Small towns in Portugal = quality of life, safety, and lower cost of living. Not to mention the beautiful landscapes, the history, and the possibility to be more in nature. Sounds perfect, right?
In this article, you will find out which are the best cities in the North area of Portugal, plus the cost of living and how to choose the ideal for you. Ready?
Best small cities to live in the North of Portugal
The northern region of Portugal has a climate factor that can get in the way. During spring and summer, there is no reason to complain, but in autumn you can already feel a sudden change in the temperature. And in winter? It can get worse, as the weather is cold and rainy.
Therefore, this is a very important point to consider when choosing between small cities in the region. On the other hand, the northerners are famous for being more open and receptive, and warmer. We really love it!!!
Based on that, these are the cities we’ve chosen:
Vila do Conde
Vila do Conde is part of the District (state) of Porto and has around 80,000 inhabitants according to the 2021 Census. The connection between the two cities – Porto and Vila do Conde, takes about 1h20, so it’s pretty close.
Although it is small, Vila do Conde has an excellent shopping infrastructure, bars, restaurants, and a cultural life beyond agitated. In the annual calendar of events, residents can participate in the International Short Film Festival, National Handicraft Fair, Agricultural Activities Fair, Gastronomic Fairs, and many others.
For those who like to live close to the sea, we just need to say that there are 18 km of beaches to enjoy. Isn’t that FANTASTIC?
Viana do Castelo
Viana do Castelo has already been chosen as the best city to live in the country. According to the latest Census, there are around 85,000 inhabitants who enjoy safety and quality of life on a daily basis. The city is connected to Porto and Braga, for example, by train.
Even though it is one of the small cities to live in in Portugal, Viana do Castelo has an excellent infrastructure and a great historical and natural heritage. As for leisure, in addition to the beaches with great options for water sports, citizens also have cinemas, libraries, museums, and theaters. Viana rocks!
Located halfway between the cities of Porto and Aveiro, Ovar is part of the district of Aveiro. With over 55,000 inhabitants, this small city is about 40km from two important Portuguese cities, Porto and Aveiro, destinations served by the train that stops frequently at the Ovar station. Very strategic!
The city center represents the typical Portuguese scenario very well: some narrow streets, squares, parks, tiled houses, local shops, and even a small shopping center. Crossed by the River Cáster and with a delightful urban park in the heart of the city, Ovar seems to invite the resident for a walk. In fact, just walk a little way to exchange the bucolic atmosphere for the sea breeze. A path that can be done by bicycle, running, walking, or by car to arrive at the unmissable beaches.
Important to mention that Ovar is considered the Living Tile Museum. Imagine being enchanted by the variety of Portuguese tiles, in different colors, sizes, painting techniques, and patterns in the streets. Impossible to be disappointed!
Bragança in Portugal, located in the extreme north of the country, a border town with Spain, the capital of the district of Bragança, has about 34,000 inhabitants. The gates of the well-known Montesinho Natural Park, and it has several other attractions, especially for Winter lovers.
In terms of location, the city of Porto is much closer to Bragança – around 209 km, compared to Lisbon (500 km), and the only negative point about the city is that there are no train stations.
Although there’s this negative point of not having trains, just buses, the city is one of the safest in Portugal, and the quality of life is incomparable, not forgetting the cultural heritage, the amazing landscapes, and the proximity to Spain. We find it amazing!
What is the cost of living in small Portuguese cities?
The cost of living in small Portuguese cities is very different from the big cities. In relation to food and basic bills, there is not much difference. However, when it comes to renting an apartment in Portugal, the price difference can be huge. And this is usually the biggest weight in the decision to choose the city to live in.
You can literally pay for a 2-3 Bedroom apartment in these cities, what you would pay for a room in a big city. It’s incredible!
How to choose a small town to live in?
Choosing between the various small towns to live in in Portugal will depend on what you are looking for. You can already see that they have a lower cost of living and many offer a great quality of life and infrastructure.
What matters is assessing where you are in life and whether the city meets what you are looking for. Evaluate the following points:
- Employment opportunities in your area;
- Cost of living;
- Leisure options;
- Ease of access;
- School and university options for children (if applicable).
And that’s it! Are you ready to pack your bags and live in the countryside? Let us know if you need any help choosing the place 🙂