If you’re thinking of packing your bags and moving to Portugal, you’ll probably want to know what the cost of living is like.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the latest insights from locals about the cost of living in Portugal.
Whether you’re interested in renting or buying a home, working remotely on a digital nomad visa, or just getting an idea of how much you’ll need to budget each month, we’ve got you covered.
So read on to find out everything you need to know about the cost of living in Portugal!
Cost of living in Portugal: Overview
The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a rise in prices all over the world.
Portugal has long been famous for its affordable cost of living vs its high quality of life.
But with inflation on the rise everywhere, what’s the cost of living in Portugal in 2022 really like?
Does it still make financial sense to relocate from the UK or the US to Portugal?
Recent cost of living figures from Numbeo tell us that the cost of living in Portugal is, on average, 34.79% lower than in the US.
What’s more, the cost of rent in Portugal is on average 53% lower than in the United States. In fact, in many ways, Portugal is still one of the cheapest countries in Europe to live in.
Sounds promising so far, right?
But what’s the reality like on the ground?
Rather than just pulling figures from online sources, we’ve also researched Portuguese supermarkets, real estate offices, car dealerships, and healthcare providers, to provide you with the most accurate possible data on the cost of living in Portugal.
Cost of living in Portugal: Accommodation
The biggest chunk of most people’s budgets is taken up with accommodation costs, whether that’s renting or buying a property.
Portugal still has many good value accommodation options available, but prices differ a lot based on where you want to live, along with size, features and quality of the property.
The best place to look to get a sense of property prices in your area of interest is the Idealista website.
Let’s dive in and learn more about the cost of living in Portugal!
Typical Costs for Renting in Portugal
Many people choose to rent in Portugal, whether that’s in the early stages of moving, or well into the future. It’s a flexible option that doesn’t lock you into any commitments.
To give you an idea, we’ve chosen three Portuguese cities: Lisbon, Coimbra and Funchal (Madeira), to give you an idea of how rental accommodation prices vary across the country.
Prices are typically highest in Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve. They tend to be lower in the central and more rural regions of Portugal. Madeira has some budget options, but Funchal is rapidly catching up with its bigger mainland equivalents.
Here are some examples of rental prices for different sizes of apartments. Note: In Portugal, T1 means one bedroom, T2 is two bedroom, and so on.
- LISBON: Lisbon is a popular starting point for many new immigrants to Portugal. However, Lisbon famously has some of the highest rental costs in the whole country.
- COIMBRA: Located in Portugal’s central region, the historic university city of Coimbra is typically more affordable than Lisbon in terms of rental costs.
- FUNCHAL: The capital of Madeira Island, Funchal is rapidly becoming more popular with foreigners from all over the world, beyond simply tourism. As a result, prices for property, both renting and buying, are increasing fast.
According to the latest cost of living in Portugal data from Numbeo, rent prices in Funchal are 19.33% lower than in Lisbon. In Coimbra, rent prices are 52.72% lower than in Lisbon.
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre||€829.82||€450.00||€740.00|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre||€641.67||€357.50||€587.50|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre||€1,690.11||€657.02||€1,160.00|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre||€1,099.52||€550.00||€950.00|
Typical Costs for Buying in Portugal
If you’re staying in Portugal for the long term, you’ll probably want to buy your own home. Foreigners can apply for mortgages in Portugal. Property prices will also be an important consideration if you’re thinking about getting residency via the Portugal Golden Visa property route.
Let’s take a look at examples of property prices per square metre in the same three cities.
- Price per Square Metre to Buy Apartment in City Centre: From € 3,300 – €6,000
- Price per Square Metre to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre: €,1800 – €4,000
- Price per Square Metre to Buy Apartment in City Centre: From € 1,500 – €3,000
- Price per Square Metre to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre: From € 1,000 – €1,599
- Price per Square Metre to Buy Apartment in City Centre: From € 1,800 – €2,400
- Price per Square Metre to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre: From € 1,128 – €1,700
Buying in Portugal: Property Taxes
When buying a property in Portugal, you’ll also need to factor in the various property taxes, which include transfer tax (IMT), starting from 5% of the value, stamp duty of 0.8%, and the annual IMI charge, which is similar to council tax in the UK.
Cost of living in Portugal: Utilities
Utilities are relatively expensive in Portugal. Here’s what you could expect to pay for a modest sized apartment in Lisbon.
Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage for 85m2 Apartment = €115.46
Bear in mind that you’ll probably need an air conditioner in the summer and central heating in the winter. More southerly destinations like Madeira will be cheaper in terms of utilities, as you’re unlikely to need heating in the winter and can get by with just a fan in summer.
Internet, TV and landline
It’s common here in Portugal to buy Internet and TV bundles. As an example, Vodafone Portugal’s Fibra 3 Play package includes 140 channels, 24 months of Amazon Prime Video, and calls to 31 international destinations for €38 per month.
Deals here tend to be more expensive than the UK.
For example, I currently pay £25 a month with my UK provider for a 30 day rolling contract with unlimited data, calls, and texts (which I can use abroad for no extra charge).
A similar deal with Vodafone Portugal (Red Infinity Giga) would be €45 per month and would tie you into a 24 month contract.
Cost of living in Portugal: Food
Food price inflation has become a major issue in the UK, partly due to repercussions from leaving the EU.
For those considering a move to Portugal, how do food costs here measure up?
Grocery shopping costs
For starters, let’s take a look at typical prices in Portugal’s chain supermarkets.
We’ll focus on Continente, a supermarket found all over Portugal, which is roughly equivalent to Tesco in the UK, and Walmart or Trader Joes in the US.
Portugal doesn’t have many luxury supermarket chains similar to Whole Foods or Waitrose.
Your best bet for luxury groceries would be the food halls at branches of the department store El Corte Ingles, or the organic stores Celeiro or Go Natural for health foods.
Madeira currently doesn’t have a branch of El Corte Ingles, but it has Celeiro, Continente and Pingo Doce.
Assorted grocery prices April 2022 (Continente supermarket, Funchal, Madeira)
|Fresh milk (1 litre)||€0.77|
|Bread: Basic white loaf||€0.77|
|Bread: Brown with nuts and seeds||€1.39|
|Bottle of local beer (1 litre)||€1.59|
|Whole Chicken||€1.99 per kg|
|Fresh fish (local)||€4.99 per kg|
|Fresh salmon||€12.99 per kg|
|Cheese (local)||€9.49 per kg|
|Lettuce whole iceberg||€2.99 per kg|
|Potatoes||€0.93 per kg|
|Bananas||€0.99 per kg|
|Apples Gala||€1.39 per kg|
Eating out costs
Prices for eating out vary a great deal based on the type of restaurant. In large cities such as Lisbon, you can find plenty of international cuisine with prices on a par with other western European cities.
But if you seek out the local restaurants with traditional Portuguese dishes, prices will typically be far lower. Look for the prato do dia (dish of the day), which is usually good value. Portugal produces a lot of its own wine, so you’ll find affordable wines on most menus.
Regular Portuguese style coffee is cheap, typically €0.80 for an espresso (bica), and €1.20 for a latte (galao). If you have a taste for specialty coffee, you’ll be facing much higher prices. For example, a flat white in a trendy Lisbon coffee shop will cost you around €3.50, on a par with London prices.
Transport Costs in Portugal
Portugal is a small country, with good quality roads and extensive public transport. But running a car comes at significant cost, as Portugal’s average fuel price is the eighth highest in Europe. Much of this is made up of duties and taxes.
In addition, fuel prices are set to skyrocket even further, partly due to the current crisis in Ukraine (as of March 2022).
Let’s take a look at costs for different ways of getting around in Portugal.
Driving and Car Ownership Costs
Car prices have been rising all over Europe, and Portugal is no exception. Vehicles are highly taxed in Portugal and secondhand prices are much higher than in the UK. The cost of living in Portugal can be significantly higher if you run a car.
We’ve used the Toyota Yaris as an example here, because it’s one of the most popular cars in Portugal. Note, Toyotas tend to hold their value very well in Portugal. If you buy a Toyota, you probably won’t lose much money when you decide to sell it again.
Here are some example fuel costs at the time of writing (April 20, 2022). Check out Fuelo Portugal for updated fuel prices.
- Unleaded: typical cost per litre: €2.056
- LPG typical cost per litre: €1.070
- Diesel typical cost per litre: €1.998
Here are some examples of car costs:
- Used car (Toyota Yaris): Expect to pay between €6,000 and €9,000 depending on age and mileage.
- New car (Toyota Yaris): Starts from €25,370
- Insurance: Will vary depending on the model, mileage, age, and other features of your car. You can compare policies all over Portugal using the Compare O Mercado website (in Portuguese but you can use Google translate)
When driving in Portugal, it’s a legal requirement to take out at least third-party insurance cover. You insure the car rather than the driver, so anyone with a valid license can drive your car. Car insurance premiums vary according to the level of coverage, the age and value of the car, and any other risks involved.
As an example, a typical third-party only policy starts at around €150 per year, while you should expect to pay at least €350 a year for fully comprehensive cover.
Public Transport Costs
Return train fare: Lisbon to Porto
- Alfa Pendular (fast train, 2h 40mins): €57.50
- Intercidades (slow train, 3h10mins): €45.50
Metro ticket in Lisbon
- Per journey: €1.50
- Monthly pass: €40
Taxi, Bolt & Uber
Regular taxis are best avoided in cities where Bolt and Uber are available. You can find them in most of Portugal’s main cities and prices are cheap.
However, in Madeira, recent changes to legislation led to Uber removing its service from the island altogether, while Bolt currently offers a reduced service.
That means waiting times and availability of Bolt in Madeira can be limited, especially at busy times.
Instead, you could try the local taxi app, Taxiin, which combines a Bolt/Uber-style booking interface with the local yellow taxi service.
Costs of Air Travel
Portugal is well-connected to the rest of the world, with daily flights from Lisbon, Porto
If you choose to live in Madeira or the Azores, flying is the only way to reach the Portugal mainland.
The government provides a subsidy for residents of the autonomous regions, which caps flight tickets at €86 return. This is given in the form of a cash refund when you return from your journey.
To get the refund, you’ll need to have your fiscal number (NIF) registered at an address in Madeira or the Azores and provide proof of your travel at your local CTT office.
Healthcare Costs in Portugal
Just like most other countries in Europe, Portugal has a state healthcare system. That means basic care is typically free or low cost at the point of use.
Coverage includes all care, apart from dentistry, and is available to all residents of Portugal. You’ll need to get a numéro de utente (health number) from your local health centre.
Healthcare in Portugal is free for under 18s and over 65’s, otherwise it’s available at a lower rate. If you’re hospitalised, medication administered during a procedure is free of charge.
Many people ask about the quality of Portuguese healthcare. It has improved greatly in recent years and is now ranked as the 13th best in Europe, beating Spain, Italy, Ireland and the UK.
If you need medical attention in Portugal, the first port of call is your local health centre (centro de saúde). In an emergency, you can go to the emergency room at the closest hospital. The SNS also has a free 24/7 hotline available in English by calling 808242424.
For those who prefer private health care, there are a variety of affordable options and plenty of private doctors in the country.
FAQs: Cost of living in Portugal
How much money do you need to live comfortably in Portugal?
A lot depends on your lifestyle and the city you choose to live in. But, as an estimate, €1,500 ($1,650 or £1,250) per month would be enough for a single person to live a reasonable lifestyle in one of Portugal is smaller cities.
Is Portugal expensive to live?
Although prices in Portugal have risen after the pandemic, it remains one of Western Europe’s more affordable destinations. In comparison to countries such as the UK, the Netherlands, or Germany, the cost of living in Portugal is low.
Can you live in Portugal on $1,000 a month?
It’s possible, but you’d have to live in one of Portugal is smaller cities or more rural areas, take public transport rather than running a car, and maintain a fairly frugal lifestyle overall. Portugal’s minimum wage is just over €700, which is the equivalent of $770. That proves it’s possible, but certainly not easy.
Is it cheaper to live in Portugal than USA?
That depends on the specific areas of the country. But, in general, Portugal is one of the cheapest countries to live in in western Europe. However, a low-cost area of the US might be cheaper than living in central Lisbon, for example.
Is healthcare free in Portugal?
Portugal has a state healthcare system, which is low-cost but not completely free. You’ll pay standard user fees (taxas moderadoras) to access state healthcare services in Portugal. You’ll pay a fixed amount depending on the exact healthcare service that you want.
Living costs are going up around the world, but Portugal is still one of western Europe’s more affordable destinations.
We hope this guide has given you a good overview of the cost of living in Portugal, whether that’s in one of the major cities such as Lisbon, or a more far-flung location such as Madeira.
Whichever you choose, we’re sure you won’t regret making the move to Portugal. It has so many advantages, from a great climate and beautiful nature, to being one of the world’s safest countries.