The stunning capital of Portugal, Lisbon, is one of the most charismatic and vibrant cities in Europe. It is a beautiful city that blends traditional heritage with striking modernism and progressive thinking. Attracting over 10 million visitors each year, this city just offers everything you need from a rich and varied history to a buzzing nightlife with a really enjoyable year-round climate. At the same time, it is also a very affordable place to live, with a cost of living that is much lower than in other European capitals.
Interesting Facts About Lisbon
With a privileged location on the Atlantic Ocean and River Tagus, the city of 7 hills Lisbon has always been a very important city in Europe and as a matter of fact, it is the oldest Western European city with a history dating back to 1200 B.C. While the metropolitan area has now more than 2.8 million habitants Lisbon’s population is known to be around 500.000 with a combination of people from 50 different nationalities. More than 30% of the people living in the city have foreign origins and Portuguese and English are the two main languages spoken in the city.
Did you know that?
Ravens are one of the symbols of Lisbon
The Vasco da Gama Bridge over the Tagus River is the longest bridge in Europe – 17, 2 km (10.7 miles) long
Lisbon is home to the beautiful Torre de Belem which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
There's a museum located underneath Baixa called Nucleo Arqueologico?
The oldest (Livraria Bertrand, 1732) and the smallest bookstores (Livraria do Simão, <35 sq ft) in the world are in Lisbon?
Opening hours for stores in Lisbon
Shops in the centre of Lisbon are open from Monday to Friday, until 7 or 8 pm. Some smaller shops also break for lunch from 1 to 3 pm, but the larger shops and chains won't take this break and will also normally open on Saturday mornings. From 7 pm onwards, the large shopping centres and souvenir shops will still be open.
Bank Holidays in Portugal
New Year’s: January 1
Freedom Day (Dia de la Liberdade):April 25
Labour Day (Dia do Trabalhador):May 1
Portugal Day:June 10
St. Anthony’s Day (Dia de Santo António):June 13
Assumption Day:August 15
Republic Day (Implantação da República): October 5
ll Saint’s Day (Todos os Santos): November 1
Restoration of Independence Day (Restauração da Independência):December 1
Immaculate Conception (Imaculada Conceição):December 8
Christmas: December 25
Lisbon Budget: Cost of Living
To live comfortably in Lisbon, on average you will need a monthly budget of around €1000. This budget will cover your accommodation, food, utilities, transport, and on top will give you enough spare to cover entertainment costs.
Eating out in Lisbon
Basic Breakfast Out: 3-5€
Basic Dining Out for 2: 15-30€
Expensive Dining Out for 2: 30-70€
Combo Meal in a Fast Food Chain: 6-8€
Water (33cl bottle) in a bar/pub: 1-1.5€
Coke (33cl bottle) in a bar/pub: 1-2€
Coffee (espresso or with milk): 0.8-3€
Domestic Beer (50cl): 1-3.5€
Imported Beer (33cl): 2-4€
Wine Bottle in a Restaurant: 8-20€
Milk (regular): 0.75€
Water (1.5l bottle): 0.25-1.2€
Pack of Cigarettes: 5-7€
12-Pack (33cl) Domestic Beer: 5-9€
Round Steak (500gr): 3-8€
Chicken Fillets (500gr): 2-4€
Accommodation Costs in Lisbon
1 Bedroom Flat Rent in Center: 750-1500€
3 Bedrooms Flat Rent in Center: 1500 - 3000€
1 Room Rent in a Shared Flat: 350-650€
Basic Utilities for 3 Bedrooms Flat: 80-200€
Transportation Costs in Lisbon
One-Way Ticket: 1.5€
Monthly Pass: 40€
Taxi Trip (5-10km): 6-9€
Cinema Ticket for 1: 6-8€
Gym Monthly Fee: 25-50€
Club Entry (some free before 2 am): 10-20€
All these expenses above mean nothing without the salary information. If you are an entry-level professional you can learn about the wages in Lisbon in our salary guide. Let's assume then you earn an average salary in Lisbon, according to that below, you'll find a display of Lisbon’s salary and expenses. At the bottom of the table, you can find the ideal amount o money you would have after paying some basic expenses. Feel free to calculate more expenses according to your actual salary!
Earnings (Typical salary for entry-level customer service jobs in Lisbon)
Rent (room in shared flat in the city centre, including internet and utilities)
350 - 400€
Transport (Monthly ticket)
Groceries (In Supermarket)
150 - 200€
Restaurant (4 times per month)
40 - 60€
300 - 420€
So, as displayed, you would have from 300 to 420 euros left for leisure, travelling, or just for savings. These are of course just the basic expenses you will go through, but it’s worth saying that life in Lisbon is really cheap. Food, drinks, activities, and nightlife, will cost you only a few euros so even if you will spend some money on them you will still be able to keep some savings. You can calculate your income tax here.
Transportation in Lisbon
Lisbon features an extensive public transport network, comprising both underground and surface means of getting around. Metros, buses and trams of Lisbon are the perfect way to move around the city for a cheap price. Carris, the main company in charge of managing the public surface transport of Lisbon, makes available a wide range of tickets and passes, as well as multiple means of paying for the transport services. Moreover, taxis are quite cheap too. For a 10-kilometre ride, you will spend around 8 euros. Other services such as Uber and Cabify are available too.
Despite the seven hills, the people of Lisbon cycle! You can also use public bicycle sharing systems to explore the city. Electronic scooter systems are also a hip way to get around in Lisbon.
Gira – Bicicletas of Lisboa is the official app of the Gira Lisbon shared bike system and gives you access to it. Thanks to this you will be able to locate all Gira stations of Lisbon on a map as well as to see the number and the type of bike available, electric or not. It also allows unlocking the station bikes.
Ecooltra – is similar to Gira, except for the fact that you can rent electric scooters instead of bikes. This service is a blessing in a city with so many ups and downs and it’s quite cheap too!
Taxi:Airport Taxi is a convenient way for multiple visitors to arrive at their destination. A 20 minutes ride that will take you to the city centre will cost 20-25€.
Metro: With the "Aeroporto - Saldanha" line you can go to downtown Lisbon in about 20 minutes. The only thing you need is a single ticket which is around 1.50€.
Bus:You can take several bus lines from the arrivals terminal to the different parts of the city. The fare is about 1.50-2€.
Shuttle: If you feel more comfortable, you can also choose the shuttle options from both terminals.
Housing in Lisbon
There are two basic ways to find a flat or room here in Lisbon:
The first one is through Facebook groups. You can either directly look for room share and flat rent groups or the general community groups of the city. The second option to find flats or rooms to rent is through web pages such as the ones given below. You will be able to filter your search according to your needs or possibilities, for example, filter by your budget or the area you want to live in.
For finding accommodation, you can check some common websites such as
Neighbourhoods in Lisbon
Regarding the neighbourhoods to live in, you have different choices depending on what you are looking for. Anyway, we would recommend Alfama & Graça or Bairro Alto which are respectively the oldest and the bohemian neighbourhood. The first one is perfect for those who want to live the small-town mood, the second for those who enjoy staying in the city centre and don’t get bothered by the noise.
Most renowned: Baixa
Best nightlife: Bairro Alto
Most fashionable:Príncipe Real
Oldest but charming:Alfama
Modernest: Parque das Nações
Most diverse: Mouraria
Most residential: Campo de Ourique
There are many other useful apps you can use while living in Lisbon. You can find a lot of information regarding many different topics such as transport, nightlife, everyday issues and so on.
Carris mobile application will give you all the information about transport in real-time, as timetables are not displayed in all the bus stations. It is also possible to receive transit notifications, save favourite routes and plan routes in advance.
Lisbob: Expats in Portugal. This app belongs to the website lisbob.net, born to help expats in Lisbon with moving procedures. For example, if you need information about how to get your NIF, car legalization, vehicle importation, house hunting and other issues.
Na Minha Ruareports everything happening on your street in Lisbon. From the street lamp down to trash cans that accumulate through a dug-up panel, you can make it easier to trace all the things that must be traced to the Borough Hall for them to be processed more quickly. Living in Lisbon means participating in neighbourhood life.
Life in Lisbon: What to do?
Lisbon is vibrant and full of life. Even though it’s quite difficult to summarise all the things to do in Lisbon we tried our best to make a selection of our favourite activities for you:
Go on a street tile hunt
Watch the sunrise at Alfama
Visit the Palacio de la Frontera
Visit the Pombal Palace at the Carpe Diem Gallery
Take tram number 28 in the sunset
Walk on beautiful Portuguese pavements
Get lost in the street and alleys around the castle
Take the Ascensor de Santa Justa from Baixa to 45 meters higher Chiado
Eat Pastéis de Belém, everything with bacalao, Caldo Verde, Francesinha
Find a place in your taste to listen to Fado
Feira da Ladra:In the oldest flea market in Lisbon, you can find all the antiques you want!
Mercado de Arroios: In the heart of Mouraria, this hydroponic food market might be your regular destination.
Mercado da Ribeira (Time Out Market):The restaurants of the best local cuisine chefs selected by Time Out editors will be "the" attraction for many foodies.
Mercado do Jardim:The garden of Estrela hosts artisans and designers on the first week of each month!
There are two sandy coastlines easily accessible from Lisbon; the Cascais-Estoril coastline (to the west of Lisbon) and Costa de Caparica (to the south of Lisbon). Slightly further (and needing a rental car to visit) are the wild beaches of the Serra de Sintra coastline and the paradise beaches of the Serra da Arrabida.
• Praia de Carcavelos (train 30 minutes from central)
• Praia da Conceição, Cascais (train - 45min)
• Costa da Caparica (bus - 30 minutes)
• Praia Sao Pedro (train 40 minutes)
• Praia do Tamariz, Estoril (train 40 min)
• Praia de Santo Amaro de Oeiras (train 20 min)
Biggest celebrations in Lisbon
Carnival: Brazilian carnival costumes and samba, what else can one want to celebrate the carnival of the year?
São Antonio: This June festival will bring some colour, fado and good food to your life. Appreciate the street ornaments, the concerts and the other activities, try grilled sardines and don't miss the parade on the Eve of Santo Antonio, the 12th of June!.
Festival dos Oceanos: This 2-week-long cultural event is a celebration of oceans! Live concerts, street performances, cultural activities and more... All takes place in Centro Histórico, Belém and Parque das Nações in late July and the beginning of August.
Festa do Avante: Since 1976, every year locals gather for this political, cultural and sports festival. Organized by the Portuguese Communist Party, Festa do Avante offers you a truly local experience in September.
Job opportunities in Lisbon
“Lisbon is full of opportunities”, believe us when we repeat this commonly known phrase. We explained how easily you can make your move to Lisbon with a good opportunity here already. If you are looking for a challenging and inspiring work experience abroad check our job opportunities in Lisbon and let us know about your job hunt!
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