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Cost of Living in Portugal

Portugal Cost of Living

In recent years, Portugal has increasingly become a popular destination for expatriates, retirees, and digital nomads from the United States and around the world. Portugal’s allure lies in a combination of factors: a pleasant Mediterranean climate, rich cultural heritage, delicious food, stunning landscapes, and a relatively affordable cost of living compared to other Western European countries.

An influx of people relocating to Portugal has increased prices noticeably, particularly in housing and food. Despite this increase, Portugal continues to offer a high quality of life at reasonable costs, making it an attractive option for those looking to relocate. Just so you can understand practically, Lisbon is still around 30% cheaper than Paris and 50% cheaper than London.

Below, you can find some general estimates of monthly costs you can expect when living in Portugal, including housing, healthcare, education, food, transportation, utilities, and entertainment for different household scenarios in Portugal.

This article delves into the unique aspects of Portugal’s cost of living. The prices listed are subject to change and reflect US dollars at a rate of 1 Euro = $1.13. You’ll discover intriguing differences between US and Portugal expenses that could shape your relocation decision.

General Estimate of Monthly Living Costs

Our goal with these sample monthly budgets is to give you a clearer picture of what life in Portugal might cost, whether you are a single professional, a couple, or a family with children. These estimates include everything from housing and utilities to groceries, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment.

Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, is the most expensive place to live. The cost of living reflects its status as a major European city with all the associated amenities and opportunities.

So, if you’re considering moving to Lisbon, here are some estimates of monthly spending: a single person might spend around $2,200 to $2,750 per month, while a couple could expect to spend between $3,080 and $3,850. The monthly expenses for a family with one child could be around $4,180 to $4,950.

Other major cities, like Porto, offer a more affordable cost of living than Lisbon while still providing many urban amenities.

Here, a single person might spend between $1,650 and $2,200 per month, a couple could manage on $2,200 to $3,080, and a family with one child might spend about $3,080 to $3,850.
Interior regions and smaller towns offer the most affordable living options, ideal for those looking to save money or enjoy a quieter lifestyle.

A single person’s monthly expenses could be between $1,100 and $1,650, a couple might spend $1,320 to $1,980, and a family with one child could live on $1,980 to $2,750.

Apartments vs. Houses: Which is Better in Portugal?

New residents in Portugal can expect to live in an apartment rather than own a home unless they move from the US with a significant amount of money. Houses in Portugal are subject to various factors, such as fluctuations in market conditions and specific property features. However, on average:

  • Townhomes and villas are between $340,000 and $560,000.
  • Large villas or rural property homes are between $226,000 and $1,114,000.

The cost of living in a Portuguese apartment is determined by location, size, condition, and proximity to modern amenities, like shops and restaurants. Bigger cities like Porto or Lisbon have more expensive accommodations, like:  

  • One- to two-bedrooms are $690 to $1,800.
  • Two- to three-bedrooms are $800 to $2,270.

For smaller cities or rural areas, apartment costs could be:

  • One-bedrooms are $460 to $800.
  • Two-bedrooms are $600 to $1,100.

You could also rent a room in a shared house for the same amount as a one-bedroom apartment in a small city or rent an entire three-bedroom house for around $1,350 monthly.

As with any country, living costs in Portugal are subject to change. It’s crucial to plan ahead, knowing where you want to live and having saved up at least a year’s rent, to ensure a smooth financial transition and avoid unnecessary stress.

It would help to consider other living expenses, like food and utility bills. Depending on the Portuguese city you live in, the monthly grocery bill for one person is between $170 and $282. Utility bills can range from $113 to $169.

Price Variation per Location

When it comes to housing in Portugal, you’ll find a broad spectrum of costs influenced mainly by location but also by the state of the house and its size and amenities (for a comprehensive dive into the Portuguese housing market, check this article). Urban areas such as Lisbon and Porto are known for their higher rents and property prices, reflecting their popularity and amenities. Conversely, smaller towns and rural regions provide more budget-friendly housing options. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy, understanding the regional differences in housing costs is crucial for planning your move to Portugal.

– Lisbon: Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center (that’s around 60 m2) costs around $1,320 per month, while outside the city center, it’s about $880. Purchasing a one-bedroom apartment in Lisbon can go from $385,000 to $660,000 (some even surpass the $1,000,000 threshold), with a price per square meter between $6,600 and $13,200

– Porto: A one-bedroom apartment in the city center rents for approximately $990 per month, and outside the center, for around $715. The purchase price in the city center is about $3,850 per square meter.

– Other Regions: Smaller towns and rural areas offer much lower rents, with one-bedroom apartments available for as little as $440-$660 per month.

If you are looking for a short stay of less than a year, you can still rent a place with a rental contract and pay around $1,320 for a one-bedroom apartment (considering Lisbon). However, it’s more likely that you will have to book a place on Airbnb, which will cost you around $1,650 for a small apartment during the low season and anywhere from $2,750 to $3,300 during the summer. Alternatively, renting a bed at a hostel for around $33 per night could help you save some money.

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Portuguese Public and Personal Transportation

Cost of Living in Portugal

Portuguese transportation is budget-friendly and efficient, especially if you invest in a monthly bus pass. Monthly passes range from $35 to $55, a bargain for commuters since single tickets cost $1.80 to $2.35 for each trip. There are rideshares, with costs that fluctuate depending on the company, but Portuguese taxis have a base fare of $3.50 to $4.60 per kilometer.

Planning on driving your car in Portugal? The costs for fuel range from $1.80 to $2.50.

Affordable Healthcare & Education for Portuguese Residents

For those considering a move to Portugal, the country offers a robust healthcare system that includes both public and private options (more on the Portuguese healthcare topic here). The public healthcare system, Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS), provides essential medical services to residents at minimal cost, ensuring that everyone has access to quality care. Additionally, private healthcare is available mainly for those seeking shorter wait times (if you are waiting for your residency visa; however, private healthcare is the only alternative available for you).

– Public Healthcare: Public healthcare is largely free, with nominal fees for certain services (costs are typically under $22).

– Private Healthcare: The cost of private healthcare services varies depending on the provider and treatment. These expenses are partially covered by private health insurance, which is available for $33 to $110 per month per person, depending on the level of coverage, age, and possible pre-existing conditions.

Healthcare and education in Portugal are often free to residents. Health insurance for severe medical conditions could cost between $23 and $113 monthly, but the government covers most general healthcare.


Suppose you are planning to move to Portugal with children. In that case, it’s essential to know that the country offers a comprehensive education system (a detailed article on the Portuguese education system for US citizens is available here).

– Public Schools: Provide high-quality education and are tuition-free for citizens and foreign residents alike, up to a certain education level.

– Private Schools: Tuition ranges from $330 to $880 per month.
International Schools: Private international schools in Portugal offer an international environment and English-speaking education. The cost of these schools ranges from $7,700 to $22,000 per year for each child.

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Enjoying Life in Portugal with Leisure and Entertainment

Traveling to Portugal

If you’re a fan of a daily dose of caffeine, getting a coffee from a Portuguese café daily will cost between $1.13 and $2.83. More if you get a specialty drink, like a latte or macchiato. Those weekend beers range from $1.70 to $3.40, and hard liquor or cocktails are pricier.

You’ll need between $6 and $11 to see the latest films at the cinema. Going shopping? Your favorite Portuguese jeans will cost between $45 and $90.

Portugal offers a vibrant and diverse array of entertainment options to suit all tastes and lifestyles. There’s always something to do, from cultural activities such as museums, theaters, and historical sites to outdoor adventures like hiking, surfing, and exploring beautiful beaches. The country’s rich nightlife includes bars, clubs, and live music venues that cater to various preferences. Additionally, Portugal hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year, celebrating everything from food and wine to music and art.

– Cinema: A movie ticket costs about $9.

– Gym Membership: Monthly gym fees range from $27.50 to $44. If you prefer to have a personal trainer, these prices can go up to around $270/month (considering two 30-minute sessions per week)

– Leisure Activities: Museums and cultural events often have low entry fees, typically under $11.

– Summer Festival with International Artist: Around $90 if you buy the day ticket or $210 for the whole festival (typically three days).


Besides the closeness to the beach and the fantastic weather, many advocate that one of the many delights of living in Portugal is the rich and diverse culinary scene. From fresh seafood and flavorful meats to an abundance of fruits and vegetables, Portugal offers a variety of delicious and affordable food options. Whether you prefer to cook at home or enjoy dining out, the cost of food in Portugal is generally reasonable.

– Groceries: A monthly grocery bill for one person ranges from $165 to $275.

– Dining Out: Eating out is still relatively affordable, with a meal at an inexpensive restaurant costing around $15 and a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant costing about $44 (alcohol excluded – still a bottle of delicious Portuguese wine at a restaurant is much cheaper than a comparable offer in the US – around $23).

Dining out at your favorite Portuguese restaurant will depend on the restaurant’s tier. Cafes and small restaurants usually charge $9 to $17 for an appetizer, drink, dinner, and dessert. However, a high-end restaurant with a three-course dinner could cost $34 to $56 or more.


Portugal has a well-developed public transportation system, making getting around the country both convenient and affordable. Major cities like Lisbon and Porto have extensive networks of buses, trams, and metro services, while trains and intercity buses connect smaller towns and regions. For those who drive, fuel prices and road conditions are comparable to those in other European countries.

– Public Transport: Monthly passes for public transport in Lisbon and Porto cost around $44-$55. A one-way metro trip in Lisbon costs $1,96.
– Fuel: If you own a car, fuel costs approximately $1.81 – $1.98 per liter (depending on the fuel type).
– Taxis and Ride-Sharing: These services are also affordable, with typical rides within cities costing between $5.50 and $16.50.


Utility costs in Portugal are generally moderate and can vary depending on the size of your home and your consumption habits.
Electricity and Gas: The average monthly cost for a single person living in a medium-sized apartment in Lisbon is around $45. However, if you use heating or cooling systems, this can go up in the winter and summer months.
– Water and Sewage: These services cost about $22 per month.
– Internet, TV, and Phone Bill: Operators offer comprehensive plans that include the three services for around $70 per month.

Co-Working Space Costs

For digital nomads and remote workers considering a move to Portugal, co-working spaces are an increasingly popular option. These spaces offer not only a professional work environment but also opportunities for networking and community building.
The cost of co-working spaces in Portugal can vary depending on the location and the amenities provided. In major cities like Lisbon and Porto, monthly memberships typically range from $150 to $300. In smaller towns and rural areas, prices are generally lower, ranging from $100 to $200 per month.

In Conclusion

Remember that your lifestyle choices and preferences will significantly affect your costs of living in Portugal, and you can have a vibrant city life or the peaceful countryside. To better gauge how you’ll live, look at your life now as a US citizen. Your lifestyle in Portugal would likely be similar.

Portugal offers new experiences and opportunities for US citizens seeking a more affordable life. Of course, budgeting is still essential to living, and that applies to anywhere you go, but the cost of living in Portugal has distinct differences compared to the cost of living in the US. By researching and studying the costs of living in another country, you can better navigate your life there, allowing you to enjoy fully becoming a Portuguese resident.

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Frequent Questions

1. How long must immigrants live in Portugal before becoming permanent residents?

Immigrants must live in Portugal for up to five years before becoming permanent residents.

2. What factors influence the cost of houses in Portugal?

Fluctuations in market conditions and specific property features.

3. How much do townhomes and villas cost on average in Portugal?

Between $340,000 and $560,000.

4. What is the cost range for large villas or rural property homes in Portugal?

Between $226,000 and $1,114,000.

5. How much does a one- to two-bedroom apartment cost in big cities like Porto or Lisbon?

Between $690 and $1,800.

6. What is the cost of a two- to three-bedroom apartment in major Portuguese cities?

Between $800 and $2,270.

7. What are the average rental costs for one-bedroom apartments in smaller cities or rural areas? Between $460 and $800.

8. How much does a two-bedroom apartment cost in smaller cities or rural areas in Portugal?

Between $600 and $1,100.

9. How much does renting a room in a shared house cost compared to a one-bedroom apartment in a small city?

It costs about the same as a one-bedroom apartment in a small city.

10. What is the average monthly rent for an entire three-bedroom house in Portugal?

Around $1,350 monthly.

11. How much is the monthly grocery bill for one person in Portugal?

Between $170 and $282.

12. What is the range for utility bills in Portugal?

From $113 to $169.

13. How much does a monthly bus pass cost in Portugal?

Between $35 and $55.

14. What is the cost of a single bus ticket in Portugal?

Between $1.80 and $2.35 per trip.

15. How much is the base fare for Portuguese taxis per kilometer?

Between $3.50 and $4.60 per kilometer.

16. What is the cost range for fuel in Portugal?

Between $1.80 and $2.50.

17. How much does health insurance for severe medical conditions cost in Portugal?

Between $23 and $113 monthly.

18. Are public schools in Portugal free for residents?

Yes, public schools are free.

19. How much do private schools cost in Portugal?

Between $340 and $900 monthly, depending on the region.

20. How much does it cost to dine out at a high-end restaurant in Portugal?

A three-course dinner could cost between $34 and $56 or more.

Portugal Visas & Immigration
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[email protected]

#1  Contact us to get a free quote, or
#2 Schedule a Consultation now.