Living and working in Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and one of the oldest cities in the world. It’s history is ever-present in stunning architecture and notable buildings, but it’s also a thoroughly modern hub. Known as a global city, it has important links for the sectors of finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education and tourism.
As such, it’s a place where British expatriates flock to advance their careers while enjoying the Mediterranean climate and six-month-long summer season. It’s also a short hop from the UK, making it practical for commuting back and forth to see family and friends.
While it’s not usually a place that retirees choose to call home, it’s popularity among professionals moving with family continues to rise. With a large expat community already in place, drawn to the city for a better quality of life, settling in is usually straightforward.
The Lisbon lifestyle
The city is a bustling hive, connected to the rest of the country via reliable and modern motorways and high-speed rail networks. The city itself is made up of several different districts and, as expected, the closer to the centre, the more expensive it is to live. Referred to by the locals as ‘bairros’ (neighbourhoods), these districts are united by common culture and living standards, rather than defined borders. Choosing the right bairros when moving to the region is dependent on many factors, such as schooling, available housing and proximity to work.
Each of the bairros is full of culture and heritage, making Lisbon a popular move for those with an interest in the arts. Over the years, Lisbon has been under different rule, which has left its mark in distinguishable architecture from many different cultures, including Roman, Germanic and Arabic.
There is also a lot to do in Lisbon, from noteworthy bars and restaurants, to large open spaces and sports arenas. It’s a popular location for families too, with a wide range of international schools offering the British curriculum in English language. Healthcare is also mostly available in English, so there are few language barriers there, and access to public healthcare is free to all legal residents. As an expat, some services will carry a charge and many expats opt to use private healthcare instead.
As there are high unemployment rates in Portugal, expats generally move to the city with a job role in place. The economic situation can be worrying too, as Portugal has struggled for the last few years and strict austerity measures have been put in place to help recover the situation after a bailout in 2011. The services sector remains strong, and many telecoms and communications companies have multinational headquarters in Lisbon. It also has a busy seaport, and a strong mass media market. In Oerias, there are many corporations established, just outside the main city centre, including notable names such as Nestlé, Samsung and Nokia.
Further from Lisbon’s city centre, there are more work opportunities, particularly on the southern shore of the Tagus River. This area is home to larger industrial businesses, including those trading in textiles, oil and steel.
So, while the economy is slowly recovering from a hard few years, there are still opportunities to be had. The better work/life balance and long, sunny days are the main reasons that British expats chose to move to Lisbon, rather than financial gains.