You Can Live In Portugal For $1000 A Month, This is How!


Portugal is known for many things – delicious cork wine, stunning beaches, and ardent love for football (how can we forget Cristiano Ronaldo, right?). Some even say it’s a traveler’s paradise, and it’s not hard to see why. You may want to move there, but are wondering if you can live on $1000/month, or will you need deeper pockets to make ends meet?

You can live in Portugal for $1000 a month. Portugal is one of the most affordable countries in Europe. In districts like Guarda, Viseu, Castelo Branco, Beja, and many others, it’s possible to live for $1000 a month. However, major districts like Lisbon, Porto, and Algarve are much more expensive.

You might have many questions about the cost of living in Portugal. How much does rent cost? What about food and transportation? I live in Portugal during the winter, so I know how to save on expenses. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about surviving (and thriving!) on a tight budget in Portugal. We’ll also share some insider tips on how to stretch your euros even further! Let’s dive right in. 

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Breakdown Of Monthly Expenses In Portugal

To give you a better idea of what living in Portugal costs on a month-to-month basis, let’s break down the typical expenses for a single person: 

Note: These figures aren’t set in stone and will vary depending on the city you live in, your lifestyle, and your spending habits. Also, when you rent a house in Portugal, Utility costs & Wi-Fi are often included in the rental price. I added them separately in the overview to get a better feeling for the monthly costs.

CategoryAverage Costs In Affordable Towns/ CitiesAverage Costs In Expensive Districts & Cities (Like Lisbon, Porto, Algarve
Rent and Accommodation (2 bedrooms, fully furnished)$ 433$ 1087
Food$ 244$ 291
Utilities (electricity, gas, heating, etc.)$ 84$ 138
Wi-Fi (60 Mbps or more)$ 30$ 30
Transportation (monthly pass for public transportation)$ 35$ 40
Miscellaneous (movies, doctor’s visits, night-outs)$ 100$ 200
Total Average Costs$ 926$ 1786

As you can clearly see, there’s quite a difference between living in Portugal’s major cities and smaller towns. In Lisbon, for example, you’ll need to budget for a higher cost of living, while in smaller towns like Viseu, your expenses will be much lower.

Of course, your actual monthly costs will also depend on your lifestyle. If you’re a big fan of going out to eat and drink, your expenses will be higher than someone who prefers to stay in and cook at home. The same goes for other luxuries like cable TV, gym memberships, and so on.

In general, though, you can expect to spend around $700-$900 per month on essential costs like rent, food, and transportation if you live in a smaller town or city.

What Are The Major Expenses In Portugal?

Now that we’ve given you an overview of the typical monthly costs for a single person living in Portugal, let’s take a closer look at some of the major expense categories: 

1. Rent

Rent is undoubtedly one of the biggest expenses you’ll have to budget for when living in Portugal. Major cities like Lisbon, Porto, and Cascais are among the most expensive in all of Europe, with average rents of around $800-$1200 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find cheaper options. It’s definitely possible to find apartments for less than $800 per month in Lisbon, but they’ll likely be small and away from the city center.

If you’re looking for a more affordable place to live in Portugal, consider smaller towns and cities like Portimão, Braga, and Viseu. Prices here are much lower, with average rents of around $300-$500 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. 

2. Food And Groceries

Food is another major expense you’ll need to budget for when living in Portugal. If you cook most of your meals at home, you can expect to spend around $200-$250 per month on groceries. This figure will be higher if you eat out often in luxury restaurants or buy lots of convenience foods.

Eating out is another affordable option for most people. A three-course meal at a decent restaurant would only cost around $30 to $40. However, if you truly go for the local experience, you can find restaurants where you can eat much cheaper.

Most Portuguese people have a low monthly income. So, local restaurants and cafes can’t ask for high prices. When we go to a local restaurant, we often can eat for around $6 per person. Sometimes we even ask to see the plates first. Many restaurants serve a lot of food, so ordering one plate can be enough for two people!

Note: Fruits and vegetables from the local markets, fresh fish, olives, and beer are some of the most popular and inexpensive foods in Portugal. So, if you’re on a tight budget, be sure to stock up on these items!

3. Utilities

No one can live in today’s world without water, electricity, heating, gas, and even Wi-Fi! So, it’s no surprise that utilities are one of the biggest expenses for people living in Portugal.

The cost of utilities will depend on a number of factors, like the size of your apartment, the climate, and how much you use things like air conditioning and heating. In general, though, you can expect to spend around $80-$150 per month on utilities.

4. Transportation

Portugal has an excellent public transportation system that makes getting around the country relatively easy (and affordable). A monthly public transport pass in Lisbon costs around $35, while a single ticket is just $1.50. In smaller towns and cities, the prices are even lower.

Of course, if you prefer the convenience of having your own car, you’ll need to factor in the cost of gas, parking, insurance, and repairs. In Portugal, the average price of gasoline is $1.60 per liter (about $6 per gallon).

5. Miscellaneous Expenses

You would think that after all of these major expenses, there’s not much left for anything else. But, of course, there are always those little day-to-day costs that can quickly add up.

Some examples of miscellaneous expenses include: 

  • Clothing
  • Entertainment (movies, restaurants, bars)
  • Gym membership
  • Mobile phone bill
  • Personal care (haircuts, manicures, etc.)

In general, you can expect to spend around $100-$200 per month on miscellaneous expenses. This figure will be much higher if you have expensive taste or like to live a luxurious lifestyle.

So, there you have it! A breakdown of some of the major expenses you can expect to budget for when living in Portugal. As you can see, it is definitely possible to live in Portugal for $1000 per month, as long as you practice some frugal living habits.

5 Most Affordable Cities In Portugal (For A Budget Under $1000)

Just because Lisbon and Porto get all the attention doesn’t mean they’re the only places worth living in Portugal. As mentioned already, some of the most affordable (and underrated!) cities in Portugal are actually located outside of the big cities. Here are 5 of the most affordable places to live in Portugal.

1) Portimão – Algarve region

A port city in the Algarve region of Portugal, Portimão is a great place to live if you’re looking for sunny weather, a bustling beach life, and the most delicious grilled sardines you’ve ever tasted. Here’s how much you can expect to spend in Portimão on a monthly basis: 

Category:Average Price Per Month:
Rent (1 Bedroom Apartment)$ 570
Groceries$ 250
Transport$ 24
Average Costs Per Month$ 850

Budget friendly places to visit in Portimão: Museu de Portimão, Alvor Boardwalk, Praia dos Três Irmãos, Vau Beach.

The Algarve region is perfect to stay in, especially during winter. Winter in the Algarve is pleasant with temperatures often above 20 degrees Celsius and many sunny days. Of course there are also colder days and more rain than during summer. Especially during the nights it can get colder quickly, so be sure to take a sweater with you. Still, Algarve is one of the best places to stay during winter in Portugal and even Europe.

The Algarve region is known to be one of the most expensive regions in Portugal. However, when you stay here during winter (low season), you can get cheap accommodations in many cities in the Algarve, Portugal. For example, we often spent our winters close to Lagos in the Algarve, which is only 20 minute’s drive from Portimao. Our monthly rental expenses are around $750 for a 3-bedroom apartment or mobile home. Cost of living for groceries and other expenses is more or less the same as stated in the table above.

2) Braga

Braga is the place for you if you’re looking for a charming city with plenty of character. Braga is a historic city in north-western Portugal known for its baroque churches, beautiful gardens, and picturesque streets. Here’s how much you can expect to spend in Braga on a monthly basis:

Category:Average Price Per Month:
Rent (1 Bedroom Apartment)$ 500
Groceries$ 250
Transport$ 24
Average Costs Per Month$ 800

Budget friendly places to visit in Braga: Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sameiro, Bom Jesus Funicular, Sé de Braga, Praca da Republica, Palacio do Raio. 

3) Viseu

Beautiful renaissance art and medieval architecture make Viseu one of Portugal’s most underrated cities. Located in central Portugal, Viseu is the perfect place to live if you’re looking for a slower paced lifestyle and incredible views. Here’s how much you can expect to spend in Viseu on a monthly basis: 

Category:Average Price Per Month:
Rent (1 Bedroom Apartment)$ 300 – $ 400
Groceries$ 150 – $ 200
Transport$ 30
Average Costs Per Month$ 700

Budget friendly places to visit in Viseu: Sé Catedral de Viseu, Palacio do Gelo, Painel de Azulejos, Church of the Third of San Francisco. 

4) Faro

Another beach town located in Portugal’s Algarve region, Faro, is a historic and culturally vibrant city. It even has its own airport, making it the perfect base for exploring the rest of Portugal and beyond. Plus, the abundance of seafood restaurants here makes it any foodie’s paradise. Here’s how much you can expect to spend in Faro on a monthly basis: 

Category:Average Price Per Month:
Rent (1 Bedroom Apartment)$ 600
Groceries$ 250
Transport$ 45
Average Costs Per Month$ 950
Because of its popularity, prices can get much higher during the summer period

5) Évora

Located smack-dab in between Lisbon and the Spanish border, Évora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Portugal’s most well-preserved cities. With Roman ruins, beautiful medieval churches, and a vibrant nightlife scene, there’s something for everyone in Évora. Here’s how much you can expect to spend in Évora on a monthly basis: 

Category:Average Price Per Month:
Rent (1 Bedroom Apartment)$ 400
Groceries$ 250
Transport$ 20
Average Costs Per Month$ 700

Budget friendly places to visit in Évora: Capela dos Ossos, Centro Histórico de Évora, Temple of Diana, Walls of Évora. 

Who says you can’t live in some of the most gorgeous places on the planet within a budget? Portugal has a little something for everyone, and with these five cities, you can definitely live comfortably on $1000 a month (or even less!). 

Tips To Save Money While Living In Portugal

While living in Portugal may not be as expensive as some other countries in Europe, it’s still important to budget and save where you can. Here are a few tips to help you stretch your euros:

  • Learn the price differences in various stores: Unlike other countries where you might have one or two supermarket chains selling the cheapest groceries, Portugal has a variety of stores selling groceries at different price points. Certain items, such as vegetables and fruits, may be cheaper at the local farmers market, while other items like meat and dairy may be cheaper at the supermarket. It’s worth it to take the time to learn the price differences of various stores in order to get the best deal on groceries.
  • Public transport always (or walk!): Portugal has one of the best public transport systems in Europe, so there’s really no need to spend extra money on a car or taxi. If you’re living in Lisbon, for example, you can easily get around by taking the metro, bus, or even tram. Driving a car around might mean having to pay tolls, which can quickly add up. You can really get to most places just by walking!
  • Take advantage of free attractions: Portugal is full of free (or almost free) attractions, so be sure to take advantage of them! Many museums and galleries offer free admission on certain days, while churches and cathedrals often have no entrance fee. Next time you’re planning a day out, skip the expensive attractions and opt for the free ones instead.
  • Avoid tourist spots (especially for eating): This might sound like a strange tip, but hear us out. Portugal has a lot of great restaurants, cafes, and bars, but many of them are located in tourist areas. These places tend to be more expensive and the quality of food is often not as good as it is in other parts of the city. Find out where the local Portuguese people eat and drink and you’ll be sure to save (and eat!) well.
  • Pay close attention to heating expenses: Portugal’s energy bills can be quite high, especially in the winter when you need to keep your apartment warm. Make sure you don’t leave your heater on all day, as this can almost triple your heating expenses. Instead, only turn on the heater when you’re actually home and use blankets to keep yourself warm at other times. By following these tips, you can avoid paying sky-high energy bills.
  • Love thy neighbors: Portuguese people are some of the friendliest in the world, so get to know your neighbors! A lot of money can be saved through reciprocating favors such as babysitting, sharing meals, or even just borrowing things like tools or appliances. So the next time you bake a cake or make a big pot of soup, invite your neighbors over for some. They’re sure to return the favor (and you might even make some lifelong friends in the process).

With these tips in mind, you’ll be sure to save quite a lot of money while living in Portugal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about living in Portugal on a budget:

Q.1. Which part of Portugal has the lowest cost of living?

A. Northern Portugal is often considered the most affordable region to live in Portugal, as the cost of living is lower than in other parts of the country. This is especially true when compared to areas like the Algarve or Lisbon where living costs can run quite high.

Q.2. Is healthcare free in Portugal?

A. Portugal has a public healthcare system which is free for all residents, regardless of nationality. However, there may be some services (emergency room fees, requesting an ambulance, etc.) that are not covered by the public healthcare system, and you may have to pay for these out-of-pocket.

Q.3. Is it cheaper to live in Spain or Portugal?

A. It is cheaper to live in Portugal than in Spain, although the cost of living in both countries is relatively affordable when compared to other Western European nations. In fact, the average cost of living in Portugal is almost 14% less than in Spain.

Q.4. Is English Widely Spoken In Portugal?

A. English is widely spoken in areas with a lot of tourists or that are more internationally focused. In places like Lisbon and Porto, English is widely spoken. Almost everyone can speak English in the Algarve region since many tourists from the United Kingdom and the United States are visiting the Algarve. However, in cheaper regions with fewer tourists, you won’t find many people that speak English. You can learn more about it in our article, Is English Widely Spoken In Portugal?

Final Thoughts

Portugal is a gorgeous country with its white sandy beaches, Mediterranean sunshine, and winding cobbled streets. Most people would never believe that it’s possible to live in such a place with just $1000 a month. However, by following the tips above, it is possible to live comfortably in Portugal without breaking the bank. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your move to Portugal today! Cuide de!

Léon Kopijn

Léon Kopijn works and lives as a Digital Nomad. He travels the world with the love of his life and writes about inspiring cultures and practical travel tips. Find out more about Léon on his about page!

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