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 is increasingly appealing to Northern Europeans and Britons. Retirees and pensioners looking to invest in overseas housing have taken a particular liking to the affordable property market in Portugal.

As is the case in most destinations, in major cities such as Lisbon the cost of living 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 will be able to attain a decent standard of living in Portugal. Overall, the cost of living in Portugal depends very much on location and the lifestyle of the individual, but generally offers good value to expats and retirees.

Cost of groceries in Portugal

The cost of food in Portugal is much cheaper compared to other Western European countries. Thanks to its vast coastline, Portugal enjoys abundant and affordable seafood. Several regions in Portugal also make and distribute wine, both locally and internationally, making it extremely affordable. Meat products are slightly more expensive, 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, to more traditional forms of entertainment such as going to the cinema or visiting a bar or nightclub.

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, a significant number of foreigners living in Portugal actually opt to buy property rather than rent. Renting is also good value, although, in areas like Lisbon and Porto, prices can be high.

Cost of transportation in Portugal

Expats should note that car and petrol costs are considerably more expensive than 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 generally cheap and efficient.

Cost of schooling in Portugal

Expats have the option of sending 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 to have their children educated at private or international schools.

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

Cost of living in Portugal chart

Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Lisbon in February 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

EUR 2,100

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

EUR 1,310

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

EUR 1,200

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

EUR 780

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

EUR 2.76

Milk (1 litre)

EUR 0.97

Rice (1kg)

EUR 1.30

Loaf of white bread

EUR 1.33

Chicken breasts (1kg)

EUR 6.68

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

EUR 5.21

Eating out

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

EUR 50

Big Mac meal


Coca-Cola (330ml)

EUR 1.60


EUR 1.83

Bottle of beer (local)

EUR 1.12


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

EUR 0.23

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

EUR 26

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

EUR 157


Taxi rate/km

EUR 0.60

City-centre public transport fare

EUR 1.88

Gasoline (per litre)

EUR 1.91

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