A Guide on the Cost of Living in Portugal

There are a few things that need to be considered carefully while planning to move to a new country. Maybe the most important one of these things is the cost of living. If you’re planning to relocate to Portugal and have the question “Is Portugal expensive?” in your mind, proceed to read our post. 

Portugal is not only affordable but also has a perfect climate and beautiful scenery. You can enjoy these perks for considerably low costs if you decide to live in Portugal. To gather an answer to the question “is Portugal expensive”, let’s have a brief look at the general expenses you’ll be dealing with if you move there.

Cost of Living in Portugal

To begin with, Portugal is a very affordable country. The cost of living in Portugal is considerably low compared to other favorable Western European destinations for expats. Even if you don’t have an extremely high salary, it is easy to get by with an amount of as little as €850 in Portugal. 

Groceries

One of the plus sides of Portugal cost of living is the price of fresh food: Vegetables, meat, fish, and fruit cost very little in Portugal. The good climate and its location by the sea make these products accessible. For example, you can find chicken for €2.5, meat for €7-10, and fish for €5-8.

Even if you spoil yourself a bit, you’ll be doing okay by reserving a monthly amount of as little as €200-300 for food and groceries. 

This is not all, though. For those who like to sit back and relax while sipping a drink after a work day, wine is very good and cheap, as well! An average wine in Portugal costs about €6. If you’re one to enjoy rare ones, though, they can come at a much higher price. 

If you prefer a good old cold beer, on the other hand, you can find some as cheap as €1. 

Find below the prices per kg of some dairy products and fruits and vegetables in Portugal:

Local cheese €7.10
Banana €1.10
Bread €1.10
Onions €0.95
Potatoes €0.80
Milk (1L) €0.60

Accommodation 

Rents and property costs are affordable in Portugal as many other things are. Expensive major cities aside, monthly rents for apartments with two bedrooms in more modest places around the country cost €450-800.

If you’re looking to get more comfortable, there are apartments where a more luxurious service is provided. These will cost you a monthly amount of around €1,200-2,000. 

If you decide to live in the countryside with your family, however, the accommodation expenses in the country are very reasonable.

Property prices change according to the location, as well. You can see some one-bedroom apartment prices according to locations below: 

  • Lisbon: €200,000 – €600,000
  • Coimbra: €150,000 – €300,000
  • Cascais: €250,000 – €800,000 
  • Algarve: €200,000 – €700,000
  • Rural areas: €100,000 – €150,000

Depending on the size of your house, the cost of utility changes, as well. However average monthly expenses in Portugal for basic utilities such as electricity, heating, garbage, and water cost around €100 while internet costs around €32.75.

Education

In Portugal, basic education that takes nine years at public schools is free for legal residents and citizens. Public universities are affordable due to the fee limit set by the government. The maximum fee limit for public universities is about €900 since 2020, whereas the fee limit for private universities is around €3,000.

If you choose to send your children to a private school, however, that is more costly. The average monthly private school fee in Portugal is around €400-500. There is the additional option of international schools, with average monthly fees of which cost around €900.

Healthcare

One of the biggest perks regarding the cost of living in Portugal is that there’s an almost entirely free public healthcare system in the country. If even if a fee is required to get a service or a procedure, legal residents and citizens pay very little. Examinations cost €40 at most while visiting the ER or the family doctor to get diagnosed an amount between €5-20.

If you have private insurance and choose to receive private healthcare, on the other hand, it will cost you around €40-50 to get a doctor’s appointment. Private insurance in Portugal usually cost around an annual amount of €400 but it can go up to €1,000 depending on how much service it covers. It is crucial to decide how comprehensive insurance you will need because there are various private insurance plan types in Portugal.

Social Security

Portugal offers many advantages if you’re listed in the social security system. To stay registered in the system you pay 11 percent of your gross earnings. The system receives an additional 23.75 percent from your employer. If you are self-employed, you need to pay 29.6 percent of your monthly income. 

If you pay these amounts the system provides aid in times of need such as maternity, death, unemployment, invalidity, pension, and occupational diseases. 

Transportation

Tickets for buses which are the most commonly used means of public transportation cost between €1-5. Buses are used commonly both in the city and for intercity travels. It is also possible to travel between major cities such as Porto, Lisbon, and Coimbra by train.

In the centers of the major cities, metro networks and tram lines work, as well. Monthly passes for these means of transportation cost between €20-40. 

In addition to these convenient public transportation options, taxi fees are affordable in Portugal, too. The average taxi starting fee is about €3 and the increase rate per kilometer is €0,50.

The Bottom Line: Is Portugal Expensive To Live?

There you have it… We’ve tried to give a brief answer to the question “how much to live in Portugal?” As in every other country, where and how you live matters regarding how much you’ll be spending in Portugal. You’ll spend less in smaller cities living a more modest life whereas you’ll be spending more if you choose to live the urban life in the major spots such as Cascais or Lisbon. 

Now it’s up to you to decide and take action for a new pace of life: a life you’re laid back and relaxed by the beach with your good glass of wine in your hand, not worrying about high expenses. Enjoy!

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