If you are planning on either visiting Lisbon or moving to Lisboa, you’re probably making a budget (if you’re not, you should be). If not, you’re probably asking yourself ‘is Lisbon expensive’. Today, I’ll be discussing Lisbon prices so that you can figure out how much money to take to Lisbon for a week, a month, or how to budget if you are planning on moving to Lisbon. This is a guide for you to know how much you’ll pay for all sorts of things in Lisbon. I have now been living in Lisbon for over a year, so I just updated the article to show you the differences in prices for things between 2017 and 2018. Housing and electricity are where we have seen the biggest increases. Food has remained pretty stable and groceries have become cheaper now that we purchase our staple items (toilet paper, paper towels, etc) in Lidl instead of Corte Ingles. If you have questions about the price of a particular item in Lisbon, leave a comment.
Lisbon Prices 2017 & 2018
Lisbon can be a very affordable city, but due to its popularity, prices have been increasing. In fact, Lisboa can now be more expensive for tourists than Madrid, Budapest, and Athens. Living in Lisbon as an expat is not as affordable as it once was. However, that depends on how travel or life savvy you are. If you do your research, you can still enjoy great value in Lisbon. Let me give you an idea of how much things cost in Lisbon:
Lisbon Prices: Lodging
Lodging will be your biggest expense. Because the average salary in Lisbon is so low (860 Euros in Lisbon, 560 in Portugal), many locals have begun renting their homes out on Airbnb. Investment from foreign countries (mostly France) has increased the cost of homes in Lisbon. This means that vacation rentals are more expensive. The same thing has happened with hotels. Because of the city’s popularity, hotel pricing has increased significantly. You also need to do the research and see if events like WebSummit are going on. Prices will be higher around those events.
I still think that Airbnb is the best value because of the amenities you get (if you haven’t used the service yet, grab my invite for a sweet discount).
Let’s break down the pricing for accommodations in Lisbon for two:
Hostel: Hostels will be the cheapest, but this comes at a cost. They are a great choice if you are a single traveler because you get to meet others, but you give up privacy and comfort. A private room in a hostel will cost you around €60. A shared room should cost you between €20-30.
Hotel: Your average hotel in Lisbon will cost you between €249-300 per night. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay for extras such as meals, laundry services, etc.
Airbnb: I am including the average price for a studio to a 1 bedroom on Airbnb so we’re comparing apples to apples. Hotels & hostels give you 1 room, with Airbnb you can find all types and sizes of accommodations. An Airbnb rental for two will cost you under €100.
Craigslist: Beware Craigslist. If you see something that looks to be too good to be true, it absolutely is. Here’s a little gem of a Craigslist scam I found there. Sure, there may be a few decent vacation rentals on there, but I’d tell you not to waste your time.
How much it costs to eat at restaurants in Lisbon
Eating out in Lisbon is still one of the best values in Europe. There are restaurants where you can eat at under €10 for two people and leave completely full. There are places that will cheat you, especially in the more touristy areas. For example, locals are familiar with a place called “Made in Correeiros”. They cheat tourists into spending €100 per plate. They’ve been doing this for years… so my number one piece of advice when eating out is to get out of the Tourist traps or check review sites prior to committing to a meal.
Cost of Restaurants in Lisbon
Look for churrascarias, tascas, and leitarias. If you see locals or workers in there, this is a safe, cheap bet. Even the bad ones are good when you consider pricing. Portions at these restaurants are HUGE. If you’re looking to save money, you can also check out all the different kiosks of Lisbon. They are tons of fun and very affordable. Here’s the breakdown of the different types of restaurants, what you can expect to find there, and the average price you will expect to pay:
Kiosks: The Kiosks of Lisbon offer quick snacks and drinks (beer, wine, coffee). This includes everything from empadas and pasteis to small sandwiches called toasts. There are a few kiosks that are a bit fancier and specialize in certain types of cuisine like seafood or Asian. Stick to your regular kiosks if you are looking to save money. At most €6 will get you a beer and a toast.
Churrascarias: These are Portuguese BBQ joints. If you’re a carnivore, you definitely want to hit these up. €10-15 should get you a meal and a beer with plenty of leftovers.
Tasca: Tascas serve homemade food (like a good Portuguese grandma would make) at super cheap prices. €10 should be enough to feed you well.
Leitaria: Although Leitaria means dairy, these restaurants pack on a punch. These serve typical Portuguese food at very low prices. Same as with churrascarias, €10 should be more than enough for a main course and a beer or wine.
Other Types of Restaurants: There are tons of other types of restaurants in Lisbon, and if you so wish, you can spend 500€ on a meal. That being said, you can get a deal even on Michelin starred restaurants. For example, Eleven which has 1 star serves a 35€ lunch on weekdays. So just take the time to do your research before heading out.
My Fave Value Restaurants in Town: These aren’t all “cheap”, but the quality-value proposition is 100% there.
Lisbon is a very walkable city, I’ve walked all the way from Avenidas Novas to Belem and loved it…however, if you don’t like to walk (or if you want to skip the hills), Lisbon has fantastic public transport. There are buses, subways, trams, taxis, and services such as Uber. Here’s the breakdown on cost:
Lisbon Metro & Bus System: You can get almost anywhere on the Lisbon metro system and there are tons of ticketing options to fit locals, expats, and travelers:
- Traveling all Lisboa: This one-day ticket is good for unlimited trips in Carris, Metro and CP (Sintra, Cascais, Azambuja and Sado lines) for 24 hours after you validate it. The cost is €10.15
- Viva Viagem Card: This is the most popular card. It costs €0.50 for the card and you can load as much money as you want into it. The only issue here is that it does not work like NYC where you can swipe people in. You will need one card per person.
- Lisboa Viva Card: This is a card for locals & residents. The card itself costs €7.00 and is sent to you by mail. You can load it at ATMs with your Portuguese Bank Card.
Tram: Just a heads up, I have never taken the tram. To me, it’s just too touristy so it is not something I am interested in. The 28 (that’s the most popular one) is just too crowded. If you want to ride the tram, pick another line and save yourself the wait and aggravation. A ride on most trams costs €2.90.
Taxi: The minimum fare on a taxi is €3.25. That means as soon as you get in, you will be charged this. Then each additional kilometer costs €0.47 (1 km is .6 miles). You can hail taxis, but it is much easier to get them to pick you up at a taxi queue. A ride from el Corte Ingles to the Airport will cost you €10. While this option is cheap, there is a cheaper, more convenient option.
Ride Share Apps: Uber is very popular in Lisbon (not with taxi drivers, of course). A ride from El Corte Ingles to the airport cost €6.74 (you can use my code to get a discount on your first ride with code nellyg235ue.
Cost of Daily Necessities
Now that we’ve discussed the more pressing items, here is the average cost of things you may purchase in Lisbon:
- Chicklets Gum: €0.90
- Iceberg Lettuce: €1.13
- Canned tuna: €1.84 (this is really good tuna – not your Bumble Bee crap)
- Box of Ready to Eat Cooked Shrimp: €3.08
- Salted Butter €1.39
- Fresh Rosemary €1.25
- Sliced Ham €3.79
- Chicken Thighs €3.60
- Oreo cookies €1.99
- Chicken Stock €1.10
- Nivea Q10 with SPF 30 €9.74
- Bottle of white wine €4.74
- Pesto Sauce €2.29
- Mortadella €2.99 (this is the good Mortadella 5 slices per pack)
- Paper towels €1.49
- Captain Morgan Spiced Rum €11.99
- KitKat €1.99
- 1 bottle Franziskaner Beer €1.79
- 4 rolls of Toiler Paper €1.29
- 6 eggs €2.49
If you have questions on Lisbon, just ask. Wondering how much a car rental in Lisbon costs? Maybe you’re curious about how much a tour in Lisbon will set you back? Just ask in the comments and I’ll get back to you in a jiffy.
Cost of Housing in Lisbon
Housing is probably the most expensive thing in town. The bad news (as if that was not bad enough) is that prices are rising daily. An apartment that would have cost you €1300 per month for rent 6 months ago is being rented for €2200. The cost of rent in Lisbon will vary by neighborhood, but this will give you an idea as to the averages in town.
1000 Sq Ft apartment furnished in an upscale neighborhood (Avenidas Novas, Estrela, Chiado)
- 2017 €1,800 (furnished) €1,500 (unfurnished)
- 2018 €2,500 (furnished) €2,000 (unfurnished)
1000 Sq Ft apartment furnished in a good neighborhood (Anjos, Pena)
- 2017 €1,400 (furnished) €1,100 (unfurnished)
- 2018 €2,000 (furnished) €1,800 (unfurnished)
Cost of Utilities in Lisbon
Electric: In 2017, it cost us around €78.23 for a 2 bedroom at 110 meters during the Summer. The price of electricity in Lisbon has significantly increased year-over-year. This year it doubled to €114,27. We work from home, so we use a lot more electric than a regular person would, but we don’t normally use A/C (our house has an A rating, so the temperature is pretty good without it. Here’s a comparison of our electric bills in Lisbon Summer to Winter 2017 & 2018 (note – moved to Lisbon in April 2017, so we don’t have the price of electricity in the winter in Lisbon for that year).
- July 2018 – 114,27 €
- January 2018 – 374,50 €
- July 2017 – 77.60 €
Gas: The cost of gas is pretty good and has held up nicely. We have gas set up through Galp instead of EDP because there is a weird clause that would force us to pay €60 to get a new certificate and switch to EDP. Because prices are pretty low, there’s no incentive for us to do all the work and coordinate. Here is a comparison of gas prices in Lisbon from 2017 to 2018 (will add some more when I find my old invoices):
- July 2018 – €27.18
- December 2017 – €39.36
Water: We do laundry at least 3 times per week and I love a good, long, hot shower. If you are more economical than I am, your costs could be lower. The invoices are for 2-month periods.
- June 2017 – €64.50
- December 2017 – €125.53
- June 2017 – €24.45
Cable: €78 gets you a package from Vodafone that includes high-speed internet (200mb), basic cable, a phone line and two cell phones with 5 gigas. I’ve heard MEO is cheaper, but we’re still quite happy with our service from Vodafone.
Parking: €150 in a posh area. If you choose another neighborhood it will be cheaper.
Lawyer/Accountant: A good law firm with English speakers will charge on average the below amounts per hour:
- €280 for a partner (international work)
- €120 for a junior associate
- €65 for a paralegal
For projects that are not done on an hourly basis (example procuring a NIF for an NRH residency) prices are by project and usually cost somewhere around €2500-4000.