8 of the Best Places to Live in Portugal

5 mins read

So, you are looking at the best places to live in Portugal, to move there. Well, congratulations on choosing such a beautiful country. Sitting on the Iberian Peninsula of southwestern Europe and bordered by Spain, Portugal officially includes loads of islands and the mainland, therefore providing a wide choice of destinations to choose from. Portugal’s strong influence on culture and architecture spreads across the globe, and the country is known internationally for its high standards of living.

As a member of the United Nations, European Union, and Schengen area, Portugal’s commitment to friendly international relationships shines through. In addition, the government openly welcomes foreigners to live and invest in the country. So, let us look at which towns, villages, and cities rank highly as the best places to make your home from home.

Best Places to Live in Portugal

1: Lisbon – Capital of Portugal

Often ranking as one of the world’s best places to live, Lisbon has a tidy collection of expat communities, many of whom work remotely from this vibrant, bustling city. Neighbourhoods to choose from in centre Lisbon include the heart Baixa, upper-class Bairro Alto, and fashionable Principe Real.


Other prominent communities include Avenidas Novas, Alfama, Belem, Restelo, Santos and Lapa. But, of course, one of the most significant benefits of choosing to live in Lisbon is that you can easily tap into social networks and make friends. But naturally, as a capital city, residents have vibrant shopping and nightlife scenes to enjoy.

2: Lagos – Algarve

Belonging to the famous Algarve region, Lagos comes alive in summer when hordes of tourists and seasonal workers descend. Many expats in Lagos choose to live on the coastline where the tourism industry dominates. What you can expect in Lagos is a lively nightlife scene, but it is all about the great outdoors and enjoying beautiful beaches and promenade bars during the day.


With a Mediterranean climate, residents enjoy over 3000 hours of sunshine a year, although the cool sea breeze during summer lessens the heat. Lagos is a wine-producing region, and naturally, being a coastal destination, fish cuisine is big stuff, although residents enjoy many international dishes from around the world.

3: Braga on the Green Coast

Sitting on the green coast of Portugal, Braga’s population of roughly 180,000 people enjoy a strategic location. The beach is just 30 minutes away, the Geres mountain range is 15 minutes away, or within 40 minutes, you can cross the border into Spain.


Lisbon is also just a 3.5-hour drive, while Porto is 40 minutes, should you want a city break weekend. Nicknamed the Rome of Portugal, Braga is Portugal’s ancient religious centre. Festivals are big business in Braga, and the local council also makes a point of preserving cultural heritage through the many old mansions and churches.

4: Live in Coimbra

Sitting 2 hours north of Lisbon and with a population of roughly 145,000 people, this small university town is a hidden gem. Easily connecting to Porto and Lisbon via the train network, Coimbra has an impressive bus network, eliminating the need to be a car driver.


Sitting inland, if you need a sea view, this is only 50 minutes away by train, otherwise expect to discover some marvellous landmarks within the preserved, medieval old town. AS the fourth largest city, residents enjoy a decent shopping and nightlife scene, and many green parks, playgrounds, and mountain vows make Coimbra an excellent choice for anyone who loves the outdoors.

5: The Best of Nazare

With roughly 15,000 residents, Nazare, 1.5 hours away from Lisbon, is more of a small village than a significant centre. Yet, it presents many cost savings opportunities for people on a budget, especially compared with Lisbon.

nazare (2)

This popular seaside destination sits on the silver coast and consists of three significant neighbourhoods; beachside Praia, clifftop Sitio, and hilltop Pederneira. The first two are linked via the Nazare funicular. For beach lovers, some of Nazara’s beaches are the best in Portugal. High waves also make the town a surfing hotspot.

6: Places in Madeira

Madeira is not first on most expats list of places to move to in Portugal, yet the island offers an ideal lifestyle, especially in the biggest city Funchal, where someone can live on roughly 1250 euros a month. Often classed as safe and family-friendly, the weather varies from the north to the south, but Madeira provides an ideal year-round temperature for many European expats. Naturally, with tourism being a significant revenue, the locals speak English, and whale watching is popular. Ferries or planes are the main form of transport to connect to the mainland.


7:  Ponta Delgada

From the island of Madeira to the Azores, some may scoff at the off the beaten track location of Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel Island that delivers beautiful surroundings and a slower pace of life. Living here is a little more expensive, but Ponta Delgada is ideal for getting away from the tourism scene to discover authentic Portuguese culture. Ponta Delgada always has a hidden surprise behind every corner, from the harbour front and historical quarter to the Cruta de Carvo ancient lava cave to the pineapple plantation.

Ponta Delgada

8:  In and Around Aveiro

Aveiro is known for many things, including salt production, fishing, and sea trade. However, tourism put Aveiro on the map as visitors arrive to see canals that were nicknamed the Portuguese Venice. On the banks, Art Noveau houses also display unique and timeless architecture. Aveiro is a flat city, so ideal for anyone with walking difficulties. Getting around on a bicycle is also a favoured form of transport. Put eel stew on your list of dishes to try since the plate is the regional norm, and living in Aveiro also means being near some of Portugal’s best beaches.


Moving to Portugal: As you can see, Portugal has many different towns, villages, and cities to choose from. Of course, when you finally decide where to live and make a move, you will encounter other aspects of expat life in Portugal. This article discusses them all, like bringing pets, the golden visa scheme, and getting residency.

Property Search: If you want a property to live in permanently, browse our portfolio of apartments and villas for sale in Portugal. As leading international real estate agents, we helped many potential expats find a home and make a wise real estate investment at the same time. Each listing contains the price, place where the property is, home features and contact details to find out more or make an appointment for viewing.

About Us: We are Spot Blue, an international property agent. Established in 2003, we have won many real estate awards for our professionalism and service. Call us today if you want to buy property abroad or have more information about the best places to live in Portugal.

About Natalie

Natalie is a dedicated real estate professional currently working at Spot Blue International Property. With over a decade of experience in the industry, she has acquired a wealth of knowledge and expertise regarding global properties.