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Lisbon, Cost of living...few facts and figures...

We have been trying to put together a list of things regarding the cost of living in Portugal for those of you who are looking to move.


Buying food to prepare at home is great.

Although the obvious thing may be to run to the supermarket for the cheapest thing, it is worth noting that convenience stores, butchers, bakers etc are abundant and are often of a similar price to the supermarkets.

Lisbon has an abundance of markets and whilst some of them in the tourist areas like Campo de Ourique may be dearer than most, you will find vegetables, meat, fish, etc on sale.

Most of the produce is locally produced and, although “out of season” items can be found, you may come at a premium. Due to climate, the majority of products have a longer growing season hence are easier to find.

Dairy products, such as milk (€0,50) and cheese are cheaper.

If you are going for more specialized items from different countries then these are more expensive, and may be harder to find. That said, the non Portuguese supermarket chains such as Lidl, Aldi or Intermarche which are good places to look.

Non food “day to day” items.

These are generally a similar if not slightly higher price. Things like soaps or deodorants etc are definitely higher priced. That said there are often offers and discounts so shopping around for these items does bring the prices more in line with elsewhere.

Eating Out

Eating out is a strange one to quantify.

For example most restaurants will do one or more “Prato do Dia” (Dish of the day) which are the best offers - but can run out quickly!


If you want to really “live the life”, eating out at lunchtime is still very important in Portugal and because a lot of people do it, it is often the cheapest time to eat. You will easily find a main course for €5-8 outside of the main tourist places. Many may also have a menu option that will include a soup, desert, drink and coffee.

When you arrive at a table you will often be brought automatically bread, olives etc. It is customary to bring you these automatically but don’t assume you have to eat them. Feel free to send them back or just don’t eat them (if you start you are charged).

Another confusion is the size of the dish. Often the price displayed is for the largest portion, and it is possible to ask for a half size portion (though this is not always half the price!). The full one is called a Portion and the half size a Dose.

If you are not excessively hungry (and a full portion can be big!) then have a look around to get an idea of what people are eating. It is quite customary for people to order one plate between two, so don’t be afraid to do it.

Many times, asking for a small salad may come for free but even if not, it is a cheap addition if the plate looks small… or there is always a desert!


Whilst some restaurants may do a menu, prices generally are higher than during lunchtime and many of the offers are not available (or the Prato do Dia may be finished). Expect to pay a higher price.

People tend to start eating around eight and stay for a long time so don’t expect that a restaurant will be full and eight and empty by nine! Eating with friends is an all night experience.

Beer and Wine are cheap, and Portuguese wines are good quality and good value!

Every restaurant is a takeaway

One thing is that nearly all restaurants offer some form of takeaway service for their food - so if you have found your favorite restaurant but just want a Netflix evening - you may still be able to combine the two! Prices will be similar to the eat-in price and there are several competing delivery companies

The Bill and Tipping

Service in nearly all restaurants is good. A service charge is never added to the bill so what you see on the menu is what you pay for (but as mentioned above, remember if you have not sent back any of the items that you were presented with at the start, such as olives or bread, they will automatically be added to your bill).


Gas and electricity

When I started writing this some time ago, this was an easy comparison but clearly with the recent changes in the world, to do a like for like comparison is difficult with prices rising so quickly.

For Electricity and Gas, Portugal sits around the EU average of prices for Electricity, and slightly higher for gas. As Portugal has a high amount of renewable energy, electricity prices have risen slower than elsewhere, and the increase over the last year is about 5-10%.

Gas is a lot dearer than it was, though that seems in line with other countries..

Being around Lisbon, it is true to say that temperatures are mild and hence even in the winter you will need far less to heat. Also, as mentioned in our post about seasonable temperatures, that people are used to wearing a large coat in the morning and a t-shirt in the afternoon seems to reflect in the home too where people are far more likely to add a jumper than put on the heating. Our bill over the three winter months averaged about €90 and in the summer can drop to €45. We heat gas, although for a large part of the year, it is often only chilly after about 10 in the evening so we started to use an electric heater for an hour or so when we needed it.

Taking some figures from our latest bill, Electric 0,151 €/kwh & 0,4192/day, Natural Gas 0,0535 € /kwh & 0,11€/day.

These are due to go up by about 2.5% from next month so I will update once I get the next bill.


Water is metered everywhere and there is a scale of charging so the more you use the more each item costs. I would count up to €1/day (currently ours is about 0,75€/day), depending on how much you use.

Cars and Transport

There are two other blogs covering these items so I will update those accordingly. stay tuned!...

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