The Cascais digital nomad population is thriving and this small town on the Atlantic Coast of Portugal, just 30 minutes from Lisbon is making a name for itself as a remote work destination.
Cascais was traditionally a fishing village with a 600 year history. But now, Cascais is most well-known as an easy day trip from Lisbon, a direct train line connecting the two destinations.
But with the rising popularity of Portugal as a digital nomad destination thanks to its relatively low cost of living in Europe, Cascais has put itself on the map as a digital nomad hotspot in Portugal.
Cascais has a wonderful coastal laidback lifestyle, great internet connectivity, there are plenty of activities in Cascais, restaurants and bars, coliving spaces and chilled out cafes, making it an ideal choice for digital nomads, remote workers or workations in Portugal.
Even after our relatively short stay, we could easily picture ourselves staying in Cascais for longer, there are so many things to do in Cascais and we’re already planning our return trip as part of our digital nomad journey next year.
Read on to find out more about being a digital nomad in Cascais.
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Digital Nomads in Cascais
What is digital nomadism?
Digital nomadism is a lifestyle where people are able to work and make a living using online technology, allowing them to lead a location independent lifestyle and often travel full-time, spending several weeks or even months in destinations that allow them to work online.
There are many different types of digital nomad jobs, from freelancers to business owners to entrepreneurs. But the lifestyle is also possible for remote workers who are able to do their job from anywhere.
The key benefits of the digital nomad lifestyle are being able to escape a traditional office or traditional work structure, being able to travel and experience different cultures without being confined to annual leave allowances and often being able to establish a better work-life balance, often in more affordable destinations.
Why is Cascais the ideal destination for digital nomads?
Cascais is a perfect destination for digital nomads thanks to its well-connected location, great digital infrastructure, availability of accommodation, coworking spaces, restaurants and cafes, as well as the range of activities on offer that make the lifestyle there ideal for digital nomads and remote workers.
I loved how the reliable infrastructure meant I could be productive during the morning, then in the afternoon, within 10-30 minutes I could be at the beach, cycling along the coast, hiking in the mountains or swimming in the surf.
Productivity, creativity, balance and freedom at its finest!
Cascais has also taken great steps to position itself as a destination for nomads in Europe, with affordable coliving spaces, coworking options and a lifestyle that honestly is the dream for me - plenty of outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, surfing, combined with a lively foodie destination but in a smaller coastal town that’s walkable, attractive and fun to explore.
The Cascais tourism board even launched a “Workation” campaign called “It Works for You” to encourage remote workers to travel to Cascais because of its fantastic lifestyle, offering a strong infrastructure (for work) and a great balance with holiday activities (vacation). So this really is a destination that’s committed to welcoming digital nomads and remote workers.
Where is Cascais?
Cascais is situated on Portugal’s Atlantic Coast, around 40 minutes’ drive from Lisbon, the country’s capital and the international airport.
Originally a fishing village, Cascais has a 600 year old history which can still be seen in the town’s historic quarter, the Cascais citadel and the forts along the coast here that made up the fortifications of Lisbon.
Historically, Cascais was made popular by royals who moved to Sintra to escape the summer heat. In the 1870s, when King Luis I of Portugal made the town his seaside residence for the summers, wealthy families followed. Many of the grand palaces and residences you see at Sintra and in Cascais today originated from this time when Cascais became a popular destination for wealth and nobility.
However when Portugal maintained neutrality during World War II, it also became a safe haven for the nobility of Europe who escaped there either to shelter from war or to await a ship sailing to the USA.
Now Cascais has become popular as a day trip from Lisbon, although many people who visit often return to make it their holiday base in Portugal, preferring to day trip to Lisbon instead, thanks to the balanced lifestyle and great offering in Cascais for holidaymakers and long stay visitors alike.
How to get to Cascais, Portugal
The easiest way to get to Cascais is by flying into Lisbon International Airport which is about 40 minutes drive from Cascais. You can take an Uber or Bolt or ask your accommodation to help you arrange transport.
Or alternatively, take the train into Lisbon then the coastal train along the coast to Cascais.
How to travel to Portugal as a Digital Nomad
Currently, there are no visa restrictions or requirements for 3rd country nationals (those outside the EU) from the UK, USA, Canada, UAE, Australia, New Zealand or many other countries, meaning you can enter visa free for up to 90 days
Be aware that this could also be part of your EU allowance though - so if you’ve already been to another EU country in the last 180 days, you’ll need to calculate:
90 days - number of days you’ve been in the EU = how long you can stay in Portugal
EU citizens can travel freely and live and work in Portugal for as long as they like.
See a full list of who does and doesn’t need a visa for Portugal here.
What about the Portugal digital nomad visa?
The Portuguese D7 visa was originally a popular option for digital nomads, with a very low income requirement, you only had to prove your income was generated passively, such as retirement income, investments or rental income.
However changes to Portugal’s immigration policy in 2022 saw the introduction of a new Portugal digital nomad visa which allows digital nomads to live and work in Portugal for up to 12 month and travel visa free in other Schengen countries, as long as they earn an income from self-employment or from a company outside of Portugal.
There’s also a minimum income requirement of 2,800 euros.
To apply you must:
Be from a country outside of the EU or EEA
Prove you earn 2,800 euros or more
Prove you are self-employed or earn an income outside of Portugal
Prove you are a tax residence
Apply at the embassy of your country of residence or at the Consulate
Digital Nomad Visa vs. Remote worker workation stay
So should you apply for the digital nomad visa for Portugal?
If you’d like to stay in Portugal for longer than 3 months and you meet the income requirements, then the digital nomad visa is a great option for you.
If you don’t meet the income requirements or if you’d prefer not to be committed to staying somewhere for that length of time but you prefer to keep moving every couple of months or so, then a workation in Cascais as a digital nomad is the option for you!
Having the flexibility to visit Portugal and Cascais to experience the culture, activities and lifestyle that Portugal offers, while also working remotely gives you great freedom to take advantage of everything Cascais has to offer!
What makes Cascais a great destination for digital nomads?
1. Ideal internet connectivity and infrastructure for digital nomads
With an average internet speed of 120 mbps and wide availability of high speed internet across Portugal, internet speed and connectivity was not a concern at all during our stay in Cascais.
We were able to easily connect, upload and download files, hold Zoom calls and carry out our usual day-to-day online activities in coworking spaces, coliving accommodation, cafes and even with the widespread 5G availability while we were out and about - absolutely essential for digital nomads!
2. Great location for easy accessibility and near a major city
For us, Cascais is the perfect compromise for us as we aren’t big city lovers, but we like to have the normal conveniences of supermarkets, shops and great food and drink options nearby.
Lisbon is a bit too big and busy to be somewhere I’d want to live and work as a digital nomad, but being just a short train ride away makes it a great option for a day out if we’re in the mood for a bigger city trip.
3. Lower cost of living
Portugal has the lowest cost of living in Western Europe, making it a popular choice for digital nomads and remote workers.
Athough Cascais is definitely not the cheapest option for a digital nomad if your priority is budget, we were pleasantly surprised by the prices in supermarkets, attraction tickets and eating out in restaurants.
An average single person in Portugal spends about 1,500 per month on rent, bills, groceries and other essentials.
Of course, like much of the world right now, prices are going up but it’s still significantly cheaper than other Western European countries such as France or Europe.
4. A range of accommodation options
From luxury beachfront hotels to hostels and coliving spaces, there’s something for every budget in Cascais.
We stayed at a beautiful, sustainable coliving B&B just a short walk from the city centre called, Luna House (named after beautiful Luna, the owner’s dog who hangs out there regularly).
Prices include a double room for two people, breakfast each day and use of the coworking spaces and pool. There’s free parking, 24/7 security and events throughout the week such as yoga which you can take part in for a small fee.
5. A well-balanced lifestyle
With a great infrastructure and connectivity but also beach proximity and plenty of activities, my favourite part of Cascais is how well-balanced my lifestyle felt while I was there.
A morning walk along the beach, a few hours working in a cafe or coworking space, followed by a boat trip or cycle along the coast, then dinner and drinks with friends in the evening.
Creating my ideal working day was easy and exciting each day in Cascais.
6. An active digital nomad and expat community
I already knew that Cascais had an active digital nomad community, but what I didn’t realise was how well established the expat community was and the long-stay nomads who have come to make Cascais their home base.
If you’re thinking of spending time in Cascais, I highly recommend spending some time either staying in or working in a coliving space to meet other nomads and take part in any meetups or activities they’re hosting. Luna House was perfect for this, with an easy and social atmosphere but also plenty of space to get work done quietly too.
I recommend joining the Cascais Expat Facebook groups and the Portugal digital nomads Facebook Group for meetups, tips and resources as well as networking opportunities.
7. Great variety of restaurants, bars and cafes
Having spent the last year in Croatia as a digital nomad with a very different restaurant offering, we were so excited to see the variety of restaurants and cuisines in Cascais.
From Portuguese classics and fresh seafood to Italian, Asian and beyond. From casual eats to fine dining and with quirky cafes, beach bars and taprooms - we were in heaven and the quality and affordability was a real pleasant surprise!
Check out my top recommendations for digital nomad friendly cafes to work in below.
8. Great for those wanting an active, outdoor lifestyle
If you’re like me and you prefer to keep active and have plenty of outdoor space for your leisure activities, Cascais couldn’t be more perfect.
Beach sports, surfing, hiking, cycling, golfing, boating, swimming - you can do it all in Cascais in close proximity.
In the space of 3 days we took a boat trip along the coast, cycled to the famous sand dunes and kite surfing beach Praia do Guincho, walked the boardwalk to Estoril, spent time relaxing on the beaches and explored the Sintra hills.
Cascais is an absolute dream for outdoor activities, natural beauty and of course proximity to beaches!
9. Affordable attractions, leisure and recreational activities
Although Cascais isn’t the cheapest place in Portugal, there are definitely some great deals to be had!
For 10 euros, you can get a 24-hour pass to visit any and all of the museums in the Museum Quarter of the city which is incredible value for money. You can buy it at the door of any museum or buy online in advance here.
We used this pass to visit:
Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães
Santa Maria House and Museum
The Santa Maria Lighthouse
But there are nine participating museums, galleries and centres that you can visit all for 10 euros!
We also hired bikes from AquaStart for 10 euros for 4 hours (or 15 euros for 8 hours). They also offer electric bikes at 20 euros for 4 hours or 30 euros for 8 hours.
We went on a boat trip with AquaStart too on their Solar Powered boat which is the only one in Cascais and one of only two in Portugal! For a 1-hour cruise along the coast in the solar boat it’s 25 euros.
10. Portugal is in the top 10 safest countries in the world
Consistently voted in the top 6 safest countries in the world by the Global Peace index, Portugal is popular for digital nomads, travellers and solo adventurers thanks to the safety and low crime rate across the country and Cascais is no exception.
Being a smaller town, almost like a suburb of Lisbon and with such a relaxed lifestyle, any concerns I have about safety in a bigger city simply melted away when I arrived in Cascais.
11. English is widely spoken
While I think it’s incredibly important to learn some words and phrases in the local language, it’s also comforting to know that English proficiency is great and makes it easy to navigate the day to day.
12. Great weather
Of course the great weather is a huge factor and I’m reliably told by Cascais locals that long sunny days in the 20s Celcius starts in March. Even in the coldest months of December and January, the temperature usually stays in double digits during the day and only drops to around 6-8C during the night.
13. Great health care and EU infrastructure to support should you need it
Hopefully you won’t need it, but Portugal has great health care and great support systems in places as an EU country, should any 3rd country nationals need medical treatment or support - which is great peace of mind to have when you visit anywhere!
Of course this does not replace the need for travel insurance which I absolutely recommend for any trip or destination. Read about my digital nomad travel insurance recommendation here.
Where to work in Cascais as a digital nomad
If you’re on the hunt for digital nomad workspaces or coworking in Cascais, or just for a list of digital nomad friendly cafes, here are my top picks:
Luna House Cowork
Kafeine in the marina
House of Wonders cafe
Fabrica Coffee Roasters
Lusophonica Online Radio (although music could be an issue for some)
Capricciosa (this is a beachfront pizza restaurant with a casual downstair area that I’d recommend for working in the daytime only)
A Ver o Parque by Aju (in the park if you want some quiet or nature sounds!)
Lobo Cowork (in nearby Estoril)
Digital Nomad resources and information
Summary: Cascais; the destination for Digital Nomads in Portugal
If you’re a digital nomad or remote worker looking for a great base in Portugal where you can find a fantastic balance for work and lifestyle, there’s no doubt that Cascais fits that bill.
We could easily picture ourselves staying in Cascais for longer and will definitely be returning as part of our nomad journey.
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