Comfort doesn’t always come at a high price. Discover the complete cost of living in the Azores Islands and start packing your bags.

Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by Prince

The islands of Portugal aren’t just a tourist destination spot. They’re a place you can relocate to without worrying about exceeding monthly budgets. The country’s low cost of living is a massive attraction for expats, especially the digital nomad community; however, expenses can get slightly higher in central urban areas. For this reason, you’ll be surprised at how low the cost of living in the Azores Islands is. 

If you’ve ever reconsidered your decision to move to the Algarve region because of the high population density, you’ll love the Azores Islands. With a lower living cost and a similar lifestyle, the region is gaining quick popularity amongst expats.

Find out how much you need to sustain yourself or your entire family, in the stunning Azores Islands. We’ve listed almost all possible expenses you could come across, along with the cheapest and most expensive regions to live in. Happy reading!

How expensive are the Azores Islands?

The Azores Islands aren’t one of the names you’d find in the list of the most expensive regions in Portugal. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. There are three districts within the islands; Ponta Delgada, Angra do Heroísmo, and Horta District; all three have low living costs.  

According to estimates, an individual can live comfortably with almost €800 to €1,000 per month. Rent in the Azores Islands is quite cheap, nearly half of what you’d come across in other regions, for example, the Algarve. 

cost-of-living-in-the-azores-islands

Don’t worry; we’ll cover all the different cost breakdowns. Keep reading till the end to understand an in-depth analysis of the cost of living in the Azores Islands. To give you some perspective, mainland Portugal has a very affordable cost of living compared to other countries, especially for expats. 

Expats from the US and the UK also consider Lisbon to be a cheap city, while the Portuguese locals might disagree. So it really depends on how much you’re willing to spend in exchange for a peaceful life on one of the most beautiful islands in Portugal.

What is the cost of living in the Azores islands for expats?

Whether it’s more expensive or not, it’s safe to say that expats live here for a fraction of the cost they’d spend back home. The main foreign nationalities that reside in the Azores are Brazilian, German, American, Chinese, Canadian, Spanish, and British. 

Perhaps now you understand why it’s so popular among digital nomads, right? 

Here’s a breakdown of possibly all the expenses you’d come across living in the Azores Islands. We’ve covered everything from rent and groceries to transport and leisure! Let’s take a look at each expense one by one:

Cost of rent in the Azores Islands

As mentioned earlier, there are three main districts within the Azores. The rent prices vary based on residents’ preferences and purchasing power. 

The most expensive district within the Azores is the Ponta Delgada district, followed by Horta, and lastly, Angra do Heroísmo. 

Check out the table below for rent prices from official data on Numbeo (as of July 2022):

DistrictResidence TypePrices
Ponta DelgadaApartment – 1 bedroom€450
Apartment – 3 bedrooms€750
HortaApartment – 1 bedroom€400
Apartment – 3 bedrooms€650
Angra do HeroísmoApartment – 1 bedroom€380
Apartment – 3 bedrooms€500

The São Miguel Island falls under the Ponta Delgada district and is one of the most popular destinations for tourists and locals alike. This Island also has a lot to offer in terms of opportunities often related to tourism, hotels, and guesthouses. 

The rent in the most expensive district of the Azores is still 42.53% lower than in the Algarve, which is another favorite region for many expats. Of course, the Algarve does have better infrastructural developments. However, if you’re looking to simply relax on an island, the Azores are a perfect fit.

House bills

You’ll find that house bills are generally the same in almost all regions of Portugal. For a one-bedroom apartment (nearly 86m2), the essential utilities cost around €100 per month. Additionally, you’re most likely to spend around €60 on internet packages and mobile tariffs. 

Check out the table below for a breakdown of these expenses:

ExpenseCosts
Utilities (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage)€107
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff€0.10
Internet€40.99

In case you’re wondering how expats manage internet packages and prepaid mobile tariffs, our article on How To Get A SIM Card in Portugal has all the details. We’ve discussed different network carriers, packages, and much more!

Average spending on food

Your average cost of living in the Azores Islands might fluctuate based on your lifestyle preferences. Spending on food is subjective to an individual’s living habits and tastes. 

In Portugal, it’s normal to buy fresh produce from the nearest farmer’s market once a week and cook hearty meals at home. This reduces a significant cost that some people would incur living in other countries, which is dining out at restaurants. 

Sometimes you might not be in the mood to cook; a meal at a local restaurant costs €9.80 per head on average. While a 2-course meal at a mid-range restaurant can go up to €20 per head.

On average, one single person living in the Azores Islands can spend €160 to €180 on groceries per month. The Value Added Tax (VAT) is 18% in the Azores, compared to 23% in the mainland, so things are much cheaper. 

We’ve compiled a list of the most-used grocery items you’re likely to use on a weekly basis:

ExpenseCosts
Milk (1 liter)€0.69
Loaf of Bread€1.27
Rice (1kg)€1.07
Dozen of Eggs€1.25
Local Cheese (1kg)€10
Chicken Fillets (1kg)€5.75
Beef Round (1kg)€10
Apples (1kg)€1.75
Banana (1kg)€1.70
Oranges (1kg)€1.50
Tomato (1kg)€0.90
Potato (1kg)€0.45
Water (1.5-liter bottle)€0.99
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)€4.50
Domestic Beer (0.5-liter bottle)€1.25

Table data is from Numbeo (as of July 2022).

One thing expats love about Portuguese culture is how integrated the communities are. Your neighbors will welcome you with open arms and perhaps even invite you over for dinner! The Portuguese love to cook meals and share them with others.

Expected transport costs in the Azores Islands

Given the island’s infrastructural developments, public transport isn’t a strong suit. Although there’s a bus system, they’re not as frequent as the ones in Lisbon, Porto, or the Algarve. The public transport is also designed keeping locals’ lifestyles in mind rather than tourists’ as the ratios are much lower. 

santa-maria-island-on-the-azores-islands

The best way to commute around the island would be to drive your own car. It might increase your cost of living in the Azores Islands initially, but you’ll have a lot more freedom traveling from one place to the other.

Take a look at the expected transport costs:

ExpenseCosts
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)€2.05
Monthly Pass€44
Taxi 1km€1
Inter-Island Ferry€30 to €50
Gasoline (1 liter)€2.03

Leisure expenses

Living on an island in Portugal is all about leisure if you ask us! Any place is a site to relax, whether you’re at home or playing golf at Batalha Golf on São Miguel.

If you’re looking to get some physical rest, a movie at Cineplace Parque Atlântico might just be what you need. If you’re a movie enthusiast, you’d be glad to know the tickets are very affordable. 

Check out some other leisure activities along with their expenses below:

ExpenseCosts
Fitness Club (Monthly)€51.67
Tennis Court (1 hour)€5
Movie Ticket€6
Golf€40 to €118

What are the cheapest areas in the Azores Islands?

While the cost of living in the Azores Island is quite low, you might not expect the actual prices of rustic and urban properties. 

As far as living costs are concerned, the Angra do Heroísmo district is the cheapest district in the Azores. Overall, the living costs aren’t too varied as you’ll find similar pricing across the islands. Real estate is where you notice the real difference. 

The table below summarizes some of the cheapest areas in the Azores Islands, based on real estate values.

IslandPrice of rustic propertyPrice of urban property
Graciosa€1,791€40,674
São Jorge€6,108€40,882
Flores€5,143€44,585
Santa Maria€4,736€57,522
Pico€7,727€58,944

Prices are from Pordata (as of July 2022).

cheapest-areas-in-the-azores-islands

What are the most expensive areas in the Azores Islands?

The most expensive areas in the Azores Islands fall in the eastern and central parts. São Miguel is by far the most expensive and luxurious island. 

As it attracts more tourists and expats, the quality of life is undoubtedly better, and the region offers more leisure activities too. These regions, although expensive, are loved by foreign investors and expats, thanks to the promising real estate market. 

Recently, foreign investors are taking rightful advantage of the Golden Visa program to secure profitable assets and get a European Passport. Even the most expensive regions of the Azores Islands are excellent investment options for foreigners.

The table below summarizes three of the most expensive areas, based on real estate values.

IslandPrice of rustic propertyPrice of urban property
Faial€2,679€75,969
Terceira€26,162€94,481
São Miguel€44,882€110,387
  • Buying A House In The Azores can bring in profitable returns on your investment! Read the article to discover whether you can get a Golden Visa through real estate in the Azores. 

Are the Azores Islands more expensive than Madeira?

The Madeira Islands are another beautiful destination loved by expats in Portugal. But, how does the cost of living in the Azores Islands compare to Madeira? 

Firstly, the rent in both regions is almost the same, nearly €450 for a one-bedroom apartment. In some areas of Madeira, the prices are slightly lower, reaching €300 in Ponta, do Sol for instance. 

According to Numbeo, consumer price differences are insignificant, and groceries also level up equally. So, the regions have a lot in common; low living costs and complete serenity, is there a better combination?

Are the Azores Islands more expensive than Lisbon?

Nowhere near as expensive!

Lisbon is the most expensive city in Portugal, and there are many reasons for it to be that way. Investors are aiming to make it the next European Silicon Valley with interconnected ecosystems and an eruption of startups. 

The capital city is also an extremely famous tourist hub with thousands of travel fanatics exploring the rich Portuguese culture. So understandably, the consumer prices and rent are far higher in Lisbon. 

As for numerical differences, rent in Lisbon is 101.71% higher than in Ponta Delgada, the most expensive district of the Azores Islands. That says something, doesn’t it? Grocery prices also reach up to €220 per person, exclusive of restaurant visits and other celebrations. 

Undeniably, Lisbon offers many more developments, a better real estate market, excellent public transport, and educational facilities. Hence, the two areas can’t be classified as the same; making the comparison very unrealistic.

How much do the Portuguese earn in the Azores Islands?

As of 2024, Portugal’s minimum wage is fixed at €820 per month. However, this isn’t to say that most people earn minimum wage, as many earn a lot more. Especially in more developed areas. 

Many expats in the Azores are also passive income earners, meaning they have earnings coming in via pension, rent, financial investments, etc. So a full-time job isn’t the only way to earn in the Azores Islands.

It’s important to state that most jobs here are related to tourism and hospitality. Other jobs include construction and development sectors but aren’t as specialized as in other major cities. 

If you add up the cost of living in the Azores Islands, as this article summarizes, an individual can live here within €800 to €1,000.

Is it worth the cost of living in the Azores Islands?

The answer to this question is very subjective. There’s a reason why the low cost of living in the Azores Islands attracts retirees and digital nomads. However, some people prefer better infrastructural facilities nonetheless.

Currently, there are 236,440 individuals living in the Azores who are more than happy to be there. Amongst these are hundreds of expats like you who made the decision to move here. So, it all depends on whether you prefer the serenity of the Azores or the tech hubs of Lisbon.

There’s no clear way of knowing whether you think it is worth the cost of living unless you experience it yourself. Perhaps a scouting trip would help you decide if this lifestyle fits your ideal way of life. 

Alternatively, you can connect with fellow expats and locals through our Facebook Group – All About Portugal For Expats. Explore what other residents feel about living on the Azores Islands and see if it fits your utopia. 

When are you moving to the Azores Islands?

We have a feeling you’re ready to pack your bags; we’re prepared to help you out, what are you waiting for? If you’re a retiree, a digital nomad, or just dreaming about moving to Portugal, take your time deciding whether this can be your forever home. The low cost of living in the Azores Islands means you can easily live here for a few weeks and experiment.

Take this opportunity to decide whether to apply for the Passive Income Visa (D7) or Business Visa (D2). Our team of professionals is right here to help you set up your business and live a life full of peace. Contact Viv Europe now! 

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