5 de December, 2022
Small cities to live in Portugal are synonymous with quality of life, safety, and lower cost of living. These three points lead many foreigners to choose to live in the interior.
In this article, you will learn what it is like to live in small towns, which are the best cities, cost of living, and how to choose your ideal city. Let’s go?
Life in small towns in Portugal has its charms. Walking through the streets without worrying about crime, moving around the city on foot or using the car without being angry with the traffic, enjoying more free hours to enjoy family and leisure time. Besides all this, the cost of living in small towns is lower, especially when it comes to renting property.
In small cities, just like in Brazil, time seems to pass more slowly and, undoubtedly, it is possible to enjoy a better quality of life. However, the job opportunities are not so many when compared to the big cities in Portugal. For this reason, it is necessary to evaluate what your life goals are.
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Are you thinking about living in Portugal and want to enjoy all that quietness and slow pace? With so many good options, choosing a city becomes a difficult task.
To help in this process, we have selected two small cities in Portugal in each region that can be an excellent option for living.
The northern region of Portugal has a factor that leaves many Brazilians with a bad feeling: the climate. In the spring and summer there is no reason to complain, but in the fall you can already feel a sudden change in temperature. In winter it is worse, because the climate is cold and rainy.
Therefore, this is a very important point to consider when choosing among the small cities in the north. On the other hand, northerners have a reputation for being more open and receptive. The two small cities to live in Portugal that we separate in the north are Vila do Conde and Viana do Castelo.
Vila do Conde is one of the small towns to live in Portugal located in the north and is part of the District (state) of Porto and with about 80,000 inhabitants according to the 2021 Census. So much so that residents can take advantage of the metro that connects the two cities, which takes about 1h20.
Although it is small, Vila do Conde has an excellent infrastructure of commerce, bars and restaurants, and a busy cultural life. In the annual calendar of events, residents can participate in the International Short Film Festival, National Crafts Fair, Agricultural Activities Fair, Gastronomy Fairs, and many others.
For those who like to live close to the sea, I only need to say that there are 18 km of beaches to enjoy.
Viana do Castelo has already been elected as the best city to live in the country. According to the last Census, there are about 85,000 inhabitants who enjoy daily safety and quality of life. The city is connected to Porto and Braga, for example, by train.
Even being one of the smallest cities to live in Portugal, Viana do Castelo has a great infrastructure and a great historical and natural heritage. As for leisure, besides the beaches with great options for the practice of nautical sports, the citizens also have cinemas, libraries, museums and theaters.
Portugal is a very small country and living in the center means being only a few hours away from Lisbon and Porto, the main cities of the Portuguese country.
One of the small towns in Portugal that deserves to be highlighted is Nazaré. Known for its giant waves and for being the refuge of surfers. There are about 15 thousand inhabitants that can enjoy a quality infrastructure for such a small town.
For those who want to live with a low cost of living, mild climate and great beaches, Nazaré is a good option. The fishing activity in the city is very intense, which means that fish and seafood will not be missing in your diet.
Living in Viseu can be a good move. The city has a wide network of restaurants, schools, commerce, green areas, hospitals, a campus of the Portuguese Catholic University, and beautiful architecture.
Furthermore, it offers a great quality of life for about 99,000 inhabitants and a low cost of living, especially when it comes to renting an apartment, which has been the expensive part of the cost of living in Portugal.
Many Brazilians prefer to live in cities near Lisbon. That way, they can guarantee cheaper rents, without losing the job opportunities that the Portuguese capital offers. Among those that are close to the Lisbon metropolitan region, we selected Torres Vedras and Montijo as the small cities in Portugal to live in.
Torres Vedras is located 50 km from Lisbon and for some years now has been gaining attention from immigrants and Portuguese who are looking for a small town to live in. The main reason is that the city has great social parameters.
Being close to the Portuguese capital, the city is an alternative destination for those who want to work in Lisbon, but do not want to pay absurd amounts for rent. The city has approximately 83 thousand inhabitants and has a good cultural and educational proposal. Besides, it has a low crime rate and well regarded public health services.
The coastal town also stands out for its tradition of wineries and is a great option for those who like the beach and want to be close to the capital and Lisbon airport.
Montijo is only 30 kilometers from the center of Lisbon, on the south bank of the Tagus River. According to the 2021 Census, there are about 55,000 inhabitants, divided into two parts, the western and smaller part, where the main part of the city is, and the eastern, more extensive part.
The city has four large meat packing plants, moving the region’s economy and generating many jobs. Those who live in this small town in Portugal also have the large shopping center Fórum Montijo at their disposal. There are also plans to build an airport to help with the air traffic and to relieve the Lisbon Airport. Therefore, the job offer will be very large.
The southern region offers about 300 days of sunshine a year. Even the Algarve has already been voted the best place to live in retirement.
A curious fact: Brazilian Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna lived in the Algarve from 1992 until the day of his tragic accident in 1994.
The highlights among the small cities to live in Portugal in this region are: Portimão and Lagos.
Located west of the Algarve, Portimão is a city that receives thousands of tourists in the summer. Thus, it is one of Portugal’s small cities where the offer of jobs in the hotel and restaurant sector ends up being attractive. However, despite the great flux of tourism, life in the city is very calm and safe.
About 60 thousand inhabitants can count on a good infrastructure: shopping centers, schools, the University of Algarve campus, hospitals and health clinics, and beautiful beaches to enjoy the sunny days.
Lagos is one of the best small towns to live in Portugal. There are about 33,000 inhabitants who can enjoy the quiet life and admire breathtaking natural beauty. The beaches of Lagos are incredibly beautiful and it is no wonder that it attracts thousands of tourists in the summer.
There are several small cities to live in Portugal, but describing each one would be quite a task. So we have listed a few more cities that are worth considering when choosing where to live in the Portuguese country.
It’s no news that job opportunities are concentrated in the big cities, but that doesn’t mean that in small towns in Portugal you can’t get a position in the job market. This will depend on your area of expertise.
Ideally, you should conduct a search on job sites in Portugal to check out the opportunities and the number of vacancies available. That way you can choose which small cities are worthwhile for you.
The cost of living in small Portuguese cities is quite different from the big cities. When it comes to food and basic bills you don’t see that much difference. However, when it comes to renting an apartment in Portugal, the price difference can be huge. And usually this is the biggest weight in the decision to choose a city to live in.
On September 27, 2022, we conducted a survey on the Numbeo website to find out the cost of living in some of the small towns to live in Portugal mentioned in this article. Check it out:
|Viana do Castelo
|T1 – 1 bedroom in the city center
|T1 – 1 room off center
|T3 – 3 bedrooms in the city center
|T3 – 3 bedrooms outside the center
|Viana do Castelo
|Basic – electricity, water, garbage – for an 85m2 apartment
|Internet + TV Plan
|Viana do Castelo
|Milk (1 liter)
|Fresh white bread (500 gr)
|Rice (1 kg)
|Local cheese (1 kg)
|Chicken Fillet (1 kg)
|Red meat (1 kg)
|Banana (1 kg)
|Potato (1 kg)
|Onion (1 kg)
|Water (1.5 l)
|National Beer (500 ml)
|Bottle of wine (medium range)
|Viana do Castelo
|One-way ticket (local transport)
|Monthly Pass (regular price)
|Viana do Castelo
|Meal, cheap restaurant
|Two-person meal, mid-range restaurant, three courses
|Beer (500 ml)
|Soda (330 ml)
|Water (330 ml)
Choosing among the many small towns to live in Portugal will depend on what you are looking for. You’ve already seen that they have a lower cost of living and many offer a great quality of life and infrastructure.
The important thing is to evaluate at what point in life you are and if the city meets what you are looking for. Evaluate the following points:
We would say that any city in Portugal is quiet, including the big ones. For those who are used to living in big cities in Brazil, you will notice this change right away.
When we talk about the small towns in Portugal, the tranquility is felt and appreciated on a daily basis, and it is quite difficult to pinpoint a specific one.
We can say that all the cities we have listed throughout this article are quite quiet. However, the southern cities like Portimão and Lagos are busier in terms of tourism in the summer and the large flow of people can be a nuisance for many people.
That depends on what cheap and good means to you. For me, Lívia, cheap and good living would be to be close to the big cities so that I can get to and from them by public transportation to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the nightlife, as well as job opportunities.
For retirees, living well and cheaply can mean being in one of Portugal’s small towns or even in the famous villages.
For a family with school-age children, living well and cheaply can mean being in a small or medium-sized city, but one that has good schools and leisure options for the children.
One thing is for sure: cities like Lisbon, Porto and their surroundings, can allow you to live well, but cheap is another story. So, if you want a place that has that balance, opt for one of the small cities to live in Portugal.
It’s like I said in the thread above, it will all depend on what you are looking for.
For those who are looking to leave Brazil to live in a quiet city with plenty of security, it is worth living in a small town in Portugal. On the other hand, job opportunities are more concentrated in the big cities, where the cost of living is higher.
However, in some situations, it is possible to live in small cities and work in larger cities that are close by. In situations where there is no public transportation, considering buying a car in Portugal can be an alternative, the roads are good and so is the traffic.
Article originally published on our partner site Euro Dicas.