In the last several years, Portugal has been attracting expats, digital nomads and retirees from around the world. The country has a long list of advantages and the affordable cost of living is just one of them. If you want to enjoy a Mediterranean life and reduce your living expenses at the same time, Portugal is the right place. 

The top cheapest places to live in Portugal in 2021 are:

  1. Bragança 
  2. Viseu 
  3. Braga 
  4. Covilhã 
  5. Torres Vedras 
  6. Portimão 
  7. Évora 
  8. Faro 
  9. Santarém  

There are truly so many affordable places to live in Portugal that it’s impossible for us to include them all. But in this article, we have picked our favorites that are popular for their cheaper cost of living and accommodating perks for remote workers. The cities on our list are spread all over the country too. Some lie on the Atlantic ocean, some are closer to the border with Spain and some are somewhere in the middle of the country. 

So let’s take a closer look at these exciting destinations!

The cheapest places to live in Portugal in 2021

Portugal is not only an affordable place to live, but it’s also a country with a high quality of life. It has a well-developed infrastructure, efficient public transportation,  good health care and it’s safe. 

In general, the cost of groceries, eating and drinking out and other activities is fairly consistent across Portugal with a few exceptions in the touristic hotspots like Lisbon and Porto. The main determinant in the cost of living of a particular place is the rent prices.

For example, Lisbon is well known for high accommodation rates. But you can find some exceptionally cheap apartments in some of the smaller towns and cities.

*Please note: Average costs provided throughout the article are calculated for two  people, whereas expenses in the tables are for a single person. Keep in mind that all expenses vary depending on the usage of heating, air conditioning, etc.

Bragança 

First on our list is the city Bragança. It has about 35,000 inhabitants and is located in the northern region of Portugal near the border with Spain. The city is surrounded by the beautiful Montesinho Natural Park in the northeast region of Trás-os-Montes. Bragança’s climate is different from the rest of the country as it’s much colder in winter and very dry in the spring.

Bragança offers high safety, good quality of life, reliable public transportation and a low cost of living. Despite the solid public transport, you may still want to invest in a car to travel more flexibly. The city also provides its residents with good health care facilities, museums, gardens, theaters and of course shopping options.

Cost of living in Bragança

Bragança is considered to be one of the cheapest cities in the country as it’s a student city with very affordable rent. Additionally, restaurants and basic bills are much cheaper than in other places.

Average costs per month:

  • Electricity, heating, water: 50 € 
  • Internet: 30 € 
  • A meal in the restaurant – around 6 €
ItemValue
Rent of one bedroom apartment downtown200€
Groceries150€ – 200€
Transport (per month)24€
Recommended amount for one month600€

Viseu

Viseu is a city with a population of around 100,000 people. It’s located in the region known as Centro, or more precisely Planalto Beirão, which is pretty much the center of Portugal. It’s surrounded by mountains and the Rivers Vouga & Dão.

Surprisingly enough, the city of Viseu was selected twice in 2007 and 2012 as the best Portuguese city to live in due to its high quality of life. Viseu is a very historic city that has many churches you will enjoy. 

Overall, it’s a modern city with a lot of green spaces and a well-preserved historic center. Public transport is good as well, but there are no trains.

Cost of living in Viseu

Viseu is a very affordable Portuguese city. 

Average costs for one month:

  • Electricity, heating, water: 87 €
  • Internet: 30 €
  • A meal in a restaurant – around 5 €
ItemValue
Rent of 1 bedroom apartment in downtown300-400€
Groceries150€ – 200€
Transport (per month)29€
Recommended amount for a month700€

Braga

Braga is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Portugal. Located in the north, and not far from Porto, it has a population of 136,000 people. Despite being quite touristy, Braga offers an affordable cost of living. 

The city has a train station where you can hop on and reach Porto only 55 km away. The city also has Uber. 

Known for being both a young and traditional city, it has one of the most respected universities in the country. Braga is a beautiful place with historic pedestrian alleys, Baroque-style churches and historic houses from the 18th century.

Cost of living in Braga

A two-bedroom apartment in Braga can cost 350 € per month, while an accommodation in a university residence will be just 165.90 €. Eating in restaurants in the city, especially outside the tourist area, is quite affordable as well. 

Average costs per month:

  • Electricity, heating, water: 85 €
  • Internet: 30 €
  • A meal in a restaurant – around 5 €
ItemValue
Rent of 1 bedroom apartment in downtown500€
Groceries150€ – 200€
Transport (per month)24€
Recommended amount for a month800€

Covilhã

Located in the mountains and close to the Spanish border, the city of Covilhã  has numerous benefits. Many tourists prefer this place as a winter destination thanks to the large amounts of snow it receives. The city offers a reliable transportation system, leisure and cultural activities. Covilhã is also a university town with 51,800 residents. 

Cost of living in Covilhã

Average costs per month:

  • Electricity, heating, water: 75 €
  • Internet: 30 €
  • A meal in a restaurant: between 5 € to 9 €
ItemValue
Rent of 1 bedroom apartment in downtown200€ – 350€
Groceries200€ – 300€
Transport (per month)25€
Recommended amount for a month750€

Torres Vedras

Torres Vedras is a beach town with a population of 80,000 people.  The city is very close to the capital Lisbon, which is just 50km away. Torres Vedras offers a great quality of life for everyone and is considered one of the best places to live in Portugal. 

Cost of Living in Torres Vedras

Living in Torres Vedras is much cheaper than living in Lisbon, hence why many people who work in Lisbon choose to live in this town and commute to the capital. You can find a 2-bedroom apartment for as low as 300 EUR per month (bills not included).

Average costs per month:

  • Electricity, heating, water: 90 €
  • Internet: 30 €
  • A meal in a restaurant – around 9 €
ItemValue
Rent of 1 bedroom apartment in downtown425€
Groceries150€ – 200€
Transport (per month)24€
Recommended amount for a month700€

Portimão

Portimão is a beach town with 55,000 residents, and it’s located in the far south Algarve region of the country. Similar to some other beach towns, it’s a popular tourist destination in Portugal and one of the cheapest cities to live in. 

Being so close to beautiful beaches is surely the biggest benefit of living here. The city, which is the second largest in Algarve, is lively all year round. But beware that it can get quite crowded during the summer. 

Cost of living in Portimão

To rent a 2 bedroom apartment in Portimão, you will spend at least 450 euros, making this beach town one of the more expensive cities on our list. For cheaper rent, one should look for places a bit further from the beach.

Average costs per month:

  • Electricity, heating, water: 120 €
  • Internet: 30 €
  • A meal in a restaurant – around 9 €
ItemValue
Rent of 1 bedroom apartment in downtown570€
Groceries250€
Transport (per month)24€
Recommended amount for a month900€

Évora

Évora is located in the middle of Lisbon and the Spanish border. With a population of 56,000 people, the city center of Évora is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Moreover, its region Alentejo is popular for its gastronomy and wines. 

Évora is also a university town and one of the oldest cities in Europe. It’s an interesting option for foreigners to live in since it’s also one of the cheapest places in Portugal.

Cost of living in Évora

In Évora, you can find a 2-bedroom apartment for around 400€. 

Average costs per month:

  • Electricity, heating, water: 83 €
  • Internet: 30 €
  • A meal in a restaurant – around 7 €
ItemValue
Rent of 1 bedroom apartment in downtown355€ – 410€
Supermarket expenses (couple)200€ – 300€
Transport (per person per month)19,75€
Recommended amount for a month800€

Faro

Faro is located close to the previously mentioned Portimão. It’s 280km from Lisbon in the Algarve region. The biggest benefit of living in Faro is that you’ll have access to its amazing beaches. With about 64,000 inhabitants and its own airport, the city became a gateway for tourists. It especially attracts visitors from other parts of Europe during the summer season.

Because Faro is a touristy city, you will enjoy many dining and leisure options, as well as a well-functioning transport network. But overall, you can reach many activities and attractions simply by walking or cycling.

Despite being one of the most expensive cities on our list, Faro is a great option for someone dreaming about a seaside beach life. The quality of life in Faro is also very good and the weather is nice throughout most of the year. The city also boasts the biggest university in the region.

Cost of living in Faro

In the whole Algarve region, rent prices tend to be more expensive. For the rent of a 2 bedroom apartment in Faro, you will pay at least 450 euros.

Average costs:

  • Electricity, heating, water: 100 €
  • Internet: 38 €
  • A meal in a restaurant – around 8 €
ItemValue
Rent of 1 bedroom apartment in downtown488€ – 600€
Groceries150€ – 250€
Transport (per month)36€
Recommended amount for a month900€

Santarém 

Santarém is a city of 60,000 residents located very close to Lisbon (only 80 km away). Its region goes by the same name and it’s a great option if you want to live in a smaller town but be able to visit the Portuguese capital anytime. Of course, Santarém is also much cheaper than Lisbon. 

It offers residents good health care facilities, several gardens and parks, historical monuments, and of course, shopping centers. This city may not be considered one of the cheapest cities to live in, but when looking at its proximity to Lisbon, it will be a definitive win for budgeting. 

Furthermore, Santarém hosts the Polytechnic University, which attracts many students every year.

Cost of living in Santarém

As previously mentioned, the cost of living in Santarém isn’t the cheapest, but it’s still one-fourth of the cost less than what you would pay in Lisbon.  

Average costs:

  • Electricity, heating, water: 70 €
  • Internet: 27 €
  • A meal in a restaurant – around 7 €
ItemValue
Rent of 1 bedroom apartment in downtown400-540€
Groceries200€ – 300€
Transport (per month)38€
Recommended amount for a month850€

The cost of living in Portugal

The cost of living in Portugal can vary greatly between 1,500 € to 2,000 € at least. That is, if you’re based alone in Lisbon. In the smaller towns however, the average cost can be as little as 800 €. Overall, the cost of living in Portugal is considered to be the lowest in Western Europe. 

Utilities, including electricity, heating, water and garbage collection for a mid-range apartment, can average around 67 € a month. In most cities, an internet package for a month will cost you 30 €. Groceries will cost between 200 € to 300 € for a single person. And the average bill in a restaurant that isn’t super fancy or touristy comes to around 7 € across the country. 

So what can you conclude from this? 

If you are a couple, you can live very comfortably in Portugal on 1,500 € and 2,000 € in any corner of the country. For a single person, we would recommend budgeting at least 1,000 € and perhaps opt for cheaper cities on our list to cut even more costs.

Want to move to Portugal as an expat?

If this is your dream, then why not get a remote job with us at Support Adventure and work remotely from Portugal? We are an expat outsourcing company that hires talented people from around the world, mostly in the field of IT, and we give them the opportunity to work from anywhere. 

You can see our available positions here!

Categories: Lifestyle