Did you know that the cost of living in Portugal is one of the cheapest in all of Western Europe? In fact, living in Portugal tends to be cheaper compared to life in the majority of Europe’s countries. So, what does this mean for you?
You wouldn’t have clicked on this article if you weren’t interested in moving abroad, right? The idea of moving to a different country across the ocean can be a terrifying thought, especially if you don’t know about the details. For most people, the cost of living is a big thing to consider when moving to a different country, particularly if you’re leaving your own country for financial reasons.
Moving to Portugal might interest you for several reasons, one of them being that it is far cheaper than the cost of living in the United States and the United Kingdom. This is not to mention that Portugal has a high quality of life as well.
However, where can you expect to save when living in Portugal? What should you expect in regards to the prices of rent, transportation, food, and more? If you keep reading, all your questions will be answered.
Let’s first take a look at housing costs in Portugal.
Table of Contents
Finding a Place to Live in Portugal
The cost of housing is a major concern for people who want to move to another country. No one wants to move to a place that’s much more expensive than where they’re already living, especially when trying to save money. Luckily, if you’re from the United States, you won’t have to worry about spending a lot of money when it comes to housing, no matter whether you rent or buy property.
Housing costs, as with any country, differ according to your location and how large of a place you want. For apartments, you can easily find one and two-bedroom spaces in smaller cities and towns for around $400 per month or €344, if not less. You might think it might not be worth it to live in Portugal’s small cities, but this is not true at all.
Even in the smallest towns, there are often local celebrations or festivals held every month. There are also markets that sell food and clothing every week. This is not to mention that every region in Portugal has unique cuisine variations and traditions.
Because of all this, you’ll find it difficult to be bored wherever you are in Portugal. However, if you really want to live in a larger and bustling environment, Lisbon is where you want to be.
Renting in Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and also Portugal’s most populated city. Lisbon is full of great restaurants, cafes, bars, and nightclubs. Its nightlife is one of the most impressive in all of Europe and there’s always something to do.
Apartments in Lisbon can range from $600 to $1,000 per month. Within this price range, you can easily walk to the city center within twenty to thirty minutes. You can often find apartments in this price range within the city center itself.
Some of the most expensive neighborhoods in Lisbon are Baixa and Chiado, which also happen to be some of the most touristy neighborhoods. Apartments with one or two bedrooms in these areas tend to be around $1,000 per month.
If you’re wanting to save some money and love history, the neighborhood of Alfama might be of interest to you. Not only is it cheaper than other Lisbon neighborhoods, but it is also full of history since it is one of the oldest parts of the city. It is full of cobblestone streets that are hundreds of years old and hills that will give you a good workout as you walk from one place to another.
All of your utilities such as water, heating, and electricity are only around $80 per month combined. Portugal’s climate is typically mild, so you won’t need to be fiddling with your thermostat every day. The only time you might need to turn on the heating is during the winter, which doesn’t get too cold in the first place.
In the south of Portugal, the winters aren’t a problem but you may need to turn on the air conditioning during the summer. But what if you’re looking to buy instead of rent?
Buying Property in Portugal
There are plenty of apartments to buy in Portugal if renting isn’t your thing. Most of these apartments are around the $100,000 range or €86170. However, if you want to buy in Lisbon, the price is only a little steeper, around $150,000.
When moving to another country, especially from the United States, you may be surprised at how small the apartments are. However, you’ll find that most of these smaller apartments have everything you need. Besides, how much time will you be spending inside your apartment when you have Portugal’s beaches, cafes, and historical streets to explore?
So, now that you know more about the prices of apartments in Portugal, what else should you consider? Besides rent, the things you’ll be spending most of your money on are food, eating out, and transportation.
Prices for Food
You’ll find that food throughout Portugal is very cheap compared to food in the United States. You’ll also find that the food in Portugal is uniquely delicious, especially when it comes to its staples of bread, sausages, rice, and fresh seafood.
Food is not only found in grocery stores either. As mentioned before, most cities and towns in Portugal have regular open-air markets that everyone can enjoy. These markets bring together the freshest produce, meat, and seafood the region has to offer.
If you’re in need of more specific items, supermarkets are never far away unless you live in a rural area. For two people, you’ll find yourself hard-pressed to spend more than $200 per month on groceries or €172. If you’re especially careful with your budget, you could even spend less.
It’s important to note that cheap food in Portugal does not translate to bad food. In fact, you can find very cheap bags of fruits and vegetables and you won’t need to resort to unhealthy foods to save a few dollars.
You don’t need to worry about spending a fortune on the finer things in life like wine, cheese, and olive oil either. This is because these commodities are produced in Portugal and are very cheap.
If you find bottles of wine for around $4 per bottle or €3.45, don’t pass it off as bad wine. In fact, this is the average price for wine in Portugal and you’ll find that the taste is just as good as the more expensive bottles in the United States.
While on the topic of food, it wouldn’t be right to ignore the price of eating out at restaurants and cafes.
The Price of Eating Out
You won’t be splurging if you decide to eat out once in a while, or even several times every week. You’ll struggle to spend more than $10 or €8.62 when having lunch at a local café or restaurant.
A common lunch in Portugal is the prato do dia or “plate of the day.” This is a large meal that often consists of meat, rice, potatoes, and vegetables, with dessert sometimes being included. A prato do dia is usually never more than $10 or $11 and almost always comes with a glass of wine.
Even dinners rarely exceed $10. If you find that you’re not very hungry but instead want a cup of coffee at your local café, you won’t often spend more than $1 or €0.86. Eating out with two or more people can start to get a little pricy, but the ambiance of traditional Portuguese restaurants and cafes is worth the cost.
The Price of Transportation
You’ll find that the cost of transportation is cheap with the exception of gasoline. Gasoline in most of Europe tends to be more expensive than it is in America. However, it is important to remember that if you live in a city, you can easily walk to the places you need to go, whether it be the hospital or the grocery store.
If something is too far to walk to, there are also plenty of public transportation options. These include trains, trollies, and buses. Trollies and buses will take you throughout your city while trains will bring you farther and usually connect to other cities or towns.
While transportation costs are not as shockingly cheap as food and housing, you’ll still save some money. This is especially true if you choose to buy a monthly public transport pass which can save you a lot in the long run.
The Cost of Living in Portugal
If you plan on moving to Portugal anytime soon, you know what to expect from the cost of living in Portugal. Not only will you save money by living in this country, but you’ll find that Portugal has a unique outlook on life to offer.
To learn more, check out more of our blog.