The reasonable cost of living in Portugal continues to attract expats from all over the world. Though still not as popular as its Iberian neighbour, the country increasingly appeals to Northern Europeans and Brits. Retirees and pensioners looking to invest in houses overseas have taken a particular liking to the affordable property market in Portugal.

As is the case in most destinations, the cost of living in major cities such as Lisbon is much higher than in more rural communities. In the Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2023, Lisbon ranked 117th out of 227 expat cities surveyed worldwide.

For expats who can manage a modest way of life, a single person with a steady job earning a moderate salary can attain a decent standard of living in Portugal. Overall, the cost of living in Portugal depends greatly on location and the individual's lifestyle, but generally offers good value to expats and retirees.

Cost of accommodation in Portugal

Except for high-end expat resorts and golf homes, such as in the Algarve, property in Portugal is less expensive than the European average. Unlike most expats elsewhere, many foreigners living in Portugal actually opt to buy property rather than rent. Although prices can be high in areas like Lisbon and Porto, renting is also valuable.

Cost of transport in Portugal

Expats should note that car and petrol costs are considerably higher than in many other parts of Portuguese life. Some expats find themselves paying thousands of euros for a rust bucket on its last legs. Alternatively, public transport is typically cheap and efficient.

Cost of groceries in Portugal

The cost of food in Portugal is much cheaper than in other Western European countries. Thanks to its vast coastline, Portugal enjoys abundant and affordable seafood. Several regions in Portugal also make and distribute wine, locally and internationally, making it highly affordable. Meat products are slightly pricier, however, as are poultry and eggs.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Portugal

Eating out and entertainment in Portugal can be considered relatively affordable compared to many other Western European countries. You can expect to find a meal at a local restaurant for a reasonable price, while dining at a more upscale restaurant can still be affordable but with higher prices.

Entertainment options in Portugal are diverse and range from cultural experiences like visiting museums and historical sites to outdoor activities like exploring the beaches and hiking trails. There are also more traditional forms of entertainment, such as going to the cinema or visiting a bar or nightclub.

Cost of education in Portugal

Expats can send their child to a public school in Portugal at little or no cost. But, given the fact that standards at these schools vary and the continued criticism of the Portuguese public school system, most expats prefer their children educated at private or international schools.

Fees at international schools in Portugal can be high. In addition to school fees, parents must budget for extra costs such as textbooks, uniforms, extracurricular activities and school excursions.

Cost of healthcare in Portugal

Portugal offers a well-regarded healthcare system that balances affordability with quality, making it a favourable destination for expats from around the globe. The public healthcare system, overseen by the Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS), provides mostly free care for citizens and legal residents. Private healthcare is also available and is notably inexpensive compared to other Western European countries. It offers an alternative for those seeking shorter waiting times and access to a wider network of specialists.

While the basic medical costs in Portugal are reasonable, it is important to note that the public healthcare system does not cover dental care and cosmetic surgery. These services must be paid for either out-of-pocket or through private health insurance, which remains quite affordable.

Cost of living in Portugal chart

Note that prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Lisbon in February 2024.

Accommodation (monthly rent)
Three-bedroom apartment in the city centreEUR 2,500
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centreEUR 1,620
One-bedroom apartment in the city centreEUR 1,330
One-bedroom apartment outside the city centreEUR 910
Food and drink
Eggs (dozen)EUR 3.16
Milk (1 litre)EUR 1.01
Rice (1kg)EUR 1.43
Loaf of white breadEUR 1.43
Chicken breasts (1kg)EUR 3.67
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)EUR 5.26
Eating out
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurantEUR 49
Big Mac MealEUR 8
Coca-Cola (330ml)EUR 1.70
CappuccinoEUR 2.32
Bottle of beer (local)EUR 1.14
Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)EUR 0.18
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)EUR 35
Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)EUR 230
Taxi rate/kmEUR 0.70
City-centre public transport fareEUR 2
Gasoline (per litre)EUR 1.78

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