How To Become A Portugal Digital Nomad (Tips From A Current Nomad!)
Being a Portugal digital nomad is one of the ultimate aims for many digital nomads all over the world (including myself!).
As digital nomad culture is on the rise, Portugal is fast becoming a digital nomad hub, with plenty of digital nomad communities blossoming and even a digital nomad village being built in the country.
The infrastructure in the more popular cities in Portugal is also being enhanced to attract more digital nomads to come in and use Portugal as their digital nomad base.
Read on as we take a deep dive into, among other things:
- Why being a Portugal digital nomad is one of the best things to be
- The cost of living as a digital nomad in Portugal
- Portugal digital nomad visa requirements
- The top Portugal digital nomad destinations
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Why Become A Digital Nomad in Portugal?
At this juncture, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about being a digital nomad in Portugal.
While the reasons are surely unlimited, here are some of my favorites!
1.Portugal Is Your Gateway To Digital Nomad Europe!
Portugal is frequently referred to as the gateway to Europe. And for good reason too!
Portugal is strategically located in such a way that you can easily travel to the neighboring European countries.
With this, you can use Portugal as your digital nomad base and easily explore other parts of Europe frequently without having to uproot yourself each time!
2.Portugal Is Rich In History & Culture
Did you know that Portugal has one of the oldest borders in Europe (with Spain), dating back to 1297?
If you are a history buff, you can explore the rich culture and heritage of Portugal and get inspiration to carry out your digital nomad tasks no matter where in this beautiful country you are.
3.Portugal Has A Great Quality of Life For Digital Nomads & Expats
The 2019 InterNations Expat Insider report ranked Portugal as the top country to live for foreigners who are living outside of their home country.
The survey covered a total of 64 countries. Each country had a minimum of 75 respondents. In carrying out the survey, the following factors were taken into account and considered:
- Leisure options;
- Health and well-being;
- Safety and security;
- Travel and transportation; and
- Digital life.
With Portugal ranking at No. 1 on this list, do you really need more reasons to book your flight, pack your bag, and get moving?
4.Portugal Has A Digital Nomad Village!
Portugal is also home to the first digital nomad village in Europe, making it one of the most unique countries in the world for digital nomads to visit.
Located on the volcanic island of Madeira, this quaint little village is called Ponto Do Sol.
Once you are there, you can get a free workspace of a desk and a chair and you also get free wifi from 8.00am to 10.00pm.
You have to register in advance though as they can only host 100 nomads at a time.
Check out Digital Nomads Madeira today for availability and registrations!
Cost of Living in Portugal
One of the main reasons why Portugal is the go-to destination for freelancers, independent workers, and retirees is that the cost of living in Portugal is relatively low for digital nomads and expats.
Raw ingredients, fresh produce, fish, and meat are relatively cheap. The same goes for anything that is grown or reared in Portugal.
As such, it is probably more cost-effective for you to cook a quick meal for yourself as opposed to eating out daily.
If you do decide to have a night out, then according to portugalist.com, a typical meal that usually comes with a drink can cost between €5 and €12.
The Numbeo website, (which is the world’s largest cost of living database), provides a detailed breakdown of the cost of living in Portugal.
That being said, like almost anywhere in the world, how much you need every month in terms of cost of living will depend very much on which part of the country you choose to live in.
The popular Portugal digital nomad destinations may have a slightly higher cost of living than if you were to be based at the outskirts and more rural areas of Portugal.
Weather in Portugal
Did you know that Portugal has 300 days of sunshine?
Temperatures throughout the year usually range between 11 to 24 degrees celsius.
Because of its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, most places in Portugal enjoy a constant pleasant ocean breeze.
It doesn’t get more perfect than that!
Digital Nomad Visas for Portugal
Portugal is a member of the European Union and is also part of the Schengen Area.
As such, if you are a European Union citizen or if you are a citizen of one of the countries in the Schengen Area, you do not need to apply for a visa to enter Portugal.
However, depending on which European Union or Schengen Area country you are from, if you are planning to stay in Portugal for a long period, then you will be required to obtain registration certificates reflecting your long stay from the relevant authorities.
Additionally, if you are a citizen of any of the following countries, Portugal has special agreements with these countries to allow their citizens to remain in Portugal for 90 days within 6 months without the need for a visa.
These countries are:
- United States
- New Zealand
If you are from any other country however and want to be a Portugal digital nomad, then a Portugal travel visa may not be sufficient.
In such cases, it would be advisable to look into applying for a Portugal long term visa.
Different Types Of Portugal Nomad Visas
With the aim of attracting more digital nomads, Portugal has become one of the countries in Europe to grant long-term visas to freelancers and independent workers.
While it is not expressly called a digital nomad visa as far as official immigration papers and procedures are concerned, the Portugal national visa can broadly be divided into two categories.
Which category you fall into will depend on your intended length of stay in the country.
Here is a glance at the core characteristics of the types of suitable long-term Portugal visas for these purposes.
|Temporary Stay Visa||Residency Visa(D2 & D7 Visas as pathways to obtaining a Residency Permit)|
|Recommended for stays up to 1 year||Recommended for stays of more than 1 year|
|Valid for 1 year||Valid for 4 months during which an application for residency permit must be made|
|Renewable for 2 year periods||The residency permit is valid for 2 years and renewable for 3 year periods|
|Can travel outside Portugal||Can travel outside Portugal but cannot be out of the country for more than 6 consecutive months of 8 non-consecutive months|
|Can work as a self-employed person or independent worker||Can work as a self-employed person or independent worker|
If you are looking for more details about the Portugal digital nomad visa, the documents required, and how to go about making an application, you can check out this article on the best Portugal Digital Nomad Visa.
Top Destinations for Digital Nomads in Portugal
Portugal is made up of some of the best digital nomad cities.
There are plenty of popular destinations for digital nomads in Portugal for you to choose from.
Here’s a quick guide to some of the best cities for digital nomads in Portugal.
1.Lagos, The Algarve
Lagos is most certainly a digital nomad hotspot.
Located on The Algarve, which is the stunning southern coastline of Portugal, this place is a digital nomad beach paradise!
The main attraction in Lagos is that the beach is a very short walk from the town center where most digital nomads work. This is great if you need to take a break and recalibrate your mind before heading back to your digital nomad work.
Lagos is also slowly working on its infrastructure to make it more digital nomad friendly. Lately, there have been more up-and-coming coworking spaces as well as several digital nomad-friendly cafes.
While it is not the digital nomad hub of Madiera as such just yet, it is certainly heading in that direction.
If you are planning to be a digital nomad in Lisbon, then you can rest assured that you are bound to have a wonderful time!
Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal.
Rich in architecture and cultural heritage, Lisbon also has many museums for you to visit.
With a vibrant nightlife and social scene, Lisbon is the perfect digital nomad destination for those who are starting out in their digital nomad career as there is a huge digital nomad community in Lisbon.
Porto is another popular digital nomad destination in Portugal. It is the second-largest city after Lisbon.
Porto is a great place if you want the feel of a city but not the hustle and bustle of the same.
The cost of living is also relatively lower than most Portugal digital nomad destinations and this is helpful when it comes to looking for properties to rent.
Porto is also a digital nomad favorite because it is home to plenty of coworking spaces.
If ocean views bring you peace, comfort, and focus, then Ericeira should be the top digital nomad destination on your list.
While Ericeira is popularly known as the surfing capital of Europe, it is fast becoming a digital nomad hub as well.
Like in other destinations around Portugal, there has been an increase in the number of digital nomad coliving and coworking spaces.
More importantly, Ericeira is within easy travel distance from Lisbon. So you can choose to be based in either place and travel quickly for a change of scenery if you need it.
If stunning architecture and beautiful gardens take you to your happy place, then Coimbra is the place to be as a digital nomad in Portugal.
It is a quiet town with all your essential digital nomad facilities.
You will not find any hustle and bustle here!
There are beautiful places to rent for your accommodation as a digital nomad in Coimbra. They are well-maintained and affordable.
Perfect for the quiet and introverted digital nomad!
Cool Coworking Places for Digital Nomads in Portugal
With Portugal slowly but surely becoming the digital nomad hub of Europe, coworking spaces are gaining popularity.
Coworking spaces are essentially shared workspaces that you can use if you need certain facilities like a heavy-duty printer or uninterrupted wifi.
Most coworking spaces have daily, hourly, or monthly charges depending on your needs and budget. You can also choose from hotdesk options, a dedicated desk, or even your own office suite.
Common facilities such as pantries and meeting rooms are also available at these coworking spaces.
Here is a list of some of the most unique coworking spaces in Portugal Some of them even have gyms, recording studios, and a host of restaurants nearby.
Popular coworking spaces in Portugal include:
Best Places For Digital Nomads To Stay in Portugal
There is no shortage of digital nomad Portugal accommodation here! There are plenty of options to choose from and most of them are relatively affordable, depending on which location in Portugal you prefer to be based in.
This concept is increasingly becoming a popular accommodation option for digital nomads in Portugal.
In a co-living arrangement, a group of people shares a living space. They each have their own bedroom but the common facilities are shared. This works best when like-minded people get together and share the space.
In fact, there are real estate agents and property management firms that specialize in coliving spaces.
Here is a great list of co-living spaces that have recently opened that have gained popularity among digital nomads in Portugal.
This accommodation giant needs no introduction!
Whether you are looking for long-term or short-term stays, Airbnb is bound to have something that works for you.
The flexibility of Airbnb is a huge plus and you may just end up with the accommodation of your dreams!
Some accommodations such as homestays may also have a cute cat or a dog living with you. Now that’s perfect!
Check out the Airbnb options available in Portugal to see what your options are.
There are many private homeowners in Portugal who are looking to rent out either the whole or part of their properties.
This is a wonderful digital nomad option if you are looking to stay in a particular place for a long time. This is primarily because rentals such as these usually require a long-term commitment of at least 6 months to a year.
As such, if you are a digital nomad that is on a strict budget and constantly on the move every few days or every week, this may not be the best option.
Some of the more established rental agencies in Portugal that you can check out include:
If you are a Portugal digital nomad on a budget or if you are constantly moving around, then hostels are probably the most viable option for you.
Hostels in Portugal usually involve multiple beds in the same room, as such, there is unlikely to be any privacy. However, you will end up meeting plenty of new people!
If you are looking for a hostel in Portugal, HostelWorld is a great place to start.
Hotels of course are always there as an accommodation option for digital nomads in Portugal. However, they can be expensive and are unlikely to be able to offer you long-term stay options.
Best Food To Try In Portugal
There are many signature Portuguese dishes you absolutely should try out on your digital nomad adventures in Portugal.
While food is generally quite subjective to each person’s tastes, there are some Portuguese dishes that seem to be universally appealing!
1.Portuguese Egg Tarts
Yes, dessert always comes first!
Did you know that they were first introduced in Portugal in the year 1837?
These creamy delicious egg tarts are world-famous. Try them out at the source!
Any fish! Portugal is well-known for its variety of fish dishes. Whether they are canned, baked, or steamed, you can be sure to have a comforting and satisfying meal.
3.National Portugese Sandwich
Did you know that Portugal has a national sandwich?
Known as bifanas, these sandwiches are made up of juice marinated pork in between slices of white bread.
It can be eaten anytime and usually comes served with a side of fries, soup, or salad.
4.Chicken Piri Piri
Piri piri is the world-famous spicy chili pepper.
Chicken piri piri is a signature dish in Portugal where the chicken is marinated in the piri piri sauce and is roasted or baked.
Make sure you eat this particular dish with your hands so you can get to every last juicy bit!
How To Get Around In Portugal
There are multiple ways to get around in Portugal and these are usually pretty affordable
Because Portugal is not very large, you can get from one place to another relatively quickly.
One of the preferred ways to travel around the country by digital nomads in Portugal is by train. This is because you get to experience the scenic routes of the country.
However, if you prefer to get to your destination quickly, then the bus would be the best way to go.
Quick Facts For Digital Nomads in Portugal
If you are thinking about making Portugal your digital nomad base for the long-term, then there are certain facts about this beautiful country that you should be aware of!
Foreign Residents Are Entitled To Subsidized Healthcare
Portugal’s fully socialized healthcare system extends to foreigners as well.
Once you have sorted out the formalities of your residency, then you as a digital nomad are entitled to subsidized healthcare as well.
It may not be fully paid for but it is still undoubtedly a huge burden that is taken off your shoulders, knowing that any potential medical expenses will not come up to exorbitant amounts.
Foreigners Can Buy Property In Portugal
Compared to other countries, foreigners can easily purchase property in Portugal.
Portugal only requires you to have a personal fiscal number. This can be easily sorted out at the local tax office.
This is a great option if you are thinking of remaining in Portugal for the foreseeable future and are looking for a stable digital nomad base to work from.
Lisbon Has The World’s Oldest Bookstore
If you are a lover of books, then you are definitely going to want to visit Bertrand Bookstore.
It was founded in the year 1732 and has been certified by the Guinness World Records as being the world’s oldest bookstore.
If you buy a book there, you can get a stamp that states that you have purchased that book from the oldest bookstore in the world!
Did you know that half of the world’s cork supply comes from Portugal? Who would have thought this?
Cork production is one of the biggest industries in Portugal. More importantly, cork is produced sustainably with minimal to no effects on the environment.
Cork is derived from the cork oak tree. This is harvested once every 9 years for the duration of the lifetime of the tree which can go up to 270 years!
You can find more interesting cork facts here!
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Portugal has 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites in total. It is one of the reasons why Portugal is such a popular tourist, expat, and digital nomad destination.
There are 16 cultural heritage sites, some of which include stunning cathedrals. The one natural heritage site is called the Laurisilva of Madeira. With lush long-leaved trees, this is a stunning testament to what nature is capable of.
So are you ready to take the plunge and become a Portugal digital nomad?
As you can see, it is not difficult to do! You will certainly find that being in Portugal is a wonderful experience, with so much to see and learn.
More importantly, it is the perfect digital nomad destination for those who want to settle into a digital nomad base and easily travel to nearby countries while still maintaining a presence in one country.
What are you waiting for? Go book that flight and explore Portugal!