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Relocating from London to Lisbon: The ultimate guide

Thinking of moving next year? Take a look at our guide to see how you can successfully move from London to Lisbon.

By LLM Reporters  |  December 2, 2021
Lisbon, Portugal

Making the decision to relocate is one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do, and from the bright lights of New York to the chic sophistication of Paris; the golden sand beaches of Sydney to the swaying palms of the Seychelles, the time to start living your dream life could be about to begin just as soon as you say ‘yes’.

The Portuguese capital of Lisbon has become an increasingly popular choice amongst wealthy expats eager to move to mainland Europe in recent years, with its quaint, hilly streets, stunning azulejo-tiled buildings and privileged waterfront location all winning the city their approval. And, with an intriguing culture, great foodie scene and excellent connections to the rest of Europe, it’s easy to see why.

But while there’s no denying that the idea of throwing caution to the wind and leaving everything behind to start afresh somewhere new is appealing, it does come with some challenges, and there’s plenty to consider before taking the plunge to ensure that the entire process runs smoothly.

From finding somewhere to live to working out the general logistics of the move, here we take a look at the essentials to add to your ‘to do’ list.

Lisbon, Portugal
The Portuguese capital of Lisbon has become an increasingly popular choice amongst wealthy expats eager to move to mainland Europe in recent years

How will you get there?

More often than not, the easiest way to get to Portugal is by hopping on a plane for a short flight – but if you’re planning on transporting the entire contents of your current home with you, then this will prove almost impossible. 

You may want to consider having your belongings shipped over by boat, leaving you free to take your usual route. Other options include driving, or you can use the effective interrail systems that exist – but you’ll need to consider your valuables – from expensive jewellery to original artworks – and how you can transport those safely and securely, with or without you.

Weighing up the pros and cons of all your options and working out which one best suits your needs is important to minimise stress and hassle when the day arrives, and while it might not be the most exciting element of the overall plan, getting it wrong could set you off on the wrong foot from the outset, so be sure to work out the finer details well in advance.

Beautiful city of Lisbon
The Portuguese capital is a great place to invest in property, with prices cheap compared to the UK and much of the rest of Europe. Image credit: salarko/Bigstock.com

Where will you live? 

Another tough question to answer when relocating to a new place is where exactly you’re going to be living – but although this can be one of the more time-consuming challenges to address, it’s also the most fun. From lavish penthouse apartments to river and beachfront villas, Lisbon has plenty to offer when it comes to property, but do bear in mind that in the centre of the city, options tend to be smaller and cosier when compared to the outskirts of the city, and elsewhere in the Lisbon metropolitan area.

The good news is that the Portuguese capital is a great place to invest in property, with prices cheap compared to the UK and much of the rest of Europe – and, should you opt to rent out yours later down the line, then the city’s ever-increasing popularity amongst younger generations will mean you’ll likely have little trouble finding tenants in the centre.

If you don’t mind being further away from the thick of the action, then you’ll find some great houses and villas that offer more space for an excellent price, often featuring swimming pools, home gyms and all the other luxury bells and whistles you could want.

If you are moving for work purposes, you will want to establish how far your commute will be to the office when deciding on a neighbourhood to live in. Lengthy commutes can quickly begin to take away from the quality of life you likely came in search of, and it’s easy to fall in love with a particular place only to find it doesn’t quite tick all the right boxes from a practical stance, so be sure to consider this before allowing yourself to be swayed by your initial feeling.

From the heart of the city in the trendy Baixa district to the bustling Bairro Alto, the choices in Lisbon are many. Finding accommodation across Lisbon can be challenging if you don’t know the city – so if you can, take a trip here to immerse yourself in all it has to offer beforehand to make the choice easier.

City of Lisbon
Post-Brexit, UK nationals can still visit EU nations visa free, but may only stay for 90 days out of any 180-day period, so you’ll need to apply for the relevant visa

What essentials do you need?

You will, of course, want to bring the contents of your home with you when relocating to Lisbon, and from your designer wardrobe of Prada outfits and Chanel accessories to your favourite Monet, packing your life up is certain to be time-consuming.

Post-Brexit, UK nationals can still visit EU nations visa free, but may only stay for 90 days out of any 180-day period, so you’ll need to apply for the relevant visa if you’re planning to make your move permanent. There are various options, particularly if you are moving to Portugal for work or plan on making a significant business investment, so be sure to visit the government website to find out the requirements and inform yourself on the application process. 

You will need to be aware of the taxes you are liable to pay and how to do so, too – so be sure to look into this before you move.

The bottom line

Making a detailed list from the word go will ensure that the overall process of relocating to Lisbon runs as smoothly as possible, setting you up for the perfect start to your new adventure. Irrespective of whether you are moving in the coming weeks, or further in the future, get everything in order as soon as possible and you’ll thank yourself for it when it comes to the big day.