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Starting an Airbnb or Guesthouse in Portugal

By Bernardo Barbosa

Published on 9 January 2024

6mins read

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Portugal has become a popular tourist destination in recent years, attracting millions of visitors from around the world, with tourist arrivals estimated to have surpassed 22 million. This surge in tourism has created a high demand for accommodation options, making it an ideal time to start an Airbnb or guesthouse in the country. 

By offering unique and personalized experiences, you can tap into this growing market and provide travelers with a memorable stay. Portugal's favorable climate, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural heritage make it a desirable location for both short-term and long-term stays. This means that, with the right strategies and a commitment to exceptional hospitality, starting an Airbnb or guesthouse in Portugal can only be a rewarding venture.

When starting an Airbnb or guesthouse in Portugal, it is important to be aware of the legal requirements that must be met. These requirements ensure that your business operates legally and avoids any potential issues. Some of the key legal requirements include:

  • Registering your property: You will need to register your property with the local authorities and obtain the necessary licenses and permits.
  • Safety regulations: It is important to ensure that your property meets all the safety regulations and standards set by the authorities.
  • Tax obligations: As a business owner, you will have certain tax obligations that need to be fulfilled, including property and corporation taxes.

By fulfilling these legal requirements, you can start your Airbnb or guesthouse business in Portugal with confidence and peace of mind.

Market Analysis: Demand for Accommodation in Portugal

As previously mentioned, Portugal's affordable cost of living and favorable weather conditions make it an ideal destination for both short-term and long-term stays. The demand for accommodation in Portugal doesn't only include tourists, but also a growing expat community. Demand's been such that the international press has even started discussing a Portuguese digital nomad bubble that has caused the rental market to go crazy.
Despite these challenges, Airbnb and guesthouse owners can cash in on Portuguese gentrification trends by conducting thorough market and competitor analysis.
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Setting Up Your Airbnb or Guesthouse

Choosing the right location, paying attention to property requirements and renovations, and furnishing and decoration are essential aspects of setting up your Airbnb or guesthouse. This is why they're so important:

Choosing the Right Location

When it comes to choosing the right location for your Airbnb or guesthouse in Portugal, there are several factors to consider. 

First, you'll want to think about the popular tourist destinations in the country, such as Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve region. These areas tend to attract a large number of visitors, increasing the demand for accommodation. 

Second, consider the proximity to amenities and attractions. Guests will appreciate being close to restaurants, shops, and tourist sites. 

Third, think about the accessibility of the location. Is it easy for guests to reach by public transportation or car? Are there any airports nearby?

Finally, take into account the competition in the area, as it may be more challenging to stand out if there are already many similar accommodations nearby.

Property Requirements and Renovations

When it comes to property requirements and renovations for your Airbnb or guesthouse in Portugal, there are a few key things to keep in mind: 

  • Ensure that your property meets all the legal and safety requirements set by the local authorities. This may include obtaining licenses and permits, as well as making necessary renovations to ensure the property is up to code. 
  • Consider the needs and preferences of your target audience when renovating your property. Creating comfortable and inviting spaces that cater to the needs of your guests can go a long way in attracting positive reviews and repeat bookings. 
  • Review the overall aesthetic and design of your property. As we'll see, investing in stylish and modern furnishings can help create a memorable experience for your guests.

Furnishing and Decorating Your Airbnb or Guesthouse

When it comes to furnishing and decorating your Airbnb or guesthouse in Portugal, it's important to create a welcoming and comfortable space for your guests. Investing in high-quality furniture that is durable and stylish can make a big difference in the overall experience. Consider the local aesthetic, incorporate elements of Portuguese design and culture into your decor, and choose neutral colors for walls and furniture to create a calming atmosphere.

Don't forget to provide essential amenities such as comfortable beds, clean linens, and toiletries. Adding personal touches like artwork, plants, and local guidebooks can also enhance the guest experience. Remember, the goal is to create a space that feels like a home away from home for your guests!

Marketing and Managing Your Airbnb or Guesthouse

Marketing and managing an Airbnb or guesthouse is all about creating an attractive listing, ensuring proper revenue management and pricing, and making sure your guests are happy with their experience (and willing to share their satisfaction with others). 

Creating an Attractive Listing

When creating your listing on Airbnb or other platforms, it's important to make it stand out to potential guests. Start by writing a compelling title that highlights the unique features of your property. Use high-quality photos to showcase the best aspects of your space, provide a detailed description that includes amenities, nearby attractions, and any special touches you offer, and consider creating a virtual tour or video to give guests a better sense of your property. 

Lastly, don't forget to regularly update your listing with any changes or improvements you make to keep it fresh and appealing.

Pricing and Revenue Management

When it comes to pricing and revenue management for your Airbnb or guesthouse in Portugal, there are a few key factors to consider. First, it's important to research the market and understand the demand for accommodation in your area. This will help you determine the optimal pricing strategy to attract guests while maximizing your revenue. 

Additionally, consider the seasonality of tourism in Portugal, as prices may vary throughout the year. As with any business, expense management is key to staying afloat.

Guest Communication and Reviews

As anyone who's ever checked into an Airbnb or guesthouse knows, effective communication is crucial. Promptly responding to inquiries and providing clear instructions for check-in and check-out can greatly enhance the guest experience.

Encouraging guests to leave reviews can help build your reputation and attract more bookings, so make sure to respond to reviews, both positive and negative, in a professional and courteous manner.


Congratulations, you're almost ready to set up the perfect Airbnb or guesthouse in Portugal. But first, consider the following:

Tips for Success

  • Provide exceptional hospitality: Make sure your guests feel welcomed and comfortable throughout their stay. Offer personalized touches and go the extra mile to exceed their expectations.
  • Optimize your pricing: Research the market and set competitive prices for your accommodations. Consider factors like location, amenities, and demand to maximize your revenue.
  • Maintain a strong online presence: Invest in professional photography and write a compelling description for your listing. Regularly update your availability calendar and respond promptly to guest inquiries.
  • Collect and respond to guest reviews: Encourage your guests to leave reviews and respond to them in a timely manner. Address any concerns or issues raised by guests to show your commitment to their satisfaction.

Challenges and Solutions

Challenge: During peak tourist seasons, it can be challenging to meet the high demand and ensure a smooth guest experience. On the other hand, during off-peak seasons, it may be difficult to attract bookings and maintain a steady revenue stream.

Solutions: Implement dynamic pricing strategies to adjust rates based on demand, offer attractive discounts during slower periods, explore alternative marketing channels, and target specific niche markets.

Challenge: Maintaining good communication with guests and addressing their concerns promptly.

Solutions: Use automated messaging systems to provide timely responses, set clear expectations with guests, and regularly monitor and respond to guest reviews.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, starting an Airbnb or guesthouse in Portugal can be a rewarding venture. By understanding the legal requirements, analyzing the market demand, and making strategic decisions in terms of location, property renovations, and furnishings, you can create a successful accommodation business.

Effective marketing, pricing, and guest communication are key to attracting and retaining guests. While there may be challenges along the way, you can overcome them with proper planning and problem-solving. Remember, providing a memorable and enjoyable experience for your guests is crucial for positive reviews and repeat bookings!
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Written by Bernardo Barbosa

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