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Discover the cost of living in Lisbon and how much you should expect to pay for food, transport, and rent in different neighborhoods.

Last Updated on November 8, 2023 by Maryam Siddiqui

You may have heard that Portugal is a cheap country. But how cheap are the tourist’s favorite places? In this article, we’re going to show you the cost of living in Lisbon, the capital and the most sought-after city by foreigners to live in Portugal.

By the end of the article, you’ll have an overall estimate of how much you’d need per month to live comfortably. There’s a high chance it will be much less than what you spend right now in your home country, but for a better quality of life. Happy reading!

Is Lisbon really as cheap as they say?

Like everything else in life, Lisbon being expensive or cheap depends on the perspective. If you ask a Portuguese person about the cost of living in Lisbon, you’ll hear that it is very high. On the other hand, if you talk to an expat who lives in the city, the answer will be completely different.

The truth is that Lisbon is one of the most expensive places to live in Portugal. It’s the country’s main center; huge multinationals are here, and this is where things happen in Portugal. However, if you compare the costs in Lisbon to those in other big European cities, you’ll find that Lisbon is much cheaper.

cost-of-living-in-lisbon

So cheap that Lisbon is home to thousands of foreigners who decided to move their whole lives to this city.

Most of these expats usually have their own earnings from their countries, whether by passive income or remote work. Therefore, they manage to deviate from Portugal’s low wages while enjoying the country’s best.

The country’s best means that you enjoy all the benefits of the main urban center, with safety, great job opportunities, and lots to do for leisure and entertainment. If you’re interested in knowing more, read our article on Living in Lisbon to get a virtual experience. 

What is the cost of living in Lisbon for expats?

To better demonstrate how much it costs to live in Lisbon, we’ll use the data and estimates from Numbeo.

According to estimates, the cost of living in Lisbon for one person would be around €1,200 per month. See the table to understand some expenses which would be included in this estimate.

ExpensesCosts
1-bedroom apartment rent in the city center€988
1-bedroom apartment rent outside of city center€760
Groceries€250
Utilities€117
Mobile internet and phone calls package€32
TV channel package and wifi€40
Public transport pass€40
Gym membership€35

Estimates are from Numbeo (as of August 2022).

Your monthly budget can vary greatly depending on your spending habits and needs. Some people are able to live with a more restrictive budget, while others look for alternatives to Lisbon. 

Let’s look at a breakdown of expenses in each category:

Cost of rent in Lisbon

Living in Lisbon has gotten increasingly expensive. As interest and investment in the city increase, so does the price for the location.

See the main parishes of Lisbon, sorted by rental price of a one-bedroom apartment of 50 m²:

ParishRent
Santa Clara€530
Benfica€610
Belém€725
Alvalade€735
Parque das Nações€765
Avenidas Novas€770
Ajuda€775
Campo de Ourique€795
Estrela€835
Misericórdia€945

Estimates are from Idealista (as of August 2022).

The average price for purchasing real estate properties

If you want to buy a property in Lisbon, it’s a good idea to understand the real estate market. Check out the average prices of a 100 m² property per parish in Lisbon:

ParishProperty Price/100 m2
Santa Clara€370,200
Ajuda€425,500
Benfica€434,600
Alvalade€569,200
Estrela€573,900
Campo de Ourique€597,300
Avenidas Novas€603,900
Misericórdia€606,400
Belém€631,700
Parque das Nações€668,100

Estimates are from Idealista (as of August 2022).

As you can see, prices vary a lot depending on location. This is without counting other factors, such as the state of the property, and market interest, among others.

  • Interested in investing? Our article on Buying A House In Lisbon summarizes everything you need to know to make your purchase worthwhile!

House bills

Utilities are generally priced the same almost all over the country, with minor differences. Your house bills will total nearly €190, which includes electricity, gas, water, wifi, and phone calls package.

Check the table below to see what is generally spent on bills for an apartment in Lisbon.

ExpensesCosts
Electricity, Gas, and Water€117
TV channel package and wifi€40
Mobile internet and phone calls package€32

Average spending on food

Food can use up a huge chunk of your monthly budget, second in line to rent. It can add up to a lot if you’re used to eating out at restaurants. 

You’ll be happy to know that Portuguese culture involves a lot of cooking and eating at home. Not only does it result in more savings, but it’s also more enjoyable and brings the community closer. 

Having lunch or dinner with your friends and family on a Sunday is a huge part of the culture, and you’ll come across many hospitable people too.

Check the prices of the most common products on a resident’s shopping list:

ExpensesCosts
Milk (1 liter)€0.77
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)€1.17
Rice (1kg)€1.12
Eggs (1 dozen)€2.16
Chicken Fillets (1kg)€5.26
Beef Round (1kg)€9.56
Apples (1kg)€1.80
Banana (1kg)€1.07
Tomato (1kg)€1.72
Potato (1kg)€0.94
Onion (1kg)€1.10
Lettuce (1 head)€1.07
Water (1.5-liter bottle)€0.58
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)€4.00
Domestic Beer (0.5-liter bottle)€1.03

Estimates are from Numbeo (as of August 2022).

The estimates calculate nearly €250 per person every month. The amount can obviously vary depending on your tastes and eating habits.

Expected transport costs

Lisbon is the biggest city in Portugal. So if you want to get the most out of the city, you’ll need to get around it a lot. The metropolitan area of Lisbon, which includes not only the center of Lisbon but also the south bank of the River Tagus, as well as Cascais and Sintra, are all connected by public transport.

Cost of living in Lisbon

The center of Lisbon is where the main places of work and study in the region are located, so commuting is a big part of everyday life for Lisboetas. Check the expected expenditure on transport in Lisbon, public and private, in the table:

ExpensesCosts
Bus ticket in the center of Lisbon€2
Subway ticket in the center of Lisbon€1.50
Yellow tram ticket in central Lisbon€3
Bus and subway pass in the Lisbon area€40
Average price per 10 km ride on taxi app€8
Average price per liter of gasoline€2.05

Estimates are from Numbeo (as of August 2022).

If you’re going to live on the outskirts of Lisbon, for example, Setúbal or Cascais, you’ll prefer to have your own car. But pay attention, Lisbon is famous for long traffic during peak hours.

Leisure expenses

The city also has many shopping malls, cinemas, theaters, and regular concerts. See in the table some of the most common leisure expenses in Lisbon:

ExpensesCosts
Gym monthly fee€35
Movie theater ticket€7
Streaming platform basic price€8
Fast food combo€7
Meal at a simple restaurant€10
Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant€22.5
Beer€2

And let’s not forget about the free leisure options in Lisbon. For example, strolling through the city’s parks, along the Tagus River, or even the historic center of Lisbon.

Party-goers will love to know that Lisbon offers many options among clubs and bars in the famous Bairro Alto or along Cais do Sodré.

What is the cost of living in areas around Lisbon?

While living in Lisbon means being in the most expensive region in Portugal, this isn’t the only option for those who want to experience the capital’s atmosphere.

sintra-cost-of-living-in-lisbon

Many people live on the outskirts of Lisbon and work in the city center. See below some options for regions to live outside Lisbon, just 30 minutes or 1 hour by car, and the average prices to live:

CityMonthly rental of a 50m² one-bedroom apartmentThe average price of a 100 m² property
Cascais€755€413,500
Oeiras€600€337,100
Almada€540€241,000
Sintra€490€212,800
Setúbal€490€217,300

Estimates are from Idealista (as of August 2022).

These options are mostly cheaper than Lisbon, and many people prefer to live this way. Although the best places to work are in Lisbon, workers often don’t live next door.

Besides, these regions are also calmer and with fewer tourists. It’s helpful to do some research before making a concrete decision.

Is Lisbon cheaper than Porto?

Not really, nope. Lisbon is, as we mentioned, the most expensive city to live in Portugal. According to Numbeo, rent prices in Porto are 27.63% lower than in Lisbon, and the cost of living in Porto, in general, is 11.47% lower.

Living in Porto is a whole other experience, one that many expats enjoy greatly. It’s a different kind of Portugal, not better or worse; just beautifully different.

Is Lisbon cheaper than the Algarve?

It depends. Living in the Algarve region, the sunny south of Portugal, can cost differently depending on many factors. But usually, Lisbon is more expensive.

The region is known for having a very expressive foreign community, so prices go up. The cost of living in the Algarve is the second-highest in Portugal.

But you must know there are cheap and expensive regions. Vilamoura, Sagres, Lagos, and Albufeira are more expensive areas. While Faro, Portimão, and Tavira are more affordable. The tip is to get to know the regions well before venturing to buy a property here.

How much do the Portuguese earn?

One factor that explains the low cost of living in Lisbon is the minimum wage in Portugal. The Portuguese have the lowest wages in Western Europe, a minimum of €705 per month in 2022.

In Lisbon, according to official data from Pordata, the highest average wage registered in the country is €1669. However, highly-skilled workers earn a lot more, and some also have passive income sources.

Lisbon, specifically, is a place where numerous expats have come to grow professionally. It’s often referred to as the ‘Silicon Valley of Europe” thanks to the business opportunities, coworking spaces, and start-up culture.

Is Lisbon still cheap? 

Almost every commoner worldwide has been feeling a difference in their pockets recently. Rent is increasing, gas prices are soaring, and that’s affecting nearly every other expenditure. 

So has it impacted the purchasing power of people living in Lisbon? 

The cost of living in Lisbon is the highest in the country, and it’s definitely not as cheap as it used to be in previous years. However, Lisbon is still significantly cheaper compared to other European countries or even America. 

While consumer prices have risen due to global inflation, it hasn’t altered the lifestyle of many expats. However, things are a little different for those earning Portuguese salaries.

To see if Lisbon is still affordable for you, read our article Is Lisbon Still Cheap? to understand the differing perspectives of expats and the Portuguese in detail.

When are you coming to Lisbon?

Now that you know the average cost of living in Lisbon, you should have a better idea of whether this city is the one for you. Portugal has something for everyone. It’s one of the things that makes this country so inclusive.

You’d probably like to get in touch with other expats who had the same doubts as you. Join our Facebook Group – All About Portugal For Expats and get inspired by others’ stories and journeys!

Good luck with your research, and remember, if you need help coming to Portugal, Viv Europe is always here for you. Our professionals would love to see your dream come to life.

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