Last Updated on August 22, 2022 by Victor Queiroz
One of the most underestimated places in the country is often forgotten when expats love to enjoy Lisbon and the Algarve. There’s definitely a lot to cherish about the most famous regions, but the hidden gems deserve equal praise. Now that Lisbon is getting pricier, you should probably know the cost of living on the Silver Coast!
Among the three main districts on the Silver Coast, there are numerous small towns where expats love to stay. The percentage of foreigners isn’t as high as in other metropolitan cities, and that’s a big reason why the cost of living is also low.
Find out all about the basic living expenses you can incur while living in Coimbra, Aveiro, or Leiria and where the cheapest and most expensive areas are located. You’d be surprised to know how affordable it is to live your best life in Portugal.
How expensive is the Silver Coast?
Here’s a teaser for what’s about to come: It’s way less expensive than you think it is. Find out how!
The Silver Coast consists of three main districts; Aveiro, Coimbra, and Leiria. With the exception of a couple of municipalities within these regions, you’ll find that most of them are far cheaper than the majority of the North or South of Portugal.
Many people would also be pleasantly surprised to know that it doesn’t lack infrastructure, housing facilities, or healthcare and education. Of course, it might not be as developed as Lisbon is, but it doesn’t even need to be.
Every region in Portugal has its own charm, and the Silver Coast is perfect for those looking for a sea view and some privacy. For a location that offers so much, it sure is quite a package.
What is the cost of living on the Silver Coast for expats?
The average cost of living in Portugal itself is significantly lower than in other European countries. Rest assured, the cost of living on the Silver Cost is a lot more economical, especially rent and property prices. An individual can live a modest life in under €1,000 if budgeted decently.
We’ll cover all the basic expenses you’re going to come across during your stay, or perhaps after you permanently relocate! It’ll be hard to scout other places if you’ve fallen in love with what this region offers, but you won’t know until you go on a scouting trip yourself.
Here’s a breakdown of each expense category one by one:
Cost of rent on the Silver Coast
The rent prices of the Silver Coast’s districts are far lower than those in, for example, Lisbon or the Algarve. Being underrated does have its perks, after all. Coimbra is the cheapest district out of the three, in terms of rent. Moreover, Leiria is the most expensive because of its location. Areas that are closer to Lisbon and Porto are generally more costly.
The table below proves exactly what we meant when we said economical housing. Take a look at the average prices of one-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments within the city centers:
|Aveiro||Apartment – 1 bedroom||€547|
|Apartment – 3 bedrooms||€905|
|Coimbra||Apartment – 1 bedroom||€450|
|Apartment – 3 bedrooms||€741|
|Leiria||Apartment – 1 bedroom||€750|
|Apartment – 3 bedrooms||€1,000|
Data is from the cost of living website Numbeo (as of August 2022).
Although housing in Leiria is on the pricier side, you can see that the cost of renting a three-bedroom apartment for your family is still a lot cheaper than what you’d pay in France or Germany.
Affordable rent prices are a major attraction for foreigners looking to enjoy their life in peace, either before or after retirement. Not having to compromise your quality of life because of increasing rent prices is a lot less hassle to deal with.
Utilities cost more or less the same in all of Portugal, ranging from €90 to €120 in different regions. The Silver Coast is one of the regions where basic utilities for an 85m2 apartment don’t usually cross more than €100.
Internet is priced under €40, and you get unlimited data with a speed of 60 Mbps or more. This makes the region an excellent choice for digital nomads who want to benefit from the country’s peaceful life and low cost of living.
Here’s a breakdown of what your house bills could look like:
|Utilities (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage)||€95|
|1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff||€0.12|
Average spending on food
Needless to say, your average spending on food will fluctuate based on your lifestyle preferences and spending habits. It also depends on how often you’re able to cook at home and shop from local food markets.
The average spending on food can add up to a lot when it comes to the cost of living on the Silver Coast, but the Portuguese culture helps you to keep it under control. The culture encourages cooking homemade meals with fresh ingredients sourced locally instead of packaged goods from the supermarket.
It might not be something you’re used to but will quickly want to pick up when you try out the Portuguese cuisine. Of course, your taste palate may vary, but even then, grocery shopping won’t be too expensive.
An individual can spend nearly €40 to €50 every week on groceries, adding up to almost €160 to €200 every month. Meals at local inexpensive restaurants cost around €8 and up to €15 at a mid-range restaurant.
Take a look at estimates of the most common ingredients you’ll end up purchasing every time you go shopping:
|Milk (1 liter)||€0.62|
|Loaf of Bread||€1.14|
|Dozen of Eggs||€1.71|
|Local Cheese (1kg)||€6.10|
|Chicken Fillets (1kg)||€4.72|
|Beef Round (1kg)||€10.50|
|Water (1.5-liter bottle)||€0.84|
|Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)||€4.00|
|Domestic Beer (0.5-liter bottle)||€1.13|
Table data is from Numbeo (as of August 2022).
- Is living on an island cheaper than the cost of living on the Silver Coast? Read our article Cost of living in the Azores Islands and discover the differences in monthly expenses!
Expected transport cost on the Silver Coast
You can easily commute through the Silver Coast via local transport options, for example, buses, trains, and taxis. However, the public transport system in Portugal is more efficient in the metropolitan cities and adjoining areas, and there’s room for improvements within the Silver Coast.
Bigger cities like Coimbra and Caldas da Rainha have efficient systems, but the region lacks subways similar to those in Lisbon. Some rural towns are also a little disconnected from the main urban areas, so your most efficient options would be to use your car or the local bus system.
Nonetheless, here are the expected transport costs you’ll come across while living on the Silver Coast:
|One-way Ticket (Local Transport)||€1.60|
|Inter-District Bus||€6 to €11|
|Gasoline (1 liter)||€2.02|
- Can you use your international license in Portugal? Check out our article How To Get A Driver’s License In Portugal As A Foreigner and get all the right information!
Before we begin breaking down the leisure expenses, you should know that Coimbra is famous for its nightlife. The district is home to many young adults, thanks to the University of Coimbra, so the numerous restaurants and bars are priced lower than in other regions.
Although many residents are big on nightlife, there are plenty of options for individuals and families that enjoy calmer activities. From fitness and sports to theaters and museums, choose your favorite!
Take a look at some average expenses, depending on your preferences:
|Fitness Club (Monthly)||€35|
|Tennis Court (1 hour)||€10.42|
The Praia D’El Rey Marriott Golf and Beach Resort is one of the best golf courses in Portugal and surely an activity you should explore every once in a while. The resort is surrounded by the sea and also offers tennis, a spa, and other water activities, making it the perfect staycation for the weekend!
What are the cheapest areas on the Silver Coast?
While the basic cost of living on the Silver Coast isn’t too different among the three districts, the property prices do vary quite a bit. That’s perhaps the only differentiating factor you’d need to consider when relocating here, especially if you’re buying your new house.
The cheapest areas are also determined by the geographical location and availability of facilities nearby, such as an airport or healthcare. Expats describe places like Cantanhede and Águeda as some of the best places to live in!
Here’s a list of the top 5 cheapest areas on the Silver Coast, amongst all three districts, based on property prices:
|Lousã – Coimbra||€673|
|Cantanhede – Coimbra||€831|
|Águeda – Aveiro||€870|
|Vagos – Aveiro||€1,158|
|Marinha Grande – Leiria||€978|
Estimates are from Idealista (as of August 2022).
- Discover the Top 10 Cities For Expats In Portugal and see whether the Silver Coast has made it to the list!
What are the most expensive areas on the Silver Coast?
Now that you know the cheapest areas on the Silver Coast, let’s go over the most expensive areas. Similar to our analysis above, property prices are determined by the geographical location and availability of facilities nearby.
In this case, Nazaré is one of the most popular places to live on the Silver Coast, especially among expats; you can probably tell by the property price per m2. In recent years, the Portuguese real estate market has seen huge foreign investments, and expats are thoroughly enjoying their new lives here.
Take a look at the top 5 most expensive areas on the Silver Coast, based on property prices:
|Espinho – Aveiro||€2,026|
|Ílhavo – Aveiro||€1,700|
|Óbidos – Leiria||€1,937|
|Nazaré – Leiria||€2,318|
|Mira – Coimbra||€1,501|
Is the Silver Coast more expensive than the Algarve?
Living in the Algarve was once very common for locals and expats alike. Recently, however, the purchasing power of residents has fallen, and people have started looking for Algarve’s alternatives. While there’s no perfect substitute for the region, places like the Silver Coast are a pretty good option.
Rent in the Algarve is almost 83.85% higher than in Coimbra, 48.56% than in Aveiro, and 34.59% higher than in Leiria. Don’t forget, Leiria is the most expensive district on the Silver Coast, so you can imagine the difference in prices. You can expect to pay an additional €500 for rental prices in the Algarve.
Additionally, consumer prices excluding rent are also nearly 10% to 15% lower in the Silver Coast districts, which add up to a lot when you’re looking to live a modest life.
To summarize, the Silver Coast is significantly less expensive than the Algarve.
Is the Silver Coast more expensive than Lisbon?
Absolutely not; in fact, the situation is quite similar to the comparison above. Lisbon is the most expensive city in the country and the main business center, so prices will always be higher than in the rest of the cities.
Rent prices in Lisbon are currently 125.51% higher than in Coimbra, 82.22% higher than in Aveiro, and 65.08% higher than in Leiria. That is an enormous difference! You can expect to pay almost €1,000 or more for rent in Lisbon.
We do agree that living in Lisbon is a completely different experience and the city offers much more than what the Silver Coast can. However, many expats are actually preferring to live on the Silver Coast because of the tranquility and quality of life.
You could live a very comfortable life in Coimbra for €2,400, which would cost you more than €3,200 if you were living in Lisbon.
How much do the Portuguese earn on the Silver Coast?
One reason why the cost of living on the Silver Coast is one of the lowest is because of the average wage. The national minimum wage of Portugal is among the lowest in Europe, unlike the quality of life Portugal offers though!
According to Numbeo, the average net salary (after tax) for people living in Coimbra is €1,233, and for Aveiro it is €861, and for Leiria it is €1,125. Many people are more than happy earning the average amount and maintaining their lifestyles while living on the Silver Coast.
While those values are averages, many people also earn a lot more, especially expats or digital nomads who are working remotely.
Is it worth the cost of living on the Silver Coast?
The answer is very subjective to what your standards of living are and what preferences you have for the life you want. However, since expats from countries like France, Italy, Britain, Germany, and America are part of the 715,000 people that live here, it’s safe to say that there’s something worth their time.
Every individual will have their own preferences; someone else might not prefer what you like and vice versa. So, the only way to be sure of it is to go on a scouting trip and decide for yourself.
And if you can’t find your place anywhere on the Silver Coast, don’t worry, because there’s something for everyone in Portugal. You could try giving the Azores or Madeira Islands a chance, or perhaps even Cascais if you’re looking for some luxury and sophistication.
When are you moving to the Silver Coast?
Aren’t you surprised by how low the cost of living on the Silver Coast is? You’re not alone. Expats love this underrated region for its affordable towns and quality of life. Nothing beats getting an excellent living environment at such a price!
If you’re interested in asking other expats for their experiences, join our Facebook Group – All About Portugal For Expats. We are a community of over 7,500 Portugal enthusiasts waiting to help you live your dream life. Ask questions, clarify your doubts, and start your relocation checklist.
Once you’re ready, our team of professionals at Viv Europe will be waiting to guide you. From visa applications to buying your dream home in Portugal, we’ve got it covered! Contact us now and benefit from shortened waiting times to live the perfect life sooner.