The Guide to Live in the Portuguese Capital: Lisbon

Updated: 8 July 2021

According to the report by Knight Frank which quotes PricewaterhouseCooper’s ranking of Lisbon as the best place to invest in Europe in 2019, “Solid economic fundamentals, affordable prices, a low cost of living and improving transport connections mean it is now an international destination for investors, developers and tourists alike,”. The capital of Portugal is a shining star on the west coast of the Continent. People from all over the world fly to this beautiful city, sometimes as new residents, sometimes as tourists. One thing is certain though, Lisbon never ceases to amaze. 

A Great City for Families

Compared to a lot of the other popular capitals of the world, Lisbon’s quality of life is exemplary. The city offers minimal traffic, amazing and efficient transportation options, plenty of beautiful parks and playgrounds for children. For families, Lisbon is a great option to consider. 

Neighbourhoods of Lisbon are planned efficiently also. Each one carries the qualities of a small city. It is very likely to have everything within walking distance. The expat community of Lisbon is quite populous which means that new residents will not have many problems settling in. Also, most of the locals speak very good English. So, the language and communication will not be a big problem for new residents. There are many other small perks that make day to day life much easier. How long it takes to travel to work or school, where to find quality food, where to entertain the kids are all problems that are more than usual in popular capitals. Yet, Lisbon outclasses other capitals in each of these characteristics and enables its residents to enjoy their spare time.

Jardim de Estrela is one of these neighbourhoods that are so popular among families. Pepper trees shade the playgrounds where children play. There are ducks that gather around kids who throw bread to them.  Center of the park hosts a kiosk which serves healthy food, and there are musicians play live during summer evenings. Another elegant neighbourhood, Estrela, is also a town that is very popular among families. In Estrela, there are many top quality schools and properties. Campo do Ourique, which is very close to Estrela, is a special favourite of Portuguese families because of the variety of services close by. Also, some of the country’s best schools are here. There is also the lovely market of Campo de Ourique.

In the eastern part of the city, there are Alcantara,
Algés and Belém. These neighbourhoods are just across the bridge from the Costa Caparica. This is the place where some of the city’s best beaches and all these towns are very close to the area of beaches. The beaches of Carcavelos and Cascais are just a few train stops away from the neighbourhoods. 
Graça and São Vicente are the towns in the west, lesser known to foreigners and tourists, which makes them peaceful, more affordable and enlivened with a truly local character. Cascais, however, with its small, vintage town aura, is a more popular stop. The town has a multitude of beaches that entertain countless different activities from paddling to surfing. The town also has a pedestrianized centre where many activities are held. There are several high quality schools. Cascais is around 25 minutes away from the city center by car or train, yet despite its close proximity, it has its own vibes.

High Quality Education for Expat Children

Education of children, of course, is another very important part of new residence options for families. Lisbon, in terms of education, offers a wide array of options depending on where the family lives, what kind of style of teaching is desired by the family, and what languages are taught in the school. IPS in Cascais is run by the same family since it first opened, and it offers a great spirit with an interesting history. Park School (with branches across the city) is a great bi-lingual option for English and Portuguese, while 95% of the students are Portuguese, kids love it here. For more alternative pedagogies, the left-wing school Voz do Operario bases its teaching approach on the Movimento da Escolar Moderna.  While their resources are limited and the facilities aren’t as good as some, the teachers are excellent and fees are scaled related to earnings, which contributes to a great social melting pot. There is also the Red Bridge International School which puts the children’s interested in the focal point of its education system. The curriculum of this school offers lessons in English, Portuguese, and French. Traditional options are British school St Julian’s, located in Carcavelos by the beach, the American school and the French Lyceé.

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