The cost of living in Portugal is very reasonable compared to the United States. As we travel, we try to do as much research before we leave because this will save us time and money.
Since we have retired, we have changed our eating habits and we generally have brunch around 10 am and dinner around 5ish. However, in Portugal most restaurants open for lunch from 11-3 and close until 7-11 for dinner. So, we make sure our big meal of the day is prior to 3.
While we were in Porto, the local coffee shop was just around the corner from our apartment. Two coffees and a couple pastry items would cost us about €3 total for breakfast. That’s less than $4 US dollars for two cappuccinos and freshly made pastries.
All restaurants will place on the table a basket of bread and olives, sometimes cheese and sardines. These are not complimentary and although a nominal charge (€1-€2 for each) you must pay for them if you want to nibble on them. Just ask/tell the waiter what you want, or don’t want. Either way, They will take it away when the meal is served.
Our apartment in Porto was $478.00 for 11 days. Our most expensive stays were 2 nights in Nazare at $70 and two nights in Lisbon for $90. So, with all of the other Airbnb’s, we are paying right at $40 a night for lodging. This puts us at roughly $1300 lodging for the month. With careful research, you could pay less. We prefer places without shared bathrooms. Obviously, you can pay more if you prefer a different style of lodging and amenities.
With breakfast and lunch, we are averaging about $30 a day for both of us. This includes some groceries that we purchase for an evening snack. We have spent up to €40 for very nice meals for two. But we have also spent less than €20.
Beverages throughout the day are coffees, teas, soda or juice, water, glass of wine or a beer. Prices rise if you consume hard alcohol or multiple of your favorite beverage. With that said, typically a glass of house wine or local beer is the same cost or cheaper than a soda, €2 or €3. Water is safe to drink from the tap in Portugal and we always have our IronFlasks with us full of water.
Transportation is another preference. We use public transportation as much as possible. So local Metros may cost €1 within the city and €3 for reaching the suburbs or surrounding towns. This is per person, one way. The Porto local card costs €0,60 extra upon your first purchase. But continue to “recharge” that card at the machines afterwards. We were also able to do that with the CP (Comboios Portugal). This is used for regional train travel at most locations. No matter what, validate your ticket BEFORE getting onto the train. Nearly every metro or train we were using, a conductor came through and checked tickets. You don’t want to pay the fine!
There are times when train travel is just confusing. Use the station personnel, they were all extremely helpful. Same goes for bus travel. If confused, just ask a fellow passenger. They will readily assist. For bus transportation, we used Rede Expressos and booked via their app. My ticket from Porto to Nazaré was €16, reserved seat. And they helped me with my transfer – jumping off one, onto another in a minute and off we went!