In comparison to many other countries within Europe, Portugal is cheap. However, salaries here are not as high in Portugal as they are in other European countries, so for the Portuguese or others working in Portugal, it is not as cheap.
Compared with what you would pay in other countries, in Portugal is it cheap for excellent restaurants, very good wines and you can certainly eat very well inexpensively in Portugal. Most people in Portugal drink Portuguese wines.
Up until recently, the real estate market here in Portugal had been difficult. Recently, however, we’ve seen a big improvement because of the new laws introduced into Portugal, which has caused an influx of people coming into Portugal from the Schengen countries (European countries such as Sweden, France, and England, as well as many others). We’ve also seen a large increase in people coming to Portugal from non-Schengen countries such as South Africa and Brazil, whose citizens have been given Golden Visas. As a result of these factors and others, the real estate market has gone up and all of a sudden it’s like Portugal is being rediscovered. They’re actually calling Portugal "the Florida of Europe."
The prices for real estate in Portugal will depend on several factors, including location. The most desirable location now is Estoril or Cascais (west of Lisbon about 20 minutes), which has expanded a great deal. In this area, for a good 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment, you can pay €250,000 (about $264,900 / £176,000) or you can pay €400,000 (around $424,000 / £282,000) depending whether it’s in a condominium with a pool and security.
Another hot market is for properties people buy for the rental market in which they make significant improvements. They may purchase a a 2-bedroom apartment for €160,000 or €180,000 (about $170,000 / £113,000 to $191,000 / £127,000) and "do it all up" and either re-sell it for €300,000 (about $318,000 / £211,000) or keep it as a good rental. At the moment, to invest in that kind of thing here is a good idea because there’s less and less inventory. There was a time we were saying, “Where are the clients?” Now we’re saying, “We need the products.”
Originally Cascais was a little fishing village and now it’s grown much larger to the point where it's quite a municipality. A lot of people would like to be in the center of Cascais, which is walking distance to the train station, where you can take a train to Lisbon for about 25 minutes along the sea. Not everybody needs to take their car into Lisbon cause like anywhere else there’s always traffic in the morning that takes forever.
Relative to food, you can spend per month from €120 - €150 (about $130 / £86 to $160 / £110) for general items in the supermarket for two people. There are a lot of people in Portugal who go to the local markets (individual stores; not supermarkets) here where you can get fish, meat, vegetables and fruit. In Cascais the market is on Wednesday and Saturday, or you can up the coast, where the market is held over the weekend. The markets have products from all sorts of local farmers who get together and sell their produce.
If you went to a little family run restaurant for a very good meal for 4 people with wine, desert, and coffee you would probably pay anything from €40 to €60 (about $42 / £28 to $63 / £42). But then you can go to other restaurants which are along the coast and you can spend €300 (about $320 / £210) depending on the wine you get and which restaurant you choose. So there is a very good variety and selection of restaurants in which to dine. There is a variety and you do eat very well here.
Relative to the cost for utilities, they have just privatized a lot of companies now and the electricity department, which was a state owned, now has a percentage of it owned by the Chinese. As a result, now you can put together your electricity and gas, for example. The price for electricity has gone up to where, now, if you are in a 2-bedroom home, you would pay probably €78 (about $82 / £55). You don’t need to have your heater on all day long even in the winter. A lot of people will just have a fireplace or just put the heating unit on for a couple of hours.
Compared to living in England, it is much cheaper to live in Portugal. London is terribly expensive, so Portugal would probably cost half of what you would pay in England for living costs.
(Pictured: Cascais, Portugal )