Wondering where to move to in Portugal? We take a look at some of the best areas to live no matter whether you’re retiring, an expat or looking for the perfect holiday home.

Whether you’re contemplating retirement in Portugal or eyeing a vacation property there, the options are vast. In fact, listing the best spots in the country is nearly an impossible task.

Portugal, a multifaceted nation on the Iberian Peninsula, has an abundance to present, such as the mountainous terrain near the Monchique Mountains, the sun-soaked Algarve, and numerous cities dotting the western coast. Its diversity ensures that you can discover the perfect spot, whether you’re attracted to the urban energy or prefer to unwind in rural tranquillity.

With its year-round temperate climate, stunning beaches, relaxed way of life, affordable living costs, and family-friendly atmosphere, Portugal is understandably considered one of Europe’s prime living destinations. The reasons to make the move are numerous and compelling.

So, if you’re wondering where the ideal place to reside in Portugal might be, we’re here to assist. We’ll provide you with an in-depth guide featuring the top 10 living areas in Portugal, helping you uncover the perfect spot for your dream home.

1: Embrace the City Life in Lisbon

Sao George Castle Lisbon

If you are looking for a diverse kind of lifestyle, then you won’t be disappointed with everything Lisbon, the capital city, has to offer. You’ll be able to immerse yourself in culture and explore many different nationalities at the same time. Find a property near the city centre or place yourself near the outskirts if you want to escape the bright lights.

However, this fantastic city has no shortage of restaurants and bars if you are the type to enjoy socialising and eating out regularly. Furthermore, you’re never too far away from that beautiful coast either, giving you plenty of opportunities to explore the freedom of the great outdoors. You’ll also find a thriving expat community, which makes it possible to meet new people and build new friendships.

The cost of living here is lower than in many other cities throughout Europe. It’s a compact city that’s lively, exciting and perfect for anyone who loves sampling culture. From townhouses to countryside villas, you can easily move to Lisbon, particularly if you opt to use a European removal service such as that offered by PSS.

With all the amenities, and an international airport, this safe and relaxed city boasts so much to see and do that you will always have something to explore and embrace once you move here.

2: Thriving Vilamoura On the Algarve

Vilamoura, Quarteira, Algarve Portugal

Perhaps the lure of golden beaches and those sunburnt orange cliffs of the Algarve region are too much for you? If this is the case, Vilamoura is a great place to purchase a property.

It might be a tourist hotspot during the summer months, but if you are someone who loves to live close to the beach, wants restaurants on your doorstep and loves to play a few rounds of golf each week, then this is definitely one of the best places to live in Portugal.

Located on the coast, you’ll find plenty of different property types here. There are townhouses, apartments and villas across the area.

However, Vilamoura is a hive of activity, with its huge marina acting as the beating heart of this fantastic location. You’ll find plenty of restaurants and bars as well as upmarket shops to explore too. There are many golf courses across the area while the beaches stretch as far as the eye can see in both directions, making it possible to keep active and soak up the sun all year round.

Getting around here is simple, the area is well maintained and you’ve also got plenty of supermarkets too. As expected, it’s a popular place with British people, which means that you’ll also find a friendly expat community to embrace too.

3: Perfect Porto – That’s if City Life is For You

Perfect Port on River DouroLocated on the banks of the River Douro, this bustling city often gets overlooked by expats but there are many reasons to move to Portugal and Porto is one of them! Much like Lisbon, Porto is a thriving city with beautiful places to explore.

It’s a safe city too, which is ideal for families looking to move to Porto or those looking to retire. You can live south of the river in an area known as Vila Nova de Gaia, where the prices are cheaper and the area is less frequented by tourists.

It’s still a top destination to live in if you are considering moving to Portugal because you can enjoy a cosmopolitan lifestyle, dine out cheaply, and enjoy vibrant bars and elegant coffee shops. When you decide you want to explore, you have the coastline to discover or you can head inland to enjoy the countryside.

Porto has a lot of charm and elegance, which makes it a desirable place to live. Place yourself in the city centre and you will have everything you need on your doorstep, making it easy to get around and find what you need. The people are friendly, the atmosphere is lively enough to keep you entertained and there is always plenty going on!

4: The Village Life in Ericeira

coastal Ericeira Portugal

If you’re looking for something different, you might want to consider moving to Ericeira. Nestled north of Lisbon, you won’t experience the hustle and bustle of the city here, and the pace of life is slightly slower and more reserved. It’s ideal if you like to relax in your surroundings without feeling the urge to fall in line with everyone else.

It has a small population of 10,000 people, giving it a real community spirit. It’s on the coast, so you’ll still get fantastic sea views and miles of golden sand.

In actual fact, Ericeira can become anything you want it to be. The beaches bring great water sports opportunities; you might want to try surfing, although you might prefer to soak up the views. There are plenty of cafes here and traditional restaurants, enabling you to immerse yourself in a life consumed by their culture and traditions.

You might not be surrounded by other expats, but that’s what Ericeira is all about – escaping the monotony of life and enjoying the wonders in this beautiful little town.

This is also an excellent area to search for alternative properties, such as restoration projects and smallholdings. In fact, Pure Portugal is the best person to contact if you’re looking for unique properties anywhere in Portugal.

5: The Glamour of Quinta do Lago

Quinta do Lago golf resort Portugal

Maybe you want to spend your retirement dining out and living a life of luxury, or perhaps you want to settle down in a lavish community that’s only for those looking for comfort and style.

Quinta do Lago is an exclusive community no more than 20 minutes from the airport, but it comes with beautiful beaches, pine trees and rolling golf courses. Villas and apartments are on offer here and they all come with private pools. The area is kept immaculately and here you will find a shopping precinct, a driving range, a tennis club and many plush restaurants that cater to all.

This fantastic destination is popular with the rich and famous, so you can expect to rub shoulders with some famous people when you become a part of the community here. You can access sprawling beaches, the rolling Atlantic Ocean, and a nature reserve, providing plenty to keep you occupied.

This is probably considered the most upmarket area of the whole of Portugal but once you set eyes on it, you’ll instantly feel the urge to find out more! It’s lavish, and plush and the whole design of the area instantly lures you in.

6: Beautiful Tavira

Tavira Gilao River Algarve

Sure, we have touched on the Algarve already but there is much more to this area than many realise and Tavira captures it all perfectly.

This is considered the prettiest town in the Algarve; once you see it in the flesh, you will feel right at home. More and more people are moving here, so you might consider an expat community an essential part of deciding where you live. The town has the beautiful Gilao River, while you will also have access to the stunning Praia do Barril beach.

It has the stunning weather that the Algarve is known for, but the pace of life here is slightly slower and you won’t be fighting the crowds of tourists. Tavira is the ideal pick if you’re looking to take advantage of a serene setting with a gentle river and beach close at hand.

There is no end of restaurants to enjoy if you’re a socialite, and there are also some beautiful bars and coffee shops. Making a move to Tavira will be one of the best choices you make. You’ll find that the summers are hot and relatively quiet while the winters are chilled and sunny, making this the perfect place to live.

7: The Spa Town of Chaves

spa town of Chaves Portugal

Chaves is located in Northern Portugal, just a short drive from the Spanish border. It’s a rural town that has an abundance of charm and elegance. A lot of history is tied to this town, and its name, Keys, pays homage to its past as it was the historical gateway into Portugal.

It is a relaxing town that has plenty of spas and thermal spas, so  If you’re looking for a traditional place to live that’s tucked away from the more popular areas of Portugal and where you can relax and take advantage of a laid-back atmosphere, then this is the place for you.

You can take advantage of the slower pace of life, embrace the culture and still spend time enjoying the great outdoors. The town is dissected by a river and plenty of parks, bars and restaurants to enjoy during your downtime.

Chaves is a hidden gem that enables you to make a home in a place that allows you to explore the real Portugal. Photo by Vitor Oliveira

8: Charming Coimbra

Charming Coimbra Portugal

Perhaps you’re someone who wants to be close to the city of Lisbon but you want to avoid the hustle and bustle? This makes Coimbra the ideal choice because it is between Lisbon and Porto.

This university city is extremely beautiful, with plenty of aesthetically pleasing architecture, meaning many properties here have character and charm throughout. It isn’t as lively as Lisbon but it is the home of the University of Coimbra so in the centre you will find a thriving community including bars, restaurants and shops. Despite this, it is located on the coast, bringing plenty of opportunities to enjoy the sunshine and beaches nearby.

The city has a real cosmopolitan vibe to it and that’s what makes it such a great place to live. It does have a growing expat community if that is your thing, although you can find quiet areas in which to live if you want a life of solitude.

Fortunately, you can access the likes of Porto and Lisbon easily if you decide that you want to be within easy reach.  It offers an exceptional quality of living, so whether you’re a digital nomad looking to work from somewhere trendy yet sophisticated or simply want to enjoy your retirement years, this is a potential option.

9: The Old City of Braga

Old City of Braga Portugal

If you’re looking to leave the UK and live in an area of Portugal steeped in history, then you should consider Braga. Braga is one of the oldest cities in Portugal, and you’ll notice that once you set eyes on the place. If you’re a city lover but find Lisbon and Porto slightly out of your budget, you will find plenty of cheaper properties here. Sure, it might be old but there is no denying that this charming city can hold its own. It has a bustling atmosphere that complements the rich history brilliantly well.

You don’t have to be a city lover to live here, though, because it’s also ideal for those who like to be within reach of the beach, which is only a 30-minute drive away. It’s also a short drive from the mountains and Spain, which gives you plenty to see and do when you aren’t working or enjoying your retirement. The religious undertone of the city, as well as its commanding Cathedral, ensures that you’re never too far away from tradition and culture, both of which many people crave when moving from the UK.

10: Authentic Aveiro

authentic Aveiro

Another destination that’s located close to Porto, it is perfect if you are someone who wants to escape the busier cities.

Aveiro is a city with a slower pace of life and gorgeous canals weaving through it. It might be small but there is no shortage of charm here and it has a lot of history; if you appreciate architecture and style, this will impress. As it’s smaller, it’s more suited to those who want to avoid the expat crowds and become a part of the community because English is spoken less here.

The city is known to be safe, and tourist numbers are a lot lower during the summer months. It’s located further from the coast than other cities, although you won’t need to travel too far to find the coast and the stunning Atlantic Ocean if sea walks and sea air are your thing. Like most places in Portugal, property prices are low, so you will find great value here.

There are plenty of restaurants to explore and plenty of bars and cafes that allow you to relax and watch the world go by. Whatever you are looking for in your move, there is no doubt that Aveiro will deliver an authentic experience you will eventually call home.

11. The Silver CoastThe Silver Coast

Known as the Algarve of the North, the Silver Coast stretches along the Western Atlantic coast of Portugal between Peniche and just south of Porto. Famous for its pristine clean beaches, water sports activities, and world-class golf courses, this is a prime destination for holidaymakers. It also offers much for those looking for the best places to live in Portugal.

Known by locals as the “Costa da Prata”, it is less crowded than the Algarve and is famous for its ancient towns, breathtaking beaches, and rugged coastline. Many expats find their way here and there are many exciting cities and ports to explore, including Peniche, Nazaré, Torres Vedras and Óbidos.

12. EvoraEvora

Evora, a hidden gem in the heart of Portugal, offers an great retreat for those seeking a peaceful life amidst nature’s beauty, with landscapes awash in vibrant wildflowers. This city, steeped in history dating back to the 15th century, masterfully blends its ancient allure with the comforts of modern living. Far from the rush and roar of Portugal’s bigger cities, Evora moves at a leisurely, soothing pace, inviting you to bask in tranquillity and serenity.

From a financial standpoint, Evora shines even brighter. The cost of living here is significantly more wallet-friendly compared to its urban counterparts, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious individuals. This economic advantage touches every aspect of life, from affordable housing to reasonably priced dining and entertainment options, ensuring a comfortable lifestyle that doesn’t break the bank.

13. Viana do CasteloViana do Castelo

Viana do Castelo, nestled in Northern Portugal, is a sparkling jewel of a city where natural splendor, historical depth, and cultural zest come together in a mesmerising dance. This coastal gem is renowned not only for its mesmerizing beaches and breathtaking landscapes but also for a treasure trove of attractions and activities that appeal to every whim and fancy.

The beaches here are amongst Portugal’s finest, boasting sun-kissed golden sands and crystal-clear waters that beckon for both leisurely relaxation and exhilarating water sports. The city is cradled by lush, rolling hills and the tranquil Lima River, creating a stunning natural canvas ideal for a range of outdoor pursuits, from hiking and cycling to bird-watching.

Steeped in history, Viana do Castelo houses the majestic Santuário de Santa Luzia. Perched regally on a hill, this architectural wonder isn’t just a feast for the eyes but also offers panoramic views that will take your breath away. Blending Byzantine and Gothic styles, this basilica is an unmissable landmark for those who revel in the grandeur of history and architecture.

14. TomarTomar

Tomar, is a treasure trove of wonders, blending stunning natural vistas, a rich tapestry of cultural history, and a plethora of outdoor adventures, making it a magnet for those looking to move somewhere new and exciting.

Tomar truly comes alive with the Festival Dos Tabuleiros (Festival of the Trays), a dazzling spectacle that’s one of Portugal’s most historic and vibrant celebrations. Occurring every four years in July, it transforms the city into a kaleidoscope of color and energy. Imagine hundreds of women parading through the streets, their heads adorned with trays festooned with bread, flowers, and candles, all moving to the rhythm of music and dance. This festival is not just an event; it’s a vivid expression of Portuguese culture and a thrilling experience that unites the community and attracts people from far and wide.

15. SintraSintra

Living in Sintra is like having your cake and eating it too: you’re just a stone’s throw away from the vibrant city life with its buzzing nightlife, endless entertainment, and diverse gastronomic delights. Plus, with the Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais right on your doorstep, it’s a paradise for those who revel in hiking and outdoor adventures.

Sure, the real estate in Sintra might be a bit pricier, but it’s a small price to pay for a spot in this sought-after location. And let’s not forget the stunning beaches like Praia das Maçãs, Praia Grande, and Praia da Ursa, which are the cherry on top of this already irresistible living experience in one of Portugal’s most enchanting regions.

16. Viseu Viseu

Viseu, affectionately known as ‘Portugal’s garden city’, is an extraordinary place to call home, boasting reasons that make life here thrilling. The city is sprinkled generously with pristine gardens and parks. These green havens are perfect for those seeking a dose of tranquility, a spot of exercise, or simply to bask in the glory of nature. The lush landscapes not only beautify the city but also foster a healthy and serene atmosphere, ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

For aficionados of the finer things in life, Viseu’s proximity to the esteemed Dão Wine Region is a dream come true. Renowned for producing some of the most exquisite wines in Portugal, known for their refined elegance and perfect balance, living in Viseu is like having a golden ticket to the heart of Portuguese viticulture. Imagine being able to wander through rolling vineyards, partake in exquisite wine tastings, and immerse yourself in the rich tradition of wine-making right at your doorstep.

17) BejaBeja

Beja, located in the heart of Portugal’s Alentejo region, is a gem and an irresistible place to call home. Dominating the cityscape is the majestic Castelo de Beja, a stunningly preserved medieval fortress. This castle isn’t just a silent guardian of history; it invites you to wander its mighty walls, and soak in the breath-taking panoramic views of the verdant countryside that stretch out from its ramparts.

Step into the Museu Regional de Beja, set in the enchanting former Convent of Our Lady of the Conception, and you’ll find yourself transported through time. This museum is a cultural kaleidoscope, showcasing an array of regional treasures, from ancient Roman and Visigoth relics to an impressive collection of religious art, each piece narrating a story of the region’s rich and varied past.

For the outdoor enthusiasts, the River Beach Cinco Reis is a slice of paradise. Nestled on the edge of a tranquil reservoir, this man-made beach is the perfect oasis for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking, providing a blissful retreat during the sun-drenched Alentejo summers. In Beja, every day is an adventure waiting to happen, offering a life full of discovery and delight.

18) Ponte de LimaPonte de Lima

At the heart of Ponte de Lima is the majestic Lima River, a sparkling gem that weaves through the town, creating a tranquil and picturesque setting. More than just a feast for the eyes, the river invites residents to immerse themselves in a variety of recreational activities like canoeing, fishing, or enjoying leisurely strolls along its banks. The presence of the Lima River infuses daily life in Ponte de Lima with a sense of peace and an intimate connection to nature.

The town is also celebrated for hosting the International Garden Festival, a globally recognised event that draws garden designers and nature lovers from across the globe. This festival transforms Ponte de Lima into an explosion of color and creativity, with cutting-edge garden designs that blend traditional and modern landscaping. This celebration of botanical artistry is a testament to the town’s dedication to both beauty and ecological sustainability, offering an ever-evolving visual spectacle for both residents and visitors.

19) FaroFaro

Faro, the vibrant capital of Portugal’s Algarve region, is a captivating blend of exquisite culinary experiences, strategic positioning, and effortless connectivity, making it a highly desirable destination for expatriates and locals alike.

The city is a paradise for nature lovers, boasting stunning beaches and the enchanting Ria Formosa lagoon, a haven of unique flora and fauna. This idyllic setting is perfect for an array of outdoor adventures, from blissful swimming and bird watching to tranquil nature walks, offering residents a serene yet invigorating lifestyle.

20) FunchalFunchal

Funchal is a feast for the eyes, offering awe-inspiring views and an idyllic climate all year round. This favorable weather paves the way for a host of outdoor adventures, from exhilarating hikes in the UNESCO-listed Laurisilva forests to leisurely strolls along the picturesque marina.

The city’s allure is further enhanced by its spectacular botanical gardens, such as the enchanting Monte Palace Tropical Garden and the Madeira Botanical Garden. These lush, vibrant oases are not just visual delights but serene sanctuaries, brimming with exotic flora and providing a tranquil retreat from everyday life.

Funchal’s relaxed vibe is beautifully balanced with its rich cultural life. The city is a hub of festivities, hosting celebrated events like the famed Madeira Flower Festival and the spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks, recognised as one of the most impressive in the world. The charming old town, with its quaint cobbled streets and historic charm, is dotted with cozy restaurants and cafes, inviting you to savor the delectable Madeiran cuisine and fine wines.

Moving to Portugal Brings Plenty of Opportunities

So, you might be looking to escape the UK, with Portugal firmly on your radar as the ideal location. However, it’s a hugely diverse country that changes as you move from the sunny tourist areas of the Algarve in the south to the quieter, more relaxed areas in the north.

Whether you’re a digital nomad who wants to live in the countryside or someone who loves immersing yourself in the culture and charm of the many elegant Portuguese cities, there is no shortage of options for where to live in Portugal.

If you’re planning the move to Portugal, PSS International Removals is here to assist you. Our offerings include full household removals and international shipping, and our expertise ensures that the daunting task of moving overseas becomes far more manageable.

We prioritise the safe and efficient arrival of your personal belongings to your new home in Portugal. Whether relocating a few precious items or an entire household, you can count on our resources and experience to make your move as smooth and stress-free as possible.