If you want to live in Portugal, you will see that the cost of living there is very affordable compared to other countries in Western Europe. While life can generally be expensive in Western Europe, you can live a comfortable life with a modest salary in Portugal.
Many Expats decide to move to Portugal or retire there. Other than Portugal’s cost of living, expats also take into consideration the country’s mild climate and its incredible landscapes.
People earn less in Portugal compared to other Western European countries. However, it doesn’t pose a problem because the cost of living there is relatively low compared to the rest of the continent. So it is easier to live with a smaller salary in Portugal than in other Western European countries. Locals in Portugal can easily live off €850 per month.
In Portugal, the cost of living varies depending on the location and lifestyle you live. It is important to note that Lisbon and Cascais are the most expensive cities in Portugal, followed by Porto.
As opposed to the expensive cities, Braga, Viseu, and Coimbra are the most affordable places you can find in Portugal. Rents are cheaper (around €400-600 per month), and the cost of groceries and eating out is very reasonable in these places.
Rent Costs and Property Prices in Portugal
Usually, both property rental and sales values are affordable in Portugal.
Rent Prices in Portugal
Other than the expensive cities mentioned above, you can find that for a two-bedroom apartment, the rent costs are between €550 and €800 per month throughout the country. An apartment without furniture is even cheaper to rent.
However, if you wish to get a bit more luxurious service with your family, then you should expect the rent to cost between €1,500 and €2,200 per month for an apartment. Renting a mid-range apartment in the country is also a very reasonable expense when you compare it to other Western European countries.
Property Prices in Portugal
In Portugal, like rent, the price of an apartment changes depending on the location within the country. In the Algarve, a one-bedroom apartment is between €150,000 and €200,000. In Lisbon, on the other hand, the price of a one-bedroom apartment would range between €300,000 and €600,000, depending on the location.
For a more comprehensive understanding of real estate, read our Buying Real Estate in Portugal guide.
Cost of Living in Portugal: Food and Groceries
Groceries in Portugal
Food is generally very affordable in Portugal, especially fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat.
For groceries, a monthly budget of €200-300 will be more than enough, including even some luxuries. Because of its location near the sea, fish prices are also reasonable at around €5-8. The cost of meat is around €7-10, and chicken is around €2.5. You can find some other costs of various grocery items in the table below:
|Apple (one kg)||1.75|
|Banana (one kg)||1.10|
|Chicken (one kg)||5.20|
|A dozen eggs||1.70|
|A loaf of bread (500 g)||1.10|
|Local Cheese (one kg)||7.10|
|Milk (one liter)||0.60|
|Onions (one kg)||0.95|
|Potatoes (one kg)||0.85|
|Rice (one kg)||0.95|
|Water bottle (1.5 liters)||0.50|
In addition to these, the cost of good wine in Portugal is under €10, and on average, it costs around €5-7. But that doesn’t mean that it lacks rare wines. There are, in fact, some rare and old wines that can cost as much as several thousand Euros. Finally, You can find a bottle of beer starting from €1.
Eating Out in Portugal
You can see the approximate costs of eating outside below:
|Meal at an inexpensive restaurant||8|
|Meal for two at a mid-range restaurant||30|
|Meal at a fast-food chain||6|
In general, lunch will cost around €15, and fast food around €7-8. If you eat in a more luxurious place, the price will be about €25-35 per person.
Below you can find the average monthly utility costs in Portugal. Please note that the monthly prices may vary depending on how much you use them in a month and how big your house is.
|Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment||99.59|
|1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans)||0.16|
|Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)||32.75|
If you’re living in Portugal, you can see that buses are the most widely-used public transportation there. The cost of bus tickets ranges from €1 to €5. Most locations in Portugal can only be accessed by bus. Intercity buses are available in most cities as well.
Furthermore, in the districts of Lisbon and Porto, you can also find metro lines. These networks connect the city centers to the near neighborhoods and municipalities. There is also a tram line in these two cities. Most metro tickets cost around €1.20 – €5. Monthly passes are between €20 and €40.
Additionally, there are train lines in Lisbon, Porto, and Coimbra as well. These are the urban lines, and there are also several regional trains. The regional trains connect cities nearby. There is also the line called The Alfa Pendular, which connects the main cities throughout the country.
Finally, in Portugal, you can find affordable taxi fees as well as alternatives to it, such as Uber, Cabify, and MyTaxi. The average taxi fee in Portugal starts at around €3 and increases at a rate of €0,50 per kilometer.
In Portugal, basic education (9 years) is free for the residents (including citizens and foreign residents). However, if you opt for a private school, you have to pay a considerable amount of money.
In private schools in Portugal, you will pay an average of €400-500 per month from primary to high school, in addition to enrolment and book fees.
There is also the option of international schools. The average fee for these schools is around €800 a month(this varies according to the school), in addition to enrolment fees and other related fees (books, uniforms, etc.).
Public universities are cheaper than private universities. For public universities in Portugal, there is a fee limit that changes every year. As of 2020, the maximum fee is around €900.
The fee for each private university is different. However, average private universities in Portugal cost €3000 a year.
To learn more about the education system in Portugal, you can visit here.
Healthcare and Social Security
Healthcare in Portugal
Public healthcare in Portugal is almost free, with a low cost for citizens and legal residents. Only a few procedures require a small fee. These procedures may include visiting the emergency room, visiting the family doctor, taking a diagnostics examination, or going to certain doctor appointments. The fee for these procedures in Portugal is between €5-20. The exams will typically cost no more than €40.
In Portugal, private healthcare is more expensive than public one. You will pay an average of €40-50 for a doctor’s appointment if you have private health care.
Prices for private health insurance may change depending on your choice of insurance plan. There are many different health insurance plans in Portugal, so it is essential to choose the one which meets your needs.
On average, the prices of private insurance are around €400 a year. And, when you choose a more comprehensive insurance plan, the prices can go as high as €1,000.
Read Portugal’s healthcare system guide to learn more.
Social Security in Portugal
The Portuguese social security system gives you certain benefits regarding unemployment, occupational diseases, invalidity, maternity, pension, and death. If you are registered with the social security system in Portugal, you pay your contribution from your salary. The amount received from your gross earnings is 11%. Also, your employer pays a further 23.75% a month.
In the case of self-employment, you pay 29.6% of your declared income each month.
Bank Accounts and Money Transfers
When you’re living in Portugal, most banks charge you a monthly fee for your bank account, which is between €5-10. They also charge you on your credit cards, overdrafts, loans, and mortgages. These types of fees change depending on your bank, card, and so on.
For international money transfers, you will pay €15 for transfers less than €50,000, and around €30 or more for transfers more than €50,000.
If you have a bank account in a currency other than Euro, you can use Transferwise or a currency broker to convert your money in Portugal.
For more info, please read our guide on how to open a bank account in Portugal.
Retiring in Portugal
Many retirees from European countries, the US, and the UK choose Portugal for retirement. The reason for this is the country’s reasonable living standards, its favorable climate, incredible coasts, and landscapes.
In addition to these advantages, the tax rates and property costs are very favorable for retirees in Portugal. Expats mostly prefer the Algarve region for retirement in Portugal. Even Forbes has recently rated the area as the most affordable option for retirees in Europe to retire in Portugal.
How Can I Live in Portugal?
If you are interested in living in Portugal and making use of the low costs of living, then it’s a good idea to speak with a professional and ask all the questions you have. Depending on your personal situation and specific needs, a professional advisor can guide you in the right direction, saving you time and money.
If you need advice on finding a property or obtaining residency status in Portugal, we would be glad to help. You may get in touch with us to schedule a call.