Updated: April 2, 2024

Affordable cost of living in PortugalPortugal is the westernmost European country, and year after year, the country sees a flock of tourists and expats, that are looking to relocate, retire, or are, simply visiting the country. Some of the key reasons include Portugal’s rich history, stunning beaches, and unique cities.

Life in Portugal is easy-going, you can slow down, soak up the atmosphere and relax. However, the most attractive feature – even more so than its beaches and weather – is that the average cost of living in Portugal is very affordable, particularly when compared to the USA and northern European countries.

Although Portugal is inexpensive, the quality of life is not compromised. However, you need to make a budget for important costs as the living costs will obviously fluctuate based on your lifestyle. You need to maintain a balance so that you can save money and also enjoy living in the country at the same time. In this article, we’ll go through the Portugal cost of living, covering various aspects of international living that you should be aware of.

What Is the Cost of Living in Portugal?

In all of Western Europe, Portugal arguably has the lowest living costs. From the actual cost of groceries to rent prices, everything is pretty affordable. According to Numbeo, the average cost of living in Portugal is 29.9 percent less than in France and 26.1 percent cheaper than in Germany, excluding housing costs. Nevertheless, it varies depending on your lifestyle and expenditures. You need to watch your income, financial situation, and spending habits. If you do so you will find a quality lifestyle in Portugal compared to any other foreign country exceptionally affordable, even though it is not one of the cheapest countries in the world.

Cost of Living in Portugal Per Month

A modest income in Portugal can go a long way. According to Numbeo, the average net salary per month after taxes is about €1,031.60. If you watch your living expenses and budget for essentials with the lowest cost, you can live for less in Portugal. Most of the locals live on less than €875 to €1070 a month. A couple with a mid-range income can get by with €1,700 a month in the smaller cities of Portugal. If a couple is starting out in the city center of Lisbon, their monthly expense will be €2,000 onwards a month.

The cost of living for a single person in Portugal is about €1,200 a month in Porto or Lisbon, and even less in smaller towns. With a higher income, you can live anywhere in Portugal with €3,000 a month, participate in various activities, go on weekend trips, and much more.

Property Costs in Portugal

When you relocate to a new country, the first priority is the accommodation. The expectation is to get a reasonable price, whether you rent or buy a property. In this section, we will provide you with costs related to buying a property, mortgages, and rent in Portugal.

Housing costs

The lower housing costs in Portugal make buying a property a better choice than taking something on rent. In 2023, the average asking price for a property in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area is €4,061, while in the Porto Metropolitan Area, the average asking price for the property is €3,291. You will find properties in the center, north, and Alentejo regions of Portugal to be very affordable. However, before buying an apartment, do note that the average size of apartments in Portugal is smaller compared to the US. A 550-square-foot apartment is adequate for a single person or a couple. If you need three or four bedrooms, you can go for a 1,000-square-foot apartment, perfectly suitable for a small family.

If you are looking into real estate terms and are unsure about what properties you should be considering or where to buy, you can contact Goldcrest. We have professionals with many years of experience, who can help you with your property purchase.

Mortgages

Cost of living in Portugal - MortgagesBefore buying a property in Portugal, you must make proper financial arrangements. Taking out a mortgage is vital to consider while making financial arrangements. Both residents and non-residents can take mortgages from Portuguese banks. The process of applying for a mortgage is straightforward. A mortgage is a widely followed path to finance a property investment in Portugal, and many banks offer mortgages.

The mortgage rates in Portugal begin at 3.3 percent per year based on a 30 percent loan-to-value. The rates vary if you require more credit, for instance, 60 percent or 70 percent loan to value. Also, you can opt for fixed rates available at 4.1 percent for up to five years based on a loan-to-value ratio of up to 70 percent.

Here are some of the benefits of taking a mortgage in Portugal:

  • Even non-resident foreigners can get a mortgage from Portuguese banks to purchase properties in the country.
  • Mortgages have low rates.
  • The installment rates of mortgages are generally low.
  • Properties purchased on credit can be rented out without restrictions.

You can see more information about financing your property in our article How to Get a Mortgage in Portugal.

Renting

If you are not interested in buying a property in Portugal yet and looking for an economical option, renting a place is the smart option.  In the heart of Lisbon, a one-bedroom flat in the city center can cost around €1,238 a month.

Housing costs in other major cities like London are double this amount, although prices are also increasing rapidly in Lisbon. However, you can rent a more affordable one-bedroom unit outside the city center for €896.

The rent you spend depends on the set-up you are looking for. Sharing a room in an apartment is the cheapest and most common option in Porto and Lisbon, some of the most sought-after hubs for students and workers.

Other living costs in Portugal

In general, people in Portugal earn less compared to other Western European countries. Other than the property costs, there are many other living costs you need to consider before moving to Portugal. Here, we shall discuss some of the other living costs in Portugal.

Taxes

portugal-LGBT-expat-individual-tax-numberAfter relocating to Portugal, your tax liability depends on your residency status. The residency status is defined by how many days you have stayed in the country each year. If you live in Portugal for 183 or more days in a calendar year, then you are considered a resident and are required to pay tax on your worldwide income. Your worldwide income includes rental income, salary, and capital gains. If you live in Portugal for less than 183 days, you are a non-resident and are required to pay on income earned only within Portugal, which is a flat rate of 25 percent of your income.

You need to know about the transfer tax (property tax), before purchasing a property in Portugal. The transfer tax ranges from 1 to 8 percent, depending on whether it is  your  first or second home in the country and also on the purchasing price. Additionally, there is a stamp duty of 0.8 percent you need to pay during the purchase process.

When you are the sole purchaser of your property and if it’s worth over €600,000, you need to pay the wealth tax to the Portugal government. As soon as you get to Portugal, you need to get two tax numbers, one is a regular tax identifier (NIF) and the other is for social security. The social security tax number helps you in social programs, such as unemployment and the healthcare system.

If you have registered yourself as a tax resident in Portugal, and have the Non-Habitual Residency (NHR) status, you can still enjoy considerable tax benefits.

Utility costs

After drawing up a budget for your housing and properties, you need to monitor your utilities and home service expenses. The utilities include heating, water, electricity, garbage collection, mobile tariff, internet, and much more. The data on Numbeo suggests that  the utility bills come to around €110 a month in an 85m² apartment, If you want to know how affordable this is, you need to check the same expenses with other countries. For instance, in the UK, this is €300.

If you are living in southern Portugal, then you need to get the air conditioning during summer, which results in an increased electricity bill. In general, you might need to heat the apartment during Portugal’s mild winter as houses can get pretty cold in the winter months.

Here are the average monthly utility costs in Portugal, which might vary based on your usage. Note that the bills are issued every two months.

Electricity and Bills expenses

Portugal’s Cost Per Month

Cost of electricity, water, gas, and garbage collection

€109.63

Local mobile phone monthly plan with calls and 10GB data

€19.12

Internet packages (unlimited data, 60Mbps or more, cable/ADSL)

€36.47

Source: Numbeo

Transportation costs in Portugal

Portugal is one of the most beautiful countries in Western Europe, with stunning beaches, incredible food, wine, and picturesque towns. It would be a shame not to explore it all. Fortunately, the public transport costs are fairly affordable in and around Portugal.

The petrol cost is slightly expensive in Portugal, costing €1.79 a liter. A one-way ticket in local transport costs €1.95, and a monthly travel pass costs just €40. You can find affordable taxi fees, although Uber and Bolt offer even cheaper fares. The average Taxi fee is €3.50 and increases by €0.80 per kilometer.

Dining out in Portugal

Dinng out - living in PortugalSimilar to every other cost, dining out in Portugal also comes at an affordable price. You can easily dine out two times a week and not feel guilty about it. Portugal has a reputation for incredible food and wine, with delicious fresh seafood. You can enjoy high-quality food without the premium price tag, which is usually the case in other countries like France.

You can eat a regular solid meal in an inexpensive restaurant in Portugal for €10 and a drink or two at a surprising price. A glass of wine for €3 and a beer just below €2. For more information, refer to the below table:

Item

Cost (in Euros)

Meal at an Inexpensive Restaurant

€10

Three-Course Meal for Two (Mid-Range)

€40

Domestic Beer (0.5 liters)

€2

Imported Beer (0.33 liters)

€3

Cappucino (regular)

€1.67

Water (0.33 liters)

€1

Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liters)

€1.52

Source: Numbeo

Everyday bills/expenses in Portugal

When you are not eating out, you will require some basic essentials at home to cook for yourself.

The cost of essentials are very reasonable, especially when you are shopping for local produce. The local produce is very fresh and of great quality.

The fish prices in Portugal are also highly affordable, as it has a long coastline. Here, we provide you with a detailed list of essentials and their average cost below.

Item

Cost (in Euros)

Milk (regular, 1 liter)

€0.93

White rice (1kg)

€1.35

Local cheese (1kg)

€9.73

Loaf of fresh white bread (500g)

€1.40

Eggs (regular, 12)

€2.76

Beef round (1kg)

€11.66

Chicken fillet (1kg)

€6.77

Banana (1kg)

€1.25

Apples (1kg)

€1.98

Oranges (1kg)

€1.58

Potato (1kg)

€1.46

Tomato (1kg)

€2.22

Onion (1kg)

€1.72

Lettuce (1 head)

€1.36

Cigarette (20 pack, Marlboro)

€5.30

Source: Numbeo

Leisure activities in Portugal

Portugal is an active and vibrant country, with people enjoying their sports, spa, and much more during their leisure time. They have an ample amount of football fields, tennis clubs, and white water rafting. They even made an initiative to install “Parque Ambiental”, which are parks for recreational activities, such as walking, climbing walls, bicycle routes, and other endeavors. If you are a movie buff, the country has a lot of movie theaters, where they show English language movies in the original language with Portuguese subtitles.

Here are some of the sports and leisure activities in Portugal and their average cost:

Item

Cost (in Euros)

Fitness Club (Monthly fee for one adult)

€35.90

Cinema International Release (1 seat)

€7.50

Tennis Court (One hour in a weekend)

€12.30

Source: Numbeo

Childcare

In Portugal, public schools offer basic education for free to both citizens and foreign residents till the students are nine years of age. Lessons are taught in Portuguese.

If you opt for a private school, then you need to pay the required amount for the education.  Private schools charge you between €400 and €500 per month from primary to high school, which does not include the enrollment fee and book fees. Portugal also has English-speaking international schools, where the fee is around €9,274 per year, in addition to the enrollment fees, books, uniforms, etc.

Healthcare

Healthcare costs - cost of living in PortugalAccording to the latest ranking of the world’s health systems by the World Health Organization, Portugal ranks 12th. There are two categories of healthcare systems in Portugal, namely, public healthcare and private healthcare. Public healthcare is almost free for all citizens and legal residents. There will be healthcare costs associated with selected procedures, which include visiting a family doctor, the emergency room, or taking a diagnostic examination. The fee can be anything from €5 to  €20. The diagnostic exams cost not more than  €40.

Private healthcare in Portugal is more expensive than the public healthcare system, and without private health insurance, you’ll have to pay an average of €40 to €50 for a doctor’s appointment.

Private health insurance varies depending on your insurance plan. There are different types of private health insurance plans in Portugal, and you’ll need to choose one that suits you the best. The prices of private insurance, on average, are around €400 a year. Prices can go as high as €1000 when you choose a more comprehensive insurance plan.

Cost of living in Portugal for Retirees

The cost of living in Portugal for retirees is €1,300-€1,500 per month in small towns or €1,700 in larger urban areas such as Lisbon or Porto. In general, the average cost of living in Portugal is about 38 percent lower than in the US and 37 percent lower than in the UK. Renting a property alone is 46 percent cheaper than in the US. If you decide to retire in Portugal, you will definitely will live a very comfortable and relaxed lifestyle and will find most things are very reasonably priced, from public transport to groceries and healthcare to property prices.

Cost of living in Portugal for International Students

The Portuguese public and private universities have some of the most affordable degrees in Europe, and it is a very good place to improve your Portuguese language skills. The cost of living in Portugal for international students depends on the city they choose to study in. Even though the tuition fees are cheap, there are other costs you are required to cover during your stay, such as food, accommodation, study materials, and so on.

The prices in Lisbon and Porto are increasing, yet, you will find that Portugal is one of the few countries you are able to get by at a much cheaper rate than in most other Western European cities, such as London and Paris.

Cost of living in Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, a vibrant and active capital city of Portugal, is a bit more expensive than all the other cities. While Portugal is considered one of the most affordable countries in Western Europe, Lisbon has its own living costs. If you are looking for luxurious high-priced properties with extra facilities, such as a gym or a pool, then the costs might go higher. However, the cost of living in Lisbon is much lower and more affordable than in other European nations.

If you are interested in knowing more about living costs in Lisbon, please check our guide on the cost of living in Lisbon.

Discover More

We have a great selection of useful guides to help you decide if living in Portugal as an American is for you. Our article, An expat in Portugal your essential guide, will also offer you valuable insight into life in Portugal and various costs, from shipping expenses to finding an affordable international health insurance plan. Our partner, Global Citizen Solutions, will be able to offer you expert advice and guidance on your journey to moving to Portugal as a US Citizen. Global Citizen Solutions is a multidisciplinary firm offering bespoke residence and citizenship solutions in Europe and the Caribbean.

Frequently Asked Questions About Portugal's Cost of Living

Is Portugal expensive to live in?

Being the most affordable country in Western Europe is one of the top ten reasons to move to Portugal. The estimated cost of living in Portugal per month will vary depending on location, lifestyle, and whether supporting a partner or family is part of your monthly expenses. For a family of four are €2,156, excluding rent, while a single person’s estimated monthly costs are €614.90, excluding rent. On average, consumer prices in Portugal are almost 40.6 percent lower than in the USA. Rent prices in Portugal are 55.8 percent lower than in the United States.

You can live comfortably in Portugal on $2,000 a month, which amounts to €1,841, well above the Portuguese minimum wage. According to Numbeo, a one-bedroom apartment in Lisbon or Porto city center will cost about €916, and grocery prices at local markets and items like domestic beer and a mid-range bottle of Portuguese wine are available at a fairly reasonable cost.

Portugal is cheaper to live in than the US. Just about everything, healthcare costs, groceries, transportation, and properties are available at a more reasonable price when you look at the cost of living in Portugal vs US. In Lisbon, rent for a property is 46.37 percent, consumer prices are 37.8 percent, and restaurant prices are 57.21 percent lower than in Washington, DC.

The public healthcare system is almost free for residents and Portuguese citizens. However, you need to pay a small amount for a few procedures, such as diagnostic examinations, visiting a certain doctor, or visiting an emergency room.

Living costs in Portugal are very low compared to many other Western European countries. From daily essentials, real estate, and restaurants, you can get by very well cheaply.

It depends greatly on your lifestyle and the place you choose to live in. The average monthly salary in Portugal is low, however, the affordable cost of living makes up for the low income. The average monthly salary after the taxes comes to around €1,208. Many locals in Portugal get by with less than €750 a month. The cost of living for a couple in smaller cities in Portugal is around €1700, whereas living in a major city like Lisbon will cost just over €2000 a month.

According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Portugal for a family of 4 can be around €2,514, excluding the rent. Before you take the leap, reach out to online communities or an acquaintance living in Portugal as an expat. You can seek advice on the lifestyle Portugal offers and ask for information to help you create a sample monthly budget based on Portugal costs compared to your low cost living in your home country.

On average, looking at both the higher and lower ends of the salary spectrum in Portugal, salaries can range from €1,208 ($1,313) to €12,300 ($11,942 ). Considering this income range, the cost of living in Portugal vs USA is still exceptionally affordable as Portugal offers significantly low-cost rent prices, transport prices, restaurant prices, school costs – including public and private universities – and general living costs.

Looking at Portugal compared to Washington, DC, you will find that the cost of living in Portugal in us dollars is much cheaper. For a single person, the estimated monthly cost of living in Portugal without rent is around €711. In comparison to Washington DC, Lisbon is approximately 51 percent cheaper overall (without rent). Rental costs in Lisbon are, on average, 57 percent lower than in Washington, DC. Buying an apartment in the Lisbon city center €5,376 ($5,842) per square meter while the same sized apartment in the Washington DC city center will cost €13,128 ($14,266) per square meter. These are the latest 2024 stats, according to Numbeo.

Portugal is not the cheapest country. However, costs in Portugal are fairly affordable compared to the US. According to the latest Numbeo stats in a capital city comparison, in Washington, DC, living expenses are 53.4 percent higher than the living cost in Lisbon, Portugal. Washington, DC, restaurant prices are also 53.4 percent higher than in Lisbon.