Lisbon combines the international, cosmopolitan feel of a European capital with a splash of Portuguese culture that makes it one of the most popular destinations in Europe. Lisbon’s size also means that any digital nomad can easily find the just right apartment and coworking space.
You won’t need to travel far once you land as Lisbon's airport is located right in the heart of the city. And if you are worried about making your way around the town, don't be! Lisbon is one of the friendliest European cities for English speakers. From your apartment to the Uber driver to the museum staff, everyone will speak at least a little English, if not be completely fluent.
In Lisbon, it will be impossible to be bored or go hungry. Lisbon is a city with enough architecture, street art, museums, lookout points, and charming winding streets to ensure you have plenty to do for weeks! As for food, the possibilities are extensive. Not only will you be able to enjoy both traditional and modern interpretations of Portuguese food, but also cuisine from all of the former Portuguese colonies. Craving food from Goa or Brazil or Mozambique? Lisbon will guarantee you don't miss out.
Plentiful sunshine is how residents describe the city. Lisbon is second only to the Maltese capital of Valletta in hours of sunshine per year. Nearly year-round means you are almost guaranteed to have sun-filled days exploring the city.
History & Culture
Lisbon’s location at the mouth of the Tagus river has, for centuries, made it a strategic location for different groups, including the Carthaginians, Romans, Suebi, Visigoths, and Moors with signs of indigenous Iberians as early as 800 to 600 BC. With two and a half millennia of history, the history buff digital nomads will have plenty to explore
It is, however, essential to know that Lisbon wasn't always the Portuguese capital. Only in 1256 did King Alfonso III move the capital from Coimbra to Lisbon. Unfortunately, that version of Lisbon was lost forever in the 1755 earthquake and subsequent fires and tsunami. The city was rebuilt in the aftermath to its current splendor with wide avenues, promenades, and beautiful architecture.
As for the culture-loving digital nomad, Lisbon will be sure to meet all your needs. Start with the Centro Cultural de Belém because this cultural center houses a massive art collection and plays host to ballets and operas. The Gulbenkian Museum is home to both ancient and modern art, as well as lush gardens, perfect for the digital nomad that wants to picnic with the art.
Newest to the scene is the MAAT, the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology. Opened in 2016, the museum is currently one of the most visited museums in all of Portugal. Exhibits touch on all three areas and the intersection of them, a treat for any museum lover.
If you crave more modern culture, the LX factory is the place to go. A former industrial complex of factories transformed into the home of artsy retail shops, boutique and niche cafes, unique restaurants, and even a coworking space! It also hosts live music performances.
If big concerts and festivals are your thing, then you are in the right place. Lisbon hosts the Rock in Rio, Super Bock Super Rock, and NOS Alive music festivals, along with dozens of smaller ones.
If you are instead a cinephile digital nomad, you are also in the right place. The Lisbon International Film Festival, The Lisbon International Independent Film Festival, DocLisbon, QueerLisbon, and Architecture Film Festival of Lisbon are just a few that the city has on offer.
Alfacinhas is how the people of Lisbon are known. It translates to mean "lettuce eaters," but don't let that worry you; you won't be going hungry in Lisbon.
A well-known dish from Lisbon that you should be sure to consume is bacalhau à Brás. Have you heard that we have a different recipe for salted and dried codfish for every day of the year? Well its true and while bacalhau is not for everyone, this dish, made with shredded cod, fried toothpick potatoes, egg, onion, and parsley, is as simple and as good as you can get.
Alfacinhas are also sandwich lovers but don’t expect lettuce on that sandwich. Their favorite is the bifana, a piece of pork cooked in a secret sauce and served in traditional crusty bread. Simple and traditional at its best.
One thing that Lisbon is known for is being the home of an entire way of eating – small portions of food that you can share with friends. It is called petiscos. You will find petiscos all over the country, but Lisbon and the region of Estremadura is its home.
So, what is a petisco? The most traditional options include:
- Caracóis: snails. Not your thing you say? Just give it a chance because anything cooked in that delicious butter and garlic broth is sure to taste outstanding.
- Ovos verdes: green eggs. No this isn't "Green Eggs & Ham," these deviled eggs, with parsley for the green, are battered and fried.
- Pipas: translates to pipes. Chicken gizzards cooked with tomatoes, rice, onion, and garlic. Try it before you judge it.
- Pataniscas de bacalhau: little pastries of codfish. Mashed up cod with seasoning is battered and then fried. All of this is heaven in the palm of your hand.
Going for the sweets, it would be a crime to stay in Lisbon without sampling the pastel de nata. Roughly translated into custard tart, this eggy goodness wrapped in a flaky base is Portuguese pastries at its best.
There is much discussion about where to find the best one — the younger crowd like Manteigaria, a recent chain that has perfected their buttery crust. But if you are a traditionalist, best head to the neighborhood of Belém and eat a pastel de belém. You can thank us later.
While the city may sit outside of any winemaking region, it is surrounded to the north, east, and south by three distinct wine regions. The regions are known as Lisbon, Tejo, and Setúbal, with each offering its unique flavors to be experienced.
- Lisbon, such as: Arinto, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet and Fernão Pires.
- Tejo, such as: Castelão, Fernão Pires, Arinto, Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay.
- Setúbal, such as: Moscatel de Setúbal and Castelão.
Get out of town: Day trips
Lisbon is an ideal hub for digital nomads that crave day trips or even a weekend exploring the country. Though having a car is helpful, all of these destinations are reachable by train.
Cascais: Just 45 minutes from Cais do Sodré train station, Cascais offers stunning beaches. Though to get to the very best ones from the train station, you will need to catch a ride. Historically an area for the wealthiest of Lisbon’s upper class, the city is an attraction in its own right now. With a picturesque city center, visitors flock there year-round.
Sintra: Sintra, Cascais's neighbor, is dotted with historic palaces and castles and known for its excellent dining and luxury tourism scene. Palácio da Pena is a must see, but, the truth is that the city is littered with picturesque spots from the romanticism era. This includes Palácio Monserrate, Palácio de Seteais, Quinta da Regaleira, and many more. Adding to the wonder and beauty of the city are the magical forests that surround it. Local’s tip: if you can go during the week and outside of the peak season of July and August.
Evora: If you are looking for something completely different, travel to the east of Lisbon for 1.5 hours to arrive in Evora. The capital of the Alentejo region offers traveling nomads the chance to see a world heritage site and enjoy the food and wine of the area. Visit the Roman temple to Diana in the center of the city and for lunch be sure to try the presunto (cured ham) to start, then ensopado de borrego (lamb stew), and finish with a queijada de Evora.
Óbidos: This quaint spot is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Portugal. Relax while you stroll down the narrow, cobblestone streets and stop to try the caldeirada de peixe, fish stew. And do not leave without trying ginjinha, a sweet, cheery liquor that is best served cold in a chocolate cup.
Setubal: Just an hour south of Lisbon by train, Setubal is known for its nature and its wine. If seeing bottlenose dolphins at play is high on your list, take a cruise on the Sado estuary. If hiking or biking is your preference, enjoy the trails in Parque Natural da Arrábida. For the wine-loving digital nomads, it is essential to try the Moscatel de Setúbal, a sweet dessert wine that the region is famous for. But don't stop there, the area has been expanding its production and now has table wines on offer as well.