History, culture, food, wine, and a thriving startup scene are just some of the reasons why you should visit Portugal. This small country feels so big when you add up all the amazing natural sights. From the beaches in the Algarve to the ski lanes in Serra da Estrela, Portugal is a place for everyone.
To continue our series of blog posts presenting the ‘Digital Nomad’s Guide to Portugal’, we selected the last three cities: Lisbon, the country’s capital and new digital nomad favourite destination; Vila Nova de Mil Fontes, a hidden gem in the Alentejo coast, that even in the popular Portuguese summer still offer stretches of deserted beaches; and lastly Portimão, the second largest town in the Algarve, which offers a mix of resort town and typical Portuguese village vibes.
Digital Nomad’s Guide to Portugal
The stunning capital city of Portugal, Lisbon is one of the most charismatic and vibrant cities in Europe. It is a city that effortlessly blends traditional heritage, with striking modernism and progressive thinking.
With its world-class restaurants, reputation for style and rich history in art and culture, Portugal’s first city remains high on every discerning traveller’s hit-list, it is definitely one of most underrated European cities. Touted as a modern metropolis to rival London and packed with places of interest, Lisbon is a city that is really going places.
You won’t have to look far for nightlife as you can just dive into the medley of Fado joints and swish coffee shops in the Bairro Alto district. Then, perhaps, you can take in the latest in digital installation art at the Berardo Collection Museum, or go nose to nose with a grimacing shark at the Lisbon Aquarium.
Although Lisbon is nowhere near as cheap as it was a few years ago, particularly when it comes to rental prices, it’s still a fantastic destination for digital nomads. Prices, particularly for eating out, are still very affordable when compared to the rest of Western Europe. It’s possible to get a three-course lunch menu for less than €10 per person (and often that includes wine as well), while coffee and a cake or beer and a starter will rarely cost more than a few Euros. Essentially, if you can find a reasonably-priced rental, you can easily enjoy a good quality of life here as your other living costs will be very low.
Vila Nova de Mil Fontes
One of the loveliest towns along this stretch of the coast, Vila Nova de Milfontes remains much more low-key than most resort towns, except in August when it’s packed to the hilt with surfers and sun-seekers (up to 50,000 people in town). Located in the middle of the beautiful Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina, Vila Nova de Mil Fontes offers tourists the opportunity to make the most of its unique location at the estuary where the Mira River flows into the Atlantic.
Foreign visitors are slowly discovering the allure of Vila Nova de Milfontes and the western Alentejo region, but it is still one of the least visited coastlines of Portugal; with vast stretches of wild and deserted beaches.
The town of Vila Nova de Milfontes is delightfully Portuguese, filled with cobbled streets, whitewashed houses and scenic views across the Mira River. during the summer the town swells in size, as tourists are drawn by the glorious beaches, delicious food and social nightlife.
If you’ve got the time, make sure to visit Malhão beach. Considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal, Malhão is a must-see location if you are looking to experience Alentejo’s nature at its best. It is located halfway between Vila Nova de Milfontes and Porto Covo, and it features vast stretches of golden sand interspersed with rocky formations and bounded by dramatic cliffs pounded by the Atlantic waves.
The second largest town in the Algarve, in the south coast of Portugal, Portimão is not only a resort town, but it is also a typical Portuguese working town with a municipal market, pedestrianised shopping streets and quiet squares, what for some is the perfect combination to immerse themselves in the local culture.
Board the modern catamaran in Portimão’s Zona Ribeirinha (riverside zone) and sail along the western coast of the Algarve. Enjoy exploring the beautiful caves of Benagil, one of the most magical places you will ever see in your life, and the rocks of bizarre formations in this part of the Algarve. The trip includes stops for a barbecue lunch and time for swimming and snorkelling.
Among the most popular beaches in Portimão are the famous Praia da Rocha, Praia do Vau or Praia dos Três Castelos. If it is not warm enough for a swim, you can always take a stroll along the seaside.
For tourists new to the Algarve, Portimão and Praia da Rocha may seem to be used interchangeably and refer to the same area region. However, Praia da Rocha is 3km to the south of Portimão, but while relatively close, they are different in almost every conceivable way.
Praia da Rocha is a modern, purpose-built town packed full of hotels and bars, that is situated along a stunning beach, and is primarily designed for foreign tourists. Portimão, by contrast, is a largely residential city located on the banks of the Arade River, filled with Portuguese working families. Portimão’s restaurants, cafes and shops are largely aimed towards a traditional, localised clientele.