Updated: February 16, 2023
The Ten Best Places to Live in Portugal for Expats
Portugal is an extremely expat-friendly country known for having exceptional weather, beautiful landscapes, and a high quality of life. It’s no small wonder that Portugal comes top of the list for many people looking to move abroad. Before you arrive, you’ll probably want to know what the best places to live in Portugal are from a trusted source. The Goldcrest team is made up of experts in the market, and where real estate for sale in Portugal is concerned, we can make the process stress-free and even enjoyable.
Why live in Portugal?
There is a large expat community in Portugal. This is in part due to the year-round warm weather, in part due to the stunning scenery, and partly due to the welcoming attitude and good nature of Portuguese people. In addition to this, the delicious food and access to fresh fish that this Western tip of Europe provides is a big attraction for many.
Algarve Voted the Best Place to Live in Portugal
A top choice when buying real estate in Portugal — for locals and expats alike — is the Algarve. For many, the Western Algarve is considered the more scenic part of the Algarve. As far as buying a home in Portugal goes, the Algarve qualifies as having some of the top cities to live in, the best weather, and the most beautiful beaches to visit. In fact, Forbes has acknowledged the Algarve as one of the best places to live in Portugal for retirees due to how affordable it is.
The Algarve’s port city, Portimão, is rather popular with expats. It is not far from Praia da Rocha, the main beach, and has a charming mix of older 19th and 20th-century buildings and modern apartment blocks.
Benefits of living in the Algarve
- Fantastic weather: Temperatures range from 16 degrees C (61 degrees F) in winter to 28 degrees C (84 degrees F) in summer
- World-class beaches: Some of the most gorgeous beaches can be found in the Algarve
- Family-friendly: Many families choose to move to and holiday in the Algarve as it’s a very safe and family-friendly place to live
- More peace and quiet than in Porto and Lisbon
- A large, welcoming expat community
- Great schools and healthcare system
Property prices in the Algarve
General prices around the Algarve for property type:
- One bedroom flat cost: Average cost in Albufeira and Faro €200,000 – €250,000
- Two bedroom apartment with a sea view: Average cost €300,000 – €450,000
- Three bedroom villa with a pool: Average cost €450,000 – €650,000
Prices by location in the Algarve:
- Faro: The average price per square meter is €2,425. For a two-bedroom 85 square meter apartment, the cost would be around €206,125.
- Lagos: Average price per square meter is €3,337.93. For a two-bedroom 85 square meter apartment, the cost would be around €300,000.
- Tavira: Average prices per square meter are €6,458.35. For a two-bedroom 85 square meter apartment, the cost would be around €548,959.75.
Portugal’s capital city is also a hugely popular choice for expats where Portugal real estate is concerned. As the country’s largest city, it is incredibly livable. There’s enough buzz to keep all ages of the family occupied and enough tranquility, too – given the beautiful nature surrounding the bustling city.
Lisbon, along with Porto and Faro, has an international airport that makes travel easy. Lisbon is also one of the best places to live in Portugal for English speakers, as the language is so widely spoken throughout the city.
Benefits of living in Lisbon
The main benefit of living in Lisbon is being able to call a unique,old European city home. The old town is steeped in history, and there are plenty of fantastic bars and restaurants with both traditional fare and modern offerings.
A great location for many expats, what sets Lisbon apart is the stunning nature and wonderful beaches that surround the capital city in Sintra, Cascais, and other regions nearby. A balance between the lively city center and calm outskirts is easily attainable in Lisbon, and it is a very safe city, making Lisbon one of the best places to live in Portugal.
Property prices in Lisbon
General prices around Lisbon by property type:
- One-bedroom flat cost: Average cost in Lisbon city center €385,000 – €415,000
- Two-bedroom apartment with a Tagus river view: Average cost €450,000 – €550,000
- Three-bedroom villa with a pool: Average cost €595,000 – €750,000
Prices by location in the city center of Lisbon:
- Bairro Alto: Average prices per square meter are €6,578. For a two-bedroom 85 square meter apartment, the cost would be around €560,000
- Lapa and Santos: Average prices per square meter are €5,25. For a two-bedroom 85 square meter apartment, the cost would be around €450,000.
- Intendente and Mouraria: Average prices per square meter are €4,410. For a two-bedroom 85 square meter apartment, the cost would be around €375,000.
Cascais comes pretty near the top on the wish list for people buying a home in Portugal. The mix of spectacular beaches, a small-town feel, and a bustling suburban vibe make it one of the best Portuguese cities to live in. There is a great expat community and a large local Portuguese family atmosphere in Cascais.
You’ll find plenty of colorful boats bobbing in the harbor, alluding to the city’s fishing history, as well as a large expat community. There are many outdoor activities to partake in, such as golf, sailing, diving, and biking, and plenty of delicious seafood to enjoy.
Cascais is at the end of the “Linha,” the main railway line that goes directly to the center of Lisbon in just over half an hour. It is conveniently close to the city while having a more Mediterranean feel, situated right on a beautiful coastal area with golden beaches. You’re also likely to find some trendy beach cafés here.
The average price per square meter in Cascais is €5,375 in the city center. So, to buy a two-bedroom apartment here, the average price is around €456,875. For a larger three-bedroom villa with a pool, you can expect to pay between €750,00 and €950,000.
Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal and is quickly becoming a firm favorite for tourists and those looking to buy a home in a safe city with a rich history. Like Lisbon, Porto has an incredibly beautiful historic city center with charming narrow streets paved with cobblestones. It also has efficient public transportation. This beautiful city is situated on the Douro River and is surrounded by vines that produce some of Portugal’s most loved wines.
While Porto is popular, it hasn’t yet reached the demand Lisbon has for real estate, so you will find better value for money in Porto. There may also be marginally fewer tourists to contend with in the summer months. While Porto is not the warmest place in Portugal, it benefits from plenty of sunshine during the year, and its colorful streets brighten the city no matter the weather.
The average price per square meter in Porto’s city center is €3,272.50. So, to buy a two-bedroom apartment here, the average price is around €278,162.50. For a larger three-bedroom villa with a pool, you can expect to pay between €450,00 and €650,000.
The Silver Coast
The Silver Coast is certainly a more underrated part of Portugal. For those looking for a quieter, more rural lifestyle and properties for sale at a relatively low cost, the Silver Coast would come high up on the list of best places to live in this diverse country.
Just an hour north of Lisbon, you’ll find the town of Caldas da Rainha, built around one of the oldest thermal hospitals in the world. This Portuguese city is compact, with plenty of things to do in and around the city center. Entertain yourself at the daily fruit and vegetable market, shop at the nearby fish market, and peruse the goods offered at the weekly flea market up the hill. This gem of a city is a place that many lucky expats would be happy to call home.
The benefits of buying real estate here are largely based on the beautiful scenery, with rugged natural beaches and wonderful surf. The value for money here is far better too, as it’s largely off the beaten track for tourists and expats.
The average price per square meter on the Silver Coast is as low as €1,239. To buy a two-bedroom apartment here, the average price would be around €150,000. For a bigger three-bedroom villa with a pool, you can expect to pay between €260,000 and €500,000.
Coimbra is a charming medieval university town that is built on the grounds of a former palace. In fact, it used to be the capital of Portugal. This Portuguese city boasts a diverse population and plenty of restaurants, cultural events, sports, and activities.
Coimbra is not the first place that comes to mind for tourists and expats looking to purchase real estate in Portugal because it’s quieter, but it’s still very beautiful. Value for money here will be very good, and purchasing a property is cheaper than in other cities like Lisbon or Porto.
The average price per square meter in Coimbra is €2,224.75. To buy a two-bedroom apartment here, the average price would be around €200,000. For a bigger three-bedroom villa with a pool, you can expect to pay between €300,000 and €450,000.
In the very north of Portugal, close to the border with Spain, you find the small city of Chaves. This ancient city is home to thermal spa baths with supposed healing properties. Chaves is a gateway to Portugal, boasting stunning architecture that dates back to Roman times, two 17th-century fortresses, and a tall tower marking the remains of Chaves Castle. If you’re fascinated by history, this is definitely the town for you!
In Chaves, you will have very few expats to contend with, and if you’re looking to dive right into local culture this will be a beautiful place to do so.
The average price per square meter in Chaves comes in at the low cost of €1,000. To buy a two-bedroom apartment here, the average price would be around €100,000. For a bigger three-bedroom villa with a pool, you can expect to pay between €200,000 and €250,000.
The Azores, considered one of the most beautiful places to live in the world, is an archipelago of islands in Portugal. These islands include Santa Maria and São Miguel, and the low cost of living makes this one of the cheapest places to live in stunning Portugal.
You can take a ferry to mainland Portugal, and three major airports on the archipelago offer regular flights across the continent.
The Azores islands are one of Portugal’s best-kept secrets, as they have unrivaled natural beauty, and not so many foreigners visit or live there. This hidden gem is ready to be explored, offering travelers an island life, gorgeous sights, and a rich history.
The average price per square meter in the Azores is € 1,736. To buy a two-bedroom apartment here, the average price would be around €200,000. For a bigger three-bedroom villa with a pool, you can expect to pay between €300,000 and €400,000.
Located right in the middle of the Atlantic, Madeira boasts many visitors each year. If you decide to make a home in Madeira, you’ll enjoy a tropical climate, stunning landscapes, and beautiful gardens and flowers. In fact, the landscape here is so amazing that the many forests are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Madeira Laurissilva is a natural site declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.
Madeira is a volcanic island off the coast of mainland beauty that offers a fantastic package to expats and retirees in terms of the standard of living. There are numerous beautiful walks in the Levada’s with lush vegetation and some jaw-dropping panoramic sea views around the island.
The average price per square meter in Madeira is €1,631. To buy a two-bedroom apartment here, the average price would be around €200,000. For a bigger three-bedroom villa with a pool, you can expect to pay between €400,000 and €450,000.
Data used in the article is from Numbeo, which uses the most up-to-date figures possible.
Get in touch
Goldcrest is a team of property experts that can assist you and your family in finding the best place to live in Portugal. We have deep expertise in the Portuguese real estate market and will always act diligently on your behalf to negotiate the best possible deal for you.
Frequently asked questions
Where are the best places to live in Portugal?
The best places to live in Portugal are Lisbon, the Algarve, and Porto. It depends on what you value most highly, but these places are frequently rated as the best. For expats, some of the best places in Portugal are Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Viseu, and Évora.
Is it expensive to buy a home in Portugal?
Relatively speaking, it is still affordable to buy a home in most of Portugal. The central parts of Lisbon can be more expensive, but on the whole, you’ll find spacious properties at very reasonable prices.
How can I find the best cities to live in Portugal?
When looking for Portugal real estate for sale, we would advise enlisting the help of a trusted professional such as a buyer’s agency.
What are the best places to live in Portugal for expats?
Depending on the type of lifestyle you are looking for, Lisbon and Faro are some of the best places to live by the sea in Portugal.
What is the nicest place to live in Portugal?
Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, is the most popular place for expats to reside in Portugal. The nicest place for you will depend on your needs.
What are the top ten cities in Portugal?
The top ten cities in Portugal are the following: Lisbon, Porto, Cascais, Coimbra, Braga, Guimaraes, Santarem, Faro, Funchal, and Sintra.
Where do most expats live in Portugal?
Lisbon, Porto, the Silver Coast, and the Algarve all have large expat communities.
What is the safest place to live in Portugal?
Lisbon, Porto, the Azores, Madeira, and Coimbra are considered some of the safest places in Portugal.
Where in Portugal is the best place to retire?
Braga has previously been voted as one of the best places in the world to retire. Aveiro, the Algarve, Coimbra, and Cascais are also some of the best places to live in Portugal for retirees. In fact, Forbes listed the Algarve as a top location to retire.