If you’ve read any travel news in the past year or two, it’s likely been hard to miss the buzz surrounding Portugal, the latest go-to destination for digital nomads seeking a unique and affordable place to live and work remotely.
While Lisbon has been a popular choice for many, the influx of digital nomads and foreigners hoping to enjoy a slice of Iberian paradise has led to an unsustainable and unfortunate uptick in rental prices.
Lisbon, a once affordable hidden gem on the European tourist circuit, is now the most expensive European city to rent an apartment in (yes — it’s now even more expensive than Paris and Amsterdam).
In a matter of a year or two, it’s become “the world’s third-least viable city to live in based on local wages and rents,” according to Jacobin.
This has pushed most locals out of the rental market, forcing them to relocate across the river to cities like Almada, Costa da Caparica, and Setúbal.
However, remote workers interested in a slice of surf paradise are now turning their attention to Ericeira, a charming surf town on the Portuguese coast.
Could this be the beginning of the boom for this coastal city? Let’s take a look at the interest in Ericeira, whether or not it’s worth the hype, and how you can relocate to Portugal without becoming a part of the problem.
Ericeira: Portugal’s Sleepy Surf Town
Unlike the bustling streets of Lisbon or Porto, Ericeira offers a more laid-back environment for digital nomads.
The city, located just 40 km northwest of Lisbon, is a Portuguese fishing village offering picturesque beachscapes alongside whitewashed buildings and cobblestone streets.
It gives more Greek island vibes than it does big city vibes (like Lisbon), and for many, that’s part of its unique charm and allure.
With fewer crowds (at least for now), Ericeira provides the perfect setting for focus and productivity while still providing ample opportunities for networking and socializing.
But what makes the city that different from other digital nomad hotspots across Portugal and Europe?
Ericeira is well known for its world-class surfing conditions (it hosted the World Surf League’s 2019 EDP Billabong Pro competition and has hosted several others).
This means digital nomads interested in catching wives while working remotely will feel right at home in Ericeira, as the area is known for its consistent swells and variety of surf breaks.
There are over 65 surf spots in the area, but if you’re interested in checking out a few of the most popular, visit Praia de São Julião, Praia da Foz do Lizandro, or Praia do Sul.
Digital Nomad Community
Despite being a smaller city, Ericeira is home to a thriving digital nomad community.
In fact, it often seems that there are more (and better) coworking options in Ericeira than in Lisbon, with many offering typical surf town perks like surfing classes, yoga, and healthy food options.
Additionally, you’ll find lots of regular meetups in Ericeira, making it easy to connect with other remote workers and even make professional connections.
As mentioned, Ericeira is only about 45 minutes away from Lisbon.
It’s also super close to enchanting day trip destinations and weekend getaway spots like Sintra, Mafra, Peniche, and the surf capital of Portugal, Nazaré.
With so many things to see and do in and around the sleepy surf city, many of which include natural parks, beautiful beaches, and historic towns, it makes sense that Ericeira would be such an up-and-coming hotspot for digital nomads looking to strike the perfect work-life balance.
With an abundance of natural surroundings, Ericeira provides ample opportunities to get some fresh air after long hours spent in front of a screen, promoting overall well-being, both mentally and physically.
The Cost Of Living In Ericeira
Ericeira is currently ranked No. 40 on Nomadlist, with high scores in quality of life, internet speed, fun, safety, and walkability.
As a digital nomad, you can expect to pay just over $3,400 a month to live in Ericeira, according to estimates on Nomadlist. That’s about $300 less than the current listed average for Lisbon.
A simple search on Idealista reveals the average price for a two-bedroom apartment to be about €1,500 per month.
While more than the cost of living as a digital nomad in cities like Bangkok, Zagreb, Chiang Mai, or Dubrovnik, it’s an affordable alternative to places like Lisbon, Barcelona, or Rome.
Factor in the sweet surf spots, laid-back coastal town vibes, friendly locals, great climate, and several coworking spaces, and it’s all well worth the price to enjoy Europe’s next digital nomad hotspot before it gets too popular.
How To Be A Responsible Digital Nomad
You only have to take a look at a few photos of Ericeira to understand its allure.
However, how can you enjoy life there as a digital nomad without contributing to it becoming the next Lisbon or Canggu?
The biggest issue now surrounding Portuguese digital nomad hotspots is increasing rental prices.
If you’re planning on renting an apartment in Ericeira, don’t participate in bidding wars with other foreigners just to snag a sweet space. This drives rental prices up and pushes locals out.
Speaking of locals — always respect local customs! Learn a bit of Portuguese, shop and eat locally, and go out of your way to integrate yourself into local life.
Learning about Portuguese history, creating meaningful connections, and initiating projects that can uplift local communities can all make a living in Ericeira as a digital nomad all the more enriching.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com