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Living in Portugal - Cost of living

If you want to venture into a new country, Portugal may be one of the best options to consider. It is a small country, with one of the best European climates and a low cost of living for most European foreigners. For these and other reasons, Portugal is one of the most sought destinations to live in.

Get to know all the strengths that make many foreigners choose Portugal to live permanently.



cost of living



Eating out

Know that in Portugal you have the opportunity to, for only 8€, get a main course, drink, dessert, and coffee. This is a menu commonly used by several restaurants, whose name is Menu do dia (Dish of the Day). This menu varies from day to day in the participating restaurants and serves mainly at lunchtime for workers.

In restaurants of average cost, meals can be between 15€ and 20€ per person. In these restaurants, you can count on fresh, quality food and excellent national wines with low prices compared with other European cities.


Fresh markets

Around the country, it is possible to find fresh markets, with high quality products, and low prices. All products are national, and the vast majority are organic or of sustainable production. (find here some fresh markets in the Algarve).

What might be expensive in other countries, in Portugal, by having national production, becomes less expensive. The olive oil is a good example, one bottle of extra virgin olive oil does not exceed 4€ per litre.

Buying in these markets will help develop the local economy, and you will also get the best tips on how to cook certain foods.


Public transport

Portugal, being a small country, gives you the possibility to travel from north to south, in about 10 hours, using the Alfa Pendular train. This service has a cost of 85€ for the 1st class and 65€ for the 2nd class. Some companies are headquartered in major centres such as Lisbon and Oporto, and this service will speed up these journeys.

If you prefer to travel by car, you can find rent-a-cars with prices starting from 15€ per day. Of course, everything will depend on the type of car rented and other options that may influence the final price. Know that in Portugal the majority of highways are paid. Payment can be made directly at tolls and in some cases through virtual tolls. If you want to take the route from Lagos to Valença, it will take about 7 hours, mostly through highways, at an approximate cost of 54€.



The education in Portugal is free of charge from 6 years old until the end of the obligatory education (get more information about this subject here). Kindergartens can be private or social charity institutions and will adjust the costs to your income. The calculation to be made to know the monthly value of each child will be:

PCI = (GAHI / 12 months – FC) / FA


PCI- Per capita income;

GAHI- Gross annual household income;

FC- Fixed costs

  • This parameter includes taxes and what is taxed to obtain the net income.
  • Value of the rent or monthly housing benefit (insurance included).
  • Expenditure on public transport.
  • Expenses with health and acquisition of medicines for continuous use.

FA- Number of elements of the family aggregate;

After this calculation, you should understand which IRS level you are in, and that way, you will know how much you will pay per month.

The monthly values are always higher in private kindergartens, but the availability of openings also increases compared to social charity institutions (get all the information through this document).



An undergraduate degree at the most expensive private institution in the country can cost 438€ per month. The costs in this institution vary depending on the degree area. This institution is in Lisbon and if the student needs to change from his home town to Lisbon, a room it may cost an average of 350€ per month.

In the Algarve, more specifically in Faro, with a department in Portimão, there is one of the most accessible universities in the country. With tuition fees of 990€ per year and rooms around 250€ per month.

In addition to universities, polytechnics institutions offer courses with more practical aspects and with even more accessible costs. In Beja, where the Polytechnic Institute of Beja is located, the annual cost of tuition fees is 780€, and on average, you pay 160€ per month per room.

These values make Portugal one of the countries with the highest tuition fees in the European Union.


Monthly costs of a house

On average, a couple spends about 85€ per month on water, energy, and gas, being energy the most expensive in the monthly bill of the house expenses (this value does not include heating and cooling).

The value of water per m3 varies from city to city, and the sanitation and urban solid waste collection values are included.

The most affordable option will be natural gas instead of butane, with a difference of almost half the value.

All these costs can be reduced by taking into account some measures needed for the energy efficiency of your home (see more about this subject here).

Renting costs are higher compared to the instalments of bank loans as this is another investment where most of the monthly budget is sent. Portugal has a huge difference concerning the national minimum wage and the rents asked by landlords. These values are even more accentuated in large urban centres, such as Lisbon, Porto, and some cities in the Algarve region.


Portugal is a friendly country to live in, and relatively cheap compared to other European Union countries. It is small but very diversified, each region is rich in very distinct characteristics. It has a people that knows how to welcome and integrate anyone coming from outside. A large percentage of Portuguese knows how to speak English, which makes it easier for new residents to arrive.