Written by Ben Taylor,
4th May 2023

If you’re thinking about moving to Portugal, or investing in a holiday home there, you have an exciting journey ahead, and plenty of fun decisions to make. From Northern Portugal to the Algarve to the Azores Islands, we look at areas in Portugal, so that you can decide where you would most like to own a home. 

Perhaps most important is working out where in Portugal best suits you. As any lover of Portugal will be keen to tell you, there is much more to Portugal than the southern Algarve – a favoured destination for those seeking that textbook life in the sun. There are other coasts, other landscapes, vibrant cities, and the sometimes overlooked option of buying a home on one of Portugal’s stunning islands.

Portugal offers a huge amount of variety, not just in landscape and atmosphere, but also in price. It remains a country where genuine property bargains exist. Straying just a little from the path well-trodden can mean finding a huge amount for your money, as well as renovation projects with a joyfully low sticker price.

In this article, we run through Portugal’s seven key regions, to help you decide where to put on your shortlist.

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Northern Portugal

Porto cityscape

Porto, northern Portugal.

Northern Portugal covers a considerable area and includes the city of Porto. An authentic and bustling place, Porto is hot on Lisbon’s heels both as a prime tourism destination and a great place to start a business or work remotely. Coimbra, an attractive university city, is also in this region.

The weather in this part of Portugal is notably different to that of the Algarve, which for some is a plus. With average highs of around 25 Celsius in summer, it perfect for those who like “hot, but not too hot”, and with average winter daytime highs of 14 of 15, it remains a far cry from northern Europe.

Head to the inland parts of northern Portugal, or to the Costa Verde (green coast), and you’ll find some of the country’s best property bargains. This isn’t a part of the country to find custom-built resorts and English-language menus, but it wins hands down for authenticity.

Property options:

Apartments in Porto start at around €150,000. Head inland into the Minho region for serious bargains, with renovation projects and sizeable habitable houses for under €100,000.

Central Portugal

Often seen as the antitheses of the Algarve for overseas residents determined to find something different, central Portugal is another large region. It includes Coimbra, an attractive university city with bags of history, and a central point of focus for those living in nearby towns and villages.

Many expats who move to central Portugal choose small villages and hamlets, such as those surrounding Tomar. Central Portugal is packed with dramatic scenery – think mountains, river beaches, and homes that may require you to buy a 4×4!

Central Portugal also includes the Silver Coast. Facing the Atlantic to the west, this region broadly spans between Lisbon and Porto, and includes everything from surfing hotspots like Peniche to quieter, low-key destinations like Sao Martinho do Porto.

Property options:

Central Portugal is a large region with considerable price disparity. Generally, prices are lower the further you move from the cities and the coastline. Around Tomar you’ll find renovation projects from €50,000, and homes where the work has already been done from €100,000.

Coimbra offers affordable living, with homes cheaper than in Lisbon and Porto. Apartments start from around €125,000.

Lisbon and the Tagus Valley


Lisbon at sunset.

Most people are familiar with Lisbon nowadays. In recent years it’s won numerous accolades as both a business and tourism location.

The city itself is stunning and a lovely place to call home. Thanks to its seven (very) steep hills, toned calf muscles come as part of the package! With reliable and affordable public transport, and lots of international flights, it’s also extremely well-connected for the rest of Portugal and beyond.

Don’t overlook the many other places in the Lisbon region: Genteel Estoril and Cascais, historic Sintra, and more down to earth options such as Alcochete and Montijo. The latter two provide the option of commuting into Lisbon for both business and pleasure.

Property options:

Prices have crept up in Lisbon in recent years, but it’s still possible to find basic apartments from around €150,000. As with any international city, the sky is the limit for those with the budget. Bargain hunters could look in up-and-coming Setubal, where good apartments start at around €120,000.




Divided into the Alto (high) and Baixo (low) regions, the Alentejo cuts through the middle of the country, and offers a wide range of options.

Inland, you have property bargains and extreme high and low temperatures. The Alentejo coast offers wild and unspoiled ocean scenery. There are also characterful cities such as beautiful, walled Évora, and Beja – known for calm, hot summer temperatures, history and cuisine.

Property options:

Bargains abound in inland areas, with houses from as little as €70,000 and renovation projects for even less. However, you should expect to speak Portuguese – these are not expat hotspots. By contrast, modern apartments in Évora cost from €250,000.

The Algarve

beach in the Algarve.

The celebrated Algarve.

Known for beach life, the Algarve needs little introduction. However, it’s always worth emphasising that it offers much more than sun, sea and sand. It’s possible to head 10 miles inland and enjoy a quiet, tourist-free life in the mountains.

Even the coast is hugely varied. Relatively low-key towns like Ferragudo provide a notable contrast to purpose-built resorts like Vilamoura.

If you want it, the Algarve has it: that applies to everything from sports facilities to Michelin-starred restaurants to the ability to get by speaking English (although the richness of the experience is exponentially enhanced if you learn Portuguese). Also, needless to say, the weather is reliably glorious.

Property options:

Everything imaginable: small apartments from €100,000 to multi-million Euro golf villas.

The Azores Islands

The Azores Islands

Looking for somewhere truly unique? Why not buy a home on the Azores Islands?

Given that the nine islands of the Azores are nearly 1000 miles off the western coast of Portugal, it’s little wonder they’re often overlooked by those wondering where in Portugal to buy a home.

However, the Azores are worthy of consideration for anybody who relishes the idea of living somewhere a more than little bit different. The landscapes are unspoiled and exotic, with hot springs, mountains, lakes and craters – perfect for anybody who enjoys adventurous outdoor living.

With a spring-like year-round climate, the Azores are similar to Madeira (below) when it comes to weather. While flying there from London takes around 7 hours, often with a stop in Lisbon as part of that, it’s worth remembering you can also be in New York in six hours – an exciting prospect.

Property options:

Detached homes from just €110,000. Spacious villas from €280,000.

Madeira and Porto Santo


Camara de Lobos, harbor and fishing village, Madeira.

The land of “eternal spring”, Madeira has long been a popular destination for tourism and a key stop-off point for cruise ships. Tastefully developed and easily reached, it’s often seen as a more genteel option than Spain’s Canary Islands.

Madeira is a steep volcanic island, and short distances can be deceptive when they involve negotiating mountains! Many overseas residents opt to live in the sophisticated city of Funchal, the birthplace of footballer Cristiano Ronaldo.

There are extensive amenities on Madeira, including a wide choice of restaurants. You’ll also be spoiled for choice when it comes to outdoor living, especially hiking along the islands levadas (water channels).

The neighbouring island of Porto Santa – essentially a seven-mile strip of golden sand with just over 5000 residents – is perhaps only on the “where in Portugal” list for the truly left of field. However, it makes a wonderful side trip from Madeira, and should not be missed.

Property options:

Apartments in Funchal from €165,000. Villas from €245,000.

Five fabulous inland gems in the Algarve

10 reasons to buy property in Portugal

Download your free Portugal Buying Guide

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:

  Impact of Brexit
  Find your property
  Ask the right questions
  Avoid losing money
  Avoid the legal pitfalls
  Move in successfully

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