Best places to live in Portugal as an expat

tompitman's picture
By tompitman - Posted on
20 June 2017
Hello, I thought it would be helpful to write an article on the best areas to live in Portugal as an expat. This is only meant to be an introduction - so if you are living in Portugal and have views on where best to live, please add your own suggestions.

There are over 900,000 expats living in Portugal out of a total population of over 10 million. Most expats live in and around Lisbon and Porto, the two main cities or in the Algarve, at the south of the country. Where you choose to live will depend if you are heading to Portugal for work or to retire, with family or without, and whether you want to be in the action or away from it all. 

Lisbon has a warm in the spring and autumn and is not too hot in the summer and offers something for everyone such is the diverse array of attractions. There are loads of fantastic restaurants and wonderful architecture. Many expats live in Lisbon as this where many of the jobs are, and it also offers history and culture and is a year-round city with lots to offer. It's home to 2.8m people. 

Estoril and Cascias
Want the best of both worlds'? Here's an option if you want to be near Lisbon, but also want access to the beach and Atlantic ocean. You can take the train directly from Cascais into Lisbon (30-40 mins each way) so you can get to town just for lunch or for the whole day to meet friends or go to a museum. Estoril is fashionable Portuguese beach resort to the west of Lisbon, it offers Portuguese charm and excellent restaurants, world-class hotels and golf courses. 

The Silver Coast
If you head north up the coast from Lisbon you'll find the beautiful cliffs and beaches of the Silver Coast. This area is popular with expats and retirees, but is much quieter than the Algarve. The summers are pleasant (less hot that the south) and the winters are warm and mild. 

Porto is the second largest city in Portugal and has its own airport. It is situated at the mouth of the Douro River in Northern Portugal and is a centre of culture and entertainment which rivals the capital, Lisbon. Further north, the country becomes more rugged and rural with some unspoilt towns like Chaves and Braganca, near the border of Spain. 
Western Algarve 
The Algarve region has great weather for most of the year, and fantastic beaches. Some Brits just spend the winter here. The Western Algarve region has some of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal and is popular with tourists. Lagos is the main local town, and it's easy to get to take the motorway to get to beaches on the South and West Coasts within an hour or so. 
Central Portugal
In the middle of the Algarve region, it is a lot more central - you can get anywhere in the Algarve in an hour's drive. The coast is getting quite built up, but it's easy to find quieter villages a bit inland. There are loads of family attractions like water parks, beaches, and of course golf courses. This area is more suited to families and younger people, compared to Eastern Algarve which is more popular with the over 50's. Albufeira is the main resort in the Algarve and can guarantee that you will never be short of things to do in this area.  Note that Albufeira and other resort towns are packed in summer, and full of Brits, and pretty dead in the winter. 

Eastern Algarve
The Eastern Algarve, east of Faro has been much less developed that the rest of the Algarve. There is a much more peaceful feel about this region and it has not been totally taken over by tourism, yet. Expat enjoy and easy-going and relaxed way of life here.
As you'd expect, the more popular areas are the more expensive but on the whole the prices in Portugal are good value. 

Luis1982's picture
Last seen: 2 years 23 weeks ago
Joined: 08/08/2017

:) Super read to end my day & once again confirms why we are moving away lol - Cant wait now !

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Anonymous's picture

From experience I would say the silver coast is windy in the summer and can be very wet in Winter - slightly less annual rainfall than Manchester

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Anonymous's picture

I am a solo retiree living in Canada, but I am a British citizen. I would very much like to correspond with other solo expat retirees to learn about safe and least expensive places recommended to live. I will be coming over this summer to check out the area, but it would be lovely to have a few contacts. Thank you very much. Carrie

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