Lisbon vs. Porto: Where To Live in Portugal
Are you planning to move to Portugal and can’t decide if you should choose Lisbon or Porto? You’re not alone. Many expats who are heading to Portugal ask the same question.
Both Portuguese cities are beautiful, expat-friendly, and full of opportunities. They’re also home to big expat communities. But, how do they differ?
We’ve come up with some insights on both cities to make it easier for you to choose. Let’s go!
Where To Live in Portugal: Lisbon or Porto
Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal and is located in the south. It has a rich culture, museums, parks, shopping alternatives, and a busy nightlife. It’s one of the most visited capitals in Europe. If you’re coming from a big city and used to crowds, Lisbon may be the right choice for you.
Porto is a popular city, too. It’s home to numerous museums, cafes, restaurants, and many more activities. It’s smaller than Lisbon though. Well, for those of you that prioritize some peace of mind and quietness, Porto may be your city.
Cost of Living in Lisbon and Porto
Lisbon and Porto are the largest and most famous cities in Portugal. This popularity increases the cost of living in both towns compared to the rest of the country. However, Lisbon is known to be more expensive than Porto.
The below chart will give you an idea of the expenses in both cities. The figures are taken from Numbeo (2023).
McMeal at McDonalds
Loaf of Bread (500g)
Local Cheese (1 kg)
Beef (1 kg)
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)
Average Monthly Rent for a 1 Bedroom Apartment
These figures show that consumer prices in Lisbon are 6.96% higher than in Porto, excluding rent. Rents in Lisbon are 28.18% higher than in Porto.
However, in general, the whole country is cheaper than most European cities.
For example, consumer prices in Barcelona are 11.79% higher than in Lisbon, including the rent. This percentage goes up to 22% when we compare Lisbon with Berlin. So, note that both Porto and Lisbon offer affordable living when compared to the other popular cities in Europe.
Climate in Lisbon and Porto
You might think that the climate won’t differ much in these Portuguese cities, but the weather is warmer in Lisbon. Porto is usually colder in winter and you might expect more rain in fall and spring.
On a summer day, the temperature might go up to 30ºC in Lisbon. The evenings are around 16ºC. Lisbon winters are bearable with average temperatures around 10ºC. The fact is if you’re a sun lover, choose Lisbon over Porto as it promises more sunshine.
If you’re fine with rainy days, you can choose Porto. In winter the average temperature is between 5ºC and 15ºC. In summer the temperature is around 28ºC.
Security in Porto and Lisbon
Portugal ranks 3rd in the Global Peace Index 2020. So when it comes to security, it’ll be fair to say that both cities are among the safest in whole Europe. Also, both cities are always on top of lists when it comes to family living and security.
According to a survey done by Sumo Finans, a Norwegian company, Porto is the best country to raise a family. Lisbon ranks as third in the same list. In the same survey, Porto also ranks as one of the best cities for family activities.
In conclusion, both cities promise a safe environment. See the below chart by Numbeo for a quick comparison between the two cities.
Safety walking alone during daylight
81.9 – Very High
89.12 – Very High
Safety walking alone during night
57.45 – Moderate
66.99 – High
🇵🇹👮 Note that in terms of safety, both Portuguese cities got better results in this survey when compared to Berlin and Barcelona. For more, check out our article on 10 Safest Countries in the World.
Cultural Activities in Lisbon and Porto
Lisbon is home to several world-renowned museums. The National Azulejo Museum showcases Portugal’s famous glazed tiles, while the Museu do Fado is dedicated to the country’s fado music. Other must-see attractions include the National Museum of Art, the Berardo Collection Museum, and the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology (MAAT).
In Porto, you’ll find a range of museums to explore, including the Serralves Museum, the Portuguese Center of Photography, the Romantic Museum, and the Museum of Port Wine. If you’re a football fan, be sure to check out the FC Porto Museum.
Both cities offer a wide range of cultural activities beyond museums. Theaters and festivals are abundant, making it easy to immerse yourself in Portugal’s vibrant arts scene. No matter which city you choose, you’ll never run out of things to see and do.
Outdoor Activities in Lisbon and Porto
Both Lisbon and Porto boast beautiful outdoor spaces to explore and enjoy thanks to their mild climate.
Lisbon’s Parque Eduardo VII, Jardim Guerra Junqueiro, and Park of Necessidades are just a few of the many parks perfect for socializing and soaking up the sun.
In Porto, you’ll find equally stunning parks such as Parque de Serralves, Porto’s City Park, and the Botanic Garden of Porto. With so many options, both cities offer ample opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors and bask in the natural beauty of Portugal.
Coworking Spaces in Lisbon and Porto
Finding a coworking space in both Lisbon and Porto is easy. As both cities are now attracting digital nomads, there are many coworking space options to choose from. So whichever city you move to, you’ll easily find a coworking space that fits your needs.
The average price for a monthly hot desk membership is around €200-225 in both cities.
Transportation in Lisbon and Porto
Both cities have international airports, a good bus system, and an effective train network. So whichever city you live in, you can easily get connected to the rest of the country and the world.
Infrastructure in both cities is good. If you like driving, you’ll love the Lisbon and Porto highways.
In conclusion, whether you’re drawn to the lively energy of Lisbon or the charming character of Porto, both cities have something unique to offer those seeking a new home in Portugal. From world-class museums and cultural events to beautiful outdoor spaces and a warm climate, it’s no wonder these cities are top destinations for expats.
So why not take the leap and start your new adventure in either Lisbon or Porto? The possibilities are endless. Check out our ultimate guide on Living in Portugal.