Health insurance in Portugal

Is Portugal expensive for Americans? The short answer is no. Of course, whether or not you find Portugal an expensive place to live or just to visit depends on your budget, salary, or allowance money.

Generally speaking, though, financially comfortable individuals or families looking to visit Portugal will be pleased to find out that prices in Portugal are extremely reasonable, as it’s one of the most affordable countries in Western Europe.

For those who are looking to make a permanent move, the good news is that the cost of living in Portugal is affordable in comparison with the United States.

How expensive is Portugal for Americans?

If you’re planning a vacation to Portugal — or even a move — from the US, you’re probably wondering how expensive Portugal is. The answer is not expensive at all. While Portugal is a beautiful country that offers a very high quality of life, it’s also ranked as one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe and is known for its affordable food costs, cheap accommodation options, and reasonable public transportation costs.

If you’re travelling to Portugal for a vacation, you’ll likely find that your highest costs are your flights, while daily expenses tend to be relatively inexpensive. If you’re moving to Portugal permanently, you might have to factor in the costs of moving your belongings as well as the costs involved in your visa application.

How much does it cost to travel to Portugal?

passport for international mobility Typically, you’ll have to pay between $500 and $2,000 for a round-trip flight to Portugal. Naturally, these prices are dependent on whether you choose low cost airlines or major carriers, whether you choose direct flights or flights with layovers, as well as your departure city.

Flights from major cities on the East Coast, such as New York and Washington DC, tend to be cheaper than those from the West Coast, such as Seattle and San Francisco.

Of course, the time of year you choose to travel also impacts the price of your flights. The most expensive month to travel to Portugal from the US is June, at the peak of the tourist season. The cheapest month to make the trip is usually either January or February.

Luxury travel around Portugal

If you are interested in luxury travel in Portugal, you’re in for a thrill. Portugal’s world-class luxury hotels, golf courses, and private beaches make visiting this beautiful Western European country a treat. Guided luxury tours start from €6,295 per person for a week-long getaway.

If you would like to explore the country independently, accommodation costs are relatively affordable compared to those in the US. For example, in the Algarve, for a five-star hotel with a swimming pool expect to pay €150 per night for a double bedroom.

For dining out options, Portugal is home to 27 Michelin awarded restaurants, seven of which are located in Lisbon. Meals start from €95.

Traveling on a budget

For those on a tighter budget, traveling around Portugal is surprisingly cheap. A one-way train ticket from Lisbon to Faro (three-hour train ride) costs €20. If you want to save money and find the best deal, you can opt to travel by bus; tickets can be as cheap as €5 one-way.

As you travel around Portugal, you’ll realize that traveling in the interior towns is much cheaper than going to the more touristy destinations like the Algarve or Porto. Regardless, expect to pay €1,000 (flights and accommodation included) for a seven-day trip around Portugal.

Of course, if you’re a backpacker on vacation with a tight budget, you can even travel for less, as most hostels have beds for as little as €5 per night. If you’re a group of friends looking to relax by the coastline in Albufeira, then most vacation rental prices are about €140-€480 per night for an entire home. 

Cost of traveling in Portugal

For a general guide to the cost of traveling in Portugal, you can consider the following expenses:

  • €20 per night for accommodation (per adult or even per room if you book Airbnb). The amount you’ll pay will depend on the location and the type of accommodation. 
  • €15 for a two-meal course per person
  • €1.40 for a metro ride around Lisbon or Porto 
  • €7.50 for daily public transportation covering the tram and metro in Porto. In Lisbon, this costs either €6.80 or €10.80 if you want to go outside the city to places such as Sintra.
  • €25 per day if you opt to hire a rental car
  • About €5 for a week-long electronic sim card (e-sim) or €10 for a pre-paid physical sim card
  • €5 to €10 for taxi rides (ride-sharing apps such as Bolt and Uber have even cheaper fares)
  • €5 for most galleries or museums in Portugal, with some exceptions

Costs of moving to Portugal for Americans

If you’re moving to Portugal from the United States, you may want to get your belongings shipped internationally. If you choose to do this, you can compare prices from different shipping companies.

Naturally, the cost of shipping belongings to Portugal will depend on how much you intend to ship as well as whether you choose to have it sent by air or by sea. As an estimate, you can ship a couple of boxes of clothes (or similar items) for about $350 by sea or $900 by air.

If you’re moving large items like furniture, musical instruments, and so on, the costs will add up and likely total several thousand dollars.

When moving to Portugal from the US, you’ll also need to factor in visa costs, which will vary depending on the type of visa you apply for, whether you hire an immigration firm to help you or apply by yourself, and whether you intend to include any family members in your application.

Portugal Property Market Prices

Portugal’s property market is generally more affordable than its Western European counterparts. While it’s no longer possible to qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa through a real estate investment, it’s certainly possible to find a good place to rent at a better rate than you would be able to in the United States. There’s also a chance that you could be able to buy your dream home for a lower price than you would in the US.

Buying property in Portugal

If you’re interested in buying a property in Portugal, 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.

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.

Mortgages in Portugal

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.

As a rough comparison, in March 2024, US mortgage rates are generally between 6 percent and 7 percent. Meanwhile, the mortgage rates in Portugal are currently around 4 percent to 5 percent.

Of course, the rate that you’ll get will depend on whether you choose a variable rate or a fixed rate as well as the location of the property, the location of the property, your credit score, the downpayment, and the term of the loan.

Generally, though, it’s likely that you’d pay less for a property and a mortgage than you would in the US.

Renting property in Portugal

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 US, the average rent is substantially higher in the US 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 apartment in the city center of Lisbon costs €1,305 per month, while a similar property in New York would cost around €3,780.

Cost of living in Portugal for Americans

The cost of living in Portugal is generally considered 46 percent cheaper than in the United States. Known for its affordable living costs and excellent living standards, the good news for Americans who are moving to Portugal is that the cost of living in Portugal is very affordable.

If you factor in rent prices, a couple can live comfortably in Portugal’s interior towns or small cities from around €1,700 a month.

In coastal areas such as the Algarve region and in major cities such as Lisbon, the cost of living is higher. If you’re planning to move to the capital city, you can expect to pay around €2,200 a month as a couple. Of course, you can spend more or less, depending on your budget and lifestyle preferences.

In terms of monthly costs, you can consider the following factors:

  • €670 for a one-bedroomed flat close to the city center
  • €100 in utility bills per month
  • €40 for a monthly transportation pass
  • €150 for a monthly grocery shop

Cost of living in Lisbon

The cost of living in Lisbon is more expensive than in other parts of Portugal. This is largely because of rising tourism, with tourists from around the world keen to explore the city’s rich history, as well as tax rates. Having said that, though, it’s still possible to live comfortably in Lisbon without blowing your monthly budget.

So how much does it cost to live in Lisbon? From accommodation to groceries, you can typically live in Lisbon with €1,700 per month while also saving money. As usual, this does depend on your lifestyle choices and spending habits. For a couple, the cost of living in Lisbon per month is around €2,200 and upwards.

Living expenses in Portugal for Americans

Living expenses in Portugal are extremely affordable in comparison with those in major US cities and in other European countries. To give you a general idea, expect to pay:

  • €140 in utility bills (including electricity, water, gas, and wifi)
  • Between €150- €200 on your monthly groceries shop
  • €5 for a ‘lunch menu’ deal at one of Portugal’s popular pastelerias (bakeries) or a comprehensive lunch menu for €10
  • €1,500 in rent for a decent three-bedroom apartment close to the city center, with prices starting from around €800 for a one bedroom apartment
  • Free public schooling for children. Private schooling starts from around €600 per month plus upwards depending on the grade your child is in and what school you pick (whether Portuguese private or international private).
  • Portugal’s public healthcare system is well developed, offering free or low-cost medical care to citizens and legal residents who have paid into the Portuguese social security system (typically around 23.75 percent of your payroll; or if you’re self-employed, around 5 percent of your independent monthly earnings).

Cost of food in Portugal for Americans

The cost of food in Portugal is very affordable, especially if you buy produce that is considered ‘local’ — meaning it’s grown in Portugal. Produce like fresh fruit, vegetables, and dairy products are cheap and available pretty much everywhere. Meanwhile, if you buy imported products from Portugal like cereals or certain toothpaste brands/imported beer brands, expect to pay significantly higher than you would in the United States.

Refer to the table for a general outlook on the cost of food in Portugal:


Cost in Euros

Loaf of bread


A pack of 12 eggs


1 kg of bananas


1 kg of apples


1 kg of chicken


A slice of fresh salmon


1 kg of tomatoes


1kg of potatoes


Bottle of wine (mid-mark)


Is Portugal expensive for eating out?

life in portugal foodWhether Portugal is expensive to eat out or not depends on where you like to eat and what you like to consume. Generally, though, Portugal is not considered expensive to eat out. To eat breakfast out at a pasteleria (Portugal’s famous local bakery shops) with an espresso shot included, you can pay as little as €4. Many restaurants in Portugal offer set lunch menus, and you can find a solid lunch deal for typically €8 per person.

For a three-course meal for one at a typical Portuguese tasca (traditional Portuguese restaurant), expect to pay around €20. If you are after a trendier mid-range restaurant, then expect to pay around €25 to 30 per head.

If you’re vacationing in Portugal, budget around €50 for food per day (for a single person).

The cost of healthcare in Portugal

If you’re looking to visit Portugal, you might want to consider a travel insurance package that includes health insurance coverage. Generally, packages like these for Portugal cost between €35 (about $38) and €60 per person. Of course, the price you pay is dependent on how many people you want to cover with the package as well as how comprehensive the package you choose is.

For those who move to Portugal with legal residency, you’ll have access to the Portuguese healthcare system. Portugal’s healthcare system is a combination of public and private healthcare. If you opt for private health insurance, costs typically range from €30 to €100 per month, depending on factors such as your age, desired coverage, and any pre-existing conditions.

For more information on the public and private healthcare system in Portugal, read our Expats Guide to Healthcare in Portugal

Cost of education in Portugal

If you move to Portugal with your children, and you’re wondering how much their education will cost in Portugal, there are a range of public and private institutions that you can choose from. Public schools up to a certain education level are free for citizens and foreign residents alike.

If you’re considering private schooling, be prepared for tuition ranging between €400 and €500 per month from primary school to high school level.

If you’re considering an international school for your children, expect higher tuition fees. Typically, monthly costs for international schools in Portugal hover around €800.

When it comes to higher education, public university institutions generally charge tuition fees for Bachelor’s and Master’s programs. These fees typically fall between €1,000 and €1,500 per academic year for EU/EEA students and between €3,000 and €5,000 per academic year for non-EU/EEA students.

Cost of utilities in Portugal

Broadly speaking, utilities are cheaper in Portugal than they are in the United States. While the figures can vary depending on factors such as location within either country, you can expect to pay significantly less for utilities than you would in the US.

The cost of utilities in Portugal will also vary depending on factors such as the size of the household and individual consumption habits. However, on average, here’s an overview of what you can expect for basic utilities in Portugal:

  • Basic (electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage) for 85m2 apartment – €108.52 per month
  • 1 min. of prepaid mobile tariff local (no discounts or plans) – € 0.15 
  • Internet (60 mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL) – € 33.43 per month

With that said, expect to pay around €140 in utility bills per month in Portugal (this includes electricity, water, gas, and wifi).

Taxes in Portugal for Americans

If you visit Portugal on holiday, the prices of various goods that you might want to buy will be subject to value added tax (VAT in Portugal is known as Imposto Sobre o Valor Agregado, or IVA for short). There are three chargeable bands for IVA:

  • Reduced rate: 6 percent in mainland Portugal, 4 percent in the Azores, and 5 percent in Madeira for the goods and services included in the List I of the Value Added Tax Code. The reduced rate applies to goods such as bread, pasta, milk and dairy products, books, newspapers, and chocolate.
  • Intermediate rate: 13 percent in mainland Portugal, 9 percent in the Azores, and 12 percent in Madeira on goods and services included in List II of the Value Added Tax Code. The intermediate rate applies to goods like pickles, wine, musical instruments, and condoms.
  • Standard rate: 23 percent in mainland Portugal, 18 percent in the Azores, and 22 percent in Madeira for all remaining taxable goods and services. For more information, please refer to Article 18 of the Value Added Tax (VAT) Code.

If you move to Portugal from the US, you may have to pay other taxes, particularly income taxes. Whether you have to pay taxes in Portugal as an expat depends on your residency status, which is defined by how much time you spend living and working in Portugal each year.

If you are in Portugal for 183 or more days in a single calendar year, you will typically be considered a Portuguese tax resident.

Personal income tax (IRS) applies to the incomes of both Portuguese residents and non-residents who earn income in Portugal.

Usually, tax is automatically deducted from pay slips, but you are still obligated to complete an annual tax return. Tax is determined by looking at the taxable income earned and the corresponding tax rate and removing any legal deductions (e.g., education or health-related expenses).

IRS is calculated individually, but couples and civil partnerships can opt to file jointly. In this case, tax is charged on the total taxable income of the persons in the household.

The Portugal tax rates for individuals for 2024 are as follows, ranging from 14.5 percent to 48 percent:

Portuguese Income Tax Bands

Portuguese Tax Rate

up to €7,116


















Income tax in Portugal applies to earnings in the following six categories:

  1. Employment income
  2. Self-employment income
  3. Investment income
  4. Rental income from properties let in Portugal
  5. Capital gains from selling properties, assets, or shares
  6. Pensions in Portugal, including private pension plans

Frequently Asked Questions about Portugal cost for Americans

What is the cost to travel to Portugal?

The cost to travel to Portugal depends on your budget, but for a mid-range vacation lasting a week, expect to pay as little as €1,000 factoring everything in (flights and accommodation).

Is Portugal cheap or expensive?

Portugal is a surprisingly cheap country to travel around and even live in. You can comfortably get by on €1,700 per month if you’re living in Lisbon, and even cheaper if you’re living in the interior areas of the country.

It’s worth bearing in mind that prices vary significantly depending on whether you’re spending your time in large Portuguese cities, smaller cities, or in the nation’s rural areas.

What are Portugal’s prices for food and drink?

Portugal’s prices for food and drink are cheap. To eat out, you can pay as little as €15 for dinner, with a bottle of wine at a local restaurant costing €10. You can choose to eat in cheaper places for just €10.

Fresh produce is particularly inexpensive in comparison to the prices you’d expect to pay in other countries.

Can you travel around Portugal on a budget?

Yes, you can travel around Portugal on a budget. In fact, it’s a very backpacker-friendly country with lots of hostels and low-budget accommodation to accommodate backpackers.

As Portugal is a small country, it doesn’t really make sense to travel around it by air. A cost effective option is to use public transportation, as local buses and regional trains are inexpensive. You can buy bus tickets for as cheap as €5, with train tickets costing around €18 one-way from Lisbon to Porto.

An increasing number of expats are also renting caravans and are traveling around Portugal on a budget, while taking in the many wonders the country has to offer.

What is the average cost of living in Portugal?

The average cost of living in Portugal is around €1,500-€1,700 per month with all expenses included in the estimation. This figure ranges based on your spending habits, lifestyle preferences, and what location you live in.

What are the housing costs in Portugal?

Housing costs in Portugal tend to be affordable in most locations. To rent a two-bedroom house, expect to pay anywhere from €1,000-€1,500 (location and property type dependent).

To buy a house in Portugal, starting prices for a decent property in Lisbon are €400K. Outside of Lisbon and other major cities, you can find properties for as little as €150K.

Is Portugal cheap?

Portugal is one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe, but still provides a very high quality of life, beautiful beaches, popular tourist destinations, and fascinating cities.

Compared to most other countries in Europe, Portugal has affordable public transport, reasonably priced accommodation (if booked well in advance), and affordable food, drink, and restaurants.

Why is Portugal cheap?

The relatively low cost of living in Portugal is because the economy is not as strong as that of countries such as the US.

Visiting Portugal or living in the country can be cheap, but the key to ensuring that your time in the country is relatively inexpensive is to buy local products and avoid paying tourist prices when possible.

Are Portugal's major cities expensive?

While Portugal’s major cities, including Lisbon and Porto, are more expensive to live in than other parts of the country, such as the interior areas, the cost of living compares favorably to large cities in other Western European countries, such as London, Berlin, and Paris.

How much does it cost to get Portugal travel insurance?

If you’re traveling to Portugal for a short trip, your travel insurance can cost as little as about $20 to $30 for a one-week trip.

If you need a more comprehensive package or you’re planning a long trip the prices typically range between $200 and $300. Annual policies covering multiple trips to Portugal are available from around $200 to $600.

How much is private health insurance in Portugal?

If you move to Portugal and decide to buy private health insurance, you should budget between €30 to €150 per month. The amount will vary depending on factors such as your age, whether you have any pre-existing conditions, and the level of coverage you choose.

How much does a meal cost in Portugal?

In Portugal, you can buy a meal at an inexpensive restaurant for between €8 and €15. For a three-course meal, you would probably pay €30 to €60.

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