If you want to find affordable property to buy on the Algarve, you still have plenty of options. Check out these five lower-cost areas to buy a home, even on Portugal’s most popular coast.
Portugal’s Algarve is both desirable and affordable as a place to call home. However, the sky’s the limit for property if you have the budget. There’s no shortage of multi-million Euro villas, especially around the coveted “Golden Triangle” area, just west of Faro.
Thankfully, there are plenty of more affordable options too.
Since the Algarve is such a compact area, you still have the same access to all of the amenities – from beaches to restaurants – regardless of where you choose to live. There are very few destinations in the Algarve that are more than an hour apart from each other, so the whole region is yours to enjoy, wherever you choose to base yourself.
With that in mind, this article looks at five low-cost areas to buy property in the Algarve.
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Choosing your Algarve area
There’s no one thing that makes one Algarve area more affordable than another. In fact, in a couple of these examples, the suggested place is no more than an enjoyable walk away from somewhere considerably more expensive.
Choosing a (relatively) cheaper area can actually have some benefits, especially if you’re seeking a more authentic Portuguese experience. Some people prefer not to live in purpose-built resorts that are primarily populated by overseas residents and visitors on holiday. Choosing a working town can also mean less of a seasonal effect, where a town can change beyond all recognition between summer and winter.
We begin in the east of the Algarve, just a few miles from the Spanish border…
Monte Gordo is the closest Portuguese resort to Spain. You can see the neighbouring country from the beach, and be there by car in less than ten minutes. This is perfect for a leisurely tapas lunch or to do your grocery shopping in a different country. Some east Algarve residents fill up their cars while in Spain, as the fuel is cheaper.
Monte Gordo has a vast white sand beach lined with restaurants, and the sea is considered the warmest in the Algarve, making for a longer swimming season. There is also a casino which opens until the small hours and attracts people from miles around.
Although Monte Gordo is a resort town that gets much quieter off-season, this effect isn’t as pronounced as elsewhere. This is due to the proximity of Spain, which makes the town a popular day-trip destination.
Property includes front-line beach apartments or villas and townhouses on the outskirts. Small apartments start from €150,000 and houses from €230,000.
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Arguably the Algarve’s most elegant city, Tavira is already well-known and very popular with overseas residents. However, if you choose wisely, it remains one of the best low-cost areas to buy property in the Algarve.
Although Tavira is very much on the tourist trail, the fact it’s main beach (Ilha de Tavira) is on an island reached by ferry or water taxi means that it’s not – strictly speaking – a beach holiday destination. It’s also a working city with a steady year-round population; it never feels like a ghost town.
Tavira is packed with history and culture and is conveniently located just 40 minutes from Faro airport. It is also on the Algarve’s train line.
Property-wise, there’s plenty of choice. In the city itself, there are plenty of authentic townhouses, including some that make for great renovation projects. New developments – both apartments and villas – surround the city, offering modern living and condominium-style facilities.
Renovation projects start from €80,000. Apartments start from €160,000, with lots of brand-new condominium options from €250,000. Villas start from around €300,000.
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Olhão is an increasingly popular fishing town, located just eight miles from Faro and the airport. It’s perfect as a holiday home destination for those who want to travel in and out with no friction.
Olhão is a busy fishing port with a large daily market. It’s also home to a popular annual shellfish festival.
The town offers convenient access to several island beaches, and there are several places to sit and watch the world go by on the attractive waterfront area.
There are lots of shopping options, including independent stores in the town centre and large supermarkets and chain stores on the outskirts, including those in the modern Ria Shopping mall.
In recent years, Olhão has started to attract more tourists and more international residents. This development began with the glitzy Real Marina complex, home to modern apartments and a spa hotel. Many more similar modern developments have followed.
Apartments start from around €130,000 and houses from around €240,000.
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Quarteira is a great example of a place where just a short walk along a gorgeous beach can save you a lot of money on an Algarve property. This resort town is only a couple of miles from high-end Vilamoura, so you have easy access to all of the glitzy facilities there, but without the hefty price tag.
Quarteira has been established as a resort for much longer than Vilamoura and remains the summer destination of choice for many people from elsewhere in Portugal. The beach is stunning and lined with many seafood restaurants. It merges almost imperceptibly into Vilamoura.
So why is it cheaper? Well, as a more established area, much of the housing stock is older, and the town itself is quite high-rise. One could argue that that doesn’t much matter if you’re looking towards the sea!
Apartments (often with a sea view) start at €170,000 and townhouses from €250,000.
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Another example of choosing a working city for cheaper property is Portimão which makes for a “best of both worlds” destination. The beach resort of Praia da Rocha, and the city’s marina, are just a short walk away (or bus ride) from the city centre.
Portimão is famous for its sardines that can be found in a cluster of restaurants around the Largo da Barca square. Away from here and the waterfront area, most tourists head for Praia da Rocha. This allows much of the city to retain its authentic feel.
Affordable property is available in both areas, but there’s money to be saved by living in the city itself, especially in apartment complexes aimed at locals rather than tourists.
Portimão is around 50 minutes from Faro airport, and home to a wide range of amenities, not least the huge and modern Aqua shopping centre.
City apartments start from €115,000, townhouses from €200,000 and villas from €375,000.
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You lose nothing from choosing one of the low-cost areas to buy property in the Algarve. Everything is right there on your doorstep, and the region’s incredible climate isn’t dependent on how much you spend on your home!