Portugal for Digital Nomads: The Beginner’s Guide
Table of Contents
Which of us hasn’t dreamed of going to Europe at least once in our lives? Europe is home to cities that many of us dream of. Wonderful landscapes, majestic beaches, mountains, cities that are lively at all times of the year… It seems like we’re right to dream! And Portugal is one of them. With all this beauty, Portugal is starting to attract many digital nomads from all over the world every year. Would you like to be one of them?
If this excites you, we can confidently say that you’ll not regret choosing Portugal as a digital nomad.
Portugal is a safe city for expats. For digital nomads, security is also at the top. And, Portugal certainly provides that sought-after security to digital nomads.
It’s no coincidence that many digital nomads also prefer Portugal. Because there’s no feeling of alienation here. The internet connection is good, it’s in touch with nature, and the food is tasty. It’s not over yet, the weather is great, as well.
As you can see, Portugal has a lot of goodies for digital nomads. In this article, we’ll try to help digital nomads who want to go to Portugal.
Without further ado, let’s start reading.
Where To Stay
Unfortunately, digital nomads have the most trouble finding accommodation. But don’t worry, it’s not a big deal in Portugal. The first thing you need to do is to decide what kind of place you want to stay. For example, will one room be enough for you? Or, would you like to stay in a villa? Or, do you need Airbnb? After answering this question, you need to think about what kind of digital nomad you’re. For example, are you going to Portugal alone or are you going as a family? Questions like these are important for choosing a place to stay. All of this helps you choose the type of accommodation.
But, without a doubt, the best types of accommodation for digital nomads are Airbnb and DigitalNomads.pt. On the other hand, there are other options. We’ll now try to give information about them in detail.
Airbnb is very common in Portugal as it’s in almost every part of the world. Of course, Airbnb is also a viable option for digital nomads. You can find apartments for almost every need on Airbnb. Well, are there any things you should pay attention to when renting an apartment from Airbnb? If so, what? Let's take a look.
- When you first go to Portugal, you may not be sure whether you’ll stay there, which is normal, but at this stage, you need to secure your stay. For this reason, it would be good to make a reservation beforehand.
- You have to be careful during the deal. It’s a mistake to agree only on the rate given by the owner.
- It’s always good to bargain. Don’t be shy about it and check to see if you can lower the price. The more you drop—the more profit.
- Make your reservation early to avoid inconvenience. Digital nomads often prefer Airbnb, and it can be a problem if you come across peak times. Usually, the summer months are busy.
One of the best friends of digital nomads, DigitalNomads.pt. This is a portal created by digital nomads. And, digital nomads are helping each other on this site. Here you can find all kinds of flats. If you want to be in the center, it’s even possible to find an apartment with a beach view in the capital. One of the best aspects of using this portal is that the houses are designed accordingly, as digital nomads understand each other. For example, you’ll not have internet problems in the houses you’ll rent here. Homes are usually in safe areas and furniture is designed according to the needs of a digital nomad.
If you don’t mind staying with others, you might want to consider this option. Coliving spaces can be very enjoyable when shared with other digital nomads. But, it should be noted that living together isn’t for everyone. You know yourself best. If you think you can share a common area with others, consider this option.
The good thing about the coliving spaces is that it reduces the cost. Because all the expenses to be made at home are shared by the living. Therefore, it’s very economical. This method is also very common in Portugal. You can also live in a coliving space and find more luxurious places when you search, but you have to consider that these will not be as economical as the others.
What we call serviced apartments are furnished apartments that you can rent based on the period you want. You can rent them for a short time or for a long time. One of the biggest advantages of these apartments is that you’ll have an area where you’ll feel like your own home.
These apartments have a different feel than the hotels. Therefore, it shouldn't be confused with hotels. These serviced apartments are much larger than standard hotel rooms and have a kitchen and furniture. Therefore, one of the advantages of living in these apartments is that you’ll not feel like traveling. If you prefer serviced apartments, perhaps you’ll feel Portuguese from the first day you arrive! You can also benefit from housekeeping services in these apartments if you wish.
If we’ve settled in our homes, let’s see where you can work in Portugal now. Working in Portugal is enjoyable. A paradise for remote workers! This is because there are many co-working places for remote workers in cities such as Porto, Lisbon, Peniche, and more. Most of them are like business centers.
Here’s a look at some of the best co-working offices in Portugal, which we’ll inform you about…
1. Porto i/o
Let’s start coworkers spaces with Porto i/o. A great place to work and socialize with other digital nomads. This place has more than one office, you can choose the one closest to you. These are Douro Riverside, downtown, Santa Catarina, and the seafront. Working here is both enjoyable and inspiring. Many conferences, workshops, and talks are also held here.
Liberdade229 is located in the center of Lisbon. One of the most beautiful workplaces in Portugal, it offers spacious offices to digital nomads. You’ll love the office light! It gives energy to people. This place also has an upscale atmosphere. So, luxury lovers here! The bathrooms are very hygienic. There is a common kitchen. You won’t have any problems eating here either. In fact, it’s a good choice to get together with other digital nomads to chat and eat.
Largo is located in the city of Peniche. In a quiet part of town and is the only co-working center in this area. If you live close to this area, you can choose this place. It’s also an ideal workspace for digital nomads who like to work in quiet places. The office has a very warm atmosphere. Both the office and its surroundings are affordable, so we can say that it’s budget-friendly.
4. Ocupa Cowork
Ocupa Cowork is a great coworking space for those who want a working space intertwined with nature, close to the river channels. Ocupa gets the sunlight into the office very nicely. When you want to take a break from work, you can find very nice coffee shops around. It’s a great place to go for a coffee with the friends you work with here. A suitable environment for networking…
5. Factory Braga
Our final recommendation, Factory Braga, is a great co-working space. Factory Braga, which has a modern design, also offers a highly functional workspace for digital nomads. There is also a meeting room, which you can use for free. When you want to take a break from work, there is a table tennis section that you can use free of charge.
Of course, the coworking spaces in Portugal don’t end here. We’ve listed only 5 of the main ones for you. To give a few more examples:
- Avila Spaces, Lisbon
- Base Cowork, Leiria
- Typography, Porto
After doing some research and going and trying it out, you decide for yourself which coworking space is best for you.
Networking in Portugal is easier than you think. This place is heaven for digital nomads. The fact that there has been a lot of digital nomad migration here in recent years has also affected this. For these reasons, there are many groups, centers, and professionals here for digital nomads. For more detailed information, you can refer to the business magazines in Portugal. Groups like the Portuguese Business Association and the Portuguese Business Confederation here are also very active and are a good opportunity for digital nomads to meet each other.
In addition to these, frequent meetings and events are organized in Portugal for digital nomads to find and meet each other. We recommend following the Portuguese digital nomad groups on Facebook. This way, you can go out to dinner or have a drink and meet other digital nomads in Portugal.
Digital Banking in Portugal
If you’re planning to move to Portugal as a digital nomad, it would be advantageous for you to open an account with one of the international banks. With the system called Multibanco, Portugal has one of the most developed banking networks in the world. As a nomad, you won’t have any problems either because there are many mobile banks in Portugal. Thanks to these, you can open a bank account using only your mobile phone or laptop.
Two of the key digital banks in Portugal are N26 and Revolut. If you use these accounts, you have a serious advantage. Because these accounts instantly update your banking data. Another advantage is that you can access your funds 24 hours a day.
How To Access Mobile Banking in Portugal
Let’s explain this. If you already have an account in one of the Portuguese banks, all you have to do is download the mobile app. If your bank also approves, it’ll be enough to register with the application. Then, you can easily access your account digitally.
Things required for digital banking:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Mobile number
- E-mail address
These are simple details as you can see. You’ll also be prompted for quick authentication. These are generally required, but in exceptional cases, your bank may video call you to verify your passport or ID card. But as it turns out, even when faced with this situation, you all have to open a video call and show your passport or ID.
Transportation in Portugal
Good news for digital nomads, Portugal’s transport system is very good. Therefore, you can travel around the country as you wish. Its towns are also well-connected, and easy to access. One of the best news is that transportation is cheap here!
Portugal has three major airports. These:
Soon, the New Lisbon Airport will open, which will make transportation here much more accessible. For domestic travel, many cities have domestic airports, so it’s comfortable to travel within the country.
Portugal has both regional and local buses. These buses run most of the day and come and go very often. The routes of these buses cover all the main towns and local destinations in the country. Therefore, buses are also a good option when you want to travel between Portuguese cities. If you want to get information about buses, you can get more detailed information about bus services when you contact the service providers and companies. That way, you’ll be prepared when you set off.
The country has a large train network covering all regions. Inter-regional and suburban trains are available. In other words, it’s very easy to reach the cities by train. Maybe a little more romantic!
As a digital nomad, of course, it’s also important to know taxi services well. But don’t worry, there’s no taxi crisis in Portugal. It’s easy to take a taxi. In general, when you take a taxi in the city, you’ll see that a taximeter is used. However, if you want to go longer distances, then it’s usually charged per kilometer. Also, prices may change according to certain times of the day. Here’s the night schedule. So, from 10 pm t 6 am, the fees are 20% more. Tipping culture is common here. It’ll be helpful to you to know this. Typically around 10% of the price is tipped.
Food and Groceries in Portugal
Portugal is very famous for its food culture. You can easily buy dairy products, fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat without breaking your budget. In fact, discounts are often given in the supermarkets here. It’s also common to gift discount cars to frequent shoppers at supermarkets. Major supermarkets are Pingo Doce, SPAR, and Continente. They’re also open on weekends.
Portuguese food is amazing! Here you should reward yourself by eating out from time to time. It’s not very expensive either. Seafood and street food are the best things to try here.
Eating-out options here are not limited to Portuguese food either, as there are many foreign digital nomads here. Here you can find delicacies from almost all over the world.
Laundry in Portugal
If you can find an Airbnb with a washing machine in the first place, you’ll be fine. All you have to do is buy your detergent. If you’re not going to stay in Airbnb, another thing you can do is stay in a hotel with laundry service. Unfortunately, these can be quite expensive. If you encounter such a situation, it would be good to research the laundromats around and go there.
So, what’s the cheapest option? Hand wash of course! You can buy laundry soap and wash your clothes in the sink, this would be the cheapest way. The only problem is that they’ll take a little longer to dry, but this method will take care of you until you get your order.
Leisure and Lifestyle in Portugal
Having fun is as important as working for digital nomads, of course. And, Portugal offers that too. Portugal, which has a very active entertainment life, offers digital nomads a paradise with the chance of entertainment at affordable prices!
Portugal has one of the best nightlife in the world. Especially the Algarve and Lisbon regions are known for their luxurious nightlife. However, it should be noted that these places mostly appeal to luxury lovers, as these are also home to many luxury hotels. On the other hand, Portugal has a nightlife that appeals to all kinds of entertainment lovers. For example, you can also find romantic bars or beach clubs here.
In addition, another beauty of the nightlife here is that the bars are open until late at night. For example, almost all bars in Lisbon are open until 3 am, and discos until 6 am.
If you’re an adventurous digital nomad who loves outdoor activities, you’ll find plenty to do in Portugal. Rock climbing, hiking, canoeing, trail running, camping, and more… Thanks to these activities, you’ll also have the chance to get to know the country better and be fascinated. You’ll see wonderful views. Especially the small wonderful towns of Portugal should be seen. If you’re also interested in outdoor sports, you can find golf and tennis areas here. Horse riding is also possible.
When we say indoor activity, we cannot pass without mentioning the wonderful cafes and bars of Portugal. Apart from these, you can visit interesting museums. For example, the Tile Museum in Lisbon is great. Rua Catarina is located at the pedestrian crossing in Porto and appeals to shopping lovers. You can also go to the zoo and aquarium.
Best Cities in Portugal for Digital Nomads
Let’s come to one of the most common questions in mind. What’re the best cities in Portugal for a digital nomad? Now, we’ll tell you about a few cities.
When we think about it with its many features, Lisbon is the city most preferred by digital nomads. One of the most important reasons for this is that there are many co-working offices in Lisbon. So, the internet here’s good and job opportunities are more.
What makes Lisbon different from other famous European cities is that accommodation, meals, and entertainment activities are affordable. So, we can say that Lisbon is one of the best cities for digital nomads.
Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city after Lisbon. Interestingly, digital nomads haven’t yet explored this region. But in our opinion, it needs to be discovered. Porto is located on the bank of the Douro river. More families and students live here and it’s cheaper. A city cheaper than Lisbon…
This is one of the cities that can be preferred for digital nomads with suitable living conditions. Also, Porto has great wine! The cuisine is just as delicious. Another advantage of this place is that the health system is very developed. So, you can have peace of mind here.
Braga is also a great option for digital nomads. This place has a deep-rooted history and besides that, the nightlife is also great. A special feature of Braga is that it’s home to the oldest cathedrals in Portugal. This city is ideal. For example, a 30-minute walk from the beach.
Madeira is getting popular, and great if you want to be in an island mood every season! It’s warm here all year. Also, the digital nomads here usually don’t have much trouble socializing because English is widely spoken here.
This city, which isn’t very touristic, is ideal for those who want to work in a quiet place. Aveiro is in touch with nature. It’s located near the port. Therefore, if you want to be close to Porto and stay away from the noise, Aveiro may be ideal for you. This place has a very rich culture and history. Speaking English is not common as Madeira, but you can find it here, albeit in small numbers.
Negative Things You Should Know About Living in Portugal
Of course, as in every country, there are also things not so good in Portugal. Therefore, you need to know these aspects before you decide to move here.
The most common crimes here are pickpocketing and bag snatching. Thieves here often use small children for these crimes.
To avoid these crimes, you should be careful in places where tourists are crowded, such as hotels, airports, and public transportation. You should be careful with your bag in these crowds.
Portugal is often known and praised for its mild climate. However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, it gets really cold. Here, especially the winter months pass with cold. As a digital nomad, you should know this, especially if you’re going to the north. Note that most houses you’ll view don’t have heating systems.
What Type of Visa Do I Need To Live in Portugal?
1. Digital Nomad Visa
This visa is for digital nomads who want to stay in the country for one year. To get this visa, you need to show that you earn at least €2,800 per month. The reason for such a condition is that it shows you have sufficient funds for your basic needs.
This visa is issued for one year and can be renewed for up to two years. This visa is ideal for digital nomads. So, what documents do you need? These are:
- Official form
- Passport and travel documents
- Clean criminal record
- Valid travel insurance
- Proof of means of subsistence
2. D7 Visa
This visa type requires a less monthly income than a digital nomad visa but the main requirement is that you’re willing to spend at least six months in Portugal. Your yearly income should be €8,460 to be eligible for this visa.
This visa is also known as a passive income visa and is highly preferred by retirees.
What Visa Type Is Best for Digital Nomads in Portugal?
This will vary depending on how long you want to stay. However, we can say that Portugal D7 Visa will be the best for digital nomads. In this way, you can stay in Portugal for a long time. The income requirement will also be easier as it’s less than the digital nomad visa.
But, keep in mind that the D7 Visa, which has a duration of approximately 16 months, is a stay requirement for your first two years in Portugal.
Internet Connection in Portugal
A great internet connection is available in Portugal. It’s perfect for digital nomads. So, you’ll not encounter any problems while working. In addition, the WiFi access point network is also very extensive. In this way, you can easily use the internet in hotels, stadiums, public spaces, and airports.
Tips for Digital Nomads in Portugal
Here are some tips for you:
- Portugal is a country that thinks not only of its people but also of expats in its healthcare system. Therefore, once you’ve handled the residency formalities correctly, you have no trouble accessing the healthcare system.
- Owning property in Portugal is easy. This also applies to digital nomads. If you intend to stay in Portugal for a long time, buying a house may be a good investment for you.
Tips for Saving Money in Portugal
- Don’t spend money on imported products: Try not to overpay for imported products to avoid a big bill in Portugal.
- Watch out for luxury hotels: Luxury bars may seem very attractive from the outside, but don’t get carried away by going all the time. It would be a better choice to go to pamper yourself once in a while.
- Shop with the locals: Don’t rely too much on supermarkets. Markets, where locals sell, are often the cheapest. In this way, you can both shop cheaper and the products you buy will be fresher.
Is Portugal Right for You as Digital Nomad?
We think you got the answer to that throughout the article. Portugal is a great country for remote workers and digital nomads. It has many possibilities for digital nomads and is getting more and more popular.
It has good economic conditions, great food, safety, and fast internet. What more could a digital nomad want from a country, right? Time to consider Portugal as a digital nomad.
Does Portugal have a digital nomad visa?
Yes. Portugal has a specially designed visa for digital nomads that allows them to stay in the country for up to one year.
Is Portugal good for digital nomads?
Many digital nomads come to Portugal every year because of their favorable conditions and what they offer. Portugal is a great option for digital nomads.
Can I work remotely in Portugal?
Of course. In many countries of the world, this is legal even if you’re not a citizen of the country. This is also the case in Portugal, but there are things you must do to stay there legally. Like meeting visa and tax requirements.
How about digital nomad Lisbon life? Why is Lisbon good for digital nomads?
Simply, great! Lisbon has a sunny climate. The great sunlight keeps you productive all day long. Since there are many digital nomads there, digital nomads have no difficulty socializing. There’s a great working environment here. In short, Lisbon is great!
Can you get a job in Portugal if you only speak English?
No. To find a job in Portugal, it’s not necessary to know only Portuguese. For example, there are many job opportunities for those who don’t speak Portuguese, especially in the Algarve region.