Money & costs

Portugal is probably the cheapest country in western Europe for visitors. It’s also a member of the EU and uses the Euro – making life so much easier if you’re on a longer cycling trip and crossing from or into Spain.

Cash withdrawals

There are cash machines everywhere in Portugal – finding somewhere to draw out money is rarely a problem, even in the smallest towns.

Multibanco - WikipediaThe biggest network (certainly outside the Algarve) is Multibanco. Withdrawals from these ATMs are (as of 2021) free.

However, the Algarve has a growing number of other ATMs that charge several euros for every withdrawal.

Flying into Portugal, there are ATMs inside the airports and – depending on your bank – you’ll often get a much better exchange rate withdrawing money direct from your account than using one of the exchange counters.

ATMs can also be found inside most supermarkets, shopping centres etc.

Typical costs

Cafe culture isn't expensive in Portugal.
Cafe culture isn’t expensive in Portugal.

If you’re on a tight budget, Portugal is a good place to come. Prices vary depending whether you’re in an out-of-the-way provincial town or busy tourist trap but even at the higher end of the scale things are generally a lot cheaper than in places like the UK or France.

If you want to keep costs down, buy goods produced in Portugal.

Anything that’s imported – like certain brands of cereal, toiletries, chocolate etc – can be pricey. Buy local and you’re not only improving your green credentials but you’ll also be better off!

Below are a few examples of (non-tourist) café prices to give you an idea of costs:

  • Small black coffee – 60-80c
  • Small beer (20cl) – 90c-€1.2
  • Can of soft drink/bottle of water – -€1-1.2
  • Toasted sandwich – €2-2.5

For touring cyclists, your main costs are going to be food and accommodation. If you’re staying on a campsite or in hostel dorms and cooking for yourself, a budget of €20-25/day shouldn’t be too difficult.

If you’re staying in basic guesthouses and having one meal a day in a cafe then the minimum is probably going to be more like €40-50.

Obviously, the more you spend, the better your degree of comfort. If you want to stay in fancy (luxurious) accommodation, eat out for lunch and dinner, have a few beers and a bit of spending money for entrance fees, souvenirs etc then €90-100 per day should be very comfortable.

Also, be aware that prices are often much higher in the summer than winter. Some hotels and guesthouses just have a ‘summer’ and a ‘winter’ price. Others will also have a shoulder season price, while some will have yet another price bracket for the high summer season of July and August.

Other holidays, like Carnaval, Easter, Christmas and the New Year will also see prices shoot up in popular destinations. You’ll also generally pay more in coastal resorts and other places that attract a lot of tourists.

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