15 Of the Best Places to Live Near Lisbon

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Last updated on June 14, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 17 minutes

Lisbon, the ever-popular capital of Portugal, has long been a magnet for those seeking a blend of historic charm, vibrant culture, and a laid-back lifestyle. However, as the city centre burgeons with popularity, it’s becoming increasingly expensive and competitive to secure a home within its narrow, cobbled streets. For many, the allure of Lisbon isn’t confined to its central districts. In fact, the towns near Lisbon and neighbourhoods on the outskirts offer a fantastic alternative for those wishing to be close to the capital but not directly in the centre.

For those who don’t require the constant hum of city life, places to live near Lisbon present a compelling case. With the right public transport links, the heart of the city remains easily accessible, allowing residents to enjoy the best of both worlds. Choosing to live outside Lisbon rather than live in Lisbon can not only be a more economical choice, but it can also provide more space – a luxury often hard to come by in the city centre. Moreover, as central Lisbon becomes increasingly tourist-centric, the smaller locations on its periphery retain an authenticity that’s becoming rarer by the day.

However, it’s crucial to tread with caution. While there are cheaper places to live near Lisbon, not all are well-served by public transport. Portugal, while modernising rapidly, still has areas where transport links are sparse, especially outside the major cities. For some, having a car might be a viable solution, but daily commutes into Lisbon can be fraught with traffic snarls and the constant challenge of finding parking. It’s also worth noting that you won’t be the first person who’s thought about living outside of Lisbon to find somewhere cheaper and prices in many of these places are quickly catching up with those in the city centre. That said, there are still bargains to be found if you do your homework.

Coastal Options

Cascais

View of Cascais, and the beach, from above

Train time to Cais do Sodré: 33 minutes

Cascais, a picturesque coastal town just a 30-40 minute train ride away from Lisbon, offers a unique blend of urban convenience and seaside serenity. While it’s undeniably touristic, drawing visitors to its golden beaches and historic centre, it’s also become a sought-after residence for those looking to live near Lisbon without the constant city buzz.

Admittedly, living in Cascais can be as pricey as the heart of Lisbon, if not more so. Yet, for that investment, residents gain the privilege of living by the ocean and enjoying a pace of life that’s just a tad more leisurely than the capital.

For those with a car, Cascais serves as a gateway to the rugged beauty of the northern coastline, with spots like Praia do Guincho and Ericeira just a drive away. These areas are not only breathtaking but also offer some of the best surfing opportunities in the region.

While Cascais itself is decent for surfing, the nearby spots truly cater to wave enthusiasts. The town’s charm has drawn a diverse crowd, from retirees seeking a peaceful sunset chapter, families wanting a safe and scenic environment, to digital nomads lured by the blend of work and play.

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Estoril

Train time to Cais do Sodré: 26 minutes

Nestled between the bustling capital and the popular town of Cascais, Estoril offers its own distinct charm. Known for its sandy beaches and the famous Estoril Casino, the town has long been a magnet for tourists and wealthy Lisboetas. However, it’s not just visitors from afar that are drawn to its shores. During the summer months, Lisboetas, or residents of Lisbon, frequently escape the city’s heat by hopping on a train to Estoril, Cascais, or Carcavelos, seeking the refreshing embrace of the Atlantic.

While Estoril shares the high property prices of its neighbour, Cascais, it offers a unique advantage for surf enthusiasts. The waves here are more consistent and favourable, making it a better spot for surfing than Cascais. This blend of urban amenities, beachside relaxation, and water sports has made Estoril a top choice for those who want to be near Lisbon but also crave the thrill of the surf and the tranquillity of a coastal town. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or simply someone seeking a seaside retreat, Estoril promises a blend of excitement and relaxation.

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Carcavelos

Train time to Cais do Sodré: 20 minutes

Positioned snugly between the vibrant capital of Lisbon and the scenic town of Cascais, Carcavelos boasts an enviable location. Its strategic spot, coupled with its sprawling sandy beaches, has transformed Carcavelos into a favourite for both locals and expatriates. Often hailed as the cradle of Portuguese surf culture, Carcavelos is more than just a beach town; it’s a pulsating hub for surfers, street artists, expats, and those that just want a slightly more peaceful life than what city centre living offers.

While the allure of Lisbon’s grandeur often overshadows it, Carcavelos thrives in its own right, offering a trendy yet laid-back vibe that’s hard to find elsewhere. When it comes to property, don’t expect a bargain here. Prices are on par with Lisbon, reflecting the area’s growing popularity and the quality of life it offers. Choosing to live in Carcavelos isn’t about finding a cheaper alternative, but rather about embracing a lifestyle where the rhythm of the waves meets the creativity of urban life.

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Parede

Train time to Cais do Sodré: 22 minutes

Situated close to Carcavelos, Parede offers a genuine taste of Portuguese life. A short 30-minute train ride from the heart of Lisbon, Parede’s accessibility is one of its many draws. The town’s beach, Praia Parede, is small but cosy. However, you have plenty of other beaches close by if this gets too crowded.

Parede’s compact layout ensures everything is within arm’s reach, from local shops and cafes to delightful restaurants. Notably, the town is home to Eduardo das Conquilhas, one of Portugal’s finest seafood establishments, offering delectable dishes without the hefty price tag — at least when compared to central Lisbon.

What truly sets Parede apart is its unspoiled nature. Unlike many coastal towns, it remains largely untouched by the tourist wave, allowing its authentic character to shine through. Whether you’re seeking the conveniences of modern living, proximity to renowned surfing beaches, or simply a slice of genuine Portuguese culture, Parede promises a balanced and enriching living experience.

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Paço de Arcos

Train time to Cais do Sodré: 19 minutes

Strategically positioned between the bustling heart of Lisbon and the scenic allure of Cascais, Paço de Arcos offers an ideal blend of urban convenience and coastal tranquillity. Just a twenty-minute train ride from Lisbon’s vibrant city centre and a mere ten minutes from the charm of Cascais, the town boasts excellent connectivity, making daily commutes a breeze.

What draws many to Paço de Arcos, apart from its prime location, is the relative affordability of rent, especially when compared to its more illustrious neighbours. The town’s proximity to the beach adds another layer of appeal, especially for those who cherish seaside strolls and sunsets over the ocean. For locals and newcomers alike, Paço de Arcos presents a compelling proposition: the vibrancy of city life and the serenity of coastal living, all wrapped into one. For those seeking a harmonious living experience without compromising on accessibility or quality of life, Paço de Arcos emerges as a top choice.

Algés

Train time: 09 minutes

Nestled conveniently between the heart of Lisbon and the beckoning coastline, Algés offers a blend of suburban comfort and easy accessibility. While it might not boast the architectural splendour of central Lisbon, what Algés lacks in grandeur, it makes up for with its genuine community vibe. Here, you’ll find yourself amidst true Portuguese locals, fostering a sense of community that’s both warm and welcoming.

Property prices in Algés mirror those in Lisbon, making it a comparable option for those looking to reside near the capital. Tourists are a rare sight, allowing the town to retain its authentic charm. While it’s not a hiker’s paradise, its proximity to Monsanto offers green spaces for relaxation. And while you won’t find coworking hubs here, the presence of nomads and expats adds a global touch to this local haven. A mere 10-minute train ride can whisk you to Lisbon, but with the ocean close by and a genuine Portuguese neighbourhood feel, Algés provides a balanced living experience for those seeking both convenience and authenticity.

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Ericeira

A beach in Ericeira

Bus time to Campo Grande: 56-78 minutes

Tucked away along Portugal’s rugged coastline, Ericeira exudes a charm that’s distinctly its own. With its quaint streets and tight-knit community, it offers a small-town ambiance that resonates with many, though some might find it a tad too quiet for their liking. But what Ericeira might lack in urban hustle, it more than makes up for with its reputation as a surfer’s paradise. The waves here are legendary, drawing both seasoned surfers and enthusiastic beginners to its shores.

Beyond the surf, Ericeira has become a haven for digital nomads, lured by the promise of coworking spaces set against a backdrop of the Atlantic. However, this blend of natural beauty and modern amenities comes with a price tag. Living in Ericeira is not a budget-friendly affair; in fact, property prices often surpass those in Lisbon. For the outdoor enthusiast, the town’s proximity to hiking trails adds another feather to its cap.

When it comes to connectivity with Lisbon, Ericeira presents a few challenges. The absence of a direct train line means residents rely on buses, which take just over an hour to reach the capital. Those with cars fare better, with a drive to Lisbon’s outskirts taking under 50 minutes.

Yet, Ericeira’s somewhat secluded nature is part of its charm. It’s a place that suits those content with infrequent trips to the capital, perhaps no more than once a week, and who cherish the tranquillity and community spirit of a coastal town.

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Costa da Caparica

costa da caparica view of the beach and buildings

Bus time to Areeiro: 55 minutes

Costa da Caparica, with its sprawling sandy stretches, stands out as one of the finest beach destinations in close proximity to Lisbon. While nearby spots like Carcavelos and Cascais have their own coastal allure, Costa da Caparica boasts some of the longest and most pristine beaches near the capital.

However, the town itself presents a stark contrast to its natural beauty. Dominated by high-rise apartment blocks, Costa da Caparica’s urban landscape might not win any beauty contests, but its appeal lies elsewhere. The proximity to the beach, combined with relatively more affordable living costs (though prices have surged post-pandemic), makes it an attractive option for many.

Getting to Lisbon from Costa da Caparica is possible, but not as easy as living in places like Carcavelos or Cascais. The 40-minute bus journey is a straightforward route into the heart of the city. For those in a hurry, driving or hailing a taxi can cut the commute time in half, clocking in at around 20 minutes. However, this is contingent on the traffic conditions, especially on the bridge.

While there are train stations in the vicinity, they aren’t the most accessible from Costa. Some residents with cars opt for a hybrid commute: driving to the nearest train station and then hopping on a train into Lisbon. This approach somewhat mitigates the feeling of disconnection, but it’s undeniable that living in Costa da Caparica requires a bit of logistical planning for those working or frequently visiting the capital.

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Setúbal

Setúbal Square

Train time from Entrecampos to Setúbal: 54 – 75 minutes

Setúbal, nestled along Portugal’s southern coastline, offers a refreshing blend of affordability and natural beauty. With property prices notably lower than Lisbon, it’s an attractive option for those seeking a coastal retreat without the capital’s price tag. Yet, despite its charms, Setúbal remains relatively untouched by the tourist masses, allowing residents to enjoy a more authentic Portuguese experience. Interest in Setúbal is growing among expats and Lisbon locals, although many may find it still too quiet for their tastes.

Beyond its harbour, Setúbal’s proximity to the Arrábida Natural Park is a major draw. Hikers and nature lovers will find themselves spoilt for choice, with trails meandering through lush landscapes and offering panoramic views of the coastline. While the town might not be a surfer’s paradise in its own right, the renowned surfing hotspot of Costa da Caparica is just a stone’s throw away, ensuring wave enthusiasts aren’t left wanting.

For those needing to venture into Lisbon, a 60-minute train journey bridges the gap between the serene surroundings of Setúbal and the bustling streets of the capital.

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Inland Options

Sintra

town square in Sintra

Train time from Lisbon-Rossio to Sintra: 39-48 minutes

Perched majestically above the verdant expanse of its UNESCO World Heritage sites, Sintra stands as a testament to Portugal’s rich tapestry of history and culture. With its enchanting palaces and mystical aura, it’s no wonder that this fairy-tale town has captured the imaginations of both residents and visitors alike. However, such allure comes at a price. Property values in Sintra can rival those of Lisbon’s most sought-after districts, as the desire to reside within this living piece of history has driven real estate prices to impressive heights.

A train journey of just under fifty minutes transports you from the heart of Lisbon to the magical realm of Sintra. And while its historical treasures have made it a magnet for tourists, Sintra is more than just a holiday destination.

Yet, the true essence of life near Sintra lies beyond the tourist-filled streets. Many opt to reside in the neighbouring areas, where the allure of Sintra’s history meets the tranquillity of nature. With abundant hiking trails and a community that often leans towards alternative lifestyles, the region offers a harmonious blend of past and present, tradition and innovation. In Sintra, you’re not just living near a tourist hotspot; you’re part of a vibrant community that cherishes both its heritage and its future.

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Amadora

Train time from Lisbon-Rossio to Amadora: 23 minutes

Located just outside Lisbon, Amadora offers a cost-effective living option with excellent connectivity to the capital. Characterised by its high-rise apartments and the ever-busy Linha de Sintra train line, the city boasts a rich multicultural tapestry, with a significant influx of residents from Brazil and former Portuguese colonies in Africa. While traditionally overlooked by expats from the UK and US, its affordability and improving image are beginning to attract a broader demographic.

Historically, Amadora grappled with a mixed reputation, with areas like Cova da Moura advised to be approached with caution. However, as perceptions shift, some now argue that parts of central Lisbon feel less secure in comparison. While Amadora might not be the prettiest suburb, its evolving nature and strategic location make it an increasingly appealing choice for those prioritising budget and accessibility.

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Santarém

Train time from Lisbon-Entrecampos to Santarém: 56-77 minutes

Santarém, situated just 40 minutes by train from Lisbon, offers a peaceful respite from the bustling rhythm of the capital.

While its proximity to Lisbon might suggest otherwise, Santarém remains largely untouched by the tourist wave. Its streets echo with authentic Portuguese life, devoid of the usual trappings of popular tourist spots. The cost of living here is notably lower than in Lisbon, making it an attractive option for those seeking affordability. Though some might consider it a stretch for daily commuting, a number of residents make the journey to and from Lisbon, drawn by the town’s tranquillity and lower living costs. Summers here can be very hot, but on the plus side, winters are mild.

Beyond its calm streets, Santarém offers ample opportunities for hiking, allowing residents to immerse themselves in nature. While it might not be a hub for nomads or expats, and lacks the conveniences of coworking spaces, its genuine atmosphere and proximity to nature make it a choice destination for those seeking a quieter, more grounded way of life.

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Across the River

Almada

Ferry from Cacilhas to Cais do Sodré: 8-10 minutes

Just across the shimmering Tagus River from Lisbon lies Almada, a town that offers a unique blend of accessibility and local charm. One of its standout features is the ferry service between Cacilhas and Cais do Sodré, placing you in the heart of Lisbon in a mere ten minutes. These ferry crossings, conveniently included in the public transport pass, are frequent, ensuring residents can easily traverse between the two sides of the river. However, it’s worth noting that late-night travellers should plan ahead, as the ferries don’t operate round the clock. While taxis are an alternative, the ferry’s absence during the wee hours can make Almada feel a tad isolated.

Yet, this slight detachment has its perks. Almada has retained a distinctly Portuguese essence, less touched by the tourist wave, save for those venturing to the iconic Cristo Rei statue or dining at renowned eateries like Ponto Final. As property prices in Lisbon soared, Almada’s appeal grew exponentially, first drawing in locals and now an increasing number of expats, all seeking a blend of affordability and authenticity.

For those with a spirit of adventure and a set of wheels, Almada serves as a gateway to the south. From the verdant hills of Serra da Arrábida to the sandy stretches of Costa da Caparica and the quaint charm of Sesimbra, there’s a wealth of exploration at your doorstep.

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Barreiro

Ferry from Terreiro do Paço to Cais do Sodré: 25 minutes

Situated across the Tagus River from Lisbon, Barreiro offers a more affordable living alternative without straying too far from the capital.

Currently, Barreiro remains relatively untouched by the tourist and expat wave, preserving its local essence. However, as the search for budget-friendly options near Lisbon intensifies, it’s only a matter of time before Barreiro garners more attention. The town’s connectivity to Lisbon relies heavily on the ferry service, which, while efficient during the day, becomes less frequent as the night progresses.

For those willing to look beyond the immediate allure of Lisbon and seek an affordable, quieter residence with a promising future, Barreiro stands as a worthy contender.

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Montijo

Ferry from Montijo to Cais do Sodré: 25 minutes

Montijo, nestled on the banks of the Tagus River, is a haven for Portuguese locals seeking a pocket-friendly alternative to the historic allure of Lisbon. The town’s character is distinctly local, with the hustle and bustle of mainstream tourism largely absent. This gives residents a chance to experience a more authentic slice of Portuguese life, away from the crowded streets of the capital.

One of Montijo’s key advantages is its ferry connection to Lisbon. A brief journey across the Tagus swiftly transports you to the heart of the city, making daily commutes relatively straightforward. However, this reliance on the ferry comes with its challenges, especially during late hours when services are sparse. In such instances, reaching central Lisbon can become a lengthier endeavour, taking up to 50 minutes by car or 1.5 hours via other public transport options.

Despite its affordability, with property prices significantly lower than Lisbon, Montijo does offer some modern amenities like coworking spaces. Yet, its essence remains predominantly local, with few expats or nomads calling it home. For those willing to navigate the transport nuances and seeking genuine Portuguese living without breaking the bank, Montijo stands out as a compelling choice. Like Barreiro, it’s also likely to grow in popularity as more and more people look for affordable options outside of Lisbon.

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