Popular expat cities in Portugal

Where should you move to?

Popular expat cities in Portugal

Considering moving to Portugal? Thanks to tourism, a healthy job market and a growing economy, many of the country’s cities are fast becoming popular expat destinations. To help you decide where to move to, check out our top 5 Portuguese cities for expats.


As Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon is a natural choice for expats seeking a bustling atmosphere. With a lower average cost of living than the majority of Western European capitals, you can enjoy all the aspects of capital city life (great bars, restaurants, efficient metro) on a modest budget.

Home to a booming start-up scene  and an expanding financial sector, the city has started to attract expats from all over the world, giving rise to a large expat community and development of expat services, including a great choice of international schools. For a chance to live in one of Western Europe’s oldest capitals a during this exciting time of development and diversity, Lisbon certainly shouldn’t be overlooked.


Porto is Portugal’s second biggest city. Often called the cultural capital, it’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. Much like Lisbon, its economy is growing, especially in the manufacturing, construction and IT sectors. Due to the city’s historical industrial and commercial importance, many top Portuguese and international businesses - such as EFACEC, Porto Editora and Grupo ARA - call Porto home, creating many employment opportunities for expats.

Alongside it’s rising expat community, Porto is a popular tourist destination, meaning there are many tourism related jobs on offer. If your dream is to live under the sun and run a charming B&B on the waterfront, Porto is the place to be. Its international airport makes the city highly accessible and, as the birthplace of Port, it’s the perfect place for lovers of the sweet red wine.


As the ‘Venice of Portugal’, you can expect Aveiro to be a truly beautiful place to call home. A small coastal city crossed by canals and less well-known to tourists, it’s the ideal place to mix with the locals. For years, the main industry has been fishing. However, with the founding of its own university in the 1970s, its economy started to expand and change, creating more and more employment opportunities (particularly in software development and commerce). Plus, less than an hour’s drive to Porto, it’s the perfect place for those who don’t mind commuting to work.  

Thanks to recent developments - including pedestrianised streets and a government funded bicycle scheme - the city centre has become increasingly modernised and, despite the changing economy, Aveiro’s restaurants still serve some of the best seafood in the world.


Coimbra was Portugal's medieval capital for over 100 years and today, despite having long lost the capital title, it remains an important and lively city. Boasting one of the largest and oldest universities in the world - Universidade de Coimbra - it is first and foremost a university city, with its high number of international students creating a diverse and established expat population.

A mix of tradition and modernity, Coimbra offers a true lesson in Portuguese history alongside a wide range of trendy bars, restaurants and shops situated on the newly renovated waterfront. With good road and train connections to both Lisbon and Porto, it’s also popular amongst retired expats seeking a slower pace of life while retaining easy access to the bigger cities.


Portugal’s oldest city, Braga is overflowing with culture and history. Like Coimbra, it’s a very popular university destination and the many students bring a fun and lively dynamic to the old Roman city. It was even named a European Youth Capital .

Braga has a growing IT industry, with many jobs available in software development and web design. The construction industry is also developing and the large number of students means there is always a high demand for language teachers, especially native English speakers. Property prices are attractive and the general cost of living is cheaper than in many of Portugal’s other popular expat destinations, making the city a great place for family life.

So, have you decided where to move to? International moving experts, such as AGS Movers , can help you plan and execute your move, ensuring a seamless and hassle-free process. Professionally transporting your valuables, they will make sure your new Portuguese house soon feels like home.

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