I decided to put together this (Almost) complete guide to Lisbon Portugal based on my travels, moving to the country, dealing with locals and learning about what it means to be an expat in Portugal. As some of our readers know that Blanca and I have spent 10-years traveling the world. Living in cities for 3-6 months at a time. We have been lucky enough to run two wonderful startups which have allowed us to see over 45 countries. Finally, after all those treks we decided to settle down in Lisboa (Lisbon) Portugal.
This guide will provide you with key items such as dealing with the bureaucracy, finding places to live, pricing, going out to eat, meeting people and leisure. It is not a complete guide and it is growing on a daily basis. As we learn more, we will add various sections and amend portions of this piece. I hope you enjoy and learn more about our amazing new home. If you have a particular question for us, just leave it in the comments.
The (Almost) Complete Guide to Lisbon Portugal
I would follow the 50 things to do in Portugal as a base guide. All are honest and will make you a better traveler.
Let’s first talk about the legality of what is needed to move to Portugal. Portugal is a Schengen country, and since I am American, I will be focusing fully on Americans moving to Portugal. I do not know the laws or rules of other countries, but I am sure this guide will help non-Americans to a certain extent.
As an American, you are only allowed to stay in Portugal on a tourist visa for 90-days at a time with a total of 180-days per year. So think of it like 90-days in, 90-day out, then back again. Rinse and repeat. You can request an extension of the tourist visa two times in a row. So, there is a possibility of a 270-day stay. In order to do this, you must call the SEF and make an appointment. They usually ask for a fee. They will request that you bring an address, some financial information, proof of insurance and your passport.
In this guide, I won’t be addressing the tourist visa. Instead, we will discuss how to become a resident of Portugal. This type of stay allows you to stay in Portugal for over 1-year, is renewable, and actually makes you part of Portuguese society.
- How to talk Portuguese like an 8-year old
- Tips on traveling Lisbon on a budget
- How much does it cost to live in Lisbon, Portugal
- Holidays in Portugal
- Race relations in Lisbon
Getting to and Around in Lisbon
Lisbon is a pretty small city with a fantastic metro, train, taxi and bus system. Here are the links you will need to learn how to traverse the city.
Finding your First Apartment in Lisbon
Before you move to Portugal it is our suggestion that you first spend a few weeks or months seeing the country. We suggest you rent a short-term apartment in a traditional neighborhood such as Santos or Estrela and then test out other neighborhoods to get a feel for where you want to live. Don’t make a long-term commitment without knowing what you like. Otherwise, you may end up living on a busy street in Bairro Alto where you won’t be able to sleep at night because of all the partiers.
- Breakdown of the top neighborhoods in Lisbon
- All About the Santos Neighborhood in Lisbon
- Gay Hip and Wealthy Neighborhood of Principe Real
- The Upper East side of Lisbon aka Avenidas Novas
Short-Term and Long-Term Lisbon Apartments
- How to join a Gyms in Lisbon
- Where to buy electronics in Lisbon
- Dealing with People-Lines and other ridiculousness
- What to do if your EDP Electric bill is crazy high
Sites to See in Lisbon
- The best museum in Lisbon at the Jardim Gulbenkian
- Finding the Best Parks in Lisbon to relax and picnic
- Why Belem is the new Westchester
- The must-see Castelo de Sao Jorge
- Parque Eduardo VII is kinda like Central Park
- The Gorgeous Cemitério dos Prazeres in Lisbon
- The quaint historic British Cemetery Lisbon
- How to see Museums for Free in Lisbon Museums
Eating & Drinking in Portugal
- Tipping in Portugal
- 14 Things to Eat in Lisbon
- Portuguese Coffee Secrets
- The Best Lisbon Wine Bars
- Best Eats Lisbon
- The Kiosks of Lisbon
Logistics on moving to Lisbon Portugal
Once you have your apartment in the perfect neighborhood with old ladies hanging their clothes out the window (and keeping their eye on you) and you’ve walked up each of the 7 hills, you’ll start to feel like a local. This is the time when you need to take the next step and become a resident, leaseholder, landowner, and start your new life. Let’s break down the various processes on how to become a Portuguese local.
- Getting a Schengen Portugal Visa
- Getting a Startup Visa
- How to get a Portuguese Bank Account as a US Citizen
- How to get the Portuguese Non-Habitual Tax Residency
I hope these tips and articles have helped you integrate easier into Portuguese society. I have come to love Portugal. I think Lisbon is a great place to call home. My new home country has amazing perks like 2-hour travel to Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, and London. I can be on a gorgeous beach in 30 minutes (by train). Prices in Portugal are amazing (but rising fast). People here are wonderful. English is spoken by many of the locals AND there is a budding expat community, so while you should learn Portuguese – it won’t be impossible for you to live here without it.
Portugal is a great place to live. I hope you enjoy it…and if you have questions for me or if you think there is something missing from this Guide to Lisbon Portugal – let me know in the comments section below.