The perks of living in Portugal have long been known, with the country frequently featured in digital nomad wishlists over the last few years. From the spectacular landscapes in the Algarve to the vibrant, cosmopolitan city of Lisbon, Portugal welcomes all types -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 Portgual to enjoy.
The Portuguese government has invested in 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:
- Cost of living in Portugal
- How to find a place to stay in Portugal
- Coworking in Portugal
- Digital nomad visas and documentation
- Where to live in Portugal
- Plus much more!
Cost of Living in Portugal
As an expat in Portugal, you will be pleasantly surprised by the cost of living. Compared to other western European countries, the cost of living in Portugal is relatively affordable and is considered to be one of the keys 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 in local eateries. Public transport is also relatively cheap, making it easy to get around the country easily.
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 likes, the city is still very affordable. The rural parts of Portugal are really 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
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 digital nomads? 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 digital nomads. 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 digital nomads 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 very good 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 prove to 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 time period. There is often no harm in asking anyway, and you may be pleasantly surprised.
Try to Grab Your Booking Early
If you know that you are going to be coming to Portugal a long time in advance, it is worth getting your accommodation sorted sooner, as you will likely be able to find a cheaper deal.
Digitalnomads.pt is a portal that was built by nomads for other nomads and has listings that you will not be able to find on other websites. They have a very good range of apartments in all manner of locations — city or beach. They are also tailored towards digital nomads so will likely have fast internet, nice amenities, and comfortable beds.
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 digital nomads. 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 towns 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, moden 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.
Entering Portugal: Digital Nomad Visas and Documentation
With more freedom in how we work, and more people opting to live the life of a digital nomad, many countries now offer some form of Digital Nomad visa, including Portugal. Here, you are granted a visa for independent or freelance work. While this is not actually called a Digital Nomad Visa, there are options for you.
The Temporary Stay Visa (basically the Portugal Digital Nomad Visa) is for individuals who are looking to stay in Portugal for up to one year. You can qualify for a temporary visa if you can prove that you will earn a minimum of €635 per month (the minimum required income or “means of sustenance” needed when applying for long-stay visas in Portugal, as of 2020).
For the Portugal digital nomad visa application, there are certain documents that you will need to provide. You can see more on this in this article by Goldcrest, our real estate division based in Lisbon.
Regardless of where you are from, you will need to have a clean criminal record because the Portuguese government will conduct a criminal background check.
It is very easy for EU (European Union) citizens to stay as a digital nomad in Portugal. Since Portugal is part of the EU, citizens do not need a visa or resident permit to live, work, and visit Portugal. However, after three months you will need to apply for a Residence Certificate, which is fairly easy to get hold of.
US citizens are able to visit Portugal visa-free for up to 90 days. If you are planning a longer stay, then you can apply for a 120-day visa. For this, you will need to provide a proof of income, which will show proof that you have at least 1,000 EUR for the duration of your stay in the country.
Non-EU and non-US Citizens
Non-EU citizens may find the process a little more complicated. You will need to apply for a Schengen visa at your local Portuguese consular office. You will need the following documents to hand:
- A valid passport
- Proof of health insurance which provides coverage in Portugal
- Criminal record
- Proof of income
A popular type of visa for expats in Portugal is the D7 visa.
If you are looking to invest in Portugal, you can also consider the Portugal Golden Visa, which allows you to gain residency through 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.
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, 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 people to meet a variety of passionate individuals.
You can see our article on living in Lisbon here.
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.
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, accommodating, and you will definitely meet some great people after a great post-surf session!
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.
If you are considering the Algarve as your digital nomad stop-off point, we would 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.
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 the social scene is considered vibrant.
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.
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 digital nomads. 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 crime cases in a country that is generally 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 digital nomads 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, then you will be able to access the healthcare system in Portugal.
- 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.
Global Citizen Solutions: Who We Are And What We Do
Global Citizen Solutions is a multidisciplinary firm that provides bespoke residence and citizenship solutions in Europe and the Caribbean.
Whether it’s matching you with your ideal investment, Golden Visa program, or tax benefit, we help individuals successfully uproot their lives and lifestyles and become global citizens.
Frequently asked questions about Portugal for digital nomads:
Is Portugal good for digital nomads?
Portugal is a great place for digital nomads, with an excellent climate, many things to do, and with very good coworking spaces where you can meet fellow digital nomads.
Does Portugal have a digital nomad visa?
The Temporary Stay Visa (basically the Portugal digital nomad visa or Portugal remote worker visa) is for individuals who are looking to stay in Portugal for up to one year. You can qualify for the digital nomad visa Portugal if you can prove that you will earn a minimum of €635 per month (the minimum required income or “means of sustenance” needed when applying for long-stay visas in Portugal, as of 2020).
How do I become a digital nomad in Portugal?
How do you become a digital nomad in Portugal? Depending on how long you want to stay in Portugal and your nationality, you will have different options open to you to become a digital nomad in Portugal. If you are an EU or US citizen, you will be able to stay for 120-days visa-free. Following this, there are various visa options open to you: the Temporary Stay Visa (essentially the digital nomad Portugal visa) or D7 Visa are very good options.
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 good options 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. If this is possible, choose your location, look out for coworking spaces, and enjoy your work (on your timescale) and freedom to explore.