One of Europe’s most traditional sunny getaways, Portugal has been reinventing itself later as a long-term destination, attracting not only vacationers but a growing number of digital nomads looking to relocate to Southern Europe.
This year alone, over 200 Digital Nomad Visas (DNVs) were issued in a matter of months, not to mention the granting of tourist visas, which most remote workers from America use to reside in Portugal temporarily for up to three months, without requiring additional documentation.
If the Lusophone country has been on your radar lately, too, and you’re unsure what to expect moving there, here are four incredible destinations to consider:
The unofficial capital of Northern Portugal, as well as the country’s second-largest city, O Porto, literally translated from Portuguese as ‘The Port’, is a major maritime port sitting along the banks of Douro River, an estuary leading to the Atlantic Ocean.
As a cultural destination, it is one of Europe’s oldest cities, having been settled as early as the 2nd century BC and a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognized for its Baroque monuments, medieval monuments, and centuries-old wine-making tradition.
As a ‘workcation’ destination, Porto boasts a high concentration of internet cafes and coworking centers, which make the digital nomad experience a lot more seamless, as well as a Gamma+ rating, as awarded by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.
This means it is large and self-sufficient enough to be considered an important commercial hub with a better-than-average urban infrastructure.
This makes the 1.7 million people-strong Portuense Metropolitan Area one of Europe’s most attractive cities for living in and conducting business.
Part of the Lisbon District, which comprises the Portuguese capital as well as a number of smaller settlements, the lesser-known beachfront city of Cascais has proven to be a major point of interest for digital nomads traveling across Portugal.
First of all, it is much smaller than Lisbon proper, with just over 200,000 residents, and as it sits on the coast, as opposed to on the banks of a busy estuary, life in Cascais feels a lot more relaxed and slow-paced than in Portugal’s first city.
Offering more accessible access to the Atlantic coast, sandy beaches, and hidden coves, and being characterized by a historic center full of tiled facades and traditional Iberian houses, there are few places in Portuguese as charming and picturesque to work remotely from as Cascais.
Additionally, it is becoming increasingly more attractive as ‘nomad fatigue’ takes over Lisbon. In recent months, Lisboenses have openly decried the growing presence of remote workers and gentrified communities in the capital, with an Expresso article openly telling them to leave.
In Cascais, however, the local attitude towards nomads seems to be much friendlier.
One of the main urban centers of the beautiful Algarve region in Southern Portugal, Lagos concentrates roughly 30,000 or so residents within its municipal boundaries, making it the smallest city on this list but by no means the least prepared for a surge in expats.
With reasonable prices – particularly in the off-season – a less chaotic city life and a hospitality industry able to cater to remote workers, either through discount accommodation rates for more extended stays or reduced prices for common workspaces, Lagos is a seriously underrated nomad hotspot.
According to NomadList, basing yourself in subtropical Lagos will cost you US$2,527 monthly, which falls within the estimated US$2,000 – US$3,000 budget of the average young digital nomad living in Southern Europe.
In terms of tourist offers, Lagos is best known for its lively nightlife, traditional Iberian architecture, food scene – due to its limited urbanization, and it’s one of the best destinations for sampling authentic Portuguese cuisine – and golden-sand beaches.
Fortunately for American nomads, now they can fly nonstop to the Algarve as flights between the United States and the region are set to launch for the first time.
The only destination that is not located on the Portuguese mainland, the autonomous archipelago of Madeira lies off the coast of Northwestern Africa, but it is still part of Portugal, and thus just as safe, developed, and well-equipped as any other entry on this list.
The main island is home to Funchal, a compact, gorgeous capital famous for its cobbled historic quarter, dating back to the early 16th century, fast-developing marina, bounded by luxurious hotels and resort spas on one side, and the Atlantic on the other, and abundance of green spaces.
Funchal is your best bet at a comfortable ‘nomad’ life in Madeira, as it has the best infrastructure, the highest concentration of work-friendly spots, and more affordable accommodation options compared to smaller towns on the main island, or the smaller, more isolated island of Porto Santo.
Madeira is also a winter sun destination, connected to mainland Portugal, as well as wider Europe by nonstop flights year-round, though frequency is particularly accentuated in the colder months, and they even host direct flights from the States, making it incredibly easy to reach.
You Can Stay In Portugal Visa-Free For 3 Months
As stated in the introduction, in order to work permanently from Portugal as a digital nomad, you must apply for the relevant visa and satisfy all of the criteria set out by Portuguese authorities.
Alternatively, as an American citizen, you may enter Portugal for up to 90 days out of any 180-day period as a visitor, visa-free, provided the intention of your visit is not to carry out paid work for a Portugal-based company or, of course, reside in the country illegally.
This means you will be entering Portugal as a short-term tourist, and you will be required to leave Portugal – and the Schengen territories as a whole – once the 90 days are up, for at least a further 90 days.
Learn more about Schengen and why it’s important that you know Europe’s visit rules here.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com