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Freelancing | Pixabay
Freelancing | Pixabay
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Why Lisbon is the Best City in the World to Freelance

Picture of Nina Santos
Updated: 29 March 2017
The beauty of a freelance lifestyle is that it can be enjoyed anywhere, but some cities definitely make it easier than others. Lisbon has boomed in entrepreneurs and start-ups, and continues attracting many types of freelance professionals. What’s the allure? Here are Culture Trip’s reasons for why Lisbon is possibly the best city for freelancers worldwide.

Lisbon is incredibly affordable.

Freelancing can contribute to a wonderful lifestyle, but it has its fair share of obstacles, too. A lack of security in terms of workload is common, and many freelancers alternate between periods of flood and drought. One month can be incredibly lucrative, while the next is spent searching for the next client, and creating a budget for expenses is helpful for staying afloat during the slower times. The cost of living in Lisbon is very affordable, much more so than the neighboring capitals. A regular coffee can cost around €1 at most shops, lunch (at a traditional, small Portuguese restaurant, known as a tasca) is usually never more than €6-7, sharing an apartment ranges between €200-350 per room (most locations fall at the lower range), and renting an entire apartment solo varies from €500 to €1000 depending on the size and neighborhood (which is about half the price of most other European capitals).

Alfama © Pixabay
Alfama | © Pixabay

The weather is amazing, which helps.

Freelancers sometimes spend days at their computers and forget the need for human interaction, until a nagging feeling reminds them to take a breather. In some cities, going for a walk isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially when it’s extreme weather season, but that’s never the case in Lisbon. It’s one of the sunniest European cities, and residents enjoy a mild Mediterranean climate year-round. It’s also located on the Tagus River, which provides excellent opportunities for long walks and running. Even during the work day, it’s easier to be productive when a beautiful weekend is practically guaranteed.

Walking and running past landmarks like the Belém Tower is a perk of freelancing in Lisbon © Pixabay
Walking and running past landmarks like the Belém Tower is a perk of freelancing in Lisbon | © Pixabay

Seasoned freelancers have paved the way to make life easy for new freelancers.

It has never been a secret that Lisbon has all the qualities sought by freelancers, and a few pioneers began taking advantage of the city’s perks long before the word spread. Make the transition to a freelance lifestyle in Lisbon today, and there are many opportunities to help anyone hit the ground running. One group is CoWork Lisboa, located in the LX Factory, which provides a flexible and shared workspace for daily or monthly rates. Anyone needing desk space can find it at CoWork Lisboa, and this is a good place for home-based workers (who miss brainstorming with other creatives) to build a network. There are also Facebook-based freelance groups that meet at coffee shops and other public spaces weekly or monthly.

Portuguese culture has a good handle on the work-life balance.

Like much of Spain, Italy, and France, Portugal is known for providing a harmonious balance between work and life. Hour-long (and longer) lunches are common, coffee breaks are welcome, and social events are always organized (which most people take advantage of). Even though they work hard, Portuguese residents take the time to “smell the flowers,” perhaps while sitting at a miradouro and simultaneously enjoying a drink, a breathtaking view, and good company. Since the country is inexpensive to navigate and enjoy, day and weekend trips to other cities are common as well.

Lisbon's kiosks are popular places to press pause and relax © Paul Arps / Flickr
Lisbon’s kiosks are popular places to press pause and relax | © Paul Arps / Flickr

Who doesn’t want to live near the ocean and mountains?

In Lisbon, residents can have it all within short distances: beaches, mountains, and both city and rural life. Some people prefer oceans while others love the mountains, but why choose just one? Sure, the beaches are closer and there are many to enjoy, but the Serra da Arrabida (which reaches 1600 feet at the highest peak) is an hour from the city.

Beach in Cascais © Pixabay
Beach in Cascais | © Pixabay

Quick and inexpensive internet is a plus.

Every freelancer needs one thing more than anything else: a good internet connection. In Lisbon, most coffee shops and restaurants provide free wifi and purchasing a quick and reliable connection at home is easy, including Fiber Optic (which is one of the quickest connection speeds available for basic everyday use).