There is a huge variety of property available in Portugal, so the most important thing is to take plenty of time to review your options and think about what you need.

Something that many people forget to consider when looking to buy their dream home in Portugal is heating – and this is the same whether you are looking for a traditional Portuguese home or a modern property. While the country is very warm in the summer, if you have not visited Portugal in the winter, you may not be aware that it can get rather cold and wet. Central heating, however, is rare. Air conditioning units that operate on an inverter system can heat as well as cool, but these can be expensive to run, as can oil-fired radiators.

In the Algarve in particular, real bargains can be found due to an oversupply of new developments.

Modern choices

There are plenty of options for properties to buy for people who prefer modern living; in the Algarve, in particular, you can find real bargains due to an oversupply of new developments, built prior to the global financial crisis. These modern apartments are often built to a very high specification, but try to speak to owners within the developments to check any potential problems. Also, be sure to find out about condominium fees, and how communal parts of the development are managed.

There are five main types of property to choose from in Portugal:

A sunshine villa

Generally what most people think about when they imagine their new life in Portugal, a villa will usually be modern, with its own private pool and garden. These can be found everywhere, although are less likely to be in the middle of towns or cities.

Buying - What to buy - Villa

Villas are one of the most popular property types for expat buyers.

A trendy townhouse

For space close to the action, a townhouse should be your top pick and will certainly provide you will lots of space – including roof terraces and balconies. They do however offer you less privacy than a villa, as they are generally found in semi-detached or terraced format – but they do cost less, and can give you more of a community feel.

A coastal apartment

Apartments in developments are a popular choice, especially with those buying a holiday home or an investment property. They come in all shapes and sizes, and will usually have access to a shared pool and gardens. Living in one of these apartments in the popular tourist locations may mean you end up fairly alone during the off-season, with many of these developments practically empty.

Live on a resort?

Living on a resort is different from an apartment development due to the host of serviced facilities they provide – in addition to shared access to a pool and garden. There is a broad spectrum of types of property available here, from a golf villa in one of the prestigious golfing resorts, to a studio apartment on an all-inclusive complex. Once again, this option is most popular with those buying a holiday home or an investment property.

 Apartments in developments are a popular choice, especially with those buying a holiday home or an investment property.

A rustic choice

This could be a traditional house in the middle of a town or city, or a sprawling quinta in the hills of the country. While these often appeal to expats, it’s important to consider the maintenance and upkeep cost of a property like this. If you’re up for a project and willing to pay the money and put the work in somewhere “off-grid” this kind of property could be perfect for you!

Finding the right property to rent out

If you do plan to offer your new property as a holiday let, you may need to slightly adjust your priorities to accommodate the average tourist’s wishes, as well as your own. Easy access to beaches and amenities, and a versatile layout, need to take precedence over quirky features that may appeal to you – only you!

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The Portugal Buying Guide is designed to support you through each stage of buying property in Portugal, providing relevant, up-to-date information and tips from Portugal property experts and expats who have been through the process themselves. The guide helps you to:


  Ask the right questions
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