13 Cheapest Places to Live in Portugal

Updated On May 27, 2024

Portugal is a beautiful country with a warm and inviting population and plenty of sunshine.

Miles of stunning beaches, hundreds of years of history, and the farthest western point in continental Europe (Cabo de Roca) make this small country an attractive place to live.

As one of the safest and most affordable countries to live and work in Europe, you have almost endless choices of where to live cheaply.

Cheapest Places to Live in Portugal


1. Obidos

Obidos has retained its medieval charm and small-town attractiveness.

Located just 53 miles north of Lisbon, the capital is just an hour away by bus.

Obidos Castle, now an upscale hotel, towers over the walled city.

Whitewashed homes and businesses line the cobbled streets leading up to the castle.

Obidos is famous for its delicious sour cherry liqueur Ginja de Óbidos.

The Obidos International Chocolate Festival happens each spring and is very popular.

Walking through the double city gate under a balcony lined with blue and white Azelujo tile, you can’t miss the elderly women selling their handmade lace.

It’s enchanting.


2. Braga

Braga, located in the Cavado Valley of northern Portugal, is the oldest city in the country, dating from the Roman era.

At the same time, it has a lively, youthful vibe due to its universities.

Known for its magnificent cathedral dating from the 11th century and Bom Jesus Sanctuary, it is considered to be the religious center of Portugal.

Food is important in Braga and you will have no trouble finding restaurants that serve Pastel de Nata, Caldo Verde, Bife à Bragança, and Bacalhau.

Residents named Braga number 10 in European cities for quality of life.


3. Alcobaca

Alcobaca is a city and a region.

It is the site of the greatest love story in Portuguese history.

Ines de Castro and Prince Pedro defied the King and Ines paid the ultimate price.

Visit the Monastery of Alcobaca to learn the whole story.

Alcobaca offers stunning beaches on its miles of coastline.

According to tradition, the well-loved Alfeizerão sponge cake was created in the Alcobaca region.

The area is known for its multitude of wineries and the Alcobaca apple, a unique combination of nine apple varieties.

Alcobaca has been a center for the ceramic industry for hundreds of years.


4. Alcoutim

The Algarve is notoriously expensive.

Alcoutin is an exception.

This small town on the border with Spain has a 14th-century Moorish castle with an archaeological museum and a population of around 3000.

For a unique adventure, you can zipline from Spain over the Guadiana River, which is the official border between Spain and Portugal.

Alcoutim offers a relaxed lifestyle with affordable housing, a friendly population, and a picturesque location.

Every March the Festival do Contrabando or Smugglers Festival brings thousands of visitors to Alcoutim for three days of street entertainment, music, food, and crafts.


5. Porto

Porto is located in the north, within 15 minutes of a good beach and under an hour from Spain.

It is the second-largest city in Portugal and quite a lot cheaper than Lisbon.

The center is very walkable, and transportation in the city is excellent.

A small airport means you also have easy access to the rest of Europe and beyond.

Porto is known worldwide for its sweet fortified wine, Port.

Every June 23, thousands flock to Porto for the Festa de São João do Porto, the feast of St John the Baptist, to enjoy music, dancing, and fireworks.


6. Evora

Evora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the capital of the Alentejo Region.

It is the least densely populated region in Portugal.

The bucolic hills and forests surrounding the city are awash with wildflowers every spring.

The stunning purple Jacaranda Trees make a perfect foil to the whitewashed houses.

Evora has all the modern services, but a car is a necessity.

EvoraWine is held in the town center for two days late in May and highlights over 250 wines from the Alentejo Region.

This walled city has a deep history including Roman, Moor, and Gothic architecture.

Castelo Branco
Castelo Branco

7. Castelo Branco

Castelo Branco is located in the eastern central region of Portugal.

The city has a population of around 35,000.

The area gets plenty of rain, which is responsible for its lush foliage.

The city is quiet and safe with good access to all the necessary amenities.

The Naturtejo Geopark offers endless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, including thermal spas.

The embroidery of Castelo Branco done with silk thread on linen fabric is renowned.

TIgelada is the local dessert specialty and the area is known for its high-quality olive oil, sausage, honey, and old Castelo Branco cheese.


8. Bragança

Bragança may just be the most affordable city of all to live in.

Located in the mountains of northern Portugal, the scenery is spectacular.

With a population of around 35,000, the city has good services; medical, shopping, and entertainment.

Braganca has a long history as a stronghold protecting the northern border of Portugal.

The city walls and citadel are a lasting remnant of this past.

The weather is subject to extremes of cold and hot heat, which is important to know.

Chestnuts are an important crop in the region and are featured in many dishes and sweet liquors.


9. Viseu

Viseu is a city of about 95,000 in the central region of Portugal.

It has plenty going for it, including museums, gardens, historical sites, good shopping and medical care, and pleasant weather.

For those who love café culture, the central plaza offers everything you could desire.

A thriving expat community exists here, and you will hear English spoken around town.

Portugal’s only ski slope is nearby and river sports and beaches are available.

Be sure to try castanhas de ovos (“egg chestnuts”) a delicious dessert common in the area and the Serra da Estrela sheep cheese produced in the region.


10. Santarém

Santarem is one of the oldest continually occupied cities in Portugal and hosted the royal residence in the 14th and 15th centuries.

From its location high on a plateau, it has extensive views across the Tagus Valley to the river, making its strategic location quite obvious.

Today, it has excellent transportation links and its location an hour from Lisbon is ideal.

Temperatures can be extreme in summer and winter but delightful in spring and fall.

The National Agriculture Fair in June and the Santarém National Gastronomy Festival are not to be missed.

Figueira da Foz
Figueira da Foz

11. Figueira da Foz

Figueira da Foz offers a combination of urban living and peaceful Atlantic beaches.

Known as the Queen of Portuguese Beaches, it offers plenty of other amenities that make living here attractive.

Prices are surprisingly affordable, especially away from the city center.

For three days in July, the RFM SOMNII music festival rocks the beach at Praia do Relógia and attracts large crowds.

Enjoy the sunset while walking the 5km seaside promenade.

Seafood is abundant in Figueira da Foz.

A local favorite dish is Putas Finas, battered and deep-fried sardines.

Sardines are on menus all over Portugal and sold grilled along the roads.


12. Loule

Loule is located in the Algarve, one of the most expensive places to live in Portugal.

It has, however, retained its traditional charm and, best of all, is affordable.

It is not directly on the ocean but is only 10km away.

The city’s Moorish history is visible throughout the city.

The Mercado Municipal de Loulé was built in 2006 in the Moorish style.

The city has excellent transportation links to other Algarve areas.

The largest celebration in Loule is the Carnival, which is held just before Lent begins.

Enjoy seafood, wine, and local cheese to taste the traditions of the Algarve.


13. Cascais

Cascais is not exactly cheap, but its ideal location on the seafront and its proximity to Lisbon make it a favorite destination for tourists and expats.

Festivals happen all year, including the Chocolate Festival in March, enjoy jazz in May and June.

The Handcraft Fair runs during the Summer Festival in July and August and Festa de Viana in late August is one of the most popular in Portugal.

Cascais has golf courses, a marina, as well as easy access to walking and biking trails, and parks.

The Mercado da Vila is a great place to buy fresh food, enjoy dining, and mingle with the locals.

Portugal Safety Overview

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need to speak Portuguese to live in Portugal?

From my personal experience, I would say yes.

I know people say that everyone in Europe understands English, but I find that to be untrue in Portugal.

Even our cab driver from the airport in Lisbon didn’t understand English.

Spanish might be helpful, but French was not.

Portuguese is not an easy language to understand, unlike Spanish, the J sounds like a J, not a W and it has a guttural quality.

Get a good computer program and make sure it is not Brazilian Portuguese, which can be quite different.

Is Portugal a safe country?

Yes, it is one of the safest countries in the world.

Violent crime is uncommon, with the most common being domestic violence.

Away from the cities, crimes like theft and pickpocketing are not the norm.

However, like everywhere in the world, drug-related crimes are on the rise.

Does Portugal have good medical care?

Portugal has excellent medical care that is available for free to residents and citizens.

However, everything moves slower in Portugal and you may want to pay to have private medical care, which will be much more timely.

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