Lisbon City Guide: Economic Performance, Brand Strength, Reputation

Lisbon, located on the Iberian Peninsula and Portugal’s largest city, is the westernmost capital of mainland Europe. The popular destination is located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, from which many Portuguese explorers left in the previous centuries. Europe’s longest bridge, named after one of these Portuguese explorers, is the Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon.

Apart from its location and appeal as city destination – what are Lisbon’s strengths and weaknesses? How does this city do in terms of economic performance, sustainability and reputation?

In our Lisbon city guide:

  • The city’s economic performance
  • Lisbon – how sustainable?
  • How attractive for digital nomads?

Lisbon’s economic performance

Lisbon is ranked the 60th city in the world in terms of being a global financial centre. The Global Financial Centres Index ranks a hundred cities in order to map the financial centres of the world. Whereas a 60th position might not be particularly high, Lisbon’s position has increased substantially over the years.

The Sustainable Cities Index 2018, in its sub-section on economic health, ranks Lisbon only 73rd out of 100 cities. It’s strength is considered to be in the ease of doing business, whereas Lisbon has much room for improvement in areas such as university technology and research.

The Economist’s Global Liveability Index of 2010 ranked Lisbon the 57th most economically liveable city in the world, in comparison to 139 other cities.


How’s life in Lisbon?

Life is pretty good in Lisbon, judging by the city’s performance in the various rankings and studies.

According to the Mercer Quality of Living Index, Lisbon is marked 37th out of 231 cities. This index provides data on the quality of life for employees that are sent abroad to work.

The people of Lisbon are considered very healthy, ranking 18th (out of 86 cities) in the Healthiest City Index by Spotahome. This is mostly due to the city’s annual sunshine hours and electric car charging points.

However, those are the only two categories in which the city is ranked in the top 20. That Lisbon only ranks 54th and 34th for green space and for air and water quality respectively, bears witness to the fact that Lisbon is only ranked 18th (out of 30 cities) in the European Green Cities Index.

Like the Mercer Quality of Living Index, the Digital Life Abroad puts Portugal in an 18th position out of 68 countries to best live in, especially regarding digital life. Portugal is praised for the ease of getting a local phone number and the great access to online services and high-speed Internet.

The World’s Best Cities ranking considers Lisbon a comparatively good place to live in – putting it at 57th position, out of 100 cities.


How attractive for digital nomads?

The Digital Nomad Index by Spotahome ranks Lisbon the 5th best city to find a café with free WiFi.

Similarly, the Nomad List deems Lisbon a great city to work from. The weather is good, it is considered friendly towards the LGBT community and –again– the quality of life is considered good.

Interestingly, whereas Portugal ranks only 35th in the Digital Life Abroad report in relation to cashless payments, the Nomad List states that almost everywhere in Lisbon it is possible to pay by card – indicating a stark difference between the capital city and the rest of Portugal.

Prepared by Sam Jongeneelen. Last updated July 2019.


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