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Location Guide: Lisbon

Welcome to Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is the capital, and largest city of Portugal. It is the 11th most populous urban area in the European union, and is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest in Western Europe. It’s older than even cities such as London, Paris and Home by hundreds of years. Strangely, Lisbon’s status at the capital of Portugal has never been granted officially, by statute or in written form. Instead, it was made capital through constitutional convention, making it’s position as  de facto capital a part of the Constitution of Portugal.

Lisbon enjoys a wonderful Mediterranean climate, with the warmest winters of all the major cities in Europe. A summer typically lasts about six months, though temperates can also reach up to 77F in November, March and April. Lisbon is the perfect relocation destination to escape cold weather and get yourself a bit of sun!

The city is rich in architecture, culture, and of course, Mediterranean cuisine. It also has a strong sporting heritage, with two UEFA category four stadiums, and it hosted the final of the UEFA Euro 2004 Championship. With a thriving arts and entertainment industry, Lisbon caters to all tastes.

Working in Lisbon

Lisbon is recognised as a global city because of its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education and tourism. It is one of the major economic centres on the continent, with a growing financial sector. The Lisbon region is the wealthiest region in Portugal. Most of the headquarters of multinationals in the country are located in the Lisbon area, and it is the 9th city in the world in terms of quantity of international conferences.

The southern shore of the Tagus River is home to large scale industrial enterprises, specializing in textiles, oil refinery, and steel, amongst others. The city is well served by Lisbon Portela Airport,which is the main international gateway to Portugal and a major European hub. It was nominated as Europe’s Leading Airport for five consecutive years in the World Travel Awards.

Lisbon’s economy is similar to many other expat hotspots around the globe, with a major role in the global services sector being a prominent feature. Lisbon is also the centre of the Portuguese mass media, with all of the nation’s TV stations, major newspapers, and other media forms represented in the city in one way or another, making it an excellent choice of a relocation spot for those working in the media industries.

Living in Lisbon

Lisbon is the seventh most visited in Southern Europe, with 1,740,00 tourists in 2009. It is well served by extensive travel networks, including the motorway networks and the high speed rail system of Alfa Pendular, with plenty of links to other main cities in Portugal.

Rustic trams criss cross through the city of the centre, providing a quirky and cheap way to get around, great to see some of the historic neighborhoods or just for a change of scenery and pace on the way to work. The fantastic sandy beaches of Oeras and Cascais are only a short hop along a coastal railway line, and a number of other more secluded beaches are less than an hour’s drive from the centre of the city.

Lisbon is packed with places to enjoy the arts. The gilded interior of the Sao Carlos opera house is a must see, whether you are of the operatic bent or not. Fabulous art can be seen in the Gulbenkian Museum and the Berardo Collection, and the city plays hosts to endless open-air music festivals throughout the warm summers.

Speaking of those summers, Lisbon boasts arguably Europe’s greatest climate, with more sunshine than Madrid, Rome or Athens, but with a natural air conditioner blowing off the Atlantic to keep things that little bit more complicated.

Lisbon also hosts what just might be the greatest aquarium in the entire world. The Oceanario is a venue like no other, with a nearly 200,000 cubic feet main tank holding a cornucopia of sea life, with more than a hundred species of big fish. Tuna, rays and sharks make this colossal tank their home, while in other areas, fluorescent jellyfish light tanks shrouded in darkness.

Incredible food can be found throughout the city, for prices that will often surprise you – in a good way, of course! The city takes its food very seriously, and in neighbourhood eateries, often known as tascas, you can get a hearty, traditional meal for a price that’ll make you grin as much as the food does.

The narrow streets of the city are host to a plethora of hidden delights, including ancient buildings, hidden cafes and bars, and shops that time seems to have forgotten. Lisbon has both cosmopolitan mega stores in the city centre, but also finds plenty of space for small specialist shops, family owned affairs that seem to have been around since before time began. You can also pay a visit to the world’s oldest bookshop, Livraria Berstrand, established 1732). You can also enjoy a traditional bica at the counter of the Brasileira cafe, founded in 1905.


Lisbon offers a variety of cuisine on it’s narrow streets, some to be expected, like the traditional Mediterranean fare, and some perhaps slightly more unusual. Portugal’s former colony of Goa, on the west coast of India, makes some of south Asia’s finest cuisine, and you can sample some of those delights in one of Lisbon’s many Goan restaurants, like Jesus e Goes and Cantinho de Paz.

For traditional Mediterranean cuisine, there’s almost too much to choose from.


Lisbon is often considered to be one of the best spots in Europe for nightlife, and there is no shortage of bars, whether you prefer a quiet drink of ginjinha in a terrace garden, or prefer a louder, all night affair.


The Cost of Living in Lisbon



Meal at an inexpensive restaurant


Meal for 2 with 3 courses, mid range restaurant


Combo meal at McDonalds, etc.




Domestic Beer (0.5 litre draught)


Imported Beer (0.33 litre bottle)


Wine (10 cl glass, depending on brand)




Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle)


Water (0.33 litre bottle)




One way ticket


Monthly Pass


Taxi Start


Taxi 1km


Petrol (1 litre)


Monthly Rent and Living Costs


Apartment (1 bedroom) in city centre


Apartment (1 bedroom) outside city centre


Apartment (3 bedrooms) in city cntre


Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside city centre


Utilities (electricity, heating, water etc. for small apartment)


1 minute of prepaid mobile tariff local (no discounts or plans)


Internet (6 Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)


Sports and Leisure


Fitness club/gym, monthly fee


Tennis court rent (1 hour)


Adult cinema ticket


Useful Links




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