Portugal. You keep hearing about this small country in Western Europe. You read about it on the digital nomad forums and listened to the stories of fellow digital nomads, with stories about coworking spaces next to the beach, cheap food, English-speaking locals, and quality of life. You're now curious, and you have found your way here. Allow us to be your ultimate guide to being a digital nomad in Portugal.
Quality of life
Each digital nomad seeks something different from their travels, and for many of us, it is quality of life. A place that combines affordability, good internet access, plentiful coworking spaces, and amenities that make life fulfilling. Lucky for you Portugal has it all in spades.
The Portuguese capital consistently ranks as one of the most walkable cities in Europe. And no need to worry about safety as Portugal also consistently ranks in the top 15 safest countries in the world.
Oh, and one more thing, in March of 2018 Portugal produced more energy than it used solely from renewable energy sources, with wind leading the way. Talk about a quality of life that is good for the planet too!
Cost of Living
Portugal manages to combine all the amenities a digital nomad needs with a low cost of living. In their cost of living rankings, the websites Numbeo.com, Expatistan, and International Living, all find Portugal to have the lowest cost of living in all of western Europe.
How is it so cheap? The average local salary paid in Portugal is lower than that of its northern counterparts, for that reason local prices remain low. However, with the influx of foreigners, rents are starting to creep up in Lisbon and, to a lesser extent, in Porto. Nevertheless, compared to many European cities, both are still great deals. For even more affordable options, in digital nomad friendly cities, check out Ericeira and Esposende.
One of the concerns of any digital nomad is how to find short to medium term housing when arriving in a new city. Just like the rest of the world, Portugal has plenty of short-term housing options. With a wide range of prices, there are plenty of apartment options in Lisbon, Porto, and beyond for digital nomads.
If you are searching for coliving or accommodations specifically for digital nomads in Portugal, look no further than to NomadX, the top site for coliving apartments and homes in the country. NomadX specializes in short to medium term room and apartment rentals owned by locals, allowing you to have an entirely different experience in Portugal.
The first coworking space in Portugal opened in Lisbon in 2009, and since then there has been a flood of coworking spaces opened around the country. Whatever your vibe, your hours, your budget, or your field, in Portugal you can find a coworking space that meets your needs.
The most recent count puts the total number of coworking spaces in Portugal at over 100. Looking for something at the high-end, check out Second Home in Lisbon, where the jungle meets the city. Prefer to be steps from the beach? Porto i/o Seaside is your bet, with a place to store your surfboard and a shower to rinse off before your call with clients.
Portugal is making a name for itself as a hub for digital nomads in Europe. The arrival of Web Summit, Lisbon’s climb to #4 on PeoplePerHour's Startup City Index, and findings from the Startup Europe Partnership that Portugal’s startup ecosystem is growing at twice the rate of Europe mean you will not be alone.
Whether you are a freelancer, seeking seed funding, or celebrating your IPO Portugal is a home where you can find other digital nomads like yourself. One of the best places to start is the DigitalNomads.PT Facebook page. It’s not just a resource of local digital nomads living in Portugal, but a place to find a community wherever you are in Portugal.
Don’t speak Portuguese? Not to worry! Portugal is very friendly to English-speaking nomads. Remember you are coming to the land of The Discoveries. The Portuguese go out of their way to understand and make connections with everyone they encounter.
Did you know that In Portugal English is taught from kindergarten onwards? So, if in doubt, find a teenager to talk to. But seriously, don’t stress. The Portuguese know it’s a difficult language, so drop a well-timed “obrigado(a)" and you will surely find help and make yourself some friends.
Being who you are without concern or worry is an essential aspect of any digital nomad's experience. This is yet another reason why Portugal is the place so many nomads call home.
Portugal also ranks high regarding freedom of speech, religion, and social tolerance. In 2016 the Legatum Prosperity Index, which measures personal freedom via access to legal rights; freedom of speech and religion; and social tolerance, notably towards immigrants and ethnic minorities, ranked Portugal 10th in the world.
Concerning rights for LGBTQ+, Portugal is at the forefront. In 2010, Portugal became the 8th country in the world to recognize same-sex marriage and since 2016 same-sex adoption has been legal. In 2011 the country also stood out for simplifying its process for sex and name change for transgender people.
Sports & Leisure
There is more to Portugal than great coworking spaces. What sort of digital nomad would you be without a surf lesson or two? Are maybe you prefer being able to grab your coworkers for a weekend hike? Always wanted to try rock climbing or scuba diving?
Whether your preferred sport in on land, in the sea, or the air Portugal is the place for you. Lisbon is the second sunniest capital in Europe and Faro the sunniest city in the whole continent. All that sun means there is plenty of time to spend outside of the office, even if your preferred sport is sipping coffee in the sunshine.
There is one more important thing to talk about when preparing you to come to Portugal, and that is football. Our national sport. Don't have a team upon arrival? Pick one! Because nothing tells a Portuguese you have adopted their culture more than choosing a side, even if it isn't their side.
Food & Wine
And last but not least, if you are a foodie digital nomad, then Portugal is your place. The food is delicious, rarely expensive, and plays a vital role in life. Hanging out with friends, family, coworkers or other digital nomads will always involve food and drink.
Any digital nomad would be sad to miss out on the famed pastel de nata. But we don’t want you going just anywhere, instead head to the Lisbon neighborhood of Belém for a taste of the original. Or what about bacalhau? They say we have enough recipes for salted cod, that you could have a different dish every day of the year! Or head Porto’s fisherman neighborhood, Matosinhos, to enjoy fish caught just hours before.
In Portugal, food is a way to show love and is the centerpiece of the all-important holidays and family gatherings. The cuisine is also very regional, with each region, city, and village having its point of pride. Just another great reason to travel as much as you possibly can!