Where to Live in Portugal

Sesimbra, Setubal

Where to Live in Portugal

Probably one of the most common questions asked of expats and immigrants who have made the move to Portugal is where they live and why they chose this location.

Portugal offers every lifestyle possible whether it is a living in a bustling big city, a beachside retreat, quaint rural village or secluded off-grid country living. Where you choose to live depends on many factors including what you expect from your new life in Portugal.

Some questions to ask yourself before making a decision may include:

  • Do I want to be amongst an expat community or prefer to live amongst the Portuguese locals?
  • Will I need to find employment?
  • Do I want to be close to the sea or inland?
  • What kind of climate do I prefer?
  • Will I need access to public transport?
  • Will I need International schools for the kids?
  • What is my budget to buy/rent a house?

The areas with the highest density of expats and immigrants can be found in Cascais, Lisbon, Lagos, Tavira, Coimbra, Porto, Caldas da Rainha, Braga and Tomar to name just a few.

It is without a doubt you should travel to Portugal and explore different areas of the country before making your decision. Network with others who have already made the move and find out what they like and dislike about where they live.


Mainland Portugal is divided into 5 regions:

Porto and North

  • The most populated region with 35% of the total population.
  • Probably the most original region of Portugal.
  • Plenty of culture, interesting historical sites and very scenic.
  • 100 km of great beaches, mountainous inland and several natural parks.
  • The major cities are Porto (second largest in Portugal), Braga, Viana do Castelo, Vila Real and Braganca.
  • Good road infrastructure and flights to/from many countries from Porto Airport.
  • Property prices are low (excluding Porto).

Average temperatures in Porto:

January: minimum 6C and maximum 14C.

August: minimum 15C and maximum 25C

Sunny days: 255 per annum

Central Portugal

  • 22% of the total population.
  • The scenery is similar to Northern Portugal although 290 km of great beaches.
  • Plenty of culture, interesting historical sites and very scenic.
  • The major cities are Aveiro, Viseu, Guarda, Coimbra, Castelo Branco, Leiria and Santarem.
  • Good road infrastructure.
  • Property prices are low (excluding Coimbra).

Average temperatures in Coimbra:

January: minimum 5C and maximum 14C

August: minimum 14C and maximum 25C

Sunny days: 254 per annum

Lisbon & Tagus Valley

  • 28% of total population.
  • 150km of beaches, several World Heritage sites and natural parks.
  • Loads of culture, interesting historical sites and very scenic.
  • The major cities are Lisbon and Setúbal.
  • Excellent road and rail infrastructure and worldwide destinations served from Lisbon airport.
  • Lisbon and the surrounding areas have a great diversity of restaurants, shopping and entertainment venues.
  • This is the most expensive area to live with some of the highest property prices in Portugal.

Average temperatures in Lisbon:

January: minimum 8C and maximum 13C

August: minimum 17C and maximum 26C

Sunny days: 299 per annum


  • 7% of the total population although the largest region of Portugal.
  • World Heritage sites, natural parks and 140km of beaches.
  • The major cities are Evora, Portalegre and Beja.
  • Not the best road or rail infrastructure.
  • Not a great cultural area.
  • Property prices are below the national average.

Average temperatures in Beja:

January: minimum 5C and maximum 14C

August: minimum 16C and maximum 33C

Sunny days: 304 per annum


  • 4% of the total population.
  • Stunning beaches, probably some of the best in the world and warmer sea temperatures than elsewhere in Portugal.
  • Also, some of the best golf courses in the world.
  • The major city is Faro.
  • Good road and rail infrastructure and many European destinations served by Faro airport.
  • Property prices are higher than average as is the cost of living.
  • Probably the least authentic region of Portugal.
  • Can be very touristy and not much culture.

Average temperatures in Faro:

January: minimum 7C and maximum 16C

August: minimum 18C and maximum 29C

Sunny days: 336 per annum

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