Student life in Lisbon

Student life in Lisbon
Updated 2023-11-05 17:37

So, you have found the perfect university in Lisbon and got accepted. Congratulations! It's time to start packing, budgeting and preparing for what will undoubtedly turn out to be the best time of your life. That's what universities are for, right? Well, that and studying and getting a degree as well, of course.

Student accommodation in Lisbon

Student accommodation in Lisbon is scarce and expensive, with good deals getting increasingly harder to come by. This comes as no surprise since recent studies point out that private listings only make up about 10% of the number of students currently enrolled in Lisbon's universities.

For a humble bedroom in an apartment where all remaining areas are shared with other people, expect to pay upwards of 450€, although it is not at all rare to find landlords asking for 700€ /month. Average prices are also higher for furnished/equipped apartments and for listings that already include other living expenses, such as water, electricity or internet services.

While there have been efforts to build new student residencies as quickly as possible, public efforts are not able to tackle the high level of demand, while private enterprises are targeting higher-end local students and international applicants. Standing as the perfect example, a brand-new privately funded residency was inaugurated a couple of months ago in Lisbon, with room prices ranging from 650€ to 1096€/month (over 2x the average room price for students in the city).

Student Support Services (Serviço de Acção Social) usually run programs for accommodation within the compound of university residences. These rooms are much cheaper than what you'll find in the private market (between 243€/month for a private bedroom and 600€ for a fully-equipped apartment), but not all international students are eligible for this SASULisboa program.

Leisure for students in Lisbon

Despite the quiet surface, Lisbon is always bubbling with opportunities to get out of the house. Different universities have their own leisure and sports centers as well, so if you choose to stay close to campus, you can take advantage of the in-house facilities.

However, keep in mind that you're studying at the second sunniest capital in all of Europe, so spending time in nature or playing sports is a must! Jogging, biking, hiking, football – the options are endless, not to mention water sports such as kayaking or surfing.

International students will quickly hear about the Erasmus Corner, a trendy destination in Bairro Alto famous for the unusual concentration of international students. It's a pretty cool place to get to know other students from the expat community.

Living costs for students in Lisbon

Lisbon's rising popularity and gentrification are quickly changing the cost of living in the city. Even though commodities, food and services are cheaper than in other capitals in Western Europe, the truth is that Lisbon is no longer the affordable city it once was. Especially when you factor in rent prices, things can get tight pretty quickly.

According to Numbeo, it costs a single person around 700€/month to live in Lisbon (without rent). A monthly metro pass starts at 40€, while a meal at a mid-range restaurant can quickly set you back 20€-25€. In cheaper joints, you can get by with 12€. Naturally, it all depends on how lavish your student life is!

Student discounts in Lisbon

Student discounts are not as common as in other parts of Europe, especially when it comes to meal deals or subscriptions. However, there are still a few advantages worth checking. When it comes to public transportation, for example, students under 23 can get a free monthly pass, while older university attendants still get a discount that will bring the monthly price down to a fee between 12€ and 22,50€ (according to the number of zones included). Furthermore, and since you are studying in a foreign country and will eventually want to check Lisbon's main sights, students can also get discounts at some of the city's most popular tourist attractions.

Finally, we also recommend getting an international student card, such as the ESN Card (20€/year) or the European Youth Card, which may also grant you some additional discounts when buying fuel, groceries or paying for other services.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.