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Portugal

The Algarve Area Guide

Living in the Algarve

Well-mannered and easy-going, the Portuguese are sociable by nature and enjoy eating, drinking and having fun in large groups. They tend to use formal modes of address and possess an innate sense of politeness – a quality that is held in high regard at every level of Portuguese society.

As such, Portugal is a very friendly place to live. Because of the excellent year-round climate, life is, for the most part, lived outdoors. There are ample opportunities for a wide range of outdoor pursuits from golf to water sports and everything in between. Portugal is a great choice for family life because it is generally considered a safe area, full of activity and fun.

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Areas in the Algarve

Central Algarve Western Algarve Eastern Algarve

Communication links by air and road are excellent – Faro International Airport offers direct flights to all the world’s top destinations on a daily basis. Or fly into or out of Lisbon and make the scenic drive to or from the Algarve.

The cost of living is relatively low and, as such, offers superb value for money.

Prices vary widely across the coast. A good-quality three/ four-bed villa with a pool on Quinta do Lago will cost around €2.5m, whereas in the western Algarve – including Lagos and Luz – €500,000-€1m will stretch to something similar with a sea view.

Whilst unsurprisingly the €500,000-€1m bracket is the most active due to numerous buyers drawn to the Non-Habitual Residency regime (NHR), which offers tax benefits if buyers become a Portuguese tax resident. For many non-dom status clients and some retired buyers who want easy access to the UK, it’s an appealing option.

For more information on the Portuguese market, please read our Portugal Inside View.

The Algarve in a nutshell

Climate

The Algarve has a Mediterranean climate of long hot summers and mild winters. Spring and autumn are particularly beautiful and, being slightly out of the main tourist season, extremely peaceful.

Sport

Portugal, and especially The Algarve, offers an out-of-doors lifestyle - the weather is hot in the summer and pleasingly mild the rest of the year. There are ample opportunities along the beautiful coastline for all manner of water sports and the rolling power of the Atlantic draws many surfers to its long beaches. Portugal is famous for its golf courses and has exceptional facilities for, arguably, its favorite sport.

Golf

Golf is a huge attraction all-year round in the Algarve and buyers are also drawn to the Algarve for the long rental season it offers. People, who want their holiday home to make money when they are not using it, can reasonably expect to rent out their properties from Easter to late October.

Home to five championship golf courses as well as an equestrian centre and 875-berth marina, Vilamoura is set to see investment of €1bn as it enters a new phase of development adding 5,000 new residential properties.

Festivals

There is a deep-rooted respect throughout the country for ancient traditions, most commonly expressed through religious festivals. Festas are held throughout the year – often celebrating Saints days but also harvest, gastronomic or sporting events. During Festas expect prayers, processions, fireworks, eating, drinking and a good deal of merry making.

Food and wine

Food and local produce are fresh and delicious – especially the seafood. Local wines deserve to be taken seriously. After decades of investment many of the reds have established an attractive and distinctive style of their own – especially the wines of the Douro. While great whites are fewer, most regions do produce good bottles. Of course the famous Vinho Verde should not be missed - usually white, light and slightly carbonated.

History

Portugal is one of the oldest nation states in Europe. Its foundation in 1139 pre-dates that of Spain by nearly three hundred and fifty years. The Roman Empire arrived in about 216 BC bringing nearly four centuries of stability and prosperity. As the Roman Empire collapsed the Visigoths took over. From 711 Portugal saw five centuries of Arab rule, this left a legacy that is still visible in the regions architecture, lattice chimneys, azulejos, orange groves and almond trees. Moorish rule remained undisputed for nearly three hundred years until Alfonso Henriques defeated the Moors at Ourique in 1139.


It was during its Age of Discovery that Portugal made its mark on the rest of the known world. This astounding period of conquest and exploration began in the Algarve, when Henry the Navigator set up a school of navigation in Sagres. The real breakthrough took place in 1498 when Vasco da Gama reached India - Portugal now controlled the Indian Ocean and the spice trade, and established an eastern capital at Goa. In 1500 Pedro AlvaresCabral reached Brazil and Portugal became a mercantile super power.

Healthcare

Healthcare along the Algarve is excellent. Some of the best available is provided by Grupo HPA Saude Private Health who has three hospitals in the Algarve.

Education 

There are numerous good schools with great facilities, which provide an excellent education for the children of both nationals and expatriates in Portugal. The Algarve regions are particularly well served by two of the most outstanding – The Nobel International School Algarve and St Julian’s in Lisbon (easily accessible from the Algarve).

Infrastructure

What set the Algarve apart during the downturn was the continual investment in infrastructure. The upgrade of the coastal A22 motorway (stretching to Lagos and opening up the western Algarve), the improvement to the E1 (to Lisbon and Porto) and the €32m expansion of Faro Airport have helped boost economic confidence. Further development is planned at Vilamoura and Quinta do Lago.

Accessibility 

Portugal is extremely well connected to Europe and the rest of the world. Daily flights direct to and from Faro International Airport and Lisbon International Airport.

Looking for a property to buy in Portugal? Browse our portfolio of areas or get in touch for a personalised search.