10 best places to live in Portugal

blog image

When you think about relocating to Portugal you need to know where to go. LandingPad will guide you into making the right decision to find the perfect place to create a second home or to start your new life. The top 10 best places to live in Portugal are listed here for you.

  1. Lisbon
  2. Cascais
  3. Sintra
  4. Ericeira
  5. Almada/Costa Caparica
  6. Comporta
  7. Alentejo
  8. Lagos
  9. Porto
  10. Braga

Why is living in Portugal so good?

The country is a rising star on many lists. Portugal is in the top 3 for economic growth, according to Portuguese Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The country makes it to the top 5 for being the safest and most peaceful country in the world, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace, who publishes the Global Peace Index. Following the Expat Insider survey Portugal is the 5th best place to relocate to. Over the years this country has been moving up the world happiness ranking list, in 2022 this is not different. Portugal is getting more and more attractive as it has a lot to offer. Discover the many beautiful beaches, the best cities in Portugal with a rich history and with strong culinary traditions. The Portuguese are a warm and welcoming people, who will make you feel welcome in no time. Learning Portuguese is a plus as not everywhere you can get around with just English. The Atlantic Mediterranean climate is just right with warm summers and mild winters, the healthcare and the public transport system are extensive and convenient. Life here is amongst the cheapest of Western Europe. Come and enjoy this inviting atmosphere.

The best places in Portugal to live at a glance

1. Lisbon

Lisbon (1).jpg

Where the Tagus river flows into the Atlantic Ocean we find Lisbon. The city of the seven hills is one of the oldest cities of Western Europe. The rich history of the city is described in many stories and poems, and it can be the decor of your new life.

Lisbon is home to approx 87 nationalities, it is the most digital nomad friendly place in Europe. Soak it all in while enjoying good food and drinks. The real coffee lovers amongst you will be in a happy place here. Join the locals on one of the many sunny terraces for your daily cup of happiness. 10 of the 33 Michelin awarded restaurants of Portugal can be found in Lisbon. The culinary list is broad, you can discover and rediscover different places daily.

This vibrant city is buzzing with markets, live music performances, commercial activities and the people who partake in every level of the communal life in Lisbon. Lisbon is your city of choice if you have a desire to have an active city life and a rich nightlife. With the many cafes, bars, discos and nightclubs you will find everything you need. On top of it all this city has an extensive public transport system. Which is easy to use and cheap. The public transport does not limit itself to the city, but takes you to the coast and across the country.

Lisbon has 24 freguesias, divided over 4 districts, but when exploring the city you will be referring to neighbourhoods, or barrios. These barrios do not have official borders and can be overlapping the freguesias. There are about 167 different barrios, some covering just a few streets. All have their own charm and are for other reasons attractive.

The trendiest part of Lisbon is Príncipe Real. Antique shops combined with new hip restaurants and a modern shopping centre. Avenidas Novas and Bairro Azul and Marquês do Pombal are places for those who wish to live in the business centre. And on the top hill of the city of the seven hills, as Lisbon sometimes is referred to, you find Graça and São Vicente. The aristocratic past of neighbourhood Lapa is appealing to the upper class. If you're more into traditional yet multicultural neighborhoods, head to Muriana, Alcantara, Baixa and Rossio.

2. Cascais

Cascais (1).jpg

Cascais is a special place. Located on the Portuguese riviera, just 30 min by train from Lisbon. It is a desired place to settle or to get your second home.

Cascais was a traditional fisherman’s village until in the 19th century the Portuguese nobility residented here. It has left its mark with elegance and charme. Cascais is filled with shopping opportunities, nice restaurants and bars. History meets blooming new businesses, the perfect blend of old and new. During the summer it can be rather busy, but it is more than just a holiday town.

Cascais is becoming more and more popular in the expat community. The cost of living is higher than in other parts of Portugal, but still affordable compared to other European cities. The real estate market is hot, you can get your hands on great investment opportunities. With stretches of beaches at your disposal, family friendly in the east and more untamed and wild with great surf further north up the coast. There are plenty of schools around for those ideal to raise a family here.

Cascais is an ideal spot for those who wish to live on the Portuguese coast while staying close to the capital.

3. Sintra

Sintra (1).jpg

Surrounded by wild natural beauty we find the mediaeval town Sintra. It is a fairy tale-like setting to live in with stunning views, which attracts many tourists all year around. There are plenty of hotels to accommodate them. The town is divided into the historic old town and a newer, commercial area. Bringing you everything you need to comfortably live.

Finding a job in Sintra might not be that easy, but with Lisbon being just 30 km away you might consider commuting and get the best of both worlds, tranquillity of Sintra and the buzz of Lisbon. Rental prices in Sintra are similar to Lisbon as the market is more limited. It is easy to get around in the town, but having a car will give you freedom to discover the nearby beaches, to go on hikes or participate in other outdoor activities in the nearby forests.

This town is perfect if you are looking for a combination of an adventurous, yet unhurried way of living with a metropolis within reach.

4. Ericeira

Ericeira1 (1).jpg Ericeira2 (1).jpg

Connected with a bus line, just 50 km north from the capital lies the seaside town Ericeira. It is a true surf mecca. All year around the surf is good. Depending on the time of the year, all levels of surfers can and will be challenged here. Participate in a surf camp or join a school to learn the tricks of mastering the swell. Major surf contests take place here. Attracting fans and professionals to the town.

With the perfect climate, not just surfers are residing here. Everyone who enjoys a laid-back lifestyle will feel at home here. Taste the local seafood and enjoy lively nights. Most places have a good wifi connection and there are co-work spaces, which is appealing for the digital nomads amongst you. As living in the town is in demand, the rent prices are similar to Lisbon. The environment is inviting and stunning, but easiest to be discovered if you have a car.

5. Almada/Costa Caparica

Almada (1).jpg

On the other side of the 25th April Bridge we find Almada. It takes just 15 min to get across with public transport, but by car you may encounter traffic. Almada is home to the Santuário Nacional de Cristo Rei. This monument attracts crowds to take in the amazing view over the Tagus, the Atlantic Ocean and Lisbon. Living on this side of the bridge means having the energetic and sparkling Lisbon at your fingertips, while being able to enjoy a far more tranquil lifestyle. Everything you need to live comfortably is there.

The most sought after place to live in Almada is the neighbourhood Cacilhas, in the very top on the west-north side, with her great views on the Tagus and many cosy restaurants. Nightlife here is limited, but Lisbon is just there if you need a night out.

East of Almanda starts the Costa de Caparica, with the eponymous town Costa de Caparica. It is a modern and lively town with high rise apartments. They form the framework for a beautiful beach that attracts surfers and kitesurfers. Plenty of retirees reside here, alongside the active youth. The further south down the Costa de Caparica the more quiet and unspoiled the beaches are to be discovered with care and respect, most of the coast is protected nature reserve. The perfect place for nature lovers, who like the modern touch of Costa de Caparica. If you wish to explore the surrounding area you will need a car to get around as public transport going south is limited and does not stop everywhere.

6. Comporta

Comporta (1) (1) (1).png

This is called the hidden gem of Portugal. It is the best place to live in Portugal if you value privacy and wish to live an unwinding life.

Comporta is a region made up from 12 different villages. Pine forests, rice fields, cliffs and long stretches of beaches paint the setting. Sometimes it feels like time has stopped here, but in a stylish way. Once the area was an enormous estate, that changed in the early ‘90. To maintain the natural state of the region there are restrictions in development. Most properties are restored into luxurious homes and there are no high rise buildings in the area. Even more reason why getting your hands on a place here is so desired. The real estate market is popular and booming.

Comporta attracts retirees, innovative, artistic people and only off the beaten path tourists make it to the region. Enjoy outstanding restaurants, wineries, and a close to nature bohemian chique lifestyle.

7. Alentejo

Alentejo (1).jpg

Often referred to as the heart of Portugal is the Alentejo region. It borders on Algarve in the south and the leftbank of the Tagus. The rural side of Portugal is charming with open spaces, mediaeval castles and untouched beaches along the coast. There are many hiking trails throughout the region. It is the perfect place for those who are looking for space and peacefulness.

Most towns in Alentejo are small, historic and traditional. If you wish to set foot here you must consider learning Portuguese. That is definitely the case if you are looking into job opportunities. The digital nomads amongst you have to take in account a lesser quality of stable internet connection at times. The region is slowly modernising and offers great investment opportunities. The cost of living in the inland towns tends to be more affordable than life in the coastal towns.

When people think of Alentejo, they often think about Évora. It is home to one of the first universities of Portugal and is listed in the Cultural World Heritage list by UNESCO. Santarém, Portalegre, Setúbal, Beja other areas of the Alentejo. Each is unique in its own way. Santarém is one of the cheapest cities to reside in.

Coast of Alentejo is the perfect place for recluses who value a beach life. Some 5star hotel resorts set foot here.

8. Lagos

Lagos (1).jpg

The coastal town Lagos is the last big town heading west of the coast of Algarve. Impressive cliffs and beautiful beaches are drawing the landscape. It is laid back and quiet the majority of the year and brings a buzzing vibe during the summer months July and August. Like many coastal towns the main economy is tourism. This and the accessible real estate market go hand in hand if you are dreaming about opening a bed and breakfast.

This town has everything you need. Enjoy good quality food and drinks in nice cafes and restaurants, shopping and there is a port. The Mediterranean climate, in winter the temperature does not drop under 15 degrees, makes this a perfect place to escape a colder winter or to retire. Lagos has a bus and train station which connects you to the rest of the country, but having a car is a plus to explore the surrounding environment. The international airport of Faro is just 90 km east of Lagos.

9. Porto

Porto (1).jpg

In the North of Portugal we find Porto, the invincible city according to the history books and the second biggest city of the country. Even though it is a metropolis, the city has a small city-like feeling. The historic centre is compact and that makes it more intimate and easy to get around in.

The home of fortified wine, Port is a commercial and business centre. Which attracts executive business (wo)men, but Porto can be perfect for a more lively retirement plan. Taste citylife in a relaxed way and the gastronomic culture. The surrounding Douro valley is famous for its extraordinary views and the Vinho Verde, the most famous Portuguese wine, next to the port. By purchasing a property in the area, you can have it all.

Many expats are looking for a place in the centre of the city, while others wish to stay closer to the beach to enjoy the gatherings at the beach. Like in Lisbon, Porto has many different neighbourhoods.

The best places to live in Porto. Ribeira is a heart of Porto. The old colourful neighbourhood is a Unesco World Heritage site. Cedofeita is attractive for its artistic spaces with green spaces. Living in the oldest part of the city Sé means you are in the heart of it all, with traditional culture and narrow cobbled streets. Aliados & Bolhao are best known for its market. The vibe is inviting and colourful. Just a 20 min tram ride away from the centre you can live in the Foz do Douro city on the coast. Vila Nova De Gaia offers gorgeous views over the city and is a real port centre.

10. Braga

Braga1 (1).jpg Braga2 (1).jpg

Situated in the North, between the Minho and Douro river, lies this endearing city. It will steal your heart if you are looking for a big city-like yet tranquil lifestyle. Immerse in the culture and history of the oldest and safest city of Portugal. The many churches, squares and gardens all tell their own story. Braga highly values it’s educational role, several public and private schools are located in and around the city. On top of that, one of the most prestigious universities of Portugal, Minho University, is located in the city. Braga is the best area to live in Portugal if you are relocating with a family. There are job opportunities for those who have a digital background. Many major tech and software companies have headquarters or branches in Braga. The cost of living is lower than in Lisbon and Porto. Braga is surrounded by mountains, the coast is only 30 min drive away. Which offers outdoor activities and amazing views all year around.