Portugal has been named the top destination for digital nomads in 2022, a title that comes as no surprise. As a Polish national who has fallen in love with the country, I would like to explain why Portugal has become a magnet for digital nomads searching for a new place to live, work, explore, and pursue their dreams.
Portugal’s roots are deeply intertwined with its ancient Celtic, Roman, Visigoth, Moorish, and Jewish history. As a result, Portugal is a country that embraces multiculturalism. In cities like Lisbon, it is easy to find Ukrainian supermarkets, Italian ice cream parlors, Indian restaurants, kizomba dance classes on the streets, French cinema festivals, and even Chinese New Year celebrations.
The country offers abundant opportunities for creativity and inspiration for those who love nature, history, and outdoor activities. Portugal’s diverse geography encompasses forests, plains, mountains, historic cities, caves, medieval castles, Roman bridges, and hundreds of kilometers of coastline, among many other natural wonders.
Portugal is among the six safest countries in the world, according to the Global Peace Index 2022. It offers a combination of social and political stability, along with high-quality health and education systems. While the escalating housing prices have been a topic of discussion, they remain affordable compared to the European average.
To live in Portugal without facing significant bureaucracy and obstacles, digital nomads can apply for a range of visas, including the Schengen Visa, the Digital Nomad Visa (for digital nomads), the Portugal StartUp Visa (for entrepreneurs), and the TechVisa (for tech professionals). Additionally, there are other visas and agreements available, such as those offered by the EU and CPLP (Community of Portuguese Language Countries), which come with tax benefits.
Portuguese people are known for their warm welcome, friendliness, and generosity. They have a strong sense of community and enjoy socializing – it’s common to greet strangers with a cheerful “Good morning!” and strike up conversations about various topics in supermarkets.
With a mild and sunny climate throughout most of the year, Portugal is an ideal destination for those seeking a respite from the cold and looking to enjoy the many benefits of sunshine for their physical and mental well-being. And to make the most of the sunny weather, thousands of outdoor terraces, esplanades, and traditional clotheslines are available for use!
One of Portugal’s many charms is its affordability when it comes to food and drink. From the north to the south (including the Madeira and Azores islands), you can find delicious and wallet-friendly options in the most unexpected places. Some local specialties include sarrabulho rice, rojões (fried pork), açorda (bread soup), alheira (a type of sausage made with meat and bread), sardines, plenty of cod dishes, pastéis de nata (traditional egg custard tarts), and a variety of cheeses and wines, including Port wine.
Portugal’s geographical location on the westernmost coast of Europe is a privilege and a gateway to several continents. The country boasts excellent transportation options, including three international airports in Lisbon, Porto, and Faro, which make leisure, business, or family trips easily accessible.
According to the Observatory of the Portuguese Language, Portuguese is the fifth most spoken language in the world. However, English is also widely spoken in Portugal, with schools teaching the language from an early age to facilitate communication in a professional environment. This is especially important since most Portuguese companies operate in global markets.
Portugal is not only known for its history of inventors, who have created impressive innovations such as the caravel, astrolabe, ATMs, prepaid cell phone cards, Via Verde system for paying toll charges, and color identification code for color-blind individuals. The country has also become a hub for unicorns, startups, incubators, and cutting-edge companies recognized worldwide in various fields. As an employee of a pioneering technology company, I am fortunate to experience this reality daily.
Moreover, Portugal has been selected to host the Web Summit until 2028, solidifying its position as a premier destination for entrepreneurs and global investors. Many settle in the country and establish communities and networks, utilizing events, hubs, collaboration platforms, and associations such as the Digital Nomads Association Portugal (DNA).
A comfortable workspace and a reliable internet connection are crucial necessities for any digital nomad. Portugal boasts a vast network of coworking spaces, and most cafes and public areas offer high-quality Wi-Fi.
Finally, Portugal is a dream destination for any digital nomad because it blends tradition with modernity. With over 800 years of history, the country is steeped in the past while embracing the future. Business ideas here focus on engineering, mobility, renewable energies, art, space exploration, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence, reflecting a country full of resources and potential. As a result, human talent that comes to Portugal can thrive and yield abundant fruit. Furthermore, with ample sunlight and water, growth, and prosperity are sure to follow.