You’re already excited to move to Lisbon - great quality of life, beautiful weather and so many places to explore.
Perhaps you’re moving to Lisbon with your partner or you already have some friends in the city. Lucky you!
Regardless of your situation, you’re probably looking to make some new friends and maybe even expand your professional network.
When I moved to Lisbon, I opened a co-living space and I can tell you that it’s definitely a great hack to meet tons of new people. You’re approached often by curious locals and expats who are interested in visiting your space or have some ideas for partnerships, events, etc. Plus many guests who use a co-living space as a landing pad in a new city end up moving there for longer.
But you don't need to start a co-living space to meet new people in Lisbon 😄
Here are some tips that I observed over the years. Most of them can easily work in other cities too.
You should join this curated Facebook group before moving to Lisbon. Some people even start to make waves and build their network weeks before coming to the city.
Try to be authentic and mention things that are unique about you. The group is very active and has a lot of people so you can try to meet people in your niche hobby or professional interest.
Here are some good examples from Cody, Dominik, Jake, Nina, Alexa, and Maddy.
A weekly nomad meetup has been organized by an amazing group of volunteers every single week for years now in Lisbon. Sometimes there are as many as 30 people and in the peak months very often more than 100.
This meetup is probably the best way to connect with many people right after you land in the city.
When you arrive, try to locate the organizers and introduce yourself. They’ll be happy to connect you with interesting people you might have something in common with (like you both came to Lisbon from Bali recently).
This meetup is overwhelming for introverts like me because of how many people there are but as I said, it's a good start. You can exchange contact information with some people and continue your discussions privately in the next days over a coffee.
Check out the latest Lisbon events or look in the comments of Rosanna's regular weekly post.
If you are into startups and tech, have a look at events organized by Startup Portugal, Fabrica de Startups, and Beta-i.
Hosting an event about something you are passionate about is in my opinion the best way to make new friends. Everyone who attends will recognize you as the organizer and this tends to make people feel more comfortable approaching you.
It doesn't need to be anything prepared into detail - here is a perfect example of how Stephanie organized a spontaneous meetup of photographers.
Ann posted an idea to organize a board game session and she got an amazing response.
The key is to be authentic - don't bullshit, don't try to sell.
A fantastic way of doing something good while meeting new people is to join volunteer activities. They are plenty of non-profit organizations in Lisbon or around Lisbon you can join.
Some examples include:
Many co-working spaces have a free day pass option that allows you to try their space. However, don’t misuse it. Running a co-working space is a hard business, so avoid leveraging the free trial if you don't plan to pay for a co-working membership down the road.
Try a few spaces and then buy a pass (or passes) in the co-working spaces where you liked the community most.
Co-working spaces recommended in this group because of their community include: Resvés, Impact Hub, Beta-i and IDEA.
Being an organizer of a co-working day is a great opportunity to connect with the local community. I found it to be a fantastic “hack” when you move to a new city and want to quickly create connections with like-minded people.
Here is a detailed guide on how to organize a co-working day.
There are also many co-working days organized by the community already, so if you don’t feel like hosting one yourself you can always just join in.
There are many sports groups in Lisbon - most often you can find them on Meetup.com or Facebook.
As someone who likes surfing, I met some amazing people through Lisbon Surf Club. The Facebook group The Lisbon Surfers organizes occasional meetups in the city as well.
There are few cafés popular among nomads and expats in Lisbon (e.g. Hello Kristof, Comoba, Copengahen). It's quite easy to approach people if you are a little brave.
Little hack: stickers on the laptop can be a good trigger for conversation.
By learning the Portuguese language you can often meet people who recently moved to the city. You can use the search box in this Facebook group to find a place to learn - many people have already shared recommendations for courses or private lessons in small groups.