The Rise of Remote Work in Portugal: 5 Reasons to go Now
Right up there with digital nomad destinations like Bali and Thailand is Portugal, a seemingly perfect country to work from. But why is Portugal such a hit for digital nomads? How easy (or hard) is it to work and live here? And what does daily life really look like? My first real remote work experience took me to Portugal in 2020, and I got to see first-hand what the hype is all about. My findings? Yes, Portugal is an excellent destination for remote workers. And here’s exactly why:
Why Portugal is a great destination for digital nomads
Portugal has been on the rise as a tourist destination for many years now, and the reason seems pretty obvious. Beaches, great weather, good food…what’s not to like? There are more ways in which Portugal stands out from the crowd though, explaining the country's shift from an ‘interesting’ to a ‘must-visit’ destination for remote workers. Here are 5 reasons why working remotely from Portugal is a great idea:
1. Portugal offers a Digital Nomad Visa
While EU citizens are able to travel around Europe freely without a care in the world, the reality is different for many others. Visiting a country for longer than your tourist visa allows can become a nuisance, with tiring visits to the local consulate or short trips in and out of the country as a result. That seems to be in the past for Portugal, which has announced the arrival of its very own digital nomad visa called the Temporary Stay Visa.
With Portugal’s D8 Visa, you are now allowed to live and work in the country for up to 2 years. The requirements? A minimum monthly income of €3,040,- from remote work, proof of accommodation in Portugal, proof of valid health insurance, and a contract of employment or proof of self-employment. The application process involves submitting a cover letter, filling out an application form, and paying a visa fee (currently around €90 per person).
Ready to get your visa sorted and start your remote work adventure in Portugal? Follow the link to the Portugal Ministry of Foreign Affairs to find out where to lodge your application.
2. Portugal has fast WiFi and an abundance of co-working spaces
So, you’ve got your visa sorted and you’re ready to start your remote work adventure. The next thing you’ll want to check is the internet situation. As a remote worker, it’s crucial to have a stable connection to avoid any issues with clients or employers. Luckily there is Portugal, with plenty of options available for both fast internet as well as great co-working spaces.
It’s important to realize that fast WiFi is not a given everywhere in the country. I therefore always recommend requesting a speed test before booking your accommodation, and checking out the proximity of co-working spaces around. From my experience, the best internet connections and co-working spaces can be found in popular places like Lisbon, Porto, Lagos or Madeira.
3. Accommodation options in Portugal are endless
There are tons of accommodations to find in Portugal. Most remote workers begin their accommodation search on Airbnb, which is a great source and offers lots of options. I would recommend starting your search early on, as monthly rates rise once the arrival date approaches. Besides Airbnb, more and more booking platforms are popping up such as Nomad Stays or NomadX. These search engines offer a selection of accommodations specifically tailored to the wants and needs of remote workers, - think plenty of work space, fast WiFi, and proximity to co-working spaces and coffee shops.
If you’re looking for some social interaction it's a great idea to consider a co-living space, where you get to live, work and socialize with other remote workers. Portugal offers tons of options, such as Selina, Outsite or Noma Village. These can be a great way to break up the monotony of solo living while still enjoying the independence of remote work.
Still not sure where in Portugal you want to live and work? Find out what the best towns and cities are in the article below.
4. Daily life in Portugal is relatively affordable
Although the country might not be as budget-friendly as it once used to be, Portugal is still very much an affordable destination. Sure, Lisbon has become more of a popular and pricy city for travellers and digital nomads, but there are still plenty of other beautiful places to discover around the country. And even when you do decide to set up camp in the capital city, timely planning and off-season travel will still be able to set you up with reasonable prices.
Accommodation will most likely be your biggest expense, but you can find decent prices by getting long-stay discounts, using local connections and doing your research ahead of time. Daily costs like groceries, transportation and restaurant visits are quite affordable, especially compared to other EU countries. Another great benefit of living in Portugal? The climate and nature are so stunning that there are lots of after-work activities - such as hiking, biking, sunbathing or swimming - that will cost you hardly anything.
5. Life outside work is pretty great in Portugal
It’s not all about work right? One of the reasons you’ll want to work remotely in a country like Portugal is because of the fantastic work-life balance. The beaches are stunning, the food fantastic, the days very sunny and the locals generally very welcoming. Many of the country's popular digital nomad cities have Meetup- or Facebook communities, where you’ll find lots of options for great weekend activities. Think of surf lessons, stunning hikes, road trips or restaurant visits - all great ways to get to know the country, meet new people and enjoy all that the surroundings have to offer.
Do you love road-tripping? For the travel platform Dutchies Travel, I wrote a blog about the best 14-day road trip in The Algarve. You can find the full article here.
Are there any downsides?
After reading this article you might think that Portugal is the ideal place to travel to, whether for work or for play. And while I feel the country is indeed pretty close to perfect, there are, of course, downsides to every destination.
Winters can be slightly wet and chilly in Portugal, especially in the north. And even though I enjoyed lots of wonderfully sunny afternoons in the southern beach towns of the Algarve, I found that the houses in Portugal are generally not built for wet and colder days. This resulted in freezing mornings, humidity all around, and laundry that would never dry.
A slight nuisance was the closing of shops and restaurants in wintertime, sometimes unannounced. I’d also recommend avoiding the country's tourist towns during the peak season in summer, when beaches are overcrowded and prices skyrocket.
But honestly? That is all I can really think of. Portugal is a wonderful destination for remote workers and digital nomads, and a must-visit even for just a couple of months. Besides the 5 reasons mentioned above, I could go on and on about the beaches, fantastic (sea)food, connectivity to other European countries and stunning nature. And did you know most locals speak English, making it even easier to settle in? Like I said, I could go on and on.
I hope this article has made you excited about your next remote work adventure in Portugal. Have you had different experiences visiting the country? Do you miss something on this list? Or are you eager to go yourself but need more tips and inspiration? Find me on Instagram or drop me a message below, I’d love to hear from you!
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