What is one of the cheapest countries to live in Western Europe.
June 25, 2022
What is one of the cheapest countries to live in Western Europe.


Portugal is considered one of the cheapest countries to live in Western Europe. Living expenses are much lower than in the U.S.

On average, compared to life back in the U.S. here is a breakdown of average family expenses. A typical lunch can run about $16 per person. A glass of wine costs an extra $4.

Here’s a breakdown of their monthly expenses:

  • Health insurance (for the entire family): $258
  • Groceries: $407
  • Basic household essentials: $250
  • Transportation (gas, car insurance, public transportation): $250
  • Housing (property taxes, insurance, maintenance): $430
  • Water and electricity: $175
  • Phone and internet: $80
  • Eating out (10 to 12 meals per month): $600

Total: $2,450

Tax system

European taxes tend to be very high, but unlike countries like France and Italy, Portugal doesn’t impose wealth, inheritance, or estate taxes (although there is a 10% “stamp duty” on Portuguese assets that are inherited or gifted outside of the direct family).

As an expat, you are considered a Portuguese taxpayer if you reside more than 183 days in a single calendar year in Portugal or, subject to certain conditions if you have a permanent residence available for your personal use in Portugal.

And thanks to the non-habitual resident tax regime, foreigners can benefit from a tax exemption (or a reduced tax rate) on most foreign source income for 10 years.

As U.S. citizens, we are always liable for U.S. income taxes, but we save on state and local income taxes. Plus, our property tax bill in Portugal is a fraction of what we paid in the U.S.

Healthcare what works for you a low-cost or high-quality? 

In addition to Portugal’s national health services coverage, which offers subsidized or free health services to all legal residents of Portugal, my family’s private health insurance through Multi-care is comprehensive and affordable.

A premium Healthcare plan can cost about $258 per month, but plans have a $0 deductible and $16 co-pays for doctor visits at a private hospital.

Prescription drug prices also tend to be dramatically lower in Portugal than in the U.S. One generic prescription that would typically cost $600 a month back home is only $21 in Portugal — for the brand-name medication.

How safe is safe and what does that mean for you? 

Portugal is the fourth safest country in the world, according to the 2021 Global Peace Index, which considers terrorism, violent crime, and political instability, among other factors, in its methodology.

And the Portugal News reported that 2020 had the lowest crime rates in Portugal since the country started reporting its crime data in 1989.

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