Living in the Portuguese capital means embracing history and commerce, enjoying a vibrant cosmopolitan lifestyle and seizing the opportunities of a location that is both beside a river and near the sea.
Europe’s westernmost capital is also one of its oldest and welcomes residents from Europe and all over the world. Lisbon is enjoying a resurgent economy and property market, buoyed by its proximity to Cascais, the charming fishing town and sophisticated holiday location.
Cascais adds beautiful beaches, a buzzing surf community, stunning natural parks and scenery, impressive architecture, great restaurants and a cool nightlife to the already long list of reasons to live in and around Lisbon.
Lisbon is a compact city built on seven hills overlooking the River Tagus and enjoying a combination of urban and riverside rejuvenation to match its growing economy. Expand your search area to include Cascais on the coast and there are plenty of options to suit any taste.
Lisbon is steeped in character and history, offering everything from compact townhouses on picturesque narrow streets with trams rattling up and down and grand old mansions on wide avenues to modern riverside penthouses and cool and trendy apartments.
The hills provide views and added charm, with the San-Francisco-esque 25 April Bridge flanked by the 110m Christ the King monument and announcing Almada on the other side of the ever-present river.
The city map clearly delineates the different barrios on offer for those looking to live in Lisbon. Downtown Baixa and Chaido are beautiful but more expensive and ripe for investment, Alfama and Graça offer the narrow, historic streets of a village in the city, and Bairro Alto has great views and a vibrant nightlife.
Visit Avenida de Liberdade for wide boulevards and luxury palaces or head east to Parque das Nações for the modern appeal of the Expo venues and shiny high rises. Upwardly mobile Intendente and Mouraris offer an international vibe, while further west Belém and the slightly cheaper Ajuda are safe, peaceful and also loaded with history.
As for most cities, the outskirts offer more value and living space, with the upcoming industrial area of Beato as an option, as well as Marvila, Campolide and Benfica, while across the bridge Almada has a lot to offer.
If a half-hour train ride into Lisbon is no problem, then living in Cascais is a healthy and highly attractive option. Enjoy dramatic views across the Atlantic and a garden with the smell of the sea in one of the many exclusive luxury condos or refurbished palaces awaiting your visit.
Cascais was originally the summer retreat of the Portuguese nobility, and this shows in its cobbled streets, lavish villas and classy sensibilities, all set in a beautiful seaside setting that is surrounded by natural parks
The area has the feel of a film set, and this is underlined in neighbouring Estoril, a favourite of the jet set with charms of its own, including one of Europe’s largest casinos - the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s adventures with James Bond in Casino Royale.
Lisbon is enjoying a property market revival, with rents and prices rising thanks to a resurgent economy and generous tax and residency incentives. These include the Golden Visa programme, which is said to have brought in more than €4Bn since being introduced in 2012.
The tourist boom, versatility of Airbnb, scrapped rent controls and an explosion in awareness of the charms of living in and around the city have also had an inevitable effect on the market. In Chaido, for example, prices are now approaching €10,000/m2, a value in the same property ballpark as Paris.
Rejuvenation and municipal improvements are both causing and being driven by this growing interest, an upwards and self-fulfilling spiral that improves the city, at least for visitors, investors and those looking to set up home and enjoy a new adventure in the latest cool location.
The figures are impressive, and while there are still property bargains to be had the word is out. With various reports listing fast-rising prices up to 10% year on year and PWC ranking the city as the best for investment and development for 2019 (it as ranked 11 the year before), if you are thinking of living in Lisbon, then now could be a good time to get on the ladder.
The Portuguese Riviera is enjoying a boom of its own, with the various family friendly, upmarket seafront neighbourhoods attracting their own share of the attention. Properties in Cascais and Estoril reflect the area’s grand past, with mansions and townhouses as well as sleek new apartments and developments in the marina and by the beach.
To the east, Carcavelos and Parede offer detached beachside houses and are popular with surfers, Alcabideche to the north has beautiful coastlines and is great for golf and hiking.