Portugal is an excellent digital nomad destination with few restrictions, an intriguing culture, and incredible landscapes. The food is great, the wine is too and what’s more, it’s all pretty affordable.
But, how do you survive as a digital nomad in Portugal? The truth is, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing – your job, freelancing, or running your own start-up; it takes time and effort to get going.
Luckily, that’s what this guide provides you with! Read on for tips on where to stay, entry requirements, and cost of living among other things.
Where to stay
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Portugal as a digital nomad, Lisbon is the obvious choice. With its vibrant startup scene and plethora of co-working spaces, this city has become a mecca for digital nomads from all over the world.
However, if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital, there are plenty of other options throughout the country.
For example, Porto is a great option for those who want to experience a more traditional side of Portugal. Or, if you’re looking for some peace and quiet, the Algarve region is perfect for finding your Zen.
No matter where you decide to stay in Portugal, you’ll be sure to find plenty of options for co-working spaces, cafes with fast WiFi, and beautiful places to explore.
Visa and entry requirements
Digital nomads can apply for a special type of visa that allows them to work in Portugal for up to one year. The ‘D-7 visa‘ is specifically designed for digital nomads who want to work and travel in Portugal at the same time.
To be eligible, you must have a valid passport, proof of income, and proof of health insurance. You will also need to provide a detailed explanation of your work as a digital nomad, as well as your plans for working in Portugal.
If you are approved, you will be able to work in the country for up to one year. Thereafter, you can renew your visa for another year, or apply for a different type of visa if you want to stay in Portugal longer term.
Cost of living
Assuming you will be spending most of your time in Lisbon, the average cost of living for a digital nomad in Portugal’s capital is around €2,500 per month. This includes accommodation, food, transport, utilities, coworking space membership, and other day-to-day expenses.
Of course, your actual costs will depend on your lifestyle and how much you travel. If you are comfortable with a smaller apartment or room in a shared house, your accommodation costs could be as low as €600 per month. For more luxury and convenience, you can pay upwards of 1,500 for a one-bedroom. A good solution for digital nomads who don’t want to get involved in contracts, utilities, and other tenant issues would be to look into a furnished, serviced apartment with 24/7 support that offers a flexible lease ranging from a month to a year or even more. A lot of these apartments offer a home office setup which could potentially save you the membership cost of a coworking space.
In terms of transport, Lisbon has an excellent public transport system that covers the entire city. A monthly transport pass will cost you around €35 and will give you unlimited access to buses, trams, and trains.
Alternatively, if you prefer to get around by bike, Lisbon is a very bike-friendly city with plenty of dedicated cycle lanes. A good quality bike can be purchased for around €350.
As for utilities (electricity, water, internet), expect to pay around €100 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. And lastly, a membership at a coworking space in Lisbon starts from around €50 per month.
What else you should know – the not-so-merry side of living in Portugal
- For one, the internet can be patchy in some areas – so if you need to get online for work, it’s worth doing some research beforehand.
- Secondly, Portuguese is the predominant language spoken here. While many people do speak English, you may find yourself at a disadvantage if you don’t know any Portuguese.
- The winters can be cold and wet, so pack accordingly! Also, while Portugal boasts some fantastic beaches, the water can be quite cold even during the summer months.
- There can be a lot of bureaucracy when it comes to setting up your business or getting a visa.
- Public transportation can be crowded and chaotic, particularly in Lisbon during rush hour.
- You’ll also want to be aware of the pickpocketing problem – keep your valuables close and be vigilant when out and about.
Portugal is the perfect place to set up a base as a digital nomad. With its stunning scenery, friendly locals, and great infrastructure, what’s not to love?
If you’re looking for an affordable place to live and work that also happens to be one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Portugal should definitely be at the top of your list.
We hope you can enjoy your stay here!