Portugal Golden Visa here.
There are many other countries that offer some form of Digital Nomad Visa. You can see our article Digital Nomad Visa: Countries Offering Visas for Digital Nomads for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions About Portugal for Digital Nomads
Is Portugal good for digital nomads?
Portugal is a great place for digital nomads. Digital nomads seeking an excellent climate, many things to do, and very good coworking spaces where you can meet fellow workers, will find that Portugal is a great place to work and live. Indeed the digital nomad community in the country is pretty well established, and Portugal’s Digital Nomad Visa is a very attractive option for remote workers and entrepreneurs.
Does Portugal have a digital nomad visa?
Yes, the new Portugal Digital Nomad Visa is for remote workers that are looking to work remotely from Portugal. It was launched on 30 October 2022 by the Portuguese government. The requirements for the new official Digital Nomad Visa are that the individual needs to make four times the national minimum wage to live and work in the country, which amounts to around $2,750 (€2836.60) per month.
How do I become a digital nomad in Portugal?
From 30 October 2022, the Digital Nomad Visa allows individuals to live and work in Portugal. To apply for the Digital Nomad Visa, individuals must make four times the national minimum wage, which amounts to around $2,750 (€2836.60) per month. There are two categories; the first is a temporary residency permit valid for up to a year, while the second is a Portugal residency visa that can be renewed for up to five years.
Where do digital nomads live in Portugal?
This will depend on what you are looking for. Cities such as Lisbon, Porto, Braga, and Coimbra are good options to consider. Peniche and Sagres are a good choices if you want to be located right on the seafront.
How do I become a digital nomad?
To become a digital nomad, you must be able to do your job from anywhere. In today’s globalized world, this is increasingly common. Many countries now have Digital Nomad Visas. For example, the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa allows remote workers to live and work in Portugal.