Affordable, beautiful, eclectic, and with world-class infrastructure, Porto charms everyone who visits—including digital nomads.
Situated on Portugal’s northern coast, Porto is a charming, picturesque mid-sized city that has been catching the eye of an increasing number of international visitors. Famous for its namesake wines and meandering cobblestone streets that snake their way through the city’s riverside district of historic homes and cafés, Porto captivates visitors of all kinds—from foodies to adventure seekers to digital nomads.
While its larger neighbor to the south, Lisbon, has long enjoyed a reputation as a favorite for digital nomads, Porto is emerging as an attractive alternative for remote workers. Here are seven reasons Porto is drawing more and more digital nomads these days:
- Size. While larger, capital cities like Lisbon tend to dominate the scene, big cities aren’t for everyone. For digital nomads, Porto’s smaller, manageable size is often an asset rather than a drawback. Porto’s downtown is compact and walkable, with most popular neighborhoods and sites falling within a 30-minute distance of each other. Porto’s walkability and comprehensive, easy-to-use public transportation system make it easy for nomads to hit up the cafés and coworking spaces around the city.
- Cost of living. Thanks to its small size and less prominent place in the pantheon of popular European travel destinations, Porto offers a significantly lower cost of living. An apartment in Porto is as much as 60 percent cheaper than a similar property in Lisbon, which is a fairly inexpensive city itself.
- Culture. With its energetic pace and innovative attitude, Porto is quickly becoming a leader in technology, creativity, and design in Europe. With more remote workers and entrepreneurs flocking to the city, digital nomads can surround themselves with a growing community of like-minded travelers. Despite developments, however, Porto retains its authentic Portuguese feel. The pace is laid back, and the locals are warm and friendly. And while everyone is happy to help willing visitors learn Portuguese, most speak at least some English.
- Food & drink. Often hailed as the food capital of Portugal, Porto offers a mix of hearty traditional dishes and innovative international and fusion restaurants. The city boasts a booming craft beer scene, in addition to an overwhelming array of wine cellars. And the prices are digital nomad-budget friendly: expect to spend between €5 and €10 for lunch with a soup and a drink and between €10 and €15 for dinner with a glass of wine.
- Safety. Out of 163 countries surveyed by the Institute for Economics and Peace’s 2019 Global Peace Index, Portugal ranked number three. Porto, in particular, stands out as one of the continent’s safest cosmopolitan spots. While it deals with some of the same garden variety crimes as urban areas of most sizes do, Porto is about as safe of a city as you can find.
- Fast internet. Portugal ranked 25th in the worldwide ranking of internet speed in December 2019, according to Speedtest Global Index. Fast WiFi can be found at most cafés and is typically included in the price of hostels, Airbnbs, and apartment rentals.
- Places to work. The number of work-friendly coffee shops in the city is growing. In addition, Porto has seen a surge in coworking spaces in the last few years. Read on to learn more about the different options to work in Porto.
The best cafés to work in Porto
Porto’s abundance of charming small cafés might seem the obvious choice for digital nomads. However, most (though certainly not all) of Porto’s cafés aren’t suitable for settling in for a day of remote working.
Cafés tend to be in-and-out establishments with elbow-to-elbow counter seating.
These spots are where you want to go and are already popular among Porto’s digital nomad community:
Combi Coffee. This spacious, brightly-lit gem of a café provides plenty of spots to plug in, plus fast WiFi.
The Coffee Room. Don’t let the fact that it’s located inside a clothing store deter you. This quirky coffee shop offers WiFi, bench seating downstairs, and a sunny second-level balcony.
Mesa 325. With plenty of seating and baristas who take their craft seriously, Mesa 325 is a favorite for locals and digital nomads alike.
Brando Casa do Café. Serving up great coffee and delicious Portuguese snacks to keep you going on long work days, this airy café is another great spot for digital nomads.
Birds of Passage Coffee. In addition to gourmet coffee and sandwiches, this café features a large shared bench space with plenty of places to plug in and a quiet, peaceful terrace in the back.
The best coworking spaces in Porto
While Porto might not yet have as many laptop-friendly cafés as other cities, it makes up for it in coworking spaces. A number of new coworking spaces have popped up in the city in the last couple of years. Here are some of the best of them:
Porto i/o. This is the premier coworking option in Porto. With a location in the heart of downtown and another in the riverside district, Porto i/o boasts all the high-end amenities that make a coworking space special. Daily, weekly, and monthly pricing plans are available to meet your specific needs.
Cru Co-Work. Located in Porto’s art district, this space offers a monthly subscription with weekday access. In addition to all the typical coworking amenities, Cru also has a ping-pong table, an outdoor terrace, and a dedicated Skype room available.
Synergy Coworking. Part coworking space, part cool spot to relax and meet some of your fellow digital nomads, Synergy offers daily, weekly, and monthly plans. When you’re done working, kick back on the terrace, buy a beer onsite, play a game of ping pong, or take advantage of the yoga studio.
Kickstart your digital nomad journey in Porto, Portugal by staying at Lifeafar’s Casa do Cativo, our boutique hotel located right in the heart of Porto. And follow us on Instagram for more travel inspiration and to share your Lifeafar moments with #Lifeafar.