If you’re after a holiday home in Portugal, you’ll want to choose somewhere easy to get to that facilitates rapid relaxation on arrival. Here are some options:

Lagos, Western Algarve

holiday homes near Lagos, Portugal

Holiday homes near Lagos, Portugal

Why you will love it here:

Lagos gives off a vibrant, cosmopolitan feel that sets it apart from the rest of Portugal’s Algarve. It has a “small city” feel with distinct zones. These include a marina area, a long and breezy surfing zone (Meia Praia), a collection of some of the Algarve’s finest cove beaches, and an atmospheric old town. Lagos is a place where everyone can feel at home, regardless of their tastes. If you like the idea of renting out your holiday home in Portugal, you won’t struggle to find eager visitors in this city.

Lagos boasts a wide range of shops and restaurants and a diverse selection of bars. There’s also an alluring and authentic daily fish market. Thankfully, these amenities are usually open year-round, as Lagos is a working city as well as a resort. It never begins to feel like a ghost town, unlike some neighbouring places.

Property: Lagos boasts a vast selection of property; The area around Meia Praia beach is particularly popular, and it’s a great location, with lots of developments that typically include pools, gyms and other amenities. There are similar modern developments all around the outskirts of Lagos. Townhouses in the town centre are sought-after and no longer as easy to find. Alternatively, large idyllic detached villas dot the surrounding villages.

Annual hours of sunshine: Over 3000 – but it can get a little windy at times!

Holiday home prices: Two-bedroom apartments on modern developments start at around €160,000, with some cheaper options in older buildings. City townhouses from €190,000. Detached villas on the outskirts from €350,000.

Getting here: Faro airport is about a one hour drive. Trains run from Faro too. However, it’s a hot journey in the summer, taking around 90 minutes.

Portimão, Algarve

Why you will love it here:

Sitting right on the border of the central and western Algarve is the (relatively) busy city of Portimão. It’s a city of contrasts, with a working central zone that’s largely off the tourist trail. Then there’s the marina area, which forms part of Praia de Rocha, one of the Algarve’s most popular tourist resorts.

Praia de Rocha has it all, with hundreds of bars and restaurants overlooking miles of golden sand. Drinking and dining options range from unpretentious bars to the popular No Solo Agua, an upscale beach club with a pool. Here you can relax on opulent furnishings and order sushi and poké bowls.

Back in the city itself, there are plenty of practical amenities, including one of the Algarve’s newest shopping malls. There’s also an attractive promenade along the river-front, and lots more restaurants to choose from. There’s lots of property to choose from – from rustic townhouses to flashy sea-view apartments around the marina.

Property: Praia de Rocha is quite built-up, and the place to find many sea-view apartments. Some are on modern developments, others are in more established (and usually cheaper) buildings. Portimão itself has an increasing number of modern apartments, and there are villas dotted around the entire region.

Annual hours of sunshine: Over 3000, with Praia de Rocha’s coves providing shelter from the wind when necessary.

Holiday home prices: Modern apartments around Praia de Rocha from around €175,000. Villas from €350,000. More economical options exist in the city centre.

Getting here: Portimāo is a simple hour’s drive from Faro airport. The train is another option and takes just under 90 minutes.

Albufeira, Algarve

Why you will love it here:

Many first-time visitors to the Algarve head to Albufeira, and it’s also a great place for a holiday home in Portugal. It’s undoubtedly a busy location, especially on the frenetic “strip,” but the relative calm of the old town serves to balance that out. The area’s popularity also means there’s always something to do. While the vibe is definitely more low-key off-season, there are still plenty of people around, even in the winter period.

Albufeira’s location is extremely convenient – right in the middle of the Algarve, handy for the airport, and well-located for drives up to Lisbon. There’s a huge selection of beaches and golf courses, and it’s easy to find a social life thanks to lots of retirees and overseas residents. Albufeira is perhaps an obvious choice for a holiday home in Portugal, but it’s popular for good reason.

Property: Albufeira is a place of variety, and that spreads to the property market as well as the bars and restaurants. There are modern condominiums, marina apartments, traditional townhouses, and secluded villas with lush gardens and pools.

Annual hours of sunshine: Over 3000.

Holiday home prices: Small resort apartments for €110,000. Townhouses from €220,000.

Getting here: Albufeira is around 45 minutes by car from Faro’s international airport.

Faro, Algarve

Why you will love it here:

Many people land in Faro when they visit the Algarve, but don’t take the time to explore the city itself. This is a shame, because the place has lots to offer. In fact, many recent articles have named Faro as a perfect city-break destination. This seems to indicate that people are waking up to its charms!

The city itself is compact and walkable. There’s an attractive but relatively low-key marina, a beautiful walled old town, and a series of pedestrianised streets lined with bars and restaurants. Slightly out-of-town is the Algarve Forum shopping centre, a modern mall that’s a surprisingly agreeable place to spend time.

Beaches are within easy reach, some by ferry and some by road, including the stunning Ilha de Faro near the airport. Unsurprisingly, transport links are superb, with Faro being the “capital” of the area.

Property: There are lots of modern apartments around the outskirts of Faro, as well as options in the city centre itself. You will also find a surprising number of interesting houses in the surrounding area, including some intriguing renovation projects.

Annual hours of sunshine: 3000+

Holiday home prices: Good two-bed apartments from around €150,000. Houses in the surrounding area from €200,000.

Getting here: Getting to Faro is simplicity itself. The airport is just ten minutes from the city centre. Connections to the rest of the Algarve and Portugal are straightforward too.

Cabanas-de-Tavira, Eastern Algarve

A holiday home in Portugal, in Cabanas de Tavira?

A holiday home in Cabanas de Tavira

Why you will love it here

Many visitors to Portugal’s Algarve head west when they arrive at Faro airport. Fans of the East Algarve passionately argue that it’s better to go in the other direction! Many of them head for Cabanas, a small resort village conveniently located just a few kilometres east of the charming and authentic city of Tavira. Cabanas combines rustic and modern; The contemporary waterfront boardwalk is backed by charming fishermen’s cottages and cobbled streets.

Cabanas is small in size but not in stature. It’s a popular second-home destination for Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch families as well as Brits. The summer months deliver a non-stop flow of festivals, concerts, and parties on the stunning island beach. Off-season, Cabanas is quiet but never “closed.” Holiday home owners frequently enjoy warm off-season sun and fabulous food and drink – with no crowds or queues.

Property: Many of those who claim to live in Cabanas actually live in Conceicão de Tavira, a kilometre or so uphill. The two villages blend into one. There are plenty of modern apartments and villas on well-appointed condominiums in both. Rustic village houses are sought-after and in short supply in the village itself. Alternatively, there are plenty of villas in nearby hamlets slightly inland.

Annual hours of sunshine: 3,036. This works out to over eight hours per day across the year!

Holiday home prices: Two-bedroom apartments within ten minutes of the waterfront go from €170,000. Detached villas on the outskirts are from €280,000.

Getting here: Faro airport is an easy 30-minute drive, and trains also run direct from Faro to Conceicão.

Moncarapacho, Inland Algarve

Why you will love it here:

If you like the thought of the Algarve’s dependable sunshine but prefer privacy and seclusion to sun and sea, all you need to do is head a few kilometers inland. Moncarapacho is a popular choice. It’s a perfect location for a holiday home, thanks to an easy 25-minute drive to Faro airport.

The town has a traditional feel, but there are modern or updated properties for those who prefer that to “rustic.” You get a lot of space for your money here, in a laid-back place that feels worlds away from the pressures of modern life. Moncarapacho’s regular Sunday market is one of the region’s most popular. It sells everything from livestock to bootleg handbags! This is a place where the restauranteurs will learn your name and you’ll quickly feel like part of the community.

Property: There’s a lot of older property here, but new developments are scattered around too. Sprawling villas with plenty of land are there for the taking if that’s what you’re after.

Annual hours of sunshine: Over 3000 – it’s as warm and sunny here as anywhere in Portugal.

Holiday home prices: Two bedroom apartments in great condition start at just €140,000. New-build modern apartments are around €190,000. Detached villas with land from €375,000.

Getting here: Moncarapacho is an easy 25-minute drive from Faro airport.

Lisbon

Why you will love it here:

A vibrant “city by the sea,” Lisbon is a place that captures hearts. It’s rapidly turning into one of Europe’s most popular city break destinations. A holiday home here is both a great bolthole and an attractive investment opportunity for short-term rentals.

Situated over seven hills, Lisbon offers considerable variety in its districts, from the sepia-tinted Alfama to the wide avenues of the Baixa and the glitzy designer stores in Chiado. Thanks to reliable and inexpensive public transport, everywhere within the city limits is easily accessible. The airport also has a stop on the metro, making quick jaunts to Lisbon from the UK realistic and painless.

Property: There’s remains plenty of choice of old and new in Lisbon; In the city centre, you’ll find converted apartments in older buildings and the occasional renovation project. Brand new developments are popular in slightly more suburban outlying areas. Modern condominium developments often include pools.

Annual hours of sunshine: 2799 – the sun shines much of the time in Lisbon!

Holiday home prices: Apartments start from around €170,000 in the city centre. It’s possible to spend a little less if you head out of town, and you’ll still have decent public transport. Modern two-beds in the outskirts cost from €275,000. As with any major city, the sky’s the limit for luxury properties in upscale areas.

Getting here: Flights to Lisbon from the UK take around 2.5hours. On arrival, the metro delivers you into the city centre within 20 minutes.

Caldas de Rainha, Silver Coast

Why you will love it here:

Portugal’s “Silver Coast” is a popular choice for those who want a more authentic alternative to the Algarve. There’s an expat community here, but it’s all rather more “low key!” Caldas de Rainha is a particularly appealing place for a holiday home in Portugal. It’s only a one-hour drive from Lisbon airport. This makes quick or impulsive weekend tips perfectly feasible.

Caldas (as the locals call it) doesn’t feel like a resort, despite offering green spaces, hot springs, and beaches just 10km down the road. Great food is inexpensive and there’s a well-stocked farmer’s market. This is true bolthole territory for those seeking a calm holiday home location. For a change of pace, Portugal’s frenetic capital is easy to reach too.

Property: Caldas de Rainha is a place where your holiday home will probably be a villa. There are some wonderful detached homes at prices considerably lower than you’ll find in the Algarve or Lisbon.

Annual hours of sunshine: 2799 – it’s not quite as sunny as the Algarve, but not far off.

Holiday home prices: Detached modern villas with modern facilities and three or four bedrooms start at around €250,000. Those wanting to spend less will find apartments and more traditional villas from just €90,000.

Getting here: Lisbon is the nearest airport to Caldas de Rainha. From there it’s a drive of around 60 minutes.

Aveiro (near Porto)

Why you will love it here:

Aveiro, often seen as the most northern part of Portugal’s Silver Coast, is a quirky and intriguing city. The city’s canal network is dotted with brightly-coloured boats, once used for seaweed harvesting. A system of lagoons feeds the canals, and stunning beaches are just a stone’s throw away.

Although Aveiro is relatively far north, it still enjoys a mild climate all year-round. If the heat of the Algarve is sometimes too much, you could find this area a more sensible option for a holiday home in Portugal. As a busy working city, amenities abound, and the local university adds vibrancy to the atmosphere.

Property: As part of central Portugal, housing options are rather exciting, especially for those on a smaller budget. There are plenty of rustic options and renovation projects.

Annual hours of sunshine: Over 2500 – far more than the UK!

Holiday home prices: Modern apartments from €125,000. Houses from €150,000.

Getting here: Aveiro is easy to reach from Porto airport, with the drive taking just under one hour.

Funchal, Madeira

Cabo Girao, Madeira

Funchal, Madeira

Why you will love it here:

Madeira’s thoroughly shaken off its once-fusty image and emerged as a desirable island destination. With a climate described as “eternal spring,” owning a holiday home here is your best chance of having access to year-round sunshine.

Funchal is the island’s capital, and within easy reach of the island’s airport. The city is compact and walkable, and dotted with green spaces. Thanks to the very steep hills, this is a place where a simple walk to the shops feels like healthy living. If you add in a trip to Funchal’s incredible fresh food market, you will truly feel that you’re living “the good life!”

It’s worth noting that an influx of cruise ship passengers sometimes makes the city feel busy, but they tend to leave by mid-afternoon, returning Funchal to its usual state of sophisticated serenity.

Property: Like many places in mainland Portugal, Madeira gives you a choice of traditional homes, often already modernised inside, and contemporary new-builds. Alternatively, you can head a few kilometres out of town for detached villas.

Annual hours of sunshine: 2438 – with a consistently mild climate all year round.

Holiday home prices: Two bedroom apartments cost from around €150,000. Great villas from €350,000. There are also plenty of low-cost renovation and recovery projects for the taking.

Getting here: With a flight of around 3.5 hours, Funchal is further from the UK than mainland Europe. However, on arrival, a transfer to the city centre takes just 20 minutes.

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