Moving to Lisbon: how to find the best place to live online?
Before I decided to move to Portugal, I only knew that I visited it twice, it has pretty coastlines, the Ocean, and a laid-back attitude towards life. I had near to 0 research done. Well, you learn by living, isn’t that right? In this post, I am sharing my tips after quite a stressful and intensive search for a place to live to make your task easier.
How to find an apartment or a room?
First of all, decide on the length of stay and your budget. Perhaps you are looking for a 1–2 months rental, or you are determined to stay here as long as you will feel like it?
A place to stay short-term
In the first case scenario, AirBnB would be the safest, most convenient, yet expensive option. The good news is, it is not the only one. People are willing to sublet their rooms or apartments, or even swap an apartment for some time for free. Where to find these people? Check it in the next paragraph!
However, if you are willing to rent it through the website, there are student-oriented accommodation services, such as Uniplaces, Spotahome, or Housinganywhere. Nice photos, affordable prices, convenient time of stay, now, where’s the catch? There are a few, to be honest. In most cases, you will live with incoming students (which might mean party noise, lack of tidiness, you know, student things). Other than that, not all rooms look like the photos — in this case, you just have to take the risk. And lastly, expect a reservation fee as high as € 150.
While these services offer long term stays and you can find good deals, I preferred to save some money and rely on the direct rent.
How to find a direct rent in Lisbon?
- Idealista. Convenient, easy to use and to contact the host website. I was checking it daily to find new offers as soon as possible. Another website I know and used is Casa Sapo.
- Facebook. Facebook groups are still powerful communities of people with similar interests. There are many groups for rent in Lisbon. It is also good to look for Portuguese groups since the prices are lower as they are not student-oriented. In these groups, people are also subletting their rooms or apartments while leaving for a shorter period of time. Give it a try on the Facebook Marketplace. Search in Portuguese (google translate is sufficient) and you might find good deals as well.
- Be aware of the scam. In English-speaking groups, scammers are extremely active. They “know the landlord”, send you private messages with emails of landlords, tell you they lived there before and are helping. The landlord is always too busy for calls, yet nice in conversation, and their flat seems to be the perfect fit. If the location and price ratio is fantastic and hard to believe, and you are hurried to make a decision, it is most likely a scam.
- I was given some advice that I didn’t use but can pass on. It is to rent an Airbnb room, meet the host (even better if they live together), be friendly, and they might be renting a flat long term. Since they met you, they might offer you their flat and make a discount. Risky, but might work as the last resort. Also, by having a place to live for the first 10–14 days you can check out the rooms you find online in real life. It would be easier and safer than relying on an internet stranger’s conscience.
The main rules while renting a flat in Lisbon online
- Never pay in advance right after finding a perfect option, don’t rush. Time pressure is a powerful trick to encourage you to make a spontaneous decision.
- Do a video call with a host, pre-recorded videos are not trustworthy.
- Check out the address on Google street view: does this street has a building as big (floor wise) as the owner says? Is the view out of the window the same as in the photo of the flat?
- Check the bank IBAN if it is from a Portuguese bank.
- Suggest signing a rent agreement electronically and asking for their ID photo.
- Do your research! Check out the landlord’s social media, google their name, and if still in doubt, ask for the previous tenant’s contacts.
What is the best neighbourhood to live in Lisbon?
Before you start your room search you should decide on where you want to be located. Is it the Old Town with many bars, restaurants, busy nightlife, tiny streets, lack of parking and close to 0 bike lanes? Do you want to visit the Ocean daily and would prefer a further location? Do you need a park close by for your morning run or walking a dog? Keep in mind the distance to your office (if you appear to have one), the closest metro stop or a gym. We all want to live in a convenient location, don’t we?
Luckily, people before me and you moved to Lisbon and partially solved this dilemma. Hoodpicker is a tool, that will suggest to you the best neighbourhoods according to your needs. It combines the best advice for all your needs, contains a map, as well as more useful information about life in Portugal. I wish I knew this tool before I moved to Lisbon, but luckily I accidentally chose one of the best neighbourhoods so far.
Find the best neighbourhood to live in Lisbon | Hoodpicker
If you've ever moved somewhere new, you've probably come across more than a few articles with catchy titles like "10…
After living in Lisbon for a while I can recommend living close to the city centre, but not in the Old Town (Alfama), Bairro Alto or Cais do Sodré. These are the most touristic locations, with the noisiest nightlife and can get a bit dangerous at night, especially during the weekends. I would recommend Arroios, Saldanha, Alcântara or Avenidas Novas. Read more about each of them on the website above!
Good luck with finding the place in Lisbon you’ll love to wake up at every day!