The ideal locations for expats to live in Portugal
Are you moving to Portugal and need help choosing the best city to live in? Portugal is an increasingly popular country choice amongst the expat community, especially for its beautiful coastlines, delicious food, friendly culture and relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle. We’ve put together a list of cities with the best cost of living, employment opportunities, education, top attractions and interesting facts. If you are looking for a new place to live, Portugal should be at the top of your list!
Expat profile: Families, retirees and digital nomads
One of the best places to live in Portugal is a town called Cascais, located on the Portuguese Riviera. For the expat moving to Portugal with their family; to retire; or aren’t too eager on the big city life, this seaside town is the perfect location for you!
What is there to do?
With its proximity to beaches and natural forests, Cascais is the perfect town for those who enjoy the outdoors and being active. With over 300 days of sunshine per year, it’s no wonder that people flock to this idyllic location to enjoy all kinds of sports: from swimming and surfing to hiking and cycling. When it comes to dining out, there are plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes to choose from, all serving up delicious food amongst mountainous and sea views.
Sidewalks and pedestrian areas are beautifully paved with the traditional Calçada Portuguesa, flat pieces of stone laid to create patterns and mosaic styles. There are plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding areas. The town is full of character – it really is the perfect place to relax and enjoy life.
Top attractions include Praia de Rainha, a charming beach with hardly any currents; Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães – a Gothic Revival-style museum that is home to a number of prehistoric archaeological finds and an impressive art collection – and Boca do Inferno, a unique cliff formation close to Cascais.
How many expats live there?
Cascais is one of the most multicultural places in Portugal. There is a large mix of Europeans from the UK, France, Netherlands, Germany and Spain, as well as Americans and Brazilians. It is common to hear many languages spoken in the streets. In 2021, 34 097 expats resided in Cascais.
Cost of living
More expensive than other parts of the country, Cascais is sometimes referred to as the ‘Cote d’Azur’ of Portugal. Housing is costly due to the high standard of living, excellent schools, the proximity to Lisbon, and large numbers of people migrating to Portugal. However, food, clothing and entertainment are on par with other parts of Europe. Although Cascais might be one of the more expensive cities in Portugal, considering all it has to offer, it’s definitely worthwhile.
Cascais has numerous international schooling options, making it a great option for families. PaRK International School, a British school, and Santo Antonio International School (SAIS), a Christian school, are both renowned in Cascais.
The main industry in Cascais is tourism. Most expats tend to work remotely or have their own businesses. Young people can find work in the hospitality industry at restaurants and bars or as English teachers. It is easier to find a job in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, which is a 30-minute commute from Cascais.
Cascais was once a famous fishing village. It is also known for being home to the royal families from the UK, Spain, Italy and of course, Portugal. During the summer, the president of Portugal resides in the town.
Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, is located on the Douro River in the northwest region, 280 km from the capital. This city is surrounded by a particular architecture where modernity and tradition cohabitate.
What is there to do?
With its narrow cobblestone sidewalks, art museums and vibrant nightlife, this Port-wine-producing city has a lot of charm and history to offer! In size, Porto is a small city, making it easy to walk around and explore the vibrant town.
The city is well-known for its colourful houses, churches and gardens, and is home to the famous Douro River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean. There are beautiful parks where you can walk, run, cycle and play sports.
Porto is a great place to live if you’re looking for a charming city with plenty of history and culture.
Top attractions include the Douro River and six magnificent bridges; the iconic Dom Luis bridge over the Douro; and the famous Port Cellars, Ramos Pinto Cellars and Sandeman Cellars.
How many expats live there?
As of 2021, Porto was home to 7 680 expats from all over the world (3.3% of total residents). The expat community is quite diverse, with people from countries like the UK, Brazil, France, USA, Germany, and Spain all calling Porto home. English is commonly spoken, especially amongst the younger expat generation. While the expat community in Porto is not large, it is certainly increasing.
In recent years, more and more people have been drawn to Porto for its vibrant culture and Mediterranean climate. Whether you’re looking for a sunny place to retire or a lively city to call home, Porto has something to offer everyone.
Cost of living
Portugal is an attractive destination for foreigners due to its relatively affordable cost of living. Renting an apartment or house is more affordable in Portugal than in other European countries. The city of Porto is particularly affordable, with one-bedroom apartments averaging just 350 Euros per month (2022). The cost of everyday items, such as coffee, is also very reasonable. Porto is 3% less expensive compared to the rest of Portugal.
The NHR tax regime scheme offers additional benefits for foreigners, making Portugal an even more appealing option.
The average salary in Porto is 959 Euros. You don’t necessarily need a car to get around, as Porto has a great metro and tramway network that covers the city. Porto residents also commonly use trains and buses. Overall, Porto offers a great combination of value and quality of life, making it an excellent choice for those looking to relocate.
While there are not many, Porto is home to a few international schools, including the Oporto British School, Lycée Français International Porto and the German School of Oporto.
Jobs in Porto are mainly agricultural. The agricultural sector is very important for Portugal especially for the region of Porto, where a lot of the country’s wine is produced. Ultimately, there are plenty of opportunities for those with experience in farming or viticulture. There are also many English teachers needed in Porto, as it is a popular destination for language students from all over Europe. As Portugal’s second biggest city, there is a high demand for technical jobs, such as IT and engineering.
The first three chapters of Harry Potter were written in Porto by J.K. Rowling, and the Livraria Lello, one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal is said to have inspired Hogwarts Library.
The city of Porto is the gateway to the famous Douro Valley, well-known for its namesake wine. You can enjoy a wine tour for about 6 Euros!
So, what’s next? Now that you know the ideal (and smaller) cities amongst expats, contact AGS Movers today, and let us help you start your new life in Portugal!
AGS Movers is a moving company that provides bespoke services in international removals, secure storage facilities and vehicle transport. With 48 years of experience in moving families across the world, our team will diligently ensure your transition is as smooth as possible.