The favourable weather, culture, and nightlife and welcoming locals are some of the main reasons expats enjoy living in Lisbon, however, pay and career opportunities are seen as being poor in the capital.

Overall, Lisbon is fourth out of the 50 cities across the globe which feature in the Expat City Ranking 2022 and is also in fifth place in three out of the five indices featured in the survey: Quality of Life, Personal Finance, and Ease of Settling In.

The survey found that Lisbon is one of the cities where expats are happiest with their life abroad (86 percent happy vs. 71 percent globally). Only expats in Valencia are even happier. It is also one of the best-rated cities on the Quality of Life Index (5th). Almost all expats (98 percent) are happy with the climate and weather (vs. 62 percent globally), ranking the city first in this regard.

Quality of life

In fact, 17 percent moved to the Portuguese capital for a better quality of life (vs. 7 percent globally), and they are not disappointed. “Everything is great here — the climate, the people, the food, and the nature,” says an Indian expat.

Expats also highly appreciate the culture and nightlife (87 percent happy vs. 67 percent globally) and the opportunities for recreational sports (94 percent vs. 81 percent globally). On top of that, more than nine out of ten feel safe in Lisbon (94 percent vs. 81 percent globally) and find it easy to get around on foot and by bicycle (93 percent vs. 77 percent globally).

Lisbon also ranks fifth in the Ease of Settling In Index, with particularly great results in the Local Friendliness (4th) and Culture and Welcome (2nd) Subcategories. “I love the hospitable, patient, and easy-going Portuguese people. They are helpful, kind, and polite,” says a US American expat according to Internations.

In fact, expats describe the local residents as generally friendly (82 percent vs. 66 percent globally), find it easy to get used to the local culture (81 percent vs. 62 percent globally), and are happy with their social life (69 percent vs. 59 percent globally).

Wages and income

Lastly, Lisbon also lands in fifth place in the Personal Finance Index, mainly due to expats’ high satisfaction with the cost of living (69 percent happy vs. 45 percent globally). However, just 71 percent say that their disposable household income is enough or more than enough to lead a comfortable life, about the same as the global average (72 percent). This might be related to the fact that 27 percent of expats in Lisbon feel that based on industry, qualifications, and role, they are not paid fairly for their work (vs. 20 percent globally).

“Wages, in general, are very poor in Portugal,” says an Irish expat in the report. Since they also rate the state of the local economy negatively (25 percent vs. 17 percent globally), the city only ranks 44th in the Salary and Job Security Subcategory. What is more, 28 percent find that moving to Lisbon has not improved their career prospects (vs. 18 percent globally). For this factor, the city ranks second to last worldwide, only ahead of Valencia (50th). However, thanks to the Work & Leisure Subcategory (9th), Lisbon still ranks 36th in the Working Abroad Index overall. More than seven in ten (72 percent) rate their work-life balance positively (vs. 62 percent globally).


Originally from the UK, Daisy has been living and working in Portugal for more than 20 years. She has worked in PR, marketing and journalism, and has been the editor of The Portugal News since 2019. Jornalista 7920

Daisy Sampson