If you plan on buying a property in Portugal, you don’t need to follow the crowd. There are plenty of areas in this fabulous country where you can live a more traditional Portuguese lifestyle. Here are our top three.
Not everyone who moves abroad wishes to join an expat community. You can also go off the beaten track to experience the more authentic side of a country.Not everyone who moves abroad wishes to join an expat community. You can also go off the beaten track to experience the more authentic side of a country.
With around 60,000 Britons estimated to live in Portugal, you’re never too far from a fellow expat when you want some help or advice (or just really fancy speaking English!), but with the majority congregating in established areas such as the Algarve, Estoril and Cascais on the outskirts of Lisbon, it is easy to avoid living in an expat enclave too.
With around 60,000 Britons estimated to live in Portugal, you’re never too far from a fellow expat when you want some help or advice
There is also a significant expat community in central Portugal, in places like Tomar and Caldas de Rainha. The heart of the country is still the best option for a more authentically Portuguese lifestyle, however. While there are plenty of expats spread around, they are often in rural homes in small villages, with towns acting as hubs for occasional meet-ups. For many, this is a good compromise, even for those who want to avoid the stereotypical expat scene.
Here are three areas in Portugal worth some consideration for those who don’t want to hear English as often as Portuguese.
1. The Algarve’s “Wild West”
The wild west coast of Portugal’s Algarve is popular with surfers and travellers, but its distance from Faro airport and lack of other transport links keeps the numbers down. Building regulations also prevent large-scale development here. While there are expats around, particularly near to the town of Aljezur, this is somewhere that feels a world away from the throngs of tourists around resorts like Lagos and Albufeira.
Of course, it’s not as easy to zip back to the UK via Faro airport, and shopping means markets and small stores rather than the convenient hypermarkets found in central Algarve. It’s fair to say, however, that these “downsides” are seen as major plus points by some.
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2. South of the Tagus
While expats from both Britain and the US flock to the up-scale areas of Cascais and Estoril, there’s another option within easy reach of Lisbon that new arrivals often ignore.
Towns like Alcochete and Montijo are still accessible (and even commutable) to Lisbon, but feel untouched by city life, tourists and crowds. Alcochete even has a stunning river beach on the banks of the Tagus, overlooking the capital which is just a 40-minute drive away.
For those who want to be near the city but still off the beaten track, these places are well worth a look. Be aware that there are proposals to potentially build a new airport in this region – and that could change everything.
Porto is within easy reach and well-served by airlines from across Europe, and property prices are lower than the south and Lisbon.
3. Northern Portugal
Northern Portugal is usually ignored by expats and holiday home owners. After all, the Costa Verde (green coast) is green for a reason: the considerable amount of rain that falls here. This is the part of Portugal least likely to deliver on the country’s promise of over 300 sunny days each year.
However, northern Portugal still has much to offer. The summer is usually dry and warm, and while wet, winters are usually relatively mild. Porto is within easy reach and well-served by airlines from across Europe, and property prices are lower than the south and Lisbon. This region is also home to some of Portugal’s finest wine, including the popular Vinho Verde – that’s sure to be a big plus for some!
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. It helps you to: