The ultimate guide to the cost of living in Portugal


Apr 09 • 5 minute read

Portugal is a great destination for those seeking an affordable yet fulfilling lifestyle, as it offers one of the lowest living costs in Europe, excellent weather, and a vibrant culture. So if you’re considering moving to one of Portugal’s best cities, then an important aspect to consider is the cost of living in Portugal.

In this article, we’ll dive into the living expenses in Portugal, including the average cost of living for one person and a family.

Is Portugal expensive?

Portugal stands out as one of the most budget-friendly countries in Western Europe. Compared to France and Germany, living expenses in Portugal are very affordable. You can enjoy delicious cuisine, abundant entertainment choices, and affordable yet charming accommodation options in one of the safest countries, boasting a high quality of life, all without draining your wallet.

Ultimately, whether Portugal feels expensive to you will depend on your individual circumstances, such as your salary and savings and spending habits.

What is the average cost of living in Portugal?

With an average cost of living of approximately €600 (excluding rent), Portugal stands out as one of the most affordable countries in Europe. This estimated number includes groceries, dining out, transportation, utilities, and leisure expenses. But, the average cost of living in Portugal can vary depending on the region and your lifestyle choices.

Rent will be one of the biggest expenses when living in Portugal. In major cities like Lisbon or Porto, the monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment can range from €1,200–€1,700, while in smaller towns or rural areas, it can be lower.

The good news is that with an average salary of around €2,741 monthly, you can still afford a comfortable life in Portugal.

Average rent in Portugal

The average cost of renting in Portugal is notably lower than in countries like France and the Netherlands. But, similar to anywhere else, rental prices in Portugal vary depending on where you choose to live. Portugal has numerous stunning cities where you can easily find affordable rental apartments.

In up-and-coming cities such as Braga, you can find furnished rental apartments for around €650 per month. In more popular cities such as Lisbon, a furnished studio in the city center will cost around €1,000 monthly, while a more spacious 1-bedroom option will cost €1,700 monthly. In Porto, anticipate paying around €1,200 for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center or €1,300 for a detached home outside the urban area.

Now, let's break down the monthly expenses for a single person living in Portugal.

Cost of living in Portugal for a single person

In Portugal, the average cost of living for a single person is €1,285 monthly . Whether you're relocating as a student, beginning a new job, or simply seeking to immerse yourself in Portuguese life, it's essential to understand the average monthly expenses you can expect in Portugal.

Now, let's look at the typical monthly expenses you’ll have living alone in Portugal.

ExpenseAverage Monthly Cost in Portugal
Rent (studio)€750
Monthly public transport pass€40
Monthly gym pass€35
Leisure and entertainment€150

To lower your monthly living expenses in Portugal, you can consider renting a room in a shared apartment. Even in major cities like Porto and Lisbon, you can find rooms to rent for as little as €400 to €550 per month.

Utilities in Portugal

In Portugal, combined costs of electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage come to around €110 per month, but can vary depending on where in Portugal you live.

When living in southern Portugal, using air conditioning during summer becomes essential, leading to higher electricity bills. Similarly, during Portugal's mild winters, heating may be required as houses can become quite cold during this time of the year.

  • General (electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage): €110
  • Internet (60 mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL): €36
  • Mobile mhone monthly plan with calls and 10GB+ data: €19

Dining out in Portugal

Indulging in dining out experiences in Portugal is remarkably affordable. When dining out in Portugal, a meal at a mid-range restaurant usually costs between €15 to €25 per person. If you opt for a fancier experience, expect to pay around €35 to €50 for a three-course meal for two, excluding drinks.

Cost of food in Portugal

The grocery shopping cost in Portugal is very affordable, particularly when buying locally sourced produce. You’ll spend an average of €200 on food. Since Portugal is a country with an extensive coastline, you can find exceptionally affordable prices for fish, thanks to its rich fishing traditions.

Food/BeverageAverage Cost
Milk (1 liter)€0.83
White bread (500 g)€1.23
Eggs (12)€2.36
Local cheese (1 kg)€8.37
Chicken fillets (1 kg)€6.20
Beef round (1 kg)€10.06
Apples (1 kg)€1.77
Tomato (1 kg)€1.87
Potato (1 kg)€1.15
Bottle of whine€4
Toilet paper (4 rolls)€1.63
Hair shampoo€4.6

Cost of transportation in Portugal

Generally, a single ticket for buses, trams, or metro rides in Portugal can range from €1.50 to €2.00. But, purchasing a rechargeable card or a monthly pass can offer discounted rates for frequent travelers. If you rely on public transportation frequently in Portugal, your most economical choice is to buy a monthly pass, which typically costs around €40.

Cost of leisure and entertainment in Portugal

In Portugal, enjoying leisure and entertainment typically costs around €150 per month, making it both enjoyable and affordable. Whether you're socializing with friends, going to a movie, or staying active, Portugal offers something for everyone without breaking the bank. Looking out for local deals and discounts will allow you to make the most of your leisure time even at more affordable prices.

In big cities like Lisbon and Porto, prices for drinks vary depending on the venue and location. Expect to pay approximately €2 to €3 for a beer and €5 to €7 for a cocktail. And with frequent happy hour specials and local discounts, socializing with friends over drinks can become even more budget-friendly.

Ticket prices for a cinema usually range from €5 to €10 per person. Many cinemas also offer discounted tickets for students and seniors, making catching your latest favorite movie even more affordable.

For those interested in fitness, monthly gym memberships in Portugal typically range from €20 to €40, depending on the facilities and location. With various options available, staying active doesn't have to break the bank.

Cost of living in Portugal for a family of 4

If you relocate your family to Portugal, creating a monthly budget is good to ensure financial stability. On average, the cost of living in Portugal for a family is €3,010, including the rent. But, the amount can change depending on where you plan to live and if you send your children to an international school.

Let's delve into the factors contributing to the average monthly cost of living.

ExpenseAverage Monthly Cost in Portugal
Rent (3-bedroom apartment)€1,320
Monthly gym pass for 2€70

If you send your child to an international school, expect an additional annual expense of about €7,500. Alternatively, you can send your children to tuition-free public schools in Portugal, though classes are taught in Portuguese.

Portugal’s cost of living compared to the USA

Portugal emerges as an incredibly budget-conscious choice, surpassing the USA and several European countries.

According to a comparison by Numbeo, the cost of living in Portugal, including rent, is remarkably 74.9% lower than in the USA. In Portugal, rent prices are 112.3% lower, restaurant prices are 78.7% lower, and grocery prices are 96.6% lower compared to the USA. These numbers indicate that the overall cost of living in Portugal is way cheaper than in the USA.

In conclusion, Portugal provides a comfortable lifestyle at a reasonable cost, allowing residents to enjoy a high quality of life without breaking the bank. If you're considering moving to Portugal for its affordable living expenses, begin by researching work visa options and exploring average salaries to better plan and manage your expectations.

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