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How To Become A Digital Nomad In Portugal
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How To Become A Digital Nomad In Portugal

In recent years, work-from-home jobs have become all the rage, and it's never been a better time to be a digital nomad. Portugal is one of the best countries in the world to live as a digital nomad, thanks to its great weather, low cost of living, and relaxed lifestyle.

In recent years, work-from-home jobs have become all the rage, and it's never been a better time to be a digital nomad. Portugal is one of the best countries in the world to live as a digital nomad, thanks to its great weather, low cost of living, and relaxed lifestyle.

So, what is a digital nomad, exactly? A digital nomad is someone who works remotely, usually from a laptop, and travels the world while doing so. If you're obsessed with freedom and love to travel, becoming a digital nomad is the perfect lifestyle.

Becoming a digital nomad in Portugal is an enriching experience that will allow you to live a life of freedom and adventure. In this article, we'll discuss the basics of becoming a digital nomad in Portugal, including where to stay, what to do, and how to find work. 

Let's get started!

Why is Portugal a good destination for digital nomads?

Portugal is one of the most magical and underrated countries in Europe. From its stunning coastal towns to its vibrant cities, Portugal has something for everyone – regardless of whether you're traveling in the short-term or embracing the nomadic lifestyle.

In addition to being a beautiful country, Portugal is also an affordable place to live and work. The cost of living in Portugal is much lower than in other Western European countries, making it a great destination for digital nomads on a budget.

If you're looking to move to Europe for remote work, Portugal has the following advantages to offer:

  • High quality of life – Portugal ranks high in both the Human Development Index and the World Happiness Report, thanks to its affordable cost of living, Mediterranean climate, and relaxed lifestyle.
  • Excellent internet connectivity – Portugal has one of the best broadband networks in Europe, meaning you'll have no trouble staying connected while you work.
  • A thriving digital nomad community – Portugal is home to a growing number of digital nomads, entrepreneurs, and remote workers. This makes it easy to find like-minded people to connect with and get advice from.
  • Plenty of coworking spaces – As the number of digital nomads in Portugal grows, so does the number of coworking spaces. There are now dozens of coworking spaces throughout the country, making it easy to find a space that suits your needs and budget.

Needless to say, Portugal is a great destination for anyone looking to become a digital nomad. If you're intrigued by the idea of living and working in this beautiful country, read on for tips on how to make it happen.

Do you need a visa to work as a digital nomad in Portugal?

When looking to travel overseas for remote work, one of the first things you need to check is whether your destination requires a visa. Since digital nomadism is becoming more prevalent, many countries have begun to offer nomad-specific visas – so it's always worth checking for those. 

Even though there isn't in Portugal a visa destined especially for digital nomads, the most appropriate visa would be the D7 visa, which is destined for people who intend to live in Portugal through their own income. 

Although the law does not specify the incomes accepted to this kind of visa, it is widely accepted proof of retirement earning, pensions, owned property rented to anyone, and remote work.

The D7 process is split into two different steps: 

  1. Apply for the residence visa before leaving the country of origin/legal residence (which is an authorization to come to Portugal).
  2. Once you've obtained the visa and arrived in Portugal, you must apply for a residence permit before SEF (which is an authorization to live legally in Portugal).

To be granted the Portugal D7 visa, the applicant must:

  •  get a Portuguese tax number (NIF), 
  • open a Portuguese Bank Account, 
  • prove financial self-sufficiency, 
  • present proof of accommodation, 
  • get full health insurance, 
  • have a clean criminal record,
  • meet the minimum stay requirement.

Regarding the question about the possibility of setting up an LLC in Portugal, it is possible as long as the candidate has a Portuguese NIF number. Therefore, it is not mandatory to be a Portugal visa/residence permit holder when setting up an LLC in Portugal. You can find out more about your visa options for Portugal here.

Portugal's cost of living: how much do you need to earn per month?

Compared to other European countries, Portugal is considered one of the most affordable destinations in which to live. This doesn't mean you will have to accept a lower quality of life, as Portugal is a beautiful country with much to offer. 

As with most countries, some cities in Portugal are more costly than others, so it's difficult to estimate what you would need to earn as a digital nomad in Portugal. In Lisbon, for example, the cost of living can be around €1,500 per month, while in smaller towns, it could be as low as €600.

As an average, however, refer to the following breakdown:

Basic Utilities (Electricity, Heating, Water and Garbage): €100

Transport (public or private car): €200

Internet and Phone Plan: €70

Groceries: €460

Entertainment (Going Out, Movies, etc.): €290

Based on data from International Living

For more specific information, let's take a look at specific cities in terms of the cost of living.

Lisbon

Lisbon is Portugal's capital and largest city. It is a vibrant, eclectic city with a rich history and culture. The cost of living in Lisbon is relatively high compared to the rest of the country, but there are plenty of opportunities for digital nomads to find work and accommodation.

In Lisbon, you can expect to pay the following for basic expenses:

  • €850 for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center
  • €630 for monthly rent outside the city center
  • €1.50 for a public transport ticket
  • €10 for a meal in a budget restaurant
  • €20 for a meal in a mid-range restaurant
  • €2 for a beer in a bar
  • €1 for a bottle of water

To live comfortably in Lisbon, you would need to earn at least €1,500 per month.

Porto

Porto is Portugal's second-largest city and is known for its stunning architecture, delicious food, and lively nightlife. The cost of living in Porto is lower than in Lisbon, making it a more affordable option for digital nomads.

In Porto, you can expect to pay the following for basic expenses:

  • €660 for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center
  • €510 for monthly rent outside the city center
  • €1.45 for a public transport ticket
  • €8 for a meal in a budget restaurant
  • €18-20 for a meal in a mid-range restaurant
  • €2 for a beer in a bar
  • €0.90 for a bottle of water

To live comfortably in Porto, you would need to earn at least €1,000 per month.

Braga

Braga is the third-largest city in Portugal and is known for its historical center, churches, and parks. Compared to Lisbon and Porto, the cost of living in Braga is relatively low.

In Braga, you can expect to pay the following for basic expenses:

  • €550 for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center
  • €420 for monthly rent outside the city center
  • €1.55 for a public transport ticket
  • €7 for a meal in a budget restaurant
  • €15 for a meal in a mid-range restaurant
  • €1.70 for a beer in a bar
  • €0.90 for a bottle of water

To live comfortably in Braga, you would need to earn at least €800 per month.

Outer cities will be fairly similar to Braga. However, it's often better to choose one of the more populated cities so that you can access coworking spaces and better internet. However, it's important to love the place you're living in – so smaller cities might be right for you.

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Best cities to live in Portugal

Portugal is home to some truly wonderful cities, each with its own unique charm and appeal. However, for digital nomads, beauty is just one criterion among many when it comes to choosing a place to call home. Other important factors include:

  • the cost of living
  • the availability of coworking spaces
  • the quality of internet connections

 Lisbon is Portugal's capital city and its largest metropolis. It's also one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in Europe, making it an ideal place for digital nomads. The city is home to an array of coworking spaces, and its fast and reliable internet connections make it a great place for online entrepreneurs.

Another great city for digital nomads is Porto. Located in the north of the country, Porto is Portugal's second-largest city and its economic and cultural center. Like Lisbon, Porto is home to a number of coworking spaces, and its fast internet connections make it an ideal place for online entrepreneurs. In addition, Porto is considerably more affordable than Lisbon, making it a great option for budget-conscious digital nomads.

Other cities in Portugal that are worth considering for digital nomads include Cascais, Faro, and Aveiro. All three cities offer a great mix of affordability, convenience, and beauty. They also boast an impressive number of coworking spaces, making it easy for digital nomads to find a place to work and meet other like-minded people.

Where to live

We've covered the best cities in Portugal for digital nomads, but what are your options in terms of accommodation? Portugal has a wide range of accommodation types to suit all budgets and needs, from camping and hostels to apartments and villas.

Camping is a great option if you're on a tight budget; there are plenty of campsites throughout the country, many of which offer excellent facilities, including swimming pools, restaurants, and bars. You can find reasonable campsites starting at just $12 per night; however, it's important to remember that the digital nomad life requires quality internet, so do your research before picking a campsite!

If camping isn't your thing, hostels are a great alternative and can be found in most of Portugal's major cities. Rates start at around $15 per night for a dorm room, and many hostels offer private rooms and apartments as well.

In terms of rental apartments, Portugal has a wide range of options to suit all budgets. The following are monthly rental prices for an apartment in Portugal's major cities:

  • Lisbon – €650 to €1000
  • Porto – €650 to €1000
  • Braga – €350 to €650
  • Coimbra – €400 to €750
  • Faro – €400 to €1000

You're unlikely to encounter a monthly rent that exceeds €1000, especially if you're willing to live outside of Portugal's major cities. 

Top tip: If you want to find co-living arrangements with other digital nomads, you can use the Facebook page Digital Nomads Portugal. This page has plenty of information about events, co-living opportunities, and coworking spaces. 

Coworking spaces

As a digital nomad, working life can feel lonely and isolating at times. However, thanks to the ever-growing number of coworking spaces popping up all over Portugal, this no longer has to be the case.

Coworking spaces provide an excellent opportunity for digital nomads to network with other professionals, exchange ideas, and collaborate on projects. In addition, many of these spaces also offer a range of other amenities, including meeting rooms, social areas, and even food and drink.

If you're looking for a great place to work from in Portugal, here are some of the best coworking spaces to check out:

Porto i/o in Porto

This coworking space is located in four different areas of the city, making it perfect for digital nomads who want to be close to the action. All of the locations offer stunning views of the city and come equipped with everything you need to get your work done, including high-speed Wi-Fi. You get all of these for a monthly fee starting at just 130€. 

Avila Spaces

As the most awarded business center in Portugal, you can be sure that Avila Spaces knows how to provide an excellent coworking experience. This space offers high-quality amenities, great networking opportunities, and superb customer service, and you can choose between coworking spaces, rental offices, and meeting rooms.

Ocupa Cowork

This is a fairly new coworking space in Aveiro, and it's quickly gaining a reputation for being one of the best options in the area. Ocupa Cowork offers a great range of services and facilities, including fast Wi-Fi, cable access, lounge areas, and more.

There are coworking spaces to be found all over Portugal, so if these aren't located in your city of choice, all you need to do is search 'coworking spaces' plus the name of your city. Alternatively, you can use the convenient Global Coworking Map.

Internet speeds

Fortunately for digital nomads in Portugal, the country ranked among the top 20 fastest in the world for average internet speeds. Depending on your location, you can expect to have speeds of around 70-90 Mbps, which is plenty for most online activities. However, the internet can reach speeds of between 350 Mbps and even 1 Gbps in some locations. 

  • Median broadband speeds 2022: 99 Mbps download, 70 Mbps upload
  • Median mobile speeds 2022: 80 Mbps download, 14 Mbps upload

Taxes for digital nomads in Portugal

For non-residents who earn their income outside of Portugal, the country is fairly lenient in terms of taxable income. If you gain Non-Habitual Resident status, meaning you have a visa to work in Portugal and you have not been a resident any time in the past five years, you are only required to pay a 20% income tax on any income earned in Portugal.

You won't be taxed on worldwide income (income sourced outside of Portugal) until you reside in the country for 183 days over a 12-month period, which is similar to most other European countries. You can find the official information here.

Conclusion

If you are looking to become a digital nomad but unsure of where to go, Portugal is a great place to start. With its relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle and low cost of living, you can easily get set up here and enjoy all this beautiful country offers.

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Nick Saraev

A programmer by trade, Nick is a freelance writer and entrepreneur with a penchant for helping people achieve their business goals. He's been featured on Popular Mechanics & Apple News, and has founded several successful companies in e-commerce, marketing, and artificial intelligence. When he's not working on his latest project, you can find him hiking or painting.
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