Sun, Sea, and Wi-Fi: A Digital Nomad’s Guide to the Algarve

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Written by: | Last updated on March 23, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 6 minutes
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Nestled along the southern coast of Portugal, the Algarve has long been a hidden gem, overshadowed by the bustling city of Lisbon as a destination for digital nomads. However, the tides have turned, and this picturesque region has begun to attract a growing number of remote workers, creatives, and adventurers seeking a change of pace and a taste of the laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle.

The Covid-19 pandemic has played a significant role in the Algarve’s rise to prominence among digital nomads. With popular destinations like Bali and Thailand becoming less accessible, many have turned their attention to the stunning beaches, idyllic weather, and vibrant surf culture that the Algarve has to offer. While it may not have surpassed Lisbon or even Madeira in terms of popularity just yet, the Algarve is undoubtedly making its mark on the digital nomad map.

The region provides a perfect escape for those looking to slow down, unwind, and find inspiration in the natural beauty that surrounds them. However, it’s worth noting that some digital nomads may find themselves yearning for the energy and opportunities of city life after a few months in this tranquil paradise.

Visiting or Living?

Portugal attracts several different types of digital nomads. Some come for a few days, weeks, or months, but many more come with a view to obtaining residency in Portugal.

Thanks to Portugal’s D8 or digital nomad visa, it’s possible to move to Portugal. That’s assuming you meet the criteria, of course, which includes showing an average monthly income of €3,280 per month or more (for an individual).

However, if you can show this, and you’re a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizen looking for a way to move to Europe, this could be your ticket here.

Where should I go on the Algarve?

Although there are nomads spread out all over the Algarve, particularly in places like Faro, Vilamoura, and Sagres, the majority end up in Lagos, which has fast become a digital nomad hotspot.

However, it’s definitely not the only option. A few other places that stand out include:

  • Lagos
    • The main digital nomad hub in the Algarve
    • Good access to the West Coast for surfing and beach activities
    • Easy access to the beach from the town center
    • More expensive than other towns in the region
    • Good public transportation connections
  • Portimão
    • An affordable alternative to Lagos
    • Offers a small city life experience
    • Not the most picturesque city, but has its own unique charm
    • Close to Lagos and the beach at Praia da Rocha
    • Good public transportation options
  • Faro
    • The capital of the Algarve
    • Rich in history and culture
    • Slightly more of a city vibe compared to other towns in the region
    • Close to Faro Airport, making it convenient for travel
    • Proximity to Spain for easy border-hopping
  • Albufeira
    • Traditionally known as a beach holiday destination and party town
    • Now actively working to attract digital nomads
    • Offers coworking spaces for remote workers
    • Beautiful beaches and a lively atmosphere

Short-term Accommodation for digital nomads

  • For short-term accommodation, the most popular option is still Airbnb.com. As with everywhere else, it’s an expensive option — particularly during the summer months.
  • Flatio.com, which is like Airbnb but for medium-term rentals, has rooms and apartments across the Algarve.
  • Booking.com is also worth looking at, particularly off-season (around October to April). The majority of the listings are for hotels and hostels, but there are some apartments and villas on there too.
  • For longer stays see the guide to renting long-term on the Algarve. There’s also a guide to finding winter rentals.
  • There are some co-living spaces on the Algarve which can be fun places to live and meet other digital nomads. 
  • Some nomads hire campervans while they’re on the Algarve.  This isn’t the cheapest form of accommodation, and there is some anti-campervan sentiment among locals, but it can be a fun way to explore the region.

Where to meet other digital nomads in the Algarve

There are a few relevant groups on Facebook:

Getting around the Algarve

The best way to get around the Algarve is by car, especially if you want to go to the beaches or into the countryside. That said, you can visit the Algarve without a car — just expect getting around to take a little longer.

The Algarve does have quite a good train system, but it only connects to some of the towns on the Algarve (Faro, Lagos, and Portimão are all connected). Buses are also an option, but finding the timetables and routes can sometimes be a challenge. Train timetables and information can be on cp.pt and bus information can be found on vamusalgarve.pt.

Uber and other taxi apps are an option too, particularly in larger towns and cities like Lagos, Faro, and Portimão.

Co-working spaces & cafés on the Algarve

Tip: you can also find more co-living options on coliving.com

Albufeira

  • Al-Gharb (coffee shop)- Speciality coffee shop situated in Albufeira’s new town (near “The Strip” that offers wifi and seats with power outlets as well as a selection of speciality coffees, cakes, snacks, and main meals.
  • Albufeira Coworking – Albufeira’s first coworking space features high-speed internet and complimentary tea and coffee. You can also book a meeting room, should you need to have client calls or see clients in-person.

Brancanes

Faro

Lagos

  • CENTRO Lagos (co-working space)
  • London Tiger Coffee (cafe) is a small and cozy café with good wifi and a great selection of cakes and desserts. 
  • Abigail’s Cafe (cafe) offers a menu that consists of smoothies, beach bowls, and brunch options, and several of their seats have power outlets as well.
  • Coffee Studio (cafe) a café that’s run by digital nomads, so you know the wifi is good!
  • NomaVillage (co-living)

Loulé

Portimão

Sagres

Vila do Bispo

Other places to work from on the Algarve

  • Most libraries in the Algarve have free wifi, and are very easy places to work from. 
  • Many supermarkets (especially the larger ones like Pingo Doce and Continente) have free wifi. Normally you can pick it up in the food courts or cafés and work from there. There are big food courts at the main shopping centres in the Algarve: Algarve Shopping (near Guia), MAR Shopping (near Loulé), Forum Algarve (near Faro), and Aqua (near Portimão). 
Written by

James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.