Known as one of the safest countries in Europe, Portugal solo travel is a popular activity for digital nomads around the globe.
The country’s laid-back lifestyle, affordability, and start-up culture has transformed the country into a magnet for remote workers seeking balance between work, leisure and travel.
Portugal was also one of the first European countries to launch a Digital Nomad Visa, a strategic move by the government to attract more foreign talent. This visa offers two enticing options for digital nomads: the D7 visa and the new D8 visa. Both visas are valid for 2 years but the D8 visa currently caps its renewals at 5 years total. For more information on these visas, I've included a section one this at the bottom of this article.
Thanks to these excellent benefits, Portugal stands out as one of the top destinations for working travelers. Let’s take a look at the best places to live in Portugal for digital nomads!
Lisbon, the vibrant capital of Portugal, is a magnet for digital nomads and expats from around the world. Known for its thriving startup scene, this city offers a wealth of opportunities for networking and collaboration. Plus, the city is teeming with co-working and co-living spaces, fostering an environment that makes it easy to connect with like-minded individuals.
While the cost of living may be slightly higher compared to other Portuguese cities, the dynamic lifestyle Portugal's capital city offers justifies every penny. You can feed your wanderlust by exploring UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Belem Tower and the nearby Sintra castles, as well as admiring the soulful tunes of Fado shows in the historic Alfama district.
And if you're in search of the perfect spots to work remotely, the city doesn't disappoint. With a myriad of fantastic co-working spaces and cafés to choose from, you can work amidst inspiring surroundings that fuel creativity and productivity. Lisbon combines the best of both worlds, culminating in a fulfilling nomadic lifestyle.
If you can afford the higher cost of living, you'll be rewarded with a high quality of life while living in Lisbon.
Best Coworking Spaces in Lisbon
- Liberdade229: One of Lisbon’s original co-working spaces, this spot is built for long-term community members and has a central location.
- Village Underground: This unique space near LX Factory is made from repurposed objects like shipping containers and even a double-decker bus!
Best Place to Stay in Lisbon for Digital Nomads
- Outsite Lisbon: Situated in a gorgeous historic building, this co-living and co-working space is one of the best hotels in Lisbon for solo travelers and digital nomads, and has tons of events that make it easy to meet others.
Tucked away amidst the glistening waters of the Atlantic, the Portuguese island of Madeira is the best place in Portugal for digital nomads thanks to a program that aims to attract diverse talent and stimulate the local community.
The Digital Nomads Madeira program, a collaborative endeavor by the Madeira government and Startup Madeira, offers up to 100 digital nomads complimentary workspace, internet connectivity, and inclusion into a Slack community. There are also plenty of engaging activities and events, promoting interaction and networking amongst participants and locals.
Known as Europe's first digital nomad village, the hub is located in the sunniest part of the island, Ponta do Sol. This thriving community brings together like-minded individuals who share a similar lifestyle, facilitating an environment of collaboration and creativity. Ponta do Sol is visited by tourists, but not typically a place where they stay, so it's free from crowds most of the year.
There's also a growing network of co-working spaces, particularly around Funchal, that offer a professional setting to work efficiently. These spaces are designed to inspire and fuel creativity, making them ideal for digital nomads.
Madeira is the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts with tons to do from hiking the picturesque Levada trails to chasing breathtaking waterfalls as well as fog-shrouded otherworldly land of Madeira’s Fanal Forest.
If you're looking for a community atmosphere and the ability to meet a lot of other remote workers, Madeira will be the best place to live in Portugal for you.
Best Coworking Spaces in Madeira
- Cowork Funchal: Spot with 24/7 access in Madeira’s small capital city.
- Co-Working Space @ Ponta do Sol: A free coworking space in the John do Passos Cultural Centre.
Best Place to Stay in Madeira for Digital Nomads
- Banana House: A cozy co-living space in Ponta do Sol that will introduce you to local traditions and food to make you feel at home.
Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, is slightly smaller and more cost-effective than Lisbon. This Northern Portugal hot spot offers the hustle and bustle of city life yet is affordable, making it a perfectly balanced option for digital nomads.
Porto is renowned for its world-famous port wine houses located in the historic Vila Nova de Gaia. For even more food and wine adventures, a trip out to the scenic Douro Valley is a must, with its terraced vineyards and scenic boat rides up and down the river.
However, there’s more to Porto than sightseeing and wine-tasting. The city has plenty of co-working cafes offering high-speed internet and a comfortable working environment. These spaces serve as networking hubs, where you can meet and collaborate with other digital nomads.
Additionally, the city boasts an array of outstanding hostels that are not only cost-effective but also offer a great chance to meet travelers from around the world. Porto, with its affordable living, rich history, and robust digital nomad community, truly offers a balanced lifestyle for those choosing to work and travel simultaneously.
To soak up Portuguese culture while still being able to take advantage of being able to work from anywhere, living in Porto, is a fantastic option.
Best Coworking Spaces in Porto
- Typographia Cowork: A coworking spot in a restored house in downtown Porto that offers incredible views of the Porto cathedral, one of the city’s most famous landmarks.
- Mesa 325: This cozy specialty coffee shop run by a local couple is one of the best places to get some work done if you’re looking for a free spot to work.
Best Place to Stay in Porto for Digital Nomads
- Selina Porto: With an inner courtyard, bar and restaurant, colorful coworking space, and affordable rooms, you can’t go wrong with Selina Porto.
The Algarve region is another of the best places to live in Portugal for digital nomads with its near-perfect weather, abundant outdoor activities, and excellent digital nomad community. The region, with cities like Lagos, Portimāo, and Faro, is home to an immense population of remote workers, creating an environment for networking and collaboration, crucial for the nomadic lifestyle.
Its climate is a significant draw, boasting nearly 300 days of sunshine a year, perfect for sunshine-loving digital nomads who want to enjoy warm weather after a day of hard work. The sunny weather also makes this one of the best places to learn to surf! Adding to the allure are the breathtaking beaches, making the Algarve region one of the most picturesque work locations in Europe.
Beyond its incredible natural beauty, the Algarve Coast is also highly affordable, making it an attractive destination for digital nomads on a budget. Despite its popularity, the cost of living is considerably lower than other beach locations in Europe, allowing digital nomads to enjoy a high standard of living without burning a hole in their pocket.
However, it's worth noting that the Algarve does tend to get crowded during the summer. But for those who relish a bustling environment, this could add to the area's charm!
Combine low cost of living with beautiful beaches and that's just what you can get when you try living in the Algarve region.
Best Coworking Spaces in Algarve
- Alandra Square: At just $8 per day, this spot in Faro is a reliable option for digital nomads in Algarve.
- Lagos Coworkers: This beautiful space in Lagos is perfect for a day of working with a perfect view.
Best Place to Stay in Algarve for Digital Nomads
- Bura Surfhouse: With plenty of surfing and yoga, this relaxed Lagos hostel is great for backpackers and digital nomads who want to lounge by an outdoor pool and participate in family dinners with locally sourced ingredients.
Portugal's D7 & D8 Visas
Before the D8 visa was announced, digital nomads used the D7 visa to live in Portugal, even though this visa wasn't created for them necessarily (it was more for retirees and those making passive income). Now that the D8 visa is an option, you might still be able to apply for the D7 but most likely D8 will be a better fit for you.
As of 2023, these are the requirements for each visa for you to decide which one best suits your financial and work situation. You're able to apply for either of these visas on your own by reaching out directly to the embassy or consulate closest to your address of residency. There are also plenty of companies/lawyers that offer this service for you if you're willing to pay to leave the paperwork up to someone else.
D7 Visa Requirements
Like I mentioned, the D7 visa was created for retirees or those who earn a steady passive income in mind. Since the requirements weren't too strict about where that "passive" income came from, remote workers were able to slip in and apply for this, so long as they could approve a steady monthly income.
In general, these are the requirements to apply for Portugal's D7 visa:
- Proof of a minimum monthly income of €800 (can usually just show the past 3 months)
- Proof €7000-8000 in a Portuguese bank account
- A background check
- Portuguese Tax ID Number
- 1-year (typically) signed lease for housing in Portugal
D8 Visa Requirements
The biggest difference you'll quickly see is the Portugal requires remote workers to make a lot more than just ~€800 like they expect for the D7 visa. The other big difference is that the D7 visa allows for continual visa renewals, so long as you continue to meet the requirements, whereas the D8 caps your stay at a max of 5 years. Keep in mind though that in Portugal, it's possible to apply for citizenship just after 5 years.
For the D8, there is a short-stay option and a long-stay option. The main difference is that with the short-stay visa, you can only stay in the country for 1 year but with the long-stay you can stay up to 5 years (if you're able to renew the visa after 2 years).
In general, there are the requirements to apply for Portugal's D8 visa:
- Proof of fully remote income
- Proof of a minimum monthly income of €3,000 (can usually just show the past 3 months)
- Proof €7000-8000 in a Portuguese bank account
- A background check
- Portuguese Tax ID Number
- 1-year accommodation (for long-stay), 4-month accommodation (for short-stay)
- Travel insurance (we recommend SafetyWing)
Tips for Digital Nomads Living in Portugal
Whether you choose just one of these vibrant places to live or decide to try them all out for a few weeks (the real perk of remote work!), there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind while working and living in Portugal:
- Wifi across Portugal is pretty reliable. The only places I would worry about are Madeira and Azores, but if you sign-up for a co-working space you shouldn't have any troubles.
- You'll get the best rate by booking a stay for at least 1 month.
- Use the Croissant App to save on co-working fees if you're traveling to a few different places.
- You'll find that most digital nomads prefer to work from the more modern coffee shops, instead of at the older local haunts.
- Do your best to learn a few local phrases in Portuguese. Mondly is a great app for phrases and vocabulary.
Where Will You Live in Portugal?
There's a reason so many expats and digital nomads have been flocking to Portugal and you might want to consider doing the same. With the ease of a digital nomad visa giving you the ability to legally work and stay in the country, along with fantastic places to live, a rich history, stunning architecture, and a high quality of life, Portugal has a lot to offer. The only question left to answer is which of these places to live will you choose?
All photos by depositphotos.com