Is Portugal expensive for Americans?

Is Portugal expensive for Americans? The short answer is no! Of course, this depends on your budget, salary, or allowance money. Generally speaking though, for financially comfortable individuals or families looking to live in Portugal or travel around the beautiful country, they will be pleased to find out that prices in Portugal are extremely reasonable, and in general, the cost of living in Portugal is affordable.

How expensive is Portugal for Americans?

When planning a vacation to Portugal or even a move, it’s important to ask yourself how expensive is Portugal actually? The answer is not expensive at all!  It’s actually ranked as one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe and is famous for its affordable food costs, cheap accommodation options, and reasonable transportation costs. 

If you’re traveling to Portugal, expect to pay as low as:

  • €20 per night for accommodation (per adult or even per room via Airbnb)
  • €15 for a two-meal course per person
  • €1.40 euros for a metro ride around Lisbon or Porto. 
  • €5 euros for most galleries or museums in Portugal, with some exceptions.

If you’re moving to Portugal, expect to pay as low as:

  • €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 Portugal for Americans

The cost of living in Portugal is generally considered 46% cheaper than in the United States. Famed for its affordable living costs and excellent living standards, the good news for Americans looking to move to Portugal is that the cost of living in Portugal is very affordable. If you factor in rent, a couple can live comfortably in Portugal’s interior towns or small cities from around €1,700 a month. In Lisbon, the cost of living is higher, so 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.

Living expenses in Portugal for Americans

Living expenses in Portugal are extremely affordable. 

Expect to pay:

  • €100 in utility bills (including electricity, water, gas, and wifi)
  • Between €150- €200 in 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
  • 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% of your payroll; or if you’re self-employed, around 5% 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:

ProductCost in Euros
Loaf of bread€1.10
A pack of 12 eggs€1,71
1 kg of bananas€1.09
1 kg of apples€1.54
1 kg of chicken€5.20
A slice of fresh salmon€3
1 kg of tomatoes€1.39
1kg of potatoes€0.86
Bottle of wine (mid-mark)€4

Is Portugal expensive to eat out?

Whether 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 bakery shops) with an expresso 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 dinner for one at a typical Portuguese tasca (traditional Portuguese restaurant), expect to pay around €20. If you are after a more trendier, modern-looking restaurant with a chic ambiance, then expect to pay around €25 to 30 per head.

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

Cost of living in Lisbon

The cost of living in Lisbon is more expensive than in other parts of Portugal, thanks to rising tourism and tax rates. Having said that though, it’s still possible to live comfortably in Lisbon without destroying your monthly budget. From accommodation to groceries, you can typically live in Lisbon with €1,700 per month and save some money on top. 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.

How much does it cost to travel to Portugal?

How much it costs to travel to Portugal depends on your budget.

Luxury travel around Portugal

If you are interested in luxury travel in Portugal, you’re in for a thrill. Portugal’s world-class 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 independently explore the country, accommodation is relatively affordable in comparison to the US. For example, in the Algarve, for a five-star hotel 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

Traveling around Portugal is surprisingly cheap. A  one-way train ticket from Lisbon to Faro (three-hour train ride) costs €20. If you 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 7-day trip around Portugal.

Of course, if you’re a backpacker on vacation, 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 costs €140-€480 per night for the entire home. 

Frequently asked questions about is Portugal expensive 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 surroundings.

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 restaurant costing €10. You can choose to eat in cheaper places for just €10.

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. You can dig out 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 are actually very affordable. 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, you can find properties for as little as €150K.