Cost of Living in Portugal: Is Portugal Really Expensive?

Cost of Living in Portugal: Is Portugal Really Expensive?

Portugal is a country blessed with a warm climate and beautiful landscapes. The Algarve is known for its beaches, while the Douro Valley offers some of the best views of vineyards and mountains. Lisbon is one of Europe’s most popular destinations, with an abundance of art galleries and museums, as well as historic sites.

It is one of the best affordable European countries to live in. Pay less for the same quality of lifestyle, with a low cost of living, fantastic weather, and a great community attitude. Portugal is Europe at its best. It is the only mainstream European country with a solid economy and debt rating that doesn’t scare off new residents and tourists.

Portugal has a long history of immigration from around the world, both legal and illegal. It’s estimated that there are more than 600,000 Portuguese living abroad, mostly in France, Brazil, and Angola.

The cost of living in Portugal is relatively low compared to other European countries; however, it can be difficult for ex-pats to find work unless they speak Portuguese fluently or have professional experience in their field.

It’s important to note that Portugal doesn’t have any special visa programs that allow ex-pats to live or work here temporarily without having to go through the lengthy process of applying for a residence permit first.


Is Portugal Really Expensive To Live in?

Portugal is one of the cheapest countries in Europe to live in. The cost of living is considered to be very low, and lower than in most other developed countries. The cost of living in the capital Lisbon is lower than that of many other European capital cities, such as Berlin, Paris, Brussels, or London.

Portugal’s cost of living is also low if you consider purchasing power parity (PPP), which measures how much goods and services can be bought with a unit of currency. This measure compares more than just the price differences, it factors in expenses such as rent and cost of living.


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The cost of living in Portugal is one of the lowest in Europe. Lisbon has an overall cost of living index of 45.48, which is about 10 percent lower than the average for the European Union (EU). The price level in Portugal is lower than that of many other EU member countries, including Greece, Italy, and Spain.

CityCost of Living IndexLocal Purchasing Power Index

The price level in Portugal is on a par with Poland and Romania, but it is significantly higher than that of Eastern European countries like Bulgaria and Hungary. The low cost of living makes it an attractive destination for ex-pats from all over the world.

Portugal is one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe to live in especially if you are an ex-pat working here. A report from Mercer ranks Portugal as the second cheapest country in Western Europe for ex-pats, behind only Greece. According to Numbeo, a crowd-sourced database of prices across the world, Lisbon is one of the cheapest capital cities in Western Europe.


The estimated monthly cost of a person is around 1300 Euros, while that of a small family is 3,056 Euros.

Cost Of Living: What Are the Living Expenses Like In Portugal?

In Portugal, the average monthly cost of living is estimated to be around 1,300 Euros ($1,316) per month. This may sound like a lot but it is very cheap. It includes rent, food, transportation, and entertainment. If you want to live in the city center then you should expect to pay more for rent and food. But if you are willing to go out of the city center then your rent will be cheaper and you can even find free accommodation if you look hard enough.

Food costs are also very low in Portugal because there are many supermarkets with discount prices. Transportation is also affordable because most people use public transport instead of owning cars.

In terms of entertainment, many people spend their weekends at nightclubs or bars where they can listen to music and dance with other people around them. The nights are usually full of fun activities so there is no need for expensive nights out when you can have fun without spending much money at all.

Cost Of A Meal & Restaurants Food Prices In Portugal

One of the great things about living in Portugal is the variety of food available. Restaurants are plentiful, and they serve all kinds of cuisines, ranging from traditional Portuguese to Indian and Japanese to Italian. It’s easy to find a place that caters to you, your family, or even the whole group of people you’re with.

To eat out in a restaurant is expensive for local people, but it is a very good value for tourists. One thing you should know is that the cost of eating out will vary depending on what kind of restaurant you’re visiting. For example, if you decide to go to a fine dining restaurant, then you should know that this type of restaurant can be very pricey than the others. You should come prepared with enough cash so that you don’t have to wait for your credit card or check to be processed by the waiter/waitress when paying for your meal.

Food/GoodsPrices in Euros (€)
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant8.00 €
Three-course Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant35.00 €
McMeal at McDonald’s (or Equivalent Combo in a Food Chain Restaurant)6.50 €
Domestic Beer (0.5L)2.00 €
Imported Beer (0.33L)2.00 €
Regular Cappuccino1.44 €
Coke/Pepsi (0.33L)1.36 €
Water (0.33L)0.98 €

Cost Of Groceries & Consumer Goods In Portugal

The consumer price index in Portugal is 42.18, which is much lower than the U.S., the U.K., and Australia’s consumer price index of 69.92, 60.42, and 72.27 respectively. Food costs in Portugal are also lower than in other developed countries, but the cost of clothing and transportation are higher than average for other European countries.

In terms of food prices, fish and seafood are generally cheaper than in other developed countries, while beef and pork are generally more expensive. In addition to European staples such as loaves of bread, cheeses, and wine, traditional Portuguese dishes include cataplana (a stew cooked in a copper pot) and bacalhau (salt cod).

Food/GoodsPrices in Euros (€)
Regular Milk, (1L)0.66 €
Loaf of Fresh Bread (500g)1.10 €
White Rice, (1Kg)0.99 €
Regular Eggs (12)1.88 €
Local Cheese (1Kg)7.10 €
Chicken Fillets (1kg)5.20 €
Beef Round (1Kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)9.13 €
Apples (1Kg)1.63 €
Banana (1Kg)1.11 €
Oranges (1Kg)1.26 €
Tomato (1Kg)1.58 €
Potato (1Kg)0.95 €
Onion (1Kg)1.09 €
Lettuce (1 head)0.96 €
Water (1.5L)0.52 €
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)4.00 €
Domestic Beer (0.5l)1.06 €
Imported Beer (0.33-liter bottle)1.89 €
Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro)5.00 €

Cost Of Transportation and Commuting In Portugal

Portugal is an affordable European country, but there are quite a few things that are more expensive than in other countries. Transportation is among the most expensive, with taxis and buses being the costliest.

Portugal’s public transportation system consists of an extensive bus network that covers every major city and town in the country as well as rural areas, a limited commuter rail network serving the Lisbon area, and some ferry lines operating in the northwestern part of the country.


Public buses are generally inexpensive, but they are often overcrowded and uncomfortable. The cost of long-distance travel by bus is quite low, but it can take longer than traveling by train or car and arrive at less convenient times.

The country’s rail network is limited to intercity transit because there are no metro networks in Portugal. This means that travelers who want to reach popular tourist destinations will have to rely on buses instead of trains.

Ferries connect mainland Portugal with several islands including Madeira, the Azores, and the Canary Islands. Ferries may be an attractive option for tourists who want to get away from cities for a short time, but prices tend to be higher than those for other types of transport.

Public transportation in Lisbon costs $2.50 per ride on the metro, and between $0.75 and $1.50 for bus rides around the city. The subway only operates between 6 AM and midnight, but the buses operate every day. A single-ride ticket can be purchased on a bus or at a metro station and is good for 90 minutes of travel in a single direction. If you want to switch directions or travel outside of that time frame, you need to purchase another single-ride ticket, so it’s better to purchase a 24-hour pass for $9.

Depending on where you’re coming from, transportation to and around Portugal can be pretty pricey. From Lisbon or Porto (the two main cities) you can catch a flight to almost anywhere in Europe for about $100-$200 one-way.

If you’re coming from a far-away place, such as Portugal or the United States, you can expect to spend somewhere in the region of $1,000-$2,000 one-way. There are some discount airlines that you can look into, such as Ryanair (though these tend to have strict luggage restrictions). Once you arrive in Portugal by plane, you will need to take a train from the airport into town.

Transport Fare, Car and Gas PricesPrices in Euros (€)
One-way Ticket1.60 €
Monthly Pass (Local Transport)40.00 €
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)3.25 €
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)0.80 €
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)15.00 €
Gasoline (1 liter)2.03 €
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car)25,750.00 €
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car)27,147.37 €

Cost Of Basic Utilities In Portugal

Portugal is a gorgeous country with an interesting culture, but it’s also become known as one of the cheapest countries in Europe. From the cost of food and transportation to entertainment and rent, Portugal is a great place to travel if you’re on a tight budget.

Portuguese electricity prices are set at 0.217 euros per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Electricity costs vary depending on your provider and use throughout the year, so even though Portugal has some of the lowest prices for electricity in Europe, residents pay about 1,370 dollars per year on average for their electricity.

Even if your energy bill seems a bit high, water bills in Portugal are very affordable. The average household pays about 30 dollars per month for the 2,000 gallons of water they use each month, which is much less expensive than other European cities like Paris (where it costs around 40 euros per cubic meter) and London (about 50 pounds per cubic meter). Even compared to American cities like New York City and Boston.

However, the internet (as with most things) is cheaper outside the larger cities. In small towns like Vila Nova de Gaia or Tavira, you can find free WI-FI just about anywhere. If you’re staying somewhere for a longer period and want a more permanent solution, you can also rent an apartment that includes it as part of the lease.

UtilitiesPrices in Euros (€)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 45m2 Apartment189.77 €
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment106.56 €
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans)0.15 €
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)33.37 €

Cost Of Entertainment In Portugal

The cost of entertainment in Portugal is very reasonable, especially considering how beautiful the country is. The capital city, Lisbon, is particularly full of life and is a great place to visit. There are many museums to explore and touristy sites to see along the river and throughout the city. If you’re looking for a more “local” experience in Lisbon, there are plenty of bars that serve traditional Portuguese food as well as drink. You can find restaurants everywhere from Petiscos to modern fusion cuisine.

The cost of drinks varies widely from bar to bar and from seat at the bar to table seating. Some bars have ladies’ nights or happy hours that reduce drink prices for women or everyone on certain days of the week. There are also several smaller snack bars throughout the city where you can stop by for a quick beer or a glass of wine while passing through. For cheaper options, most supermarkets sell beer and wine at reasonable prices, so if you’re looking for something to take back to your apartment with you, this is an easy way to get it without breaking your budget!

Leisure and SportPrices in Euros (€)
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult33.42 €
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend)11.40 €
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat7.00 €
iPad wi-fi 128gb534.63 €

Cost Of Childcare and Education In Portugal

Portugal is one of the most family-friendly countries in Europe and provides a range of services to support families, including subsidized child and elder care. The country’s socialist government also has a long-standing commitment to women’s rights and their ability to succeed in the workforce.

In Portugal, the legal minimum age to work is 16 with parental permission. However, children under 12 are not allowed to work full time. The government offers financial support for families with young children, which reduces the cost of childcare services and helps parents stay on track at work.

The cost of childcare varies by region. In urban areas, monthly fees for full-time care are $400–$1,000 per month; part-time care is half that amount. In rural areas, the costs are much lower: $250–$500 per month for full-time care and $75–$280 for part-time care.

Education is a costly business. Many families are aware of the costs of the undergraduate experience—tuition, room and board, transportation, and textbooks. But what about the graduate degree, or even classes taken after you’ve finished your formal education but are looking to advance in your career?

The cost of education in Portugal varies from one university to another and from one course to another. The average costs for an undergraduate degree in a public university range between 3,500 euros per year for courses in Humanities and Arts to 7,000 euros per year for courses in Medicine. The average tuition for a year at a private university or institution costs about $15,000.

In addition, the Portuguese Government offers several scholarships and grants to international students. These scholarships are awarded by the University or College itself and they vary according to the course of study or according to the student’s nationality, or both, based on the specific criteria set by each institution.

For example, at ISCTE-IUL you can get a grant covering 50% of your tuition fees if you come from a country classified as a “developing country”.

There are different types of scholarships and grants available according to your nationality (Africa, Asia-Oceania, Latin America, and North America), your course (Engineering and Technology, Medicine), your College/University (public or private), or any other criteria set by an institution.


TuitionsPrices in Euros (€)
Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child340.72 €
International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child7,155.56 €
International High School, Yearly for 1 Child13,467.98 €
Colleges and University5,657.22 €
Monthly expenses (rent, groceries, commuting…) for a Student864.75 €

Cost Of Clothing, Wears & Accessories In Portugal

Clothing is relatively cheap in Portugal. Shirts, pants, and shoes can be found for under 10 euros each. Although a nice pair of jeans will run you around 20 euros, you can still find comparable quality in American clothing stores for much cheaper.

Though the Portuguese are known for their casual style, it’s not hard to find great clothing deals in Portugal. Clothes shopping there can be almost as cheap as it is in the U.S

Chic clothing stores and a wide variety of styles can be found on Rua Augusta in Lisbon, where designers such as Calvin Klein and Gucci have stores. There are also plenty of options for budget-minded shoppers that are not just used clothing shops. Flea markets like Bairro Alto offer vintage items at a very low price point.

The most popular outlet stores in Lisbon are Factory Outlet Store Gulbenkian and Factory Outlet Store Vasco Da Gama, which carry brands such as Armani Exchange, Timberland, Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, and many more.

Clothes shopping in Portugal is affordable and stylish!

Clothing and ShoesPrices in Euros (€)
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar)74.24 €
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …)29.57 €
1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range)66.84 €
1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes75.86 €

Cost Of Personal and Health Care In Portugal

Portugal is a great country for dental and medical tourism. The cost of advanced procedures can be 70-90% cheaper than in the US, UK, or Portugal. Many leading hospitals and clinics provide high-quality care at affordable prices. The main reason for such low prices is that Portugal has a well-developed medical infrastructure that provides state-of-the-art equipment at a fraction of the cost.

The cost of healthcare in Portugal is largely determined by the type of insurance coverage one has. The two main options are public and private healthcare policies. The former is provided by the national health service, Sistema Nacional de Saúde (SNS), and is free for those who have no income or are under a certain threshold. In comparison, private healthcare policies are more expensive but offer better care and more benefits.

Portuguese citizens have free healthcare coverage and so do non-citizens that work legally in Portugal, regardless of nationality or income. It is illegal not to provide medical services to those who need them, based on their place of residence within the country. Since healthcare is free of charge in Portugal, there are no co-pays unless you choose a private doctor or hospital instead of a public one.

Personal care costs in Portugal are significantly less than in Western Europe and Northern America. A haircut, for example, will cost you about $10.21 (€10), and many hair salons in Lisbon offer wash, cut, and blow-dry for around €15 (about $15.32).

It’s cheaper to get your nails done for about $5.10 (€5) or to use a tanning salon for around $11.23 (€11). You can get a massage or facial treatment at the spa for approximately $23.50 (€23). The average price of a manicure is only about $3.06 (€3) as well as having a waxing session for about $5.10 (€5).

If you’re looking for an affordable way to navigate the world of beauty in Portugal, you have a few options. Many of the products are imported from other countries mainly Spain and France, so they’re not always authentic. But they’re also not necessarily bad: some brands do very well here, so if you find something you like and it’s inexpensive, it’s probably worth trying out!

Care ProductsPrice in Euros (€)
Cold Medicine (Tylenol, Frenadol, Coldrex, or equivalent brands) 4.42 €
 Box of Antibiotics (12 doses)5.23 €
15 minutes to Private Doctor54.00 €
 Box of 32 Tampons (tampax, ob, …)3.36 €
Deodorant, Roll-on (50ml – 1.5 oz.)3.50 €
Hair Shampoo 2-in-1 (400 ml – 12 oz.)4.54 €
4 rolls of Toilet Paper1.62 €
A Tube of Toothpaste1.95 €
Standard Men’s Haircut in the City13.00 €
Standard Men’s Haircut in the Suburb6.00 €

Cost Of Housing and Accommodation In Portugal

The cost of housing in Portugal is slightly below that of Spain and Greece, both of which are significantly more expensive than most Eastern European Countries. The country is often included with Spain in an unofficial housing-costs category of “Iberia.” This means that foreigners looking to relocate there will be paying a relatively large portion of their salaries for shelter.

Portugal is known for its affordable cost of accommodation. Many travelers prefer Portugal’s more laid-back and affordable accommodations over the more expensive, crowded cities of Western Europe. The growing migrant population has created an increased demand for low-cost housing throughout Portugal.

Fortunately, there are many affordable housing options available for those migrating to Portugal from other European countries and these options are mainly located around the city center. A higher proportion of migrants are settling in urban areas than during previous decades because city centers tend to offer more opportunities for employment and a higher quality of life.

The average apartment in Lisbon, for example, will cost you about 1,300 euros per month. That’s the equivalent of $1,327.81 U.S. dollars! However, if you’re relocating to Portugal primarily to travel around Europe—which makes sense if you’re taking advantage of the fact that it’s such a close neighbor to many other countries, you might want to consider the possibility of living somewhere else in Europe first and saving up enough money to afford your desired lifestyle once you’ve settled into Portugal.

National Rent PricePrice in Euros (€)
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre718.12 €
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre547.07 €
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre1,251.35 €
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre920.78 €

Concerning prices for apartments in Portugal, you’re looking at about €15,000 for the average two-bedroom apartment in Lisbon; and €13,000 for an apartment or house outside of Lisbon. This is all exclusive of the additional costs of utilities and other fees (which will be higher than those in your home country).

Purchasing an ApartmentPrice in Euros (€)
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre2,952.84 €
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre1,977.96 €

Portugal is known for its beautiful beaches and historic cities, but it also has the highest unemployment rate in the European Union and a low birth rate. The current economy isn’t promising, but there are still plenty of job opportunities in Portugal. If you’re looking to live abroad, Portugal is a safe and friendly option with its own exciting culture.

Job opportunities in Portugal include teaching English, working for an international company, and even restaurant management. Currently, there are over 400 international schools in Portugal and this number continues to grow every year. The major cities of Lisbon and Porto have several international companies with branches in their area looking for qualified employees.

Portugal is home to a growing tech industry that has been made possible by government-supported incubators and accelerators. The government has set up these partnerships with investors, universities, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders to foster innovation and build a start-up community.

The country has a strong agriculture sector, with nuts, wine, cork, and fruits as the main export products. Travel and hospitality jobs are also growing as Portugal welcomes more tourists to visit the country.

Hospitality jobs are particularly abundant: tourism-related businesses are desperate to fill any position they can get their hands on. Job seekers should be prepared to find flexible working hours and pay, as these positions tend not to be formalized.

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