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Digital Nomad Portugal: The Definitive Guide to Portugal for Digital Nomads
Updated: April 26, 2023 | Zahra
Portugal has welcomed digital nomads (remote workers) into the country with open arms to increase its global presence and competitiveness.
The country has recognized that digital nomads can boost its economy and has introduced measures such as setting up a Digital Nomad Village in Madeira in 2021 and introducing the new Digital Nomad Visa in 2022.
Portugal is, by all accounts, an excellent place to live and work as a digital nomad. The country consistently scores highly for its quality of life and safety. In fact, according to the Global Peace Index, Portugal has been ranked the sixth most peaceful country in the world.
Its culture is famous for its warmth, music, food, and architecture. The country is also home to famous beaches on the Algarve and closer to Lisbon, such as Carcavelos and Costa da Caparica. Whatever tickles your fancy, Portugal can come up trumps, whether it’s going out for a seafood dinner on the coast, networking in a trendy restaurant in Lisbon, or visiting a rural vineyard in the countryside.
Portugal has welcomed remote workers into the country and has set up infrastructure, including co-working spaces and visas. Overall, it’s a great country to move to as a digital nomad.
Places to Live: Accommodation in Portugal
Finding a place to live is one of the most important aspects of moving to a new country. Luckily, there are many accommodation options for digital nomads in Portugal.
You have several options if you’re looking for somewhere to live in Portugal. For short-term stays, you can look at Airbnb or sublets in Facebook groups such as “Accommodation for digital nomads in Lisbon.” For longer-term leases, contact real-estate companies or browse listings through websites like olx or idealista.
Airbnb is a great option for short-term stays. You can find affordable apartments or rooms for rent in most cities in Portugal. Airbnb allows you to filter housing according to your specific needs and preferences.
It’s also a great way to meet local hosts and get insider tips on the best places to visit.
Coliving spaces are becoming increasingly popular among digital nomads. These spaces offer shared living arrangements, with private bedrooms and shared common areas like kitchens and living rooms. Coliving spaces also often host events and activities, making them a great way to meet other digital nomads.
Serviced apartments offer the convenience of a hotel, with the privacy and space of an apartment. They often come with cleaning services and other amenities, making them an excellent fit for those who value comfort and convenience.
Places To Work: Coworking in Portugal
Portugal has a thriving coworking scene, with many options for digital nomads looking for a workplace. They can be a great way to expand your professional network, and many offer great perks like happy hours, free coffee, and activities.
Here are some of Portugal’s many great coworking spaces:
Porto i/o is one of Portugal’s most popular coworking spaces. Offering four coworking spaces in unique and historical buildings located in the heart of Porto, this space offers a modern and dynamic work environment.
Lacs Anjos is one of many coworking spaces in Lisbon. It is a central location, easily accessible by metro. Lacs includes an art gallery, a restaurant, meeting rooms, and an event space, making it a great option for those who need to host client meetings or events.
Factory Braga is located in the historic city of Braga. The space is accessible 24/7 and offers a modern, comfortable work environment and a community of creative professionals and entrepreneurs. It even includes a massage service, ping-pong tables, a jukebox, GuitarHero, and Wii consoles, perfect for letting off some steam during your work break.
Places To Meet: Networking in Portugal
Portugal has a thriving digital nomads and entrepreneurs community. Here are some of the best places to meet other like-minded individuals in Portugal:
- NomadX events
- Meetup groups such as “Digital Nomads Association Portugal“
- Coworking space events
- Expat groups such as “InterNations”
- Social media groups for digital nomads in Portugal
Digital Banking in Portugal
Opening a bank account in Portugal makes it much easier when it comes to paying your bills and will save you money on international transaction fees.
You can open up a non-resident account before moving there and then convert it to a residential account upon moving. There are also plenty of options for online banking, which you can open up from anywhere in the world.
Required documents for a bank account in Portugal
You will need:
- A Portuguese tax-payer identification number (NIF)
- An ID card, such as a passport
- Proof of Portuguese or foreign address
- Proof of income or employment
You can open up an online bank account in Portugal with your NIF. Some of the following banks offer a digital banking service:
- Novo Banco
- Caixa Geral de Depósitos
- Banco N26
- Millennium BCP
Portugal has several transportation options for digital nomads, including airports, bus services, trains, metros, and taxi services.
Portugal has several international airports that provide easy access to major cities like Lisbon, Porto, and Faro.
Some of the most popular airports for digital nomads include Lisbon Portela Airport, Porto Airport, and Faro Airport. These airports offer various transportation options, including public transport, taxis, and car rentals, making it easy for digital nomads to travel to and from their destinations.
These major Portuguese airports also offer direct international flights to and from the United States and the United Kingdom.
Portugal has an extensive bus network that covers most of the country. Companies like Rede Expressos and FlixBus offer affordable and convenient bus services, making it easy for a digital nomad to explore Portugal’s many cities and towns.
Trains are managed by Comboios de Portugal, the state-owned national train operator. Approximately 145 million passengers use Portugal’s trains annually, and they service connections between major cities such as Lisbon, Porto, Faro, and Lagos.
Taxis are readily available in Portugal, particularly in major cities like Lisbon and Porto. Apps like Uber and Bolt have made booking and paying for taxis easier, ensuring that a digital nomad can easily move around within cities.
You can purchase a Viva Viagem card in Lisbon to travel on the metro, bus, tram, funicular, ferry, and suburban train. You can purchase these cards in metro stations and have the option to top it up with a fare as needed, called “Zapping.”
Food and Groceries
Portugal is famous for its delicious cuisine, with seafood, bifanas, and chorizo being some of the most popular dishes. It’s also renowned for its wines such as Muscatel and pastries. Digital nomads can enjoy various food options, from local eateries to international restaurants.
Supermarkets like Pingo Doce, Continente, and Lidl offer a wide range of groceries, including fresh produce and household items, making it easy for digital nomads to cook meals. Additionally, we’d recommend checking out fresh produce markets where you can enjoy fruits and vegetables from local farms at a discounted price.
Laundry facilities are readily available in Portugal, particularly in major cities. Most apartments and hotels offer laundry services, while public laundromats can also be found nationwide.
Furnished apartments usually come with washer and dryer units, allowing you to do your laundry at home.
Leisure and Lifestyle
Nightlife in Portugal
Portugal has a vibrant nightlife, particularly in major cities like Lisbon and Porto. A digital nomad can enjoy a variety of nightlife options, including bars, nightclubs, and live music venues.
Portugal’s natural beauty makes it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking and cycling to surfing and swimming, there are plenty of outdoor activities for digital nomads. Popular outdoor destinations include the Douro Valley, Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, and the Algarve coast.
Portugal offers a variety of indoor activities for digital nomads, ranging from museums, cinemas, and galleries to snug cafes and libraries.
Places like the Berardo Collection Museum, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, and Livraria Lello offer plenty of opportunities for cultural enrichment.
Cost of Living in Portugal
The cost of living in Portugal is relatively low compared to other countries in Western Europe and the United States. Price comparison website Numbeo estimates that as of March 2023, consumer prices, including rent, in the United States are 75.1 percent higher than in Portugal.
Cost of accommodation in Portugal
The cost of accommodation in Portugal depends upon location, type of accommodation, and length of the contract. According to Numbeo, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is around €760 per month, with a three-bedroom apartment costing around €1,300 per month.
However, these figures jump in the capital city. The website estimates that a one-bedroom apartment in Lisbon’s center costs around €1,225.29 per month, and three-bed costs around €2,351.91
Cost of transportation in Portugal
A monthly transportation pass in Portugal costs about €40, with a one-way ticket for the bus, and tram, or metro usually costing around €1.50.
Digital Nomad Portugal: Best Cities
If you’re a digital nomad looking for a great place to live and work in Portugal, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Portugal offers some of the best cities in Europe for remote workers. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best cities for digital nomads.
Lisbon is Portugal’s capital and one of Europe’s most popular cities. Known for its stunning architecture, vibrant nightlife, and rich cultural heritage, Lisbon is a great place to live and work as a digital nomad.
The city has an excellent transportation system, with buses, trams, and metro lines connecting the city’s different neighborhoods. Lisbon also has a thriving coworking scene, with plenty of coworking spaces and cafes offering high-speed internet and a relaxed atmosphere. While Lisbon is a bustling cultural hub, the cost of living is more expensive in the capital than in other Portuguese cities.
Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city, is located in the north of the country and is known for its port wine, stunning architecture, and picturesque streets.
Porto is a great destination for digital nomads who want to experience the best of Portuguese culture while working remotely. The city has a vibrant startup scene, with several coworking spaces and incubators catering to entrepreneurs and remote workers. Porto has a fantastic digital nomad community.
Porto also has an excellent transportation system, making it easy to get around the city and explore the surrounding areas.
Braga is a historical city in northern Portugal that offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern amenities. The city is home to several universities, making it a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Madeira is a beautiful island off the coast of Portugal, known for its stunning natural beauty and mild climate. The Regional Government of Madeira created a project in 2021 called Digital Nomads Madeira Islands, attracting digital nomads to Madeira by establishing Digital Nomad Villages.
The project has been a success, and now three such “villages” are on the island. One of the most exciting features of these digital nomad villages in Madeira is the free working space available to residents, such as Ponta Do Sol. This digital nomad village provides a dedicated work environment that promotes productivity and collaboration, allowing remote workers to get their work done while still enjoying the social benefits of being around like-minded individuals.
The free co-working spaces in Madeira are often well-equipped with all the amenities that remote workers need, including high-speed internet, comfortable seating, and a quiet environment. They are also designed to be flexible, allowing workers to come and go as they please and to work independently or collaboratively.
Aveiro, a beautiful coastal city in central Portugal, is quickly becoming a popular destination for remote workers looking for a new place to live and work. This charming city, often called the “Venice of Portugal,” offers a unique mix of culture, history, and natural beauty, making it the perfect place to work remotely from.
Aveiro also offers a range of co-working spaces and cafes perfect for remote workers, e.g., Ocupa CoWork Aveiro. These spaces provide a dedicated workspace with all the amenities that remote workers need, such as high-speed internet, comfortable seating, and access to printing and scanning services.
The Not-So-Great Parts of Living in Portugal
While Portugal may seem like a paradise for a digital nomad, there are some not-so-great aspects of living in this country that you should consider before making the move. Two issues that you may encounter are crime and the weather.
While Portugal offers many benefits to digital nomads, it is essential to be aware of the potential downsides. By considering these factors and planning accordingly, you can make the most of your time living and working in this beautiful country.
Crime: Pickpocketing and bag snatching
Crime is an unfortunate reality in many countries, and Portugal is no exception.
While Portugal is generally considered a safe country, some concerns remain about pickpocketing and bag snatching in popular tourist areas, especially in Lisbon and Porto. It is essential to keep an eye on your belongings when you are out and about and avoid carrying large sums of money or valuable items with you.
Another issue that you may encounter when living in Portugal is the weather.
While the country enjoys a mild climate throughout the year, there are some downsides to this. Summers can be scorching hot, with temperatures reaching over 40 degrees C (104 degrees F) in some areas. This can make it challenging to work or enjoy outdoor activities during the day. Winters can also be rainy and cold, making it difficult to stay warm and comfortable.
Visas and Entry Requirements: What type of visa do I need to live in Portugal?
If you are a member of the European Union, European Economic Area, or Switzerland – you do not need a visa to live and work in Portugal. However, if you’re a non-EU/EEA/Swiss national, you will need a residence permit and work permit that will allow you to live and work in Portugal as a digital nomad.
Before diving into the different types of visas, you can avail of, make sure that you meet the requirements by having the following paperwork:
- A valid passport or photo ID from your home country
- A recent passport-sized picture
- Health insurance
- Proof of sufficient funds to support yourself in Portugal (bank statements)
- A police clearance certificate
Portugal Digital Nomad Visa
The new Digital Nomad Visa was introduced in October 2022, and encourages remote workers to live in Portugal while working for a foreign company. There are two types of Digital Nomad Visa, and it’s up to you to decide what best suits your needs.
Note that EU citizens do not need a visa to live and/or work remotely in Portugal.
One of the great advantages of Portugal’s Digital Nomad Visa is that it allows family members to join the visa holder. Spouses, dependent children, and even parents can also apply for the visa, as long as they are financially dependent on the visa holder. This makes Portugal an attractive destination for digital nomads who want to bring their families along and enjoy the country’s beautiful weather, culture, and lifestyle.
To apply for the Digital Nomad Visa in Portugal, you will need to follow a specific application process. First, you will need to prove that you are a remote worker, meaning that you work for a company or for yourself, and you can work from anywhere with an internet connection. You will also need to show that you have sufficient financial means to support yourself and any family members who will be joining you.
After you gather all the required documents, you can submit your application to the nearest Portuguese Consulate or Embassy. Once your application is approved, you will receive a visa that is valid for one year, with the possibility of renewal for another year. You will also be required to register with the Portuguese tax authorities and obtain a Portuguese taxpayer number.
Temporary stay visa
The Portugal Temporary Stay Visa is valid for up to one year, with the option of renewal. This Digital Nomad Visa allows you to work freelance, so it’s a great option for a digital nomad who wants to try living in Portugal before committing to a longer-stay visa.
You must prove that you have sufficient income to support yourself during your time in Portugal. The government has set a minimum earning requirement of at least €2,820 per month (four times the Portuguese minimum wage).
You may be asked to supply health insurance coverage, bank statements or tax returns from your home country as part of your application. The temporary stay visa grants you a temporary residence permit in Portugal.
To obtain a temporary residency permit, digital nomads must meet certain requirements, including having a clean criminal record, proof of income, and proof of accommodation. In addition, digital nomads must pay income tax in Portugal on any income earned in the country. You can find more information here.
The cost of living in Portugal is relatively low compared to other Western European countries, making it an attractive destination for digital nomads seeking affordable living expenses. In addition, Portugal offers excellent healthcare services and a high quality of life, with a diverse range of cultural and recreational activities.
This visa is for a digital nomad looking for a longer stay in Portugal or who ultimately wants permanent residency or Portuguese citizenship. This Digital Nomad Visa grants you a longer residence permit. The same minimum earning requirements apply to the Temporary Stay Visa, and both visa types are considered a Schengen visa.
One of the most significant advantages of Portugal for digital nomads is that it is a member of the European Union. This means that citizens of other EU countries can enter Portugal without a visa. Non-EU citizens can enter Portugal with a Schengen visa, which allows them to stay in Portugal and other Schengen countries for up to 90 days within a six-month period.
For both visas, you’ll need:
- A NIF and Portuguese bank account
- Proof of personal tax residence in Portugal (a 12-month rental agreement registered with the tax authorities)
- An employment contract from an employer based outside of Portugal
- A contract proving that you’re working with clients if you’re a freelancer
- Invoices, payslips, or bank statements proving your monthly income
After submitting your visa application at your nearest Portuguese Embassy or Portuguese Consulate, you will be granted a double-entry visa valid for fourth months if your application is successful.
Once you enter Portugal using your Digital Nomad Visa, you’ll need to apply for a residency permit at Portugal’s immigration services, known as SEF.
What visa type in Portugal is best for digital nomads?
Digital nomads can also avail of other visas, such as the D7 or Portugal D2 Visa.
Portugal D7 Visa
The D7 Visa is also known as the Portugal Passive Income Visa. You’re eligible for this visa if you receive income such as dividends from investments.
This residence visa is ideal for those who earn passive income, and as such, attracts a lot of people looking to retire in Portugal using their pension.
If you make up to €740 per month in dividends, pension, rental income, or royalties, then the D7 Visa is a popular choice to gain a residency and work permit for Portugal. However, this visa will not allow you to earn income by working remotely for a foreign company. Because of this, if you’re a remote worker, we recommend applying for the Digital Nomad Visa instead.
The D7 Visa allows you to stay in Portugal for up to two years and can be renewed for another two years. The D7 visa also allows you to work and study in Portugal. However, as mentioned earlier, you cannot earn income from working remotely for a foreign company and it must be passive income.
Portugal D2 Visa
The D2 Visa targets entrepreneurs and independent service providers. The D2 Visa lets you open up a business in Portugal, set up a Portuguese franchise of an existing business, or move to Portugal to run a business already there.
This visa requires sufficient funds to support yourself, your dependents, and your business. As part of the application process, you may be asked to submit a viable business plan outlining how your business will positively improve the local economy and community and why you’ve chosen Portugal as a base for the business.
The Portugal D2 Visa is also suitable for those who wish to invest in Portugal or study in the country. The Portugal D2 Visa allows you to stay in Portugal for up to one year and can be renewed for another two years. After five years, you can apply for a permanent residency permit in Portugal.
In summary, if you plan to stay in Portugal for a short period, a temporary stay visa such as the Schengen Visa is an excellent option. However, if you plan to stay for an extended period, you should consider a residence visa such as the Portugal Passive Income Visa or the Portugal D2 Visa. With these visas, you can work, study, and invest in Portugal while enjoying the country’s rich culture, history, and beautiful scenery.
Portugal Golden Visa scheme
In addition to the D7 Visa and Digital Nomad Visas, digital nomads can also obtain a temporary residency permit under the Golden Visa program.
Portugal’s Golden Visa program is a residency-by-investment program that has become increasingly popular among digital nomads who want to live and work in Europe. This program allows foreign investors to obtain a residency permit in Portugal by investing in the country’s economy, with the option to eventually receive a permanent residency permit and acquire Portuguese citizenship.
Portugal offers several options for obtaining a temporary residency permit. The temporary residency permit can be granted for up to two years and can be renewed for an additional two years. After five years of holding a temporary residency permit, digital nomads can apply for a permanent residency permit or even citizenship.
Under this program, you can invest in real estate, venture capital funds, or Portuguese companies. The minimum investment required is €500,000 for real estate, €350,000 for a venture capital fund, or €350,000 for a Portuguese company. You can also invest €1 million in a Portuguese bank account. The investments must be maintained for at least five years to qualify for the program.
One of the main benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa program is that it allows you to obtain residency in Portugal without having to physically reside there for a minimum amount of time. This means that you can use Portugal as a base for your digital nomad lifestyle without having to worry about staying in the country for a specific period each year.
Moreover, if you’re a digital nomad who runs a business, the Golden Visa program offers additional advantages. For example, you can use Portugal as a hub to expand your business operations to other parts of Europe. Additionally, the program allows you to benefit from Portugal’s favorable tax regime for non-habitual residents, which offers significant tax incentives for certain types of income, such as foreign-sourced income.
The application process for the Golden Visa program is relatively straightforward, but it does require some due diligence. You will need to provide proof of your investment, a clean criminal record certificate from your home country, and health insurance. You will also need to obtain a Portuguese taxpayer number and register with the Portuguese immigration authorities.
Note that the Portuguese government has announced the end of the Golden Visa scheme, but you can still apply. We recommend that you apply immediately to avail of the program before its end.
The following articles are also packed with information about working as a digital nomad in Portugal:
- Working Remotely in Portugal
- Portugal Work Visa
- Living in Portugal, Pros and Cons
- NHR for Digital Nomads (acquiring NHR status allows you to benefit from generous tax discounts as a Portuguese tax resident)
- Self-Employment Registration for a Freelancer in Portugal
Internet Connection: Wifi Speed
Portugal ranks 29th in the world for mobile internet speed and 21st in the world for fixed broadband speed. Portugal has fiber internet coverage, meaning it’s possible to get speeds of up to 1 Gbps or 1,130Mbps – typically the fastest speed available in Europe.
However, the speed and providers available to you entirely depend on location. We strongly stress the importance of ensuring that your accommodation or office space has access to fast Wi-Fi as you’ll rely on a good internet connection to carry out remote work.
Digital Nomads Portugal: Quick Tips
Here are some quick tips for digital nomads in Portugal:
Get your NIF immediately
Get a NIF: A NIF is a tax identification number in Portugal that is required for various activities, including opening a bank account, signing contracts, and paying taxes. Getting a NIF will make navigating legal and financial matters easier while in Portugal and allow you to sign a lease and get WiFi installed.
We can help you get your NIF online, simply get in touch today.
Open a Portuguese bank account
Opening a bank account in Portugal can help you avoid currency exchange fees and make it easier to manage your finances while in the country.
We can help you open a Portuguese bank account from anywhere in the world.
Invest in a reliable internet connection
As a digital nomad, your work depends on a stable internet connection. Portugal offers various internet providers with various packages to suit your needs. Investing in a reliable internet connection is essential to ensure you stay connected to your work.
Get a local SIM card
You can easily get a local SIM card upon arrival in Portugal. Having a Portuguese number will save you money on international calls and data.
Explore coworking spaces
Portugal has numerous coworking spaces that cater to digital nomads. They offer high-speed internet, comfortable workstations, and a community of like-minded individuals.
Learn some Portuguese
While many people in Portugal speak English, learning some Portuguese will help you communicate with locals and immerse yourself in the culture.
Take advantage of the low cost of living
Portugal is one of the most affordable countries in Europe. You can save money on food, accommodation, and transport, making it an ideal destination for a budget-conscious digital nomad.
Portugal For Digital Nomads: How to Save Money
Portugal is an excellent destination for digital nomads looking to save money. The country offers a high quality of life at relatively affordable living costs. Here are some tips on how to save money in Portugal:
Use public transport
Portugal has an extensive network of buses and trains that are affordable and reliable. Using public transport is a great way to save money on transportation.
Shop at local markets
Portugal has many local markets that offer fresh produce at a lower cost than supermarkets. Shopping at local markets is a great way to save money on groceries.
Cook at home
Eating out can be expensive in Portugal, especially in tourist areas. Cooking at home is a great way to save money on food.
Stay in hostels
Hostels are a great option for a budget-conscious digital nomad. They offer affordable accommodation and a chance to meet other travelers, with some hostels specifically catering to the work needs of digital nomads by offering workspaces and meeting rooms.
Take advantage of free activities
Portugal has many free activities, including hiking, visiting parks, and exploring museums. Taking advantage of free activities is a great way to save money on entertainment, and ensure that your cost of living stays low.
What type of digital nomad is Portugal for?
Portugal is an excellent destination for any digital nomad. Portugal has something to offer whether you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur, or remote worker. Here are some types of digital nomads who may enjoy Portugal:
Beach lovers: Portugal is known for its beautiful beaches, and a digital nomad who loves the sun and surf will enjoy spending time on the coast.
History buffs: Portugal has a rich history, with ancient castles, cathedrals, and museums. A digital nomad who loves to learn about history and culture will enjoy exploring Portugal’s historical sites.
Outdoor enthusiasts: Portugal has numerous national parks and nature reserves that offer hiking, cycling, and other outdoor activities. A digital nomad who loves to spend time in nature will enjoy Portugal’s natural beauty.
City dwellers: Portugal’s cities, including Lisbon and Porto, offer a vibrant cultural scene with art galleries, music venues, and festivals. A digital nomad who loves the energy of city life will enjoy Portugal’s urban centers.
Overall, Portugal is an excellent destination for digital nomads seeking a temporary stay visa or a long-term residency permit. With its beautiful landscapes, vibrant culture, affordable cost of living, and excellent healthcare services, Portugal offers an attractive lifestyle for digital nomads. In addition, Portugal’s membership in the European Union and its proximity to other EU countries make it an ideal location for digital nomads seeking to explore other parts of Europe while working remotely.
In conclusion, if you are a digital nomad seeking a temporary stay visa or a long-term residency permit in Europe, Portugal is definitely worth considering. With its diverse range of visa programs, affordable cost of living, and high quality of life, Portugal offers an attractive lifestyle for digital nomads. So why wait? Start planning your next adventure in Portugal today!
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