Interested to know the top cities for expats in Portugal? Find out where like-minded people live and what it’s like!

Last Updated on November 15, 2023 by Maryam Siddiqui

The best things come in small packages! Portugal is small in size, but it holds some of the friendliest and safest cities in Europe. Are you interested in the top cities for expats in Portugal?

Now that this beautiful country is attracting thousands of foreigners to relocate here, a guide to the best cities is what you need the most. We’ve compiled a list of the top regions expats seem to love, and maybe one of these might be your future home!

Get to know all the details of the top cities for expats in Portugal and start planning your relocation now. Happy reading!

What are the best cities for expats in Portugal?

There is no such thing as a perfect place to live, but most expats in Portugal seem to find their new homes in the same cities. As you may know, there are many expat communities across Portugal, and people tend to go where they feel welcome.

When choosing a new place to live, there are many factors that come to mind. Reasonable and affordable cost of living, suitable climate, job opportunities, friendly environment, and many other factors are one’s priority.

Let’s have a look at which Portuguese cities are most favorable for an expat to settle in and get their lives sorted.

Here’s a list of the top 10 cities for expats in Portugal, in no particular order:

1. Lisbon

Living in Lisbon is by far the top choice for expatriates. Besides being the Portuguese capital, Lisbon has everything you may want or need. The sun, the sea, the sights, history, food, architecture, and the ambient. What a wonderful city!

Certainly, you will find different people everywhere, with unique lifestyles, cultures, and talents. This is the most multicultural Portuguese city with people from all ethnicities and backgrounds.

Lisbon is a great city to live in Portugal

That’s why Lisbon is densely populated with both Portuguese and expats living together and sharing experiences.

The stable weather throughout the year is one of the factors expats choose Lisbon over some other cities in Portugal. Considering the quality of life, Lisbon might be a good option to live in. Also, Lisbon is famous for providing entertainment to the fullest.

The climate in Lisbon is warm and temperate, with rainy winter months and dry summers. The average temperature in January is 11.5 °C (52.7 °F), and in August, it is 22.4 °C (72.3 °F).

Details about LisbonValues
Population545,923 inhabitants
Percentage of population that is foreign21%
The average price for a property of 100 m²€384,100
Average rental price for a 50 m² one-bedroom apartment€705 per month
Average monthly salary€1,685
A single person estimated monthly costs (without rent)€606

Data in this article was acquired (as of September 2022) from official portals and trustworthy reports, which you can access on the websites Pordata, Idealista, Numbeo, and Climate Data

2. Porto

The second-largest city is Porto, and a lot of expats look forward to settling in this city due to its charming neighborhoods and fairly low cost of living (especially when compared with Lisbon). Porto also has a balanced pace of life and fantastic food. Be sure to try the famous Francesinha if you come here! 

A city rich in history, tradition, and culture with friendly citizens. Of course, living in Porto is already a reality for expats from all over the world.

Many foreigners live in Porto Portugal

If you compare Porto with some cities in Spain (such as Sevilla or Barcelona), Italy (such as Milan or Venice), or even France (such as Lyon or Bordeaux), you will come to the conclusion that it’s a place to highly consider.

Being the second-largest city in Portugal, Porto provides a relatively high number of job opportunities.

Various tourist spots, a variety of entertainment places, and beautiful scenery make Porto a city that needs to be on the expat list.

The climate in Porto is mild and generally warm and temperate, with a lot of rain throughout the year, especially in winter. The average temperature in January is 9.3 °C (48.7 °F), and the average temperature in August is 21.5 °C (70.7 °F).

Details about PortoValues
Population231,828 inhabitants
Percentage of population that is foreign7.9%
The average price for a property of 100 m²€237,200
Average rental price for a 50 m² one-bedroom apartment€510 per month
Average monthly salary€1,540
A single person estimated monthly costs (without rent)€578

3. Albufeira

Hub of local beaches, golf resorts, and, for some, the best weather in Portugal, expats from all over the world choose the cities of the Algarve region to settle in. And the city of Albufeira is a top choice with a huge expat community. Especially from English-speaking countries.

Albufeira in Algarve is loved by many expats in Portugal

It might be a small city in terms of space, but certainly a center of attraction for tourists, especially in the summer. Albufeira is located only 250 km away from Lisbon (155 mi) and is known for being a different kind of Portugal – one that often speaks only English.

Due to beaches and tourist spots, the Algarve might not be the cheapest place to live in Portugal, but the fantastic atmosphere, high standards of living, and hot climate attract expats to this place anyway. There are pros and cons of living here, but you can’t put a price on happiness, right?

Albufeira is a summer vacation destination, and the city’s climate is classified as warm and temperate, with dry air and little rain. The average temperature in January is 10.8 °C (51.4 °F), and in August, it is 24.9 °C (76.8 °F).

Details about AlbufeiraValues
Population44,168 inhabitants
Percentage of population that is foreign39.1%
The average price for a property of 100 m²€294,100
Average rental price for a 50 m² one-bedroom apartment€530 per month
Average monthly salary€1,100
A single person estimated monthly costs (without rent)€400

4. Coimbra

One of the most fascinating places, Coimbra offers so much to expats to settle in here. Living in Coimbra is definitely one of the best decisions for expats in Portugal.

Once the third-largest city of Portugal (recently Braga took this place), situated between Lisbon and Porto, this city is famous for its notorious University and, of course, its nightlife.

Best cities for expats in Portugal

This is definitely a place to look if you are on a tight budget, as you can find almost anything in terms of food and entertainment at a very low cost.

Also, a better work environment and more job opportunities attract expats to settle here. It’s a great city to start a business in, for example. Festivals throughout the year make Coimbra one of the most festive places in Portugal.

Coimbra’s climate is also classified as warm and temperate, and most expats find it very mild and pleasant. The average temperature in January is 8.5 °C (47.3 °F), and then in August, it is 21.9 °C (71.4 °F).

Details about CoimbraValues
Population140,838 inhabitants
Percentage of population that is foreign5.8%
The average price for a property of 100 m²€120,600
Average rental price for a 50 m² one-bedroom apartment€370 per month
Average monthly salary€1,233
A single person estimated monthly costs (without rent)€515

5. Setubal

It is assumed that to really learn about a specific culture, you must travel. The city and region of Setubal are the places where you can get to know the real Portuguese lifestyle and culture.

Also, it’s a city located south of Lisbon, on the other side of the Tagus river. Therefore, the expat can choose to live here and enjoy all the benefits of the Portugal Capital just by crossing a bridge.

Sesimbra in Setubal is a common expat choice

Although Setubal is said to be the home of the working class industry, it has a lot to offer expats thinking of settling here.

Moreover, cheap rents and an overall low living cost are the major attractions for expats to live here.

The sea life and home to Portugal’s largest fish market, Setubal is a hub of natural attractions. Although it’s not an amazingly beautiful part of Portugal yet there’s a lot to discover here.

Job opportunities (with easy transportation) and access to many health care units are some major advantages.

Setúbal is also blessed with a warm and temperate climate. As usual in this central-coastal region, it rains for the entire year, but mostly during winter. The average temperature in January is 11 °C (51.7 °F), and then in August, it is 22.9 °C (73.2 °F).

Details about SetubalValues
Population123,519 inhabitants
Percentage of population that is foreign7.6%
The average price for a property of 100 m²€220,000
Average rental price for a 50 m² one-bedroom apartment€475 per month
Average monthly salary€1,264
A single person estimated monthly costs (without rent)€615

6. Cascais

Portugal wouldn’t be a European dream destination without its own Portuguese Riviera. The beautiful city of Cascais is home to many lucky expats who chose to be near Lisbon, but with exclusivity and better weather.

Cascais is one of the best cities for expats in Portugal

At only 30 km (18 mi) from the Portuguese capital, Cascais allows its residents to enjoy amazing beaches, high-quality infrastructure, the best public hospitals, and much more. 

People who live in Cascais are proud to show their addresses. And most traditional Portuguese noble families always had a house here too.

Cascais is known for having a climate that suits virtually all residents. It is warm and temperate, with hot summers and mild winters. The average temperature in January is 11.9 °C (53.4 °F), and in August 19.9 °C (67.8 °F).

Details about CascaisValues
Population214,158 inhabitants
Percentage of population that is foreign15.4%
The average price for a property of 100 m²€413,700
Average rental price for a 50 m² one-bedroom apartment€780 per month
Average monthly salary€1,300
A single person estimated monthly costs (without rent)€586

7. Lagos

Another paradise for summer lovers is the city of Lagos, located in the Algarve region. Besides being of the most important touristic destinations in Portugal, Lagos is also home to many expatriates. 

Almost half of its residents are foreigners (officially), and, just like Albufeira, it’s common to find businesses where no attendant speaks Portuguese.

Lagos Algarve Portugal top place for expats to live

Living in Lagos is especially recommended for digital nomads who have recently discovered paradise. In the city streets, you will find many hippies, musicians, artists, surfers, and of course, the traditional Portuguese who make the city authentic.

The climate here is warm and temperate, and it hardly rains during the year. The average temperature in January is 11.5 °C (52.7 °F), and in August, it is 22.7 °C (72.8) °F.

Details about LagosValues
Population33,500 inhabitants
Percentage of population that is foreign38.3%
The average price for a property of 100 m²€326,800
Average rental price for a 50 m² one-bedroom apartment€600 per month
Average monthly salary€1,123
A single person estimated monthly costs (without rent)€633

8. Funchal

Funchal, the capital of Madeira, a Portuguese island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, is also an expat paradise. Living in Madeira is already a reality for many foreigners, especially the British.

funchal

Funchal is a self-sufficient city with great pride in its traditions and is increasingly connected to the world. Here is also a destination that has attracted digital nomads and that is famous for the friendliness of its inhabitants.

In Funchal, like the entire Madeira, the climate is warm and temperate. It rains a lot here in winter especially, but summers are surprisingly dry, taken it’s an island. The average temperature in January is 13.6 °C (56.4 °F), and then in August, it is 21.2 °C (70.2 °F).

Details about FunchalValues
Population105,795 inhabitants
Percentage of population that is foreign4.7%
The average price for a property of 100 m²€227,300
Average rental price for a 50 m² one-bedroom apartment€608 per month
Average monthly salary€1,262
A single person estimated monthly costs (without rent)€531

9. Braga

Expats looking to settle in small towns, avoiding congested places but not far from the main cities (such as Porto) may find Braga the perfect place to live.

Braga is one of the oldest Portuguese cities with a rich heritage and iconic landmarks. With a relatively colder climate (compared to the aforementioned cities), Braga is located northwest of Portugal.

braga

There is even a dispute between Braga and Guimaraes over which is the first Portuguese city ever built. But its ancient history is still proudly preserved in the city streets.

This is indeed a smaller city with more affordable prices when it comes to rent, transportation, and education. Also, the variety of cafes, bars, charming streets, enriched culture, and history attract many tourists to explore this city.

Braga is known for having low temperatures during the winter and a mild and pleasant climate in other seasons. It rains a lot in the inner city, but mainly in winter. The average temperature in January is 7.4 °C (45.4 °F), and in August 20.9 °C (69.6 °F).

Details about BragaValues
Population193,349 inhabitants
Percentage of population that is foreign6.4%
The average price for a property of 100 m²€140,500
Average rental price for a 50 m² one-bedroom apartment€355 per month
Average monthly salary€1,100
A single person estimated monthly costs (without rent)€516

10. Aveiro

Known for being one of the best and cheapest cities to live in Portugal, Aveiro is often underestimated. The beautiful city is known as the Portuguese Venice, thanks to its canals and Moliceiro boats, but it has its own charm that enchants foreigners who pass through it.

aveiro

Aveiro is also a small and very calm city, with everything a person needs in terms of infrastructure. It is located on the Silver Coast, 250 km (155 mi) from Lisbon and 70 km (43 mi) from Porto.

The climate in Aveiro is warm and temperate, and it usually rains much more in winter, although there is also precipitation the rest of the year. The average temperature in January is 9.8 °C (49.6 °F), and in August, it is 21.8 °C (71.2 °F).

Details about AveiroValues
Population80,978 inhabitants
Percentage of population that is foreign6.8%
The average price for a property of 100 m²€159,200
Average rental price for a 50 m² one-bedroom apartment€370 per month
Average monthly earnings€850
A single person estimated monthly costs (without rent)€511

Why are so many expats moving to Portugal?

Portugal is turning out to be one of the most likeable places for an expat to settle in due to various reasons. Among which we can quote:

  • The reasonable cost of living;
  • Good healthcare system;
  • Beautiful landscapes;
  • Peaceful atmosphere;
  • Safety;
  • Mild weather in most regions.

What is the best city for you?

Well, you know the top cities for expats in Portugal, but deciding your ideal place to live in isn’t easy, and it is only up to you to decide. Sure, you can hear other peoples’ opinions on the Portuguese cities. But no one should tell you where you should live.

That’s why we recommend you to visit Portugal before moving here. Going on a scouting trip to Portugal can help you discover which city in the country is ideal for you. After all, no one knows you better than yourself. Explore Portugal, talk to the locals, and then decide which city you will move into.

How can I move to Portugal?

In order to move to Portugal and live here for more than a year, foreigners must obtain a resident permit. If you are not an EU citizen, you must apply for a residence visa first.

The process is fairly simple; you must compile all the documents and submit your application at the Portuguese consulate along with the fee. There are different visas for students, business owners, highly qualified individuals, and passive income earners. 

If you find the process to be complicated, you can also opt for professional help through our experts at Viv Europe, who will guide you every step of the way and turn your dream into a reality.

What’s your favorite city?

Now that you know the top cities for expats in Portugal, you’re in a position to choose your new home city here! Moving to a new country may be a challenging task, but Portugal makes it entirely worth it. 

Connect with expats and ask them for their opinions before you relocate here completely. Join our Facebook Group – All About Portugal For Expats and make new friends who’ve already been through the process. 

And remember, Viv Europe is here to help you throughout the process, from visa applications to finding the perfect home. Contact us now and let experts take care of everything!

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