Cost of Living in Portugal: How Much Costs to Live in the Country

5 de December, 2022

Cost of Living in Portugal: How Much Costs to Live in the Country

We present in detail the cost of living in different cities in Portugal and which aspects weigh most heavily on the budget.
Reading: 17 min

(Updated in August 2022). One of the aspects that most influence the decision of those who plan to live in another country is the cost of living. No doubt understanding what the main expenses are and what they represent compared to salaries is essential to make a decision. In this article we will present in detail the cost of living in Portugal and which aspects weigh most heavily on the budget.

What is the cost of living in Portugal?

The cost of living in Portugal is around 1500€ to 2100€ for two people.

But it is important to keep in mind that there are several factors that influence the final cost, from the city chosen, to the number of people in the family, to the standard of living established.

Is the cost of living in Portugal high?

If compared to other European countries, the cost of living in Portugal is not high, on the contrary, it is the lowest among Western European countries.

But if we compare the cost of living in Portugal to Brazil, in the European country the cost is higher. You need to consider various factors to better understand this issue, from the minimum wage to the average wage and, of course, the price of everyday items.

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Purchasing power in Portugal

Purchasing power in Portugal is not one of the highest in Europe. With salaries considerably lower (if compared with other countries), the purchasing power of the population is also lower.

But if we compare it to Brazil, the purchasing power of the population in Portugal is higher. In Portugal, despite the low wages, the purchasing power is about three times higher than in Brazil.

How much does it cost to live in Portugal? Depends on the city

That’s right, the cost of living in Portugal will depend especially on the city in which you live. This is because one of the aspects that most reflects on the expenses of those living in the country is the value of housing. In the largest cities, this value is well above the average in the country, making life very expensive.

In smaller cities, rent is usually much more affordable. So living on the outskirts of large cities is a good way to save on housing.

Cost of living in Lisbon

The Portuguese capital is also the most expensive city in the country to live in. With high housing prices, renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost around 1000€. If the goal is to live with the whole family, the cost of a three-bedroom property is around €2087.

Another aspect that can be much more expensive in the cost of living in Lisbon than in the rest of the country is eating out. Being a very touristy city, there is no shortage of restaurant options, but eating well can be expensive. A dinner in an average restaurant costs about 45€ for a couple, while in a simple restaurant a meal costs 10€.

Lisbon Portugal skyline image
Lisbon’s cost of living is the highest in the country

Cost of living in Porto

The second most important city in the country, Porto, also has a high cost of living, but lower compared to Lisbon. Rent, for example, is up to 30% cheaper in the northern city. Thus, living in the center of Porto in a one-bedroom apartment costs on average 711€, and in a three-bedroom apartment costs about 1296€.

The values for food, whether in restaurants or supermarket purchases, differ little in the two cities. Overall, the cost of living in Porto is about 3.5% cheaper than in Lisbon, excluding rent. When rent is considered, it is about 15.4% cheaper in Porto than in Lisbon. A meal for two people in an average restaurant costs about 35€ and a meal in a simple restaurant costs 8€.

Cost of living in Braga

One of the main cities in the northern region of Portugal, Braga has a lower cost of living than Porto. When it comes to rents, for example, the values are about 21% lower, costing on average €566 to rent a one-bedroom apartment in the city center and €900 to rent a three-bedroom property in the same region.

Eating out in Braga is also cheaper, a dinner in an average restaurant costs about 32€ for a couple. For lunch in a simple restaurant, the menu costs about 8€. Overall, living in Braga is about 11.49% cheaper than in Porto. And rents in Braga are 23.85% cheaper than in Porto.

Cost of living in Faro

The cost of living in Faro is not low, but it is still cheaper than living in Lisbon; rents are about 20.5% lower than in the capital, on average. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center costs around $750, while a three-bedroom apartment can cost $1,422.

Eating out can also cost a bit more. A meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant costs €40, and in a simple restaurant a meal costs about €9.25.

Cost of living in Portugal with children

For those who have children, it is necessary to add to the cost of living some items especially related to education in Portugal. Schools from elementary school on are free, but parents must pay for food (provided by the school) and teaching materials.

But for children in daycare, you have to account for an amount that does not come cheap. In Porto, day care costs an average of 355€, in Lisbon 412€, in Braga 242€ and in Faro 575€. It is also possible to find cheaper institutions or even others that the government subsidizes.

For parents who want to send their children to private schools, it is good to know that the fees can be much higher, with international schools costing up to a few thousand euros per year.

Rent in Portugal

Without doubt this is the main villain of the cost of living in Portugal. Rent, especially in the big cities, has risen considerably in recent years, pressured by property speculation and the growth of tourism.

The increase in rental prices in Portugal was halted by the pandemic, but in cities like Lisbon and Porto, the drop in prices was very slight and we can already see a new increase resulting from inflation.

See the average rental prices in the country

We consulted the Numbeo website, which presents the average cost of living in the country, and we present below the rental values in the four main cities chosen by Brazilians.

The consultation was conducted in August 2022 for T1 (1-bedroom apartment) and T3 (3-bedroom apartment).

T1 in the centreT1 outside the center3 bedrooms in the center3 bedrooms outside the center
Portugal (country average)717€546€1.260€921€

Understand the rising cost of living in Portugal and how it impacts moving to the country.

Dwelling with or without furniture

In Portugal, as in most European countries, it is quite common to find furnished properties, ready to live in. But of course, this has a cost. Generally, furnished properties, ready to live in, cost a little more than unfurnished ones.

Despite being a little more expensive, the main advantage of a property with furniture included is not having to spend money assembling the whole flat. This aspect is very important, especially for those who have just arrived in the country or are still unsure about continuing to live in the property for a prolonged period.

Images of apartments for rent in Portugal
Rent is the “villain” of the cost of living in Portugal, and it has increased in the last years

On the other hand, those who choose to rent an unfurnished property can usually count on a fully assembled kitchen, since most flats have built-in appliances, such as a cooktop, oven, refrigerator and, in some cases, even a dishwasher.

If the goal is to have a definitive house, buying the furniture can be an option, especially considering that Portugal has stores like Ikea, with low cost products, with beautiful design and quality. Whether for furniture or utensils, this type of store can help to greatly cheapen the assembly of the house.

Buying a house in Portugal

Considering the rental prices it is natural to deduce that buying a house in Portugal is expensive. However, it is not quite like that. Despite the high prices in some regions, financing a property in the country can be much cheaper than you think, with monthly values below those charged for renting. According to the website Idealista, the average cost of the square meter in Portugal is 2,383€ (data from July 2022). A 6% increase over the same period last year.

Of course, the prices for buying property in large cities are also high. In Porto, this figure is around €3,413 in the city center and €1934 outside the center, while in Lisbon it is over €5,176 in the center and €2,828 outside the center. In Braga, the value is a little lower, the square meter costs around 1,816€ in the center and 950€ outside, and in Faro it costs 2425€ in the center and 1733€ outside.

Supermarket in Portugal

Supermarket costs in Portugal are quite regular, the country does not face significant inflation, so there is no great variation in spending on food purchases. Moreover, prices vary little from one city to another, and the average couple spends between300€ and 350€ per month on supermarkets.

Continente Supermarket in Portugal
The Continente supermarket is one of the most famous in Portugal

To get a better idea of the costs, we present a list with prices of some recurrent items in supermarket shopping, check it out:

Milk (l)0,63€
Rice (kg)0,92€
Eggs (dozen)1,72€
Regional cheese (kg)6,75€
Chicken fillet (kg)4,89€
Beefsteak (kg)8,82€
Banana (kg)1,08€
Orange (kg)1,21€
Tomato (kg)1,45€
Potato (kg)0,91€
Onion (kg)1,02€
Lettuce (head)0,95€
Water (1.5 l)0,52€
National beer (0,5 l)1,04€
Bottle of wine (medium range)4€

Eating out in Portugal

When the subject is eating out, perhaps it is one of the items that presents price variation in the country. This is because, if we consider the values of restaurants in the biggest and most touristy cities, they are higher than in the rest of the country.

Even within the same city it is possible to find very different prices. In Porto, for example, eating in Baixa (the most touristy area) is much more expensive than eating in the more residential areas of the city.

Another aspect that will influence the price is the type of restaurant. According to Numbeo, an inexpensive lunch meal costs around €8, while a dinner for two in an average restaurant costs around €40. Of course, these are average values, so it is possible to eat at a lower or higher cost, depending on the aspects we pointed out above.

Household bills in the cost of living in Portugal

There are also other aspects that influence the cost of living: the household bills. In general, they do not vary much from one city to another, with the exception of water, which is administered by the municipality.

Understand how these bills work and how much they impact on the cost of living in Portugal.

Light and gas

In Portugal, unlike in Brazil, the energy market is free, that is, you can choose an electricity supplier according to the prices charged. Thus, costs can vary a lot from one company to another, it is important to be aware.

Most electricity suppliers also supply gas, so it is possible to contract both services together, which can reduce the bill.

There are some variables that must be considered to understand the energy and gas bill. For example, in some homes all items are electric, including heating. In others, gas is used to heat the house, the water and for cooking, and gas is cheaper than electricity.

Thus, the average value of the two bills is 80€, and this value varies according to the time of year, considering that in winter the consumption is higher. In addition, the size of the house and the number of residents can also increase the amount of the bill.


The water bill in Portugal, as we mentioned, may vary a little more from one city to another, since it is the responsibility of the municipality or concelho, as it is called here.

The average water bill is 25€ for a couple. This amount can vary depending on the time of year, the amount of laundry you wash at home, whether you have a dishwasher, among other factors. But, generally, it is a bill that does not exceed 40€.

TV, telephone and internet

There are at least three big communication companies in Portugal, they are Vodafone, Meo and Nos (in the interior of the country there is also Nowo). Prices vary little from one to another, the choice will depend on the availability of fiber optics in the region you choose to live – believe me, it makes a lot of difference in quality.

A basic package costs from 35€, but for a little more you can choose more complete packages. You can even include cell phones in the plan. It can be a good option, it helps you have more control and, in some cases, it is possible to save money.

Public transport

Public transportation in Portugal is good and the costs are relatively low. The most comprehensive monthly pass in Porto and Lisbon, which allows you to travel throughout the metropolitan area, costs 40€ in both cities. The municipal pass or 3 zones pass, as contracted in Porto, costs 30€.

In Braga, the monthly pass costs 18 euros or 30 euros, depending on the perimeter of displacement. In Faro, monthly prices vary between €10.70 and €40, depending on the type of pass.

In medium-sized cities the fare is a little lower, ranging from €10 to €40. In addition, in all of them there is the so-called social tariff, which grants discounts for low-income families, students, the elderly and other groups.

Image of Porto at sunset
Porto is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal and the second most chosen by Brazilians.

Leisure in Portugal

Perhaps this is the most subjective expense on this list, after all, leisure expenses vary greatly from one person to another, from the priorities established and the lifestyle. With approximately 250€ per month it is possible to have an active social life, go out to bars, dine out, go to concerts, among other activities.

Those who don’t go out that much may have a much lower expense. As we said, this is the most subjective expense and it depends a lot on your lifestyle and the type of leisure activity you like.

Health expenditure in Portugal

Health expenses also vary according to priorities, for example, if you opt for health insurance, you will have a fixed monthly cost, but if you opt for public health, that cost is variable. Below we present the details of both in more detail.

Public health

Since June 1, 2022, public health in Portugal has undergone changes, and changes for the better.

Prior to this date, Portuguese people and residents were used to the concept of user fees: that is, every time they made an appointment with a family doctor (general practitioner), they paid about 4.5€, and when they consulted with a specialist, the consultation cost 7€.

However, as of June 2022, these charges have ceased to exist and Portuguese and residents now only have to pay fees when they need to be seen in urgencies and emergencies in Portugal. And don’t think that the amount will be exorbitant: you pay around 18€ (and in some cases, it is possible to get exemption from these fees as well).

The exams and procedures ordered by the family doctor are also free of charge, and the cost of the medicines prescribed by the SNS (National Health System) doctor is well below the market.

This is because the government has a co-payment system, in which it pays part of the cost of the medicine and the rest is paid by the user. It is quite common for the price of the medicine to be less than 5€ with a prescription.

Health care in Portugal is quality, and from now on, free for most consultations and procedures.

Health insurance / health plan

Despite the excellent public health system, some people opt for health insurance, equivalent to a health plan in Brazil. Although relatively inexpensive compared to health insurance plans in Brazil, health insurance costs from 35€ per month.

It is possible to find plans with lower values, but usually these options include only hospitalization insurance, not covering medical consultations and exams. Therefore, the amount depends on the insurer, the age of the insured and which services you will want to include in the plan.

However, consultations are also paid for, but at lower rates than in the private system. Generally, a consultation with health insurance costs between €15 and €30. If you go to see a private doctor without health insurance you will pay at least €80 for the consultation.

One of the advantages of the plan is that it is possible to go directly to a specialist doctor, without having to go through the family doctor as happens in the public system.

On the Deco Proteste website you can consult a health insurance simulator.

Spending by car in Portugal

Anyone who intends to own a car in Portugal also needs to consider this expense. First, let’s consider the purchase of the car. A new, non-luxury model can cost between 14,000€ and 38,000€.

Used cars, from 2016, can be found from €7,000, according to the research we did on the Standvirtual website.

The following costs also need to be considered:

Type of expenseValue
Single Circulation Tax (IUC) – annual taxVaries between £29.39 and £403.23 (depending on the car model)
Compulsory annual inspection31,48€
Compulsory insurance250 (on average)
SupplyGasoline costs on average €2.02/liter, electric charging can cost from €0.15 to €0.45 per kWh

Apart from these expenses, there are other variables that will influence the cost, such as: monthly payment (in case you bought the car financed), payment of parking, monthly garage, maintenance and tolls.

Like all expenses, the total cost of a car will depend on the model, value of the installment, cost of insurance, type of fuel, how much you drive per month, among others. But, in summary, owning a car in Portugal can cost between 400€ and 550€, including the monthly financing fee.

Summary of the cost of living in Portugal in 2022

Summarizing the cost of living in Portugal in 2022 for a couple, we have:

Rent – 1 bedroom in the center715€
Energy and gas80€
TV, telephone and internet35€
Transport – metropolitan monthly pass80€
Health – insurance for 2 persons70€
Total for a couple1.555€

That is, the cost of living in Portugal is, on average, 1,555€ for a couple. But this figure is just a base, if you are going to live in Porto or Lisbon, you need to add 100€ to 350€ for rent – which is above the national average.

You also need to consider that there are unforeseen, extra expenses for clothes and shoes, pharmacy and studies, as well as other expenses that may be a priority for some people, such as the gym. Therefore, always consider at least another 200 to 300 euros in these costs for a peaceful life.

Finally, you must also consider the cost of the car, if you intend to have one. Remember that this can increase the budget by another €400 or €500.

Cost of living in Lisbon x cost of living in Porto x cost of living in Braga x cost of living in Faro

As we talked about in the topic about the cost of living in the cities, Lisbon is undoubtedly the most expensive city to live in Portugal. Especially because of the cost of housing, the city has very expensive rents, especially in the central area.

On the other hand, prices in Braga are considerably lower, with the general cost of living in the city being 19% cheaper than in Lisbon. Compared to Porto, living in Lisbon is 13% more expensive.

Monthly ExpensesLisbonPortoBragaFaro
Rent – 1 bedroom in the center875€700€550€875€
Fixed expenses (water, electricity, telephone, gas and internet)150€150€150€150€
Total for a couple1.725€1.500€1.280€1.705€

How many euros per month to live in Portugal?

The basic cost of living in Portugal, adding the basic bills and the average rent, is 1,555€, considering at least another 200€ of unforeseen expenses and extras that may arise during the month. Thus, this figure rises to 1,755€.

But if we consider Porto and Lisbon, we need to add at least another 100€ or 350€ because of the rents. Thus, in the two main cities of the country you need between 1,855€ and 2,105€ for a couple.

Salary in Portugal

The minimum wage in Portugal is 705€ in 2022. This is below what is necessary to live in the country, so for a couple earning the minimum wage it can be difficult to make ends meet. However, in smaller cities it is possible to live on a lower salary.

But if everyone earns the equivalent to the average salary in Portugal, which was 1,300€ in 2021, it is possible to have a very quiet life in the country.

All this information in the palm of your hand

Want to know more about the cost of living in Portugal and other details about life in the country? The Living in Portugal Program has all the necessary information for those who want to start a new life in Portugal. The program includes video classes, ebooks, online forums and periodic lives.

With it you can find out everything about the process of moving to and settling in Portugal. From issues related to the preparation of documentation to the adaptation process in the country.

Conclusion of the cost of living in Portugal

The most important thing to keep in mind about the cost of living in Portugal is that it will depend on aspects such as the city you choose and the standard of living you intend to lead. We present a base value of the cost in the country, and from it it is important to calculate the costs according to your reality and needs.

Finally, another relevant aspect is to always leave a margin between your salary and your expenses, because you never know when something unexpected might happen. From small things like the need to buy an extra coat for the cold to expenses with a security deposit when renting a flat.

Always remember, the most important thing is to have good financial planning and adapt the expenses according to the earnings to avoid tightness at the end of the month.

Article originally published in Eurodicas.



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