Living in 5 different cities over the last 10 years I've always been fascinated by the discussions surrounding neighbourhoods and how to choose the best one for you.
What makes a neighbourhood a good place to live?
Which are the trendy ones and which are up-and-coming?
It’s been quite a while since I started the Facebook group Lisbon Digital Nomads, but long story short, it’s become an active online community and something of a first-stop for expats and digital nomads searching for information when moving to the city.
Choosing the right neighbourhood has always been a common hot topic, so I decided to run a survey and try to figure out which neighbourhoods are the most popular.
My goal was to create the best compilation on the internet about Lisbon's neighbourhoods to help anyone who’s looking to:
I circulated the survey in the Lisbon Digital Nomad group and also shared it on two other expat groups. More than 200 people filled out the form. Thank you all! 🙏
Below are the results from the survey:
The survey contained 15 of 26 total neighbourhoods in Lisbon.
While I received a few comments (usually from locals) for not including some of the more remote neighbourhoods, after spending the last few years talking to literally hundreds of expats and digital nomads, I felt I had quite a clear idea of what neighbourhoods needed to be included.
As I wanted to keep the survey as short as possible (I'm sure you agree, long surveys can be a real headache) I made an executive decision based of prior conversations to condense my survey options to include only the most commonly lived-in neighbourhoods.
Each survey question included a screenshot of the map as this survey targeted locals who are not always familiar with the names. And we made sure to note that each neighbourhood often goes by plenty of “sub-neighbourhood” names (Lapa, Graça, Intendente, etc.) which many people use and can make things tricky.
The calculation of the final ranking was inspired by the Janeček voting method. The main idea behind this method is that you can give a negative vote and this way the winning options are better compromised.
With a few minor tweaks to this method, I was able to to use this process to calculate the rating for each neighbourhood:
Important note: None of the survey responders knew how the ratings are going to be calculated.
Here is the definitive list of the most fantastic neighbourhoods in Lisbon according to the survey results:
How accurate is this ranking?
I wanted to conduct this survey in a city that I know relatively well so that I could compare the results with my personal opinion and easily spot if anything went wrong with the results.
What was very obvious, especially in the Facebook comments, was that the criteria for what makes a fantastic neighbourhood is very different when you compare nomads/expats and locals. Most nomads, for instance, don't have cars and kids, and they work from home or at a local coworking space.
Their lifestyle significantly influences their preferences. While many locals think that Benfica or Parque das Nações (both not included in the survey) are fantastic places to live, nomads wouldn't even consider them.
Personally, I was surprised at how bad the rankings were for Penha de França, Ajuda, Beato, and Marvila.
While I wouldn’t consider any of these neighbourhoods fantastic places to live, there is a lot of buzz about them as new, trendy and up-and-coming areas.
The city center is not so popular.
The most central areas like Santa Maria Maior and Misericórdia got fewer points than I expected. Tourist density is probably something that impacts people’s preferences in locations like this.
There are huge differences in one single neighbourhood.
Belém is a great example - it's one of the most touristy areas of Lisbon (negative votes) but on the other hand, a large part of it is calm and a great place to live ("Yes" votes).
An authentic review of each neighbourhood
There was another optional survey where I collected reviews of specific neighbourhoods that people love (you can still add your review if you haven’t yet!). There is an option to add a link to your website or social media profile.
I started to gather more data about Lisbon's neighbourhoods what resulted in this website called Hoodpicker.
You can compare neighbourhoods by your personal preferences, real estate prices, or by finding similar neighbourhoods in other cities.
You can also explore towns near Lisbon that are popular among expats and digital nomads.
I've been sharing progress with this fun project in my newsletter. You can subscribe below.
I have created a marketplace for business group travel. It's called Surf Office.
We help companies to organize offsites, we help hotels to bring group bookings. Almost 1000 hoteliers are subscribed to our Hotel Nuggets newsletter.
Before that, I created the first coworking and coliving space for digital nomads. It went well until it didn't.
Side projects 🛠️
Around 2019 I started to play with the idea of building a coworking cabin. It was my inspiration for Epic Monday - a site full of resources for people who are planning to start a cabin business.
Once I'm passionate about something, I deep dive into the topic, run tons of experiments, and sometimes come up with monetization ideas.
Hoodpicker started as a simple survey, then I created a comparison of neighborhoods in Lisbon, and now it's a set of tools for people who want to invest in real estate in Portugal.
Sharing ideas 💡
I have a small team researching ideas that combine hospitality, real estate, and tech. Some of these ideas I share on this blog.
But I share all of them in my personal newsletter. You can subscribe here:
Call for startups 🚀
Are you building something in niche hospitality? I would love to be involved.
I'm mainly interested in a) Designing hotels for offsites, b) Glampings for remote work, c) Apartments for nomadic families, d) Coworking villages, and e) Modern mountain lodges.
I can help you with funding and distribution. Happy to discuss your project over Linkedin or Twitter chat.
PS: If you live in Amsterdam, we can meet at the next hospitality coworking day.
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