Back to main blog page

Living in Portugal – The True Costs of Retiring In or Visiting This Country

Although not as popular as Italy, France, or Spain, Portugal remains a dreamy European destination we encourage you to explore as soon as you can. It is far more affordable than other trendy places on the old continent, providing hundreds of miles of coastline, white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, divine dishes, and endless nights of entertainment.
If you plan on taking a trip to this country as soon as it’s safe again or even retire to enjoy the amazing waves of the Atlantic Ocean, here is everything you need to know when it comes to the financial aspects.

Housing costs
When you think about spending your 401K fund on a dreamy yet affordable destination, Western Europe is most definitely not your first or tenth option. South America and most African countries might fill in the first positions of the top, while on the opposite pole there are places like Switzerland, New York, London, or France.

However, the costs of living in Portugal are surprisingly low, which means most medium-waged people can afford a more than decent lifestyle without giving up on their small guilty pleasures. Algarve, one of the most picturesque places of this European country is also amongst the cheapest destinations in the world. Renting a two-bedroom apartment fully furnished would cost you, on average, only $500. Villas, trendy studios, or more extravagant houses don’t cost more than $800-$900 per month, which is cheaper than a studio in a random Midwest small town. If we’re talking about popular US destinations like Miami, New York, or LA, the costs of renting a house in Portugal are three-four times cheaper, on average.

The fine weather of some parts of Portugal allows you to go without air conditioning and central heating most of the year, which means the electricity and gas bills will be cut to a minimum. If you want A/C during the hot summer days, your monthly bills would rise to around $80 per month. Add another $85-$90, on average, for Internet, cable, and phone, so we’re looking at monthly average costs of $800-$1,000 for rent and utilities. The good thing is that these bills can be cut in two if you’re sharing your apartment with your spouse or a friend.

Food in Portugal is not only accessible but also extremely delicious. With an infinite array of tapas, fish, and fresh seafood, Portuguese cuisine is one of the main reasons you should consider relocating to this country, at least for a short while.
Eating out at taverns, pubs, and family-owned restaurants is affordable, as long as you avoid places with menus written in multiple languages, which are often tourist traps. Authenticity at a low price is easily described by ordering pratos do dia or the dish of the day, which allows you to experiment with various traditional dishes. Most of these menus cost around $5 and, when you also add a drink, this would lead to a total of $7-$10 per meal, which is less than what you would normally pay at a low-range American fast-food chain. That being said, $250 per month should be enough to cover your food spending. If you want to save even more money, you can learn to cook at home, raise your own animals at a small farm and even build some good sheds for goats or take our word for granted when we’re telling you that $1500 per month is enough to live a comfortable life in Portugal.