Cost of living in Portugal: Your guide

TransferWise content team
09.11.17
4 minute read

If you’re thinking of moving to Portugal, you wouldn’t be the first. It’s the oldest country in Europe populated with beaches, mountains, and picturesque scenery. Portugal has popular retirement enclaves like the Algarve and popular seaside resorts like Cascais. You’ll find plenty of fellow expats to befriend, and plenty of fun culture to explore.

Whether you’re retiring, temporarily relocating, or moving to Portugal for good, you’ll want to calculate your budget in advance. Here are some facts and figures to help you.

How expensive is Portugal in comparison to other countries?

Portugal is more affordable than many other western European countries, which is why so many expats choose to visit and live there. Yet, banks and money exchange services can still find ways to shortchange customers. You can get hit with hidden charges and large fees if you’re not careful.

To get the real exchange rate - the same one that you’d see on Google - consider turning to TransferWise. Use an online currency converter to know what a fair exchange rate should look like.

Money in Portugal is called the euro (symbolised by €, or by currency code ‘EUR’). For comparison, as of summer 2017, you’ll find the EUR is worth around:

Currency Approximate euro value
US$1,000 €850
£1,000 €1075
CA$1,000 €675
AU$1,000 €675
Comparing basic cost of living 1 bedroom flat in city centre (monthly rent) Meal for 2 (mid range restaurant) Transportation (monthly pass)
Lisbon €670 €30 €36
Porto €460 €30 €32
London, UK €1,800 €60 €142
New York City, USA €2,500 €63 €99
Berlin, Germany €750 €40 €81
Sydney, Australia €1750 €56 €106

Prices as of summer 2017

What are the most expensive major cities?

Here are the top five most expensive cities to live in in Portugal:

  • Lisbon
  • Funchal
  • Faro
  • Porto
  • Coimbra

What are general living expenses like in Portugal?

Total living expenses in Lisbon Average cost
1 person, per month €1400
1 person, per year €16,800
1 student, per month €500
3 person family, per month €1,700
3 person family, per year €20,400
Total living expenses in Porto Average cost
1 person, per month €1,000
1 person, per year €12,000
1 student, per month €700
3 person family, per month €1,400
3 person family, per year €16,800

Prices as of summer 2017

What are the average salaries in Portugal?

If you’re looking for a job in Portugal, your best bet will be finding one in a city. It’s easy to get by with a small budget. Most salaried jobs will cover your daily expenses, and you’ll find cheap options when it comes to accommodation, food and travel. Here are the average salaries for certain jobs in Portugal:

Salary averages for Lisbon Average yearly salary
cashier €10,000
copywriter €13,000
financial analyst €22,000
graphic designer €13,000
mobile developer €21,000
product manager €25,000
receptionist €11,500
software engineer €23,000
teacher €16,000
web developer €18,000
Salary averages for Porto Average yearly salary
copywriter €9,000
financial analyst €12,000
graphic designer €10,800
mobile developer €22,000
product manager €21,000
receptionist €10,500
software engineer €11,500
teacher €15,000
web developer €16,500

Prices as of summer 2017

How expensive is housing and accommodation in Portugal?

Rent in Portugal is a major draw for expats. Accommodation is pretty cheap, whether you’re in the city centre or close to the beach. Here’s an estimate of rent you’d find in three of Portugal’s most populated cities:

Renting in Lisbon Average monthly cost
large apartment €1,100
medium apartment €810
small apartment €670
student dorm room €480
internet €26
Renting in Porto Average monthly cost
large apartment €574
medium apartment €503
small apartment €480
student dorm room €295
internet €21
Renting in Cascais Average monthly cost
large apartment €785
medium apartment €669
small apartment €541
student dorm room €464
internet €27

Prices as of summer 2017

Portugal has subsidized state healthcare for people who contribute into the social security system. Some expats also take out private insurance or travel insurance to cover healthcare costs. Healthcare isn’t expensive, but the system can be difficult to navigate. Here are some estimated healthcare costs you might see in Portugal:

Healthcare service Average cost to you
Public health insurance for 1 person for one year 11% of gross earnings
Private health insurance for one couple over age 65 for one year €8,500
labor and delivery (public hospital, with insurance) free
labor and delivery (private hospital, no insurance) Varies, depending on your private insurance
family doctor check-up (no insurance) €56
dental cleaning (no insurance) €30

How much are travel and transportation costs in Portugal?

You can get around Portugal on a number of modes of transportation. From the extensive train network, to the seaports, to quick flights across the country, the transportation infrastructure is strong. Portugal also has 44 motorways covering nearly 3,000 km, so if you hire a car, you can go pretty much anywhere you need. Here are the costs you might see when traveling around Portugal:

Transportation and vehicle prices for Portugal Average cost
gasoline (1 litre / 0.25 gallon) €1.44
monthly bus/transport pass €35.65
bus ticket, single use €1.50
taxi tariff, 30 minutes €28
train trip, single ticket cross country €91
Toyota Corolla, new €24,500
VW Golf, new €25,000

How much does education cost?

Public schools in Portugal are free and paid for by the government. In public education, much of the teaching is done in Portuguese, so if you’re an expat looking for English-speaking school, you’ll have to go the private route. Prices in Portugal for education are reasonable, much like a lot of western Europe. Here’s what school might cost you in Portugal:

School in Portugal Average yearly cost
preschool / kindergarten Free (public), €3,250 (private)
private school for lower grades €5,000
University of Lisbon €1,063 – €3,000
University of Porto €3,000 – €6,000

In Portugal, you can enjoy a high quality of life for a reasonable cost. There’s great weather, interesting food and a lively culture. Having your finances in order can significantly ease stress. So, make sure you’ve done your research and planned your budget and don’t forget to have fun!

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