Portugal: The Hottest Digital Nomad Destination

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Last updated on June 4, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 6 minutes

Ten years ago, it was surprising to meet another digital nomad in Portugal. Now Lisbon is one of the world’s main digital nomad hubs, and Madeira and Lagos are rapidly growing in popularity as well.

Portugal is a great place for digital nomads: it’s relatively safe, eating and drinking is very affordable, the beaches are great, and it has some of the best weather in winter, particularly in Europe.

And, as of 2023, Portugal has a special digital nomad visa. This visa is aimed at those that want to move here long-term, and can lead to citizenship after 5 years. Living here can also allow you to take advantage of Portugal’s tax regimes.

Where to Live: Digital Nomad Hotspots

While you could visit, or live in, any region of Portugal, there are some parts that are particularly popular with digital nomads.

Lisbon

Lisbon is one of the hottest digital nomad destinations in the world. The weekly meetup attracts hundreds of digital nomads, the city is packed with coworking spaces, and there are regular mastermind sessions, comedy nights, and everything else a digital nomad needs.

Lagos, Algarve

You’ll find digital nomads all over the Algarve, but Lagos has claimed the throne as the main nomad hub on the Algarve. You’ll also find more nomads dotted throughout the Algarve, particularly in areas like Portimāo, Faro,

Madeira

Madeira’s digital nomad hub is centered around the digital nomad village in Ponta do Sol, but you’ll find other nomad hotspots in Funchal, and other parts of the island like Machico, Santa Cruz, Jardim do Mar, and Porto Santo.

Ericeira

Situated near to Lisbon, Ericeira attracts digital nomads and expats looking for a small town vibe and who priortise having easy access to the beach and nearby surf spots.

Porto

Porto has never quite taken off in quite the same way as Lisbon has, but you will find quite a few nomads and freelancers around the city. There are also plenty of co-working spaces.

You don’t have to stick to the digital nomad hotspots: all of Portugal is worth exploring.

Visas & Residency: Living Here For Longer

A lot of people come to Portugal for just a few days, weeks, or months, but many others decide to put down roots and make it their nomad base. This is easy for those who already have an “EU passport,” but it’s also achievable for many nomads from the rest of the world, due to Portugal’s attainable residency visas.

As mentioned, Portugal now has a special visa for digital nomads. The D8, or digital nomad visa as it’s known, is aimed at those that earn an income from outside of Portugal through a remote job or freelancing.

This visa effectively replaces the D7, which many digital nomads had used to move to Portugal in the past. It also increases the required income from around €700-800 per month to a little over €3,000.

The visa is aimed at those that want to stay for up to 1 year or those that want to stay for up to 2 years, with the option to renew. Most digital nomads that are thinking about coming to Portugal long-term will probably opt for the long-term option as this allows them to make Portugal their base and later apply for citizenship.

Wifi

Wifi is generally good all over Portugal. It’s always sensible to double check any hotel or apartment reviews before booking but, generally, the wifi connection is not something that you need to worry about.

Other tips for getting by on the wifi in Portugal:

  • If you’re renting or buying an apartment, use our internet options checker to see what internet is available
  • Most large supermarkets (i.e. not the small ones in the city centres) will have wifi (and often a café) if you can’t find anywhere else. Other places you’ll find wifi are shopping malls, town squares in some towns (especially those popular with tourists), and local government-run services e.g. a library or the câmara or council.
  • A library is a “biblioteca” and are good places to go and work as they have free wifi and sometimes extra power sockets as well.
  • Vodafone and other networks offer a portable dongle with unlimited internet that costs around €30 per month, plus the cost of the dongle. This is on a pas-as-you-go-basis, so there’s no contract. It’s not as good as fibre, but better than using your phone as a hotspot.

Working

  • Coworking spaces are not necessarily cheaper outside of Lisbon. In fact, they can be more expensive.
  • The Croissant App can be useful if you’re travelling around and want to work from different coworking spaces.
  • Although Portugal has a traditional coffee scene, most nomads prefer to work from the more modern coffee shops.
  • Trivago, the hotel comparison website, allows you to search for rooms with specific features (like a desk). Great if you don’t want to work from the bed.
  • Libraries are definitely great places to work from, but some have weird hours (not open on Saturday mornings, for example).
  • If you’re on the go, it can be difficult to grab a quick bite to eat as this just isn’t part of Portuguese culture. Sandwich shops aren’t really a thing here, although you can usually get a simple sandwich or savoury snack from the pastelaria.

Accommodation

  • Accommodation in Portugal, particularly in Lisbon, can be surprisingly expensive and hard to find
  • Airbnb is probably the main site to use (as always) but Booking.com and Flatio are also worth looking at for short and medium-term stays
  • It’s possible to haggle on Airbnb for longer stays (with various degrees of success)
  • The various digital nomad Facebook groups for Portugal are also worth looking at as often you’ll find people looking to sublet their apartments.
  • For long term accommodation, you’ll want to look at classifieds websites like OLX and also Facebook (the guide to renting long-term in Lisbon gives a list of sites for finding apartments that apply to most of Portugal).
  • There are a few co-living spaces in Portugal. These are usually more expensive than renting a room through Airbnb or Booking, but are a good way of meeting other digital nomads.
  • Although attitudes have changed a lot in recent years, Portugal has a fairly relaxed view towards campervans (you’ll see rows of them in car parks across the country), and they can be a fun way to get around – especially if you can work from a mobile internet connection. There are plenty of motorhome companies all over Portugal.
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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.

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