Portugal is a great country to spend some time in and house sitting is one way to do that cheaply.
House sitting involves looking after someone’s home while they’re away in exchange for rent-free accommodation. Your main responsibility as a house sitter is usually looking after the owner’s pets, although every house sit is different and some people just want someone in the house to keep burglars at bay. The length of house sitting gigs vary: some can be as short as a weekend and others as long as a year.
Most of the house sitting opportunities you’ll find in Portugal will be posted by expats. As a result, most Portuguese house sits are in the Algarve: an expat hotspot. You’re more likely to find house sits in the countryside than in the city. There are some exceptions to these rules, of course.
A House Sitting Example
Geoff and Katie Matthews (pictured: left) are both bloggers at Wandertooth.com. They found a house sitting job in Loule in the Algarve, looking after a Portuguese Water Dog and two outdoor cats. The house was in the countryside, overlooking valleys filled with oranges, almonds, olives, lemon, and fig trees and the entire house sitting assignment lasted just over a month.
Finding House Sitting Opportunities in Portugal
(Homeowners: if you’re looking for someone to mind your property, you can post on any of these sites too)
Most house sitting opportunities (both in Portugal and worldwide) can be found on the following sites:
This is the biggest and most popular house sitting site out there, with the highest number of worldwide house sit listings. At the time of writing, Trusted Housesitters also had the most house sitting opportunities in Portugal (8). Most were in the Algarve, but there was also one in Sintra near Lisbon. There were also a few house sitting opportunities in Spain (14).
At $119 per year, it’s not the cheapest house sitting website, but that’s the price you pay for joining the largest house sitting community. If you’re serious about house sitting, the extra investment could be worthwhile in the long run.
Price: $119 per year.
Housecarers is one of the longest-running websites. It tends to list a lot of house sits in Australia and in the United States. It has much fewer in Europe, especially when compared to Trusted Housesitters.
At the time of writing, Housecarers had two house sitting opportunities in Portugal: one in the Alentejo and the other in Sintra (the same one was also listed on Trusted Housesitters).
Price: $45 per year.
Nomador is the new kid on the block, and it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on for house sitting jobs in Europe. At the time of writing, it had several house sitting opportunities throughout Spain and Portugal.
Price: $89 per year.
Mind My House
Although it’s one of the longest-running websites, Mind My House isn’t necessarily the most active. At the time of writing, Mind My House only had one house sitting assignment in Portugal.
Price: $20 per year.
House Sit Match
Another new website, House Sit Match has fewer house sitting opportunities than most of the other sites. At the time of writing, it didn’t have any house sitting jobs in Portugal. There had been one or two before, however, so it’s always worth keeping an eye on it.
Price: £35-£75 per year (the website is UK-based, so prices are in Sterling).
You should look at Wwoofing sites such as WWOOF Portugal, Workaway, and Helpx. With these sites you do a little work, such as helping out on an organic farm, in return for accommodation. It’s not quite the same as house sitting, but does offer interesting experiences.
WWOOFing jobs at the time of writing included:
- helping out at a hostel in Faro,
- working on a vineyard in central Portugal,
- working at a yurt-based eco retreat,
- and working at a naturist campsite (ooh la la!)
Depending on your ability to stay up late (hostel work) and your willingness to walk around naked (nudist campsite), there are plenty of good opportunities there.
Another option is just to rent. Portugal is not an expensive country to live in, particularly when you get outside of Lisbon and as long as you stay away from the Algarve coast during the peak summer season. Off season, you can rent an apartment in the Algarve for €300-400 per month. During the summer you can expect to pay that per week. Rental prices drop lower the further inland you go. It’s even possible to find apartments in Lisbon for a few hundred euro per month.
Airbnb is a good place to begin your apartment search. It’s more expensive than renting an apartment the old-fashioned way but it’s also easier. You don’t need a Portuguese bank account to pay your rent and sort out amenities like electricity and internet. To get a cheaper deal, you can either find an apartment to rent through Olx or Sapo or ask your Airbnb hosts if they would be willing to rent directly with you.