East v West - Where to buy Property on Portugal's Algarve Coast
The Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal
Home to stunning beaches and enjoying almost year-round sunshine, it is popular with holidaymakers from around the world. It is also incredibly popular with second home buyers and retirees, thanks to the low cost of living.
Carvoeiro, Algarve, Portugal
Property in Portugal offers excellent value for money, though prices are rising fast. In 2017, prices across the country shot up by an average of 12.8%, with rises of 5.5% per year projected for the next five years. As such, there is good scope for capital growth.
When it comes to where to buy, the Algarve has plenty to offer. The 155 km coastline faces south into the Atlantic and ranges from wide, purpose-built beaches that are packed with families throughout the summer to tiny, hidden coves that are only accessible by boat. Each town has its own delights, from the impressive castle at Sagres in the west to the quaint, quiet town of Monte Gordo in the east.
Where to buy property in the Algarve depends on what you are looking for from your local area. As a general rule, the western and central Algarve areas are busier, while the eastern end is quieter.
Aerial from the city Lagos with the Forte da Bandeira
The western Algarve is home to the large town of Lagos and the city of Portimão. Lagos is popular with visitors year-round thanks to its stunning cove beaches (Praia da Dona Ana is considered by many to be the Algarve’s prettiest beach), excellent restaurants and charming, winding shopping streets.
Portimão, by contrast, is very much a working city, packed with 1980s housing blocks and modern shopping centres. It does have some beautiful parts, such as the large harbour and the huge expanse of Praia da Rocha, with its crumbling cliffs and ancient fort (just ignore the jumble of hotels and tower blocks at the top of those cliffs!), but is definitely more of a place to experience the ‘real’ Portugal than Lagos.
Ponta da Piedade, Lagos town, Algarve
Did you know?
According to the Post Office Holiday Costs Barometer 2018, the Algarve is the cheapest beach resort destination in the Eurozone.
In the central Algarve region, Albufeira is a busy town with a lovely stretch of coastline. It gets very busy in the summer and is popular with stag and hen parties thanks to its extensive nightlife offering. If you like to party the night away all summer long, then Albufeira is a great place to be. If you prefer a quiet life, it might be better to head further east.
Shopping street at night, Albufeira
The eastern end of the Algarve is dotted with small towns and fishing villages, many of which are now making more money from their growing tourism industries than they ever did from fishing.
The main town in the eastern Algarve is Tavira. With the wide expanse of the river running through its centre, pretty cobbled streets dotted with cafés and tiny shops that appear from behind ancient doorways, it is popular with tourists as well as locals, who flock to the huge indoor market to stock up on fish, fruit and vegetables.
Further along the coast towards Spain, small villages such as Conceiçao de Tavira offer a peaceful place of retreat during the winter, though many are now very busy during the summer months, as tourists come to enjoy the spectacular beaches, superb cuisine and increasingly busy nightspots.
Wooden boats on Gilao river. Tavira, Faro District, Algarve
The best way to discover the Algarve’s charms is, of course, to explore the coast. The A22 motorway runs from east to west along the whole region, so exploring is easy. The road also offers a fast connection to Lisbon, which takes around 2.5 hours to reach by car from Portimão.
Whether you want to opt for the lively western or central Algarve areas, or enjoy the quieter eastern end of the coast, the Fastighetsbyran Overseas team can help. Simply contact Fastighetsbyran for more advice.
Our thanks to AIPP Member agents, Fastighetsbyran, for this article and images.
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