Looking for an Algarve destination that’s both convenient and affordable? Why not consider moving to Quarteira?
Here’s something that surprises many people about Portugal’s Algarve: there’s a huge amount of variety packed into a relatively compact area.
Within a short stretch of coastline, you can find glitzy marinas, frenetic “party towns”, and far more low-key beach resorts.
Quarteira fits into the latter category. Nestled between luxurious Vale de Lobo and upscale Vilamoura, it is a more down-to-earth area with plenty of charm of its own. In this article, we look at what you can expect from moving to Quarteira.
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Quarteria is less well-known than its immaculately manicured neighbours, but it has actually been a popular tourist destination for much longer. It is a resort, first and foremost, but also a working town, with enough off-season action to prevent it from ever feeling deserted.
This is the kind of place where tourists are just as likely to be Lisboetas who visit annually as visitors from northern Europe, giving Quarteira more of an authentic Portuguese feel than some of the purpose-built resorts.
Quarteira is not quite as glamourous and shiny as Vale de Lobo and Vilamoura. There are plenty of high-rise developments, so you’ll generally want to look at the sea and not away from it! Nonetheless, the beach is vast and beautiful, sparkling under the Portuguese sunshine and lined with bars and restaurants.
If you’re willing to overlook the lack of superficial polish, moving to Quarteira provides an affordable option in the central Algarve, and one that’s extremely close to everything. Vilamoura is a mere 20 minutes’ walk along the beach!
Quarteira is just under 30 minutes from Faro airport by car. For anybody considering an Algarve holiday home, this is a particularly convenient location for frequent travel in and out of Portugal.
Once in the country, there are frequent buses to and from Faro that take around 40 minutes. Quarteira is less well provided for when it comes to trains, as the nearest station is in Loulé, some eight miles away.
You can be assured of plenty of good weather in Quarteira. On average, there are over 300 sunny days each year, and a long hot summer is all but guaranteed. There’s also less wind to contend with than you find in some resorts further west.
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Being right in middle of the Algarve’s main tourist zone, amenities are abundant. Just a short drive away are the high-end attractions around Loulé and Almancil, including numerous golf courses, luxury stores and a modern designer outlet mall.
Go a little further in the opposite direction and you’ll reach Guia where there’s a concentration of garden centres, DIY stores and huge supermarkets. All the other practicalities you need for day-to-day living are in easy reach.
Quarteira is a vibrant place during the hotter months of the year. Aquashow, a popular water park, is just a few kilometers away, and during peak season, the beaches of Quarteira and Vilamoura may as well blend into one.
As such, moving to Quarteira may not be a great choice if you want to avoid tourism altogether. You’d perhaps be best to – quite literally – head for the hills!
However, Quarteira is a place where you can enjoy having the amenities (and the sand) largely to yourself during quieter periods.
This is the kind of “best of both worlds” that many Algarve residents enjoy. It also helps that Quarteira never quietens down enough to feel like a ghost-town. There are still plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from, even in the winter.
Heading away from the beach, the town offers a small range of shops, but is not particularly picturesque. Instead, you have an attractive harbour area where there’s a daily vegetable market and a fish market six days per week. There’s also a weekly flea market each Wednesday, which is hugely popular and a tourist attraction in itself.
The year-round food markets are indicative of the permanent year-round population. This numbers just over 21,000, however that also includes Vilamoura and other surrounding towns.
If you’re planning on moving to Quarteira and hope to find work, the usual caveats apply. Your options will be limited unless you speak fluent Portuguese, and the majority of work is seasonal, based around the tourism industry.
That said, you’re located right at the hub of the central Algarve. Plenty of expats set up successful businesses, catering both to tourists and to the (often wealthy) overseas residents in the area. There are certainly work (and entrepreneurial) opportunities out there.
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Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of apartments for sale in Quarteira with many of the cheaper options being in the large high-rise blocks. These may not be especially attractive from the outside but having the beach as your garden is certainly a trade-off.
As is the case in all Portuguese resort areas, you can save money by choosing a home in one of the older buildings, rather than in a more modern condominium.
If you’re looking for a villa or townhouse, you will find more options on the outskirts of Quarteira and in surrounding villages. Note, however, that this area is very close to the high end “Golden Triangle,” which can mean higher prices.
Apartments in older blocks start at around €160,000 and are often very close to the sea. New build apartments are from around €225,000. Townhouses cost from €275,000, and villas are from around €375,000.
Living in Quarteira means being close enough to Vilamoura that you can feasibly walk there and back for dinner. Given that you will likely get more for your money, it’s certainly worth giving this lesser-known resort your attention.