Is Portugal expensive for tourists?

Planning a trip

For great vacations, you do not always need a very expensive destination. Portugal is an ideal country to visit, with very affordable prices for relaxing and having fun.

It’s possible to travel to Portugal on a tight budget, following some tips you can find here. If you’re coming from outside Europe, you can book a week for less than € 1,000 and 15 days for € 1,500. If coming from Europe, you can book a week for less than € 500 and 15 days for € 700.

You can take a few days with a quite acceptable budget, you just have to know how to choose the most suitable places and the best time to ensure that you do not incur in large expenses.

To have an idea, Portugal ranks 50th in the “Most expensive countries of the world” index and 21st in the “European countries” index.

In order to have a real example, Portugal has an average cost of living 28% lower than the United States, while the cost of living in the United Kingdom is 32% higher than the Portuguese.

These numbers, allow us to have a general idea that Portugal is not an expensive country to spend a holiday, quite the opposite and that is what I will show you next.

How much does it cost to travel to Portugal?

Depending on where you are coming from, you can book flights on your own, sometimes with better prices than through a travel agency where you do not have to worry about, but where you will have to pay for that comfort.

If your origin is on another continent, the options may be smaller, but if this is your problem, the suggestion is to try to book a plane trip in advance and choose the months of the year when the prices are cheaper.

If your origin is a European country or if it is possible to combine your trip with low-cost flights there is quite possible to achieve much higher gains and make your trip a bit cheaper.

You can find the list of some low-cost carriers operating in Europe and combine flights to get the cheapest rates;

  • AirBaltic
  • Albawings
  • Blue Air
  • Blue Panorama Airlines
  • EasyJet
  • ErnestAirlines
  • Eurowings
  • Flybe
  • FlyOne
  • French Bee
  • Iberia Express
  • Lauda
  • Level
  • Norwegian Air
  • Oceania
  • Onur Air
  • Pegasus Airlines
  • Ryanair
  • SkyUp
  • Transavia France
  • Volotea
  • Vueling
  • Wizz Air

To show you an example, a New York flight to Lisbon in July/August costs € 800.00 round trip. The same trip in January costs € 400 and in June € 600 (Google Flights source).

If you’re in Europe, the price of the trip from London is € 80 in January, € 100 in June and € 180 in August.

As you can see, flying in the middle of July/August is typically the most expensive, but in June we achieved a 44% reduction in continental flight and 25% transcontinental flight.

How much money should you take to Portugal?

In your day to day life, you will need money for your current expenses like food, transportation, and having some entertainment.

The cost of living in Portugal for those who come on holidays is affordable and as you will see below, the price for food and services in Portugal are reasonable.

A meal for two people has an average price of € 24.00 and the price for a hotel room with breakfast has an average price below € 100.00.

The price for transport within the largest cities is € 2.00 and tourist attractions cost around € 6.00.

If we do the math, we find that we can spend less than € 200 per day per couple, depending on the season and hotel you choose, you can get daily prices below € 100,00.

Are food and drinks expensive in Portugal?


The food in Portugal follows the same trend as I will show you, this can be a factor that helps to decide which zone to stay in. As a rule, the tourist places and city centers are the ones that have the highest prices.

The traditional Portuguese food has excellent quality, based on a Mediterranean diet where meat, fish, and salads are not lacking.

The gastronomic offer is huge and you will have no problem getting the right meal for the right price.

To have a reference, these are the average prices for food:

PortugalUnited KingdomUnited States
Egg (12 un)1.70 €2.10 € (1.84 £)2.02 € ($ 2.27)
Rice (1 kg) 0.88 € 1.04 € (0.91 £)3.45 € ($ 3.87)
Milk (1 lt)0.63 € 1.03 € (0.90 £)0.73 € ($ 0.82)
Oranges (1 kg) 1.18 €1.89 € (1.65 £) 3.56 € ($ 3.99)
Potato (1 kg) 0.83 €1.09 € (0.95 £)2.23 € ($ 2.50)
Water (1,5 lt) 0.56 € 1.10 € (0.96 £)1.57 € ($ 1.76)
Chicken Breasts (1 kg) 5.38 € 6.53 € (5.70 £)7.56 € ($ 8.47)

Is expensive to eat out in Portugal?

Restaurants, bars, and coffee shop are everywhere as you should expect, with prices to suit all tastes.

The average price of a meal in Portugal compared with UK and US is in the following table:

PortugalUnited KingdomUnited States
Meal in a simple restaurant 8.00 €13.75 € (12.00 £)12.50 € ($ 14.00)
Meal in an average restaurant 15.00 € 25.80 € (22.50 £)22.31 € ($ 25.00)
Meal in a fast food restaurant 6.00 € 5.96 € (5.20 £)6.25 € ($ 7.00)
One bottle of water0.89 €1.03 € (0.90 £) 1.29 € ($ 1.44)
An espresso/cappuccino1.30 € 3.00 € (2.62 £)3.61 € ($ 4.04)

How expensive is to rent a car?

Car rental

The average prices for car rental in Portugal are not much different than the prices found in most European cities.

This difference is higher when we compare car rental prices between the United States and Portugal for medium cars:

PortugalUnited KingdomUnited States
Medium cars197.00 € 129.00 € (112.50 £)510.00 € ($ 571.35)
Large cars456.00 € 175.00 € (152.62 £)558.00 € ($ 625.12)
Vans814.00 €306.00 € (266.88 £) 885.00 € ($ 991.46)

Prices for car rental may change depending on the insurance and the rental duration.

During the summer in Portugal, due to the great demand in the most tourist cities like Lisbon, Porto or Algarve, prices are more expensive than during the rest of the year.

For this reason, it is very important to make comparisons between several months of the year to get the cheapest prices.

When researching, please take note of the insurance type that’s included and the fuel deposit policy on the vehicle delivery, as this details make a lot of difference in the final price of the rental car.

Are hotels expensive in Portugal?

Your trip would never be complete without choosing the hotel, and the existing offer is huge.

To have a price comparison between hotels, I have chosen the average price of the 3 most rated hotels in the 3, 4 and 5 star categories, on a hotel reservation site for Lisbon, New York, and London for a period of one week during August.

PortugalUnited KingdomUnited States
Average price for 3 stars hotel900,00 € 1.250.00 € (1.090 £)1.300 € ($ 1.456)
Average price for 4 stars hotel1.200,00 € 1.650,00 € (1.439 £)1.550 € ($ 1.736)
Average price for 5 stars hotel2.000,00 €3.250,00 € (2.835 £) 3.500 € ($ 3.921)

The prices found in Lisbon for the same period are cheaper than in New York and London.

How much does public transport cost?

In big cities like Lisbon and Porto, the cheapest way to get around is by using public transport.

The price for a subway trip costs € 1.50 and can take you from Lisbon Airport to Chiado or Saldanha Square.

If you choose a bus, the price is € 2.00 while the tram will cost you € 3.00.

For a taxi, the amount will depend on the traffic in the city, but following the example above, a trip from Lisbon Airport to Chiado can cost between € 15 and € 20.

Choosing a Uber, the price ranges from € 10 to € 15 for the same destinations.

Prices for monuments and attractions

For those who travel to Portugal and want to make some visits to monuments to tourist attractions, will surely find options for all tastes.

Some tourist attractions are free but I leave here the value for the ones that are paid:

  • Casa-Museu Dr. Anastácio Gonçalves, Lisboa: 3,00 €
  • Museu de Arte Popular, Lisboa: 2,50 €
  • Museu do Chiado – Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea, Lisboa: 4,50 €
  • Museu Grão Vasco, Viseu: 4,00 €
  • Museu Monográfico de Conímbriga, Condeixa-a-Nova: 4,50 €
  • Museu da Música, Lisboa: 3,00 €
  • Museu Nacional de Arqueologia, Lisboa: 5,00 €
  • Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisboa: 6,00 €
  • Museu Nacional do Azulejo, Lisboa: 5,00 €
  • Museu Nacional dos Coches, Lisboa: 8,00 €
  • Museu Nacional de Etnologia, Lisboa: 3,00 €
  • Museu Nacional Machado de Castro, Coimbra: 6,00 €
  • Museu Nacional do Teatro, Lisboa: 4,00 €
  • Museu Nacional do Traje, Lisboa: 4,00 €
  • Convento de Cristo, Tomar: 6,00 €
  • Mosteiro de Alcobaça, Alcobaça: 6,00 €
  • Mosteiro da Batalha, Batalha: 6,00 €
  • Mosteiro de Jerónimos, Lisboa: 10,00 €
  • Panteão Nacional, Lisboa: 4,00 €
  • Torre de Belém, Lisboa: 6,00 €


The possibilities are numerous and you will have no problem finding the right hotel or restaurant.

Enjoy, especially in the spring and summer, when the weather is better so you can relax a few days in Portugal.

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