Curious about living on the Silver Coast of Portugal? Take a look at where to live, how much it costs, and get some top expat tips.

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Maryam Siddiqui

Portugal’s Silver Coast is one of the country’s most underestimated places to live. People from all over the world are moving to Portugal and enjoying Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve.

But living on the Silver Coast is often unduly forgotten, even though it is affordable and charming. Therefore, we’re here to correct it.

In this article, you’ll find out all about the stunning area of the Portuguese Silver Coast. Discover the most fantastic sceneries, cultural traditions, the best cities to live in, and how much it costs to buy a house with a sea view. Let’s get to it!

Living on the Silver Coast of Portugal

Welcome to the Portuguese Silver Coast! Between Lisbon and Porto, this large coastal area is home to some of the most beautiful places in Portugal. The coastal towns along this stretch, such as Peniche and Nazaré, offer a unique blend of charm, attractions, and a laid-back lifestyle, all within close proximity to the spectacular coastline.

It goes from the coastal regions of the districts of Aveiro, then Coimbra, until Leiria. So it’s the western coast of Portugal in the Central Region.

It has a length of approximately 240 km (150 miles) and is known for its rough sea and big waves, making it home to a spectacular coastline that is often referred to as ‘the real Portugal’ by those who visit.

Living on the Silver Coast is a great choice for expats in Portugal. Especially for those looking for a sea view and less expensive yet peaceful areas.

Who lives on the Silver Coast?

According to official information available at Pordata, there are more than 715,000 people living on the Silver Coast. However, since the area is wide and diverse, it’s not common to feel like you’re in a metropolis. Towns are small, people are friendly, and most of the expat community hasn’t found out about it yet.

Sure, it’s a traditional summer vacation destination for travelers from the north of Europe. However, the Silver Coast has only recently begun attracting foreigners to stay for good. Can you imagine living in the place you go to every year to enjoy yourself? It’s just as good as it sounds!

Why are expats moving to the Silver Coast of Portugal?

Among the main benefits of living on the Silver Coast are the amazing quality of life and the low cost of living. The Portuguese Silver Coast area is not only beautiful and pleasant but also offers all the infrastructure one can need.

At the same time, the cities of the Silver Coast of Portugal are not too big. This means that expats here can enjoy the sun and fresh air with all the privacy they desire. Some of the best cities for expats are located here, and also some of the cheapest cities in Portugal.

What are the best places to live on the Silver Coast of Portugal?

Just an hour north of Lisbon International Airport, you’ll find the enchanting Silver Coast Portugal, a prime location for those looking to explore or settle near Caldas da Rainha. The only way to be sure of the best region for you to live in Portugal is by seeing it yourself on a scouting trip.

However, we’ll highlight some amazing places that expats often choose within the Silver Coast Portugal. Whether you’re just passing by or settling in Portugal, you’ll love the Portuguese Silver Coast!

Aveiro district

Located just below the famous city of Porto, north of Portugal, the district of Aveiro also comprehends the Silver Coast.

While the entire district is home to around 365,466 residents, official data points out that only approximately 3.6% are foreigners. Whether or not you’d like to live around other expats, it’s up to you. Here, you can definitely count on getting to know the real Portugal.

Take a look below at the main places to live in the Aveiro district:

  • Aveiro: Capital of the area, an excellent place to live regarding location, prices, and culture;
  • Espinho: One of Porto’s favorite beaches, Espinho offers a lively cultural agenda and an easygoing vibe;
  • Ovar: Fantastic small town between Porto and Aveiro with amazing quality of life, culture, and beaches;
  • Murtosa: Another great choice for expats in Portugal, with beaches, infrastructure, and safety.

Coimbra district

Continuing south on the Silver Coast of Portugal, we get to the district of Coimbra. Even though most of this district is inland, there are some great additions to the Silver Coast. Of all its 438,463 inhabitants, only 4.2% are foreigners. However, this percentage goes to 5% of 59,111 residents in the coastal Figueira da Foz area.

Living in Coimbra has many advantages. One is being very central, and another is being so close to the beaches of the Silver Coast.

coimbra-is-beautiful

The main places to live in the Coimbra district are:

  • Figueira da Foz: A top choice to live on the Silver Coast, with excellent beaches and a charming center;
  • Coimbra: Beautiful and historical capital of the district, one of the most important cities in Portugal;
  • Mira: One of the main summer destinations for beach lovers on the Silver Coast, with a rural touch.

Leiria district

Last but not least is the district of Leiria. Pointed out by many people as the true meaning of the Silver Coast of Portugal, the cities of the Leiria district are some of the best to live in Portugal.

Here, you’re very close to Lisbon, but you can feel that this area is different. It’s not as noisy and crowded, and the natural surroundings are simply breathtaking. The beaches here are renowned for their supple, golden sand and massive dunes, offering a perfect setting for visitors of all ages to relax and enjoy.

When put together, the regions of Leiria and the Oeste are home to around 600,000 inhabitants, half of which live on the Silver Coast. The estimate is that around 6% of this population is made of foreigners.

It was hard to choose only a few, but here are the best places to live in the Leiria district:

  • Peniche: An epic-looking fishing village that attracts surfers and tourists to its beaches;
  • Óbidos: The most charming medieval village in inland Portugal;
  • Caldas da Rainha: one of the biggest cities, 15 minutes away from the coast;
  • Nazaré: A lovely town (in the photo above) known for its giant waves, surfing, and as the fishing town’s beautiful beach;
  • Leiria: Capital of the district and main economic center;
  • São Martinho do Porto: A small but enchanting town with a protected bay, and a rare beach with calm waters, often celebrated as the best family beach and a premier family beach in Portugal.

What is the cost of living on the Silver Coast of Portugal?

The cost of living on the Silver Coast is even less expensive than the rest of mainland Portugal, with property prices and real estate prices contributing significantly to its affordability.

Take a look at the table for estimates of the cost of living in the main cities of the Silver Coast of Portugal.

ExpensesCost in AveiroCost in CoimbraCost in Leiria
A single-person estimated monthly costs (no rent)€658€646€717
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre€566€548€506
Family of four estimated monthly costs (no rent)€2,328€2,263€2,300
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre€925€969€775

Data is from the cost of living website Numbeo (as of May 2024).

Other expenses you’re most likely to incur are in the table below:

ExpensesCosts
Groceries (monthly)€250
Utilities€116
Public Transport€30
Gasoline (per liter)€1.88
Leisure/Sports€40

Estimates are for a single individual.

But what about comparing it to the cost of living in Lisbon? To give you a better idea of how cheaper it is to live on the Silver Coast, here are some facts, also gattered on Numbeo: 

  • Aveiro is 10.2% less expensive than Lisbon, and rent is, on average, 45.8% lower;
  • Coimbra is 10.8% less expensive than Lisbon, and rent is, on average, 48% lower;
  • Leiria is 12.1% less expensive than Lisbon, while rent is, on average, 56.3% lower.

Properties on the Silver Coast offer exceptional value, with many options available for under a million, making it an attractive choice for those seeking affordability.

Buying real estate properties on the Silver Coast of Portugal

If your intention is mainly to acquire a property in Portugal, the Silver Coast might be a great option. Not only is the entire area in an excellent location, but market prices here are also much lower than in Lisbon. And they promise to increase in value a lot in the next few years.

Take a look at the prices to purchase a 100m2 property on the Portuguese Silver Coast:

RegionAverage purchase price of a 100 m² property
Aveiro district€168,000
Coimbra district€140,000
Leiria district€158,500

Data is from Idealista (as of May 2024).

Public and private healthcare

Regarding healthcare, the Silver Coast region is a reference in Portugal. In the districts of Aveiro, Coimbra, and Leiria, the population is very well served with both public health services and private health options.

Foreigners legally residing in Portugal, that is, with a residence permit in hand, can use Portuguese public hospitals and health centers. You just need to create a Número de Utente beforehand to enjoy the same rights as locals. 

Also, you’ll be happy to know that most simple medical services in public healthcare are now completely free.

If you prefer to take out health insurance in Portugal and use the area’s private hospitals and clinics, you’ll be happy too. Many expats prefer this service as it tends to be faster and more personalized than the public. Prices vary, but they’re not outrageous as long as you have insurance.

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What is the weather like on the Silver Coast of Portugal?

Living on the Portuguese Silver Coast, you can expect many sunny days, but also a lot of wind, largely due to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean.

This vast body of water plays a crucial role in shaping the climate of the region, making the weather on the Silver Coast more appealing to most northern Europeans compared to the Algarve. The Atlantic Ocean’s proximity means that central Portugal is not as warm as southern Portugal, and even summers tend to be milder.

And let’s not forget that the coastal areas, under the Atlantic Ocean’s influence, tend to be cooler and windier than the interior ones.

Check out the average temperatures across the year in Leiria, one of the most important cities in the Silver Coast region, to get a sense of how the Atlantic Ocean affects local weather patterns:

DataSpringSummerFallWinter
Average temperature13.6 ºC
(56.48 ºF)
19.7 ºC
(67.46 ºF)
16ºC
(60.8 ºF)
9.7ºC
(49.46 ºF)
Average Rainfall71 mm
(2.7 in)
13.3 mm
(0.5 in)
82.6 mm
(3.2 in)
85 mm
(3.3 in)
Average Humidity73.3%70%75.3%79.3%

Data was acquired from the official Climate Data website.

Safety on the Silver Coast

As you can tell from the article so far, the Silver Coast of Portugal is known for its peaceful lifestyle. It’s a great place to raise a family, with lots of contact with nature and everything you might need for day-to-day life.

As for safety, hate crimes and street crimes are not the norms in Portugal at all. The people here are welcoming and open-minded, so your family is absolutely safe. In fact, according to the Global Peace Index 2022, Portugal is the sixth-safest country in the world!

Coimbra itself has one of the lowest crime rates in the country and is the third-best city to live in Portugal. 

That said, tourist hot spots tend to attract pickpocketers, and we advise everyone to be vigilant no matter which country they’re in. Practice caution and have fun!

Do people on the Silver Coast of Portugal speak English?

Generally speaking, yes. Especially the younger generations of Portuguese are always in contact with the English language and can speak at least basic English. Not as much as in Lisbon and the Algarve, though.

But don’t miss the chance to learn how to speak Portuguese, at least the basics. It’s great to help you get by and also a way to make local friends. Portuguese is a complex language and can be quite complicated to learn – especially for native English speakers. But with time and effort, anyone can learn to speak Portuguese.

Pros and Cons of living on the Silver Coast

The Silver Coast of Portugal is an ideal location for numerous families. But, it might not be the perfect place for everyone. The long list of pros also comes with a few cons. If you’re able to work your way through them, there’s nothing better!

You should be aware of what you’re stepping into. Check out the pros and cons listed below, or read our complete article on the pros and cons of the Silver Coast:

  • Embracing the Silver Coast life means immersing yourself in a lifestyle that’s both enriching and relaxing. From the friendly, slow-paced local life to a variety of leisure activities like social gatherings and sports, living here offers a unique blend of tranquility and community.
  • The Silver Coast offers an array of amenities and attractions that cater to every taste. Whether it’s the best golf facilities, comfortable and affordable accommodation, or the stunning scenery along the coastline, this region has something special for everyone.

Pros 

  • Stunning alternative to the Algarve
  • Close to major cities
  • Adequately developed
  • Affordable investments
  • Ideal location

Cons

  • Expat community isn’t as big
  • Fewer activities for children under 5
  • Insulation costs

What should an expat think about living on the Silver Coast?

It’s one thing to know about it and travel, but actually living as an expat on the Silver Coast is different.

You’ll get everything you need to live an excellent quality of life, especially if you’re looking for tranquility. There’s good food, wholesome people, stable infrastructure, and a growing economy to keep you settled. 

However, some people look for more business opportunities, like those in Lisbon and Porto. For that, the Silver Coast might not be right for you. Although a tourist attraction, it’s not a place with loads of hustle-bustle. 

So, at the end of the day, you need to decide what aligns with your lifestyle and go for a city that’ll fit your criteria. Don’t worry; there’s something for everyone in Portugal, so you’re bound to find your new home! 

To make your life easier, we’ve made a community of over six thousand Portugal enthusiasts that you can interact with. 

Ask fellow expats about their experiences, share your doubts, and take your time to make a final decision. Join our Facebook Group – All About Portugal For Expats and broaden your horizons!

Expats particularly love the affordable investment opportunities on the Silver Coast; it’s a major driving force behind the growing expat community. Many people also prefer this region because it’s similar to the Algarve but easier in terms of finding a residence.

Take a look at this awesome video that shows you the real experience of this lovely expat family living here:

How can I move to the Silver Coast of Portugal?

In order to move and live in Portugal, any non-EU citizen needs to obtain a residence permit. In most cases, to travel to Portugal you’ll also need a residence visa.

The relocation process varies according to your country of origin, but usually, it’s this simple:

If you’re interested in applying for a visa to live in Portugal, make sure to read all our articles about visas and permits in Portugal.

Is it worth living on the Portuguese Silver Coast?

Living in Portugal as an expat is an amazing experience. So much that the expat community keeps growing year after year. However, it’s very subjective to say whether it’s worth it because we all have different preferences.

Portugal’s famous quality of life is marvelous, and we cannot complain about the cost of living here either. The Silver Coast of Portugal, especially, offers so much peace and stunning sceneries, including the North Canyon, which adds to the appeal of the area with its massive waves and stunning scenery at Praia do Norte in Nazaré, and still manages to keep that small-town feeling everywhere.

There are many upsides to living on the Portuguese Silver Coast, but the journey of living abroad is bigger than that. Adapting to a new culture may be harder for some people, and homesickness strikes every now and then.

However, as long as you have the right company, we’re sure you’ll be more than happy living in Portugal. And remember, you can book a consultation with Viv Europe to assist you at any stage of your relocation. Let’s make your Portugal plan a reality!

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