Updated: May 29, 2024

 

british-international-Schools in LisbonPortugal has become a popular destination for expats seeking a good quality of life in a foreign country. Retirees, digital nomads, young professionals, and families are all discovering the many perks of moving to Portugal. The beautiful westernmost country in Europe offers a stable economy and political system in a vibrant country with a sublime Mediterranean climate.

Despite how quickly we adapt to this ever-changing world and easily integrate into a globalized society, many parents with children still have one concern – what about education in Portugal? As an expat parent, there’s no need to worry about your child’s/children’s education in Portugal. Lisbon and the Greater Lisbon Area are home to more than half of the excellent selection of international schools in Portugal, offering a welcoming multicultural school community high-quality international education.

In this article, we’ll give you the rundown of the Lisbon neighborhoods close to good schools that offer students and their families a well-balanced school life, a student-centered educational community, and a premium education offering exciting real-life experiences and extracurricular activities. We’ll also touch on the types of international schools and higher education institutions in Lisbon and how to choose from the best international schools in and around Lisbon.

International schools in Lisbon

Finding the ideal school is crucial to further your child’s personal and professional development and set them up for a rewarding and successful future. According to a study produced by the US News and World Report, BAV Group, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Portugal’s educational system ranks 24th in the 2023 Best Countries for Education Report.

Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, has many diverse neighborhoods and is easily connected to the Greater Lisbon Area, where you will find plenty of educational options, including public schools, private schools, and some of the best international schools in Portugal.

Our residency and citizenship division, Global Citizen Solutions, has developed an international school guide for Portugal. This international school guide provides you with everything you’ll need to know about the education system in Portugal, including a complete list of the international schools in the country.

Types of international schools, Lisbon

Expats living in Lisbon, Portugal, generally enroll their children in international schools in Portugal. These schools offer a multicultural environment that provides students with transferable skills and, through positive personal relations training, enables students to engage better with different cultures. Whether you are looking for a primary school, international preparatory school, or secondary education, you’ll find plenty of choices.

Foreign residents in Lisbon can choose from British, American, French, German, and other international schools. These options are ideal if you want your child or children to be tutored by native-speaking teachers or be familiar with a specific curriculum with options including the Portuguese national curriculum, English national curriculum, or programs similar to the American high school diploma. For example, if you are British nationals and may wish to return to the UK at some point in the future, these considerations are essential as if your child is already following the British or international curriculum that will help them transition easily into a new school in your home country.

Luckily, in Lisbon, international school fees are relatively affordable compared to other European countries, starting at around €5,000 a year. Because the educational system in Portugal consists of different stages, you should consider this while searching for a school in the Portuguese capital for your child. Check carefully if the school you’re targeting is a good option for your children to continue their studies at advanced levels.

In this section, we’ll briefly overview each type of international school you can expect to find in and around Lisbon and decide on the schools you would like to visit, where you can get a feel for what they are about.

Schools with the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a pre-university education curriculum preparing students for more significant challenges in higher education. Students can graduate from secondary school with the International Baccalaureate Diploma, which is internationally recognized. The course focuses on children’s creativity, international mindedness, sense of community, and professional development. There are also some English-speaking schools in Portugal where students can graduate with an IB diploma. You can find the diverse range of educational institutions offering the IB diploma on the International Baccalaureate Organization website.

American international schools and Advanced Placement (AP)

The American education system consists of elementary, middle, and high school. During the different cycles of American education, your children will study social studies, math, English, science, and usually a foreign language.

Graduating from an American school, especially if the United States Department of State recognizes the school, can help students if they hope to attend university in the USA or Canada. Some American schools may offer Advanced Placement (AP) college-level courses, SAT preparation, or university application support.

A couple of good examples of schools that follow the American curriculum in Lisbon are the Carlucci American International School of Lisbon and the International Christian School of Cascais, located just outside of Lisbon. The Carlucci American International School is an excellent option if you are living in Portugal as an American and looking for an American international school in Portugal. As the name suggested, the International Christian School of Cascais is also religious.

British international schools

British schools in Lisbon are good options for expat parents considering a British education for their children, perhaps with the intention that they will be able to continue their studies in the UK in the future. Generally, students study science, math, history, English, and foreign languages. Of course, the language of instruction is English, and the focus is on problem-solving, confidence-building, and student growth.

One of the highlights and the biggest reasons why people consider a British school is that most offer International General Certificates of Secondary School (IGCSE), facilitating more accessible access to universities. The British School of Lisbon and St. Julian’s School, just outside Lisbon, are good examples of British schools in Lisbon.

Other national curricula

You’ll also find other national curricula in the Portuguese capital with different languages. For example, the German School of Lisbon (Deutsche Schule Lissabon) and the Lycée français Charles Lepierre (Lisbon) offer German and French curriculums, respectively. And, of course, you will also come across the Portuguese curriculum.

Method schools

Your child will learn at a different pace and in a playful multilingual learning environment at method schools. You should be aware that some methods schools may only accept students within specific cycles. Additionally, some schools may teach in one language or offer multilingual education, so do your research. The Lisbon Montessori School is an excellent example of such a school in Lisbon.

Which Lisbon neighborhoods are close to international schools?

There are 30 international schools in the Greater Lisbon Area out of the 51 international schools in the country. And, if you move to the Portuguese capital or the surrounding area, you should find that many Lisbon neighborhoods are close to international schools. You can see the locations of the international schools in and around Lisbon in the maps below.

 

Central Lisbon – A breakdown of the locations of international schools in Lisbon

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International schools in the Greater Lisbon Area

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The other two schools – St Peter’s International School and Seixal International School – are situated in Setúbal, a coastal city approximately an hour’s drive south of Lisbon.

With 30 international schools available, you will have quite a lot of options when it comes to deciding on a specific school. Examples of international schools in the Lisbon area include United Lisbon International School, Carlucci American International School, and PaRk International School.

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International Schools Lisbon: Exploring the Best Neighborhoods

If you want to move to Lisbon with your family, the following neighborhoods should be on your radar if you would like to be close to one good school in the city or the surrounding area. Where you are going to live can certainly be influenced by the logistics of taking your child to school, so it is worth scouting which neighborhood is close to your school of choice.

Saldanha

Saldanha is in the heart of Lisbon and is considered the city’s central business district. However, you’ll also find many residential properties, modern apartments, and older abodes here. From Saldanha, getting around is straightforward, with excellent transport links to the whole city. You’ll find many excellent restaurants, green spaces, and amenities nearby. You’ll find the diverse neighborhood of Anjos close by, with its trendy bars, innovative restaurants, and street art. This could be ideal if you are looking for a convenient, central location. It is also near prestigious universities and Astoria International School which offers primary and secondary education.

Campo de Ourique

Campo de Ourique, situated in western Lisbon, is well known as one of the city’s quieter spots. Here, you have the large Amoreiras shopping center and many green spaces. Campo de Ourique is not as busy as many other parts of Lisbon, making it the ideal place for families looking for somewhere a little less active. You are also not far from Monsanto, the beautiful national park that borders Lisbon to the west, perfect for weekend picnics, walks, or bike trips. Redbridge School and Lycée Francais Charles LePierre Lisbonne are located close to Campo do Ourique, and the British School of Lisbon is not far away.

Parque de Nacoes

In the east of Lisbon, Parque das Nações is a unique part of the city, providing modern properties, bustling restaurants, and top views of the River Tagus. The cable cars overhead add to its futuristic look, and the aquarium of Lisbon can also be found here, the perfect weekend escape for a rainy day. You are also very close to the airport and have good travel links to the city.

Some have said that Parque das Nações is slightly similar to Canary Wharf in London in terms of architecture. If you visit the area, you will likely be able to see for yourself the similarities. Regarding schools, the modern United Lisbon International School is close to Parque das Nações in Marvila.

Oeiras

If you follow the River Tagus west from the center of Lisbon on the way to Cascais, you’ll come across Oeiras. This is an excellent place to live for families, as you’ll find spacious properties, many of which have fantastic views of the river, and will also be close to sandy beaches, parks, green spaces, and international schools.

As this part of the city is a little further out, to the west of Belém, you’ll also find more affordable properties. The Oeiras International School and the International Sharing School Tagus Park are two excellent options to consider in Oeiras. The Oeiras International School is for children aged six to eighteen, while the international sharing school offers a unique experience based on learning by sharing.

Belém and Restelo

In the western part of Lisbon, Belém and Restelo are excellent options when considering Lisbon neighborhoods close to international schools. You’ll be near the river, not far from top beaches, either by car or train, and will find many parks, museums, and restaurants to enjoy. The original “pastel de nata” can also be traced back to Belém, at the Jerónimos Monastery in Santa Maria de Belem, a bonus of living in this area.

In the heart of Restelo, you’ll come across L’Ecole Trilingue, a small school where children discover the world in English, French, and Portuguese and receive individual attention.

Cascais

You’ll find an impressive 13 international schools in the Cascais/Estoril catchment area, such as PaRK International School. Cascais is a peaceful seaside town home to glorious beaches, water sports activities, and excellent seafood. You’ll find that the town gets much livelier in the summer months, as vacationing families and locals head to the seaside city to relax on the sandy beaches.

However, if you live a little outside the center or in neighboring Estoril, you’ll find stunning, spacious properties, many equipped with a swimming pool, private gym, and added security. You are just a 30-minute drive from Lisbon and close to the stunning Sintra-Cascais National Park by car.

Sintra

Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage town, and despite its rise in popularity, it retains its authenticity and local customs. The Sintra-Cascais National Park is home to some of the most beautiful palaces in Europe, and it’s perfect for active families exploring the stunning scenery and pristine beaches.

You’ll find three top-quality international schools in Sintra: the Carlucci International School of Lisbon, Prime School, and TASIS Portugal. The Prime School follows the Cambridge international curriculum if this interests you. You are still under an hour’s drive from Sintra from Lisbon, so you can enjoy the capital’s delights while appreciating peace and quiet.

Setúbal

Setúbal, a historic coastal city, is located 50 km south of Lisbon and home to one of Portugal’s largest expat populations. The stunning Arrábida Natural Park, one of the most beautiful areas of Portugal, is close by, so it’s no surprise why many expats are taking notice and moving here. If you are looking for a quiet spot not far from the city’s bright lights, then Setúbal could be the perfect location. You’ll find two excellent international schools near Setúbal – St Peter’s International School and Seixal International School.

Greater Lisbon

While it can be a great idea to live in the capital of Lisbon itself, the Greater Lisbon Area has much to offer, including providing a wide range of top-quality international schools. Many top locations are from Sintra to Cascais and Setúbal to Oeiras. One commonality, however, is that you’ll be able to live a high quality of life and be close to incredible natural landforms, beaches, and national parks while there are also many fun activities on offer, such as surfing, snorkeling, rock climbing, and more. Another benefit of choosing properties outside central Lisbon is that properties are often more affordable, depending on where you buy.

Take a look at our ultimate guide to buying property in Lisbon

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Wrapping Up International Schools Lisbon: Choosing the Best Options

Portuguese schools provide high-quality education with many options for expat families. An international school is an excellent choice if you want your child to follow a specific curriculum or be taught in a particular language.

Regarding neighborhoods close to international schools in Lisbon, we have shown that there are many options to consider. The main thing is to feel confident that you are choosing the best public and private schools or other higher education institutions for yourself or your child, as this is one of the most important decisions that will help shape them throughout their lives. The best way to begin your search is by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What are the languages I want my children to learn? 
  • How far away is the school from our home? 
  • What education system would I like my children to be enrolled in? 
  • Where are the possible countries where my children can attend universities? 
  • What is an affordable budget to maintain a good and cost-effective education?

Once you have clear answers to these questions, this will help you decide which schools are good options. Here are some of the valuable resources that might help you while choosing:

Goldcrest: How We Can Help You 

Goldcrest is a buyer’s agent that is based in Lisbon. We provide expert, impartial advice on real estate investments and how to buy property in Portugal. From scouting out the perfect property through to property acquisition, we have you covered throughout the process.

If you are looking to purchase property in Portugal, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our team of skilled experts is available to solve all your real estate doubts, helping you with the property search and offering insightful expertise and strategic advice.

Why choose Goldcrest?

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Frequently Asked Questions About Lisbon Neighborhoods Close to International Schools

Lisbon offers a variety of high-quality international schools with various languages and curricula to choose from.

Unlike public schools, international schools in Portugal come with annual fees, but Portugal has one of Europe’s most affordable education systems. Many schools in Portugal for international students allow children to study in their native language and interact with other children from across the world.

According to a Numbeo cost comparison between international school fees in Washington, DC, and Lisbon, school fees in Lisbon are much more affordable. In 2024, the annual tuition for one child in an international primary school costs €13,687.70 ($14,731.78) in Lisbon and €47,385.48 ($51,000.00) in Washington, DC.

The education system in Portugal is excellent, offering families a variety of choices for schools and universities in Portugal, including international schools. There are both private and free public schools in Portugal to choose from.

Central Lisbon and the Greater Lisbon Area offer excellent international schools in Portugal. These institutions provide various programs from primary education to secondary schools in an international community. Some of the best international schools include Astoria International School, St. Julian’s School, and Redbridge School.

There are many excellent international schools in Lisbon, including United Lisbon International School, the British School of Lisbon, St Julian’s School, Carlucci American International School of Lisbon, St Peter’s School, St Dominic’s International School, International Sharing School Tagus Park, and PaRk International School.

Yes, there are plenty of English-speaking schools in Portugal. You will find a mix of American and British schools where your child or children can get different English educational programs.

Yes, there are English-speaking high schools in Portugal and Lisbon. International schools here include several English-speaking ones, with many following British or American curricula.

The basic education program lasts nine years in Portugal, broken into three successive cycles of four, two, and three years. Children begin their first school year on 15 September once they turn six years old.

There are around 30 international schools in Lisbon and the Lisbon Greater Area which includes Carcavelos, Cascais, Estoril, Setúbal, and Sintra. Many are English-speaking, while some are bi- or multilingual.