Retire in Lisbon

Retire in Lisbon
–>Lisbon Livability Factors
–>Lisbon Cost of Living
–>Lisbon Facts and History
–>Lisbon Free Old Town Walking Tour
–>Lisbon Best Day Tours
–>Lisbon Best Restaurants and Experiences
–>Lisbon Nightlife (Bar Hopping) Tour
–>Lisbon Best (and) Cheap Places to Stay
–>Lisbon Flights, Buses, Trains
Best Travel or Retire Cheap in Paradise Locations in the World

Retire in Lisbon

[kkstarratings]This is Dan from Vagabond Buddha.  This is my retire in Lisbon guide.

I have been traveling around the world since 2007. I have been to 65 countries so far. I work on my computer so I can live anywhere I please.  I am from California. Each place I visit, I collected data on the cost of living. I also determine a desirability level for living in each place, low, medium or high.

I will use this desirability and cost of living information to decide where to retire internationally.   Right now I am enjoying working as a digital nomad on my computer.  I am not ready for retirement yet.  I am enjoying the world too much right now to stop.  My desire to retire in Lisbon is high.

Friends always ask me what to do and where to stay in each place. So I also share restaurants, day tours, accommodations, tours, and how to get to each place. You can use the links at the top of the page to skip to your preferred topic.

If you would like to learn how to make money online, or how to live internationally possibly with less money than you spend at home, please subscribe to Vagabond Buddha or get a free copy of my Ebook.

Lisbon Portugal Livability Factors

This is Dan from Vagabond Buddha. These are the factors I consider when ranking the desirability of living somewhere. Each factor can range from Low to Medium, to High Desirability.

Walkability: High. Lisbon is very walkable. Plus it has great public transportation. No car is needed to live here.

Internet Reliability: Speed Test. We had over 20 MBPS in our Airbnb, up and down.

Food: Medium. Lisbon has all the food choices you would expect in a European city of this size. The restaurants seemed a little pricey after a year in Mexico and South America. But the food quality and prices are so great in the Lidl grocery stores, I am ranking this as Medium.

Weather: High. August is the warmest month with an average high of 83F, 28C, and it cools down to night to an average low of 66F, 19C. The moderate temperature and cool breezes from the Atlantic Ocean mean you may not need your AC on the average night. January is the coldest month with an average low at night of 47F or 8C and it warms in the day to an average of 59F, 15C. The rainy season is October through January when it rains about 4 to 5 inches (100 to 130 mm) per month. The average low for the day is 50F, 10C or higher for 9 months of the year, and the average high is under 85F, 28C all year. So I am labeling the weather desirability as High.

Things to Do: High

Social Considerations: High

Expats Penetration: High

Real Estate: Medium.

Lisbon Desirability Score: High. I could see myself living here in Portugal. In some ways, it reminds me of San Francisco which is near where I grew up. This was our first stop in Portugal. We have about another month in Portugal with 4 more stops. I am curious and excited about exploring more of Portugal now. We head to a new place tomorrow. Are you curious where we will go next? If so, please subscribe to our YouTube Channel or Vagabond Buddha.

Please book using our links to recommended flights, tours (Viator Tours, Get Your Guide Tours) or accommodations. You will pay nothing extra, but we will earn a small commission. That will encourage us to keep making these travel guides and videos for you.

Lisbon Portugal Cost of Living

If you try to rent over the Internet speaking only English, you may not get the best prices. I guestimate $1000 USD for a decent 1 bedroom apartment in Lisbon city central. With utilities and Internet, you will spend another 125 USD, or around 1300 monthly total. That would be a daily rate of about $43 USD for your own apartment. This rate would not be available to you until you leased for 6 or more months, which you should not do until you have lived here for at least a few months. The following is just a range of possible costs.

Monthly Cost of Living, Lisbon, Portugal ($USD)






Airbnb House Share





Moderate Hotel





Backpacker Hostel





High End Restaurant





Neighborhood Restaurant





Food Cart





















Per Month





Per Day




The above table is just my notes from my time here. The above numbers are for one person and do not include alcohol, tours, or extras. I do not guarantee these prices for anyone. Here is a link explaining how the table works.

Lisbon Facts and History

I am here now as I type these words. You can click on the below map and zoom into Lisbon.

When I go to a new place, I like to read about it. The history of a place provides a great insight into its character. Here is what I found interesting about Lisbon:

Lisbon is the largest city in Portugal with 600 thousand people and the 11th largest city in the European Union (EU). The metropolitan area of Lisbon has 3 million people. 1 of every 4 people in Portugal lives in Lisbon metro.

The westernmost part of Lisbon metro, called Cabo de Roca, is the westernmost part of the continental Europe.

Lisbon is the capital of Portugal. Lisbon is a global city significant in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, trade, education, and tourism.

Lisbon is the 9th most visited city in Europe behind only Rome, Istanbul, Barcelona, Milan, Venice, Madrid, Florence, and Athens. Lisbon is the last of the top 9 that I have visited. Lisbon International Airport (LIS) serves about 27 million passengers a year, 3.3 being tourists, which makes it the 20th busiest airport in the EU. Lisbon is the 40th highest gross earnings per capita in the world at about $32k per capita.

800 BC: The Iron Age occupants of Lisbon were trading with Phoenicians when Celts from the north invaded.

200 BC: Lisbon was known as Olissippo when the Romans showed up. The Romans allied with Olissippo to push the Celts out. Thereafter, Olissippo leaders were given Roman citizenship and exempted from taxes to integrate Olissippo into the Roman Empire region of Lusitanian.

200 BC: With Olissippo as an allie, Rome was able to take Hispania (Spain) from Hannibal Lectur from Carthage in north Africa.

The Romans built walls to protect Lisbon from piracy and the region prospered as a trading port between the mediterranean and Britannia (Britain).

500 AD: Barbarians invaded in the 5th century after Rome fell. By then, Olissippo (Lisbon) had become a Christian religious center. A Germanic Suebi tribe controlled Lisbon until 585 AD and called Olissippo Ulishbona.

In 711 AD, Lisbon was taken by Muslim forces from north Africa. The Muslims rebuilt the city and permitted the diverse population of Lisbon to maintain their diverse cultural lifestyles with the official religion being Islam. The Muslim influence is still visible in the Alfama district of Lisbon, which survived the 1755 Lisbon earthquake (more on that later).

In the 12th century, control of Lisbon was traded several times in the religious wars (Crusades) between Christians and Islam several times. Lisbon finally remained under Christian control after it was taken Afonso I of Portugal in 1147. Some Muslim residents converted to Christianity and others fled Muslim Spain or North Africa.

Portugal played a major role during the Age of Discovery, when the America’s were discovered and water trade routes were established worldwide (now known as Globalization). Lisbon played a central role in the triangular slave trade sending slaves from Africa to the Americas, sugar from the Americas to Europe, and alcohol, textiles, and spices to Africa and the Americas.

The 16th and 17th centuries included a 60 period when the monarchies of Spain and Portugal traded control of Portugal. Portugal won its permanent independence in 1668.

In 1755, a 9.0 earthquake occurred, and along with the resulting fires and tsunami, Lisbon was almost completely destroyed. The earthquake struck on the religious day of All Saints’ Day. Candles celebrating the holy day were burning all over the city. They were knocked over during the earthquake and started the whole city on fire. 85% of Lisbon’s buildings were destroyed and 50,000 people died.

Lisbon was invaded by Napoleon of France causing the Portuguese monarch to flee to Brazil temporarily.

In 1908, Carlos I of Portugal was assassinated which ended the monarch rule in Portugal.

Since the end of the monarchy in Portugal, there have been three revolutions, 1910, 1926, and 1974. The revolution of 1974 ended the right-wing Estado Novo to create the Third Republic, which remains in power today. The three main groups of the Third Republic are the conservatives, the socialists, and the communists. Because the Third Republic is a democracy, Portugal was admitted to the EU in 1986.

Lisbon Free Old Town Walking Tour and Map

Here is the Youtube video of our Lisbon Free Old Town Walking Tour.

Click the interactive Google Map on your smartphone to be guided on this tour.

National Pantheon: Construction of the Santa Engrácia Church began in 1681 but was not completed until 1966. The name of the church has become a Portuguese synonym for an endless construction project–300 years. It was converted into the National Pantheon in the 19th century. There are a bunch of famous Portuguese people buried here.

Saint George Castle (Castelo de São Jorge): Although humans have lived in Lisbon continuously since 600 BC, the walls of Saint George’s Castle were built in 48 BC. Before the Romans, the hill was used by Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and after the Romans it was fortified by the Moorish people. The castle is named after Saint George, a warrior-saint. Saint George is often portrayed slaying a dragon. King Manuel I honored Vasco de Gama here in the castle when he returned from discovering the sea route to India in 1498. The walk to the next stop will take you through one of the oldest neighborhoods in Lisbon, called the Alfama.

If you are enjoying this, could you please like it, share it, comment below, or subscribe? That will rank us higher in search engines so we can keep making these travel guides.

Saint Miguel Church Square: This Church was built in 1180. It has been extensively remodeled. It is on the walking tour mainly to get Google to walk you through the Alfama neighborhood.

Commercial Plaza (Praça do Comércio): Don Jose I Palace was located when the earthquake of 1755 reduced it to ruble. That is him on the horse in the center. The arch will take you through one of the best walking streets in Portugal and to our next stop.

Mercado da Baixa (sounds like buy-sha): This is just a great little food market where you can get a snack.

Church of São Domingos (Igreja de São Domingos): The church was first dedicated in the 13th century. It was rebuilt several times after earthquakes in 1531 and 1755, and was gutted by fire in 1959. The church was reopened in 1994 but signs of the fire can still be seen. Many royals have been married here. Many people were executed here during the Inquisition.

National Theatre: The National Theatre was built here after a fire destroyed the Inquisition Palace in 1836. The Inquisition Palace, built in 1450, was where the Roman Catholic Church would accuse, torture, and convict Catholics of heresy. They were then burned at the stake here in the middle of Rossio Plaza. That art deco building to the left is the train station.

Santa Justa Lift: The Santa Justa Lift is a large elevator that holds 29 people. It takes people up to the Carmo Convent area. It is built 1900 of wrought iron. It was originally powered by a steam engines but was converted to electric in 1907.

Convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Convento da Ordem do Carmo): This 14th century medieval convent and gothic church were destroyed by a 9.0 earthquake that struck in 1755.

Best Lisbon Day Tours

Guided Tours

Viator Tours: Click here for all 50 tours. Click below for our top picks.

  1. Sintra and Cascais Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon
  2. Fátima, Nazaré, and Óbidos Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon
  3. Small-Group Évora Day Trip from Lisbon with Olive Oil Tastings

GetYourGuide Tours: Click here for all 50 tours. Click below for our top picks.

  1. Lisbon Card: 24-, 48-, and 72-Hour Options
  2. Lisbon Essential Tour: History, Stories & Lifestyle
  3. Sintra, Cabo da Roca and Cascais Full-Day Tour
Self-Guided (Cheap Bastard) Tours

If you are an adventurous sort, you should try one of my self-guided (cheap bastard) tours.

Best Stops on Tram 28 Lisbon

Watch the below video. If it looks fun, click these directions for taking this tour.

5 Things You Must See in Belem

Watch the below video. If it looks fun, jump on Tram 15 here to get to Belem. It takes about 30 minutes. Once you are in Belem, click on this link to get the interactive Google Map for this tour.

Lisbon Best Restaurants, Street Food, and Surprise Experiences

After 4 months in Mexico, we were surprised how expensive restaurant food was in Lisbon. It can easily run you 12 Euros for just your entree at a neighborhood restaurant. It goes up from there for fine dining and speciality foods. Plus it was raining the first few days we were in Lisbon. So we ended up cooking many of our own meals at home. That ended up saving a bunch of money. We won’t mention anything unless we would go back there on our next visit.

Vagabond Buddha’s Kitchen: We stayed in an Airbnb apartment (see below link) in Lisbon that had kitchen privileges. Qiang Hui and I cooked many meals. We were surprised how cheap the food was in Lisbon at this grocery store: LIDL. We even made and brought meals with us on day trips in order to save money on lunch.

A Padaria Portuguesa: This place had a delicious breakfast special for 2.50 Euros per person. It included delicious homemade bread with a slice of cheese. An espresso shot and a large glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. Once we tasted it, we went back for breakfast here every day.

Lisboa Tu e Eu: This place had some great local food choices for cheap. Qiang had a Calamari dish for 6.5 Euros. I had a rice and bean dish like you would find in Brazil for 4 Euros. Beer and wine was about 2-3 Euroos. This would be a nice place to eat lunch on your walking tour. It is between the Castle and San Miguel church in the Alfama.

Lourenço & Castro Lda: On the day of our Tram 28 tour, we had breakfast here. It is at the Pleasure Cemetery stop. It cost 4 Euros for 2 cups of coffee and 2 croissants.

A Ginjinha: Qiang wanted me to mention the cherry brandy shot she had at this place, 1.4 Euros. It is right outside the Catholic Church on the above old town walking tour of Lisbon.

Lisbon Nightlife (Bar Hopping) Walking Tour and Map

Here are the best areas to explore for Lisbon Nightlife. Just click the below map or ==>this link<== on your smartphone to get started. After you click the link, just explore the 2 block area around the two places to find the music that you enjoy most. Everyone enjoys different music so I will let you design your fun.

Lisbon Best (and) Cheap Hotels

You should stay in the old town area of Lisbon, if possible. The following recommendations go from most to least expensive. After that we tell you where we stayed.

Chiado Square Apartments: Really nice apartments in a great location.

Urbanaas Lisbon Rato Apartments: Nice apartments.

Hostel Why are hostels so expensive now? This one was a little cheaper when I checked.

Airbnb House Share (Where we stayed): The hosts here, Sergio and Ewelina, are super nice people. We felt totally comfortable here. This is a large apartment share on Airbnb. We had our own bedroom but we shared our bathroom, kitchen and the wifi. The wifi was really fast. (If you are new to Airbnb, use this code for a big discount).

Lisbon Flights, Buses, Trains

Buses and Trains: In Portugal, Google Maps is getting pretty good at finding buses and trains to move around Portugal. Eurail is also a great resource. You can use Google Maps to find bus and subway stops around Lisbon.

Lisbon International Airport: You can fly into Lisbon and take Uber to your accommodations. It takes about 15 minutes to get to the old town area of Lisbon and costs 8-11 Euros. I have provided a list of 5 places to stay in old town Lisbon, see above. You can also use Google Maps to take a bus or metro from the airport to your accommodations for about 2 Euros..

Flights (International or Domestic): I always use Skyscanner to book domestic and international flights. If you allow a range of dates to fly and return, you can sometimes save hundreds of dollars. Get a local SIM card for your smartphone when you land in Portugal. Get your phone unlocked before leaving your home country.

Thanks for watching our video. Contact us if you would like to collaborate with us on social media.

I started living internationally over 11 years ago. If you would like to learn how to make money online, or how to live internationally possibly with less money than you spend at home, please subscribe to Vagabond Buddha, our YouTube Channel or get a free copy of my Ebook.

This is Dan of Vagabond Buddha. Thank you for stopping by. The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?

Warning: I am not offering you these prices.  These are just my notes and estimates from the time of my visit and this post.  Your costs will likely be drastically different if significant inflation or deflation occurs or the market changes after this post.  I will not update these numbers until I am on the ground again here, if ever.   

One thought on “Retire in Lisbon”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *