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Apps for Expats: Top Picks in Portugal

Here's a compilation of the most widely-used apps among immigrants living in Portugal, designed to enrich their everyday experiences. Take a look!

Transitioning to a new country can be a daunting experience. Adapting to unfamiliar customs and traditions is just the start; every aspect of your daily routine undergoes a significant change, from simple tasks like ordering meals to finding a place to live. To simplify this transition, we've compiled a selection of everyday services and websites tailored to assist you in settling into life in Portugal.

Feel free to bookmark this article and pass it along to others embarking on a similar journey!

To acquire a local phone number in Portugal, your first step is obtaining a local SIM card. Here are the three leading mobile network providers:

👉 MEO: The dominant choice in the Portuguese market.

👉 NOS: Known for offering exceptional download/upload speeds.

👉 Vodafone: An international giant renowned for its solid speeds and extensive coverage in Portugal.

Additionally, NOS operates a virtual service aimed at younger demographics called WTF, providing comparable quality at lower prices.

Local operators offer both prepaid (pré-pago) and postpaid (pós-pago) plans. Upon initial arrival, opting for a prepaid SIM card suffices, requiring only your national ID for purchase.

Later on, you have the option to retain your number and transition to a contract or switch to another provider. This process entails providing your ID card, NIF (tax number), proof of address, and bank account details. Some operators offer enticing packages bundling home internet and/or TV services with their contract plans.

💡 Helpful tip: it may be easier to order SIM cards online because salespeople may not speak English at the office.

🏡 Find an apartment 

👉 To kickstart your apartment search in Portugal, consider starting on Airbnb. This platform allows you to secure accommodation even before arriving in the country, ensuring a comfortable stay while you hunt for a permanent residence. Some hosts may offer discounts for extended stays or may even be open to signing a long-term lease.

👉 Idealista stands as one of Portugal's largest property portals, offering an extensive array of listings for both buying and renting apartments across various cities and regions. It's accessible in multiple languages for your convenience.

👉 Imovirtual serves as another prominent property portal in Portugal, boasting a vast database of apartments and houses available for rent or sale throughout the country. It offers an English version, facilitating accessibility for international users.

👉 Casa Sapo provides a comprehensive online platform for real estate listings in Portugal, encompassing apartments, houses, and commercial properties. With its user-friendly interface and detailed search filters, finding a suitable apartment becomes more manageable. It's also available in different languages to accommodate diverse users.

👉 Explore expat communities on Facebook for additional apartment-hunting options. Join groups specific to your desired city or region, where members often share apartment listings or offer helpful recommendations based on their experiences.

💡 Pro tip: Diversify your search across different platforms to maximize your options. Sometimes, the same property may be listed at a lower price on an alternative website.

‍🗺️ Navigate and travel

👉 Moovit (available on iOS / Android) stands out as a widely-used app enabling users to navigate public transportation systems and plan routes in numerous cities worldwide, including Lisbon and Porto. With Moovit, you can efficiently map out your journey, track live transport updates, and receive alerts regarding disruptions or delays.

👉 Citymapper (available on iOS / Android) is another essential tool for public transportation, offering comprehensive information on bus, metro, tram, and train routes. This app provides real-time updates and step-by-step directions for navigating through major cities in Portugal, Europe, and the USA.

👉 Comboios de Portugal (available on iOS / Android) serves as the official app for Portuguese Railways (CP). It allows users to access train schedules, purchase tickets, and receive real-time information about arrivals and departures.

👉 Rede Expressos (available on iOS / Android) operates as a nationwide bus transportation company specializing in long-distance travel. Through this app, travelers can conveniently purchase tickets, store them digitally, and participate in the company's bonus program.

👉 FlixBus offers long-distance bus transportation services across Portugal, with a popular route connecting Lisbon and Porto. While not an app itself, FlixBus provides a convenient and affordable option for travelers seeking intercity bus connections.

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