After 70 Countries, Why I Moved to Lisbon, Portugal


For the past 10 years, I’ve lived a privileged life.

Back in 2011, I stepped on a plane with the dream of traveling the world for a year. I thought I’d follow the gap year rite of passage for 12 months, have the time of my life, then head home to rejoin the real world. Unexpectedly, several months into this adventure, I turned this little travel blog into a business, began to make money from it, and realised that I didn’t have to ever go home.

So that’s exactly what I did. I travelled and I travelled and I saw some incredible sights and I met some incredible people.

Then, it was time to stop.

Continuous travel, it turned out, was not sustainable for me.

I wanted a home. Somewhere familiar to return to to decompress after trips. I wanted to enrich my life with more than all travel all the time, like having a constant set of friends I didn’t have to say goodbye to. I wanted a kitchen and a gym membership, so I could work on improving my health. I wanted to focus on this site, so that I could post regularly for you guys rather than squeezing out one article a month because travel is vacuuming my time and energy.

The only question I had to ask myself was: where?

I’d travelled for so long and fallen in love with so many places, that I simply couldn’t choose just one. There were too many wonderful cities scattered all over the globe, and FOMO had me wanting to try them all on for size.

It was time to start narrowing my options down.

Coming up With Our Criteria for a Base

With so many countries for my boyfriend, Dave, and I to choose from, we were fortunate to be able to be picky — we could choose anywhere in the world to live!

Unfortunately, this wealth of choice left us paralysed and we spent years debating where we should make our home.

Eventually, we put together a detailed list of things we wanted and needed from a potential base. If you’re considering moving to Portugal, or somewhere new, I highly recommend doing the same.

Hiking in Taipei
I’d love to live in Taipei, but getting a work or residency visa would be challenging

Here are the factors that were most important for us:

We Needed to Be Able to Legally Live and Work There

I knew I wouldn’t be able to make a success of expat life unless I threw myself fully into living in a place. I’ve had plenty of three-month-long stays in cities around the world, but they’ve never felt like home because I always knew I’d be leaving soon.

I didn’t want this to happen in the country I chose for my home, so our first rule was that both Dave and I would have to be able to legitimately live and work there. I love Bangkok and Saigon and Taipei, and many places in Mexico, for example, but if we moved there, we’d be living from tourist visa to tourist visa, never knowing if we’d be let back into the country when we left. It would all be kind of sketchy and I was uncomfortable with that prospect.

I wanted to give this whole finding a base thing my best shot and buy furniture, make local friends, and build a community. I knew I’d only be able to do all of that good stuff if there wasn’t a risk of me being suddenly kicked out of the country.

This helped drastically lower the number of places for our potential base. I’m British and Dave’s from New Zealand, but he also has a British passport.

Thanks to our British passports, we can both legally work and live in any EU countries (we were making this decision before Brexit was even a word in our vocabulary), and I’d be able to get a partner visa for Australia or New Zealand through Dave.

From a work perspective, both Dave and I work online, so we wouldn’t need to worry about finding a job in whichever country we chose to settle in. As long as we could legally live and work there, we’d be fine.

Okay, so that narrowed our options down to around 30 countries. 

I wouldn't be able to afford to eat many brunches like this if I chose to live in Australia!
I wouldn’t be able to afford to eat many brunches like this if I chose to live in Australia!

We Needed to Be Able to Comfortably Afford to Live in Our Chosen Country

While I was travelling full-time, I had a fantastic quality of life, which was something I didn’t want to give up after finding a base.

I still wanted to be able to afford to eat out at nice restaurants, I wanted to be able to see friends regularly, I wanted to be able to travel for three months of every year, and be able to afford that on top of our rent. Basically, I didn’t want to sacrifice the quality of life we had on the road through choosing to find a home.

That helped eliminate quite a few destinations. I estimated that my monthly expenses (rent, bills, gym membership, food, etc) in my new home city would have to work out to be no more than $1,500 a month.

That knocked out the big cities in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K. Pricey Scandinavian countries were off the cards, too, and so were more expensive cities in Western Europe, like Paris.

Madrid drinking

We Wanted to Have Friends, and They’d Have to Be Planning to Stay in Our Chosen City Long-Term

Dave is an extrovert who loses his mind if he doesn’t have friends to hang out with. We’ve tried living in places where we don’t know anybody else and after a few weeks, he becomes agitated, moody, and frustrated. He needs people to be happy. And as people who both work online and at home, it can be tough to get outside and make friends.

An important criteria for us, then, was knowing lots of people in the city we chose, and hopefully they would be people who were settled and weren’t going to be leaving in a few months.

We’d already decided we wanted to live somewhere within the EU, so we started to make a list of places where we knew people, as well as some major digital nomad hubs.

This helped us narrow it down to a few places: Lisbon; Granada, Barcelona, or Madrid; Berlin; Vienna; Amsterdam; Budapest; Bucharest.

manila from plane

We Needed to Live Somewhere With a Busy International Airport

Even with a base, travel is easily going to be one of my highest priorities — I’m a travel writer, after all.

Most of the places I mentioned above have easy access to an airport, aside from Granada, so that knocked it off our list. Having to bus to Malaga, and then fly onwards to our destination was an annoying deal-breaker for us.

Madrid plaza

We Wanted to Live Somewhere With Great Weather

After five years spent following the sun around the world, I have little tolerance for cold weather. That, combined with poor blood circulation, makes low temperatures painful for my extremities and leaves me spending most of my days beneath blankets. If I had the opportunity to choose where to live, I was going to prioritise somewhere warm.

Europe, however, is not the warmest of continents in winter, even in the south. But the southern temperatures were way more bearable than the north.

By this point, we had noticed that both Spain and Portugal ticked all of our boxes.

It was time to book a flight.

alcobaca

The Decision to Move to Portugal

Was a reasonably spontaneous one.

Two friends had recently moved there and couldn’t stop gushing about how it was the perfect city to live. We had a chat with them, decided it would be worth checking out, and booked a one-way ticket to Lisbon.

Neither of us had even been to the city before.

We booked a month-long stay in an apartment, then gave ourselves thirty days to look around, get a feel for the city, and see if it was a place we could see ourselves committing to.

It took exactly three days.

Three days after arriving, Lisbon felt perfect. It was beautiful and sunny and affordable and wonderful. Lisbon had everything I’d been looking for in a home, so we immediately began looking at apartments.

One month later, we hung up our backpacks, and started to make ourselves at home.

Lisbon was now home.

a

Here’s why I love living in Portugal.

We Have Friends Here

When we moved to Lisbon, we knew just two people. Now, we’re closing in on 20. Just as our friends had convinced us to move here, they also managed to convince over a dozen more people to do exactly the same. One by one, kickass digital nomads have arrived in the city, fallen in love, and decided to sign leases within a few days of arriving.

Which is amazing.

We’re now part of a vibrant community of entrepreneurs in the city and know enough people to have someone to hang out with every day of the month if we liked. Lisbon’s become a huge digital nomad and tech startup hub over the past couple of years, and I’m thrilled to be here to watch it develop.

Lisbon

It’s Affordable

Portugal is one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe, but Lisbon has been growing in popularity over recent years and becoming more expensive. Accommodation, in particular, in Lisbon is pricey, but everything else is incredibly affordable.

At local cafes, you can grab a starter, main, glass of wine, and a coffee for under €5! I usually spend under €10 a meal at some of the best restaurants I’ve ever eaten at — when drinking water. Bottles of good wine from the supermarket are around €2. For unlimited rides on all forms of public transport, a monthly pass is €35. Fruit and vegetables are cheap (you can grab a kilogram of strawberries, for example, for just €3.) Museums are free to enter on the first Sunday of every month.

Accommodation, however, is getting expensive. You’re looking at around €1400 for a two-bedroom apartment in a reasonably central part of Lisbon, which is double what you’d have paid if you’d come here ten years ago.

Alfama neighbourhood, in Lisbon

Lisbon is So Walkable

In the 18 months I’ve been living in Lisbon, I’ve used the metro exactly once and that was to get to the airport. I seriously have so little need to use public transport because Lisbon is such a compact city. And if I don’t feel like walking, taking an Uber the distance it would take me to walk 30 minutes is less than €5.

In this city, everywhere you could possibly need to get to is within a twenty minute walk, which makes seeing friends, sightseeing, and trying out new restaurants and bars super easy.

Lauren and gin

The Food Scene is Spectacular

Some of the best restaurants I’ve ever eaten in are in Lisbon. That’s not an exaggeration either. Local Portuguese food is delicious, and there are amazing international restaurants here, too.

Within a five-minute walk of my apartment in Principe Real, I can find some of the best Italian, Austrian, Mexican, Peruvian, Japanese, Argentinian, and Nepalese food of my life. I can even get better tacos than I had in Mexico! And life-changing burgers! There are cute coffee shops to work from nearby, too, one of which has the best cupcakes ever, and another of which has Vegemite toast. There’s the cosiest speakeasy bar close by, and a tasty gin bar within walking distance. We even splashed out on a Michelin Star restaurant for our five-year anniversary last month.

Lisbon isn’t really known as a food destination, but practically everything I’ve eaten has been so. freaking. delicious. I’m almost on the verge of declaring it my favourite city to eat in.

The only downside? We can’t find a really good Vietnamese restaurant!

Cascais Beach

The Weather in Lisbon is Perfect

Blue skies make me happy and Lisbon has more than 300 sunny days each year. Even in the middle of December, you’ll be looking out at bright blue skies with not a single cloud to ruin them. It’s 16 degrees (61F) most days. Sometimes, it gets as high as 20. That’s the type of European winter I love.

I was wondering whether planning to base myself in Europe would lead to me heading further afield over the winter months, but so far, I’m loving the mild weather. There’s something about having picnics and wine in my local park in late-October that never fails to have me appreciating my life in Portugal.

Lisbon castle views

Lisbon is a Great Base to Travel From

Lisbon isn’t a major capital city in Europe, so I was nervous this would lead to expensive flights whenever I wanted to fly somewhere new. Fortunately, this hasn’t been the case at all!

Lisbon is perfectly situated to pick up bargain flights across Europe and Africa, both of which are going to be major travel focuses of mine over the next couple of years. Return flights to the U.S. can often be had for as little as $300, which makes popping over to see friends an easy trip to make. My return flights to South Africa for February were $250 return from Lisbon!

If you’re considering moving to Lisbon and like to travel regularly, you’ll be seriously impressed with the cheap flights this city offers.

A Lisbon viewpoint

English is Widely Spoken in Portugal

I can’t believe how much English is spoken in Lisbon.

It’s embarrassing to admit, but for my first six months in Lisbon, I knew three Portuguese words. Eeek. Don’t worry — I’m not planning on becoming one of those British expats and I’m now taking daily Portuguese lessons.

But. The fact that I’ve been able to get by using English has made moving here so easy. Our estate agent spoke English, our landlord speaks English. Menus in restaurants are in English. All of the personal trainers at our gym speak English. If we stop anyone in the street or in stores, there’s a 90% chance they’ll speak English if they’re young. We found it easy to make friends with locals, too, and they appreciate the opportunity to practice their English while teaching us some Portuguese.

I struggled a lot when basing myself in Granada and Madrid last year because the language barrier was so high (and I’ve studied Spanish for five years!). In Lisbon, I barely notice one. It’s definitely made making local friends far easier than it should have been.

Lisbon at night
A Lisbon tram at night

Are There Any Downsides?

Nowhere’s perfect and living in Lisbon does have some downsides. I’m all about sharing the reality of destinations, so let’s take a look at what sucks about living here.

First, Lisbon is one of the hilliest cities I’ve ever come across — it definitely earns its nickname of the San Francisco of Europe. Practically every single street is on a hill, aside from the one that runs alongside the river. It’s not the end of the world, and I’m mostly used to it now, but it does make running outside practically impossible. And it’s kind of annoying when every walk you take ends up being an enormous workout. Sometimes I just want to go and buy a loaf of bread and it not leave me exhausted and sweaty.

Second, ordering stuff online is a horrendous process.

For some reason, if you order anything from the U.S., it will be stopped by Portuguese customs and they’ll seriously investigate every single package. And that can take months. Dave ordered a backpack from the U.S. and argued with customs for two months because they didn’t believe the price he’d paid for it was correct — they actually sent the backpack back to the store! Friends have ordered supplements and had them kept at customs for four months. I ordered a gift for a friend who had been diagnosed with cancer and by the time I received it, six months later, she was in remission.

Yes — you read that correctly. A small gift I bought from Etsy in the U.S. took six. whole. months. to pass through Portuguese customs.

It’s a nightmare and super-frustrating, as Dave’s business relies on him receiving review samples from the U.S.

The bureaucracy can be infuriating. Few people in the government can accurately explain how things work, and we’re regularly given different answers by different people. There’s close to no decent information about moving to Portugal online — half of what we read turned out to be false once we landed and met with a local lawyer and accountant. We haven’t been able to figure out how to get access to Portuguese healthcare after 18 months in the city, which makes dealing with medical issues an expensive nightmare. I suffer from an auto-immune disease, so the bills can quickly add up.

A lot of the time, we have no idea whether we’re doing things right or going to be caught out at some point.

Really, though, these are my only frustrations, and they’re minor in the grand scheme of things.

Do You Want to Move to Portugal?

I’ve started receiving a ton of emails from people who have read this post and are convinced they want to move to Portugal, too. That’s great!

Your first step is to research whether you can legally move to Portugal if you’re not an EU citizen. An immigration lawyer will be able to help you navigate the world of Portuguese visas far better than I can, so that should be your first step if you’re serious about a life in Lisbon.

Based on conversations with friends who moved to Portugal, I believe there’s a visa available to people who work online and have enough money in their savings to prove they can support themselves for at least a year within the country. And there’s a retirement visa that’s easily accessible, too.

If you’re younger, don’t work online, don’t have in-demand qualifications, and/or don’t have much in your savings, it’s likely not going to be possible for you to move to Portugal.

But! I’m not an expert, as my British passport meant that I could live and work in Portugal without needing to apply for a visa.

After five years of travel, why I'm settling in Lisbon, Portugal.
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Next 2016: My Year in Review

252 Comments

  1. December 12, 2016

    I’m really happy for you that you’ve found a home and you are loving it. It really comes across in your writing and had me smiling reading this post :) And I think that your connection with the city/country will be even stronger once you learn Portuguese – an understanding of the language exposes you to all sorts of intricacies of the culture and it lets you connect with soooo many more people. For me, connection with the local language is one of my favorite aspects of traveling/living abroad. Enjoy and good luck with your studies! I hope that you continue to love Lisbon – this is a very exciting time and I am happy for you!

    • January 9, 2017

      Yes, I think so, too! I’ve just started learning Portuguese and I’m already feeling like I belong I little more, just from knowing a handful of words. Thanks so much for the lovely comment :-)

      • Rosa Benn
        March 2, 2020

        Loooved your article,thank you.Am considering Lisbon(depending on 3Nov2020).Learning Portuguese now,with Duolingo.What learning method would you recommend,please?

        • March 15, 2020

          I took lessons while I was in Portugal and had success from that — mostly because it allowed me to head out and practice all the time after class. But up until you get to the country, Duolingo is probably best. I’ve never used it but I’ve heard good things about it. Just make sure it’s Portugal Portuguese rather than Brazilian :-)

        • May 15, 2020

          Duolingo uses Brazilian Portuguese which is very different!

          • Guilherme
            October 19, 2020

            it’s not thaaat much different, but be aware that many words don’t only have a slightly different spelling (like the English color vs colour), but also Brazilian Portuguese has a lot more influence from foreign languages like English than Portuguese Portuguese and also has a lot of influence from native languages, so whole words can be completely different and uses for same words can also be different because both evolved fairly separated from each other.

    • Monika
      October 27, 2020

      Lauren, nice article however the prices that you quote are seriously wrong and misleading. Lisbon is expensive! Food is more expensive then in other European countries. Although restaurants are affordable but one course meal (no wine or dessert) willcost you at least 10 euro.
      It’s unfair on your readers to provide this info

      • October 27, 2020

        The prices I quote are the prices I pay, though? I’m not making them up. I lived in Lisbon paying those prices for a menu do dia.

        And I literally said what you did in your comment — that a main course is €10 as long as you drink water?

  2. December 12, 2016

    Lauren your posts are seriously amazing.
    Love how much detail you put into them but still manage to keep it so interesting.

    Lisbon is still on my list, but it looks and sounds incredible! xx

    • December 13, 2016

      Thank you so much, Eli! That means a lot :-)

      • KARL BLORE
        August 18, 2020

        The quickest way to learn Portuguese is to get up early in the morning and watch very young children’s programmes on tv.

  3. December 12, 2016

    I can’t wait to read more about Lisbon! Your story about deciding to live in Portugal is actually starting to convince me I need to properly visit Portugal stat! A friend of mine recently visited Sintra which looks gorgeous as well! I need to check this little country out :)

    • January 9, 2017

      Yes! You definitely do :-)

  4. December 13, 2016

    I can definitely see why you guys love Lisbon so much, I only spent three days there a few years ago and I loved it. I can definitely imagine it would be hard to feel truly like you belong there, especially because English isn’t the primary language, even if it is spoken widely. I have lived in five countries but all of them are English speaking which massively helps in feeling a sense of belonging and understanding the intricacies of the culture. But in saying that, some of those countries I felt a stronger sense of belonging than others – I could live in Canada for the rest of my days and feel right at home, while Australia never felt like the right fit.

  5. December 13, 2016

    So great that you’ve found a place to live that makes you feel happy! Lisbon is such a lovely place!

    You’ll probably start feeling more at home after a while longer. I’m from the Netherlands but have been living in the UK for 4 years now and it really feels like my second home. I know better how everything works over here than in the Netherlands! Though I have to admit, my own country will always be my first home.

    • December 14, 2016

      Yeah, I’m looking forward to seeing how my feelings develop over the next few years. Expat life is all new and exciting for me, so I can’t wait to see how it all works out! :-)

      • Robert
        November 6, 2020

        How about living a little bit outside the center .?it s also so expensive or the conditions are very bad si u cannot do it?

  6. December 13, 2016

    I agree that you are really making a case for Portugal – visiting and living there!

    I also found it interesting that Mexico was on your list of places to live. I’m actually pretty stoked to hear that.

    • December 14, 2016

      Yes! Mexico is one of my favourite countries and I would totally live there just for the food alone, haha :-)

  7. December 13, 2016

    Great insights, I’m heading to Lisbon in the New Year, it sounds like a great place to work, write, and enjoy life without too much stress. Cheers !

    • December 14, 2016

      It’s exactly that! Hope you have a wonderful time here :-)

  8. Antonio Miranda
    December 13, 2016

    You know nothing about Portugal dimwit……

    • December 14, 2016

      Shit, you’re right. I guess I’m going to have to find somewhere else to live now. Damn it.

    • Mauricio
      December 17, 2016

      You’re a jerk!

    • David Cohn
      April 22, 2019

      Wow. Why so nasty?

      • May 4, 2019

        People are weird.

    • Fernando Sertage
      September 6, 2020

      Antonio Miranda, you comment about Lauren’s experience in Portugal is not only unfounded, unnecessary and badly placed, and has a very negative reflection on ALL Portuguese nationals (like myself) and potential foreign visitors/ residents.

      I much prefer to look at your comment as an absolute reflection of your own attitude and state of mind. An apology is the decent and only thing to do, if you have that capacity in your pea sized brain.

      As for Lauren, in case you don’t receive an apology from Antonio Miranda, I present you with a very heart felt one, on my behalf and his, undeservedly self. Shame on him!

      PS: Well done and congratulations on your article As far as your ‘not so positive experiences’ are concerned, if you ever feel you could do with help, feel free to ask.

  9. December 14, 2016

    Loved hearing about your experience in moving to Portugal! I agree that the language will definitely help you feel more integrated and even though English is widely spoken, Portuguese people love it when you make the effort in their language and you’ll find that their usual friendliness is even more noticeable. With the Amazon stuff, I totally understand it’s a pain but in some ways I like that you’re forced to find local alternatives for your needs (which can sometimes be a blessing in disguise). If you want some travel inspiration within the country, check out my blog.

    • December 15, 2016

      Yeah, I agree about the Amazon stuff, but there have been times when I’ve needed a specific brand of something that you can only get in the U.S. or U.K., so there haven’t been any local alternatives for me here.

      Looking forward to starting Portuguese lessons next month! :-)

  10. Robyn
    December 14, 2016

    Hi Lauren,
    Love the article. We have been using Portugal as a base over the last 3 years while we did some nomading (away 6-7mths a year). My husband is Portuguese, but I was the one adamant that we should put down roots. Similar reasons to you, but also I love the language (I have course recommendations if you need) and the people. Oh, and Pasteis de Nata.
    We be there full time from the New Year. I would love to chat with you about some of the places you have visited and to swap some stories. If you fancy a coffee sometime, PM me :)
    Beijinhos

  11. Groisygirl
    December 16, 2016

    Hi Lauren,

    Why didn’t you finally consider Barcelona or Madrid? They share the same good weather as Lisbon and have well connected airports.

    • December 31, 2016

      Honestly, it was mainly because I got to Lisbon first and loved it so much that I didn’t want to leave to look at anywhere else.

      Additionally, I based myself in Madrid for six weeks in July/August last year and really struggled with the summer temperatures — it was so hot that I barely left our apartment before 10 p.m. and we had to have the air conditioning running at all times. The temperatures are much more manageable for me in summer in Lisbon. Barcelona would most likely have been our next choice if we hadn’t liked Lisbon.

  12. December 17, 2016

    If I had the freedom and flexibility to choose a country in Europe to live in (darn you, American passport!), Lisbon would definitely be one of my top choices. The brightness, the tranquility, the colors, the food (I absolutely adore pastel de nada), and the architecture all speak for what is definitely one of my favorite cities in Europe. Looks like you’ve found a lot to fall in love with as well!

    • March 2, 2017

      And soon: darn you, British passport! And yes, I love Lisbon so much! Definitely my favourite country in Europe!

      • Keith
        December 28, 2017

        Just researching- So why is there an issue with the passport. Great info. Keith

        • December 28, 2017

          Because Brexit means that after next year, British passport holders will lose their current rights to live and work anywhere within the EU.

  13. December 17, 2016

    How exciting! :) I’m so happy that you’re enjoying living in Portugal and it really does sound like an amazing place to live. I’ve not visited yet myself but it has been on my radar and it would be awesome to visit before the prices skyrocket haha. Thanks for sharing!

    • December 31, 2016

      Yeah, Lisbon is definitely getting much pricier each year, but the rest of Portugual is still pretty inexpensive. Either way, now is a great time to visit! :-)

  14. Mauricio
    December 17, 2016

    Great Report Lauren,
    I think you hit the spot.
    Besides those negative issues you mentioned, I’d also add the fact of Lisbon being the only capital in Europe that doesn’t have a permanent ice rink.

    • December 30, 2016

      Ha, I’ll have to admit that wasn’t one of the things I was prioritising when searching for a home :-) But I will say that Lisbon doesn’t seem to have any climbing gyms either and I wanted to take up rock climbing this year. That was a bit of a downside for me!

  15. December 19, 2016

    I’m really happy you found a base! Also a side note, I was really struggling on where to go for a weekend for my birthday.. Lisbon it is! Thank you.

    • December 30, 2016

      Yay!! :-)

  16. Atanas
    December 19, 2016

    Yeah, f..k that Brexit. I work for an English company and although my salary hasn`t moved, I know get less due to pound losing a lot of its value after the vote. Lisbon sounds like an excellent choice. Congratulations! Would love to go there some day.

    • March 2, 2017

      You definitely should!

  17. Miguel Carvalho
    December 19, 2016

    Hey Lauren,
    great article!

    Being a Portuguese, born and raised in Lisbon, I’m not sure if I agree with you on all the upsides you mention… but I do agree with most of them :)

    Add one more: from Lisbon you can get basically anywhere in Portugal by car in about 3 or 4 hours. and there are a LOT of amazing places to explore: the spectacular” wild” empty beaches along the Alentejo coastline, the Western part of the Algarve, some small villages in the Center / North of Portugal, Gerês, etc…

    I order a lot of stuff from Amazon UK, never had any problem with the deliveries… maybe you’re just unlucky with the courier employers who make the deliveries where you live ?

    Portuguese taxes eat you alive, and Portuguese customs it’s a real pain, still living in the 18th century… ordering anything from outside the EU it’s expensive and the bureaucracy will drive anyone insane, I never do it. If it’s food you need from the US, there’s an american store in the center with lot’s of american products, check it out:

    http://www.lojasliberty.com/

    Enjoy Portugal! :)

  18. Rebecca
    December 21, 2016

    Ohmigod, you just gave me flashbacks of shipping to Portugal! I worked for an international film company and we had to ship things to Portugal all the time. We had to use a special courier (TNT) and fill out the customs form in a very specific way so things wouldn’t be stopped and held up all the time. The company always knew ways around it, but when the govt would switch things up mid-shipment, we were screwed and would have to resend. Didn’t happen that much, maybe once or twice a year, but still randomly annoying!!

    • February 19, 2017

      Ahhhh! Yes. That doesn’t surprise me at all. Since writing this post, a friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer and I bought her a present from the U.S. That was four months ago, she’s now in remission, and the gift is still at customs.

      • Sinéad
        February 2, 2018

        Hi Lauren

        I would love to talk/email you privately as I’m planning to move to Lisbon in 2019 and would really appreciate any info/advice that you could offer…..I’m an EU citizen so this works in my favor

        • February 2, 2018

          There’s a contact form you can use on the site.

  19. December 21, 2016

    Congrats on finding a place you love! So jealous of the way Europeans can easily live in other countries. I love being American and my passport gets me in so many places, but I can’t easily stay there long term.

    • December 30, 2016

      Well, British people will most likely be in the same boat in a couple of years! Thanks for the congratulations — I’m so happy here :-)

  20. December 23, 2016

    I am so happy that you have found a base and can’t wait to carry on reading about your adventures in Lisbon. We are moving to live in Bangkok in April as I have been offered a Primary Teaching job there. Any advise on moving to a brand new place? You have explored Thailand a lot too, where should we head to on my time off?! :)

    • February 19, 2017

      Definitely check out Koh Yao Noi! One of my favourite islands in the world :-)

  21. Antonio
    December 28, 2016

    Hi lauren! Glad that you and Dave are enjoying Portugal and particularly Lisbon.

    Yes, I agree with the downsides of it:
    Lisbon is a bit downhill/uphill on the historic/touristic center, but if you move a bit away from the river it´s almost plane. Try to go to “Parque das Nações” – shopping, promenade, esplanade (Oriente subway station)

    Ordering stuff from outside EU, depends on packages, it could be stuck on the customs. Yep, it happens a LOT. Lot´s of taxes here too, you pay taxes for everything… but the cost of living, in general, is still cheaper than the rest of Europe.
    Bureaucracy it´s a pain in the *ss too.

    For the next year, try to visit some other cities, 2/3 days each. You have buses from Lisbon to almost all the cool cities,it´s not expensive neither the the stays/food and it s a 1,2,3h drive. Braga, Guimarães, Tomar, Aveiro, Coimbra, Monsaraz, Tavira, Portimão are waiting! And why not the Azores islands too?
    Enjoy the sun while writing your nice posts :-) / Aproveita os dias de sol na esplanada ou na praia para escrever!

    Cheers and Happy New Year
    Antonio

  22. December 28, 2016

    This is funny. I just found your blog, while researching for something… I thought it was cool and decided to add it to my RSS feeds… I get only one article and that is… “After 70 Countries, Why I Moved to Portugal”. What is so funny about it? I am Portuguese, from Lisbon and I found your blog when you laid anchor in my own city.

    • December 31, 2016

      Ah, that *is* funny! Glad to have you on board :-)

  23. January 3, 2017

    I was born in England and want to move to Portugal real bad. Just can’t stomach the British weather any longer. Even though I am totally fluent in Portuguese and have a degree in Computer Science, I feel that the job market in Portugal is terrible. The thought of ending up homeless should I lose employment there really scares the crap out of me.

    • January 4, 2017

      Could you find a job in the UK that would allow you to work remotely from Portugal?

    • Ines
      February 3, 2019

      Hi Paulo. The job market is not bad for those who work in computer science. Keep searching.

  24. January 3, 2017

    Hi Lauren
    Thank you so much for this great blog! You have a very inspiring story and I am happy for you that you found a place you can call home, if only for a while. My anxieties started 4 years ago and it took me a long time to realize that they won’t get better if I try to change in order to meet societies expectations such as having a 9 to 5 job. Instead I have to follow my dreams and do what makes me happy. Travelling is one of the things that make me happy and I have been on the road for almost two years now. My anxieties are a lot better and only get worse when I try to live a normal life with little flexibility to do other things besides working. I am convinced that our anxieties disappear when we are traveling not because we know how to handle them but because we are doing what makes us happy. Good luck to you in Portugal and I hope you keep touching us with your stories.

  25. richard
    January 6, 2017

    Hi,

    have you tried ordering from amazon France or Germany and ask for a DHL/UPS/TNT delivery?
    Prices are probably cheaper on the german site.
    The other option is to buy everything in bulk, send it to a friend who lives near a Ryanair airport, spend 25euro in travelling, enjoy your friend and go home :)

    I’m expecting a sequel to your book, because my girlfriend and I could sometimes relate to your adventures, and it would bring back memories from our trips, something you cannot when reading Tolkien or Victor Hugo.

  26. Lombok Wander Tour
    January 7, 2017

    Portugal is one of the best country in Europe !

    • January 7, 2017

      Agreed! :-)

  27. January 9, 2017

    Portugual has been near the top of my list to visit lately – now you’re making me wish I could move there! Alas, my American passport is not very helfpul when it comes to living abroad (fingers crossed for you that your British passport continues to be useful in that regard…).

    TAP Portugal has a flight from Lisbon to Accra, Ghana, and onward to Sao Tome. I travel to Accra regularly for work and slipped away one weekend to Sao Tome and it was absolutely incredible!!!! Gorgeous beaches, beautiful, rain-forested mountains, cheap and delicious food and wine (highly Portuguese-influenced), not very many tourists. I definitely recommend a trip there (and a stopover in Ghana!) while you’re based in Lisbon :-) Wishing you well in 2017!

  28. January 25, 2017

    Lovely decision! I’m happy for you, and I can’t wait to see Lisbon myself. I can imagine anyone wanting to have a home base after traveling for 5 years :)

    • January 28, 2017

      Yep! It was definitely time :-)

  29. February 6, 2017

    How exciting!! I’ve been eyeing Lisbon for sometime and am excited to visit in May. I’ll be checking in for updates! So happy you found a place that you can call “home”… at least for now ; )

    • March 2, 2017

      I hope you have a wonderful time in May! That’s the perfect time of year to visit :-)

  30. Greg
    February 7, 2017

    It looks like you made the right decision! We haven’t made it to Europe yet, but Portugal is at the top of our list! Where in Mexico have you all been? We recently lived in Puerto Vallarta!

    • February 19, 2017

      I’ve been to PV, Sayulita, Oaxaca, Guanajuato, and all over the Yucatan.

    • paul
      October 5, 2017

      Hi Greg. I was recently thinking of retiring to PV but the recent events with the drug cartels in several other tourist towns in Mexico did not give me the confidence to do so. I think it is safe now but can not be sure in the near future.
      Can you share your thoughts?
      Thanks.
      Paul

      • October 21, 2017

        Not Greg, but I have had friends leave Playa within the last six months because the cartels are taking over the city. Not in a way that poses much danger to tourists, but in terms of there being three cartels that are making business owners pay each of them off, which is then making restaurants and shop owners close down and leave… As far as I’m aware, though, Puerto Vallarta is perfectly safe, and I have several friends who are perfectly happy living there long-term.

  31. Joana Fonseca
    February 18, 2017

    Hello Lauren! :)
    My name is Joana, and I’m a portuguese girl searching the web to find ways to make my dreams come true: I want to travel from Porto to India, with several stops on the way eheh. At the moment I’m trying to see options on how to settle my travel blog, to share my experience!! Your site is quite usefull. If you need any tips, help or even if you want to come to Porto I’m really glad to help you.
    Hope you enjoy this amazing country as much as I do!!

    com amor, Joana

  32. April 9, 2017

    Really enjoyed this article, we have been humming and hawing for months now about where to finally settle after all our travel but this helped us decide on Portugal, but for us it will probably Peniche or Cascais mainly for surfing. Might see you there in a year or two wooo

    • April 12, 2017

      Yay! I’m so happy to hear that :-)

  33. May 15, 2017

    Hi Lauren, I love this blog post! I noticed that we have similar criteria for choosing a place to settle – great but affordable food, nice weather, and English is widely spoken :) I’m just wondering how the visa processing will be for non-EU passport holders. We’re interested in living in Spain and Portugal. My bf is a French citizen so he’s fine but I hold a Philippine passport and can’t stay in EU (and many countries) without a visa :( Would you know if there are viable options for us? What’s the process like for EU citizens? Do you have a self-employed visa? Thanks in advance for your help!

    • May 15, 2017

      Hi Jenie! For EU citizens, it’s super easy. You just turn up and you can live and work here for as long as you want. That’s it! No need to get a visa.

      For non-EU citizens, it’s a bit trickier, but not too hard. My American/Canadian/Australian friends haven’t had any problems with getting their visas — it took around six months and required a lot of paperwork, but didn’t sound difficult. I’m not sure what the process will be like for citizens of the Philippines, though, as I know visas can be a pain in the ass for you guys. Your best bet would be to speak to the Portuguese consulate in Manila and see what options you have.

  34. Elizabeth
    May 25, 2017

    Hi! I just came across your blog. I am so happy to see you are thoroughly enjoying Lisbon. I am Portuguese, American born but a citizen of Portugal since I have Portuguese parents. My children are now citizens as well. Portugal
    Is a very special place. I adore Lisbon as well as we are also moving to Lisbon at the end of this year! We are very excited. i am going there to earn my PhD and so thrilled to raise out daughters in Portugal. Lisbon is definitely becoming a real tech hub, and it is projected to possible be the tech capital of Europe in a few years. I am sure you have visited LX Factory…great area to collaborate with other entrepreneurs. Lisbon is getting more expensive but it is still much less expensive than most Europe capital cities, i.e., London, Paris, etc. I do wish you the best and thank you for sharing how wonderful Portugal is!

    • June 9, 2017

      I love LX Factory! One of my favourite places to hang out :-) And congratulations on making the move to Lisbon! It’s one of the best cities to live in.

  35. Gabe
    May 25, 2017

    I’ve been to Mexico (too dangerous) to Canada (too cold). Never been to Europe, but the hassle of trying to settle in one of their beautiful countries seems prohibitive plus, as you say, the taxes, language barriers, etc.. I think I’ll end up in Florida (low taxes, low crime, outside big cities, warm weather).

    • June 3, 2017

      Ah, Mexico is one of the safest countries I’ve ever been to. As long as you stick to the tourist destinations, it’s far safer than the U.S.

  36. shandy south
    May 26, 2017

    Hi many thanks for your experience i live in London and worked in 25 countries i fell in love with Estoril (30 min by train from Lisbon) and hopefully will be trying to move there in 2018 but i’m seriously worried about this Brexit BS .I’ve traveled back and forth to Lisbon for the last 7 years just to chillout so i’m pretty well clued in about the pace of life.This will be life changing for me after living in London.Many thanks.

    • June 3, 2017

      Hopefully you’ll be able to get to Portugal before the UK officially leaves the EU, and that means that you will be able to stay. Who knows what the future holds, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

  37. Rob & Dee
    June 1, 2017

    Funny how things work out. 10 minutes ago I read an email from my Portuguese lawyer. It’s the email that we have been waiting on for a few months. BTW, a few months in New York time is like 2 lifetimes, lol. Your offer has been accepted, please let us know when your down payment will be expected. Yaaa whoooooo, we got the beach front apartment! So we set up the money transfer and 3 clicks and 30 seconds later I find myself on the website of one Lauren Juliff. During the reading of the why I moved to Lisbon page, so many intense feelings came back to life.
    I am dating a Portuguese woman. We travel back a forth from NY to Portugal about 5-7 times a year to visit family and her father, who has retired there over 6 years ago. She tells the story of when she first took me there and 2 days into the trip I call home. Mom, this place is great and I will be moving here someday. I remember looking at my girlfriend and I could see her turning pale.
    Yes, Portugal is awesome. If you are ever in the area from Nazare to Alcobaça, to Benedita to São Bernardino, feel free to contact us and we can point out the good places to eat and visit.
    PS. Stop telling people about Portugal. Too many people keep coming. LOL

    • June 3, 2017

      Amazing! Congratulations, guys! And thanks so much for your kind offer :-)

  38. Sérgio Neves
    July 9, 2017

    Come to live to Porto (Oporto).
    It offers the same as Lisbon but even more affordable.

    • July 9, 2017

      It’s way too small for me, the food isn’t as good, and I don’t have friends there. Love Porto, but I couldn’t live there.

  39. July 24, 2017

    I only came across this post now… but as a Portuguese, it was really interesting to learn about your reasons and to see them matching the reasons of other foreign people I’ve met, that have also fallen in love with Lisbon :)
    Hope you’re having a great time here!

    • July 29, 2017

      I am! Still loving it here :-)

  40. August 1, 2017

    Hey Lauren, my wife and I are currently traveling and teaching English online. We are doing 3 months in Europe and are currently in Barcelona for a month. Do you have any recommendations on how to find a flat for a month? We found our apartment in Barcelona through facebook but haven’t found much in Lisbon. Thanks for any advice!

    • August 1, 2017

      Airbnb is pretty much your only option for month-long accommodation in Lisbon.

  41. Geraldo
    August 1, 2017

    Hello

    I’m hired to start work in a callcenter over there (though still need to sign the contract), apartment incl. and I’m much into surfing as well.

    Curious about how the weather went over the months of Jan/Feb/Mar?
    Also, are people walking around happy and friendly? :-)

    Cheers

    • August 1, 2017

      It’s one of the warmest cities in Europe at that time of year, but it’s still Europe so it’s still cold. Most days were around 10 degrees C, rain maybe three times a week, occasional grey skies. It was a pretty good winter, though, compared to my years spent in the UK. And March was pretty sunny.

      The locals are super friendly in Lisbon.

  42. Robert
    August 14, 2017

    Hi,

    Thank you for posting so much information about Lisbon. I am considering moving there with my family, I have two daughters 4 and 9. I work from home so can pretty much work anywhere. I was wondering about schooling for the kids and also housing, I’ve looked online at Cascais and it looks beautiful.

    • August 16, 2017

      Did you have a specific question you wanted to ask me? Unfortunately, I’ve spent very little time in Cascais, so can’t offer advice about living there. I also don’t have kids, so don’t know anything about schooling. When it comes to housing, expect to pay more than you’re expecting to and still to struggle to find somewhere to live. Lisbon is almost all Airbnb apartments these days, so it’s extremely tough to find anything affordable.

  43. August 16, 2017

    my friend just posted your blog. we have been looking at lisbon as a place to live/ invest in over the last year. in fact she bought a place in santos and is sarting to renovate. i was wondering what part of lisbon do you live in? i am considering moving there within the next year or 2 depending on my work situation and my finances… but loved lisbon from the moment we visited it… we’ve been there 3 times and keep loving it.. your blog is very helpful.

    • August 16, 2017

      Hi Caron! I don’t disclose where I live in Lisbon for privacy reasons (I’ve had issues with internet creeps in the past).

  44. Dim
    August 18, 2017

    Hi, nice article, very detailed. What neighbourhood did you choose for living? Cheers

    • August 18, 2017

      I literally answered that in the comment above yours.

  45. August 18, 2017

    Hi Lauren,
    I enjoyed your blog about Lisbon. It makes me want to live there.
    I gather you are young. As a senior taking some medications, I was wondering about medical care there. Did you say those with resident visas are able to use the medical system? Are hospitals readily available?
    Jana

    • August 23, 2017

      Hey, Jana! Because I am a UK citizen, I get reciprocal healthcare in Portugal, so everything is free for me. I think if you have a resident visa and pay social security, you also get free healthcare. Even if you didn’t, healthcare is very affordable here — I had to get some ultrasounds done, plus some other tests, and see a specialist, and get prescribed medication during one hospital visit while I was here, and it would have come to under €100 for everything.

  46. Annie
    September 1, 2017

    Hi Lauren,

    We were like you, happy nomads, until we became parents. Now with our toddler, we are looking for the perfect city, being city people, having lived in Paris mostly, London, Mumbai, Amsterdam and even Granada. We are looking for a vibrant and safe city where we can raise our child, have an enriching school, and save money. We were eyeing Malaga old town area but there’s an element missing that I can’t place my finger on. Currently living in Toronto. I wanted to ask you if you see many young families going out and happy children running around Lisbon?

    • November 17, 2017

      Yes! So many. In fact, I was recently at a birthday party for one of my friend’s children in Lisbon, and there were dozens of expat toddlers running around the park. You’ll definitely find it easy to make friends with other parents here :-)

  47. Larry Townsend
    September 10, 2017

    Lauren, your writing style is refreshing. I’m 61 and determined to go some place for a few years. I’ve researched many places and Portugal continues to rise to the top. I loved Porto 15 years back. Algarve does not resonate with me. Lisbon? 2500$ a month be adequate for awesome rental and fluid lifestyle including medical insurance? Cheers from Northern California. Larry

    • January 8, 2018

      Yes, definitely! You’ll have a good quality of life in Lisbon with that amount :-)

  48. jinpa smith
    September 10, 2017

    I’m so glad I found this post about Portugal! Thanks for sharing your ideas about choosing a place to settle as we are in exactly the same boat. We are also British and live in Berlin. Due to Brexit we are realising that we may only have the choice to stay where we are on Brexit day, or go back to the UK. I brought my daughter up in the UK for 20 years, and she is now finally at university and I am free to use my FOM – and then THIS happens! oh the irony…anyway we have been thinking about where would be nice be ‘stuck’ (never want to return to Brexit Britain) and are planning on visiting Portugal to see if would suit us. I am a teacher and if I can’t find a job in an International school, I can teach business English online which is crap pay but plentiful. I am worried about the taxation as even though its low, people are taxed on everything – is that right? I will be giving up being able to save a lot every month (teachers are well-paid in Germany and Berlin is cheap) to living hand to mouth again. What is the cost of living realistically? Also, I have arthritis and a back condition that really gets worse in the cold weather so good to here the temperatures are so kind :)

  49. Lawrence
    September 11, 2017

    Hi Lauren,
    I’ve come across your article whilst researching the pros and cons of life in Lisboa, a city where I’ll be relocating for work after 6 years in London.
    I’ve visited Lisbon before, just for 4 days, and felt so good and relaxed there that I decided to do a little job hunting on the side. When never knows, right? And I agree with you that the food and general value for money when eating out is outstanding! Now before the imminent move my stomach is in knots. London is special in so many ways! I’ll certainly miss the cultural offering and buzz of the city. There was, however, a reason I was seeking change: rents are too expensive and the weather could be better, of course. Are you still living in Lisbon? And, if so, I’d be interested to read your judgement after several months of living there.

    Thanks again for this post.

    Best wishes,
    Lawrence

    • Kay
      April 8, 2018

      So where did you end up?

      • April 9, 2018

        Currently travelling long-term while figuring that out :-) But probably the UK, given that’s where we have the most family.

  50. September 18, 2017

    Hey, I just moved in.
    I read through your complaint about the 20% tax, I’m sure you might have found out about this: http://www.livinginportugal.com/en/moving-to-portugal/tax-regime-for-non-habitual-residents/
    Best!
    Julian

    • September 19, 2017

      Hey Julian! Unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to writers, so I can’t take advantage of it.

  51. September 30, 2017

    Hey,

    nice article. Congratulations for your new home :)

    I was in Italy last week (Napoli) and I was amazed how nice the weather, food and people were. So I’m curious to ask you, why you didn’t include Italy in your top countries?

    Best wishes,
    Brahim

    • October 3, 2017

      I don’t have any friends who live in Italy, and that was one of my major criteria for choosing a place.

  52. paul
    October 5, 2017

    Hi Lauren. I enjoyed reading about your adventure and settling down in Lisbon.
    I am from NYC and retired. I am planning a trip to Lisbon next year and will be looking for an area to possibly move to.
    Can you recommend a few areas (neighborhoods) in Lisbon that I should check out to possibly one day live full time?
    Thanks much.
    Paul

    • October 5, 2017

      Principe Real is my favourite!

  53. Elizabeth
    October 6, 2017

    Hi, Lauren, I just returned a couple weeks ago from Portugal and I loved Lisbon. I knew I would because I live in San Francisco and had heard all about the trolley cars and hills, and the suspension bridge like our Golden Gate! I liked the people a lot, reserved and gracious; delicious food, but I especially want to live there so I can go to Fatima all of the time. Maybe in a couple of years I can retire there. Peace, and enjoy!

    • October 9, 2017

      I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you! :-)

  54. Ze
    October 8, 2017

    Thank you for the article, I find this fascinating. I am in a situation many of you might find odd, in that I am a long time US resident (and citizen) but I have dual citizenship and spend several months of the year in Portugal. I left Portugal when I was 18, so it has been a while, but I never severed my connection with my home country. Now I am for the first time considering moving back on a permanent basis. I have family and friends there, and more and more I love being in a city with art, history, fantastic food, a chance to explore in so many ways. I just spent 4 months there. I too am a “digital nomad” , so work is not an issue, I can go and come as I please. But I am struggling with this idea. I see so many pother people moving to Portugal… I am fluent, that is also not an issue… well, thank you for your “outsider” views, it may help this “older” insider to make a move :-)

    • October 21, 2017

      Best of luck with making your decision, Ze! It’s definitely a good dilemma to have :-)

  55. October 9, 2017

    Hey Lauren,
    That was a very useful post. My hubby and I traveled through Portugal this June and July. We were considering moving from Goa… To see if we like any place in Portugal. At the end of each city / town we would discuss how we felt there. Though we liked several places, Porto resonated with us.
    We are in our mid 50 / early 60 age group. Need employment, at least for one of us.
    How much money (ball park figure) would we need to start with, if we are planning to come to Portugal in mid 2018? We plan to stay in rented apartment.
    Thanks in advance..

    • October 9, 2017

      Hmmm, it really depends on how long you think you’ll have to live off of savings before one of you gets a job. In Porto, you can expect to spend around 800-1000 euros each for a good quality of life, so multiply that by however long you think it’ll take before you find employment. I’d go with at least six months, so at least 12,000 euros between you. If it was me, anyway :-)

  56. Cécile
    October 21, 2017

    Thanks for this awesome article!! I am a French expat in San Francisco and I’ve been wondering whether Lisbon could be my next place. I’ve never been, but it looks awesome: it’s Europe, it’s sunny, it’s on the ocean, it’s a latin country (romanticism!), and it’s touristy (to a sane degree). Now you’re saying people speak English, wow!

    Do you know what are the best websites to look for jobs in tech in Lisbon?

    Thanks again!

    • October 21, 2017

      Well, Lisbon is referred to as the San Francisco of Europe! We even have a bridge that looks fairly similar to the Golden Gate :-)

      I’m not sure about tech jobs in Lisbon, as I work for myself, but I would definitely warn you to expect a huge salary cut from San Francisco! Wages are not high here.

  57. Rob
    November 3, 2017

    Lisbon is not the San Francisco of Europe, if anything San Francisco is the Lisbon of the US.

    You mention one of the downsides of living in Lisbon is how hilly it is, well, like others have mentioned there are several parts of Lisbon that are flat and you don’t have to walk up and down all the time but for many people the hilly part is a big plus, I live in South Florida where everything is flat as a pancake and I wish I could have some of those Lisbon hills to walk around, it’s healthier and more fun.

    Of course no place is ever going to be perfect so you have to take the bad with the good, and Portugal has plenty of bad like the bureaucracy which sucks, but it sounds to me like you basically want it all, you want great weather, great food with lots of variety, good welcoming people that speak English, lots of things to do, friends, natural beauty, walkable city, nice nightlife, great quality of life, old history and modern infrastructure, and all the little conveniences and comforts that exist in modern first world societies, and all this with a cheap and affordable price tag, which you pretty much found in Lisbon, so mentioning not having a Vietnamese restaurant or a climbing gym as a downside, as if those things really matter at all sounds a bit weird.

    • November 4, 2017

      Surely that just shows that Lisbon’s a great city if those are my downsides? But whatever. Those things matter to me, and we’re all different. The fact that you think a downside of living in South Florida is that it’s flat sounds weird to me. People are different; don’t be judgmental.

  58. Rachel
    December 11, 2017

    Hi Lauren! I just found your blog while looking for sites that talk about moving to Portugal. I just visited for my first time this September and I fell in love with Carvoeiro. And now all I can do is look for ways to move there. The unfortunate thing is that I am an American. Have you met any American expats in Lisbon? I’m curious to know if it’s possible to move there while working a remote job in America.
    Also, do you still love it there? You sound so much like me (love travel, love warm weather, hate cold weather, have poor blood circulation, love other cultures, etc.) I’m pretty sure that Portugal would be my long-term happy place. I just need to figure out if it’s possible!

    • January 2, 2018

      Yes, I’ve met a few, and they found it relatively simple to move to Lisbon while working a remote job. Took a couple of months and required proof of income and a few others bits and pieces, but nobody seemed to find it too difficult. I think Portugal is pretty easy to move to for people who work online.

      I’ve since left Portugal but I loved the time I spent in Lisbon and think it’s a great place to live. I didn’t work for us long-term because we decided we wanted to be around family/be somewhere where we fitted it with the culture/be somewhere where we can order mail from outside the EU, but it sounds like it could be a good fit for you.

  59. maria
    December 12, 2017

    hi ya
    myself &my husband &kids are seriously thinking about taking the plunge off moving to portugal ,selling up every thing !!are kids are 11_10_6 years old ,were all just so fed up living in ireland its to expensive to cold &after myself been sick for many years ,it makes me want to go for it even more,,but very unsure as to where is good to go that will suit every one ,is there any one that could throw afew suggestions ,i would be very thankfull.
    thank you
    maria

    • December 13, 2017

      Well, I will say that you may find Lisbon to be just as expensive as Ireland. We paid 1150 euros a month for a 2 bedroom 75sq metre apartment in a nice neighbourhood, so it’s fairly expensive when it comes to accommodation relative to everything else. But the weather is definitely nicer! I only really know Lisbon, but Porto is nice, too, though I’ve only spent a couple of weeks there. You could look at the Algarve and Coimbra too.

  60. Karen
    December 31, 2017

    Hi Lauren we are looking to retire to Portugal silver coast October 2018 before Brexit causes whatever issues it will!! A lot of the paperwork/bureaucracy seems a little daunting. Do you know if any companies that can help with this?

    • January 1, 2018

      Sorry — I don’t know of anyone. Your best bet is to ask around in some expat groups on Facebook or elsewhere online.

  61. Jorge Cardenas
    January 5, 2018

    Hi Lauren:
    Awesome blog!, thanks for sharing. I want to move to portugal but I would like to know how is the labour market, how do you see market for business advisors and/or entrepreneur.
    What would you recommend on that respect?.
    Thanks and best wishes!!!

    • January 6, 2018

      Ah, sorry, I have no idea!

  62. Amit. S
    January 8, 2018

    Hey Lauren, we are a digital nomad couple thinking of moving to Lisbon from our current home base in, Chile. We’re in our early 30s, work in tech/startups (former aerospace engineer) + have online businesses. We’d love to meet a few people while in Lisbon on an exploratory trip later this year. Any people you could intro us to? It’s a shame you and Dave moved from Lisbon. Would have loved to buy you both a drink.

    • January 10, 2018

      I might do, depending on who is in town at that time. Drop me a message when it’s close to your departure date and I’ll have an ask around!

  63. Franny
    January 9, 2018

    Most useful post on Lisbon living I’ve seen since I started researching the possibility of moving there. Keep up the great work!!

    • January 9, 2018

      Thanks so much, Franny!

  64. January 24, 2018

    Portugal looks like a great base and it is somewhere I have also considering living! I have been studying portuguese, however I know the Brazilian version better than the European one! Looking forward to seeing more posts about your new home!

    Georgia xx

    • January 26, 2018

      I’ve already left!

  65. David Smith
    February 4, 2018

    What was the matter with France, Italy, and Greece?

    • February 4, 2018

      As I said in the post, I was only choosing places where I had friends and I don’t know anybody in those countries.

  66. Todd
    February 26, 2018

    Stumbled onto your post looking up Lisbon as a vacation destination. My wife & I have lived in NYC for 12 years and have yet to find a decent Vietnamese restaurant, so you’re not alone in Lisbon.

    • March 2, 2018

      Ha! I’m surprised that’s the case in NYC — I was certain it had *everything* when it came to food!

  67. Claudia
    March 30, 2018

    Hi Lauren! It was the right article at the right moment! I’m Italian but I’ve been living in the UK for 4 years now! I’ve just came back from Lisbon and I absolutely loved it! I’m looking for a place to move that I can call home, and Portugal could be one of them. The only thing I didn’t really like though, were people. I found the Portuguese to be rude and not very friendly. What do you think? Is it true or maybe it’s just that they don’t like tourists? Best of luck!

    • March 30, 2018

      Not at all! Everyone was so kind to me, from completely strangers helping me apartment hunt to Portuguese friends spending hours translating bank statements for free for me when I needed to use them overseas. I think the Portuguese are lovely!

      But! Lisbon is full of tourists now, to the point where locals can no longer afford to live in the centre of town and are being forced out of their homes to make room for Airbnbs. I’d definitely understand them being pissed off with foreigners.

  68. Sean Jordan
    April 17, 2018

    Hi Lauren, thanks for sharing your post.
    I’m British too and live in Cancun with my wife who’s Mexican so I have no problem with visas. We totally love it here – although the summer can be too hot :/
    We are however concerned about safety here as well as wanting a good standard of healthcare and education as we’re getting ready to start a family so our needs are changing.

    Can you comment on the standards of safety, schooling and healthcare in Portugal?

    Many thanks

    Sean & Yuri

    • April 18, 2018

      Hey Sean!

      Safetywise, no need to worry! Portugal is in the top 10 most peaceful countries in the world and I felt incredibly safe there. I even walked around at 3am on my own and had no fears while doing so. I didn’t even see a single fight over the 18 months I’ve spent there.

      Schooling: I really don’t have an answer for this, I’m afraid! But I’ve heard it’s good from friends who live in Lisbon with their kids.

      Healthcare: In Lisbon, at least, it was great. Free and lots of English-speaking doctors if you don’t speak Portuguese.

  69. April 20, 2018

    Hey Lauren, lovely to read your post and glad to see you’re enjoying Lisbon so much. I feel the same about Lisbon since the time I’ve lived there a few years ago (have visited often since). I have fallen in love this city and every time I go back there I feel more and more at home and I know that’s where I want to return after taking a few months off to travel. Although I’m not Portuguese, I feel connected to the culture and can say I feel almost Portuguese. I guess it’s meant to be :)
    All the best for the future, wherever you will be!
    Diana

    • April 23, 2018

      Thank you! :-)

  70. Roger Tessier
    April 24, 2018

    Hi Lauren – Lovely article and timely for my wife and I. We are both retiring next year and Portugal is now on our radar. My wife’s family is Portuguese via Hawaii. Can we expect to live comfortably on $4500 a month in Social Security Benefits and $300K in savings?

    • April 24, 2018

      Definitely! I had an extremely comfortable life in Lisbon for under $1000 a month. You could live like a king in Portugal with that much!

    • jose domingos
      August 18, 2018

      u can live VERY WELL with $4500/month

  71. Gabriel
    April 28, 2018

    Hey! It is very inspiring what you wrote. I’ve never been to Portugal but I feel a special connection with that country, I don’t know why. I would love to explore it soon and to see what chances do I have to move there. I live in Shanghai, if you haven’t been here, you should come ;)

  72. Claire W
    May 8, 2018

    Lauren…just saw your piece now and yes its excellent. I am Irish and extremely happy a home bird living in a stunning little village in south but we are going for a ten day holiday shortly and I am leaving it late to book simply because I hate booking hols and I really want to get the right place for us a couple in our late fifties. We never liked the busy with it high rise resorts anywhere so we are looking for small fab beaches …Atlantic ocean..(its cleaner than the med I think) and a town with lot to see so we dont get bored at all. We have decided on Portugal have been there few times over the years. After a lot of googling and Tripadvisor I am now leaning towards few days in Tavira first and then on Cascais …apartment self catering so we can travel light. Have you been to either places and do you think its a good decision. I am due to go to Lisbon in November with a few freinds so I want to leave Lisbon till then. Would appreciate your input asap cos I need to book flights etc. Another thing we love about Portugal is its Euro notes so much easier not having to change currency or think about currency …i know we can use cards too but this hol we want an easy life of light baggage, nice food, lots to see, fab beaches and sun and ocean. Claire

  73. Gary
    May 11, 2018

    Love this post…really helpful. Thank you. With my business I could be a digital nomad if I can convince my wife. I’ve looked on Rightmove and property prices look quite expensive now. Can you recommend a good area to search. We’re at Nos Live concert in July and will have a look round. Any help gratefully received. Best wishes, Gary.

    • May 11, 2018

      Are you looking at Lisbon? Unfortunately, it’s an extremely expensive city these days, thanks to Airbnb apartment owners taking all of the affordable apartments from locals and renting them out to tourists. Any area that’s worth living in is going to be expensive — Principe Real is my favourite, but it’s very popular. You’ll be looking at around 1500 Euros a month rent for a nice-ish two bedroom apartment.

      Don’t use Rightmove — it’s aimed at expats, so the prices are really high. Use the Portuguese sites to access more local prices, like http://www.homelovers.pt/en/ and https://casa.sapo.pt/en/

  74. Magdalena
    May 16, 2018

    Great to read! Have you started learning Portuguese and in a year get to conversational level? I am from Poland and thinking about moving to Porto :-) I am hoping to find job as front end developer easily. Probably in Lisbon it would be much easier.

    • June 4, 2018

      I didn’t manage to get conversational in a year, purely because I travelled for seven months of last year, then spent the remaining months working on this blog! It was definitely something I should have prioritised, but didn’t have the time or energy to do so.

  75. Jessie Wolf
    May 18, 2018

    Thank you for telling the tale! I’m looking to move to Europe and work remotely back here in the U.S. — Portugal was already high up on my list, but after reading your post… I think I’ll settle on Lisbon.

    Is there any information you can give me help my move abroad for 6 months, while remotely working in the U.S.?

    Thanks again,

    Jessie

    • May 19, 2018

      Just to make sure you can legally do so. If you don’t have an EU passport, you won’t be able to spend more than 90 days in a six month period in the Schengen zone. Also, to expect accommodation to be incredibly expensive. You’ll most likely have to settle for an Airbnb apartment if you’ll be there for six months and could easily be paying €1500-2000 a month for it, depending on location.

  76. Paulo
    June 24, 2018

    As a Portuguese I can give you some advice and help:
    -For work, if you speak other languages and don’t mind going on a minimum wage or a bit above try a callcenter/helpldesk in a international company that needs foreign language skills. Ofc you cannot live in the centre of Lisbon or Porto with this salary. This is just a monetary help while you are here experiencing the country and to supplement whatever money you might bring.
    -If you are an expert with Cisco and /or if you have a CCNA there is a high demand right now.
    -If your company allows remote work then it is perfect for you. We have a good network infrastructure (optical fiber) and you can live like a king here on a French/German/Brit salary. As as example im Portuguese working for a company that only has American costumers and we do everything by remote. Alas, my salary is portuguese…
    -The housing in Lisbon now it is expensive bcs of the tourism… Try the outskirts near the Metro stations
    -Very hot for a month in the summer (33-37C), bit cold (minimum of +5 to +7 C) for a month in winter. Rest is springtime for 9 to 10 months
    – Food is cheap , but for a much better food go outside Lisbon and Porto. From the North of Porto up you can eat like a rajah both in quality and quantity dirty cheap (I would advise Chaves, Viana do Castelo, Guimares or even Alentejo on the South of Lisbon)
    -Tap water is high quality and very safe
    -Public hospitals are cheap (I pay around 7 Euros for a doc appointment at Centro de Saude or Public Hospital) and have good quality. You do not go bankrupt if you are ill like in the USA. To change 7 times a dress wound bandage (?) after a minor surgery and to remove the stitches I paid 13 Euros in Centro de Saude. 13 € total, not each time. Urgency admission is 20 € iin central public hospitals
    -Crime is low, mostly pickpocketing of slob tourists :-). The few violent crimes are usually jealous husbands type crimes, so within the family. Some fighting among the football hardcore supports (nowhere brit hooligan level) and that’s that.
    -If you want to come just as a tourist and are on a budget try March till 1st week of June , then Sept till start of Nov. You’ll usually get good weather without the expense of high season.

    • June 25, 2018

      Thanks for sharing! And I’d never spam your email, by the way.

  77. Gio
    June 27, 2018

    Great blog post, I’ve been trying to find a place to relocate to from Thailand. Andalucia and Lisbon were on my list.

    Lisbon ticks all the boxes apart from how expensive rent sounds! 1500 euros is way out of my budget, a damn shame as everything else sounds perfect.

    do you have any experience with the Non-Habitual Residence Scheme?

    • June 28, 2018

      Yep. Keep in mind that very, very few people actually qualify for NHR. You need to have a specific job that’s usually very technical, like a physicist. Nobody I know in Lisbon fitted the criteria.

  78. July 10, 2018

    HI ! Nice to read your story! I wondering why you felt it was difficult with the culture? How was it different. I never visit Portugal but is now of our “moving list”. We are a family looking for a home base. Is Portugal a International country or is it like France…. thanks for a great blogg!

  79. Claudia
    August 3, 2018

    Hi Lauren- My husband and I have been to a lot of countries, excluding Portugal. He’s set on Porto, and it looks great. Did you visit the area in your travels while living in Lisbon.
    Europe is so crazy popular now, they are limited the amount of tourist in Italy . (which we loved). We are US citizens and my husband gave up his NZ passport, but holds his Canadian as well as US. Seems too difficult to get a work visa in Portugal.
    I’m tired of the politics and health care issues in the US (although we still have Obama care) until we don’t.
    We loved Thailand for the winter..Mexico is out- too dangerous as in Brazil-Have you been to Uruguay in 2017/18?
    I love reading your blogs by the way. I think we’d be friends if we lived around each other-

    • August 4, 2018

      Yeah, it’s incredibly tough to get a visa for Portugal as an American/Canadian if you don’t work online. Porto is a good base, though. I visited several times and loved it, although felt it was too small for me to live. And you’d likely have visa problems with Thailand and Mexico, too. Although I have to say Mexico is one of the least dangerous countries I’ve ever been to — if you live where the tourists are rather than a town run by cartels, you’ll likely find it to be far safer than in any major city in the U.S.! Haven’t been to Uruguay yet, unfortunately.

  80. Joel
    August 5, 2018

    I was briefly thinking of setting up a Base in Portugal but after getting to your Cons walking on Hills is very difficult for me. (I have MS and walking is hard in general), but mostly I love shopping on Amazon and having so many probs getting things ordered would be a constant frustration for me. 2 other places that are on my list and been so for years is Novi Sad, Serbia which I’ve always loved every time I’ve been. It’s such a gorgeous city and it’s low cost, and I love the food. Also there’s Medellin, Colombia. which has all the things I need and and most of what I want too. Thanks for writing so much about Lisbon!

    • September 15, 2018

      No problem! Yeah, the hills in Lisbon are everywhere, so I think you’d struggle to live there, unfortunately.

  81. L&M
    August 26, 2018

    Hi Lauren,
    Thanks for your posts – they are amazing! We are another digital nomad couple that was planning to move to spain, and after 3 weeks traveling around Portugal – we fell in love and we’re looking to move into the country
    However, we are thinking of trying something different this time and going outside the city, to see see if we can join (or live next to) some of the interesting communities popping up these days.
    However we’re having a hard time deciding where in the country would be best to live, and which community is the coolest (not too hippy/spiritual).
    Is there perhaps any website/blog/person you know that we can check to decide where to go? And to see pros and cons of different regions etc?

    Would be super grateful for any help!
    Thanks!!!
    L&M

  82. Yan
    August 31, 2018

    Hi Lauren. I am so excited to come across your site and enjoying reading your posts.

    I am going to have a sabbatical leave early of next year 2019, about 7 weeks long from January till end of February. My destination would be Portugal!! It would be winter time. I am really looking forward to the trip.

    Cheers.
    Yan

    • September 15, 2018

      Oh, how exciting! Prepare for cold weather and slippery streets, and make sure to try the ginjinha!

  83. Ian S
    September 4, 2018

    Hi Lauren and L&M

    I moved to Portugal last year and lived in Lisbon for 12 months but have now rented a house with a good internet connection in a village near Peniche (North of Lisbon). Great beaches/surfing etc. I have to go back to UK about once a month for work but there is a regular (commuter) bus service from Peniche to Lisbon. One of the bus routes has a stop in the next village which I can walk to and will be in Lisbon in 1.20 mins for under 8 euros which is much cheaper than a tolls/airport parking. Hope this helps Ian

    • September 15, 2018

      Thanks for sharing!

  84. Tracy Ringel
    October 4, 2018

    Hey Lauren,

    I am planning a trip to Italy and Morocco during the end of February/beginning of March. On my flight home I have the option of doing a long overnight layover in Lisbon. It would be from evening (5 pm ish) to afternoon the next day (3 pm ish). I was wondering if you had any recommendations on what to do/where to stay in that time. Also if that time frame would be worth it or I should opt for a shorter layover. And if it would be safe to explore in the evening, since that is when I would be getting in. Thanks!

  85. October 12, 2018

    Lucky you! Portugal is a such a lovely country! We are a bit jealous ;) Is Lisbon a nicer place than Algarve coast?
    All the best!

  86. Bob
    October 19, 2018

    What a refreshing article! I have read so many but most seem to have an agenda. Yours was blunt and honest. My wife and I just returned from Algarves (Lagos) and fell in love with it. We also loved Lisbon but it was a bit too hectic for what we are looking for. Could see living somewhere in the Algarves but finding an apt year round anywhere near the beaches could be a major challenge. We’re not giving up, though. Would welcome any suggestions!

  87. Lars Lindström
    October 24, 2018

    Hi
    I`m a 55y. old man from Finland. I`m a pensoner. Have all papers,visa,etc.!
    My net pension are; 925€/month.
    Want to move,to Lagos,Portimao,or Faro! Is the 925€ inough for living in these places??
    PS! Finland,south part where i live in,is very expencive to live!

    • October 24, 2018

      Sorry, no idea how much it costs to live in any of those places. I haven’t been to any of them.

    • Tiago
      November 27, 2018

      Im portuguese from lisbon. That money is enough to live there you can probably find a house between 300 and 400. Maybe less. And its cheaper than lisbon the south of Portugal.

      • JEFF
        January 10, 2021

        Tago, my wife and I are seriously looking into retiring in Portugal in a little over two years from the U.S. I was wondering if you thought $2000 a month for a couple would be anywhere near in the ballpark to live comfortably around Coimbra or in the southern part of Portugal? Thank you for your feedback.

        • January 10, 2021

          Yeah, $2000 should be perfectly fine in Coimbra. You’ll struggle a bit with that in Lisbon, but everywhere else would be good.

  88. October 28, 2018

    How did you go about taxes? Are they high/ difficult to sort out? Thanks

    • October 28, 2018

      Your best bet is to talk to a tax lawyer before/just when you get there to figure that stuff out. Everyone’s situation is different!

      One thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need to register as self-employed within Portugal, if you’re currently self-employed in your home country. Portugal doesn’t recognise being self-employed as a valid status if you haven’t registered, so if you make this mistake, you’ll have to pay high tax rates on revenue without being able to claim any business expenses. You may qualify for NHR status, which lowers the tax rate (I didn’t as a blogger/writer). You may want to register a company and pay yourself in dividends, as I believe dividends are tax-free in Portugal. And you also may need to register for VAT and file monthly returns.

      In general, taxes are some of the highest in Europe, but not too hard to sort out if you hire a tax lawyer, which is also expensive. Ours was around €1000 just to have a conversation about our situation. If you qualify for NHR, you’ll pay much less.

      Don’t believe the many guides online that say you don’t pay tax in Portugal on income earned overseas. It’s nowhere near correct.

  89. mikel a
    October 31, 2018

    Very good article, I can see why it got so much interest. I’ve always been interested in Lisbon. We were going to do a ‘workaway’ trip there a few years ago, but then opted to just rent a house on Sao Miguel, part of the azores, which I’m sure you know is part of portugal. I really fell in love with that place, and I’m not much for the city life and am somewhat asocial like you, so still not sure which I’d go for. Laid back azores, or lisbon.

    I also had somebody recommend living in Morocco, which apparantly is starting to welcome outsiders. Apparantly the cities along the coast don’t get the rampant killer heat that marrakesh or Fez do. We loved Esseaua, but I think there would be less culture shock in Portugal.

    Again, thanks for the article.

  90. DON
    December 23, 2018

    Curious. Were did you move to after Lisbon?
    I just spent a month in Portugal and several weeks in Spain. However, Portugal aside from Ronda and Malaga was my favorite!

    • December 23, 2018

      Bristol, in the UK! :-)

  91. Sylvia
    December 26, 2018

    I like your article Lauren, we also plan to move to Portugal next year, London compare to Portugal is very expensive, in question of rent, travel, council tax, Tv license, food, although food is not that expensive there is not quality! We are moving because of the weather, Portugal has a wonderful weather most of the year and if you have kids you want them to be out outdoor and not just at home playing on the computer or watching TV. We lived in Brazil for 3 years and 3 years in Peru, we loved, but for safety and good schools we decide Portugal ticket all the boxes. We have been to Portugal but only for short holidays, we speak Portuguese and found Portuguese people to be friendly, humble and easy going, so it won’t be difficult to connect with the community. We are planning where in Portugal to live, we are looking between at Cascais at the moment, but we would like to engage mostly with the Portuguese community so our children will feel at home make friends that won’t be moving or living the country.

  92. kai
    December 28, 2018

    isnt the US money worth more in costa rica or colombia?

    • December 28, 2018

      Not sure what that has to do with Portugal!

  93. pablo
    January 16, 2019

    From the best in the place in the world to ‘im moved out in 18 months’. lol

    • January 17, 2019

      It’s still one of my favourite countries in the world! It just didn’t feel like the right place for me to base myself long-term. But that’s okay — I had to give it a shot :-)

  94. Nir
    February 5, 2019

    Hey Lauren

    My wife and I are teachers here in the UK, fully qualified, we teach social sciences. I’ve just got a Portuguese citizenship, long story, but I’m very lucky.
    Do you know any British teaches out there, and what they say? We could teach in an international school, but could probably do ESL also. How was pay etc.

    Have been to Madeira (loved) and Algrave (did not like) and were thinking of going to live in Lisbon or Porto.

    thanks

  95. Robb
    February 27, 2019

    I’ve lived in Lisbon for 2 years now. Most of the city’s historic center is charming and picturesque, but the influx of low cost tourism has transformed this city into Disneyland. In fact, many of the locals cannot find affordably-priced housing anymore. Apartments, as well as entire residential buildings, have been transformed into short term vacation rentals, hotels and bed and breakfasts. Most of these establishments are Portuguese owned and run. Furthermore, due to the massive amounts of tourism, the city has become noticeably more expensive in the last 24 months; quality of goods and services are suffering, everything from groceries to restaurants to healthcare is more expensive and less good. Generally, Lisbon locals are a cordial passive aggressive bunch. Smugness and contempt, for the tourist and the foreigner, is a trend on the rise. Of course, the Portuguese created this mess in the first place, but that’s hardly mentioned…

  96. janette
    March 7, 2019

    Hello Lauren,

    This is very inspiring story, thank you for sharing !
    We are thinking to relocate to Cascais, which seems to be very popular among expats. Maybe because of foreign clientele , the prices of properties are quite expensive and some of the agents requires 12 months upfront payment. Is this a normal practise in Portugal?
    We still have not decided whether to use an agency or rent via owners Could you recommend local sites for renting by individuals?

    • March 7, 2019

      No, not that I’m aware of. I don’t know anybody who had to pay for 12 months upfront. I’m sorry, I can’t remember the names of the websites I used — it’s been three years since I moved to Lisbon. I know we found our place through Home Lovers, but I don’t think they list anywhere in Cascais.

  97. Jessi
    March 8, 2019

    Hello Lauren,

    Thanks for sharing this! I would like to comment on Janette’s post about the advance rental payment – the request for upfront payment is not legal, but you ned to provide legal prove of income, salary slips etc.

    • March 8, 2019

      Oh, you’re not just trying for the second time to get a link to your website in a comment?

  98. Pete
    March 15, 2019

    I’ve been living in Barcelona for 7 years now and I feel your frustration with the postal service. Also here, about 50% of parcels do not arrive. UPS/MRW tries to deliver but the correos never does. I always need to pick them up in their office. BTW, the fact that parcels from the US are held up at customs is normal, happens in every European country, as the US is not part of the EU free trade zone. The same will probably happen with parcels from the UK soon.

    Like you, I have also become a little frustrated with living abroad. While BCN is a nice enough city, the centre is basically a no-go zone, especially in summer, due to the hordes of tourists. Additionally, a very unpleasant form of Catalan nationalism has developed which creates tensions and makes for an aggressive climate overall. Seems like it’s time to leave.

    • March 16, 2019

      Ah, it’s never been as extreme elsewhere in the EU compared to Portugal, for me at least. Packages I’ve had shipped from the U.S. would usually take a week to 10 days in Granada and Amsterdam — nothing like the six months it took in Portugal!

  99. Maryann Voisinet
    March 16, 2019

    I’m curious as to where you’ve ended up now!

    I found your blog post because my husband and I are considering Porto as a potential move-to spot away from the US. On our list were/are: VAN metro (CAN), Taipei, and Porto/Lisbon.

    So this was kind of exciting to hear about.

    • March 17, 2019

      Bristol, in the UK! :-)

  100. pedro bitoque
    April 22, 2019

    Lisbon is way too popular and it’s getting super expensive. I could think of at least 10 better places to live in Portugal, but it’s your choice. After a few months you’ll start noticing that Lisbon is polluted, extremely noisy, overcrowded with tourists and has no parks, and then you will move to some other overhyped place. And watch out your wallet because the average Portuguese only earns 850€/month and will try to steal from you in every possible way.

    • April 22, 2019

      I don’t live in Lisbon anymore. I moved there in 2016 and left 18 months later. If you’d bothered to read my blog post, you’d have seen that and realised that I left because of the reasons you listed.

      Way to be a judgmental dick, though.

  101. David Cohn
    April 23, 2019

    Hi Lauren,
    I’ve read most of the comments and your responses. Thank you for your great insights. I have just started to travel every year (3 months at a time) to get out of the Midwest United States winter. My first stop was Tasmania with side trips to Melbourne, Sydney and New Zealand.
    While I loved a lot of things about those two countries I still felt it wasn’t home so your comment about your experience in Portugal resonated with me.

    I have committed to a month in Lisbon this coming January and will probably spend two weeks in Porto and then the Algarve region. Most likely Spain for the other month and a half.

    A lower cost of living, safe, friendly people, good healthcare and weather all sound great. Still while I would consider moving to another country I think we all have a comfort level to where we came from and believe I will ultimately stay in the U.S. But I do have to get out of the Midwest winters at least via travel if not a permanent move lol

    Thanks again.

  102. Roger Matice
    May 12, 2019

    Hi Laura…
    I’ve enjoyed reading your article and comments about Lisbon.
    I’m a photographer thinking about doing a photo study about the region around Coimbra. Are you familiar with the city and the environs? Any thoughts about living in Coimbra? A little too sleepy? I’m a 77 year old American – maybe sleepy is good!
    Thanks!/Roger

  103. May 17, 2019

    Thanks for the helpful article. As a U.S. citizen, I’ve never worked abroad. I’ve been thinking about Portugal because it seems lovely by the ocean. Some great things to consider in your article.

  104. May 18, 2019

    Hi Lauren,
    Thanks for the lovely article. By the numerous responses you don’t need me to tell you that, but I’m grateful nonetheless.
    I lived in Sevilla for a year in 1983 and during that time, I spent about a month up and down Portugal. Then a year in Mexico City in 1996. I’ve been living in California/LA for 20 years. My Austrian girlfriend is hesitant about Portugal because she feels it may be a bit like Mexico. What does that mean? Some times stuff doesn’t work, the electricity comes and goes, irritating stuff with government/graft/bribes, long lines or just a ‘manana’ attitude that isn’t so prevalent in the US or U.K.. I get the customs, the masses of tourists, the rising cost, but the basic infrastructure, political climate, state of people type thing –
    do you think that goes for Portugal?
    And, now that you’ve been away for some time, do you have second thoughts about leaving? Have you found another paradise you’re willing to share?

    • May 19, 2019

      Hey Rob, no I didn’t experience much of that. Everything worked, the electricity never cut out once, and there were definitely no bribes. There is a bit of mañana mañana in Portugal, and we struggled to get some work done on our apartment because of it, but other than that, nothing else that you mentioned.

      Now that I’ve been away for a while, it was the right decision to leave. Portugal just didn’t feel like a perfect fit for us and we wanted to be closer to family. I now live in Bristol, in the U.K., and it’s one of the loveliest cities I’ve ever spent time in. It was actually recently voted the coolest city in Europe by NatGeo and top 20 coolest in the world. I adore it and can see myself staying here for 5+ years.

  105. Vienda
    May 28, 2019

    My father in 70s from mexico and me in my 30s from texas are looking retiring and being expats. I health issues so working is problem so retiring where money goes further and can raise my children would be good. We have good savings to both can retire if money can go further. I have same criteria as you listed above. I like beach life (can’t do cold) and my dad likes a city life and we both want multicultural resturants to dine. I have autoimmune disease too , rheumatoid arthritis, and medicine like humeria is expensive in the states. Since libson didn’t work cause of health care what were your next choices???? Thought you would have good suggestions with autoimmune medical issues. My medication has be overnighted shipped from speciality pharmacy and refrigerated is only thing stopping me from moving. In the US it costs 10k without insurance but if I could get for 100s or free then I could move without nervousness. Highly respect your opinion. Think it’s cool what you are doing by not letting your anxiety or autoimmune issues effect you.

    • May 31, 2019

      Hey Vienda,

      I’m not sure how helpful my list will be, given that I can legally live in the EU, which is where all of my possible cities are based. If you’re a U.S. citizen, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to move to an EU country. But anyway, the UK was the next choice for me, as the healthcare is free and of a high standard. Maybe Barcelona could be a good option for you.

  106. Tim
    July 2, 2019

    “Let’s face it: I’ll never be Portuguese. I’ll never know what it means to be Portuguese. I’ll never have as strong a connection to Portugal as I do the U.K.”

    Never a more truthful comment than this. I am Canadian and my choice of destination has been Brasil. I have been learning Portuguese casually for a few years and honestly doubt I’ll ever speak it well. But the sense of belonging or acceptance I think you hit upon in your comment for me can ONLY come from being raised in a place. Its those parts of a place that become part of you that can never be replicated or disentangled. Anyway, having my worries about crime and politics and whatever in Brasil (not likely as bad as some would have one believe) makes me think Portugal might be an option. I work for myself and have Canadian clients and would not need more than solid internet access .. Have you ever been to Porto? I will be selling my home here shortly and can go where ever I want that will have me – it may be here or maybe somewhere half way around the world.

  107. Satoko E Jude
    September 16, 2019

    Hi – My wife and I moved to Portugal recently from the states. We are in Coimbra now, but visited Tomar recently and thinking of settling there. We are having the hardest time finding any expats to connect with that might be familiar with the area. Any recommendations on online groups, forums or communities that may help?

    Many thanks and love what you do!

    Satoko E Jude

    • October 21, 2019

      Facebook! Take a look for groups on there — there’s one for Tomar Meetups and one called I Love Tomar. I’d start there.

  108. John O'Hehir
    December 20, 2019

    Hi Lauren, great article, and glad you’re enjoying Portugal. My wife and I have applied for a D7 retirement visa and expect to move to Portugal in late March 2020, probably will live further north maybe Porto. I think your comments that you’ll never feel Portuguese would apply to many of us, bit we are hoping to have a good retirement there. But just like to know the best approach to finding a long term apartment rental..eg is it
    through estate agents, or a particular website, or some other means?

    Thanks JOHN
    Australia

    • December 20, 2019

      I had the most success with estate agents. I used HomeLovers.pt, Idealista, and casa.sapo.pt.

  109. February 11, 2020

    I grew up in the US the son of Irish nationals. I moved to Chapala. Mexico and bought a house on the shores of Mexico’s largest fresh water water lake when I retired 8 years ago. My Mexican partner and I thought of trying out Lisbon but you mentioned all the hills. My first year here I lived in a small village 5 miles from Chapala called Ajijic. It is now mostly a village of English speaking foreigners and is built on a hillside. My heart couldn’t take the effort to walk anywhere there. I moved to the more Mexican town, made lots of Mexican friends while teaching English in Guadalajara (50 minutes away by bus and 30 minutes by bus or taxi from the international airport ) and met my partner. I love it here except you do not really need to speak Spanish. If you try folks just start practicing their English! There are lots of Europeans living here, too. I appreciated your take on Lisbon–the good and the bad. Thanks for your candid article.

  110. March 15, 2020

    Hello Lauren !
    My name is Stephen – I am American but born in New Zealand and was as raised and live in Brazil and am 58 years old – happens that I married my wife who is Portuguesa (over 30 years ago) and we plan on living in Porugal in two years ,,, This article gave me more insight on going there I love Brasil but its time for a change – Thanks for your beautiful article !!
    Here we go Portugal!!
    Thanks Lauren !!

    • Fernando Sertage
      September 6, 2020

      Hi Stephen, I hope Lauren doesn’t mind my offering of help on her blog, but should you feel you need any assistance in Portugal you will be very welcome.

      PS: I am a fluent English and Portuguese speaker, as I have spent many years in the UK.

  111. G
    April 20, 2020

    Hey,

    Regarding this comment – “Don’t believe the many guides online that say you don’t pay tax in Portugal on income earned overseas. It’s nowhere near correct.”

    Could you explain what you mean please? gf and I are looking at moving to Portugal soon, both self employed. Ive done A LOT of reading into taxes and everything and Im pretty certain that if you are taxed in the UK on income then you wont pay tax in Portugal as you cant be taxed on the same income in both countries due to the tax treaty. If you get the NHR you will pay flat rate of 20% on Portuguese income.

    Thanks

    • April 20, 2020

      It depends on what you do as a self-employed worker. Portugal definitely doesn’t view being self-employed in the UK as a valid tax status (that was my situation), so you’ll need to register as self-employed in Portugal, or you’ll be paying Portuguese tax rates on your revenue and unable to claim any expenses. I hired a Portuguese tax lawyer and spoke with the Portuguese tax authorities multiple times and yeah, this was confirmed over and over, despite what resources online say. If you’re resident in Portugal, you shouldn’t be paying tax in the U.K.

      The NHR scheme only covers a limited amount of jobs: only activities that are deemed to be “high-value” work, so it really depends on what you do as a self-employed person. I wasn’t covered as a writer. So, you might be covered– it’s typically doctors, dentists, engineers… here’s a list: https://www.newco.pro/en/blog/new-table-of-high-value-added-activities-for-nhr-in-portugal

    • Curtis Markham
      June 28, 2020

      Thanks for the great article and I’ve never trying to read through all the comments/questions and your responses.

      My wife and I are looking at places to retire abroad and ready to leave our country (USA), especially if Trump gets re-elected, and interested in Portugal. We have American passports only. I thought that Portugal was a fairly simple place to expat to so I was confused by one of your comments quoted below?:

      “If you don’t have an EU passport, you won’t be able to spend more than 90 days in a six month period in the Schengen zone.”

      What would this mean for us? Would we qualify eventually for visas that would enable us to remain/live in Portugal? Also I am a physician and contemplated working there- any knowledge in whether or not that would be possible?

      Thanks and I plan to subscribed to your newsletter.

      Curtis

  112. Kay
    July 4, 2020

    Lovely article.
    I am jealous of what you have achieved over the last decade! It is always hard to move to a different country when you are not born there
    UK is UK after all but we do see ourselves spending some months in algarve because we felt that the people in Portugal were very warm and friendly.

  113. Hans-J
    July 4, 2020

    To all the confused travelers.
    We have traveled often 5 to 6 weeks for many years in Europe. Most ( still ) exciting
    Memories. All in rental cars.
    Off the main roads. It comes down to one thing, travels are wonderful and educational. The moment you think this is the place to live go home because that’s where 90 % of people are comfortable….PERIOD. YOU THOUGHT Portugal oh my that’s it. Almost a believable
    ” Blog” and than ooops the night mare came to end with reality giving you a smack…..duh I really like it at home. So quit telling poeple how nice”somewhere” to live. Say it’s nice to visit any place on a vacation …..reality is home.

    • July 4, 2020

      That’s all well and good — well, except for the fact that I didn’t move home after leaving Lisbon? But hey, thanks for coming to my blog and being a dick, though.

  114. Curtis Markham
    July 8, 2020

    Hey Lauren I wonder if you happen to see my post above on June 28 and might be able to provide some feedback/insight?

    Thanks,
    Curtis

    • July 8, 2020

      Ah, sorry! I must have missed your original comment. I believe retirement visas are fairly easy to obtain, so I don’t think you should have too many issues.

  115. Sofia
    July 30, 2020

    Hi Lauren, I really loved your article about Portugal. I currently moved here 4months ago, and I’m so so happy of making a big decision to move here from Dubai UAE. I got a better job in Dubai, better position, in one of the best hotels in the world, but at the same time i felt like it wasn’t a place for me to live long-term and I’ve been living there for already 5years, so I decided to move here (since Spain is too big and more expensive than Portugal). I just got inspired on how you fell in love with the city and yes, I am struggling with the language, but it’ll take time. :)

  116. Michael Bliss
    August 6, 2020

    Great article.
    I thought Bristol was expensive, is it a good home base?

  117. Jo
    August 8, 2020

    This was good until towards the end in the “Will I remain in Lisbon forever” section, it shows your true colour – selfish and entitled. Refusing to melt with local cultures and complain about not belonging LOL it is because you never had the intention of belonging, YUCK!

    You lot (“expats”) is the epitome of white entitlement. The word expat should be abolished, you are an immigrant whether you like it or not.

    • August 8, 2020

      What the fuck? Of course I was an immigrant — Portugal isn’t my native country. And I wholeheartedly tried as much as I could to belong in Portugal. I took Portuguese lessons, I made local friends, participated in Portuguese cultural traditions and festivals, watched local TV shows and listened to Portuguese podcasts, donated to local charities and fundraising initiatives, and promoted this beautiful country to my readers on a monthly basis. How you think that means I refused to melt with local cultures is baffling to me.

      I left because I wanted to live closer to my family, after having spent the better part of a decade away from them, and that was the main reason why I moved home. My parents are getting older and I don’t want to regret not spending time with them while I have the opportunity. My family are everything to me and living in Portugal meant spending just a couple of weeks a year with them.

      Sure, one aspect of my decision to leave was the sensation that I didn’t truly belong in Portugal, but that was a very, very minor part of it and by no means a deciding factor. I listed a whole bunch of them in my post, from not wanting to contribute to the rising prices and gentrification of Lisbon (so selfish and entitled of me, right?) to the postal situation negatively affecting my boyfriend’s business, to wanting to live somewhere with more accessible hiking.

  118. Alex Winter
    August 10, 2020

    Great article, but I really don’t understand why you would leave Lisbon for Bristol and Melbourne, two cities I really disliked. They looked cold, graffiti-ridden, unfriendly…

    • August 11, 2020

      Not sure why you think I’d care that a stranger on the internet doesn’t like the cities I chose to live in. Thanks for sharing, though!

  119. Shanna
    August 12, 2020

    Hi! My husband and I are debating on moving to either Spain or Portugal for a year, but I may be pregnant when we move. Not having access to healthcare while pregnant and not having much guidance from anyone there is terrifying! Everything you wrote about other than that one factor had be leaning towards Portugal, and now I don’t know! Now, I’m torn. lol

  120. Curtis R. Markham, MD
    August 14, 2020

    Lauren,

    I’m fed up with our country and we want to leave/expat elsewhere irrespective of election outcome. Right now there aren’t too many places that we’d consider (like Portugal) that are allowing Americans in due to our abysmal handling of COVID!

    Whom/what agencies/etc. could you suggest/recommend that we should/could contact in Portugal that might most efficiently get the “ball rolling”? I’m guessing you’ve had quite a lot of experience in this regard?

    Any input/insight would be most appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Curtis

    • August 14, 2020

      Ah, sorry, I really don’t know of any. Moving to Portugal for me involved just turning up, so I’m not sure of the process for Americans and especially in the time of COVID. Sorry I couldn’t be of any help!

  121. Charles
    August 27, 2020

    Nice article ,But health care is what scares me (70) and what’s considered “affordable “ . I’m looking to move to Faro area close to the beach . Rent is cheap. For The winter month if you can find it , doubles for the summer . Is there a site or paper that post “ long term – yearly rentals ? Also with Covid can I even get out of the US. To go to Portugal? Any quarantine restrictions? I’d like to see a blog where I can commit with Ex pats for help relocating !! Thanks Charles

  122. Rinat Ori Swissa
    September 7, 2020

    Dear Lauren, you moved back to Lisbon? i remember you left at some point. i hope to get Romanian passports in 2 years to come live in Portugal as well.make it my base home

  123. Meghan Henderson
    September 7, 2020

    Lauren—what does Brexit mean for you as far as staying in Portugal goes?

  124. Michael
    September 11, 2020

    Hi Lauren, shouldn’t this post be re-titled: AFTER 70 COUNTRIES, WHY I MOVED TO BRISTOL, UK ?

    • September 13, 2020

      No? I moved to Lisbon after visiting 70 countries and that is what this post is about. Why would I title it why I moved to Bristol when it doesn’t mention Bristol once?

  125. Nicholas
    October 5, 2020

    This was such a refreshing reminder why I made my mind up that I’d be retiring and living in Portugal. I’ve had a love affair with that country since 2013 and being Canadian and living in the USA I’ve also had my fair share of travels around the world. This month I intend to buy a home for myself and family and plan on visiting with them next June. It will be their first time going to Portugal but knowing my family they’ll fall in love for the same reason I did and the writer of this blog! Food, social life, beaches and cost are spot on and I can have breakfast in the morning and hop on a plane for €70 and be in Geneva for lunch! Love it and can’t wait to make it my home! Thank you author!

  126. Alfredo
    October 7, 2020

    I am Portuguese, my name is Alfredo. I live in London for many years and miss the beauty of my Lisbon although I visit it frequently. So glad you chose Portugal to live and will lift a glass of chilled vinho verde on your decision. Agora melhora o teu (vosso) português o mais possivel. Cheers.
    Saúde

  127. Jimmy
    November 8, 2020

    Wow, so sorry you have to deal with so many negative comments. Thanks for the blog, I really liked it. My wife and I are looking to Portugal for retirement from the US but we will still work online as well.
    Seems like there may be a opportunity to help other expats if we land and figure stuff out or start now. We’re still 5 years out and who knows what the world will be like then, but hey we’re optimistic that the ocean will still be there and have heard great things about the people of Portugal.
    We have a daughter that married a Brit so striking distance to the UK is good and have spent some time in central Africa so closer to those friends too. So just wanted to thank you for writing this and hope that you know that there are plenty who benefit. Keep looking up. Peace.

    • January 14, 2021

      Yes, I’m not quite sure what it is about this particular blog post that seems to anger people, but it definitely seems to have touched a nerve! I assume it’s because Portugal sadly didn’t work out for me and the readers of this post feel invested in their future there, so don’t want to read about somebody leaving. Anyway!

      But honestly, yeah. There definitely is an opportunity for helping out other expats, for sure — there’s so little correct information online and everybody struggles with figuring it all out.

      Thank you so much for your kind comment and positivity. And I hope you have a smooth and successful move to Portugal in five years :-)

  128. Lorenzo Zorbetti
    December 5, 2020

    Hi Loren! Any update after 3 years? What do you think about Portugal right now? I looking some place for relocation from Thailand.

    • Frank Edwards
      December 6, 2020

      Hello Lorenzon,
      You want to relocate out of Thailand.

      • Lorenzo Zorbetti
        December 28, 2020

        Yeap. I’m a little tired here…

  129. Paul
    December 16, 2020

    Hi Lauren

    Do you still live in Portugal.

    What do you think to the Eastern Algarve area where it approaches the Spanish border.

    Looking to move next year 2021 but need an address before applying for NHR. They ship out a password by mail.

    Any thoughts.

    Cheers
    Paul

  130. Maria
    December 29, 2020

    Can you share the name and contact info of a reliable immigration lawyer?

    • December 29, 2020

      Sorry — I’m afraid I can’t. I didn’t need to use one, so don’t have any contacts.