Gloriously nestled on the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal is a small country that has increasingly become one of the best places to live in Europe. Foreigners are drawn not only by the country’s rich history and picturesque landscapes but also by the promise of a very affordable lifestyle.

Considered one of the most affordable countries in Western Europe, Portugal has free public schooling, cheaper fares for public transportation, and a low-cost healthcare system. Not by chance, the country has garnered attention as a desirable destination for those seeking a balance between cultural enrichment and economic viability.

In this article, we break down the cost of living in Portugal, exploring factors such as housing and daily expenses to transportation and lifestyle choices. So whether you want to save money or are planning your budget to live in this captivating country, this article will surely be useful. Have a look below to learn more!

Is it expensive to live in Portugal?

nif portugalAre you a foreign citizen wondering if it is expensive to live in Portugal? We’ve got you. Well, in reality, Portugal is relatively affordable and has been recognized as one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe because of its economical food prices, affordable accommodation choices, and cheap transportation prices. If you have sufficient finances, then you will find the country to be very affordable.

If you are planning to relocate to Portugal, especially from the United States of America, then you’ll find that the cost of living in Portugal is significantly lower. In comparison to the United States, Portugal is around 46% cheaper. Be it affordable housing costs, cheap food options, or an amazing beach lifestyle in a beautiful country, Portugal is very economical, making it an amazing place to stay.

If you are planning to relocate to one of the interior parts of the country, then you can live comfortably from around €1,700 per month, including rent. However, if you are considering staying in Lisbon, the capital of the country, you will need to pay approximately €2,200 a month as a couple. But you should also keep in mind that the cost of living completely depends on your finances and budget.

You should keep in mind that the the Portugal cost of living will completely depend on your budget and lifestyle. For more information on costs, you can check out Numbeo.

*City Center – Living expenses in the city center location are based on the average cost of utilities and rentals of the major city cities in Portugal, such as Lisbon and Porto.

Cost of Living in Portugal: A Breakdown

Cost of food in Portugal

Generally speaking, food prices in Portugal are quite affordable, particularly if you are buying local products. Food items like fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products are readily available across the country and are relatively cheap. If you are planning to purchase imported products like a certain brand of beer or any other food item, expect to pay more money.

In the table below, you’ll find the approximate prices for food groceries items in Portugal.



Milk (regular), (1 liter)


Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)


Rice (white), (1kg)


Eggs (regular) (12)


Local Cheese (1kg)


Chicken Fillets (1kg)


Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)


Apples (1kg)


Banana (1kg)


Oranges (1kg)


Tomato (1kg)


Potato (1kg)


Onion (1kg)


Lettuce (1 head)


Water (1.5 liter bottle)


Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)


Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)


Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)


Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro)


Is Portugal expensive to eat out?

Wondering if Portugal is expensive for eating out? Well, it completely depends on your budget, lifestyle, and choice of restaurant. But, in general, you’ll find that eating out in Portugal is quite economical. It will cost you as little as €4 to go for a breakfast menu at a local pasteleria (Portugal’s bakery shops) with an espresso shot included. For a comprehensive lunch menu, expect to pay between €8 and €12 per person.

If you are planning to go for a three course meal at a mid range restaurant, expect your bill to be around €20. In case you are considering a trendier restaurant, you can expect to pay around €25- €30 per person. If you are looking to dine out in Lisbon, you can visit various Michelin-star restaurants in one of the most bustling cities in the world for around €95, but again this is dependent on the restaurant that you choose.

Keep your food budget at around €50 per single person/day if you are on a holiday in Portugal and want to save money.

Cost of utilities in Portugal

The cost of utilities in Portugal will vary depending on factors such as location, 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 
  • 1 min. of prepaid mobile tariff local (no discounts or plans) -€ 0.15 
  • Internet (60 mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL) – € 33.43

With that said, expect to pay around €100 in utility bills per month in Portugal (this includes electricity, water, gas, and wifi).

Cost of Education in Portugal

The Portuguese education system is of high quality and ranked in 24th position, according to the 2022 Best Countries for Education Report, conducted by US News and World Report, BAV Group, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Portugal has both public and private institutions. Public schools up to a certain education level are free for citizens and foreign residents alike. However, 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 Healthcare in Portugal

Portugal is also known for its low cost medical care for both citizens and legal residents who have paid into the Portuguese social security system. The country has a public healthcare system called the National Health Service (SNS),  which comprises both public and private services.

Residents can opt for public healthcare in Portugal, which is almost completely free. 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. Citizens are entitled to a range of medical services at public hospitals and health centers. Prescription medications may have a co-payment fee, which is usually a modest amount.

Private health insurance for foreigners in Portugal is quite affordable, and it can cost between €20 and €100 a month, depending on your age and the extent of your coverage. So, with private healthcare insurance in Portugal, 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.

GCS-ICONS-56Transportation costs in Portugal

The cost of transportation in Portugal compared to other Western European countries, is affordable.

Please note that the cost of transportation in Portugal can vary based on the mode of transportation, your location, and how frequently you use it. Here’s an overview of the typical costs associated with transportation in Portugal:

  • Public Transportation:

Buses, metro, and trams are popular and affordable means of transportation in cities and towns. Ticket prices vary depending on the option, but a single journey costs between €1.50 and €2.50. A monthly transportation pass is usually €40. 

  • Taxis and Ride-Sharing:
    • Taxis are available in urban areas and can be a convenient option for short trips. Fares vary by city, but a typical starting fee is around €3 to €4, with additional charges per kilometer.
    • Ride-sharing services like Uber are also available in major cities, providing an alternative to traditional taxis. Prices may be competitive and can vary based on demand and distance.

GCS-ICONS-50Rent prices in Portugal

Renting in Portugal is a good bet, especially if you’re not ready to buy a property yet. 

Currently, the average rental price in Portugal is €15 per square meter. For comparison, the average rental prices in UK cities such as Dublin are €33 per square meter. 

Please note that rental prices in Portugal tend to be higher in major cities. In 2022, the Lisbon region registered the highest value at over €18 euros per square meter.

  • Apartment (one bedroom) in the city center*- €726.12 
  • Apartment (one bedroom) outside of the city center – €551.79 
  • Apartment (three bedrooms) in the city center – €1265.24 
  • Apartment (three bedrooms) outside of the center -€ 920.45 

GCS-ICONS-35Real estate prices in Portugal

Portuguese property prices are generally increasing, especially in major cities like Lisbon and Porto, as well as popular regions like the Algarve. This is due to demand from foreign buyers and investors. 

The prices in Lisbon have increased exponentially and are much higher than prices in other parts of the country. Analysts are predicting that property prices are set to continue rising in the immediate future. Currently, the average house price in Portugal is around €1,454 per square meter.

  • Price per square meter to buy an apartment in the city center – €2953.34 
  • Price per square meter to buy an apartment outside the city center – €1990.49 
  • €670 for a one-bedroom flat that is close to the city center

Portugal Immigration Guide:
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Travel Costs in Portugal: An Overview

tax residenceKnowing the average Portugal trip cost is highly useful if you plan to visit Portugal before moving to the country.

However, the cost of visiting Portugal will completely depend on your budget, style, and personal preferences. Roughly speaking, you will spend around €68-115 per person per day.

The cost of flying to Portugal depends on the season, airline, and the country of departure, but generally speaking, it will cost between €715.76 and €1,175.10 per person for economy flights and €2,287.75 to €3,690.19 for first class (these flight prices are an average approximation and will fluctuate as per time and location). Since Portugal is very strategically located, it is easily accessible from the United States and other European countries. Flight prices from the USA to Portugal usually start from $151, and if you are flying to Portugal from Europe, it is quite affordable as various low cost airlines are available. Make sure to keep aside €34.56 to €70.11 per person per day for transportation and food.

When you visit Portugal, you will spend approximately:

  • €80 per night for accommodation (per adult or even per room via Airbnb)
  • €15 for a two course meal per person and between €25 and €30 in a three course meal
  • €1.40 if you are taking the metro ride around Lisbon or Porto for a one-way trip
  • €5 for visiting galleries or museums in Portugal, barring a few exceptions

Remember that the cost of accommodation will completely depend on what you are looking for and the location of your stay. For a more high-end or boutique hotel, for instance, prices start at about €150 per night in the capital and €80-100 per night in more interior towns. For luxury hotels in Portugal, expect to pay between €200 tp €400 a night. If you are looking to stay in a five star hotel in the Algarve region, you will need to pay around €150 per night for a double bedroom.

Luxury transportation prices in Portugal

If you are looking to travel across the country luxuriously, then Portugal will offer you one of the world’s best traveling experiences. From amazing hotels and resorts, golf courses and stunning beaches, you are in for a treat if you are planning to travel across Portugal. For a long weekend getaway, guided luxury tours begin from €6,295. If you are traveling solo in Portugal, you can get reasonably priced accommodation in comparison to the United States.

Budget travel in Portugal

Traveling between Portuguese cities by public transport is quite cost-effective. For instance, a one-way train ticket from Lisbon to Faro will cost you around €20. If you are comfortable with local buses, then you can travel the country by buying a ticket that will cost €5 for a one-way trip. Traveling in the interiors of Portugal is always cheaper than traveling to big business hubs and cities. For a week-long trip around Portugal it is likely to cost you around €1,000 (this includes your flights and accommodation charges, depending on where you are flying from and your choice of accommodation).

Your average Portugal trip cost will be massively reduced if you are backpacking or doing a solo trip; you can pay as little as €5 for a bed/night. If you are traveling with a group of friends, it will cost you around €140-€480 per night for accommodation for all of you if you are staying close to Albufeira, in the Algarve.

The Cost of Living in Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal’s vibrant capital, has emerged as the most sought-after city in Portugal, often described as the country’s most international hub. As of 2022, the Lisbon metropolitan area boasts nearly three million residents, reflecting a dynamic blend of locals and expatriates alike. In fact, over 555,000 people have chosen Lisbon as their home, drawn to its welcoming atmosphere and the promise of a rich and fulfilling lifestyle.

Lisbon is often considered one of the best cities to live in Portugal, and not by chance, the cost of living has been increasing in the city over the past few years.

Below is an overview of the cost of living in Lisbon.

Housing costs in Lisbon

The allure of Lisbon extends to its housing options, with a range of choices to suit various preferences and budgets. While the city center is known for its historic architecture and atmospheric streets, it may come with a higher price tag. Expatriates often find a balance by exploring neighborhoods on the outskirts, where rental costs can be more affordable. On average, monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can range from €900 to €1,200, while outside the center, prices may decrease to around €600 to €900.

Everyday expenses and eating out in Lisbon

Lisbon offers an array of dining options, from local eateries serving traditional Portuguese cuisine to international restaurants and trendy cafes. A meal at a mid-range restaurant typically costs around €15 to €25 per person, while a three-course meal for two at a more upscale establishment might range from €50 to €100. Grocery costs are generally reasonable, with a monthly expense for a single person estimated at approximately €150 to €200.

Utility costs in Lisbon

The cost of electricity, gas, and water in Lisbon will depend on the size of the property and how many people are living there. Utilities in a 45m² studio can cost between €80 and €90 per month. For two people in an 85m² apartment, the estimated monthly costs are around €120 and €130.

Benefits of Living in Portugal

Portugal - IAApart from the low cost of living, Portugal boasts a variety of advantages and benefits that make it an attractive destination for expatriates and those considering a change in their living environment. Some of the benefits of living in Portugal include:

Weather: Portugal is renowned for its mild and sunny climate. With over 2,800 hours of sunshine per year, the country offers a Mediterranean climate that is particularly appealing to those who prefer warm and sunny weather.

Expat-Friendly Environment: Portugal is known for its welcoming and friendly atmosphere towards expatriates. The Portuguese people are generally open and hospitable, making it easier for newcomers to integrate into the local community. Not to mention that most people in Portuhal’s major cities speak English, making it easier for foreigners to adapt.

Beautiful Landscapes: From the picturesque coastline of the Algarve to the historic charm of cities like Lisbon and Porto, Portugal is adorned with diverse and stunning landscapes. The country’s natural beauty, including mountains, beaches, and vineyards, contributes to a high quality of life.

Safety: Portugal is considered one of the safest countries in Europe. Low crime rates and a sense of security contribute to the overall well-being of residents and expatriates.

Quality of Life: Portugal consistently ranks high in global quality of life indices. The combination of a relaxed lifestyle, a pleasant climate, and a variety of cultural and recreational activities contributes to an excellent overall quality of life.

Rich History and Culture: Portugal has a rich history and a vibrant cultural scene. Residents have the opportunity to explore historic sites, attend cultural events, and immerse themselves in the traditions of the country.

Attractive visa options: Getting a Portuguese Residency Visa has never been easier. From the Golden Visa Program, which is ideal for investors, to the D7 Visa, designed for retirees, Portugal offers several visa options for non-EU citizens.

Have a look at our Guide to Portugal Citizenship in 2024: All you need to know

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Portugal cheap?

Portugal is actually more economical than other European countries, especially in terms of transportation and accommodation costs. If you are living in Lisbon, your monthly budget can be around €1,700. It can come down even more if you are staying in the interior parts of the country.

What is the cost of traveling to Portugal?

The cost of traveling to Portugal depends on your budget completely. If you are planning for a mid range budget holiday, then it will cost you around €1,000 (including flights and accommodations, although this will depend on where you are flying from and the type of accommodation that you choose). Also this is also very dependent on the amount of time you are choosing to stay in the country.

Are the food prices in Portugal expensive?

The cost of drinks and food is quite affordable in Portugal. If you are planning to dine out in a city, you will need to spend around €15 for food and €10 for a bottle of wine at most restaurants. You can also find more economical places, where it can cost you around €10 for food options.

Housing costs in Portugal?

Accommodation is pretty affordable in Portugal. You will need to pay around €1,000-1,500, depending on the location and amenities to rent a two-bedroom house in Portugal. If you are planning to purchase a house in Lisbon, the capital of the country, it can cost you around €400K. If you are purchasing a house outside of the capital, it can cost you around €150K.

What are the Portugal Visa free countries?

If you are a Portugal passport holder, you can travel visa free to the following countries:

Albania, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vatican City, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Are leisure activities and entertainment expensive in Portugal?

Leisure activities and entertainment in Portugal are affordable, and there are even free options to explore. Many historic sites, parks, and beaches can be enjoyed without significant costs, contributing to a rich cultural and recreational experience. Additionally, Portugal hosts numerous festivals and local events, often providing affordable or free entry, allowing residents to partake in the vibrant social scene without breaking the bank.

What is the cost of public transportation and owning a vehicle in Portugal?

Public transportation in Portugal is usually cost-effective and efficient. Cities like Lisbon and Porto have well-developed public transportation systems, and the cost of a monthly public transportation pass typically ranges from €30 to €40. On the other hand, owning a vehicle in Portugal involves additional expenses, including fuel, insurance, maintenance, and potential parking fees. Gasoline prices in Portugal are somewhat higher than the European average, with a liter costing around €1.64.

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