Written by Ben Taylor,
Last Modified: 30th November 2021

You’d be forgiven for associating Portugal with sun, sea, sand, golf courses and tourist resorts. Yet for many expats, the Portugal they know and love is a world away from the source of these stereotypes, the Algarve. The peaceful mountainous landscapes of central Portugal are a world away from the bright lights and relentless energy found in the south.

Finding that idyllic rural life is possible in many parts of Portugal, including the inland Algarve and neighbouring Alentejo. However, for many it’s central Portugal that holds the most bucolic appeal. Much of the region is the very definition of unspoiled, both in terms of landscape and lifestyle. The ancient villages dotted throughout the undulating verdant surroundings make it appear as if time has stood still.

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Much of central Portugal is the very definition of unspoiled.

Even if you buy inland you’ll still have your choice of sandy beaches around here. Whether on a rivers edge or  the Costa de Prata (Silver Coast). This pristine section of Atlantic coastline forms the western border of central Portugal. It stretches from Assenta, 60 kilometres north of Lisbon, to the mouth of the Douro 250 kilometres away in Porto.


Typical rustic village in the Coimbra district

Rural getaways in the countryside between the city of Coimbra and the Serra de Estrela Natural Park are particularly popular. In this region, new arrivals tend to learn Portuguese out of necessity. This enables them to integrate more quickly than in places like the Algarve, where English is widely spoken. While there are plenty of expats scattered around the area, it’s more likely that your neighbours will be Portuguese – which is exactly what most people who choose to move to this kind of area prefer.

No matter where you choose to buy, one way you can save a few euros is buy negotiating for a lower price on your property. Read our guide, How to Negotiate Abroad, for essential tips on how get a better house for your money.

The best bit about purchasing a pad in one of these rural locations is you’re never too far from the airports in major cities like Coimbra, Lisbon and Porto.

The supply affordable property also attracts many people to central Portugal. Habitable homes can be found for below €50,000, and restoration projects can cost even less. When purchasing property away from the main towns and cities always check the electricity and water supply before proceeding.

On the market for just €182,500 (£159,800), this beautifully restored three-bedroom stone house is a great example of the type of affordable property that can be found in central Portugal. Located less than an hour outside Coimbra on the banks of a river, it is the perfect rural retreat.


Click on image to view the property on Rightmove.

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