There’s no shortage of luxury East Algarve property to choose from. There are also some great alternatives if you have a more modest budget. This article looks at the East Algarve in detail. It offers some suggestions for where to look for homes – both “bling” and budget.
What is the East Algarve like?
Luxury East Algarve property is far more scattered around the region than it is west of Faro airport. This 38-mile-wide stretch of Portugal is very different to the West Algarve in many ways. For starters, the East Algarve coastline doesn’t have the tall orange cliffs and sheltered coves found further west. Instead, the beaches and flat, vast, and covered in powdery white sand.
Many of the beaches are separated from the mainland by the beautiful Ria Formosa natural park. This wetland area is home to flamingos, dolphins and other wildlife. You can reach these East Algarve beaches by ferry or water taxi. The journeys are straightforward and all part of the fun. The sands then join the mainland from Manta Rota to the Spanish border. This offers an alternative for those who’d rather walk straight onto the shore.
Whichever resort you choose, you get to enjoy the Algarve’s best weather. East Algarve temperatures are often several degrees higher than those in the west. Furthermore, there’s less wind. Best of all, the Atlantic water is warmer here than anywhere else in Portugal!
What are the differences between the East and West Algarve?
The biggest difference between the East Algarve and the west is the overall feel of the region. Plenty of tourists head to this area in the summer. However, the “purpose-built” nature of many West Algarve resorts is replaced by a feeling of authenticity. There’s a pleasing absence of tourist “strips” and fewer (although still some) English breakfast menus!
This unique feel is what attracts many expats to the area. In some East Algarve resorts, you’re as likely to share the beach bars and restaurants with tourists from northern Portugal and Spain as with others from the UK.
East Algarve towns don’t really go in for ostentatious in the same way as places like Quinta do Lago and Vilamoura. While there’s probably less likelihood of running into British celebrities and footballers, there’s no shortage of “bling” around the golden sands of Praia Verde in the summer months. Ex-Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho also has a holiday home in neighbouring nearby Manta Rota.
Overall, there’s a delightfully down-to-earth atmosphere. For fans of the East Algarve, that’s definitely a good thing. It also means that no area is completely off-limits if your budget is more “budget” than “bling.” (With the possible exception of the Monte Rei golf resort, discussed below!)
Where can you find luxury East Algarve property?
Official statistics show the district of Monchique having the lowest-priced property in the Algarve. Loulé’s council area has the most expensive. However, both of these places are west of Faro. Tavira is the only East Algarve town singled out for having property averaging over €1531 per square meter.
However, in the East Algarve, it’s important to understand that it’s not as straightforward as one resort being “budget” and another being “bling.” There are some extremely luxurious and isolated villas on the outskirts of Tavira, for example. Equally, there are also still affordable condominium apartments on purpose-built developments nearby.
Still, if you’re looking for the “bling,” here are some examples of where to find it:
Monte Rei golf resort is super-exclusive and the closest thing the East Algarve has to the glitzy resorts further west. The Jack Nicklaus signature North course is frequently ranked as the best in Portugal. Soon, it will be joined a second Jack Nicklaus signature course, planned for opening in 2019.
Monte Rei golf resort is super-exclusive and the closest thing the East Algarve has to the glitzy resorts further west.
Monte Rei is located in Sesmarias, a few miles north of the main EN125 Algarve road. Although it’s in easy reach of everything, it feels like a truly isolated haven. With facilities including high-end restaurants, pools and on-site wine tastings, it’s somewhere to hide from the world – if that’s what you wish to do.
This four-bedroomed detached home is a perfect example of the property at Monte Rei. There are balconies and terraces galore, many of which look out onto the beautiful lawn and pool area. All of the bedrooms are en-suite and all come with dressing rooms. There’s a laundry list of high-spec features including alarm systems, underfloor heating and advanced dimmer lighting. At the time of writing, it’s on the market for €2,145,000.
Praia Verde (green beach) is named after the pine forest behind it. It’s backed by several high-end restaurants. This includes the highly-rated Pézinhos na Areia, which sits directly on the sand. If you lived at Monte Rei (above), this would be one of your nearest beaches.
But you also have the option of living nearby – or having a luxurious holiday home right next to one of the East Algarve’s most sought-after beaches.
The resort properties directly behind the beach are mostly holiday lets, so you’d probably rather choose a gated villa a few minutes away for a permanent home. There are plenty nearby between €500,000 and €1 million, with features like central vacuum cleaners and integrated audio systems. One big plus of such homes is that they’re in high-demand as short-term rental properties all year around. A rental income of €2000 per week is perfectly realistic. This gives you the option of turning your “bling” property into an investment too.
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Conceição de Tavira
Where can you find budget-friendly East Algarve property?
As previously mentioned, property in the East Algarve is scattered in such a way that there are affordable options almost everywhere. As an example, it’s quite possible to find cheaper properties within minutes of both Monte Rei and Praia Verde.
However, if you’re looking to make the most out of your budget, there are some specific places worth looking at:
Conceição de Tavira
Conceição de Tavira is a small village a few miles east of Tavira, an elegant and popular small city. It’s a short walk from the resort village of Cabanas. Cabanas is increasingly popular with tourists and expats alike. This is thanks to a gorgeous island beach, a growing selection of bars and restaurants, and a friendly, laid-back atmosphere.
Cabanas is popular for its gorgeous beach, growing number of restaurants and bars and the laid-back atmosphere.
The days of picking up a “distressed” apartment for next-to-nothing in one of Conceição’s many apartment developments are long gone. However, properties here remain affordable. This is a place where everything’s on the doorstep. There’s an easy drive to the airport and a train station connecting all the rest of the Algarve. It also has enough local amenities to keep both permanent residents and tourists happy.
This typical two-bedroom apartment is on sale for under €150,000 and comes complete with communal pool access. It’s on a popular and modern development within minutes of the train station. It’s just a short stroll from the seafront boardwalk and all of Cabanas’ restaurants.
For a true bargain, Olhão is well worth a look. Location-wise, it doesn’t get much more convenient. Olhão is just 15 minutes from Faro airport by car and well connected by road, bus and rail.
Olhão is very much a working town, which means it doesn’t lose its atmosphere when the tourists leave. It’s beautifully located on the Ria Formosa. A short ferry ride delivers you to some of the East Algarve’s finest island beaches.
Olhão is becoming more popular with tourists, especially since the opening of the Real Marina Hotel and Spa. There are modern apartments right next door if you’re looking for a perfect contrast between budget and “bling.” With a front-line apartment going for €178,000, this may well be some of the most affordable luxury East Algarve property!
However, you don’t even need to spend that much. If you fancy a budget bolthole, you can pick up a studio apartment here for around €60,000. You’ll have access to all the same amenities and facilities of the wonderful East Algarve, for just a tiny investment.
The best of both worlds?
The fabulous selection of property in the East Algarve means that you can get a piece of this part of Portugal regardless of your budget.
Whether you have the means to purchase a sprawling golf villa or a cosy studio, you still have access to the same restaurants, the same beaches and the same relaxed atmosphere. Most importantly, you still get the same sunshine. It only takes about 40 minutes to traverse the width of the East Algarve. The lack of a “bling” budget therefore really isn’t a deal-breaker.
There are places in the East Algarve we’ve not even had time to discuss in this article. They include Alcoutim, where there’s a stunning river beach and an international zip-wire ride over the border to Spain; Tavira, arguably the Algarve’s most attractive and authentic city, and Faro – the region’s understated and underrated “capital.” All of these places are right on your doorstep whether your budget is budget or bling.
So, don’t worry if your budget doesn’t stretch to luxury East Algarve property. A few minutes down the road you’ll find something more affordable – and that’s what makes this part of Portugal so appealing to so many.