Portugal is a fabulous place to live if you’re seeking a healthy lifestyle. The food, the landscape and – of course – the climate, all contribute. In this article we look at five places to live in Portugal that are perfect for a healthy and active outdoor life. 

Portugal is well-known for its great quality of life and regularly wins accolades for it. Most recently, expats surveyed by April International voted it (alongside Germany) as the best country in the world for quality of life, primarily citing the climate and the friendly atmosphere.

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The climate is, undeniably, a huge factor. While not every part of the country is as consistently warm as the Algarve region, the whole nation enjoys a long and dependable summer. Even the winters are mild with lots of sun. This makes outdoor activities much more accessible and – best of all – less likely to be curtailed by unexpected rain!

All of Portugal is great for enjoying an active lifestyle, but let’s dig down into five varied places to live that should definitely be on your shortlist.

Lisbon

Portugal’s capital city may not be an obvious choice, but there are several compelling reasons for including it here.

First off, because Lisbon is a large and thriving city, it’s dotted with high quality sports facilities – from gyms and health clubs to racket sports complexes, pools and football clubs.

The geography of Lisbon also makes it a healthy place to live, even if you’re merely exploring the city. Lisbon is built on seven hills. Some of them are seriously steep, and usually traversed by funicular trams or a huge lift (elevador). Lisbon is certainly a great place to get your daily 10,000 steps. Once your calf muscles are used to the hills, you can achieve an enjoyable workout by simply conducting your daily business.

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Needless to say you also have all of the culture of a cosmopolitan city – and all the healthy and varied food – at your fingertips. Beaches are not far away either, with the resort of Cascais a short hop by train, and miles of other options along the Costa de Caparica.

Property Options: Central Lisbon apartments start from about €180,000. The sky’s the limit for luxury options, as you’d expect from a world-class city. There are cheaper options on the outskirts and in surrounding towns.

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Conceiçāo de Tavira

Conceiçāo de Tavira is a small village a few miles from the east Algarve city of Tavira. It’s also walking distance from the resort of Cabanas.

Conceiçāo de Tavira (not to be confused with Conceiçāo de Faro, a nondescript Faro suburb), places you right in the middle of a host of different options for healthy living. It’s on the edge of a variety of walking and cycling routes, there’s a great golf course (Benamor) on the edge of the village, and there are boating and surfing options at the end of the road.

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Conceiçāo is also one of the most convenient places to live in Portugal. It has its own train station on the Algarve line, and is just a 30 minute drive from Faro airport. The Spanish border is the same distance in the other direction.

The community here is a blend of locals and well-integrated expats, and while the area does get notably busy in the summer months, it’s certainly not quite as mobbed as some purpose-built resort areas.

Property Options: There are lots of modern condominium developments in this area, with two-bed apartments from around €175,000.

The geography of Lisbon also makes it a healthy place to live, even if you’re merely exploring the city.

Vilamoura

Vilamoura is – quite literally – purpose built for healthy living.

A well-known destination, famous for its glitzy marina, Vilamoura is surrounded by golf-courses and sports facilities. The town itself is well-appointed with cycle paths and walking trails, and the surrounding beaches are some of the Algarve’s best.

Vilamoura is perhaps not the place to go if you’re searching for authentic Portugal. The area is designed for leisure and tourism, but the flip-side to this is that it’s very easy to settle in while you’re making your first attempts at learning Portuguese and absorbing the local culture.

Like Conceiçāo, Vilamoura is incredibly convenient – a mere 20 minute hop from the airport, and easily accessible via public transport. It’s a good choice for a “lock up and leave” holiday home too.

Property Options: Unsurprisingly there’s plenty here at the luxury end of the market, but the cost of entry is surprisingly affordable, with good quality one-bed apartments from as little as €150,000.

Vilamoura is – quite literally – purpose built for healthy living.

Sagres

We can’t discuss healthy places to live in Portugal without including one where the focus is on the ocean.

Sagres is THE Algarve surfing hotspot, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re experienced or (literally) dipping your toe in for the first time. There are plenty of surfing clubs and schools, with a friendly and welcoming vibe.

Unsurprisingly there are other water sports on offer here, and the natural landscape also makes it a perfect place for hiking and cycling.

There’s a down-to-earth and bohemian community in this area, and lots of facilities in easy reach in cities like Lagos and Portimão.

Property Options: Apartments from around €185,000. Houses with pools from around €300,000.

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Madeira

Our final recommendation covers an entire island, albeit one spanning a fairly modest area of 57x22km.

Madeira’s climate, often described as “eternal spring,” is a key attraction, but the landscape is incredible too.

The number one activity around these parts is levada walking. Levadas are water drainage channels down the island’s steep mountains. Over the years, dozens of walking trails have been established along these routes. They are all stunning and unforgettable. Best of all, you have the choice of taking an arduous uphill route, or opting for a cab or cable car to the top and a more leisurely stroll downwards!

The number one activity around these parts is levada walking.

Madeira isn’t just about hiking. As a popular year-round tourism destination, the island has facilities for every sporting activity imaginable. The sub-tropical climate also means that Madeira is abundant with all the produce you need for some serious healthy eating.

Property Options: City apartments in the capital, Funchal, from around €120,000. Plenty of rustic homes and renovation projects in villages for less than €100,000.

To find out much more about places to live in Portugal, download our free guide.

Want a holiday home but worried about the cost? Why not pool finances and buy with family? Explore our guide, Buying Abroad with Family.

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