Updated: May 27, 2024


US nationals have increasingly had their sights set on Portugal. In the last decade, the number of Americans who have moved to the country has tripled, and thousands of Americans now call Portugal home.

From Lisbon, the cosmopolitan capital, to the Algarve, one of the most sought-after coastlines, Portugal boasts an array of stunning locations. But where in the country are Americans moving to?

Top Locations for American Expats

The most popular locations in Portugal for American expats are shown below. From the bright lights of Lisbon to quiet ambiance of Braga, these are the top picks for US nationals looking to capitalize on the very best that Portugal has to offer.



Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, is home to more than 3,100 American expats. Lisbon boasts a high quality of life, a large expat community, and top-quality education options – with 28 international schools in Lisbon and the Greater Lisbon Area.

It is a city rich in culture and events, where there is always something to get involved in, plus you have easy access to top-quality golf courses, water sports activities, and sandy beaches.

The charming seaside town of Cascais, a favorite with luxury buyers, is also just a short 30-minute drive away.



Lagos, a charming city in the Western Algarve in Southern Portugal, boasts incredible vistas, and a wide array of waterfront properties and spacious villas. The Algarve is renowned for its sublime climate, laid-back lifestyle, and proximity to modern amenities.

You will also find world-class golf courses and 12 international schools in the Algarve region, and English is widely spoken here, given the high number of expats and tourists. What stands out about Lagos is that it is one of the best places in the country for water sports, from sailing to paddleboarding – plus there are top waves for keen surfers at nearby Sagres, further west. The jaw-dropping landscapes, such as Ponte de Piedade and the Benagil Caves, add to the appeal.



Hundreds of American nationals live in Portugal’s second-largest city, known for its rich cultural heritage, Port wine houses in neighboring Vila Nova de Gaia, proximity to some of the best beaches in the country, and four international schools. Porto boasts picture-perfect neighborhoods, such as Riberia, some of the best restaurants in the country—be it fine dining or local eateries—and a high quality of life. Foz do Douro, on the coast, also provides spacious houses, perfect for families and lifestyle buyers.



Leiria is a city about an hour and a half north of Lisbon and is home to around 400 US-born residents. Expats can enjoy a quieter lifestyle and an authentic living experience. The city is known for its medieval castle and the nearby UNESCO-listed Batalha Monastery, highlighting Leiria as a key point of historical interest in Portugal.


The Azores

Real estate in the AzoresThe emerald islands of the Azores are home to around 400 American expats.

Nestled in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean, between Portugal and America, these islands are known for their incredible natural beauty, green rolling hills, fresh local produce, volcanic landscapes, and thermal springs.

The Azores are one of the most affordable parts of Portugal and are a favorite with retirees.



Around 300 American nationals live in Setúbal, a coastal city in the Greater Lisbon area, less than an hour’s drive away to the south.

Setúbal is known for being close to the stunning Arrábida Natural Park, where you can find some of the most spectacular views of the Atlantic.

You can also enjoy dolphin-watching opportunities in the Sado Estuary and enjoy the fresh fish and seafood that Setúbal is famous for.



Coimbra, a historic student city in Central Portugal, is home to one of the oldest universities in the world.

More than 200 Americans live in Coimbra, which has become well-known for its affordability and historic architecture – such as the Coimbra Cathedral, the only one in Portugal that still retains the original Romanesque semi-circular apse – alongside its vast dining options and vibrant city buzz.



Madeira, an archipelago located on the northwest coast of Africa, boasts an all-year-round exceptional climate and is home to almost 200 Americans. The mix of Portuguese culture, gastronomy, and outdoor activities provides an appealing lifestyle destination for US nationals looking to live overseas while being surrounded by stunning ocean views.



Known as the “Venice of Portugal, Aveiro is home to more than 150 Americans. Located in Central Portugal close to Coimbra, you’ll find beautiful canals with colorful moliceiros boats gliding past and intricate Art Nouveau buildings. From Aveiro, you are well-positioned to enjoy Porto and the stunning Silver Coast, on the west coast of Portugal.



Braga Portugal Real EstateNorth of Porto, you’ll find Braga.

A charming city home to more than 130 American expats. Braga has become a bustling tech hub in recent years, but at its heart is a city of unexplored nature and historic flair.

Braga is also a very affordable city to live in and you are well positioned close to the Spanish border to explore Spain.

Other popular locations for American expats include Viana do Castelo, Santarém, Beja, Viseu, Castelo Branco, Évora, and Guarda.

The Allure of Portugal to Americans

As you can see, the diverse cities in Portugal present an array of options for Americans, whether you are looking for a vibrant city, quieter town, or seaside resort. For such as small country – you can drive from north to south in less than eight hours – Portugal has something to suit any requirements.

The high quality of life, excellent healthcare and education systems, low cost of living, progressive legislation, and safety, are other key reasons why Americans have moved to Portugal. Alongside the lifestyle aspects, the booming real estate market also presents an alluring investment opportunity.