International Schools in Portugal: Your Guide

Are you searching for international schools in Portugal? Let’s get straight to the point. Our guide provides a clear snapshot of the varied curricula, languages, and fees across these impactful institutions.
April 13, 2024
Ana Fankhauser
April 13, 2024

Are you searching for international schools in Portugal? Let’s get straight to the point. Our guide provides a clear snapshot of the varied curricula, languages, and fees across these impactful institutions, helping you find the right match for your child’s educational journey. Expect practical advice, grounded in the realities of international education in Portugal, to assist in your decision-making process.

Key Takeaways

  • International schools in Portugal offer diverse curricula, including the British, American, IB, and Cambridge programs, and focus on multilingual education that typically involves proficiency in English and Portuguese.
  • Portugal has approximately 51 international schools, predominantly located in Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve, offering a range of educational options with various curricular and extracurricular activities, along multicultural integration services.
  • Costs for international schools in Portugal can range from €800 to €1,800 monthly, with annual tuition fees varying significantly; meanwhile, public schools offer free education but may include additional expenses for meals, uniforms, and enrollment fees.

Exploring the Landscape of International Schools in Portugal

Illustration of diverse group of students in a classroom setting

In Portugal, international schools have carved a niche for themselves by providing top-notch education that adheres to high-standard international education systems. Offering a comprehensive program that places emphasis on foreign language instruction and a variety of extracurricular activities, these schools cater to diverse student needs.

The landscape of international schools in Portugal is quite diverse, with the following institutions among the mix:

  • British schools
  • German schools
  • French schools
  • American schools

These international schools offer a variety of international curricula, catering to various age groups from early years to secondary education. For expat students, these schools offer a suite of services, including multicultural and multilingual education, language support, and help with community integration.

Understanding the Variety of Curricula

In Portugal, international schools offer a range of curricula, including:

  • The British curriculum
  • American high school diploma
  • IB diploma programme
  • Cambridge curriculum

These curricula cater to diverse student needs and educational pathways. The British international schools, for instance, provide education based on England’s national curriculum with subjects like science, math, history, English, and foreign languages, helping students obtain IGCSE qualifications as a pathway to universities in the UK.

For students targeting education in North America, some schools offer the following options:

  • American high school diploma alongside Advanced Placement courses, preparing them with SAT preparation and university applications
  • The IB diploma programme, embraced by several institutions like United Lisbon International School and St. Dominic’s International School, focuses on critical thinking and global awareness through essay writing, creativity, activity, and service projects
  • Prime School has adopted the Cambridge curriculum, which adheres to a well-known educational framework that places an emphasis on a solid academic foundation.

The Advantages of Multilingual Education

Multilingual education is a significant aspect of the international schools in Portugal. These schools focus on integrating at least two languages, commonly English and Portuguese, ensuring students achieve proficiency in both. For instance, at Redbridge School, the Primary Years program integrates a combination of French/English and Portuguese/English.

Another example is International Sharing School Taguspark which positions its curriculum within a global context to promote personal and professional development through multilingual education. Redbridge School, in particular, promotes a playful multilingual learning environment that enhances creativity and international mindedness in students.

How Many International Schools Are There in Portugal?

Illustration of map of Portugal with markers indicating locations of international schools

As of 2024, Portugal is home to approximately 51 international schools. Among these institutions, around 14 follow the British International Curriculum, offering a solid British education to their students.

The city of Lisbon alone boasts 27 international schools, providing an array of educational options for families residing in the city.

Distribution Across Regions

The vast majority of international schools in Portugal are located in key regions such as Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve region. The Algarve region, in particular, is home to 12 international schools, offering residents in the area a selection of quality education institutions to choose from.

Other regions like Braga, Madeira, and Leiria also have international school options, albeit in smaller numbers, catering to the educational needs of families in these areas.

A Closer Look at Top International Schools

Illustration of students engaged in extracurricular activities

Diving deeper into the best international schools landscape, prestigious institutions such as private international schools like:

  • Nobel International School Algarve
  • St. Julian’s School
  • Carlucci American International School of Lisbon
  • Oporto British School
  • Dominic’s International School

stand out for their excellent academic programs and holistic student development approach. These schools not only offer rigorous academic programs, but also place an emphasis on character building, creativity, independent thinking, and global awareness.

Schools like IPS Cascais British International School and Oeiras International School are well-known for creating a happy, relaxed environment where students can achieve both academic and personal success.

Other institutions, like Greene’s College Oxford in Estoril and Montalvo International School, maintain high academic standards and function as launchpads for universities and higher education worldwide.

Spotlight on Notable Institutions

Oporto British School, for instance, has cultivated a strong reputation, with students achieving high percentages on rigorous tests like the IGCSE and going on to attend top universities globally. Schools like Nobel International School Algarve boast extensive facilities, including a swimming pool and music studio, creating a rich educational environment, while the British School of Lisbon benefits from a tight-knit community and a unique campus location.

Institutions like the Carlucci American International School offer a basic to secondary school education with an American curriculum, accommodating a range of student academic plans and aspirations. In these institutions, student accomplishments, such as international wins in biotechnology, math, and history competitions, underline the academic excellence present.

Unique Educational Approaches

In addition to traditional educational approaches, some international schools in Portugal offer alternative educational methods, such as Montessori and Waldorf, catering to families looking for non-traditional teaching methods. Schools like Jill’s Place embody an innovative educational philosophy, emphasizing character development as the highest priority.

The International Sharing School Taguspark, for example, nurtures personal and professional growth within a diverse, interconnected world, from infancy through to maturity. These unique approaches highlight the diverse range of educational experiences available in Portugal’s international schools, ensuring there is a suitable fit for every child.

Comparing Costs: International Schools vs. Public Schools

When considering education options, cost is often a pivotal factor. Monthly fees for international schools in Portugal range from around €800 to €1,800, depending on the institution and the level of education. The cost of international schools can be more affordable at institutions like the Instituto Espanhol Giner de Los Rios and the International School of Madeira, which are recognized for their cost-effective schooling choices.

In contrast, public schools in Portugal offer free education, although there may be additional costs for meals, uniforms, and enrollment fees.

What to Expect in Tuition Fees

Tuition fees at international schools in Portugal vary significantly, with annual costs ranging from €4,710 to €26,523 depending on the school and level of education. For example, the International School of Madeira charges tuition fees ranging from €4,250 per month for preparatory classes to €9,330 per month for students aged 15. In contrast to these private schools, public schools in Portugal offer free education, typically taught in Portuguese.

However, among the various international school options, schools such as Instituto Espanhol Giner de Los Rios and the International School of Madeira stand out as more affordable choices. Both schools offer quality education at a reasonable cost.

Choosing the Right Fit: Factors to Consider

Academic setting with teacher and students

Choosing the right international school for your child is a significant decision, involving several key factors. It’s essential to consider the school’s curriculum, such as whether they offer the British curriculum, American high school diploma, IB diploma programme, or an option for Catholic-oriented education, to match the child’s future educational pathways and the family’s possible relocation plans. Cultural exposure and religious education are other vital considerations, with many schools offering a diverse cultural environment or specific religious programs.

In addition to specific educational programs, parents should holistically evaluate factors such as:

  • the school’s culture
  • academic excellence
  • extracurricular opportunities
  • the overall teaching approach
  • facilities
  • location
  • fees
  • the institution’s reputation

International schools in Portugal enable students to easily transition to educational institutions in other countries, which can be a significant factor for families who may relocate in the future.

Assessing Academic Excellence

When assessing a school’s academic excellence, it’s crucial to consider factors such as the qualifications of faculty and their teaching philosophy. Understanding the school’s teacher-student ratio and class sizes is essential for assessing a school’s ability to provide individual attention and quality education.

An indicator of a school’s academic support and excellence is the extent of teacher engagement, including showing interest in every student’s learning and offering additional help. A positive learning atmosphere, effective management of the learning environment, including discipline, and the school’s policy on digital device usage, can have significant ramifications for student concentration, discipline, and both academic and extracurricular excellence.

Extracurricular Opportunities

Extracurricular activities in Portugal’s international schools play a pivotal role in fostering students’ personal growth and readiness for future professional challenges. These activities include:

  • Sports
  • Arts
  • Debate clubs
  • Various academic and interest-based clubs

These activities provide students with a variety of opportunities to explore their interests beyond the academic curriculum.

When evaluating extracurricular activities, it’s important for parents to consider their child’s interests and the benefits for social and personal development. Schools like Aprendizes and Lisbon’s international schools emphasize inclusive, active learning and comprehensive extracurricular programs to promote balanced growth and societal engagement.

Your Guide to International Schools in Key Regions

Illustration of Lisbon, Porto, and Algarve with school buildings

The majority of international schools in Portugal are found in key regions such as Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve region. Some of the esteemed institutions in the area are:

  • Nobel International School
  • PaRK International School
  • Oeiras International School
  • Carluccio International School
  • St Dominic’s International
  • International Christian School of Cascais
  • International Sharing School
  • British International School of Lisbon

These schools contribute to a diverse educational landscape in the region.

Prime School, a leading primary school, operates in Estoril, Sintra, and Lisbon and offers a Cambridge curriculum.

Lisbon's Learning Hubs

You can find international schools in Lisbon located in neighborhoods such as:

  • Cascais
  • Estoril
  • Sintra
  • Oeiras
  • Carcavelos

These areas offer a variety of options for families seeking an international education for their children. The British School of Lisbon and the Carlucci American International School of Lisbon are both top schools in the Greater Lisbon area. They are known for their high standards of education and diverse international student body. Additional international schools are easily accessible from Lisbon, with several located in the suburbs of Cascais and close to Sintra in the north.

Porto's Prestigious Programs

In Porto, well-established international schools such as CLIP—Oporto International School, Oporto British School, and Lycée Français International de Porto—LFIP offer high-quality education to both local and international students. These institutions provide diverse curricula, including the British and French national curricula and the International Baccalaureate, catering to a wide range of student needs and future educational aspirations.

Algarve's Academic Offerings

The Algarve region, known for its stunning coastline and sunny climate, is home to several top-quality international schools, including Nobel International School Algarve, which hosts the largest British international school in Portugal. Nobel International School Algarve operates two campuses in Lagoa and Almancil, while Aljezur International School offers the IGCSE program of the University of Cambridge. These schools, located in towns such as Faro, Almancil, Lagoa, and Portimão, offer unique settings, like the large farmhouse that houses Aljezur International School.

Enrollment Essentials: Starting Your Child's Journey

Enrollment in international schools in Portugal typically begins at the end of each academic year, but applications may be accepted year-round due to high demand. The enrollment process may include several steps, such as:

  • Online applications
  • Document submission
  • Interviews
  • Personal meetings with parents

Families who wish to enroll a child in the International School of Madeira must complete an online application. Additionally, the child is required to pass an interview.

Moreover, parents should also consider the following factors when choosing an international school for their child:

  • The school’s curriculum and whether it aligns with their child’s educational goals
  • The school’s facilities and resources, such as libraries, laboratories, and sports facilities
  • The qualifications and experience of the teaching staff
  • The school’s accreditation with organizations like the Council of International Schools (CIS) or the International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • Parent and student reviews to assess a school’s academic excellence

By considering these factors, parents can ensure they choose the right international school that best fits their child’s needs and future educational pathways.

Supporting Global Citizens: Services for International Students

International schools in Portugal provide a range of support services to ensure students’ personal and academic growth. These schools offer language support programs specifically designed to aid non-English speaking students in developing their English language proficiency and integrating into the curriculum. Moreover, they promote values like tolerance, respect, and social responsibility, reinforcing their commitment to fostering global citizenship among students.

In addition to in-person support, these schools extend their services to remote learning conditions. They cater to student needs through live virtual classes and emotional support, indicative of their commitment to student well-being and providing comprehensive extracurricular opportunities. This support, both in person and remotely, ensures that students receive a balanced education, fosters personal growth, and prepares them for future professional challenges.


In conclusion, international schools in Portugal offer a compelling blend of quality education, diverse curricula, multilingual education, and a multicultural environment. With a range of international curricula, including British, American, IB, and Cambridge, these schools cater to diverse student needs and educational pathways. The variety of extracurricular activities and the emphasis on values like tolerance, respect, and social responsibility further enhance the learning environment. With the multitude of options available, from schools in vibrant cities like Lisbon and Porto to those in picturesque regions like the Algarve, families can find an international school that fits their child’s needs and future aspirations.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many international schools are there in Portugal?

There are 51 international schools in Portugal, located in seven different cities including the Greater Lisbon area, Porto, and the Algarve region. Many of these schools are situated in Lisbon neighborhoods such as Cascais, Estoril, Sintra, Oeiras, and Carcavelos.

What curricula do international schools in Portugal offer?

International schools in Portugal offer a diverse range of curricula, such as the British curriculum, American high school diploma, IB diploma programme, and Cambridge curriculum. These options cater to a variety of educational needs and backgrounds.

What is the cost of attending an international school in Portugal?

Attending an international school in Portugal can cost between €800 and €1,800 per month, with some schools offering lower fees. It's important to research and compare options to find the best fit for your budget and needs.

How do I enroll my child in an international school in Portugal?

To enroll your child in an international school in Portugal, you will typically need to complete an online application, submit the required documents, attend an interview, and have a personal meeting with the school staff. This process ensures thorough consideration for admission.

What support services do international schools in Portugal offer?

International schools in Portugal offer language support programs, promote values like tolerance and respect, and provide remote learning options to support their diverse student body.

About Movingto

Movingto is a leading immigration law firm that specializes in helping individuals and families navigate the complex process of relocating to Portugal. With a team of experienced lawyers and immigration experts, provides tailored solutions to meet the unique needs of each client.

Why Choose Movingto?

  • Expertise and Experience: Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of Portuguese immigration law and years of experience assisting clients with various visa applications, including the D7 Visa, Golden Visa, Startup Visa, and Family Reunion Visa.
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  • Comprehensive Support: offers a comprehensive range of services beyond legal advice, including assistance with document preparation, property search, and relocation planning.
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Whether you are an entrepreneur seeking to establish a business in Portugal, a retiree looking to enjoy the country's favorable tax regime, or a family seeking to reunite in Portugal, is here to guide you every step of the way.

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