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Our Move to Lisbon – The Inside Scoop

Surprise – we’re living in Portugal! Read on to find out why we decided to move to Lisbon after three years of digital nomad life.

Move to Lisbon Tile Selfie

“Did you move to Lisbon?!!”

We’ve been getting this question from friends who’ve suddenly noticed that we’ve been living in Lisbon for six months. Our easy answer to this question is YES.

Things, however, get a little more complicated when they ask why we moved to Lisbon. We get it. Many of our friends have never traveled to Portugal and some haven’t had the opportunity to visit Europe yet.

It’s not that we don’t have a reason. Rather, we have several reasons for moving to Portugal’s vibrant capital city. We also have a connection to Lisbon that dates back to our honeymoon over a decade ago.

We’ve now lived in Lisbon for almost three years and were thrilled to live in Portugal during the global pandemic. Thankfully, we lived in an apartment with amazing views, fiber internet and tons of natural light. Now that we’ve moved to an even better apartment with an amazing kitchen, we’re focusing our free time on cooking at home, crafting cocktails and learning Portuguese.

Our History with Lisbon

Tile Montage in Portugal
We took these photos during our honeymoon with the intention of creating a tile montage. It took us over a decade but here it is.

Portugal and its hilly capital were far from the spotlight when we honeymooned on the Iberian peninsula in 2007. Earlier, when we were dating, we often ended our evenings with port wine and… ‘conversation.’ That love for port wine led to an agreement that if a honeymoon ever happened, it would happen in Portugal.

With few blogs espousing Lisbon’s charms back then, we hobbled together an amazing trip based on a lot of research and an equal amount of good luck. As for dining back then, all we had were forum sites like Chowhound and Egullet. We enjoyed some great meals but Portugal, and particularly Lisbon, remained largely unexplored tourist territory.

Port Tasting in Porto
Our love for port wine started in Philadelphia and solidified in Porto during our honeymoon.

We joked about moving to Portugal during our honeymoon. If only we had taken our selves seriously! We could have bought a mansion back in the day – maybe even a sweet estate in Cascais. Had we made that progressive decision in 2007, you probably wouldn’t be reading this website right now because we’d be rich.

It took us over a decade to return to Portugal and another six months to commit to the big move, but now, we’re not only living in Lisbon like locals – we are locals. We have an apartment lease, utility bills and residency cards to prove it!

Why We Moved to Lisbon

Lisbon Cable Car
Lisbon combines urban sophistication and old-world charm.

Getting to this place (literally and figuratively) wasn’t simple. After leaving our comfortable Philadelphia lives to answer the call to travel, we gallivanted around much of the earth in three wonderful yet exhausting years that brought us to both coasts of the USA and to distant spots like South Africa, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

Though we have no regrets about the amazing experiences and life-long friendships we accumulated during 36 months of non-stop travel, we were tired of being tired. It was time to make a change.

Stansted Airport Waiting Area
Have you ever traveled from London’s Stansted Airport at 6 am? Trust us, it’s the opposite of glamorous.

Those who’ve been on tour for an extended period of time can relate. Constant touring means new beds multiple times a month. It also means constantly packing your things before moving to a destination by means of an exhausting plane, train, bus or car trip.

This type of travel makes you a target for theft. In fact, all of our camera gear was robbed in Cape Town and Daryl’s smartphone was pickpocketed on an Athens metro. When you’re in non-stop travel mode, important needs like health and security become secondary considerations to just getting from here to there.

Mindi with Broken Luggage
Mindi is happy after her Briggs & Riley suitcase got repaired in London. Wear & Tear is an issue for full-time travelers.

The digital nomad lifestyle can be challenging for those in their 20’s. It’s even more so for Gen-Xers like us.

And, while being on the road taught us valuable lessons about overabundant materialism, it’s still nice to have some stuff. Nothing gives us more joy these days than little things like a recent coffee maker purchase and using our Japanese kitchen knives in our kitchen.

Being in a fixed place also allows us to pursue interests beyond the website. Daryl gave up his life as a musician for the three years we traveled. He plans to rekindle that passion in Lisbon.

Daryl on Keyboard
Daryl is ready to tickle the keys once again. This photo was taken during a performance at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

Once travel started to lose its charm, we began resenting trips to amazing destinations. While we never lost our wanderlust, the constant work of travel caused our sense of wonderment for new cultures and experiences to dim slightly.

We knew that it was time for us to settle down, but where???

For various reasons, mostly financial and political, we didn’t want to return to the states. Let’s face it – America is expensive. Don’t get us started on the current state of the U.S. government. Yes, we’ve consistently voted on an absentee basis since we’ve been on the road. Despite our expat status, we consider ourselves proud Americans and will never relinquish our passports.

But why Portugal in general and Lisbon in particular? After you read about our reasons, the answer becomes clear.


Lisbon Skyline
The City of Seven Hills has amazing views at every twist and turn.

Lisbon’s charms are now far from secret. In fact, it’s difficult to find a travel blog that doesn’t have an ‘ultimate’ Lisbon guide.

After living in Lisbon for six months and counting, we appreciate the city beyond its touristic charms. For starters, the weather is GORGEOUS here. Most apartments don’t have heaters or air conditioners but that’s okay since the climate is super mild for most of the year.

Even after the hottest days, cool breezes grace the city at dusk. We didn’t miss having air conditioning in our original first-floor apartment though we’re thrilled to have it now. Sometimes you don’t miss what you don’t have and appreciate it even more when you do. AC is apparently one of those things.

View of Lisbon from Parque Eduardo VIII
Did we mention that Lisbon has amazing views? You can find this one at Parque Eduardo VIII.

The cost of living in Portugal makes Lisbon attractive for ex-pats. While the market for rental apartments has gone up, it’s still possible to eat an affordable dinner for four for under €50. (Yes, that includes wine.) Ubers are cheap and widely available here, and the public transportation is both ubiquitous and cost-effective.

Lisbon welcomes people from all over the world to visit for a few days, making it relatively easy for them and us to stay longer. In the relatively short time that we’ve been living in Lisbon, we’ve made friends from as far away as Australia and as close as around the corner.

Our only challenge with meeting new people is the seemingly non-stop flow of friends who pass through Lisbon during their travels. We’re not complaining but it’s a challenge nonetheless.


Portugal Map
Lisbon’s location on Europe’s west coast is ideal for our travel lifestyle.

We’ve lived for substantial periods of time in Southeast Asia and South Africa and, while those locations are ridiculously affordable for Americans, they’re also a good distance from the United States. Traveling home required long haul flights, and the jet lag from countries like Vietnam and Japan proved unbearable.

We can fly direct from Lisbon to New York in under 8 hours and back in under 7 hours. Lisbon’s airport, while crowded, is centrally located (just 15 minutes from our current apartment) and offers flights all over Europe and the world. Since Portugal is especially close to Spain, it’s entirely possible for us to take weekend trips to Spanish cities like Barcelona, San Sebastian, Valencia and Madrid.

Portuguese Cuisine

Cod is an important protein in Portuguese cuisine. Accordingly, we enjoy countless versions of Bacalhau at Lisbon restaurants.

Loyal readers already know that food is an important part of our lifestyle. Living in a city without an active culinary culture is simply out of the question for us. After dining around the world, we have high standards when it comes to what we eat.

The Lisbon dining scene passes our culinary test with flying colors. The city is filled with great food from the trendy Time Out Market to restaurants, pizzerias and brunch spots at all price points.

For those unfamiliar, Portuguese cuisine is both diverse and flavorful. Not only did Portuguese navigators impact food in countries they colonized in South America, Asia and Africa, but they also brought back spices and ingredients from these faraway places.

Discover the American foods we miss as expats living in Portugal.

Pasteis de Natas in Lisbon
Portuguese egg tarts known as Pasteis de Natas are reason enough to move to Lisbon.

All these years later, we still adore the food in Lisbon and consider it to be one of the best food cities in Portugal. Some days we choose to eat traditional Portuguese food classics like Arroz de Pato, Chouriço, Porco Preto or Bacalhau, while other days we opt for global food like Hot Pot, Ramen or Gelato.

Our mornings are sweeter when we visit Lisbon bakeries that sell Pasteis de Natas and other Portuguese pastries all over the city. Oh, how we love Portuguese egg tarts!

We never go thirsty with the ready supply of third wave coffee at specialty coffee houses around the city. Then there’s inexpensive Portuguese wine available at restaurants, supermarkets and wine shops.

At home, we concoct Porto Tonico cocktails with white port and tonic and G&Ts with Portuguese gin. Let’s just say that we’re rarely thirsty and leave it there.

Discover our 33 favorite things to eat and drink in Portugal.

Our Business

Mindi at Swissotel Grand Shanghai
Mindi takes her publishing responsibilities seriously even when staying in luxury hotels like this one in Shanghai.

Although it sounds mundane, securing a favorable work environment was an integral factor in our decision to move to Lisbon. Since this website is both our passion and livelihood, we need to live in a city that’s conducive to our operations.

Lisbon is an ideal business location in many ways. Logistically, it’s position on Europe’s west coast provides us with easy access to both Europe and North America. We live relatively close to the city’s international airport and can easily fly to many destinations on both first-line and discount air carriers. The longer we live here, the more we appreciate TAP and its Star Alliance partners!

Internet is critical for us since we run an online business. The internet in Lisbon is as fast as cities like Bucharest and Tallinn, We installed 1 Gbps fiber internet in our apartment and can easily access decent internet speed at specialty coffee shops around town.

Local Experts

Cascais Selfie
Portugal is already providing us with a myriad of business opportunities. This photo is from a video shoot in Cascais that we produced for the Avis.

Living in a set location has created an extra benefit that we didn’t originally contemplate. Companies now recognize us as local Lisbon experts, a situation which is has opened doors and created opportunities.

What’s Next?

Holland America Selfie in Norway
Our recent partnership with Holland America took us on a luxury cruise from Amsterdam to Norway. As great as the cruise was, it was equally great to return to our own home in Lisbon.

Now that we have a home base, we’re rediscovering our love for traveling with carry-on luggage.

We have loads of upcoming trips on the docket which means that we’ll be creating more food guides and videos. We also have several exciting ideas that we can better implement now that we’re in one place.

Watch this space to see where we go next. We can’t wait to take you along with us on our journey!

About the Authors

About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

Learn European Portuguese

Are you thinking about visiting or moving to Portugal?

We strongly suggest that you start learning European Portuguese now. Not only is it a challenging language to learn, but most apps teach Brazilian Portuguese.

We were thrilled to discover Practice Portuguese, an inexpensive system that makes learning European Portuguese fun.


We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Gordon Silverman

Tuesday 21st of September 2021

My wife and I have only been to Portugal and Lisbon once in our travels. When we returned from our great experience my primary care physician administered a periodic stress test to determine the condition of my heart. Not only did I pass with flying colors but my heart works better after a few days of walking through the hilly streets. So add good for health to Lisbon's other advantages. When we read stories like yours we are VERY tempted to move.

John Howland and Linda Geldner

Sunday 12th of September 2021

Your cousin Randi told me about your move a couple of years ago. Love the similarity. We live in Philly and ultimately are searching to join the expat community. Portugal has been on the radar screen for several years. Lots of research! Love your site and story. Any way, our first delayed exploration is in March. Thanks for the inspiration

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Monday 20th of September 2021

Good luck with your planning! Feel free to email us with any questions and let us know when you come to Lisbon during your exploration trip.

Ace Holder

Thursday 19th of August 2021

thinking about coming to see you guys. HS

Hernan Castillo

Sunday 1st of August 2021

This post is nearly two years old when I read it, you guys did not mention something that I believe is very important to know if someone is planning a short visit or moving to any country. What about security, crime rates, health care, education for folks with school age children? That would be of great help to know before hand. Great video. Good luck.

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Sunday 8th of August 2021

Thanks Herman. We think that it's safer than the USA. We don't know about the education system but since the country is in the EU we suspect that it's of good quality. The health care here is excellent.

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Saturday 7th of August 2021

While these weren't the primary reasons that we moved to Portugal, we agree that they're all important things to consider when moving to a new country. We suggest you check out the American and Friends Pt group on Facebook when and if you're serious about moving to Portugal. The group has a wealth of information in its files. Good luck to you too!


Tuesday 27th of July 2021

Thank you so much for sharing a little bit about why you decided to move to Portugal. Your blog is amazing! Please keep it up.