Best places to live in Portugal

April 08 2022

Portugal is becoming ever increasingly popular with Brits due to it being so expat-friendly, with some of the most idyllic beaches in Europe, charming cities and an appealing historical culture. But, the main question is, where is the best place to live in this amazing country?

Portugal has so much to offer and there are so many incredible destinations, but the answer to this question will vary depending on your needs and lifestyle. Not to worry though, we’ve got your back! We have put together a list of places we recommend, based off of our 40 years’ worth of experience in moving people to Portugal. Our list is broken down into cities, islands and beach locations, so there is something covered for everyone!

The best Portuguese cities to live in are –

1. Lisbon

Being Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon is a great place for expats who are looking for the best of both worlds – the buzz of the big city and beautiful, sunny, beaches. One advantage of this Portuguese city is that it’s not as expensive as other European cities, such as Paris, Berlin or London, so expats often find they are able to live comfortably without splashing the cash too much. Even the best things about Lisbon won’t cost you anything: the friendly people, laid-back lifestyle, lenient work life approach, amazing weather and, of course, the beaches – you can’t beat it!

2. Porto

Located along the River Douro, north of the country, Porto is sometimes disregarded by expats moving to Portugal, but it should not be ruled out! This city is a very safe place to live, which makes it perfect for expat families. This city also has a thriving economy, covering many diverse commercial sectors including manufacturing, packing, IT and even cotton production. Like Lisbon, Porto offers a great urban living experience, as well as beachside fun for all the family. There is also plenty to keep you busy on the weekends, from riverside cruises and outdoor adventure sports to lunching and dining on the Ribeira, drinking some of the finest wines. So, it is safe to say, you will be never be short of things to do!

3. Aveiro

If you are looking for a smaller city, where English is less widely spoken, the Aveiro is great option for you. Aveiro is a truly authentic, Portuguese city, which is famous for it’s canals and tones of history and culture to dive yourself into! Like all Portuguese cities, it is relatively cheap to live here, more so than Porto and Lisbon. This is great as you are getting all the city attributes at a nice, comfortable discount! The city is also a lot quieter than the largest cities and you will not find as much traffic here, so if the hustle and bustle isn’t up your street then Averio sounds like the perfect home for you!

The best Portuguese islands to live on are –

1. Madeira

The Portuguese islands are becoming increasingly popular with British expats, as more and more people are able to work remotely these days so island life is extremely appealing! Madeira islands capital city is Funchal, which is a fantastic place to live, as it offers warm weather all year round. Many expats tend to worry that an island like this may be mobbed by tourists during the summer months, however you may be pleasantly surprised by the fact that this is not necessarily the case. This island is also attractive with expats, as English is generally very widely spoken so you don’t need to worry too much about learning the language.

2. Azores

Azores is one of the most beautiful places to live in the world. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, this archipelago of nine islands has the pretty perfect climate and some incredibly peaceful locations. In the summertime the weather is lovely and warm, and in the winter it remains fairly mild with moderations of rainfall from time to time. The islands are also fairly accessible, with three major airports located in the Azores. From these airports, there are regular flights to and from the UK, USA and parts of Europe. In terms of accessing main land Portugal, ferries operate on a very regular basis – so you can easily have a break from the quiet island life and head into the hustle and bustle of city life!

The best Portuguese beach locations to live in are –

1. The Algarve

It would not be a ‘best places to live in Portugal’ without mentioning the infamous Algarve. This is by far the most popular beach destination with expats. Home to gorgeous golden beaches, dramatic coastline and some of the best weather conditions in Portugal, with more than 300 days of sunshine a year, we can’t blame them! For many years now the Algarve has been a popular destination for people from all over the world, so if you are looking for somewhere with a large multicultural community, then this will be a great place for you.

2. Peniche

If you are a keen surfer, then you’ll love Peniche! This idyllic seaside town offers unbeatable surf breaks and is often popular with beginner surfers, as a result of the epic, large waves. Peniche also has so much beauty and history to explore, such as the walled historic centre and the seaside fort. Known as a sleepy fishing town, it’s the perfect place to escape busy life and therefore, is very popular with expats looking for somewhere quiet to retire to or just to escape the hustle and bustle of European city life. Although it is relatively quiet here, English is pretty widely spoken here, so if learning Portuguese is freaking you out a little, you will not need to worry!

3. Cascais

This Portuguese fishing town is home to a thriving marina, so if you are looking for a buzzy beach location then Cascais is defiantly worth considering. The towns dramatic coastline, with some of the most incredible rock formations means that the beaches here are some of the best in the country. This town tends to get popular with tourists in the summer, as it is a hot holiday destination due to it’s abundance of sandy beaches, restaurants and range of activities to keep you busy i.e. museums. Cascais is also fairly accessible to Lisbon, so popping in and out of the city is fairly efficient.

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