In the past few years, Lisbon has become the European city to visit. Everyone I meet is either planning to visit Lisbon or has already been. Around the same time Lisbon started appearing on every travel blog and magazine, Airbnb really entered the mainstream. The combination of these two things, Lisbon becoming popular and everyone using Airbnb (or putting their apartment on Airbnb), means that finding medium to long-term accommodation in Lisbon is now very difficult.
Back when we first moved to Lisbon in 2014, finding an apartment for six months on Airbnb was fairly easy. Now, the vast number of tourists visiting means that very few apartments have a full six months empty in their calendar. Airbnb prices have also skyrocketed, making this once again less of an option.
Even if you’re not renting through Airbnb, finding a house or apartment to rent in Lisbon has become difficult. Rents have soared over the past few years, which has led to many locals moving further out of the city or leaving Lisbon altogether.
Despite all of this, Lisbon is still a fantastic place to live. It’s still much more affordable than other cities in Europe, and the quality of life here is great. So, even though finding an apartment might be struggle, it’s worth struggling for. With that in mind, here are some tips for finding an apartment in Lisbon.
Staying Long term (6+ months)
The cheapest option if you’re staying longer than six months is to rent privately. OLX, Sapo, and Custo Justo are three of the main classifieds websites in Portugal, similar to Craigslist in the US or Gumtree in the UK and Australia. There’s also property-focused classifieds sites like Idealista and Imovirtual. (Note: many Portuguese properties tend to be unfurnished).
There are a number of Facebook groups dedicated to apartments and rooms for rent in Lisbon such as Casas e apartamentos para arrendar em Lisboa, Arrenda Lisboa Low Cost – Apartamentos, Lisboa – Quartos e Apartamentos. You’ll need to apply quickly whenever an apartment is listed, as most have several thousand members.
You will find apartments advertised on Craigslist here, but a lot tend to be scams. The same goes for expatriates.com. It’s worth having a look, but be wary: if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
It’s also worth visiting a few estate agents like Century 21 or Remax. While you might pay a little bit more renting through an estate agent than privately, it’s an avenue worth venturing down.
Staying Medium-Term (Roughly 1-6 months)
Despite Airbnb becoming less and less of an attractive option for monthly lettings in Lisbon, it’s still the main option. This is especially true if you’re looking for a property with internet. With rental prices on the increase, you will probably need to haggle to get a fair price. You’ll also need to book quite far in advance to find a property that has several months free.
There are websites other than Airbnb like Wimdu and HouseTrip, but none of these have a monthly option. Wimdu is probably the cheapest Airbnb alternative, and it can be worth looking at what cheap monthly rentals are available (filter price from low to high). You might not find much, but sometimes there are one or two options.
Nestpick is a startup that is aiming to becoming the Airbnb of medium and long-term rentals. It aggregates listings from other sites like only-apartments, beroomers, and erasmu, making it easy to search and compare in one go. Users can filter results to see properties that have amenities like internet, a dishwasher, pool access, or an en-suite bathroom.
LongTermLetttings.com and Sublet.com are two other sites to look at, although I’ve never personally used them. At the time of writing, Long Term Lettings has just 2 properties in Lisbon while Sublet has 22.
Expat.com sometimes has apartments in Lisbon for rent, although it’s usually just a few at a time.
Red Apple Apartments focus on ‘corporate lettings,’ and apartments tend to cost between €1500 and €2500 per month (bills included). It’s too expensive for most people visiting Lisbon, but maybe not for everyone.
LisbonApartments.com has some monthly rentals with internet included (some also include utilities). Prices for a 1-bedroom apartment start at around €800 per month, not including bills.
Uniplaces, a Lisbon-based startup which focuses on student accommodation, is popular with digital nomads visiting Lisbon for a few months. It’s a little like Airbnb: you can search for apartments with amenities like Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and heating. Prices for a 1-bedroom start from around €650, with bills included. It’s also worth mentioning that you don’t have to be a student to rent through Uniplaces, and you can rent for as little as 1-month.
Erasmusu is another student-focused website that seems to allow professionals. It’s not as easy to filter listings as Uniplaces is, but worth looking at as it has quite a few properties.
Know of any other places to find long-term rentals in Lisbon? Let other visitors know in the comments below.