Portugal for LGBT Expats: All You Need to Know

Updated: 30 March 2023

As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, you always wonder if the place you’re moving to is LGBT friendly or not. Giving that throughout history, LGBT members struggled for their rights and privileges in society, this makes perfect sense.

In our Portugal for LGBT expats guide, we would like to explore Portugal’s relationship with the LGBT community, what rights do LGBT expats have as there, and the best neighborhoods to live in.

The History of the LGBT Community in Portugal

In 1974, Portugal went through one of the most successful bloodless revolutions in history, namely the “Carnation Revolution”. This revolution ended the military dictatorship, and since then, the Portuguese society is much more open-minded and progressive.

Furthermore, Portugal is currently considered one of the world’s top countries in protecting and advancing LGBT rights.

In May 1974, the “Diario de Lisboa” published a manifesto for the Liberation of sexual minorities, which lead to the establishment of the Portuguese LGBT movement. Even with all the struggle the community put in, homosexuality wasn’t decriminalized until eight years later. Finally, in 1999, the first gay pride march took place in Lisbon.

Still, it took a while for the law to catch up, as same-sex marriage was not legalized until 2010. As of 2016 gay couples could legally adopt in Portugal

LGBT Rights in Portugal

As we mentioned earlier, Portugal is quite progressive when it comes to LGBT rights, and as a member of the LGBT community, you have access to various rights there, such as:

LGBT Marriage in Portugal

The Portuguese state first recognized unions for gay couples in 1999 and legalized marriage for same-sex couples in 2010.

Portugal grants LGBT couples in Portugal the same rights as heterosexual couples regarding marriage laws, visas, inheritance, adoption, and IVF.

Marriage Visas for Same-sex Couples in Portugal

If your spouse has permanent residence in Portugal, you can apply for a 2-year residence permit, which you can renew if your relationship status is the same after that period.

In the case that your spouse has a temporary residence, you can join them on the grounds of family reunification. Keep in mind that you’ll need to prove that you have sufficient funds to prove that you can support yourself in this case.

Same-sex Marriage With a Portuguese Citizen

If you get married to a Portuguese citizen, then you’ll be entitled to citizenship. You need to first apply for residency. Then after three years of marriage, you may apply for citizenship.

Inheritance Rights for LGBT Families in Portugal

Portugal does not have an inheritance tax for spouses or close relatives, whether for heterosexual or same-sex spouses and their children.

Adoption Rights for LGBT Couples in Portugal

Adopting as an LGBT couple was legalized in Portugal in 2016, though Portugal’s adoption process is quite arduous and might take three-four years to be completed.

IVF for LGBT Couples in Portugal

The same legislation that legalized adoption for LGBT couples also legalized IVF. This means that any LGBT woman, if capable of receiving IVF, has the same right that any cis-gendered or heterosexual woman.

Is Portugal an LGBT Friendly Country?

Portugal is one of the top worldwide destinations for LGBT travelers, along with Canada and Sweden.

Furthermore, thanks to its recent changes in its law regarding the protection for trans and intersex people, Portugal has moved to number one, it used to be 27th before in the Spartacus gay travel guide.

Finally, as an LGBT member, you might still run into some discrimination or homophobia in some rural areas in Portugal, which bring us to our next point:

The Most LGBT Friendly Places in Portugal

The most LGBT friendly cities tend to be the larger cities, such as Lisbon and Porto. That being said, the Algarve is also very welcoming and non-judgemental. Below you’ll find a list of some of the most popular neighborhoods with LGBT expats in Lisbon:

Principe Real

If you ask any Lisbonian, “Where should an LGBT member visit?” they will undoubtedly answer “Principe Real.” The Pride march started in Principe Real, and to this day, it is known as Lisbon’s prominent LGBT neighborhood.

Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto is a very young neighborhood at heart, known for its number of bars and clubs, including numerous gay bars.


In 2019, “Timeout” magazine announced Arroios as one of the “coolest neighborhoods” in the world. It’s mostly trendy with young LGBT members due to its queer-friendly cultural centers such as Casa Independte and Anjos 70.

Real Estate in LGBT Friendly Neighborhoods

If you’re moving to Portugal as an LGBT member, you might wonder about real estate prices in LGBT friendly Neighborhoods.

Real Estate in Principe Real

As we’ve mentioned above, Principe Real is the most popular neighborhood among LGBT members. Real estate prices have risen quite drastically in the past couple of years due to high demand. That is why you should expect to pay 6,500-9,000€ per m2 if you’re planning to buy property there.

As for rents in Principe Real, then you won’t be able to find anything for less than 850-900€ a month as of 2020. Keep in mind that these prices can go up to 1,500-2,000€ in new projects.

Real Estate in Arroios

Arroios is another neighborhood that is very trendy with LGBT members. It is still quite expensive compared to other areas in Lisbon due to its various cultural centers, clubs, and bars.

In Arroios you should be prepared to pay an average of 5,700€ per m2 if you wish to buy a property. Rents in Arrorios are a bit more reasonable. You can rent a 50m2 apartment for an average of 900€ a month.

Real Estate Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto is what’s known as an “up-and-coming neighborhood”. It’s gaining popularity rapidly due to its wonderful location and comfortably luxurious apartments. 

To buy an apartment in Bairro Alto, you’ll need 6,200-7,500 € per m2.  As for rent, then you can find some properties between 800- 1,000€ a month.

The Portugal Golden Visa for Gay Couples

The Portugal Golden Visa is a citizenship by investment program which allows the investor to obtain permanent residence in Portugal in exchange for an investment. After five years of residency, you become eligible for Portuguese citizenship.

This scheme is trendy with investors thanks to its many benefits, mostly its “Family Reunification” benefit. This states that the main applicant can include their spouses and children in this program. They can obtain residence and, eventually, citizenship. This also extends to same-sex couples, with all the rights and privileges.

There are various investment routes to qualify for this program, such as:

  • Making a €500,000 investment in real estate (€400,00 if in a low-density area)
  • Making a €500,000 investment in a fund in Portugal
  • Making €350,000 investment in the renovation of property (280,000€  if in a low-density area)
  • Making a €1.5 million capital transfer into Portugal
  • Creation of 10 Jobs in Portugal
  • Making a €500,000 capital transfer to increase shares of a company and the creation of 5 jobs
  • Making a donation of €250,000 to arts/national heritage/culture
  • Making €500,000 investment in scientific and technological research

Guides and Resources About Portugal

Frequently Asked Questions About LGBT Life in Portugal

Yes, same-sex marriage is legal in Portugal since 2011.

Can I get citizenship in Portugal through same-sex marriage with a Portuguese citizen?

Absolutely, same-sex marriages in Portugal have precisely the same rights as heterosexual marriage. You’ll receive your permanent residence there, and then after three years of marriage, you may apply for citizenship.

Is Portugal Safe for LGBT people?

Portuguese people are very open-minded and tolerant of the LGBT community. Portugal was named one of the best countries in the world for LGBT people in 2020.

Is Portugal a good place for retirement as an LGBT person?

Portugal is very popular around expats for retirement. Thanks to its low cost of living and high ranking on the safety index (third globally). Retiring in Portugal as an LGBT member is also a smart idea thanks to the government’s vigilance in fighting for LGBT rights.

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