Portugal is generally speaking a relatively small country, both in terms of population geographically. With just above 10 million people, you would expect to see cities with a high density. Still, in the Capital city Lisbon, there are just above 500.000 people. With the beautiful old town and harbor, you can stroll the city and get Portugal’s true impression. With a vast diversity in cultures, you can expect to meet people of all races and a great international environment filled with expats!
Like their close country neighbor Spain, they have beautiful coastlines. It is worth remembering that Lisbon’s average temperature is only 17 degrees Celsius and will be approx. 20 degrees at it’s highest.
If you are not in a rush and you want to visit the capital enjoying all its charming ways, the best way it's merely to stroll up and down the hills. You don't have to make use of the metro to get the best of Lisbon as everything is at your fingertips.
Walking through the main central areas, Lisbon’s beating heart, you will need no more than an hour on foot. It’s important to remember that Lisbon is not a flat city, and you getting the best view of the town is on the seven hills, an astounding view but a long steep walk.
Public transportation is easily accessible. With a Viva card, it’s possible to have a subscription-based card and “Zapping,” where you pay as you go. The metro is commonly used but is heavily trafficked during rush hours but like any other city, an easy and quick way to come about
Lastly, renting a car is a perfect way to experience some of Portugal’s more remote areas. It will let you be as flexible as possible. For 5 euros daily you can rent a car and short as well as longer trips will be more leisurely! In most cases, you will need a credit card, as they do not accept debit cards.
Stay connected in Portugal. The biggest operator in Portugal is NOS, but other possibilities are MEO, Vodafone, and Orange. By far, the cheapest option is LycaMobile, but they do not offer support in physical stores. The big operators both offer physical and online purchases in terms of SIM-cards. Generally speaking, we have found that being somewhat the best solution for many expats. Wi-fi is widely available in cafes, restaurants, and common areas and, in most instances, included in the rent price. This means that it will consist of a subscription of sorts, but any upgrade is to be done personally or with the landlord’s help.
Generally speaking, Portugal is rich in seafood, which shows in the cuisine. It is common to see sardines being roasted over open fire grills at summer parties all over the country, a beautiful and fresh delight only seasoned with sea salt. Portuguese food culture is mainly based on fish in 365 ways. It varies from sardines to octopus to swordfish, a paradise for seafood and fish lovers!
When dining at restaurants, they will often serve cheese, olives, and bread as you are waiting for your food to be prepared. This is not free of charge! It is an excellent appetiser and will only cost you a few extra euros in the end, but it can always be excluded if asked for.
Besides their luscious menu of wonders of the sea, you can expect to at least once trying Piri Piri chicken. Charred or grilled chicken with a chili sauce base, proper comfort food that will leave you licking your fingers! Meat lovers will be spoiled as well, where “Francesinha,” the “Bife na Pedra,” and “Bifina” is at least as delicious as their beloved fish!
Looking for an authentic local experience, try the tasca, a typical Portuguese restaurant usually run by elderly welcoming people. Suppose you, on the other hand, want to spoil yourself. In that case, you can find plenty of modern and posh restaurants, especially in the area of Lisbon.
Portugal has a lot of things to offer when it comes to gastronomy, the most commonly known being Portwine, which you can experience in the harbour city, Porto. As earlier mentioned, it is possible to dine at posh and fancy restaurants. They offer a great variety of Michelin star awarded restaurants!
Back in time, finding an apartment in Portugal - Lisbon included - was easy and extremely cheap. During the growing trend of Airbnb, mass tourism has made it more expensive and harder to find apartments now, mostly in the bigger cities. This does not mean it is impossible. There are various ways to find flats and rooms on websites such as Idealista and Facebook groups.
Living in the city center, like any other capital, you will experience a high rent price for the location and not the apartment itself. This can somewhat be mitigated if you are to live with others or by finding a good colleague that could be interested in sharing a flat. Moving out from the more central areas, you will find a more affordable living. The rent will start at about 300€ compared to almost double in the city center. Living in a studio would be approx 700€ monthly in the less central areas such as Benfica and Alcantara.
The Portuguese economy is turning around a few main sectors where it's easier to find a job, especially if you are an expat. Considering the country's history of dictatorship only ended 45 years ago, most people working in agriculture and fishing since then. The Portuguese economy has been positively affected by the growing tourism, the IT and telecommunications sector. During the past years, many international companies are based in the bigger cities Lisbon, Porto, and Braga; these primarily call centers that count thousands of employees worldwide. IT is also a fast-developing field in the country. In fact, Lisbon is the central hub for several digital nomads that find their inspiration and share ideas under the Portuguese sun.
In recent years, Portugal has experienced an increase in their living standards, and it shows in the minimum wage, this being 740€ monthly. It goes hand in hand with the costs of living in Portugal, which is extremely cheap and has relatively low taxes. It’s worth noticing that Lisbon is very different from other cities throughout the country, meaning that it is generally speaking more expensive to live in the capital, whereas the smaller cities are remarkably cheaper.
Working in Lisbon often leads to a higher salary, which means that you can expect approx. 1100€ monthly. This means that you will still be able to live your life and experience the southern comfort, go to bars, and explore the remote areas without emptying your wallet or allocating your full salary.
Portugal has much to offer throughout the beautiful landscape, both in-land and on the coastline. When in Portugal, we would suggest experiencing some of the more remote areas and explore the country as a whole! Algarve lets you explore the most beautiful beaches and in general astonishing nature! Suppose you can’t find the time to take a day trip. In that case, you can take a short trip just outside of Lisbon, where the explicit beach and surfing paradise Ericeira will be waiting for you with open arms.
We believe that the best way to understand the country you live in is to embrace it with all its might - Facing challenges and experiences of any size. Building relations with the locals, who are, generally speaking, is fond of newcomers and will help you grow as a person. For us at Exodius, that is what it means to be an expat, being part of the community, being one of the locals!