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How to live in Lisbon: the guide to living in the Portuguese capital

21 de July, 2022

How to live in Lisbon: the guide to living in the Portuguese capital

Besides living in a cosmopolitan, beautiful, and bustling capital city, living in Lisbon is also synonymous with a high cost of living.
Reading: 11 min

Ahh Lisbon, what an amazing city! The Portuguese capital is the destination of many immigrants who choose the country to live. Besides living in a cosmopolitan, beautiful, cultural, and bustling capital city, living in Lisbon is also synonymous with a high cost of living, especially if compared to other regions of the country.

In this text we will present the main information you need to know about living in Lisbon, from the cost of living to the best regions to live in. Let’s go?

QuestionsAnswers
Where is the best place to live in Lisbon?It depends on what you are looking for: if you are going to study, if you want tranquility, if you want proximity to the center, etc. All of this influences the choice of the best place.
How much does it cost to live in Lisbon?The cost can vary depending on your priorities, but for a couple without children, about $1,500/month.
What is the salary for living in Lisbon?More than a minimum wage to be able to live in Lisbon and not survive. Something around 1,000€ per person.

What is it like to live in Lisbon?

Lisbon is a pleasant city with a very busy nightlife. It is definitely a cosmopolitan destination with people from all over the world and varied cultural attractions, be it museums, theaters, nightclubs or shows.

Living in Lisbon is, for me, being in a big city that seems small. Despite all the hustle and bustle of the center, it is calm and safe.

Besides this, it is a city with great air connections, besides flights to Brazil, it also has connections with the main European cities. But, just like the big cities, the city also presents some problems, such as traffic and high cost of living.

Do you want to live in Europe?

Realizing your goal of living in Europe or obtaining European citizenship can be simpler than you think. We offer personalized support to make the immigration process more accessible and uncomplicated.

Cost of Living to live in Lisbon

If you are thinking of living in Portugal, you should consider the cost of living as a starting point to begin financial planning while still in Brazil.

To help you in this process, we sought the main information about the cost of living in Portugal, more precisely in Lisbon, the country’s capital and consequently the most expensive place to live. We consulted the Numbeo website and present the main results of our search.

Apartment for rent

Rent in Lisbon is one of the most expensive items for those who intend to live in the city, when compared to the country’s minimum wage in 2022, which is 705 euros. The average rent in Lisbon is:

TypologyAverage Value
1 bedroom apartment in the center875,43€
1-bedroom apartment outside the center669,43€
3 bedroom apartment in the center1.915,36€
3 bedroom apartment outside the center1.099,15€

Household bills

In addition to rent, other items are essential to understand the cost of living in Lisbon: the household bills. We have identified some of the items that are part of the monthly bills and the average monthly expense for each of them.

AccountsAverage Value
Electricity, water and gas bills for an 85 m² apartment112,54€
Internet and cable TV33,51€

Public transport

Living in Lisbon means having access to a great public transportation network that serves the entire city and region. There are two modalities of monthly passes, covering the metropolitan region and the one that only covers the municipality of Lisbon.

Pass TypeValue
Single ticket1,50€
Monthly Pass30,00€
Monthly pass including the cities of Amadora and Odivelas (around Lisbon)40,00€
Daily ticket (24h)6,45€
Streetcar Climbs a Hill in Lisbon, Portugal
The elétricos (streetcars) will be part of the everyday life of those who will live in Lisbon.

Supermarket

Supermarket prices in Lisbon are considerably lower than other major European cities. However, in the country there is not much variation in supermarket prices. To illustrate the average expenses, we have separated some items that are part of most people’s daily lives.

ItemAverage Value
Milk (1 liter)0,76€
Fresh White Bread (500gr)1,00€
Rice (1kg)1,02€
Eggs (dozen)2.05€
Chicken Fillet (1kg)4,91€
Red meat (1kg)8,95€
Banana (1kg)1,04€
Oranges (1kg)1,26€
Tomato (1kg)1,71€
Potato (1kg)0,93€
Onion (1kg)1,09€
Lettuce (1 bunch)1,03€
Bottle of wine (medium range)4,00€

Restaurant

Restaurants in the more touristy parts of the city are more expensive than in more residential areas. Below we list some average prices for eating out in the city.

ItemAverage Value
Meal at a simple restaurant10,00€
Meal for 2 in intermediate restaurant44,75€
Fast food menu7,00€
National Beer (500 ml)2,00€
Imported Beer (330 ml)2,50€
Cappuccino1,86€
Soda (330 ml)1,37€
Water (330 ml)1,00€

Leisure

Besides eating out, among the leisure costs for those who live in Lisbon, we highlight gyms and cinema.

ItemAverage Value
Gym (monthly fee)32,05€
Cinema7,00€
Museums5,00€ – 10,00€

Health

Public health in Portugal is of very high quality and the majority of the population uses the services. However, there are still those who choose health insurance or a health plan (they do not refer to the same thing). Values vary depending on the insurance company chosen and the age of the insured and coverage.

InsuranceAverage Value
Health insurance25,00€ a 250,00€
Health plan5,00€ a 50,00€

Lisbon Cost of Living Summary

To help you with the calculations, we have made a simulation of the average expenses for a couple without children to live in Lisbon:

ItemValue
1-bedroom apartment for rent outside the center669,43€
Basic Home Services150,00€
Two restaurant meals a month89,50€
Academy64,10€
Market Expenses350,00€
Monthly pass for public transportation80,00€
Cinema14,00€
Total1.417,03€

Attention: we emphasize that we are pointing out here the basic average costs. Not included are expenses for pharmacy, clothing, travel, courses/education, etc.

Rent in Lisbon

As we mentioned above, the value of an apartment for rent in Lisbon varies according to the region you decide to live in, and also the type of property.

In Portugal, when searching for a property, you will come across the identification T, which stands for typology. It represents the number of rooms in the property, so a T1 is a 1-bedroom apartment. While a T0 is a studio or studio apartment. T2 is a 2-bedroom apartment, and so on.

How to find an apartment to live in Lisbon?

There are many ways to find a property to rent in Lisbon. The most traditional one is searching for real estate agents, but overall, it is not the most used way in the country to find a property.

Another option are the websites for renting a house in Portugal that gather real estate ads. The main advantage is that you can filter the search by the region where you intend to live, as well as by value and typology. Another advantage is the possibility of contacting the owner directly and visiting the property before closing the deal.

Square in Lisbon, Portugal
The rents for living in Lisbon weigh heavily on the budget, so planning is very important.

Facebook and rental groups in Portugal are also great opportunities to find rentals. There are many groups, some segmented by city or interests, such as rooms for students. But be aware, always visit the property and demand a contract before paying anything.

Is it difficult to achieve?

If you are looking for an apartment to rent in the capital, be prepared, this is not going to be the easiest task in the moving process.

This is because Portugal’s major cities receive a large number of tourists, and for many landlords the opportunity to invest in property to turn it into seasonal accommodation is more attractive than simply renting it out to tenants.

Therefore, the task of finding an apartment to live in Lisbon that meets your expectations can be a bit of a chore. But don’t give up, there are alternatives that can help in the first moment.

One alternative is to rent a room in Lisbon, for those who are arriving in the city, sharing a house can be a good way to live in a good location without paying too much while looking for your own place in the city.

Do you need a guarantor? Security deposit?

Yes, and yes.

Most landlords (property owners) require a guarantor in Portugal. However, with the growing number of immigrants, especially Brazilians, many of them started asking for only the second option: caução (guarantee).

With the difficulty of finding a guarantor, either because they don’t know many people in the country, or the fact that most are also immigrants and still can’t prove income, it’s not hard to find landlords who swap the guarantor requirement for a higher deposit.

The requirement for a deposit is unanimous, that is, if you intend to move, have a good reserve to pay a few months rent in advance, or rent as they say in Portugal.

How many months can a landlord charge for a security deposit? According to the urban rental law, there is no maximum amount stipulated for the deposit. Therefore, the landlord can ask for whatever he considers fair, as long as the tenant agrees to pay.

The amount of advance income is stipulated by law and cannot exceed 3 months.

The most important thing in the rental process is to seek to negotiate with the landlord, in some situations, the proof of income you present can help reduce the amount of security deposit time charged. In addition, there are also companies, such as Easy Sponsor, that offer services to help you present a guarantor.

Be sure to try to negotiate, after all, 6 months of income is a lot especially considering the Euro exchange rate.

Direct with the owner or real estate agent?

The Portuguese real estate market is quite different from Brazil, where the overwhelming majority of rentals are intermediated by real estate agencies. In Lisbon, and in Portugal in general, it is more common to rent directly from the owner.

So when looking for a property to live in Lisbon, you will most likely meet the landlord on the very first visit to the property.

Security in Lisbon

Generally speaking, security in Portugal is very good, and Lisbon is no different. However, it is a big city and presents the security problems common to European cities.

If compared to the country, the city, like Porto, is among those with the highest crime rate.

The District of Lisbon, which also includes the metropolitan region, has the highest rates of violence in the country. But living in Lisbon does not mean living in a violent city, quite the contrary.

The highest incidence of crime refers to purse snatching, the famous pickpocket. This is followed by theft from homes and motor vehicles, according to the Annual Homeland Security Report 2021, the most recent version made available by the government.

Climate

The climate in Portugal is more pleasant and milder than in other countries. In Lisbon, the seasons are well defined, presenting a rainy winter and dry summer. With about 260 days of sunshine per year, it is the ideal city for those who do not want to face the typical European climate.

LxFactory is a good leisure option for those who will live in Lisbon
Those who live in Lisbon can enjoy many sunny days, which is not the case in the north of the country.

The average temperature in summer is 28°C, in winter the minimum temperatures reach 8°C and the maximum 15°C. In the fall and spring, the temperatures are intermediate, making both periods even more pleasant in the city.

Advantages and disadvantages of living in the city

To help you make the best decision, we have listed the advantages and disadvantages of living in Lisbon.

Advantages of living in Lisbon

Lisbon is a sensational city. It is a lively city, with a varied cultural agenda, very active and agitated nightlife, it is a cradle for artists and people connected to the world of arts. It is a big city, good restaurants and beach.

Living in Lisbon can be very advantageous for those who are looking for job opportunities, because being the capital of Portugal, it is a city where large national and multinational companies have their offices and factories, so it has a variety of job offers. So, here is a summary:

  • Mild climate;
  • There are more job opportunities;
  • Easy flights to Brazil and the rest of Europe;
  • Busy nightlife and culture.

Disadvantages of living in Lisbon

Of course there are disadvantages to living in Lisbon because, being a big city, it has its problems.

The heavy traffic, especially during rush hours, slows the city down. As Lisbon has become a major tourist destination in Europe, the value of real estate in the most central neighborhoods of the city, both for buying and renting, is at an all-time high. Besides, there are tourists on the streets all day long.

Due to the increase in tourism, not only have real estate prices skyrocketed, but restaurants are also more expensive. This is my summary:

  • High cost of living;
  • Least safe city in the country;
  • Difficulty in finding property with a good location and affordable price.

Learn here the main advantages and disadvantages of living in Portugal from a Brazilian’s point of view.

Some Lisbon customs

If you are going to live in Lisbon, you should know how the Lisboans behave, and what their habits and customs are.

Lisbon breathes Fado

The city of Lisbon has several Fado houses. In these houses both famous and amateur fadistas play, and the locals simply love this tradition.

The custom of coffee

The Portuguese, in general, love coffee. But not our Brazilian “cafézim”, passed through a strainer. They like strong coffee, served in a small, hot cup. It is basically a “shot” of caffeine.

Popular festivities

There are several popular Portuguese festivals, and the best known in Lisbon is the Festa de Santo Antônio. If you like events in the middle of the street, full of music and happy people, you can’t miss this one.

Do you like the idea of living in Lisbon? Then it’s time to start planning your move to Portugal. We have prepared the Living in Portugal Program to help you in this process, there are 22 video lessons with all the necessary information to make this journey in a calm and safe way. Find all the answers and start planning. It’s worth it!

Article originally published on the Euro Tips website.

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Author:

Atlantic Bridge

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