Portugal
Jun 2023
1 week

Lisbon

Europe's undisputed capital of remote work.

[Local Time}
{Temperature}
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[Description}

Portugal's sunny capital combines historic charm with modern vibrancy.

Featuring picturesque streets, iconic yellow trams, and a rich maritime history, it has seen a recent upsurge in tourists visiting the city from Europe and further afield.

Verdict:
Highly recommended

If you can secure a good deal on accommodation, it's without a doubt worth a visit. However, is it worth paying a substantial premium otherwise? I'd say there are better alternatives out there.

🌎
Verdict:
Highly recommended

If you can secure a good deal on accommodation, it's without a doubt worth a visit. However, is it worth paying a substantial premium otherwise? I'd say there are better alternatives out there.

Verdict:
Highly recommended

If you can secure a good deal on accommodation, it's without a doubt worth a visit. However, is it worth paying a substantial premium otherwise? I'd say there are better alternatives out there.

👎
Verdict:
Highly recommended

If you can secure a good deal on accommodation, it's without a doubt worth a visit. However, is it worth paying a substantial premium otherwise? I'd say there are better alternatives out there.

🛫
Euro (EUR)
500,000
💻 Remote work hub
🏝️ Great for a holiday
🥇 Top rated

Summary

A friend's wedding in Lisbon was a great reason to make an extended visit to one of Europe's most popular destinations for remote working. Having had it recommended to me by so many people as a great place to work from, my expectations were exceedingly high.

Accommodation
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

The cities growing reputation as a hub for remote work means there's a huge demand on Airbnbs in the city with prices to reflect it. Even when booking well in advance, your chances of finding a good value deal are slim to non existent, especially during the summer months.

Whilst you will probably never find a bargain, it's worth looking into alternative avenues to try find a good deal.

info
New legislation
Recent changes introduced by the Turkish government has made short-term rentals for under 100 days more restricted. Keep an eye on Reddit threads for up-to-date assessments of how the new legislation is impacting short-term rentals in practice.
Places to work
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

As you would expect from a city with Lisbon's reputation, there is no shortage of great places to work from. That being said, a couple which I did contact were at capacity for hot desking, so I would aim to sort something in advance if arriving during peak season.

Value
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Compared to other major European capitals, Lisbon remains a relatively good value option. However, while its reputation for exceptional affordability might have diminished from a decade ago, you can still find exceedingly inexpensive espressos and bottles of Sagres in the numerous small cafes that line the city's streets.

If you're arriving from another Western European country, budget similar to what you would at home and consider any spare change a pleasant bonus.

info
The yen is currently at a 34-year low
While this is undoubtedly a negative for the Japanese, it makes for an exceptionally good time to visit Japan from abroad. Although this trend is unlikely to reverse significantly in the short term, it's still worth checking before visiting.
Read more
View the cost of living
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Working hours
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Portugal is an hour behind CET, aligned with the UK in GMT.

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Where to stay

Having only spent a week in such a big city I feel somewhat under qualified to comment on this but these areas stood out to me.

Would avoid
Recommended
Misericórdia
I ended up spending a lot of time around this area and would be definitely somewhere I would consider on a future visit with lots of great options for food and drinks.
Would avoid
Recommended
Alfama
A suitable destination for a couple of nights for a holiday but i would not have any interest in a longer stay. Poor access to any immediate amenities like supermarkets and particularly aggressive hills.

Where to work

Lisbon WorkHub
Top Choice
☕️ Good Coffee
📍 Top Location
🥗 On Site Cafe
🧍Community Focused
⭐️ Quality Fit Out
🌳 Outdoor Space

Lisbon WorkHub provides a large open workspace, about a ten minute drive from Alfama. There is a plentiful supply of large desks and comfortable chairs in an open-plan interior with various lounge areas to take a break away from your desk.

Numerous phone booths are available and with passable Delta espresso available near the reception.

A great option if you are based to the east of the centre or want to work in a more relaxed area out of the centre. Worked from here for a week and would have happily stayed a lot longer.

Remote work visa

No remote work visa
Remote work visa available
Remote work visa coming soon
If staying for a prolonged period, you may want to consider a dedicated visa for this destination.
This country is actively working on a visa support for remote workers.
Check your government website for details of how to obtain a tourist visa.

Portugal offers five visa options for remote workers who wish to live and work in the country:

  1. The Temporary-Stay Visa is the most suitable choice for digital nomads seeking to work remotely from Portugal.
  2. The D7 Passive Income Visa is ideal for those planning to stay up to two years.
  3. The D2 Entrepreneur Visa and the Portugal Golden Visa are designed for individuals interested in investing in the Portuguese economy and pursuing a path to permanent residency.
  4. A short-stay tourist visa is available for those intending to stay for less than 90 days and do not require a local bank account.
View full details
To the best of my knowledge this information was correct as of 27th April 2024. If you notice something has changed drop me a message and I'll update it!

Citizen Remote is a great source of up to date knowledge for everything to do with remote work visas.

Safety

Off-work

Visit during the Festas dos Santos

My visit coincided with this popular two week festival celebrating the city's patron saint, Saint Anthony, with festivities featuring colorful parades, traditional music, local foods, and vibrant street parties.

If you are looking to visit at a time where there is a real party atmosphere then I could not recommend this more. Equally, if you are looking for a more sedate visit, you may want to give these weeks a miss.

Learn more
Day trip to Sintra

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, accessible in about an hour by train, Sintra is a stunning landscape of lush forests and vegetation with colourful palaces nestled within.

Well worth a trip from the centre of Lisbon and would make for an excellent (if not demanding) cycle if in a possession of a bike.

Day trip to Cascais

A coastal town accessible via a short train ride from Cais do Sodré.

Boasting picturesque beaches and a quaint harbour.

Day trip to Sintra

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, accessible in about an hour by train, Sintra is a stunning landscape of lush forests and vegetation with colourful palaces nestled within.

Well worth a trip from the centre of Lisbon and would make for an excellent (if not demanding) cycle if in a possession of a bike.

Visit during the Festas dos Santos

My visit coincided with this popular two week festival celebrating the city's patron saint, Saint Anthony, with festivities featuring colorful parades, traditional music, local foods, and vibrant street parties.

If you are looking to visit at a time where there is a real party atmosphere then I could not recommend this more. Equally, if you are looking for a more sedate visit, you may want to give these weeks a miss.

Day trip to Cascais

A coastal town accessible via a short train ride from Cais do Sodré.

Boasting picturesque beaches and a quaint harbour.

Duration & season

June to August are peak season the city so you may be better off visiting a few months either side where the weather is still great but with slightly reduced demand. With that being said, I visited during the Festas dos Santos in June, which was an amazing time to see the city in full party spirit.

Food & drink

Lisbon Waterfront
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Run
Flat surfaces are difficult to come by in Lisbon but the waterfront is an ideal place for a morning run before the sun comes up.

People

As you would expect from such a renowned tourist destination, during the peak summer months you are likely to see a high mix of visitors from across the world.

Lisbon is a year round base for a large remote work community, with many Europeans having moved to the city permanently. There is also a noticeably strong Brazilian expat community as a result of the countries long standing ties of association.

Exercise

Lisbon Waterfront
Flat surfaces are difficult to come by in Lisbon but the waterfront is an ideal place for a morning run before the sun comes up.
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Lisbon Waterfront
Flat surfaces are difficult to come by in Lisbon but the waterfront is an ideal place for a morning run before the sun comes up.

Verdict

Positives
  • A truly international demographic.As a sought-after holiday spot and a remote work hub, Lisbon attracts a diverse global audience, with a strong international community from around the world.
  • Great nightlife.An infinite selection of bars and restaurants of which I only began to scratch the surface.
  • Lots of options for coworking.As you would expect, there is no shortage of dedicated options to work from.
  • Easily accessible beaches.Within 30 minutes you can escape the city and retreat to the beach.
  • Beautiful nature nearby.Sintra and its surrounding regions stand in stark contrast to the southern Algarve, offering a completely different experience in Portugal.
  • Public transport is decent.Both the metro and mainline trains in Portugal are affordably priced and generally punctual (at least in comparison to British standards).
Negatives
  • Overly saturated with tourists.Whilst I enjoyed my week there (as one of those tourists), it wouldn't be an ideal place for myself to be based more long term.
  • Good accommodation at a fair price is hard to find.You'd be best off trying to source an apartment through alternative means, rather than going through Airbnb.
  • There is a mixed reception on whether the remote worker influx is a net  positive or negative.The main downside being locals being priced out as a result of increased demand. Average wages in Portugal are lower than in other countries so it is worth being mindful of this dynamic at play.
Tips
  • Lisbon is incredibly hilly.Bring suitable footwear for the inevitable numerous daily climbs.
  • Taxis are cheap.I can't remember anywhere else in Europe having such comparatively low fares.
Planning a trip?
I loved everything about this trip to Japan. I've put together some thoughts on my entire stay in the country, which may come in handy if you are planning a visit soon.
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