Blessed with great weather year round and cheap living, the Lisbon digital nomad scene has grown exponentially in recent years. As travelers flock to Lisbon these days, this traditional yet cosmopolitan city has been attracting the lucky few who can work from anywhere in the world. There’s even been whispers that Lisbon is the new Chiang Mai or Berlin of Western Europe. And as popular companies like Remote Year and Be Unsettled, who bring groups of remote workingprofessionals around the globe, Lisbon is at the top of their most-requested destinations … with good reason.
It’s here where you’ll find the locals friendly, the housing affordable and a plethora of great co-working and café spaces to work in. With all this recent hype, it’s no wonder that Lisbon has become the hottest digital nomad hub of 2018.
5.) Affordable Living That’s Actually Comfortable
If you ask most digital nomads why they chose Lisbon, their answers tend to start off with how affordable their apartment is. And not just affordable, but also comfortable. Depending on your budget, you can find a place between $350 to $850 for a room in a shared townhouse. If you really want to live it up, you can “splurge” on something pretty spectacular for a little less than $2,000 USD a month. Not bad if you think about how much that gets you places like New York City.
Nisha Garigarn, co-founder of the startup company Croissant (an app that makes it easy to drop by inspiring co-working spaces) states that not only did she want to be surrounded by gorgeous architecture and sunshine, but that she was also looking for an affordable, remote-work-friendly city. She was able to score a large, beautiful 1-bedroom apartment in Graca for the price of a very tiny bedroom in Astoria, Queens.
In addition, food averages around $6 to $7 for lunch, dinner around $13 with a bottle of decent wine for $3. At such inexpensive prices, you can eat out often and socialize with friends, without breaking the bank.
4.) Wonderful Weather Year Round
Lets face it — Lisbon is blessed with some incredible weather. The location of the city has it nuzzled near the coast, making it the perfect place to live. On most days, you’ll get weather that’s sunny with a constant fresh breeze coming in straight from the ocean. Even in winter, the temperature doesn’t go below 50°F. In December, most people are still hanging out at the beach, taking in their “winter” sun. It’s also a popular destination for surfers.
Some of the best surfing spots for big waves in Europe, such as Peniche and Nazarè, are found just an hour away from Lisbon. But as anyone who lives near beach will tell you, living on the coast makes for an ideal climate. As the sun hits the city May through October with short and mild winters, Lisbon is an excellent place for those craving good weather.
3.) Great Co-Working Spaces and Wifi Speeds
As an affordable and remote-work friendly city, Lisbon offers a plethora of coffee shops and co-working spaces for digital nomads. With the increase of people, co-working spaces and wifi-friendly cafés seem to be popping everywhere. You’ll find everything from trendy cafés to tree-covered terraces, with plenty of open places to sit.
Here is a list of some co-working spots and other places to check out:
- IDEIAhub is perfect you are looking to hammer down and get some serious work done. Known to be a spacious and classy spot, this co-working space aims for those who want to grind it out.
- Beta-i is another co-working space as well as a startup accelerator. There is surplus of exciting startups from around the world headquartered there, making for fun and interesting happy hours every Friday.
- Cowork Central in Cais do Sodre is another exceptional option. The office has a cool vibe to it with plants scattered around and tons of open light. Situated in the city center near the Time Out Market, it’s also within walking distance to everything. Known for having an amazing social environment, this co-working space is an ideal way to meet people. Memberships are a bit higher than most, at $211 per month, but you do get your own desk, unlimited coffee and a community of digital nomads at your finger tips.
- Café da Garagem is a hidden gem that is off the touristy path. It can be hard to find, but that’s what makes it so great. A quiet workspace with wonderful views, this café is ideal for those needing some alone time with their work.
- You can always check out the app Croissant. It helps those new to the city and looking for work spaces. The app allows its users to drop into some of Lisbon’s best co-working spaces in the city. It’s like “Uber for co-working” with all the spaces having fast and reliable wifi, and a built-in community.
2.) A LargeExpat Community and Easy Visas
The expat community in Lisbon is outstanding. It’s another main reason why many remote workers are relocating to the city. Lisbon has created many avenues for digital nomads to meet other people.
- The Lisbon Digital Nomad meet-up is the perfect place to connect with others. It consists of a big group of location-independent workers who meet forsome beers and other fun activities. This meet-up is super social and is known to be well-attended each week.
- Ministry of Yoga is a lovely yoga studio that teaches its classes in English. It’s a unique opportunity to meet other English-speaking folks through yoga. People here tend to exchange numbers and grab coffees afterwards.
- Creative Mornings is another wonderful way to meet people. This group of friendly and creative minds meet and mingle with other like-minded people once a month. They discuss relevant topics, making it a perfect way to meet people living in the city. People are constantly raving about the vibrant community of entrepreneurs here, making it quite easy to meet others through a variety of outlets.
Portugal’s residency program has extremely convenient visa options for those looking to live here. Of course, visa policies differ depending which country you are from but if you’re from the EU, you can stay in Portugal indefinitely without any form of Visa. Even those from the U.K. If you’re from popular countries such as the United States, Australia or Canada, you automatically receive a 90 day visa when you enter. The downside is that you can only enter the country for 90 days every 180 days.
There are a few options to getting a EU visa. The best and most efficient option if you are a digital nomad is to request a Schengen visa prior to your trip.
You can also apply for a residency visa (also known as a D7 visa). This involves contacting your nearest Portuguese consulate and collecting all of the required documents for the application, including records of your finances, job or occupation, passport/social security card copies and a letter of intent to become a resident.
In most cases, you have to have a job lined up in Portugal before applying for residency. The consulate wants to make sure that you have sufficient funds to support yourself. However, if you work remotely, it’s an easy hurdle to jump.
1.) Accessible/Easy To Travel In and Around Europe
Since digital nomads have the luxury of being able to work from anywhere, they can travel more, too. No longer tied to a desk with limited vacation time, working remotely has given professionals a new definition of freedom. And with that new found freedom, people are exploring more. Lisbon’s location makes it extremely well connected to many places via plane, train and/or car.
It’s easy to take an afternoon off and head north to go wine tasting in the Douro Valley or head south for a quick surf break in Sagres. But being in Europe overall, you’re just a few hours from the rest of the European countries. Plus, if you are based out of the East Coast and you want to head back for a quick visit, Lisbon is only a 7 hour direct flight back to places such as New York City or Washington, D.C.
With all of these reasons, it comes as no surprise that Lisbon become a huge digital nomad and tech startup hub over the past couple of years.
Are you a Lisbon digital nomad? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comment section below!