Where To Live in Portugal: Lisbon or Porto

Originally published at: Where To Move in Portugal: Lisbon or Porto

Are you planning to move to Portugal and can’t decide if you should choose Lisbon or Porto? You’re not alone. Many digital nomads who are heading to Portugal ask the same question.

Both Portuguese cities are beautiful, expat friendly, and full of opportunities. They’re also home to big expat communities. We’ve come up with some insights on both cities to make it easier for you to choose. Let’s start!

Where To Live in Portugal: Lisbon or Porto

As we’ve briefly outlined, both cities have their own charms. What they share in common is safety, rich culture, activities, and social life. 

Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal and located in the south. It’s home to a rich culture, museums, parks, shopping alternatives, and a busy nightlife. It’s one of the most visited capitals in Europe. If you’re coming from a big city and looking for crowds, choose Lisbon. If you’re in Lisbon during summer, be ready for massive crowds though!

Porto is a popular city, too. It also offers leisure options, such as museums, cafes, restaurants, and many more activities. It’s smaller than Lisbon though. But it’s less crowded and less noisy. 

Cost of Living in Lisbon and Porto

Lisbon and Porto are the largest and the most famous cities in Portugal. This popularity increases the cost of living in both cities compared to the rest of the country. However, Lisbon is known to be more expensive than Porto.

The below chart will give you an idea about the expenses in both cities. The figures are taken from Numbeo and belong to June 2021.

  Porto Lisbon
Meal (min.) €7 €9
McMeal at McDonalds €6.25 €6.50
Cappuccino €1.48 €1.80
Loaf of Bread (500g) €1.01 €1.19
Local Cheese (1 kg) €6.30 €7.61
Beef (1 kg) €9.27 €11
One-way Ticket (Local Transport) €1.33 €1.70
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) €35.00 €40.00
Average Monthly Rent for a 1 Bedroom Apartment €681.15 €860.81

These figures show that consumer prices in Lisbon are 6.96% higher than in Porto, excluding rent. Rents in Lisbon are 28.18% higher than in Porto.

However, in general, the whole country is cheaper than most European cities.

For example, consumer prices in Barcelona are 11.79% higher than in Lisbon, including the rent. This percentage goes up to 22% when we compare Lisbon with Berlin. So, note that both Porto and Lisbon offer affordable living when compared to the other popular cities in Europe.

Climate in Lisbon and Porto

You might think that the climate won’t differ much in these Portuguese cities, but the weather is warmer in Lisbon. Porto is usually colder in winter and you might expect more rain in fall and spring.

On a summer day, the temperature might go up to 30ºC in Lisbon. The evenings are around 16ºC. Lisbon winters are bearable with average temperatures around 10ºC. The fact is if you’re a sun lover, choose Lisbon over Porto as it promises more sunshine.

If you’re fine with rainy days, you can choose Porto. In winter the average temperature is between 5ºC and 15ºC. In summer the temperature is around 28ºC.

Security in Porto and Lisbon

Portugal ranks 3rd in the Global Peace Index 2020. So when it comes to security, it’ll be fair to say that both cities are among the safest in whole Europe. Also, both cities are always on top of lists when it comes to family living and security.

According to a survey done by Sumo Finans, a Norwegian company, Porto is the best country to raise a family. Lisbon ranks as third in the same list. In the same survey, Porto also ranks as one of the best cities for family activities.

In conclusion, both cities promise a safe environment. See the below chart by Numbeo for a quick comparison between the two cities.

  Porto Lisbon
Safety walking alone during daylight 81.9 – Very High 89.12 – Very High
Safety walking alone during night 57.45 – Moderate 66.99 – High

Note that both Portuguese cities got better results in this Numbeo survey when compared to Berlin and Barcelona. For more information, check out our article on 10 Safest Countries in the World.

Cultural Activities in Lisbon and Porto

Both Lisbon and Porto are home to museums, theaters, festivals, and many other cultural activities.  Thanks to the country’s deep culture, there is always something to discover.

In Lisbon, there are many famous museums. You can visit the National Azulejo Museum, where the country’s famous glazed tiles are exhibited. Museu do Fado is another museum that you’ll love. It’s a museum where you’ll learn more about the country’s fado music. National Museum of Art, Berardo Collection Museum, and Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology (MAAT) are among the must-see attractions if you love museum hopping.

You can find many museums in Porto, too. Serralves Museum, Portuguese Center of Photography, Romantic Museum, and Museum of Port Wine are the most popular ones. If you love football, don’t also miss FC Porto Museum.

Outdoor Activities in Lisbon and Porto

Thanks to the climate, both cities are perfect to enjoy outdoor activities. In Lisbon, you can enjoy, Parque Eduardo VII, Jardim Guerra Junqueiro, Park of Necessidades, and many others. These parks are great to enjoy the nice weather and socialize with the locals.

Porto is also famous for its beautiful parks, such as Parque de Serralves, Porto’s City Park, Botanic Garden of Porto. So if you love spending time outdoors, you’ll find many alternatives in both cities. 

Coworking Spaces in Lisbon and Porto

Finding a coworking space in both Lisbon and Porto is easy. As both cities are now attracting digital nomads, there are many coworking space options to choose from. So whichever city you move to, you’ll easily find a coworking space that fits your needs.

The average price for a monthly hot desk membership is around €200-225 in both cities.

Transportation in Lisbon and Porto

Both cities have international airports, a good bus system, and an effective train network. So whichever city you live in, you can easily get connected to the rest of the country and the world.

Infrastructure in both cities is good. If you like driving, you’ll love the Lisbon and Porto highways. 


There you have it. We’ve tried to give you a basic comparison between the two cities. Hope this helps you to make a decision. No matter what your decision is, we believe you’re going to have an amazing time in Portugal. 

Before you leave,

Check our Portugal for Digital Nomads guide