Where in Portugal should I buy?
Portugal is a great choice for a home overseas and continues to attract Brits as an alternative to Spain. Whether you fancy the Algarve with its incredible beaches and golf courses, the cultural hot spots of Lisbon and Porto or the unspoilt Silver Coast, Portugal has something for all tastes and budgets. Here we take a dive into some of the areas that have been popular of late, but for an indepth look please scroll down and download our free buyers guides.
Attracted by its stunning beaches, excellent climate and award-winning golf courses, the Algarve, on Portugal’s southern-most coast, is a number one property hotspot for Brits. It’s also a great region for holiday rental opportunity.
The Algarve’s central resort towns of Vilamoura, Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago are often singled out as its most desirable pockets. Property developments and their linked facilities are in the super league. But this, of course, also means they come with the highest price tag.
If your budget is more limited, the central Algarve offers some great alternatives. Check out Loulé, famous for its Saturday morning gipsy market, or Silves with its abundance of orange and lemon trees. Pretty Armação de Pêra, just west of Albufeira, has a great atmosphere yet avoids being too over-crowded in the seasonal months.
But money will go further still in the Western Algarve which has been steadily growing in popularity. Explore the leisure resort of Carvoeiro, the charming beach village of Burgau or the larger fishing town of Lagos. For a much quieter pace of life (and some great surfing) Odeceixe is worth a look.
The Eastern Algarve is perhaps the least touristy part of the region but you can still find some great property deals just 20 minutes drive of Faro airport. Tavira (pictured above), close to the Spanish border, has been mooted as a potential hotspot for a few years now. For unspoilt countryside but still within 30 minutes of the coast, villages around the river town of Alcoutim may offer what you are looking for.
Aerial from the city Lagos
To discover ‘real Portugal’ leave the Algarve behind and head north-west to the Silver Coast (or Costa de Prata) which lies between Lisbon and Porto. With its famous ‘glittering’ beaches you’ll find everything here from historic towns and traditional fishing villages to modern coastal resorts.
Also worth considering is Aveiro which is known as the ‘Venice of Portugal’ for its lagoons – or the bohemian medieval town of Obidos for its art and culture. If you want more in the way of amenities the bigger towns of Nazaré and Marinha Grande may be a better fit.
Formerly overlooked by Brits but now gathering pace as a property hotspot is Portugal’s Blue Coast (or Costa Azul). Stretching from the top of the Algarve to just north of Lisbon, the region plays host to the gigantic natural reserve of the Troia Peninsula where you’ll find protected dolphins and hundreds of varieties of birds.
Upscale developments have been built along the sheltered white sand dunes of Troia and Carvalhal and a wide range of property is now available there at reasonable prices. For something off-resort, consider the hillsides of Sesimbra province where you’ll find stunning rugged views. Alternatively, look at the ancient sea town of Setubal – which is known to wine-lovers as the home of Moscatel and to football-lovers as the home of Jose Mourinho.
Marina in Cascais – a suburb of Lisbon
Madeira and The Azores
Finally, we should mention Portugal’s beautiful islands. Madeira is perhaps the best-known and its international airport provides good connections. Steeped in history, the island has traditionally drawn an older profile visitor but trendy boutique hotels springing up in the last decade have since been attracting a younger, cooler crowd.
Property in Madeira is generally more expensive than on mainland Portugal but there is plenty of it available. Look at the charming village of Ponta do Sol in the south or the equally picturesque Camacha in the hills east of the capital Funchal.
Sao Miguel is the largest and most populated of Portugal’s Azores islands and is built on rolling plains, mountains and deep crater lakes. Now serviced by the budget airlines, holiday homes on the island have become a feasible possibility.
Your first port of call for property there might be the cosmopolitan main town of Ponta Delgad, which sits on a modern marina. Although the smaller islands of the Azores will offer bargain prices access and amenities are limited, so do your homework.
Camara de Lobos – Madeira
Check list before you buy
There are some fundamentals you MUST consider before you start on your journey to purchasing a property in Portugal. Download our free buying guides for a road map for your purchase (scroll below). We publish a short guide, and much more indepth guide with invaluable information.
Choose your agent wisely. AIPP (Association of International Property Professionals) members have all signed up to a strict code of conduct and are covered by the UK Property Ombudsman which makes for a much safer buying environment. You can search their properties by clicking the ‘Search Property‘ link here or at the top of the page.
Know your budget before you start your search. The Alliance recommends using a specialist overseas mortgage broker such as AIPP member Simon Conn who can assess your current situation and advise on what kind of mortgage would be available to you.
Lock in your exchange rate. With the markets a little volatile, it’s wise to protect your budget. By choosing a currency company who can offer you the best rate and fixing it with a forward contract you need not worry about political or economic factors influencing your purchase power. The Alliance works with Clear Currency. Hear what they have to say:
Engage the services of a fully independent lawyer. Your lawyer should work on behalf of YOU and YOU only – not the seller or developer or agent. You can search for an AIPP member lawyer here.
Seek advice on your tax, pension and wealth management requirements. By speaking with a specialist you can ensure your financial affairs are in the best order to limit your liabilities and future proof your income. The Alliance recommends speaking with international financial advisers Blevins Franks.
Speak to those who have gone before you. Join the Alliance of International Property Owners and gain access to our private members only forum where you can search and connect with members with properties in Spain and other areas you wish to know more about (and right now it’s free to join!)