Portugal. The land of wine, beautiful landscapes, one of the largest coats in Europe, and the ideal place if you are looking to spend a couple of months working remotely. Depending on what you fancy, there are many different spots in Portugal where you can work remotely. However, before we start outlining some of the best places to work remotely in Portugal, let’s first answer the question, why should you consider working remotely in Portugal?
- Why Portugal?
- The Big Cities: Lisbon & Porto
- Just Outside of Lisbon: Costa da Caparica
- The Surftown of Ericeira
- The Silver Coast: Peniche & Nazare
- The Alentejo
- The Algarve
- The Islands: Madeira & the Azores
There are a number of reasons why Portugal should be on your list if you are looking to escape and work remotely for a couple of months. Although many people argue that the sea, sun, and surf draws in the digital nomads, there are a couple of other reasons why this country is quickly becoming a Digital Nomad hub.
The cost of living is not as high
Portugal is famous for its quality of living and is known as one of the safest European countries. But, let’s get one thing straight, Portugal isn’t as cheap as it used to be, especially if you are looking for a short workcation or to work remotely from its main cities for a few months, like Lisbon or Porto. Rent in Lisbon, for example, has increased steadily over the years.
Today, a one-bedroom apartment in a relatively popular neighborhood can cost you around €700-€800 a month. Nevertheless, if you are open to moving a little farther away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities, then living costs drop immensely.
Prices for food, restaurants, and activities can also vary, but overall if you are money-savvy (and avoid the obvious tourist/digital nomad traps), then living in Portugal isn’t that expensive.
There are incentives for remote workers
If you didn’t already know Portugal has experienced a significant brain drain over the last decade. As a result, the government has taken some measures to make emigrating to Portugal a little more appealing for foreign workers.
Over the years, many initiatives have been introduced to incentivize digital nomads from around the world to relocate to Portugal. One of those incentives is the Non-Habitual tax residency (NHR), which gives special tax benefits to new residents within the first ten years living in Portugal. Along with NHR, digital nomads can also benefit from alternative tax regimes like the Simplified Regime.
If you are not from the EU, but still would love to live and work from Portugal, you might be able to apply for the Portugal Entrepreneur Visa (aka Portugal Startup Visa) or the Portugal Self Employment Visa. Portugal is ready to accept you with open arms.
The nomad community in Portugal is growing.
Have you heard of the Nomad List? It’s a website that finds the best places in the world to live, work and travel as a remote worker. And if you take a peek at the top fives on the list, you’ll probably see three locations in Portugal, Lisbon, Porto, and Madeira.
Lisbon is listed as the number #1 best place in the world to live, work and travel as a remote worker. Although Portugal is made up of many other cities and towns, the country has indeed become a digital nomad hotspot.
Coworking spaces are popping up everywhere, and communities are being formed in almost every corner of the country, from the Algarve to the northern city of Braga. Today, Portugal has become one of the best places to go if you want to work remotely.
So now that we’ve got the reasons WHY you should come to Portugal out of the way, let’s look at some of the places you can consider on your list of places to stay.
The Big Cities: Lisbon & Porto
Lisbon and Porto are number #1 and #3 on the Nomad List and for good reason. The cities not only have all of your basic needs covered, but they are stunning. Steeped with culture and history, both cities are filled to the brim with exciting viewpoints, gorgeous architecture, delicious restaurants, hundreds of different coworking spaces, and a variety of bars, cafes, and nightclubs for those nights out on the town.
Both cities are located right next to a river, which means that nature is never far away. There’s nothing quite like taking a walk by the river after a long day of work — it feels rejuvenating.
If you plan to work remotely from these two cities, then make sure to join the plethora of Facebook groups out there, including the Lisbon Digital Nomads and Expats group. There are also a lot of Meetup groups in these two cities that you can take full advantage of.
Pros: The remote community is vast in both of these cities. There are plenty of people you can connect with and several coworking spaces that fit any type of budget. Anything that you need, you can find in Lisbon and Porto, including airports, which is probably why they are the most popular digital nomad destinations in Portugal.
Cons: Lisbon and Porto are not ideal if you are looking to keep costs down. The average monthly price per person for a month (according to Nomad List) is between €1500 – €2500. Another thing to look out for when looking for apartments in each city is whether they have heating and are appropriately insulated against humidity.
Just Outside of Lisbon: Costa da Caparica
Just over the bridge, to the south of Lisbon, lies the tiny fishing village of Costa da Caparica. Most people have never heard of it, probably because most tourists and travelers head over to Cascais when they are in dire need of a day at the beach.
Located just 16 kilometers from Lisbon, Costa da Caparica is known for its 26km coastline, sandy beaches, epic waves, and beautiful natural scenery. Oh, and it’s also becoming a new digital nomad hub; just ask the Digital Nomad Caparica FB community. If you are a surfer, then Costa is the ideal place for you, especially since there is something for everyone, whether you are a beginner or an expert surfer. Costa is also known for its boardwalk and beach bars.
Pros: If you are looking for nature while still close enough to a major city, then Costa is the perfect place. This little fishing village has everything you need, including coworking spaces, restaurants, and grocery stores. It also has tennis courts, a beautiful urban garden, and glorious beaches. If you are looking to live a simple life, then Costa is perfect.
Cons: Costa is a tiny little town, which means that it doesn’t have any large shopping malls or even supermarkets. It does have some smaller independent grocery stores, which also means that, at times, the prices are a little higher than usual. Costa is a summer destination, meaning that it is packed full of tourists during July and August, which is not ideal. If you don’t have a car, it is also harder to get from Costa to Lisbon because there is no direct metro line, and the bus ride can be long.
The Surftown of Ericeira
Another town on the Nomad List is the surf town of Ericeira, which is located around 50 km away from Lisbon. Also known as “Onde O Mar É Mais Azul” [the place where the sea is the most blue], this small town has everything that you need, from restaurants to several attractive coworking spaces [we recommend looking at Salt Studio Coworking].
Ericeira has a relatively large expat community and is known for its more hippie, laid-back atmosphere. Think artists, creatives, photographers, surfers, and entrepreneurs selling kombucha, thrifted clothes, or gluten-free baked goods.
Like Costa da Caparica, people also come to Ericeira to surf as it is a renowned surf location with several different beaches that cater to different levels.
Pros: Not only is there a direct bus that goes from Lisbon to Ericeira, but this surf town also has everything that you need, including larger grocery stores, a variety of restaurants, and even different shops that sell a variety of goods. If you are a surfer, then this is the ideal place to stay.
Cons: Ericeira is a popular summer destination, which means that during July and August, this small town can become overrun with tourists. The weather in Ericeira is also very particular; it can be sunny in the morning and pouring rain in the evening.
The Silver Coast: Peniche & Nazare
When you think of Portugal, you probably think about the Algarve, but another stretch of coastline is just as stunning—introducing the Silver Coast, 150 km of coastline home to beaches, mountains, and cities. Some of the most renowned coastal towns of the Silver Coast include Nazaré and Peniche. It also boasts inland locations such as Torres Vedras, Óbidos and Coimbra.
If you haven’t heard, Nazaré, specifically Praia do Norte or North Beach is home to the biggest surfable waves on the planet. If you aren’t brave enough to jump into the waves in Nazaré (and don’t worry, we don’t blame you), then instead head on over to Peniche, which is the ideal spot for beginner to professional surfers.
The Baleal village in the north offers a small offering of cafes, restaurants, and even co-working spaces. For example, the Surfers Lodge in Peniche offers longer stay offers for remote workers. Peniche is also close to Obidos, one of the most preserved and picturesque medieval towns in Portugal. It is also the birthplace of ginja, a Portuguese liqueur made from aguardiente and sour cherries.
Pros: The cost of living is much cheaper on the Silver Coast. The region is also known for its nature activities, including surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, surfing, and wine and food offerings. Many coastal towns are also close to either Lisbon or Portugal, which means that you aren’t that far away from a major city.
Cons: If you don’t speak Portuguese, living on the Silver Coast can be a little tricky. Furthermore, the ex-pat community within these regions isn’t that big.
The Alentejo region is situated between Lisbon and the Algarve, home to many different cities, small towns, villages, and even isolated homesteads. The area itself is known for its coastline, olive trees, delicious food, and tiny white Alentejo houses.
If you are looking to escape city life and embrace nature, then this region is for you. It is also home to the famous Alentejo wine.
Out of all the cities in the area, the most popular is Évora, which has a couple of coworking spaces but is still growing in its offerings for the remote community. If you are looking for some luxury, then make sure to head on over to Comporta, which is the new chic and bohemian destination in southern Portugal.
Pros: Alentejo is known for its beaches, nature, food, and wine. This is the perfect place if you want to disconnect from city life and reconnect with nature.
Cons: First and foremost, if you don’t speak Portuguese, you may find it hard to get around in the Alentejo, nevertheless don’t let that stop you as the Portuguese are often patient and understanding when trying to communicate with foreigners. If you have special dietary needs (vegetarian or vegan), it might be hard to find that.
It is hard not to fall in love with the Algarve. The region contains 16 municipalities, of which the capital is Faro, where the international airport is also located. The most significant commercial activity within the Algarve is tourism; therefore, the high season usually runs between June and September. But, many people don’t realize that several locations are ideal for remote workers. Some of the more interesting coastal towns to check out include:
- Tavira: a smaller city with a strong ex-pat community. It has winding cobblestone streets, a beautiful park, and is excellent for shopping.
- Albufeira: if you are ready to party, then this town is for you. It is the largest city in the Algarve and is organized into two parts: the New Town, where the strip (and bars) are located, and the Old Town, where you can find shopping, restaurants, and a beach.
- Lagos & Portimao: two larger cities that are known for their natural landmarks and beaches. Lagos has a large expat community.
- Arrifana: a small town on the west coast of Algarve, near Aljezur, Portugal. It is known for its stunning beach and is a fantastic surf location.
- Olhão: Although a little off the beaten path, this small authentic fishing village is known for its cuisine and famous fish market.
Although people think of the Algarve as just beaches, there are also some gorgeous mountain towns, including Monchique, which is home to beautiful forests and a mountain chain — perfect for people who love to hike.
Pros: The Algarve is the perfect setting for remote workers that are looking for year-round pleasant weather. The region is known for its pleasant winter temperatures and stunning beaches, delicious cuisine, shopping, and nightlife. No matter where you go in the Algarve, you can find something that matches your unique needs.
Cons: As the Algarve is a seasonal destination, many hotels and some tourism businesses close in the off-season, which can be tricky. On the other hand, summers can also become unbearably hot, and the crowds can get annoying.
Read more: Surf and yoga retreat in the Algarve
The Islands: Madeira & the Azores
Due to its natural beauty, endless activities, unique culture, delicious cuisine, and warm-all-year-round climate, the Madeira Islands have become a popular spot for digital nomads. So popular that it inspired the Madeira Digital Nomads program.
The initiative was developed in collaboration with Startup Madeira and the Regional Government of Madeira to attract digital nomads from all over the world to come and work on the islands. A Digital Nomad Village was even created in Ponta do Sol, located on the south coast of the Madeira islands.
Due to the initiative, there are several hotels, hostels and accommodations, and coworking spaces that have been opened around the islands. So whether you want to work from Funchal, Porto Santo, or Santa Cruz, there is something available specifically for remote workers.
Located 965 kilometers from the Madeira islands are the Azores, another Portuguese archipelago. If you are looking to go off the tourist track, this may be the perfect place. The archipelago is the ideal place if you want to mix adventure with relation. It is home to beautiful waterfalls, volcanic creators, and lush green pastures. It is also the home of the only coffee plantation in Europe.
Pros: Madeira is THE place for digital nomads. The islands have explicitly been set up to receive remote workers. Therefore there is a plethora of coworking locations and accommodations for every type of person. On the other hand, the Azores are perfect if you are looking for untouched natural beauty, picturesque small little towns, adventures like hiking or whale watching, delicious food, and wine – all of which come at a relatively low cost. Both regions are also warm year-round, which is a definite plus.
Cons: Both Madeira and Azores are located quite far from mainland Portugal, and therefore you will need to fly to the islands.
Wherever you choose to go in Portugal, remember that it is full of things to explore, so make sure you go off the beaten path, try something new and make the most of your time in this unforgettable country.
Yvonne is the founder of Now in Portugal, a travel and lifestyle website that focuses on providing a unique perspective on all that Portugal has to offer. She believes that there is so much more to Portugal than Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve and she is determined to explore every inch of this beautiful country.