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Digital Nomad in Lisbon: is the city worth it?

23 de November, 2022

Digital Nomad in Lisbon: is the city worth it?

Becoming a digital nomad in Lisbon may be an old dream of many people. There is no lack of people who imagine themselves moving from city to city, traveling and exploring the world, meeting new people and new places.
Reading: 10 min

Becoming a digital nomad in Lisbon may be an old dream of many people. There is no shortage of people who imagine themselves moving from city to city, traveling and exploring the world, meeting new people and new places. And this is an economically feasible way to fulfill this dream in a European capital.

It is especially possible for remote workers or the self-employed. Some areas are more conducive to this: about 51% of people who opt for this traveling lifestyle are in Digital Marketing, Computer Science, and creative industries such as copywriting and design.

The options, however, are endless, and it is not because your area is not one of these that you cannot organize yourself and set off on this adventure with a lot of courage and a computer in your suitcase.

Is Lisbon a good city for digital nomads?

Lisbon, it seems, is an excellent city to make this dream come true. The city occupies the first place in several lists in terms of best places to be a digital nomad. Among them, Instant Offices’ 2022 report.

Of course, this evaluation follows the company’s criteria, and the destination to which someone plans to travel may or may not please, depending on that person’s priorities. Some factors, however, put the Portuguese capital in the limelight.

The cost of living is extremely low compared to other European capitals, which is already a positive factor. In addition, you can add a pleasant climate, sunny almost all year round, and an above-average quality of life. These are factors that attract workers from all over the world.

“Lisbon is the perfect option for those who want to find cheap and delicious food, pleasant climate and scenery, and excellent infrastructure. One of the sunniest places in Europe, the Portuguese capital is a food lover’s paradise, with local markets and fresh fish available on every corner. With more than 7 thousand wi-fi hotspots and an average broadband speed of 93.4 Mpbs, the city is ideal to enjoy the sun and surf during work breaks”, assesses Instant Offices.

The capital is just one of several villages for digital nomads in Portugal, one of the best countries in the world to live traveling. There are even cheaper options or those closer to nature, which can please according to the profile of each nomad.

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How long can I stay in Lisbon as a digital nomad?

The government allows a visitor who is not a Portuguese citizen to stay in the country for up to 90 days without the need for a visa for Portugal. If the worker intends to stay in the country for only this period, there is no need for this documentation.

Digital nomads, however, usually stay in one place for 3 to 9 months, according to Instant Offices’ research. If this is the case for you, you need to apply for a visa.

Digital Nomads Visa in Portugal

The most recent novelty is a visa for remote workers, published in the Diário da República. To request this document, workers must have an income greater than 2,800€. It must be requested by those who wish to stay in the country for more than 3 months, through VSF Global, the company responsible for this service in Brazil. It has 5 offices in Brazil, in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte and Salvador.

Some digital nomads also opt for the D7 visa, the Passive Income Visa. It is designed for people with passive income sources, such as pensions, rents on real estate investments, dividends, intellectual property, or who wish to live in the country.

Man works remotely and lives as a digital nomad in Lisbon
There are different visa possibilities for digital nomads in Lisbon.

Workers who have some income of this kind and wish to live in Portugal can apply for this visa, as long as they can prove income relative to a minimum wage for 12 months (705€ monthly in 2022).

Work as a digital nomad in Lisbon

It is true that the capital offers digital nomads a good experience, with a low cost of living and an offer of beautiful landscapes, natural spaces, and multicultural coexistence, since it is possible to meet people from all corners of the world on Lisbon’s streets.

But living as a digital nomad in Lisbon goes beyond that. To work, it is necessary to have adequate spaces, quality internet, good lodging and transportation options, for example. For being a capital and a large city, with almost 3 million inhabitants in its metropolitan region, Lisbon also offers a good structure to its inhabitants.

Best places to work in Lisbon as a digital nomad

Filled with cafes, coworking spaces and libraries, there is no shortage of options in the city for places to work, from the quietest to the most hectic. There is something to suit all tastes of nomads who decide to live in Lisbon.

Coworking spaces

For those who prefer the hustle and bustle of people passing by, the whispering by the ear with someone they just met, but who may have a lot to add to their projects, coworkings are perfect. They work as spaces equipped with internet, desks, and all the structure you need to carry out your activities.

The main positive point of this type of environment, where you can rent a table or even an entire room to share with colleagues, is the exchange of ideas and projects. Many professionals pass through there who can offer new work, complement their services, or even add knowledge.

Besides, it is not bad at all to meet people from all over the world in a multicultural city like Lisbon. It is the perfect opportunity to make friends and companions for the weekend.

Coffees

The cafes, on the other hand, are excellent options for those who are more reserved. This is because some of them are designed for this kind of public, and their tables are equipped with power outlets to plug in their laptops.

In these spaces, there is no need to rent a table and coffee is guaranteed. But make no mistake: many of them look like real coworkings, with people performing the most different functions everywhere. There is no lack of motivation to be productive!

Libraries

There are jobs that require a lot, but a lot of concentration. If this is the case, libraries are ideal spaces, since they are usually very quiet. And Lisbon has a good number of them, some of them quite beautiful. You can check the one nearest to you on the BLX – Bibliotecas de Lisboa website.

Accommodation for Digital Nomads

Despite all the positive factors mentioned above, such as good weather, multicultural environment, fast internet, and cheap cost of living, the reality is that it is not easy to rent property in Portugal, especially in Lisbon.

This is because the rental value of real estate is still high and mainly affected by inflation that reached 7.8% in 2022. In addition, the city continues to have high demand for rental properties and low supply, which can lead to exorbitant prices. That is why many people end up choosing to live in the interior of Portugal, which has more attractive prices, such as Ericeira, Algarve or even the island of Madeira.

For digital nomads, who intend to stay in the city for a shorter period, the ideal thing might be renting a space on sites like Flatio and Uniplaces, where prices are also on the rise. On the platform, an apartment can be between €1,500 and €2,300, while a room for rent in Lisbon can be found for between €500 and €800.

Cost of living for digital nomads in Lisbon

Of course, the cost of living in Lisbon varies according to each person and their lifestyle. The cost of a digital nomad, for example, may be higher than that of a regular Lisbon resident due to the short-term stay, for example.

It is possible, however, to calculate an average of how much it costs to live in the largest Portuguese capital. The Numbeo website, which calculates living costs around the world, estimates an average of €633.96 for a single person (rent not included).

The rent for a room or apartment can vary between 500€ and 2.300€, which includes expenses with house bills such as water, electricity and internet. Check out some other possible monthly expenses for living as a digital nomad in Lisbon.

Type of expenseAverage value (per person)
Supermarket200€
Public transport40€
Health planfrom 35€
Cellular Plan30€

Internet Quality in Lisbon

With the fastest internet in Portugal, the Greater Lisbon area has an average download speed of 93.4 Mpbs on the fixed internet, much higher than the 79 Mpbs relative to the national average.

The data are from the National Communications Authority(ANACOM), which nevertheless points to an increase in internet speed in the country as a whole. In 2022, fixed internet showed an increase in speed of 59% over the previous year, and mobile internet, of 34%.

After Lisbon, the regions in Portugal with the best fixed Internet speed are Madeira (88.5 Mpbs) and Azores (87.5 Mpbs).

Leisure, culture and entertainment in Lisbon

One of the city’s great differentials is its vast offer of cultural and entertainment options. Home to some of the most important soccer stadiums in the country, the Estádio da Luz and the Estádio José Alvalade, it is a sure stage for Champions League classics.

Lisbon also offers endless music festivals, especially in the summer, when the weather is perfect to enjoy the outdoors. But the shows don’t stop there, and extend to several event houses spread around the city, such as the Altice Arena and the Coliseu dos Recreios.

As for festivities, June is the perfect month to enjoy the Santos Populares festivities, which take place in Lisbon’s best neighborhoods, such as Alfama and Graça. You can’t miss the delicious grilled sardines!

But the truth is that the city’s cultural programming extends throughout the year. There is no shortage of museums, theaters, cinemas, street fairs, and tourist attractions in the city to visit and revisit.

Many spaces offer free tours on Sundays for residents of Lisbon or the country and, to check out the best places to visit, there are communication vehicles that propose to make guides to the city’s cultural programming. It is worth visiting Agenda LX, from the Lisbon City Council, Time Out, Lisboa Secreta, and EGEAC.

Transportation in Lisbon

Make no mistake: the distances in Portugal (and Europe, in general) are very different from those in Brazil. Brazil is a country of continental dimensions, and if for us a 6-hour car trip from São Paulo to Rio doesn’t seem that long, the situation changes in Portugal.

It is possible to get around the city center on foot, despite its steep slopes. The transportation structure in Lisbon is very good and equipped with a subway network (there are four lines), buses, trains and the charming yellow streetcars.

The Viva card, offered by the Lisbon City Council, allows you to travel freely around the city for only €30 per month. For an additional €10, you can explore the metropolitan region, which includes beach areas and the charming town of Sintra, for example. In addition, students under the age of 23 and seniors over the age of 65 pay no fare.

Transportation in Lisbon, Portugal
One of the things that digital nomads in Lisbon need to consider is the cost of transportation.

There is also the option of getting around the city by bike. The Gira bicycles, for example, are shared and have stations all over the city, with basic and electric options. To use them, one need only pay a daily fee of 2€ or 15€ per month, or an annual fee of 25€. In addition, the Portuguese government offers a subsidy to those who wish to purchase an electric bicycle.

There are still many shared scooters that were once a fever in Brazil. They are perfect for short trips or even to enjoy a sunny day in the city. Some of the companies that offer this service are Lime, Bird, Bolt, and Link.

Speaking of Bolt, the app works as a competitor to Uber in the city, and can be a good alternative for longer trips.

Of course, there are those who prefer to own a car, which is very useful for trips to other cities, but not very practical in the capital, which has little parking space available.

Is it worth living as a digital nomad in Lisbon?

The experience of being a digital nomad in Lisbon can vary depending on your profile and what you consider to be your priority. Many nomadic workers, for example, opt for cheaper regions within Portugal due to the high rental costs in the capital.

It is true, however, that despite being more expensive, Lisbon has a considerably larger offer of cultural programming, such as concerts, theaters, cinemas, and international events. Here are some of the country’s main soccer stadiums, as well as a major airport, which quickly connects its inhabitants to anywhere in Europe.

Lisbon also has a great cultural variety, with residents coming from all over the world, which is not the case in smaller cities. This is perfect for non-Portuguese speaking travelers, as many more people speak English.

The sunny climate practically all year round and the connectivity with a good part of the country (and even Europe) are other positive factors, which place the Portuguese capital in the first place in several lists of the best cities to be a digital nomad.

So, convinced that Lisbon is a good city for you to live and work remotely?

Article originally published on our partner site Euro Dicas.

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Author:

Atlantic Bridge

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