Lisbon, built on seven hills like Rome, is an amazing, lively and beautiful city for all ages, but especially for young people, most of whom choose living and working in Lisbon. The city is a mixture of old buildings, castles, restaurants, hills, narrow streets and modern buildings, with many green spaces, rich in culture and history, almost every street in Lisbon has its own past and in all places you will find a piece of history. You have the sea and the beaches 15 minutes from the center of Lisbon, by car or by train.
Most Lisboetas complain about public transportation, but it’s actually the traffic that’s really bad. The roads are not designed to handle the increase in cars. Many prefer to drive to work instead of using public transportation, which makes the traffic problem even worse. The best way to get around Lisbon is by metro, which is still the best public transportation, as buses and streetcars leave much to be desired.
The city is very safe. In terms of safety, Portugal is considered the third safest and most peaceful country in the world. In Lisbon, the most common crimes are typical “tourist” crimes like pickpocketing, while robberies with violence or threats are rarer.
The weather is fantastic, there are more than 300 days of sunshine a year. In spring and summer the weather is exceptional, and even in winter it is usually very pleasant. In December it is normal to experience a beautiful sunny day with a temperature of 20 °C, but sometimes the temperature can drop to 5 °C. Although it never snows and it is very sunny, you should remember that there is often no heating in the houses.
Lisbon is a multicultural city where you will find people of all nationalities, religions and races, and in general the Portuguese are friendly and very open-minded. Many Lisbon residents, especially the young, speak English, even fluently. Lisbon is a capital full of life during the week and especially on weekends: entertainment, culture, museums, stores, shopping, nightlife, concerts, parties, festivals, good bars, cafes and restaurants the city offers you. People go out late at night, especially on weekends and return home early in the morning.
Lisbon is the most touristic city in Portugal, and Portugal has become a very attractive country for tourists because of the quality of life it offers. Many Dutch, British, Italians and Germans choose Lisbon and the Algarve when they retire.
In terms of housing costs, Lisbon was a really cheap capital until a few years ago, but in the last 4-5 years there has been an increase in investment in tourism and startups. This has made Lisbon a very attractive city and has led to a significant increase in demand for real estate. Prices for apartments and houses have become very expensive in the centre, and even in some areas of the suburbs, prices have increased recently. The demand is greater than the supply, especially if you want to rent, but also if you want to buy a property, so it is difficult to find a decent flat at a reasonable price.
In addition, most houses have no heating, and insulation often leaves much to be desired. If the apartment is heated, the rent immediately increases by another 100-150 € per month, to which the heating costs are added. It follows that the rent for a small apartment can cost up to 800 € per month, almost as much as the average Portuguese salary (900 €). The cost of rent is therefore disproportionate to the average salary. Shopping and eating are quite cheap compared to most other European capitals. Outside Lisbon, life is much cheaper; even in Porto, the second largest city, rents are around 45% cheaper.
Despite the still relatively high unemployment rate, Lisbon is now considered one of the best locations in the world for start-ups. More and more technology centres and large companies are settling in Lisbon. For example, the European offices of Google, Amazon and Android have already moved here.
But the flip side is the salaries. It is one of the capitals with the lowest salary level in Western Europe. There are also people who earn a lot, but the normal jobs are not very well paid. Even in IT, salaries range from 1,400 to 1,800 €, depending on experience.
The most promising job areas in Lisbon are:
- Administrative sector: most jobs in public administration or in the offices of a large local or multinational company are located here.
- IT sector: besides Lisbon, there are also good opportunities in Braga
- Construction: the increase in demand in the real estate sector has increased the demand for work in this area
- Agricultural sector: it is possible to find work in agriculture outside Lisbon, in the countryside. Jobs in agriculture are seasonal and employ many foreign workers from Romania or Ukraine
- Tourism sector: jobs in tourism are found in Lisbon and Porto, but mainly in the south (Algarve). There is still a great demand in this sector, which cannot be satisfied by local workers. However, they have to face low wages and long working hours. In addition, these are very seasonal jobs, and many workers are unemployed from October to March.
- Call center industry: Many multinational BPO companies are based in Portugal and in Lisbon in particular, and are often looking for employees with English as their mother tongue
Lisbon is a beautiful city, with an extraordinary nightlife, very cheerful and friendly people, good weather all year round, nearby beaches and good food, but it’s also a bit dirty, quite poor and not as cheap as it seems. I don’t know if it’s a city to live in, but it’s definitely worth an experience.
For those who are also interested in working in other cities, I recommend reading the article: Work in Portugal