Luís Galveias (LPEA): Lisbon, the California of Europe
Anyone visiting Lisbon this past summer might think the city is back to its pre-pandemic times. Streets and terraces were crowded, hotels and short-term rentals were (nearly) fully booked, old yellow trams packed with tourists, and even the river attracted more visitors with new kayaking and sunset sailing experiences.
Wandering around Lisbon almost feels like an amusement park for grown-ups as everything is there for you: The nice weather, breathtaking viewpoints, colorful shops, welcoming service, a wide range of activities, and many options to extend your visit beyond the city. Some parts of the city are “tourist exclusive” domains but it is easy to make your way through more traditional and residential areas where you can drink your bica and eat your pastel de nata on a relaxed terrace or in a garden while still enjoying the melting pot of cultures as new residents continue to arrive from every corner of this planet.
Lisbon is exotic and draws people from everywhere but lately, it’s the US English accent that you seem to hear on every corner.
“Lisbon is an attractive alternative to the expensive, unsafe, and politically polarized United States”
While French people look at Portugal longing for a nostalgic view of a France they no longer recognize – be it from political, safety, or simply demographic perspectives - US citizens look at Portugal and notably Lisbon as the work-life balanced El Dorado they might hope to find in the US.
The number of US residents in Portugal tripled over the past decade to 7,000, a small but fast-growing community, coming from many different states but with a recent rise of Californians. Lisbon and its surrounding cities (which are more affordable for housing) make it an attractive alternative to the expensive, unsafe, and politically polarized United States.
City of new opportunities
The cost of living in Lisbon is 40% cheaper than in San Francisco, a strong argument for people willing to relocate. Many opt to spend their retirement days in Portugal, others to retire earlier and invest in the country (see “Our Rich Journey” on YouTube), and many also work remotely in a city that is today seen as an emerging startup hub.
Lisbon hosts some of the best universities including Católica, Nova, and Instituto Superior Técnico which drive many startups to set up operations close to where the talent is. Young professionals also value the international vibe, the proximity to the sea (the nearest beach is within a 15-minute train ride of the city center), and the “Instagramer” profile of the city.
The seven hills of the city have always been there but have lately become more welcoming. The city is now flourishing and has opened up to all those who want to live the best life, in Lisbon.