Portuguese cities: where do you want to live?

Braga, Coimbra, Faro, Funchal, Lisbon, Porto, or the towns of Cascais and Sintra? Learn about the different characteristics of Portugal’s main cities and pick which one you want to live in.

Whether it is quality of life you are looking for, or business investment, the main urban centres in Portugal, according to the Portugal City Brand Ranking, are Braga, Cascais, Coimbra, Faro, Funchal, Lisbon, Porto, and Sintra.




Situated in the north of Portugal, Braga is one of the Portuguese cities in which many foreigners choose to settle. More peaceful than the major cities, Braga boasts charming architectural beauty and provides its inhabitants with an unrivalled quality of life, while remaining modern, thanks in large part to the hordes of Portuguese and Erasmus students who choose to do their degrees at the Minho University.

Braga’s strong points:

  • Peaceful and quiet city;
  • More accessible cost of living than Lisbon and Porto;
  • Near Porto;
  • Safety and quality of life;
  • The youth that arrives every year, to pursue their studies at the local university.




The presence of a student body in Coimbra, drawn by the famous Universidade de Coimbra, makes this city a youth centre, with plenty of job opportunities, especially in the field of education. Economically more accessible than the bigger Portuguese cities in terms of housing, Coimbra is only about two hours from Lisbon, and one from Porto, by car, and you can be assured a great quality of life. Education services, technology, trade, and industry are currently the city’s biggest employers.

Coimbra’s strong points:

  • It is a very youthful and dynamic city;
  • Great facilities;
  • Quality of life and good healthcare services;
  • Reasonable and accessible cost of living;
  • A safe city;
  • A small and charming city.




Its location in the Algarve, where the sun shines brighter and the ocean is warmer, is a strong point in and of itself. Being a very touristy city, the real estate is not the cheapest, but it is still less expensive than in other Portuguese cities, such as Lisbon or Porto, and the cost of living is lower as well.

In terms of job opportunities, besides tourism, the university is also a good employer and there is some dynamic trade. A strong health network could also influence your decision, and you can hardly do better than Faro in this respect.

Faro’s strongpoints:

  • Peaceful and safe;
  • Quality of life;
  • Stunning beaches;
  • Culture and education;
  • Climate;
  • Good infrastructure.




On the islands you can also find a city that stands out as an excellent destination for living and working (again, especially in the field of tourism). We are speaking of the capital of Madeira, with its incredibly seductive beauty, an airport and excellent facilities, a well preserved historic centre that stands shoulder to shoulder with the other major Portuguese cities.

Some might be thrown by its isolation, being on an island, but if you enjoy peace and quiet then it is the perfect choice for you.

Funchal’s strong points:

  • Beautiful landscapes;
  • Peaceful and safe;
  • Close to the beach;
  • Offers great working and living opportunities, a relaxed life, and none of the stress of the big cities.




Chosen as one of the best Portuguese cities to live in and work internationally, Lisbon was recently named by the Center for the Future of Work as “capital of cool”, a compliment paid to the city that “rose from the ashes of the 2010 financial crisis”, established itself as a surfing Mecca and grew technologically as well.

The quality of the universities, access to private capital, the variety of talent and the quality of the food and wine were also listed as factors that helped put Lisbon on the list of 21 best places in the world to work and live.

With a mild climate and a year full of sunny days, history at the turn of each corner, the city’s architecture and monuments, the ever present Fado music and the whole of the conceptual and emotional universe, with the strong neighbourhood spirit showcasing the Portuguese soul and seducing newcomers with the incredible views over the city from its myriad belvederes, even the most demanding of spirits will be easily won over by “our” Lisbon.

Lisbon’s strong points:

  • Quite a modern city;
  • Reasonable coverage of public transport;
  • Close to the beach and to the mountains, with easy access to nature;
  • Plenty of International and national events;
  • Great food.




In the north, Porto is the city that stands out as the place to work and to live. Chosen several times as the best tourist destination in Europe, Porto is renowned for its beauty, its landscapes, the cuisine and, also, the lively nightlife.

Home to the famous Port wine, it is one of the best Portuguese cities to do business in, standing apart from other Portuguese cities for its economic, social, and touristic performance. Of course, its many landmarks, such as the D. Luís Bridge, Ribeira, Serra do Pilar Monastery, Douro River, São Bento train station, the Cathedral, the Clérigos Tower, and the whole of the seaside, the Francesinhas, and the northern accent are other trumps in Porto’s hand.

Porto’s strong points:

  • Good quality of life;
  • A safe city;
  • Close to the beach;
  • A very lively city;
  • The public transport network works quite well.


Cascais and Sintra: two towns in the running




This paradise, located only 30 km from Lisbon, offers just the right blend of tranquility and bustle for those who want to live a more reserved lifestyle, but still be in the centre of events.

Considered one of the best places in Portugal to live and to work, Cascais overwhelms its residents with its closeness to the beach and its year-long holiday atmosphere. It is very attractive as a residential centre, especially for foreigners who retire in Portugal, and is made even more so by its proximity to Lisbon.

On the other hand, it is easier to find work here during the holiday season since much of the local business revolves around this sector.

Cascais’ strong points:

  • Little rain and a year-long holiday atmosphere;
  • Close to Lisbon;
  • Beautiful landscapes;
  • Opportunities to enjoy water sports;
  • Quality of life;
  • Security.




Also located close to Lisbon, the town of Sintra seems to be taken straight from a fairy tale, such is its natural and architectural beauty, with its palaces and castles. It’s microclimate keeps you on your toes regarding what the weather will be like when you arrive, but you can always count on the humidity, although being so close to nature the surroundings are very healthy for you.

Sintra is a very touristy location, which can make it quite busy during the holiday season, but no less appreciated by those who visit. Named a UNESCO world heritage site, Sintra is, without a doubt, a magical place you will want to get to know, at any time of the year.

Sintra’s strong points:

  • Quality of life;
  • Cosmopolitan, yet with strong links to tradition and to the past;
  • Quite close to Lisbon;
  • Good job offers, especially in the tourism sector.

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