New up and coming digital nomad hub in Europe, Portugal has a lot more to offer than just fast wifi. With amazing beaches, great food, friendly people and government incentives to entrepreneurship, many startups are moving their HQ’s to main cities like Lisbon or Porto, which has been attracting a young and skilled workforce. And Portugal still has a wide array of other great cities to live that combine the quality of life and the infrastructure you need to work on a high level. To help you discover a bit more about those places, we are launching our Digital Nomad’s Guide to Portugal, a series of blog posts presenting some of the country’s best places to live and work. To start, here are some of the gems in the north of Portugal: Porto, Coimbra, and Braga.
Even though Porto isn’t as big as Lisbon, it is starting to foster a really good community of digital nomads, freelancers, and startups and coworking spaces such as Porto i/o, which organizes frequent meetups and debates. Another very important point for nomads is that Although Porto is quite a small city, it has a very good airport. You can fly to Faro and Lisbon very cheaply, and to most other major European countries as well. There are also a handful of international flights to countries like the US, Canada, Morocco, and Brazil.
One important aspect that is not just limited to Porto, but to the whole country is safety. Without a doubt, Portugal is one of the safest countries in Europe, According to the 2019 Global Peace Index, Portugal is the world’s 3rd safest country. Only Iceland and New Zealand are considered safer, and neither has the weather, beaches, or low cost of living that Portugal has. So I bet Portugal seems even better now right!
And if you are a digital nomad trying to cut down some expenses, Porto might be just where you need to go. Such a small town, you’ll probably go anywhere on foot, and if not, public transport is really cheap too. It is also the same thing for food, Porto is a great place to go for cheap fine dining. Places like Antiqvvm, which has 1-Michelin Star, offer a lunch menu for affording €25 per person.
One of the most popular destinations for digital nomads visiting Portugal, Coimbra boasts one of the largest universities in the world, and already has an established expat population. Coimbra is popular with retirees looking for a slower pace of life within easy reach of plenty of amenities.
Three types of properties tend to dominate the city – older properties in need of renovation, apartments that are very popular with students, and larger properties with lots of land in the more rural areas on the outskirts.
Portugal’s third-largest city, Living in Coimbra affords you the opportunity to live in a tranquil city with a low cost of living and high quality of life. It is halfway between Lisbon and Porto and easily accessible by rail and road. The entire district of Coimbra is home to over 450,000 people while the city of Coimbra itself is home to about 140,000 people.
The public transportation system in Coimbra is quite developed. The two major means of transportation in Coimbra are the bus and train, and the bus is by far the cheapest. In terms of accommodation, being a university town, there are always nice options for places to rent.
And don’t let the small city vibe drive your digital nomad spirit away! If you want to get some work done, Coimbra offers some great options of coffee shops and bars with good wifi for you to work from, and as a plus, the website CafeWifi will show the best of them in Coimbra region.
With its university, businesses and government working in close harmony, Braga has transformed itself into a tech hotbed. The past decade has seen Braga become an innovation hub for Portugal and the wider Iberian peninsula through its thriving start-up ecosystem and world-class specialisms in medical technology and automotive, to name a few. In other words, The city files the most patents in Portugal in real numbers, exceeding Lisbon and Porto, and has the country’s second-highest rate of higher education students in science and technology, according to Portugal’s Institute of National Statistics.
Braga is also an example of the ‘triple helix’, where innovation and economic development are led by university-industry-government collaboration. Triple-helix ecosystems accelerate R&D through knowledge transfer, application, and financial support. With its main university (UMinho) high-quality technical skills and Braga’s young population, many businesses are coming to Braga, alongside the global war for tech talent!
Indeed, Braga’s flourishing tech ecosystem has attracted numerous foreign companies and people. Located to the north of the country, Braga is the oldest city in Portugal and its northern quarter is popular with expats in search of a chilled-out lifestyle and attractive property prices, with plenty of modern properties and a popular housing market.
And if all that makes Braga sounds like the perfect place for a work opportunity and digital nomad networking, you’ll be also quite pleased with the city’s coworking scene. Places like Braga i/o, Factory Braga and the Regus branch in the city will make you feel like you’re in London or NY.