Cost of Housing in Portugal
Naturally, housing is a major factor in the cost of living in Portugal. We are retired and live in a four-bedroom house near the sea on Portugal’s Silver Coast, just a one-hour drive north of Lisbon. For us, having explored much of the country, this is the best place to live in Portugal. We rent, although most people wanting to live or retire in Portugal tend to buy properties. Finding long term house rentals in Portugal is hard; most people prefer to let their properties to holidaymakers during the summer months. Finding a place to rent is generally by word of mouth, drive around, find an area you like and then ask everyone. Although having said that, our current two-year rental contract expires end of April, and we haven’t had much success finding a new place, so guess it’s time to move to another country, but that’s a whole other story.
Why has it been so difficult for us to find another place to rent? Well, quite simply we want a view. Our current home has fantastic views over the Atlantic Ocean and farmland. Why settle for a cheaper place overlooking a bus station?
- Life is Either a Daring Adventure or Nothing At All
- The Things You Own End Up Owning You Essay
- Taking a Leap of Faith
So, what do we pay for a place with views? Our current home has four bedrooms (Yes, I know a bit extravagant for two people but one room is an office, and we have lots of visitors), three bathrooms, a swimming pool (I don’t even swim but came with the house) and incredible views. For this, we pay €1000 a month.
Head inland, lose the pool, and the ocean views and you will pay a lot less – maybe half.
Move to Lisbon, and naturally, you will get a lot less for your money. A small one bedroom apartment in a central location costs around €700 a month. We also had a friend write about in the cost of living in Porto if you are interested in looking there.
Transportation Costs in Portugal
If you live outside of a major city, the cost of living in Portugal will be greatly impacted by transportation. You will need a car to get around. When we first moved here, we simply rented a car for a while. Outside the summer season, it was quite easy to find a vehicle for around €5 a day. During the main holiday months, June, July, and August, this rose to around €60 a day. It was time to stop renting a car and buy one.
Used cars are a little more here than other countries – well certainly more than a second-hand car in the UK but cheaper than buying in Thailand and Laos where we used to live. We purchased a 2010 Skoda Fabia, and it cost us €6000 and touch wood, it’s never broken down on us.
Fuel is quite pricey here, but fortunately, our car runs on LPG so only costs around €0,66 a litre. For standard petrol, you are looking at around €1,50 a litre.
Another thing to consider here when driving are toll roads. Driving down to the Algarve on the main roads can set you back around €40 on tolls. Consider the back routes, they are a lot prettier too.
Parking though is cheap, and usually free outside the big cities, but even in Lisbon, you are only talking a few euros a day to park assuming you can find somewhere to leave your car. We usually park just on the outskirts and travel around Lisbon using public transport.
Cost Of Food And Eating Out in Portugal
With a nice bottle of red wine costing around €2, drinking and eating here is very affordable. Due to our location, we tend to cook at home a lot (when I say we, I mean Jonathan :). A weekly food shop at Pingo Doce, our local supermarket costs around €40. We have fresh bread delivered to our door every morning at less than a Euro a loaf.
Eating out is plenty affordable too. A coffee and a pastel de nata brought locally will cost you a euro, head to Lisbon and it may set you back two euros.
Lunch will cost around €8 a head, and you can have a really lovely meal with wine for less than €20 a head.
Look here for a sampling of typical Portuguese foods.
Cost of Utilities in Portugal
Utilities can be a major part of the cost of living in Portugal. We pay €32,99 a month for Internet. Most of the time it’s pretty reliable. It supposed to be 100 Mbps, but on average, it’s around 30 Mbps.
Water – we pay €40 a month but remember we have a pool. Without a pool, you’ll be spending a lot less.
Electricity – Electricity is quite expensive in Portugal. Our bill is around €60 a month, that may not sound that much, but that’s only lights, TV, computer and fridge and the pool pump.
Heating – Portugal is under the impression it’s a hot country. Older houses are not insulated or heated and trust me; the houses get cold. It’s often a lot warmer outside than inside. We use gas for heating and showers and wear thick socks and jumpers indoors to keep warm — a 20-litre tank costs around €25.
We also pay around €150 for logs for the fireplace. That usually lasts the winter.
The further north you live in Portugal, the colder it gets. Did I mention, I really hate being cold!
Entertainment Costs in Portugal
Going out is inexpensive. In our local bar, we pay three euros for two beers and two glasses of wine. Head to the fancy bars in Lisbon, and yes, of course, you will be paying capital city prices.
Many activities are free, and throughout the year, there are many fiestas to visit. Free concerts in the park, walking groups, etc.
Join Facebook groups in the area to find out what’s happening near you.
Cinema tickets cost around €7 and are generally shown in the original language with Portuguese subtitles except for kids movies which are dubbed. For some reason, they translate the movie posters into Portuguese.
Healthcare in Portugal
Being British and a resident in Portugal, I’m entitled to free or very reduced cost healthcare. However, this is easier said than done, and after failing to register with our local doctor, I decided to add myself to Jonathan’s health insurance.
The private hospitals are excellent, albeit a little chaotic. For me, they are expensive as I’ve never had to worry about having affordable healthcare, but for Jonathan, being American, he thinks they are really cheap.
A private doctor’s appointment will cost €80.
Why did we move to Portugal?
After spending many years of retired living in South East Asia, the heat, pollution and dealing with the constant changing of visa requirements, we decided to move to Portugal. Overall, the cost of living in Portugal is relatively affordable. It’s a safe place to live, and the quality of life in Portugal is good. My dog loves being able to enjoy walks on the beach and not have to fight off packs of rabid street dogs.
We have enjoyed our time in Portugal, but as our two years here come to an end, we are looking forward to our next adventure.