In the last couple of months, more people have started thinking about moving to Portugal. Just join in some of the current digital nomad Facebook or startup groups and you will see the amount of questions regarding Lisbon. We’ve been researching this topic, so all of you, who like the idea of living in a place with 2806 hours of sun per year, beautiful beaches and friendly people, can get more insight on what it costs to live in Lisbon.
First of all, you need to find a place to live. Before you check prices on Airbnb, take a look at the availabilities at Uniplaces. You can expect to pay around 500-700 Euros rent per month for a 1-bedroom apartment. A room in a shared apartment in the city center, is around 200-300 Euros rent per month. Compared to Barcelona, London or Paris, Lisbon is significantly cheaper.
If you’re interested in finding out which neighbourhood is the right one for you, read our previous article. (link to my article on where to live)
2. What to eat
Lisbon has many amazing restaurants and compared to other cities, it’s super cheap (excluding touristy restaurants, of course!). A typical meal at a restaurant at lunch time costs about 6-7 Euros, however, if you want to go to a nicer place with gourmet food, that can cost at least twice as much. Cocktails are also not that expensive, most places offer drinks for 5-6 Euros, but if you go out at night to Bairro Alto or Pink Street, you can even get a beer for as little as 2 euros!
3. Where to buy food
You have at least 3-4 options when it comes to supermarkets: Pingo Doce, Continente and Lidl. Most of people prefer Pingo Doce because of the variety and quality of the food. If you prefer to cook at home, you can save a lot of money in Lisbon.
Here you can find some of the prices in Lisbon:
- Flour 0,60 cent
- Water 0,90 cent/liter
- Bread 1 euro/kg
- Milk 0,90 cent
- Chicken 3-4 euros/0,5 kg
- Beverages (Coke, Pepsi, 7 up, etc.) 1,20 euro
4. Get around
It depends a bit on which part of the city you live, but in general, Lisbon has a great public transport system, so you can survive here without a car very well. For example, if you are in Bairro Alto and want to get to Saldanha, it costs around 8-9 euros by taxi, with Uber it’s a little bit less. Another good example is the airport: a taxi can cost from 10 to 30 euros (Saldanha and Airport distance), Uber is even cheaper, last time I paid 6 euros from Saldanha. It depends on the traffic, but in general, it’s very cheap. Even If you want to go to Costa da Caparica on the other side of the bridge, you can get there with Uber, and it will cost you around 15 euros (one way). There’s also a bus that goes to the beach from Lisbon, it’s only 3,20 euros (one way), but it takes 30-40 minutes to get there.
A 1-way ticket for the metro costs 1,50 Euros and a monthly pass costs 36 Euros, but it’s a quite process to get: you have to fill in a form and bring it to Marques Pombal and then wait a couple of days for it to get processed. If you move to Lisbon the pass will save you a lot of money.
Important note: always choose the metro over the bus, as buses are often 20-30 minutes late. If you’re heading to an important meeting, it’s good to be aware of that. On another note, public transport in Lisbon is also very safe.
5. Recharging in Lisbon
In Paris you have to pay around 100 euros for a good massage, but in Lisbon, you’ll be surprised how much cheaper it is to get rid of stress. At LX Factory you can get a massage for 30-50 euros and if you head to Saldanha, it’s even cheaper.
People also live an active life in Lisbon, so it’s easy to find a gym, where monthly prices are about 30-40 euros.
The best thing about Lisbon is that you can go to the beach anytime: your coffee break can be a beach break too, revitalising your city life and commitments. It’s amazing! Most people prefer Costa da Caparica over Cascais, but if you need a beach that you can easily access, you will love Cascais too! Get on the train at Cais Do Sodre and you will be there in 10 minutes, sipping your coffee on the beach for 2 euros (cost of a train ticket).
It never gets too cold in Lisbon too, so you can even surf in Winter, when the waves are the best!
If you want to live a calm, quality life, with plenty of time for hiking and the beach, you will love Portugal! And whenever you miss the commotion of a big city, you can always jump on a plane to New York, which is just a 6 hours flight away, or London or Paris, which are closer and cheaper (with flights all year round for about 50 euros). So grab your wetsuit, surfboard and a Portuguese dictionary (although most people speak English here) and head to Portugal, to live the good life!
If you go, don’t forget to bring this myLike list with all the places mentioned! Save and download it here:
So I agree with the idea that Portugal is a hot spot for cost effective living if you are a digital nomad wanting to be near Europe. Plus it offers great ability to explore the rest of Europe via the train or big airports. My only question is wouldn’t Oporto be better? Its got a great culture and nightlife. Its even cheaper while still allowing you access to the train system to hop down to Lisbon. Plus its closer to better beaches along the atlantic.