Updated: March 7, 2023

Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city after Lisbon, is located in the northwestern part of Portugal. It is situated along the Douro River estuary and the Atlantic Ocean and is well-known for its historical center, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as its famous port wine, produced in the nearby Douro Valley.

Only a short drive to the Spanish border and with an international airport, Porto is also a great springboard for international travelers, making it a popular choice for digital nomads and those who enjoy freedom of movement throughout the European Union (EU). 

The city has become popular amongst expats in recent years due to its vibrant and lively atmosphere and friendly community. It’s a great place to live, and Porto’s cost of living is another bonus for those who decide to make it their temporary or permanent home. With plenty of co working spaces and excellent public transportation, Porto has also become popular with digital nomads from all over the globe.

In the article below, we will provide an overview of what it costs to live a comfortable life in Porto’s city center or surrounding area, taking into account both basic requirements and transport, leisure, and entertainment expenses.


Is Porto an affordable city?

City life is generally considered to be more expensive, and Portugal’s cities are no different. However, the cost of living will depend on your lifestyle, habits, and requirements, as well as where in Porto you choose to live. Typical prices and living expenses in northern Portugal are lower than in Portugal’s south.

Compared to Lisbon, Porto is a low-cost option for expats, with average rent prices being nearly 30 percent cheaper than in the capital city. Other consumer prices are around 15 percent lower than in Lisbon. Moreover, unlike many other European cities, Porto is affordable without compromising on the quality of life, and many people can live well on a minimum wage.


Cost of Living in Porto: Property

Buying a property in Porto

Purchasing real estate in Porto, Portugal, is typically a safe and uncomplicated process, similar to that in other areas of the country. Foreigners are subject to the same regulations as locals, ensuring a fair and equitable process. 

However, as the process does involve a significant amount of paperwork, it’s advisable to seek guidance from experts such as legal professionals who can provide assistance in your native language and trustworthy buyers’ agents who prioritize your best interests.

At Goldcrest, we offer the services of a team of knowledgeable experts who can help guide you through every step of the property-buying process. Our team can assist with everything from locating your ideal property to finalizing contracts and exchanging ownership.

Real estate prices in Porto are lower than in Lisbon and exclusive towns such as Cascais, which is nearly 40 percent more expensive. Of course, the cost of buying property in Porto will be influenced by the neighborhood, whether it’s located in or outside the city center, and the condition of the property you are interested in.  Generally, Porto’s lower cost of living is reflected in property prices.

To find out more about Porto and its neighborhoods, amenities, and facilities, our article on Living in Porto: A Guide for Foreigners may prove useful.

On average, property prices in Porto’s center are between €2,500* and €4,100* per square meter. As mentioned above, this depends on the property’s size, its condition, and its location.

In comparison, prices for property outside Porto’s center range between €1,600* and €2,800* per square meter. 

*The above costs are from Numbeo as of March 2023.

The following guides may also be helpful for more in-depth information about buying real estate in Porto: 

Where to Buy Property in Porto

Best Neighborhoods in Porto for Families

Best Beach Properties Near Porto

Porto Luxury Real Estate Guide

Should I Buy Property in Porto or Lisbon?

Real Estate Agent in Porto

Renting a property in Porto

Renting property is a good option if you’re staying temporarily or would like to find out more about Porto before committing to a permanent property. The good news is that Porto has plenty of rental places, and rent prices are a lot more affordable in northern Portugal than in Lisbon, let alone other European cities.

It is, for example, up to 65 percent cheaper to rent in Porto than in London, UK, and up to 25 percent cheaper than in Barcelona, Spain. The price you pay in Porto is dependent on the size, location, and quality of the apartment or house you’d like to rent and also the length of time you’re committed to staying. Generally, however, rental prices in Porto are in line with its lower cost of living.

For short-term lettings, you may find Airbnb a convenient option before you decide on a long-term rental. Websites Idealista and Kyero are useful in finding a place to rent in Porto; make sure you also check out local Facebook groups or speak to private landlords. Thorough viewings are highly recommended to make sure that there are no surprises once you have signed the rental contract.

On average, prices for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center cost between €665* and €1,000*, and for a three-bedroom apartment, you will pay between €1,200* and €2,000*. 

Outside the center, you’ll pay between €500* and €850* for a one-bedroom apartment and between €800* and €1,200* for a three-bedroom accommodation.

*The above costs are from Numbeo as of March 2023

Cost of Living in Porto: Taxes and Bills


Many foreigners choose Portugal as their new home because of the attractive tax benefits. Under Portugal’s non-habitual tax regime (NHR tax regime), expats in certain professions or those earning income from other countries may be eligible for exclusive tax benefits. 

In addition, Portugal’s D7 Visa, also known as Portugal’s Passive Income Visa, qualifies those with a monthly income of at least €760 from passive income, such as a pension, to settle in the country. Overall, Portugal has lower thresholds for monthly income than other European countries, which means that it is a favorite for many expats from all over the world. 

We’d advise that you seek professional advice before moving to Portugal to ensure that you pay the appropriate taxes. This will help you to avoid any unexpected tax liabilities.
For more in-depth information on the Portugal NHR tax regime, including Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs), please refer to our article on the Portugal NHR Program.

Utility costs

The global increase in gas and electricity prices has also affected Portugal and its overall cost of living. Nevertheless, utility prices in Portugal remain relatively affordable, and the warm weather during spring and summer, as well as milder winter months, means there is no need to heat accommodation during most months, which will keep annual utility bills low. 

How much you will spend in total on your utility bills will depend on factors such as the size of your apartment or house, the number of people living there, as well as how much you use gas, electricity, and water. 

For other utility costs, such as the Internet and mobile phone bills, the cost will vary on your chosen provider, any new customer deals, and your personal requirements. It’s advisable to do some research and to shop around before being tied into a contract. Bear in mind that Internet and mobile phone provider costs are unrelated to where in Portugal you live.

For mobile phones, unlimited data will be at an extra cost to a prepaid mobile tariff. To give a general idea of utility costs for a small household, please refer to the table below, which provides an average overview.

UtilityCost per month
Gas, electricity, water, garbage (for an 85 ㎡ apartment)€114
Mobile phone (contract)€30 - €40

*The above costs are from Numbeo as of March 2023

Cost of Living in Porto: Other Costs to Consider

Porto’s overall cost of living is lower than in many other cities, without having to compromise on quality of life. On the contrary: Living in Porto’s city center gives you access to all the amenities of a vibrant and eclectic city, which is full of beautiful history yet also has plenty of opportunities for a modern society. Best of all, you won’t have to pay a premium price to enjoy living in Porto.



Porto is home to a fabulous gastronomy and hospitality scene, and no matter your taste, requirements, or preferences, you’re sure to find some cafes, bars, and restaurants that cater to your needs. Portugal is famous for its excellent fresh produce and outstanding fish and seafood dishes, and Porto is no exception. You’ll find some of the best food in Portugal’s second city.

Whether you’re a regular at dining out or fancy an occasional treat, rest assured that eating in one of Porto’s restaurants won’t break the bank. 

Eating at an inexpensive restaurant will cost between €7* and €15* per person. For a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant, prices start between €13* and €30* per person.

Most drinks are also reasonably priced, depending on where you go. Half a liter of domestic beer will cost between €1.20* and €3.50*, a soft drink between €1* and €2*, and a cappuccino between €0.75* and €3*. 

*The above costs are from Numbeo as of March 2023.

Household essentials and the cost of food in Porto

The current cost of living crisis has led to increased prices for everyday items like food and toiletries. Nevertheless, Portugal remains one of the most affordable countries in Europe, and Porto’s prices for essentials are also lower than in Lisbon. To provide an idea of basic food item prices, see the table below.

Milk (1 liter)€0.84
Bread (500 g)€1.22
Rice (1 kg)€1.14
Eggs (12)€2.32
Chicken (1 kg)€5.98
Apples (1 kg)€1.82
Tomatoes (1 kg)€1.73
Potatoes (1 kg)€1.22
Water (1.5 liters)€0.57

*The above costs are from Numbeo as of March 2023

Prices for toiletries, and other personal hygiene essentials will vary from store to store, and you’re likely to find cheaper alternatives in supermarkets or a chain store. Generally speaking, costs for toiletries are roughly the same across Portugal. The table below gives an overview of some basic items:

Toilet paper (4 rolls)€1.54
Tampons (32 piece box)€3.50

Childcare and schooling

Families with children will be glad to know that Porto is an excellent place, not just regarding safety and lots of things to do for children and youngsters of all ages, but its education system is excellent. To attend free public schools, proficiency in Portuguese is required, especially for students in secondary schools. 

Older children may find it easier to attend one of Porto’s outstanding private international schools that teach a curriculum they are familiar with and in their native tongue. Most of Porto’s neighborhoods have a number of private schools, catering not just to English-speaking families but also French and German speakers.

The fees for each of those schools vary, as do additional fees for enrollment, insurance, and school maintenance fees. If you enroll more than one child, you may be eligible for sibling discounts, but that is dependent on the individual school. 

You can find a list of some international schools in Porto in our article Porto Neighborhoods Close to International Schools, which includes links to individual schools’ websites. 

For older children, Porto is also home to a variety of colleges and universities that offer an abundance of courses and qualifications. Porto is popular with Portuguese and international students and has many opportunities and amenities for those who study here. 

The following school fees are an average and may vary from institution to institution and from year to year:

Type of educational institutionMonthly/ Annual fees per child
Preschool/ Kindergarten, full day€300 to €500 per month
International primary school€5,000 to €12,000 per year
International secondary school€9,200 to €13,000 per year (fee depending on year group and school)

You may also find the following article helpful before deciding which neighborhood is best for you and your family:

Best Neighborhoods in Porto for Families


Portugal is recognized for having a top-notch healthcare system, whether you opt for private or public healthcare. Its public healthcare system, Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS), is similar to that in the UK and Canada. It is free of charge or subject to small charges. To qualify for the SNS, you have to be a legal resident and have registered with your local council. 

You will also need proof of address, your residency card, and your work visa before you can get your healthcare number. This number allows you to access the healthcare system, but be aware that some services incur a small cost, ranging from €5 to €20. Please also note that dental care and plastic surgery procedures are not included in the public health service and come at an additional cost.

Many expats opt for private health insurance, and those healthcare costs are cheaper compared to a lot of western Europe. Private health insurance gives you access to private doctors and hospitals, which are of a high standard. What’s more, you may avoid longer wait times for any treatments.

Private healthcare plans vary in cost depending on your age, overall health, and health history. Most insurance plans start from €400 per year and can go up to €1,000 per year.

Transportation costs

Porto’s public transportation system is well-developed and low-cost, making getting around and living in Porto easy and effective whilst also avoiding the more expensive option of investing in your own means of transport. Individual fares for buses, trams, the metro, and trains are available, but buying a monthly transport pass may be better.

A one-way ticket for local transport costs between €1.20* and €2.40*, but a monthly pass costs between €30* and €40* and gives you unlimited access to Porto’s public transport facilities. Taxis and Ubers are also relatively cheap, with an average ride around Porto costing between €6 and €8, all depending on distance and time of travel. Airport transfers to Porto airport cost around €25.

*The above costs are from Numbeo as of  March 2023

Sports and leisure

Porto has an abundance of things to do for everyone, no matter your interests and budget. Sports and leisure facilities can be found in every neighborhood, and prices will depend on the venue and your own preferences. A lot of activities won’t add hugely to the cost of living, making for a comfortable life. 

The monthly pass for a fitness center can vary between €25* and €60*, and to rent a tennis court for an hour can cost between €7* and €20*. To go to the cinema is cheaper than most other European cities, and tickets cost between €6* and €10* for an international release.

The beauty of living in Porto is that there are lots of free things to do, and there is sure to be something for every interest and taste. Porto’s Casa da Música, for example, hosts a range of free concerts that music lovers can enjoy, either in one of its impressive performing halls or outside during the summer months.

You can stroll through free photography exhibitions at Centro Português de Fotografia in an impressive building that once used to be a prison but now serves as an exhibition space for artists. The Jardins do Palácio de Cristal are a stunning space of greenery in Porto from where you can enjoy exceptional views across Porto and the River Douro.

Other activities include finding and admiring Porto’s impressive street art collection, walking along the River Douro or along its beaches, watching Porto’s glorious sunsets, or visiting the city’s historical buildings and monuments.

The suggestions above are by no means exhaustive but give you a headstart when planning your leisure time.


Porto is a paradise for shoppers, and you’ll find anything from high street brands to independent shops. In Porto, you’ll also find many different markets, either with fresh produce or those offering handmade goods, arts, and crafts. Fleamarkets are also part of Porto’s market scene, and you can snap up some bargains from local sellers.  

The prices below are an average of high street or branded shops and give an overview of what you can expect to pay for clothing and shoes.

Jeans (1 pair, Levis 501 or similar)€30 - €110
Summer dress (highstreet brand)€15 - €40
Running shoes/ Trainers (branded)€45 - €110
Leather shoes€50 - €150

*The above costs are from Numbeo as of March 2023

In Summary: The Cost of Living in Porto

Porto is, in comparison to other European cities, a very affordable city and a great place to enjoy a top quality of life without the premium price tag. How much money you need on a monthly basis will depend on an individual’s personal circumstances, expectations, and lifestyle, but those who are looking for value for money find that Porto offers plenty of options. 

Property prices are affordable and renting is reasonably priced for western Europe, especially when compared with major cities such as London. You’ll also find that everyday essentials are cheap and of high quality, and there are lots of free things for expats to enjoy when living in Porto. 

Combined, all of this keeps the cost of living low for everyone: Portuguese citizens, EU citizens living in Portugal as well as digital nomads and legal residents. 

If you’re intrigued and can imagine your life in Porto but want to learn more about this beautiful city, or if you’re interested in exploring a variety of residency options, feel free to schedule a no-oblication call with us, and one of our experts will be delighted to assist you. 


Frequently Asked Questions about the Cost of Living in Porto

Is living in Porto expensive?

Porto is an affordable city, even though it is Portugal’s second-largest city. Prices have increased in line with the rest of the world, but compared to many other major cities, Porto remains a cheap place to live without compromising on the quality of life.

How much money do you need to live in Porto, Portugal?

How much money you need per month depends on your personal circumstances, habits, and requirements. Generally speaking, you can expect that you’ll pay less than in other European cities for essentials such as rent, groceries, and other personal expenses for free time and leisure.


Is it cheaper to live in Lisbon or Porto?

Overall, the cost of living is higher in Lisbon than in Porto, with rent being up to 30 percent cheaper in Porto. Other consumer goods are also more reasonably priced, and the local purchasing power is 13 percent higher in Porto than in Lisbon.