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 market of affordable property 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 2021, Lisbon ranked 83rd out of 209 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 food and drink 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 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 in contrast to 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 options are 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 sky-high. In addition to exorbitant school fees, parents will need to budget for additional 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 September 2021.

Accommodation (monthly)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 1,700

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 1,200

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 900

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 700


Milk (1 litre)

EUR 0.65

Dozen eggs

EUR 1.80

Loaf of white bread

EUR 1.15

Rice (1kg)


Chicken breasts (1kg)


Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)



Monthly internet (uncapped ADSL or cable)

EUR 35

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

EUR 0.20

Utilities (average per month for standard household)

EUR 120

Hourly rate for a domestic cleaner


Eating out and entertainment

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

EUR 40

Big Mac Meal

EUR 6.50


EUR 1.80

Coca-Cola (330 ml)

EUR 1.50

Local beer (500ml)



Taxi per km

EUR 0.50

City bus

EUR 1.75

Petrol per litre

EUR 1.60


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