Cost of Living in Porto - Any help is much appreciated :)

Hi all,

I will be in Porto for next 4 years or so (for my doctoral degree). I am getting a stipend of 1000 euros/month. I will be here with my spouse. Could you please tell me an approximate per month cost of the following...?

- Accommodation for two (with 1 Bed Hall Kitchen or better)
- Vegetarian food (in Hotels; self prepared)
- Internet, Satellite TV
- Mobile phone cost
- Transportation

Thanks a tonne in advance,


PS: Have searched the net like crazy but have not found any info at all.

I am interested in any responses you get as I shall be checking out Portugal in five weeks with a view to retiring there....arrive in Porto around June 1st. Will follow this topic and hope to get more info myself...and you are right...there is actually nothing online that helps.

Sharon in Toronto

Hello Kartik and Sharon,

I have been living in Porto off and on for years and can offer you a little information. I really like the city and all of Portugal in fact. There is a lot of historical beauty and appealing new architecture in the city and many beaches too! The Northern part of Portugal has so much to offer including amazing food and culture. Alas, there are no Tim Horton's (or Starbucks, as a matter of fact) drive through lines to wake up with but the espressos here are amazing. (So there is no such thing as driving/commuting with a coffee! Very different for us)

A one bedroom apartment (possibly furnished) in the inner city will cost ~300 - 500 euros. You can find listings on some of the free classifieds websites like these:,

I really recommend renting close to a good bus stop or moreover close to the Metro (it's great)
and your life will be easier. Driving in rush hour traffic here is not fun and the metro and train circuits are quick and relaxing. Even the city bus system is good..public transport here is impressive. (and there are terrible, rude, negligent and outright dangerous drivers here...the worst I've ever experienced!)

The cost of your transportation will depend on how many zones you will travel. Within the main part of the city of Porto it's only 90 cents to ride the Metro one way. If you need to go to further (into or out of other zones) like Maia, the Airport, Matosinhos or even Povoa de Varzim... it can cost up to 3-5 euros to travel to those extended zones. Here is the Porto Metro English website for more information:

Vegetarian food can be found in good restaurants but the majority 'mom and pop' cafes serve nothing of the sort: meat and cheese are staple foods here. On the plus side, you will be able to enjoy a lot of cheap fresh local produce especially during the spring and summer months.

As for internet and TV service you are fortunate to be coming to PT now as there has been a lot of competition over the past 3-4 years (internet services were brutal before...high priced and very regulated) and the service packages now offered are great. For example, we pay 20 euros for adsl internet and a home phone line. The adsl service is unlimited traffic and provides decent bandwidth and we have free calling after 9pm and on weekends on the phone (to other land line phones). I find 20 euros very reasonable for this package and there are other packages that include TV and fiber optic internet services. Our service provider is Sapo (of Portugal Telecom) but there are other companies offering great packages as well. Most service packages will include a 1yr contract. Other companies that offer internet and digital TV are Clix, Vodafone, Meo and Zon(also called TV-Cabo).

As well, there are many internet service providers (that are mainly also cellular providers) that offer portable broadband service (prepaid and post paid plans) if that is more suitable for your needs of you will be out of home often.

Cell phone plans here are more commonly prepaid. When you get here you can find a company that offers a monthly plan that suits your needs for calls and texting and either buy a 7 euro sim card (if you already own a quad-band cell phone and it is unlocked to be used with other providers) or a new phone from the provider that will work straight away. I find it very cheap for my service of 12.50 euros per month which gives me 1500 texts per week (to the same network) and calls at a rate of 16 cents for the first minute and 4 cents for each additional minute of a call (to the same network! - to other cellular networks or landline phones, it will cost more)
Make sure that your significant others are on the same cellular network as you if you want to benefit from cheap calling and cheap texting. Calling and texting to other networks is usually double. Unlimited calling plans are very rare and/or really expensive.

I have another phone (an iPhone) on an unlimited internet plan and good rates for only 20 euros a month. I find that very reasonable compared to the U.S. or Canada where people pay over $100 per month to have 3G internet access on their smart phones.

For more info on the different cellular providers, see the websites of Vodafone(my favorite), Optimus(great for iPhone/internet plans), Uzo(a new company and impressive cross network plans), and TMN (part of Portugal Telecom).

Well, I hope this information helps and feel free to continue asking more questions...I will answer them when I can.


Patrick in Porto

Oh, I forgot to mention to Kartik that 1000 euros a month should be enough for you both to live well as long as no one has expensive tastes or habits. My wife and I spend less than that monthly and we are pretty active and have a car.


Hi Patrick,
Your reply to the Porto question was excellent.  I have been looking at Braga.  I want to retire in Portugal after 40 years in the US.  I am from Lisbon but the apartments there are pricey whereas Braga seemed to be very inexpensive.  Do you know anything about Braga?


Hello João,

Braga is a beautiful city and currently has the highest ranked soccer team in the Portuguese league. I have visited a few times for mountain biking treks and enjoyed that countryside immensely. I have never lived there so my experience is limited for a few visits. I can recommend that you check out the free classifieds sites of, and to search for real estate pricing, etc. Just select the Braga region/city in your searches on those websites.



Thanks so much for that informative response Patrick. You have superb ambassadorial skills:)And following up on Joao's comment,re:Braga, Evora is a city being touted by internationalliving for its' affordability, history, architecture and appeal for expats, I plan to check it out in the spring and will also try to see Braga....thanks for that tip.

Hi Patrick and Sharon,

Thank you so much for the info Patrick. That is really useful and I'm not that scared about moving to Porto now. This is my 1st time outside my country and was really afraid of being an expatriate :P Thanks a tonne for the info! Hope you don't mind me adding you and shooting some more questions your way :)

Best of luck Sharon. If I get anymore info about Porto, I will let you know. Have fun.


Thank you Patrick for the information.  And Sharon, you gave me another idea.  My problem now is that there may be too many nice choices. 


'morning again.Day-to-day, expresso: 55-60c, coffee with milk: 1 euro, small draught beer: 80c, bottle 1 euro, glass draught wine: 80c, croissant or cake:  1.20 or so. Bus: 74c if prepaid. Cheap lunch: 3 euros for prato do dia.  These little things can eat the money, so I hope this helps.

One thing that is concernig me about moving to portugal is health insurance.  Does anyone know how the system works there?
I understand that one must have worked in Portugal for quite a while in order to receive the national health care system, otherwise one must purchase private health insurance.  This is a concern since they might either cancel it or jack up the premiums into the unafordability sphere. 

I also heard that if one starts a business, even it is a home based business, then one qualifies to enter the national social security system and will pay a certain amount for the  health insurance, but now one is covered by their system.  Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

Joao Coelho

Hi All,
First of all Patrick thanks for your detailed and useful answer, I just want to ask two more things. I will be moving in with my dog. Do you know which could be the better areas to move in order to have park o place to walk my dog nearby. I addition to that I do not know anything about the crime in Oporto, but I figure out like in many major city will be safer areas than others, do you have any suggestion about it.
Best Regards
Julio Sevcik

Hello Julio,

There are parks (all remain dog-friendly as far as I know) all over the Porto area and besides that, you can have your dog crap anywhere and you donŽt even have to pick it up! I donŽt agree with that type of lack of responsibility (as it makes for a 3rd world type ambient) but unfortunatley as it is true, there is dog crap all over as you will come to experience first-hand (or moreover: first-foot!).

The most densely populated park area, in my experience, is near the beach in particular, Perifita (Leça de Palmeira)has huge beach-side parks that you can walk and play with your dog in. I have a friend who currently lives near there who has a large dog and he really appreciates the locationŽs many large parks that accessable in that area.

Crime? Besides the odd car break-in, there really is ZERO crime here in Porto, as far as I have ever been aware of. DonŽt leave any iPhones, GPS, or similar expensive devices within viewing range (from outside your vehicle), you will likely have very minimal chance of having a break-in concerning your vehicle.



Hello,  I just joined this Blog today and reading about moving to Porto or Braga, living expenses, etc.  Please anyone add me to your email and I would be thrilled to hear from you as I read all of your updated information.  I am  a rookie with the blog so bear with me.  I live in Seattle, Washington and would like to move to Portugal to live.  The info on the cost of living is very helpful.  If there are websites to visit please send and I will "peruse" all the recommended sites.  Thank you all for the information.  Dale (female, not male)

Hi daleshouse2010

I dont know if it will be of interest but I've recently produced a cost of living article...
Cost of Living

and another on Groceries

Grocery shopping etc

Kind regards

Hi guys,

the information in this thread has been very helpful already, so thanks!! But i wondering if anyone could recommend a good neighbourhood to rent in Porto. I am looking for a one bedroom or studio apartment. What rent should i pay for this monthly?

Great posts Patrick - thanks.