An Exciting Expat Life in Portugal

Table of Contents

Expat in Estoril

Estoril rests along the coast, nestled within Cascais and surrounded by numerous captivating attractions. I resided near the renowned Casino and Hotel Palacio, notable for its appearance in the James Bond film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. While Estoril exudes a residential charm, those seeking a more bustling atmosphere can easily attain a downtown vibe with a mere twenty-minute walk to Cascais or a ten-minute car ride.

walking Estoril

One of my cherished pastimes was going on a three-hour walk along the “paredão” and beaches from Estoril to Praia do Guincho, where I would relish guilt-free lunches and then walk back home.

My time in Estoril was like stepping into a dream, especially considering it coincided with a challenging phase of the Portuguese Covid lockdowns. During this period, I organized a free online photo workshop for some fellow IWP members, creating a space for creativity and connection. As the lockdown lifted, we gathered a few times for photo walks in the park.

Despite the snug size of my apartment, I lucked out with not one but two charming terraces—one in the back and another in the front of the apartment. I transformed these spaces into lush havens filled with vibrant plants.

hands holding a ceramic vase with green flowers, new expat hobby. white vase with green round flowers.

Flowers from the Cascais market.

I bought tons of flowers from the Cascais market and spent hours creating flower arrangements. The result?

watercolor painting, blue background and red flowers in a blue vase

Flowers, watercolor by Marguerite

My apartment became a cheerful haven, brimming with the lively energy of plants and the colorful blooms that adorned every corner. Then I also painted watercolor flowers, so there were flowers everywhere!

Hiking in Portugal

woman holding phone wearing black t shirt and black pants, hiking

Hiking in Portugal

The highlight of my Estoril experience, however, was undoubtedly hiking. I had the pleasure of meeting Sandra Haan, the guide from Sintra Hikes, who, accompanied by her fabulous long-haired chihuahua, Amy, led me on hikes across the scenic hills of Sintra.

Admittedly, my hikes often resembled leisurely walks due to frequent pauses for photography. I joined an expat group, and my attendance at events was limited, yet I did manage to connect with some intriguing individuals. There are many opportunities and events that will help you connect with people.

Red Lisbon tram, yellow houses in the background

Red Lisbon tram.

Lisbon called!

During my time in Estoril, I discovered a magnetic pull toward Lisbon. Fueled by a newfound desire to embrace my artistic side, I enthusiastically enrolled in an art school. The Lisbon-bound train became my regular commute, and soon enough, I decided to relocate to the city

I love living in Lisbon and have my fingers crossed for a long-lasting love affair with this vibrant place. Given my penchant for change, we’ll see how enduring this chapter is!

Single and Adventurous Woman over 50 in Lisbon

Being a single expat woman over 50 in Lisbon is like unlocking a chapter of life filled with vibrant highlights. With its warm embrace and rich cultural tapestry, the city becomes a playground for self-discovery. From the historic charm of Alfama to the trendy vibes of Chiado, every corner has a story to tell.

Can you tell I love living in Lisbon?

colorful houses and buildings on a Lisbon hill

Lisbon

What is so good about Lisbon?

Lisbon, my little slice of charming chaos! This city’s so petite that you can practically hop, skip, and jump your way through it. Public transport? A breeze! It’s safe, but let’s play hide and seek with your wallet – better safe than sorry!

Night strolls? Absolutely! Just channel your inner ninja and keep gadgets low-key. I’m the star of my solo movie nights, strutting home under Lisbon’s twinkling streetlights.

Dining solo? Totally chic! Forget dark corners; they treat you like royalty. No awkward toilet-side seating. Lisbon, where being alone is the new black – strut your stuff and savor the solo soiree!

Ladies (and gents, if there are any reading this), embrace your inner opera diva at Gulbenkian! Streamed straight from the Met, it’s your ticket to operatic bliss. Live shows? Oh, they sprinkle those in, too – a symphony for your soul!

Now, for the music mavens, Lisbon’s got your back! Live tunes for all tastes, keeping you grooving through the ages. And theater buffs, Teatro Trindade in Chiado awaits – Portuguese or not, it’s a linguistic adventure! Time to master those sultry sounds!

Fear not, solo warriors! Classes, nooks to explore, and squads to join – Lisbon’s your playground. Who said learning and leisure can’t be a party? Cheers to culture and camaraderie!

Expat Life in Lisbon

The art school made me feel grounded and helped me feel at home in Lisbon quickly. I had a place to develop my creativity a few times a week and met some interesting people. It was fun to meet artists from different parts of the world and local ones.

I absolutely love my new home! It’s in a more relaxed area of Lisbon, the best part? No daunting uphill battles or treacherous descents when I step out of my building—pure luxury! Oh, and to add to the perks, there’s a bustling market, a park, restaurants, multiple supermarkets just around the corner, and many metro stops with

Weekly city walks

I’m totally hooked on walking through the city, and lately, I’ve added a dash of purpose to my walks. Now, I’m on a mission to uncover the hidden gems—quirky boutiques, cozy coffee nooks, artsy ateliers, you name it! Lisbon is like a treasure chest that reveals its secrets over time, and trust me, the best way to unlock its charm is by exploring it on foot.

The Thriving Expat Communities in Lisbon

Lisbon is like a melting pot of expat awesomeness! Seriously, there are communities and groups from every nook and cranny of the globe. The Meetup site is your secret gateway to connect with expat groups. InterNations throw events, dinners, and happy hours all year round. I’m part of the IWP (International Women of Portugal), and they meet for walks and coffee chats. They also have a group that meets up to practice speaking Portuguese

The Art Scene in Lisbon

Calling all art enthusiasts and sketching aficionados, Lisbon’s got your back! The Gulbenkian Museum is your one-stop-shop for everything artsy – we’re talking lectures, drawing sessions, artist talks, opera, and classical music events. I subscribed to the Met Opera streaming sessions and some classic music events.

Drawing and more

 If figure drawing is your jam, check out the Lisbon Drawing Club, or hit up other cool sessions happening all over the city. Plus, if you’ve ever dreamed of mastering the pottery wheel, plenty of ceramic studios are ready to make that dream a reality.

Museums and Galleries in Lisbon

All the museums and some galleries offer classes and artist’s talks. Mark your calendars for the Fundacao Oriente (Oriental Museum)! It’s the go-to spot for mind-blowing exhibits, and guess what? They’ve got courses that’ll rock your world. Mindfulness classes that zen you out, occasional tea courses for a touch of elegance, some epic writing sessions, and even Feng Shui vibes.

Now, let me spill the beans: tracking down gallery openings and locations is a bit like hunting for hidden gems. Challenge accepted, right? It’s a quest, my friend, but stay persistent, and you’ll unlock the art kingdom.

Oh, and here’s a gem of wisdom my pal dropped: there’s an app in town. It’s a tad confusing initially, but it’s leveling up. What’s the secret sauce? The Portugal Contemporary Art Guide app. It’s your compass to the art world—use it wisely!

part of a female face near a Japanese Mask

Marguerite at the Museu do Oriente, Lisbon

Cinema in Lisbon

For the cinema enthusiasts: I have a treat for you! The Cinemateca Portuguesa. This is where you go to see classic films from all over the world! And you must go upstairs to the cafe for a drink or a cup of tea. It’s a gorgeous building.

There are other fabulous cinema houses throughout the city: Cinema Sao Jorge near Av. Liverdade, Cinema Ideal in the Chiado, and Cinema Nimas in the Saldanha area.

Where to eat in Lisbon

Explore the myriad tascas, those charming mom-and-pop joints scattered across the city. Venture into the residential neighborhoods for an authentic taste of Portuguese cuisine and family vibes. In Lisbon, we don’t mess around when it comes to tascas – it’s like a serious affair! People are fiercely loyal to their local tascas, especially for family shindigs, but they’re not afraid to spice things up and explore new spots. As for me, I’ve got my go-to tascas – Taberna do Quelho, A Ladeira, and a couple more gems that I’ll spill the beans on in another article. Stay tuned – it’s dropping soon!

And let’s talk gourmet – Lisbon boasts incredible Michelin chefs, suggestions straight from the Michelin guide, and a lineup of excellent chefs dishing out mouthwatering delights.

Large shrimps in dish on a table

Shrimps from the fabulous Michelin Guide restaurant: Essencial in Lisbon

Where to shop in Lisbon

There are fantastic boutiques catering to the wonderful young crowd and incredible little shops tailored for women over 50—and yes, many overlap! When it comes to fashion for women over 50, it’s all about embracing a timeless, confident style that kicks dowdiness to the curb, and guess what?

Soul Mood is totally in sync with that vibe! They’ve got the fashion game on point for everyone. They have the perfect blend of discreet skirts and tops for a chic vibe and show-stopping dresses for the more outgoing fashionista.

Oh, and let’s talk accessories – they’re not just accessories; they’re little pieces of art that can brighten up any top! Soul Mood is conveniently located near the Carmo Convent, so it’s the perfect post-cultural-visit shopping stop!

Get ready to immerse yourself in the captivating realm of Lost in India—a place where getting lost is the ultimate adventure! Another standout on my favorites list is Traces of Me. Their clothing exudes a more relaxed, perhaps slightly bohemian vibe, but it’s impeccably designed, showcasing a unique and distinctive style.

Looking for unique jewelry? Made by artists? The kind you only see in galleries, museums, and unique stores? Then you will love the Galeria Reverso.

These stores are the real rockstars in my shopping spree! But hold on tight because a whole shopping saga is coming your way in a future article. Get ready for the ultimate retail adventure!

My Expat Life in Lisbon

Loving Lisbon’s vibe! Café Magnolia at Praça das Flores is my brunch haven, and Padaria Portuguesa is my coffee nook for blog musings. Craving a Portuguese croissant?  Choupana Café has got the magic, and Millstone  Bakery’s sourdough is my daily bread.

Need a cocoa fix? Bettina Corallo in Principe Real serves the best hot chocolate – sip and savor, darling!

Now, fitness fiesta at Exercise Studio! Private weekly sessions keep this gal moving. Tried gyms, but let’s be real – too many excuses. Having a workout buddy-That’s my secret weapon.

Stay tuned for more Lisbon gems on the blog, and let the Lisbon adventures and endorphin rushes continue!

January, 2024

More posts by Marguerite

Lisbon’s Street Art

Culinary Adventure for Women Over 50

Marguerite Beaty, Blogger, Photographer & Artist

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