What is the Cost of Living in Portugal?

Culture, adventure, and mystique await in Portugal. Suppose you’re in the midst of planning to move to Portugal or have recently relocated. In that case, it’s best to stay clued up about the cost of living in Portugal in 2022, so you can budget accordingly and enjoy Portuguese life to the maximum in this gorgeous European country.

In this article, we’ll delve into the following:

  • Is the cost of living in Portugal affordable?
  • How much can I live off per month?
  • Cost of property in Portugal
  • Other costs to consider in Portugal
  • Cost of living in Portugal for retirees
  • Cost of living in Portugal for international students
  • Cost of living in Lisbon, Portugal
  • Plus much more!

Is the cost of living in Portugal affordable?

First things first, it’s important to understand that the cost of living in Portugal depends on your income, financial situation, and spending habits. Generally speaking, yes, Portugal is one of the most inexpensive countries in Europe to live in.

Just about everything — from groceries to accommodation —  comes at an affordable cost compared to other European nations. For example, consumer prices in Portugal are roughly 34  percent lower than in France and around 27 percent lower in Portugal than in Germany.

Portugal ranks in 12th position in Global Citizen Solutions pioneering Quality of Life Index, part of our innovative way to uncover the true value of a passport. This index factors in the cost of living, alongside the Sustainable Development Goals, levels of freedom, happiness, migrant acceptance, and environmental performance.

 

How much can I live off per month?

A couple with a solid, mid-range income can live comfortably in Portugal’s interior cities for around €1,700 per month, while a couple in Lisbon can live from €$2,000 or upwards a month. If you’re single, then you can get by with €1,200 per month in Lisbon or Porto and even less in Portugal’s quieter towns. Do bear in mind that prices are increasing quite quickly in Lisbon.

If you fall in the higher income bracket, you’ll be pleased to hear you can easily live anywhere in the country from €3,000 a month, with a vast range of premium luxury activities and properties for sale.

 

Cost of Living in Portugal: Property

Buying a property

Your cost of living in Portugal will be considerable if you decide to buy a property in Portugal. However, you’ll be pleased to know that the property market in Portugal is much more affordable than in other western European countries.

We recommend enlisting the help of a professional buyers agent, such as Goldcrest, for your property purchase, as they will provide a service tailored to your needs and can guide you from sourcing through to property acquisition. They will also have access to real estate listings that you will not be able to find elsewhere.

If you decide to pursue a Portuguese Golden Visa, you’ll be able to secure residency in Portugal. This program is available to non-EU, non-EEA, or non-Swiss citizens. The most popular investment route to qualify for the program is through real estate, which accounts for more than 90 percent of Golden Visa applications.

The good news is that Portugal’s real estate market is stable, with signs of growth. This means that if you invest in a good property in a good area, chances are you’ll get a solid return on your investment, with the chance to turn in a profit.

On average, in Portugal, the price per square meter for an apartment in the city center will cost you €3,030, while an apartment outside the city center will set you back €2,027.

If you need more guidance on the costs involved in purchasing a property in Portugal, check out our guide to buying a property in Portugal here.

Mortgages

Buying a property in Portugal is a great investment. The country’s property market is showing signs of stable growth and has recovered well after the financial crisis of 2012. Happily, there are no restrictions on foreigners buying properties in Portugal. You may even be eligible for a mortgage with your Portugal Golden Visa if you meet the real estate investment criteria under the program. You will need, however, to make the minimum investment requirement yourself.

Renting

If you’re not looking to buy just yet, renting in Portugal is a smart, economical option. When you look at the cost of living in Portugal compared with the UK, the average rent is about 42 percent higher in the UK than in Portugal, meaning that you could be saving some serious money while enjoying a sunnier climate.

To give you some idea of how rent prices compare, a one-bedroom flat in the city center of Lisbon costs €1,179 per month, while a similar property in London would cost around €1,936. On the national level in Portugal, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is €716.

 

Other Costs of Living in Portugal to Consider

Taxes

If you are a tax resident, your worldwide income is subject to Portuguese income tax. This could include salary, rental income, and capital gains. If you aren’t a registered resident in Portugal, only income earned in Portugal will be liable for tax, which is typically 23 percent.

When buying a property, you need to be aware of Portugal’s property tax. Called transfer tax, it ranges from 1-8 percent, depending on the purchasing price and whether it’s your first or second home in the country. Extra stamp duty of 0.8 percent is also payable on a purchase. Another thing to note is that a wealth tax exits, and it may affect you if you’re the sole purchaser and your property is worth over €600,000.

Portugal’s Non-Habitual Residency (NHR) tax scheme enables individuals who register as tax residents in Portugal and have NHR status to enjoy income-tax-free both in Portugal and in the country where they have their source of income. Find out more about how to apply for NHR status by checking out our guide to the NHR Portugal Tax regime here.

Utilities

It’s great that housing costs are so affordable in Portugal, but what about all of the extras that can add up?

Fortunately, the cost of living in Portugal is considerably lower than in other countries. Monthly costs for an 85 m² apartment, including the basic utility costs (water, electricity, heating, and rubbish collection), is around €110, while the same bill in, let’s say, the UK, for example, is €209.

Your mobile phone plan in Portugal won’t go over the €25 per month mark, and that includes a solid mobile data plan. One minute of prepaid mobile tariff, without any discounts or plans, will cost you €0.16, around the same price as a prepaid mobile tariff in the United States.

Transportation costs

Portugal has so much to offer, from stunning beaches and cities full of culture to picturesque towns and incredible food and wine. You’ll want to explore it all, and luckily, travel is fairly inexpensive in Portugal. The monthly fee for a bus pass costs just €40. Petrol is marginally more expensive in Portugal at €1.50 a liter, but a new car is around €5,000 cheaper compared to many other European countries.

Eating out

Portugal is well-known for its incredible food and wine, with a focus on delicious seafood fresh off the boat. High-quality food comes as a standard, without the premium price tag that usually accompanies it in other countries like France.

You can enjoy a solid meal in Portugal for around €10-€20 and can easily eat out a couple of times per week. Popping out for a drink or two is also very affordable and sociable, with a glass of wine averaging about €3 and a domestic beer just under €1. Drinks, anyone?

You can see more information in the table below:

A meal in an inexpensive restaurant €8
A meal in a mid-level restaurant (two people, three courses) €40
Water €1.00
Cappuccino €1.46

Everyday essentials

When you’re not discovering your favorite new restaurants, you’ll need some basic essentials at home. The cost of food in Portugal is very reasonable, particularly if you shop locally. The produce is also of very good quality and, with a long coastline, fish prices are also extremely affordable.

Budgeting for food

Alongside housing, food usually accounts for the second largest part of an expat’s budget. However, knowing just how much you’re going to spend on food can be quite difficult, as it will depend considerably on your lifestyle and where you are based. A good way to work out a monthly budget for food is to keep track of your receipts to check whether there are products that are proving to be quite costly, such as brand names or imported goods.

The table below shows the estimated costs of some common grocery essentials.

Milk (regular), (1 liter)€0.70
Loaf of white bread (500g)€1.14
Rice (white), (1kg)€1.05
Eggs (regular) (12)€2.00
Local cheese (1kg)€7.41
Chicken filets (1kg)€5.53
Beef round (1kg) or equivalent back leg red meat€9.27
Apples (1kg)€1.67
Banana (1kg)€1.15
Oranges (1kg)€1.31
Tomato (1kg)€1.65
Bottle of wine (mid-range)€4.00
Domestic beer (0.5-liter bottle)€1.08
Imported Beer (0.33-liter bottle)€1.86

Leisure activities

Gym memberships are cheap in Portugal, averaging €25 a month for a basic plan and easily racking up to €150 in the more premium branded gyms. If you’re a cinema fan, you’ll be glad to know that tickets are drastically cheap in Portugal, at €6. If you’re not yet fluent in Portuguese, don’t panic, as English-language films are usually shown in the original language with Portuguese subtitles.

Childcare and education

If you’ve got kids to think about, remember that public schools are free, but lessons are taught in Portuguese. If you’d like to send your children to an English-speaking international school or a private school, fees are around €7,500 a year.

There are an impressive 51 international schools in Portugal, with 30 located in the Lisbon Area. Whether you want to look into public schools, private schools, or international schools, you’ll find plenty of choices.

When it comes to higher education, you will find both public and private universities. As you can expect, private universities require a fee. Portugal has some excellent universities across the country, such as the University of Porto, the University of Lisbon, and the University of Coimbra.

Healthcare

Portugal’s public healthcare is almost completely free if you are a citizen or resident of the country, and only small costs will apply. Only a couple of procedures require additional healthcare costs, including visiting the emergency room, taking a diagnostics exam, or getting a particular doctor’s appointment.

Private health insurance for foreigners in Portugal is quite cheap. This could cost between €20 and €50 a month, depending on your age and the extent of your coverage. This means that, with private healthcare insurance, you can pay between €400 a year for a basic plan or €1,000 for a yearly plan with better coverage. You can always have an international health insurance plan, although having Portuguese health insurance can often be more affordable.

Cost of Living in Portugal for Retirees

Regarding the cost of living in Portugal for retirees, you should find that you can live very well. For example, if you are moving from America, you will find that just about everything, from healthcare to property prices, transportation to groceries, is more affordable in Portugal.

 

Cost of Living in Portugal for International Students

The cost of living in Portugal will depend on which city you choose to study in. While prices are increasing in many places, particularly in Lisbon and Porto, you should find that you can live well at a much cheaper rate than in many other western European cities, such as Paris and London.

 

Cost of Living in Lisbon, Portugal

While Portugal is one of the cheapest countries in western Europe, Lisbon has its own price range. If you are looking to move to the capital, you should know that property is more expensive. You can read more in our article: Cost of Living in Lisbon.

 

Global Citizen Solutions: How We Can Help You

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With offices worldwide and an experienced, hands-on team, get in touch today to see how we can understand your objectives and help you move towards becoming a global citizen.

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Frequently Asked Questions about the Cost of Living in Portugal

What's the cost of living in Portugal like?

The cost of living in Portugal is considered to be affordable, particularly when compared with other western European countries and the USA.

Is Portugal an expensive country to live in?

Portugal has one of the lowest living costs in western Europe. Almost everything, from property to eating out in restaurants, is affordable. Outside the major cities, you will be pleasantly surprised by the reasonable cost of living. While life can be expensive in some western European countries, you can live well in Portugal on a modest income.

What's the cost of living like in Portugal compared to the US?

On average, Portugal is cheaper to live in than the US. Consumer prices in Lisbon are 37.8 percent lower than in Washington, DC,  rent in Lisbon is 46.37 percent lower, and restaurant prices are 57.21 percent lower.

The cost of living in Lisbon, Portugal, including groceries, is 49.63 percent lower than in Washington, DC. For more comparisons, check out our comparison guide to the living costs in Portugal vs. USA.

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Portugal?

For a comfortable lifestyle in Portugal, you can get by with €1,200 as a single person or around €2,000-€2,500 as a couple. Note that in the capital, however, costs are more expensive, particularly rent. If you are planning to move to Lisbon, take this into consideration. In smaller towns in Portugal, you can live very well as the cost of living is very low compared to many other western countries.

Can you live in Portugal for $1000 a month?

Yes, if you live frugally, you should be able to live on $1000 a month in Portugal. However, it may not be possible if you live in Lisbon as costs are increasing, and rental costs are now quite high. If you want to live comfortably in the country, we would recommend €1,200. People in Portugal and Portuguese citizens tend to save money well and be quite frugal, a quality that is definitely worth embracing.

Is healthcare free in Portugal?

For residents and citizens of Portugal, healthcare is almost entirely free, with only small costs applicable. There are, however, a few procedures where you will need to pay an extra fee. These can include visits to the emergency room, taking a diagnostic exam, or getting a specific doctor’s appointment. A routine checkup will set you back around €40, while medical procedures will begin at €5.

Which town in Portugal has the lowest cost of living?

Some of the cheaper towns in Portugal are Bragança, Viseu, Braga, Torres Vedras, Covilhã, Évora, and Santarém. Few countries in western Europe are as affordable as Portugal, with prices in smaller towns considerably cheaper than their counterparts in France or the UK, for example.

What is the average cost of living in Portugal?

Portugal’s cost of living will depend greatly on your lifestyle. The average monthly salary in Portugal is low when compared to other western European countries. However, the low cost of living makes up for this to a certain extent. The average monthly salary, after taxes, is about €978 ($1,011) after taxes. If you live frugally, you can live off less in Portgual, particularly if you do not live in Lisbon, which has its own price range. A couple can live in one of Portugal’s smaller cities at very affordable rates.

What is the cost of living in Portugal for a family of four?

Portugal’s cost of living will depend on which part of the country you live in and your lifestyle. A family of four’s estimated living costs in Portugal is €1,990 ($2,039), not including rent.

What is the cost of living in Portugal compared with California?

According to Numbeo, consumer prices in Sacramento, California, are around 71 percent higher than in Lisbon, Portugal, excluding rent, rental costs are 70 percent higher, and grocery prices are around 124 percent higher.

What is the cost of living in Portugal for a family of 4?

A family of four’s estimated living costs in Portugal is 1,910€ (1,913$), not including rent.