Last Updated on October 10, 2023 by Maryam Siddiqui
Living in one of the most popular destinations in southern Algarve is a dream come true for digital nomads. Expats and tourists often visit this part of Portugal during summer break. It doesn’t come as a surprise that living in Lagos is an expat magnet; this laid-back town in the Algarve region has plenty to offer.
The promise of excellent weather all year round and the close proximity to its beaches are just a few reasons Lagos appeals to many expats. Other than that, Lagos also provides a highly digital nomad-friendly environment with plenty of co-living spaces and comfortable cafes perfect for remote working.
So, what is living in Lagos like? Should you consider moving to this town in the Algarve? Stick around to get answers to these questions.
What is living in Lagos like?
Lagos is a coastal town; therefore, you can immediately expect tourist activities to take place. While this is the case, Lagos is quite laid back, with less tourist action than other coastal towns within the Algarve.
It’s the largest town just before reaching the western side of the Algarve, and plenty of tourists pitch camp here as they explore the beautiful west coast. For those looking to explore the West Coast without a car, you’ll be delighted to know that Lagos has train and bus stations facilitating exactly that.
Another way to explore the city without a car is going on foot. Just get a nice comfortable pair of shoes because of the cobbled streets, and you’re ready to go; the town is flat with a few gentle hills. Lagos comes to life at night; the vibrant nightlife allows expats, tourists, and locals to sit back and unwind after a long day.
Who lives in Lagos?
As mentioned earlier, Lagos is a coastal town in the Algarve region; with that in mind, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the town is a hub for those looking to relax. As one of the places in Portugal with just the perfect environment for digital nomads, Lagos is home to plenty of expats and travelpreneurs looking for a laid-back working environment.
According to Pordata, the resident population is only 33,500 inhabitants, of which 62.2% are of working age, and 24.8% are elderly. This year has seen an amazing increase in expats moving to the Algarve region; thus, the current percentage of foreigners in Lagos is 34.8%. Surely, there’s something very attractive about this stunning town!
The Algarve region is known for its large expat community, accounting for around 10% of the population, and Lagos is no different. Many locals speak English, and there are also several English bars; it’s relatively easy to get by while living in Lagos.
Why are expats moving to Lagos?
Portugal is a popular destination for expats from all over the world. It’s not a coincidence that a huge expat population chooses to settle in the Algarve region, including Lagos. Here are a few reasons that make this part of Portugal irresistible to expats:
Lagos has developed facilities
There’s a reason why Lagos is known as one of the finest holiday destinations.
Lagos gives you access to developed facilities similar to those in bigger cities, for instance, Lisbon, without that hustle and bustle associated with Portugal’s capital. What’s more, the cost of living is also relatively cheaper compared to Lisbon.
It’s worth mentioning that as an expat, it’s easier to integrate and settle when the local population communicates in English. While not every local speaks English, the language is pretty common, and a large expat community makes the integration process easier.
Good quality of life
One of the major factors motivating expats to move to Portugal is the promise of a good quality of life. In fact, according to The InterNations, Portugal features 4th out of the top 10 countries with the best quality of life. Moving to the Algarve, or Lagos to be specific, gives you exactly that. A majority of expats are happy with the quality of life they are living in Lagos.
This is often because the cost of living is lower than in other European or North American countries. Access to top education, medical care, and guaranteed safety are among the major factors contributing to Lagos and Portugal’s excellent quality of life.
Legal residents in Portugal have plenty of tax benefits that they can take advantage of. One good example of such tax benefits is the Non-Habitual Residence scheme, which gives legal residents tax incentives for up to 10 years.
Also, Lagos is a haven for digital nomads in the digital currency space. In Portugal, proceeds from digital currencies are not taxable, which is an excellent advantage for anyone who has invested in any digital currency.
It’s important to note that the NHR Regime currently has a deadline after years of being in the limelight. You can apply for tax incentives until 2023 ends, so hurry up and get yourself an experienced tax consultant!
Buying a property in Lagos
The fact that Lagos is in the Algarve means that the property is relatively expensive as compared to other rural towns. Nonetheless, there are plenty of options, from expensive luxury villas to modest houses that are relatively cheap.
Lagos is a tourist hub, and by virtue of this, you can expect the demand for houses to be quite high. Data from Idealista details that the average cost of buying a house in Lagos is €3,682/m2 (as of October 2023).
- If you’re interested in purchasing real estate in one of the most affluent cities in the Algarve, check out our guide on Buying A House In Lagos: Everything You Need To Know!
Renting a flat in Lagos
The cost of renting a flat in Lagos is never static. During the summer months, rent in Lagos is always at its highest because of the increased accommodation demand. Flats are available in different ranges, from affordable options to expensive apartments right in the city’s center.
Here’s a summary of what renting a flat in Lagos costs:
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre||€908|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre||€808|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre||€1,641|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre||€1,378|
Data is from Numbeo (as of October 2023).
Is it better to live in Lagos or Faro?
It’s worth mentioning that Lagos and Faro are great destinations, and choosing between either of them remains a personal decision. Nonetheless, let’s look at the distinct characteristics of both destinations to help you in the decision-making process.
Lagos is a coastal city with a dozen beaches, which is mainly why tourists are drawn there. Despite being a tourist magnet, Lagos is surprisingly smaller than Faro and has a cosmopolitan vibe to it.
Faro, on the other hand, is relatively larger than Lagos and feels more like traditional Portugal. Faro is a historical city in Portugal, and the major attractions here are monuments rather than beaches. Also, Faro has a larger working population than Lagos; therefore, people are busier, and the town offers better employment opportunities.
Faro is a city you would visit to learn more about Portuguese culture and history. At the same time, Lagos is a tourist destination ideal for swimming, hiking, and other beach activities. So is it Faro or Lagos? Well, first, you need to understand your needs as an individual.
If you’re looking for a reasonably laid-back city with fewer tourists, then Faro might be right for you. On the other hand, if a more cosmopolitan vibe and activities by the beach are your fancies, give Lagos a try.
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Is living in Lagos better than living in Lisbon?
Lisbon and Lagos have some similarities that make it difficult to choose between the two cities. First, both destinations are ideal for digital nomads and remote workers. Also, both destinations experience an influx of tourists during the summer.
However, despite the similarities, looking at the differences will help you look at these two cities from different lenses.
First, Lisbon is the capital of Portugal; it’s a big, busy city with a huge working population. It’s a great destination for anyone looking for employment, especially in the corporate world. In contrast to Lisbon, Lagos is laid back and only comes to life during the busy summer months.
As expected, the cost of living in Lagos is also lower compared to Lisbon. In fact, according to Numbeo, the cost of living in Lisbon is nearly 10% more expensive than in Lagos.
What is the cost of living in Lagos?
While Lagos is quite a significant tourist hub in Portugal, the cost of living is not as high as you might think. Here are some of the expenditures that you should expect.
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre||€908|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre||€1,641|
|Gasoline (per liter)||€1.88|
|International School Fee (monthly)||€620|
Estimates are from Numbeo (as of October 2023).
- Check out our detailed article on the Cost Of Living In Lagos: All You Need To Know!
Safety while living in Lagos
Portugal is among the safest countries in the world. In fact, the Global Peace Index 2023 ranks Portugal as the seventh most peaceful country in the world, and Lagos is no different. The Portuguese locals are friendly, and the neighborhood is peaceful.
Violent crimes are almost non-existent, making living in Lagos quite enjoyable and stress-free. It’s also worth mentioning that natural disasters like earthquakes are no cause for concern.
However, you should stay vigilant and always take safety as personal responsibility no matter where you live. There are a few cases of petty crimes like pickpocketing and theft in tourist hubs like Lagos.
Access to healthcare in Lagos
European countries are well known for their quality health care, and Portugal maintains the same health standards. Many private and public hospitals are fully equipped to treat every ailment, including those needing specialized treatment.
Public hospitals are free for local residents and expats with a Número de Utente. While some public hospitals might have long queues and problems with staff, private hospitals are more modern with fewer queues.
- Learn more about Accessing Public Hospitals In Portugal As A Foreigner.
Work labor in Lagos
The Algarve region is essentially a tourist hub, and tourism is the key economic driver. In fact, the tourism and hotel industry is the biggest employer in this region. If you intend to seek active employment in Lagos or any other region in the Algarve, you should narrow your search to the tourism industry.
However, one unique factor about Lagos is that it’s a budding digital nomad location perfect for working remotely. That’s why we call it the Algarve digital nomad paradise!
Freelancers from many countries come and reside in Lagos, situated among excellent coworking facilities and a network that helps you grow. Let’s not forget the low cost of living that helps digital nomads sponsor their location freedom!
Education in Lagos
The Portuguese education system is great! There are numerous public, private, and international schools for children at all levels of education. However, you should be aware that Portuguese is the language of instruction in public schools in Portugal.
It will benefit your children if they learn Portuguese first before enrolling in public schools. So it’s advisable to take your children to international schools where they’ll learn in English. International schools also offer curriculums from around the world that your child might benefit from.
If you’re interested in learning more about expats’ schooling, check out our article on International Schools in the Algarve region.
How can a foreigner move to Lagos?
There are plenty of ways to move to Portugal, depending on where you are and the type of visa you apply for. EU citizens do not need any visa to move to Portugal. However, non-EU citizens will need a visa that guarantees entry and a chance to apply for a residence permit.
A foreigner can use several types of Visas to move to Lagos. Here’s a list of them:
- D1 Work Visa
- D2 Business Visa
- D3 Highly Qualified Professional Visa
- D4 & D5 Study Visa
- D6 Family Reunification Visa
- D7 Passive Income Visa
- Digital Nomad Visa
- Golden Visa
The rules for the Golden Visa change from time to time. So we recommend that you stay in touch with a relocation lawyer to be updated with the latest rules and how to go about the process.
Is it worth living in Lagos?
Moving from one country to another is a major step and requires a lot of research and due diligence. With that being said, living in Lagos is fantastic, especially if you love life around the beach. This coastal city has plenty to offer to people of all ages.
In fact, many expats report living a happy and fulfilling life here in Portugal. Whether you’re looking to retire or work as a digital nomad, living in Lagos will be worth your while. The final answer is, and always will be, subjective to your lifestyle preferences.
Do you need help moving to Portugal?
Moving to a completely new country is a huge step and can be overwhelming for first-timers. Consider getting help from our experts at Viv Europe. Let us help you fulfill your dreams of moving permanently to Portugal!
Also, be sure to join our Facebook Group – All About Portugal for Expats and interact with other expats we’ve helped. If you have any queries, ask away! There are more than 13,600 Portugal enthusiasts ready to help you out.