Cost of living in Portugal
Cost of living in Portugal
If you're thinking of buying a property in Portugal, or moving there to study or work, you'll be happy to hear that it's one of Europe's cheaper destinations, with a great standard of living and very reasonable living costs. As a rule of thumb,you can live quite well for $750-1,000 a month, particularly outside the capital and the better known coastal resorts.
However if you haven’t decided about your source of income, it will be hard to find the right job with the same salary as you used to get in the UK, France or Germany. The average annual household income is a little bit more than EUR ~20,000, lower than the OECD average which is EUR ~30,000. And the minimum monthly salary according to Eurostat is EUR 676.67 which won’t allow you to indulge yourself. E.g. if you a retiree with monthly budget higher than this minimum, you will feel yourself at home and even better.
For instance, renting a flat somewhere like Porto or Coimbra might cost you just EUR 400 a month. Even in Lisbon, you can get a one bedroom flat from about EUR 650 a month - and if you're buying, low prices will mean you'll be paying a relatively low mortgage. In some inland villages, you can buy a house for the price of a new car - even less if you're willing to restore an older property yourself!
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Portugal property buying guide
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Utilities are relatively inexpensive. Numbeo suggests the occupier of an 85 square metre apartment could pay between EUR 54 and EUR 150 a month, with the average somewhere in the middle - that includes electricity, water, heating, cooling and refuse disposal. In fact, you might use less energy - many Portuguese families live without using air-con in summer and only use heating for a limited period each winter - your mileage may vary, but it's certainly possible to have much lower bills.
Portugal has a superb internet infrastructure, with broadband almost everywhere; allow EUR 25-40 a month depending on your usage and bandwidth requirements, and up to 75 euros a month for a combined phone, TV and broadband package.
Public transport is cheap. A monthly pass in Lisbon or Porto costs just EUR 36 - that compares with £131 for zones 1-2 in London, and EUR 75.20 in Paris. If you're moving to the deep country, though, public transport may be limited, and the bad news is that petrol is a bit more expensive than elsewhere; unleaded costs EUR 1.64 a litre, against EUR 1.47 in France and between EUR 1.30 and EUR 1.50 in Spain. Some people drive across the Spanish border to fill up and reckon the savings pay for the trip.
Keep an eye open for motorway tolls, too; they can be high even for quite short stretches of road.
As for daily living costs, food and drink are a bargain in Portugal. Groceries should cost you less than EUR 200 a month unless you eat a lot of prepared meals or want 'home comforts' which will come at a price (Oreos, Heinz beans or Chinese noodles aren't going to be easy to find, either). If you're eating out, lunch in a tasca can cost as little as five euros in rural locations and even in the Algarve you can get the 'pratos do dia' (dishes of the day) from about EUR 3.50. A bottle of wine will set you back just EUR 2, if you're not too choosy, and the local Super Bock beer costs less than £1 a pint (0.87 per half litre bottle) in the supermarket, a bit more if you drink it in the local bar.
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Properties in popular locations
Portugal has an excellent healthcare system, and though there is a charge to see a doctor or enter a hospital, it's a small one (EUR 5-20); once you're through the hospital doors, you're covered for all the treatment you'll receive. At Lisbon's main hospital, nervous patients having blood tests have sometimes even been treated to a verse or two of fado by a singing doctor!
Pregnant women, children, and pensioners get free dental treatment. If you're resident in Portugal, and registered for the public system, healthcare will cost you zero.
Crunching the numbers, Numbeo reckons Portugal is 35% cheaper than France, 27% cheaper than the US, and 25% cheaper than the UK. Which isn't bad for a country that delivers good infrastructure, great weather, pictureseque towns and villages, and one of Europe's healthiest and tastiest cuisines.