The best places to live in Portugal for families

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Portugal, with its sun-kissed beaches, colorful culture, and welcoming locals, is a very popular country to move abroad for expat families. Whether you’re drawn by the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle, the myriad of beautiful Portuguese cities, towns and villages, or its natural treasures, Portugal offers many options that cater to foreigners with children seeking a safe and comfortable life. 


In this article, we’ll look at the top locations to live in Portugal for families, considering factors like international schools, childcare options, entertainment and outdoor amenities. Let’s dive in and discover your family’s perfect Portuguese city or town!


The 8 best places in Portugal for families


1. Lisbon: Something for Everyone

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is an enticing choice for expat families due to its blend of safety, quality of life and affordability. The largest city in Portugal presents the widest variety of things to do, places to see and diverse neighborhoods to live in. 

With its Mediterranean climate and welcoming urban atmosphere, it offers a high standard of living at a reasonable cost. The city also boasts reputable international schools, such as the St. Julian’s School, ensuring a seamless educational transition for children. Additionally, Lisbon’s healthcare system is excellent, complemented by modern medical facilities. 

Lisbon’s vibrant music, theatre and visual arts cultural scene, along with parks and beaches, provides plenty of recreational options for both adults and children. English proficiency among the population also eases communication, while the diverse expat community promotes integration.

Lastly, rooted in family values, Lisbon’s family-friendly ambiance is underscored by a large number of accommodating restaurants and shopping malls. 


2. Porto: A Riverside Gem

Porto, the captivating city in northern Portugal, is an excellent choice for expat families seeking a balanced lifestyle. The city’s moderate cost of living, coupled with its family-oriented atmosphere, makes it an attractive choice for those looking to provide their families with a high quality of life without breaking the bank.

Porto also features notable international schools, such as the Oporto International School and the Oporto British School, catering to the educational needs of expat children of all ages. With a strong emphasis on academic excellence, these schools help children adapt to their new environment smoothly. 

Ample parks, cultural events and a welcoming local community provide many opportunities for families to engage in recreational activities and establish connections. English proficiency is also increasing among the local population in Porto, facilitating communication for expat families. 

3. Cascais: Coastal Serenity

For families looking for a seaside retreat, Cascais is a top option for expats. This coastal town offers international schools that prioritize global education. A good selection of quality childcare facilities in Cascais nurtures even the youngest minds. 

Cascais is home to many museums, including Museu do Mar Rei D. Carlos and Casa das Histórias, that delve into maritime history, while outdoor activities like surfing and sailing inspire adventure. Additionally, Cascais’ array of parks and beaches fosters a healthy, active lifestyle, ensuring families thrives in the embrace of the Atlantic breeze.


4. Faro: Gateway to the Algarve

Situated in the Algarve region, Faro is one of the best places to live in Portugal for families. International schools provide a foundation for learning, while cultural centers and galleries, such as Teatro das Figuras and Casa Álvaro de Campos, foster creativity. 

With its warm climate, families can spend quality time exploring nature reserves and participating in water sports in Faro throughout the year. Proximity to the beach is another great advantage to living in Faro.

The city’s welcoming community also ensures families always feel at home. For example, Internations is a global expat community that organizes events and provides a platform for expats to connect, and Meetup is a platform where people create and join groups based on their interests.


5. Sintra: Fairytale Ambiance

With its enchanting castles and lush landscapes, Sintra is an excellent option for those seeking a quiet lifestyle in a fairy-tale setting. 

For families with school-going children the CAISL (Carlucci American International School of Lisbon) is situated close to Sintra and is a great option for laying the groundwork for academic excellence. Museums and historical sites provide educational outings, and its proximity to nature reserves encourages outdoor exploration.

Sintra’s charming cafes and parks also encourage families to unwind and create cherished memories. While Sintra doesn’t offer many job opportunities for expats, the area is very close to both Lisbon and Cascais where opportunities are abundant. 

6. Coimbra: Scholarly Charm

Coimbra, with its long history, attracts expat families seeking a city that provides educational excellence, cultural treasures and a nurturing environment. Home to one of Europe’s oldest universities, Coimbra offers a blend of academic rigor and a lively student-driven atmosphere. For expat families, this means access to top education options.

Coimbra’s welcoming community and strong sense of tradition also ensure that expats and their children can readily integrate into local life. Additionally, Coimbra’s central location within Portugal makes it a gateway to explore the country’s diverse landscapes, making it ideal for families that enjoy traveling. 

7. Braga: Cultural Haven

Situated in northern Portugal, Braga features safe and charming streets, historic monuments and traditional festivals that provide an immersive Portuguese experience that both parents and children can treasure. Families on a budget might appreciate that they can find affordable housing in Braga and a lower cost of living compared to other cities on this list. 

Braga’s locals embrace cultural diversity, making integration into Portuguese life a seamless journey. The city’s family-oriented infrastructure, featuring many parks, recreational facilities and family-focused events, such as the large São João Festival, creates an environment where children can flourish.

Moreover, Braga’s central location within Portugal allows for easy exploration of nearby natural wonders, such as the Peneda-Gerês National Park, offering families a variety of outdoor activities. 


8. Lagos: Coastal Allure

Lagos, situated along the stunning Algarve coastline, is a paradise for expat families seeking an exceptional blend of natural beauty, cultural richness and a family-friendly atmosphere. With its many beaches, warm Mediterranean climate and breathtaking landscapes, Lagos offers a quality of life that resonates with families seeking a balanced and active lifestyle.

The city’s emphasis on safety and security also provides parents with peace of mind, allowing children to explore and thrive in a welcoming environment.

Lagos not only offers many outdoor activities, from beach outings to hiking trails, but also exhibits a strong commitment to education and community. The city hosts international schools that provide excellent curricula and a diverse learning environment. 

The Algarve’s friendly expat community fosters a sense of belonging, making integration into local life easier. English proficiency among the local population further facilitates communication, while the city’s family-oriented infrastructure, including parks, recreational facilities and family-focused events, create an ideal environment for raising children. 

Find your family’s new home

When seeking the best places to live in Portugal for families, the options are as diverse as they are exciting. With a good mix of educational opportunities, childcare facilities, cultural experiences and outdoor adventures, these eight destinations provide ideal environments for a family’s dreams to flourish in Portugal.

This article originally appeared on My Dolce Casa and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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