Living and working in Lisbon

Explore the opportunity to work and live in Lisbon. A guide for European workers in Portugal.

Living and working in Lisbon

Working in Lisbon

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is a popular destination for adventurous individuals seeking a new challenge.

For those who choose to live in Lisbon, the city offers not only an exciting culture and history but also a thriving economy and numerous career opportunities.

We explore the reasons why more and more people are choosing to live in Lisbon and how to find work there!

Jobs in Lisbon

In recent years, Lisbon has established itself as an attractive location for international companies. This is reflected primarily in the city's declining unemployment rates. For European language speakers, there are excellent opportunities to find jobs in Lisbon, particularly through the numerous companies in the service industry and startups in the city.

Jobs in the service industry, in particular, are offered in various European languages, making positions such as customer service representative at Netflix very popular among for example Germans and Dutch who are seeking work experience abroad.

Many employers cover private health insurance and organize flights to Portugal and accommodation. You can find current European-language jobs in Lisbon on our website.

Labor laws in Lisbon

In Lisbon and throughout Portugal, there are labor laws that regulate the working conditions and rights of employees.

The weekly working hours in Lisbon are limited to 40 hours per week. For employees working more than 8 hours per day, breaks must be taken, with the duration of the breaks depending on the length of the work shift and ranging between 15 and 60 minutes. Overtime is only permitted if agreed upon in advance with the employer and compensated in addition to the regular salary.

Employees in Lisbon are entitled to 22 vacation days per year + 13 national holidays.

The notice periods in Lisbon depend on the duration of employment. If the employment lasted less than two years, the notice period is 30 days. If the employment lasted between two and five years, the notice period is 60 days. For longer employments, notice periods can be up to 180 days.

Working in Lisbon as an European

Regarding visa regulations, the same rules apply for all European citizens. You can travel to Portugal without a visa and stay there for as long as you wish. However, you must register in the city after 90 days (Certificado de Registro de Cidadão Europeu), which is easily achievable.

Basically, you only need your passport or ID card, and you're good to go! As an EU citizen, you are allowed to work in Lisbon, but you need a tax number which you can apply for at the city hall.

Living and working in Lisbon

Salaries in Lisbon

Compared to for example Germany, average salaries in Lisbon are lower. Currently, the average salary in Lisbon is around €1,000. While an employee in Germany may expect a higher gross salary, the differences are offset by the lower cost of living in Portugal.

If you settle in Lisbon, you may initially be surprised by the differences in salaries. However, upon closer examination, a balanced relationship emerges: rental costs are more affordable, groceries and services are cheaper, which helps to make the available income more effective. Living in Portugal thus has its pros and cons.

Furthermore, quality of life in Lisbon is a crucial factor. The city offers a mild climate, stunning beaches nearby, and a rich culture ranging from the historic city center to modern neighborhoods.

Living in Lisbon

Lisbon was founded over 2,000 years ago and has absorbed many influences from different parts of the world over the centuries. This is also reflected in the city's architecture, which is characterized by Roman, Moorish, and Gothic influences.

Lisbon has a unique atmosphere. Situated on the coast, the city enjoys a mild climate, making life here relaxed and cozy. Surf enthusiasts also thrive in Lisbon, as the beaches around the city are among Portugal's best surf spots.

The inhabitants of Lisbon, also called Lisboetas, are known for their friendly nature and their love for music and dance. Throughout the city, there are small bars and clubs where one can dance and party until late into the night.

The Old Town of Lisbon, also known as Alfama, is another highlight of the city. The narrow streets adorned with flowers by the residents and the old buildings with their typical azulejo tiles make the Old Town a true gem. Here, you'll also find the São Jorge Castle, perched on a hill overlooking the city and offering fantastic views of Lisbon.

Why live in Lisbon?

According to the Mercer study, Lisbon ranks 37th in terms of the best quality of life worldwide. But what makes the city so livable?

  1. Climate: Lisbon enjoys a mild climate with plenty of sunshine and moderate temperatures, allowing residents to enjoy the beautiful scenery outdoors all year round.
  2. Food and Drink: Lisbon is known for its delicious cuisine and wines. There are many restaurants, cafes, and bars serving traditional Portuguese dishes and offering the opportunity to explore the local cuisine.
  3. Culture: Lisbon's cultural history offers a variety of museums, theaters, concerts, and festivals. It's never boring because there's always something to discover.
  4. Nightlife: The vibrant nightlife with many bars, clubs, and concerts gives residents the opportunity to dance the night away and enjoy the evening in the city's many small and charming clubs. The Portuguese start the night quite late, around 2:00 am, but it ends much later.
  5. Public Transport: With its good public transport system including buses, trams, and subways, getting around the city is easy. If you prefer biking, Lisbon offers many good bike paths. Bonus: You stay fit!
  6. Scenery: Lisbon boasts stunning scenery overlooking the Tagus River, the city's hills, and the sea. There are many parks and green spaces that can be used for outdoor activities.
  7. Healthcare: Portugal generally has a high-quality healthcare system that is accessible to all. In Lisbon, there are many hospitals and medical facilities that cater to the health needs of residents.

In short, Lisbon is definitely a great place to live!

Meeting Locals in Lisbon

To get to know the many facets of life in Lisbon, it can be helpful to connect with the locals, who refer to themselves as "Lisboetas".

A good starting point is to visit the city's traditional markets, such as Mercado da Ribeira or Feira da Ladra. Here, you can meet locals who sell fresh produce, handicrafts, and other products. You can talk to them and ask where the products come from or which dishes they recommend.

Another way to get to know the Lisboetas is by participating in a guided tour. There are many local tours led by locals who want to share their knowledge and passion for their city. These tours offer a great opportunity to learn more about the culture, history, and daily life in Lisbon while making new friends.

Another tip is to spend time in some of the city's local bars and cafés. Here, you can chat with locals and learn more about life in Lisbon. There are many cozy cafés and bars in the city that offer a relaxed atmosphere and serve local specialities. Not only will you meet locals here, but you'll also get a taste of their local cuisine.

Like many other European cities, expats in Lisbon are well-organized through various social media networks. To make your start in your new life easier, it is useful to connect with other like-minded people and learn from their experiences, or simply make new friends. There are many events such as "You are not alone: support group for expats in Lisbon" or "New friends Lisbon". To find these groups, it is sufficient to sign up for meetup.com and join a group. Additionally, you can also find various expat groups on Facebook, such as "Expats in Lisbon".

Transportation in Lisbon

Public transportation in Lisbon is well-organized and offers a cost-effective way to get around the city. A single trip on the subway or bus costs about 1.50 euros, while a monthly pass for public transportation costs about 36 euros. Compared to subscription prices in Germany, the costs in Lisbon are lower:

  • Lisbon: A monthly pass for public transportation in Lisbon costs about 36 euros.
  • Hamburg: In Hamburg, a monthly pass for public transportation in the city (tariff zone AB) costs about 114 euros.
  • Berlin: A monthly pass for public transportation in the Berlin city area (tariff zone AB) costs about 86 euros.
  • Cologne: In Cologne, a monthly pass for public transportation in the city area (tariff zone 1b) costs about 86 euros.

There is a growing network of bike paths in Lisbon that allows cyclists to explore the city in an environmentally friendly and healthy way. The city has invested heavily in improving the infrastructure for cyclists in recent years to meet the growing demand for sustainable transportation.

Some of the most well-known bike paths in Lisbon can be found along the Tejo River waterfront and in the city center. Cyclists can explore Lisbon's historic neighborhoods by riding bikes through the narrow alleys and streets.

Living and working in Lisbon

How expensive is living in Lisbon?

Compared to other European capitals, Lisbon is relatively affordable. However, the cost of living can vary depending on lifestyle and location. Generally, you can expect to live comfortably in Lisbon with a monthly budget of about 1,000 to 1,500 euros.

Rent in Lisbon

The price varies depending on where and how you live in Lisbon. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost between 800 and 1,200 euros per month, while a larger apartment outside the city center can range from 600 to 900 euros per month.

However, if you're open to sharing your life with others, you can find a room in a shared apartment in Lisbon for as little as 200–300 euros. You can easily find temporary accommodations through Airbnb or housinganywhere.

Groceries

Groceries in Lisbon are generally quite affordable. There are numerous supermarkets and grocery stores where you can buy inexpensive groceries. An average weekly grocery shopping for one person can range between 40 and 60 euros, depending on how much you eat and what type of food you prefer.

As a point of comparison, let's compare grocery prices in Lisbon and Munich:

FoodLisbonMunich
Milk€0,70€1,00
Eggs€1,30€2,00
Bread€1,00€1,50
Apples€2,00/kg€2,50/kg
Chicken breast€4,00/kg€6,00/kg
Rice€1,00/kg€1,50/kg
Tomatoes€1,30/kg€2,00/kg
Potatoes€1,00/kg€1,20/kg
Onion€1,00/kg€1,30/kg
Yogurt€0,50/500ml€0,80/500m
 

Where to live in Lisbon

Lisbon is a beautiful city with many different neighborhoods, each with its own charms and advantages. The choice of the best neighborhood depends on your personal preferences and needs.

If you enjoy being in the thick of things and savoring city life, then Baixa/Chiado or Bairro Alto is a good choice. If you prefer a quieter and more authentic atmosphere, then Alfama or Príncipe Real might be more suitable. Fans of historical sights and local delicacies will find Belém to their liking.

  1. Baixa/Chiado: This neighborhood is located in the heart of Lisbon and is the perfect place to experience city life. There are many cafes, restaurants, and shops, as well as historic buildings and monuments. The area is also easily accessible by public transportation.
  2. Alfama: Alfama is the oldest district of Lisbon and has a charming and authentic atmosphere. Here, one can find narrow streets, colorful houses, and traditional Fado bars. The view of the Tagus River is spectacular, and the area is ideal for walks.
  3. Bairro Alto: This neighborhood is known for its lively nightlife scene, with many bars and clubs. During the day, it's quieter, but there are also many shops and restaurants. The area is very centrally located and has good public transportation connections.
  4. Príncipe Real: This neighborhood is known for its green spaces and parks, such as the Jardim do Príncipe Real. There are also many trendy boutiques and restaurants, as well as a weekly market that offers local products. The area is quieter than other neighborhoods but still very centrally located.
  5. Belém: This neighborhood is located slightly outside the center of Lisbon but is still easily accessible by public transportation. Belém is known for its historic monuments such as the Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower, as well as its Pastéis de Nata (typical Portuguese pastry). The area is also ideal for walks along the Tagus River.

Sights in Lisbon

Torre de Belém - The Belém Tower is an impressive monument built in 1515 that served the city to protect its borders. Today, it is one of Lisbon's most visited attractions and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos - The Jerónimos Monastery is a magnificent 16th-century building that also belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Manueline style is typical of Portugal.

Castelo de São Jorge - The Castle of São Jorge is a fortress perched on a hill above the city. It was built in the 11th century and is now a popular tourist destination with magnificent views of the city and the Tagus River.

Praça do Comércio - The Commerce Square is a large open square by the riverside and was once the gateway to the city of Lisbon. It is known for its impressive architecture and historical significance.

Elevador de Santa Justa - The Santa Justa Elevator is an imposing structure built in 1902. It connects the lower town with the upper town of Lisbon and offers a spectacular view of the city.

Museu Nacional do Azulejo - The National Tile Museum is a unique museum that showcases the history and art of tiles in Portugal. It is located in a magnificent 16th-century monastery and is a must-visit for all art and history enthusiasts.

Bairro Alto - Bairro Alto is a trendy neighborhood known for its bars, restaurants, and nightlife. During the day, one can stroll through the narrow streets and admire the characteristic architecture.

If you'd like to live in Lisbon as well, get in touch with us! We'll help you find your dream job in Lisbon. We take care of everything; you just need to pack your bags. Your flight costs will be covered, you'll receive private health insurance, and accommodation. Check out our current job openings in Lisbon!

Frequently Asked Questions about Living & Working in Lisbon

Is Lisbon a safe city?

Lisbon is one of the safest capitals in Europe. However, always use your common sense when making decisions.

How expensive is living in Lisbon?

Lisbon is one of the most affordable capitals in Europe. The required budget varies depending on your lifestyle. We recommend a monthly budget of €850 – €1,150 to live comfortably in Lisbon.

Can you live well in Lisbon?

Lisbon ranked 5th in the Quality of Life Index 2022, making it one of the most livable capitals in the world. Especially the good weather and the beautiful old town make living in Lisbon a pleasure.

What jobs are in demand in Lisbon?

Jobs in tourism and the service sector are particularly in demand, including sales, customer service, and marketing positions.

What is it like to live in Lisbon?

Living in Lisbon is lively and culturally diverse, with a relaxed atmosphere and an unusually long history reflected in the city’s charming streets and buildings.

The seaside location is uniquely beautiful. Enjoying beautiful beach days is commonplace.

The local cuisine, pleasant climate, and friendly people make living in Lisbon an unforgettable experience.