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A Comprehensive Breakdown of the Cost of Living in Portugal for Expats


May 23, 2023

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Portugal, with its sun-drenched coastlines, rich cultural history, and welcoming locals, has long been a desirable destination for expatriates worldwide. But what does it truly cost to call this charming country home? In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the cost of living in Portugal, breaking it down into a monthly budget and discussing various factors that influence these expenses.

A Comprehensive Breakdown of the Cost of Living in Portugal for Expats

A Comprehensive Breakdown of the Cost of Living in Portugal for Expats

What is the Cost of Living in Portugal?


Portugal is known for its relatively low cost of living compared to other Western European countries, which is a significant draw for many expats. The cost encompasses housing, utilities, groceries, healthcare, transportation, and leisure activities. Each of these components can vary based on location, lifestyle, and personal preferences.


Housing is typically the most significant monthly expense. The cost varies significantly depending on the location and size of the property. In metropolitan areas like Lisbon and Porto, rent for a one-bedroom apartment ranges from €700 to €1,200 per month. In smaller towns and rural areas, you can expect to pay between €400 and €700 for a similar apartment.


Utilities, including electricity, water, heating, and waste disposal, average around €100-€150 per month for an apartment. Internet and mobile phone plans are reasonably priced, with an unlimited data plan costing around €20-€30 per month.


Grocery expenses in Portugal are generally affordable, with a monthly budget of around €200-€300 for an individual. Fresh seafood, local produce, and wines are particularly good value for money.


Portugal has a robust public healthcare system that is free for children under 18 and people over 65. Others can access it at low costs. However, many expats choose private healthcare, which offers shorter waiting times and English-speaking doctors. Private health insurance costs about €20-€50 per month.


Public transportation in Portugal is extensive and affordable. A monthly transport pass costs about €30-€40. If you prefer to drive, keep in mind that gasoline costs are relatively high, averaging around €1.60 per liter.

Leisure Activities

The cost of leisure activities varies widely depending on your interests. Dining out at a mid-range restaurant costs around €20-€30 per person, while tickets to a movie or theater show range from €7-€15.

Cost of Living in Portugal per Month

To provide a more tangible understanding of the cost of living in Portugal, let’s look at an average monthly budget for a single person living in a mid-sized city:

  • Rent (one-bedroom city-center apartment): €600
  • Utilities (electricity, heating, cooling, garbage): €120
  • Internet and mobile phone: €30
  • Groceries: €250
  • Health insurance: €35
  • Transportation (public transport pass): €35
  • Leisure activities (eating out, entertainment): €150

Total: €1,220

Please note that these figures are estimates and will vary depending on your lifestyle and specific location.

Additional Considerations for Expats

Expats should also factor in costs such as international money transfers, travel insurance, and flights to their home country. Services such as DNBC Financial Group can be beneficial for cost-effective international money transfers, helping you save on bank fees and enjoy competitive exchange rates.

Portugal, with its blend of affordability, cultural richness, and high quality of life, is an attractive destination for expats. While the cost of living is generally lower than in many other Western European countries, it’s essential to do thorough research and financial planning before making the move. Be aware that costs can vary widely depending on location, lifestyle, and personal choices.

Another crucial consideration for expats is the cost of education. If you have children, private international schools are a popular choice, but they can be expensive. Fees vary but can range from €5,000 to €20,000 per year.

It’s also worth noting that while the cost of living is lower, the average wages in Portugal are also lower than in many other Western European countries. Therefore, if you plan to work in Portugal, it’s essential to ensure that your income will cover your expected lifestyle costs.

Lastly, if you’re planning to move to Portugal, it’s crucial to understand the tax implications. Portugal has a favorable tax regime for new residents, known as the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) regime, which can offer significant tax savings for the first ten years of residence. It’s advisable to seek expert advice to understand how this could benefit you.

In conclusion, living in Portugal offers a fantastic quality of life and is an affordable option compared to many other countries. However, it’s essential to consider all the costs involved and to make a realistic budget. By doing this, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable transition to life in the sun-soaked paradise that is Portugal.

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Note: The content in this article is for general informative purposes only. You should conduct your own research or ask for specialist advice before making any financial decisions. All information in this article is current as of the date of publication, and DNBC Financial Group reserves the right to modify, add, or remove any information. We don’t provide any express or implied representations, warranties, or guarantees regarding the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the content within this publication.