The Portuguese Republic, simply known as Portugal, is a country located in the southwestern part of Europe. Its capital city is Lisbon. Moreover, it currently has a population of around 10,140,570. In line with this, the nation’s official language is Portuguese. As for religion, the majority of the residents are Roman Catholics.

On another note, the land is well-known for its impressive architecture and awe-inspiring beaches. A few of the most-visited tourist destinations in the country include Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Convento do Cristo, Bom Jesus do Monte, Serra do Gerês, and The Praia de Tavira beach. When it comes to food, Portugal is famous for its scrumptious seafood and other dishes like pastel de nata, Caldo Verde, leitão, alheira, and Piri-Piri chicken.

Compared to its neighboring countries, Portugal has a cheaper cost of living. Furthermore, its higher education institutions offer lower costs for tuition, which is why a lot of tertiary students from far and wide choose to pursue their education in the country. It is said that approximately 50,000 international students fly to the Portuguese Republic every year. In this article, we talk about some of the best cities in Portugal to study in for international students.

Top Cities to Study in Portugal for International Students

1. Lisbon

Aside from being the capital of Portugal, Lisbon is also the country’s biggest city. In addition to this, there are 2,986,000 individuals residing in the area as of 2022. It is popular for being a culturally and historically rich place. With that, some of the top tourist attractions in the city are Castelo de São Jorge, Oceanário de Lisboa, Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Torre de Belém, and Elevador de Santa Justa.

On the topic of colleges and universities, there are lots to choose from in Lisbon but a few of the most notable ones include the University of Lisbon, NOVA University Lisbon, Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Technical University of Lisbon, and Lusíada University. This is what makes Lisbon one of the best cities to study in Portugal.

For prospective students who aspire to get into a university that is prestigious both in Portugal and in Europe, the clear choice is the University of Lisbon (ULisboa). Besides being famed for the high-quality education they provide to all students, ULisboa is also known as Portugal’s largest institute of tertiary education. Additionally, it was established in 2013. Other than this, the center of learning’s international student community consists of individuals hailing from more than 100 countries all around the globe.

More about ULisboa, it has a number of schools offering a wide range of study options. The schools include Faculty of Dental Medicine, Faculty of Fine Arts, Faculty of Human Kinetics, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Pharmacy, Faculty of Psychology, Faculty of Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Institute of Education, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, Institute of Social and Political Sciences, Institute of Social Sciences, ISEG – Lisbon School of Economics and Management, IST Técnico Lisboa, Lisbon School of Architecture, School of Agriculture, School of Arts and Humanities.

2. Porto

Porto, otherwise known as Oporto, is situated along the Douro River. This makes it a coastal area. Adding to this, from the name of the place itself, one might have correctly guessed that the beloved dessert wine called “port wine” originates from the city. Aside from sipping on sweet wine, tourists who find themselves in Porto are recommended to check out Torre dos Clérigos, Igreja de São Francisco, Palácio da Bolsa, Cais da Ribeira, and Porto Bridge Climb.

Moving on to the educational institutions, the most prominent ones in the city include the University of Porto, Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Fernando Pessoa University, Portucalense Infante D. Henrique University, and The Marketing School or IPAM Oporto.

The University of Porto (U.Porto) was founded in the year 1911. It is the second-largest university in the country. Moreover, it is an institution that is highly regarded for its excellent contributions to scientific research. It has 15 faculties and in addition to this, there are over 600 courses and programs available at U.Porto.

On the other hand, IPAM Oporto is a center of excellence for marketing. It is also called The Marketing School and it opened its doors to students in 1984. Aside from offering Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in the said field, they also have Executive Education programs and two of these study options can be taken via e-learning.

3. Faro

Located in the south of Portugal, in the Algarve region, is the vibrant city of Faro, which is considered to be a top city to study in Portugal. When in the city, it is a must for visitors to go to Cidade Velha, Museu Municipal, Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, Comboio Turística, and Igreja da Nossa Senhora do Carmo.

The University of Algarve (UAlg) is perhaps the best option for international students who are planning to move to Faro. This distinguished institution of higher education was founded in 1979. It has 3 campuses and has over 170 course offerings. In line with this, more than 8,500 students are currently thriving at the university. Moreover, the school’s faculties at UAlg are as follows: Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Faculty of Economics, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, School of Education and Communication, School of Management, Hospitality and Tourism, School of Health, and Institute of Engineering.

4. Coimbra

Coimbra is a riverfront city that is widely known amongst locals and tourists for the historical University of Coimbra. The said center of learning is one of Europe’s oldest universities. Other than the institute, other tourist spots in Coimbra include Sé Velha, Museu Nacional Machado de Castro, Jardim Botánico, Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha, and Arco de Almedina.

Going back, University of Coimbra (UC) was first founded in the year 1290. However, it was not yet located in Coimbra at the time. It only transferred to the said city when 1537 rolled around. It is a respected institution and in addition to that, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Furthermore, the center of excellence has around 25,800 students and 1,760 professors at present. As for foreign students, there are approximately 5,400 pursuing their studies at UC.

5. Braga

The city of Braga is located in Portugal’s quaint province of Minho. Museu de Arte Sacra, Antigo Paço Episcopal, Bom Jesus do Monte, Fonte do Ídolo, and Capela São Frutuoso de Montélios are some of the destination favorites in the city.

Braga is among the best cities to study in Portugal. For international students who would like to live and study in Braga, the University of Minho is a solid option. The university’s Gualtar campus is located in the city, while the Azurém and Couros Campuses are in Guimarães.


We hope that you found this article on the best cities to study in Portugal for international students informative and helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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