Architecture in the Amalfa neighbourhoods in Lisbon
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Money in Portugal: a traveller's guide

Portugal is seen as an affordable country in Western Europe, but if you compare it to Central and Eastern Europe, the prices are far higher. However, there are notable price differences between places in Portugal. Accommodation in Lisbon and the Algarve in particular, have skyrocketed in the last few years.

If you travel to less touristy destinations and to the north, you will notice that prices are slightly lower. Here’s all you need to know about money matters in Portugal, from tipping to approximate costs.

Cash, card and ATMs

When travelling to big cities like Lisbon and Porto, you can usually use a card in most places. However, be prepared to come across smaller shops and restaurants that do not accept cards. Especially in smaller towns, you are expected to pay with cash for small purchases. 

Other things you must have cash available for are the toll roads (some are manual and do not take foreign cards, while others are automatic) and parking. Even in Lisbon, street parking can only be paid with coins. A good rule of thumb is to always keep 20-50 Euros in cash for emergencies and try to pay with a card where possible.

Using ATMs in Portugal

You can choose the English language on all Portuguese ATMs. When withdrawing money with a non-Portuguese credit or debit card, there are usually fees charged by the ATM’s bank. This varies from bank to bank, but you might look at something around 1-2% of the amount you withdraw.

Be wary of independent cash machines like Euronet (they are usually in very convenient places where people might need cash quickly) as they charge insane fees of up to 13% of the amount withdrawn. If you walk a little further, you will likely find another option.

Also, remember that on top of the ATM fees, your local bank could also charge you for using ATMs abroad.

Tipping in Portugal

Tipping in Portugal is neither expected nor customary. When paying with cash, it is a nice gesture to round up to the closes Euro or 5-Euro by telling the waiter/taxi driver to keep the change. For example, if you get a restaurant bill of 47 Euros, pay with 50 and tell the waiter to keep the change.

However, when you pay by card, you should not leave a tip on the machine, as you might do in other countries like the US. Instead, leave a couple of Euros on the table before leaving. Usually, the Portuguese will not leave more than 5 Euros for a large bill.

In most cafes and restaurants, the tip does not go directly to the waiter but in a common pot that the staff later will share or do something nice with. Also, be aware that leaving the small brown coins (1, 2, and 5 cents) as a tip is considered rude and seen as a way to clean out your wallet and not reward great service.

Safety tips

Portugal is rated one of the safest countries to travel to, and crime rates towards tourists are extremely low. However, pickpockets and bag snatching can occur in busy and touristy areas, especially in Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve.

Make sure you hold onto your bags, preferably in front of you, especially if you walk in train or bus stations at busy times. You can split your money and different credit cards in different places in your bag/pockets so that if someone should pickpocket you, there is a big chance that you will have a backup somewhere else.

It is also advisable to avoid dark, empty alleys at night, as it is anywhere. It can be safer to catch a taxi than to walk at night, even if it is only a short distance.

Common scams in Portugal

Where there are tourists, there will be scams - and even though Portugal is one of the safest countries to travel to, unfortunately, this is the case there too. Here are a few to look out for:

  • Some taxi drivers might refuse to turn on the taximeter by either offering a fixed price to your destination (which will be way too high!) or saying that the taximeter is broken. Know that they are required by law to turn on the taximeter, so if they refuse, get out and find a new taxi.

  • Some restaurants have menus with low prices on display. When the waiter offers you something outside the menu, though, like the soup of the day or the catch of the day, make sure to ask for the price upfront. They often will charge you an arm and a leg for the meal once they bring the bill.

  • Some restaurants serve appetizers without asking if you want them. This can be bread, butter, cheese, and so on, but once the bill comes, they charge 1-2 Euros per piece of bread, butter pack, etc., whether you ate it or not. Make sure you let the waiter know you do not want it when they serve it or ask for the price to know what you have to pay.

  • Another scam you may encounter in Portugal are people trying to sell you discounted tickets to tourist attractions on the street. These are usually fake and will not get you into the tourist site.

Typical prices in Portugal

Here are some general prices for things you might want to buy during your trip to Portugal. Note that prime quality might cost a lot more.

  • Barcelos Rooster - 5-60 Euros depending on size and quality.

  • Portuguese leather shoes - 100-250 Euros

  • Portuguese pottery - 10-50 Euros

  • Handpainted ceramic dishes - 30-100 Euros

  • A bottle of Vinho Verde - 15-40 Euros

  • A bottle of port wine - 10-100 Euros

  • Entry to a museum - 2-5 Euros, though special attractions might cost more.

Planning a trip to Portugal? Read our other travel guides.

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Linn Haglund

Author - Linn Haglund

Originally from Norway, Linn is an avid traveller and freelance travel writer that has a passion for the outdoors, wildlife, and responsible travel. She is currently living the van life in southern Europe with her fiancé and their dog.

Having travelled in 50+ countries and lived in five countries, she has developed a fervour for helping people to travel more responsibly and leave a positive impact on their destinations through her blog, Brainy Backpackers.

Last Updated 7 August 2023

Dos Tres Irmaos beach in Algarve, Portugal.


Situated on the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal has a rich, unique culture, lively cities and beautiful countryside.