The Algarve has a wide range of different properties for sale and it can be very easy to walk into an estate agents and be swayed into buying a property very quickly – especially if you are on holiday here and have a limited time available to view and make your purchase.
There are also a bewilderingly large number of properties for sale and there are some real bargains to be found. Doing your homework before you arrive can mean that you are in the perfect position to forge ahead and make that all important – and potentially life-changing – decision to purchase your dream home here in the Algarve.
One of the key questions you will need to answer is where you would like to live. For example – do you want to be close to the beach – and in a busy coastal resort or in a quieter coastal village? Remember that the reasonably quiet coastal resort with its bars and restaurants that seemed quite jolly in the quiet October sunshine will become a magnet for holidaymakers in the summer – and that those same bars will still be open and playing music until at least 1am.
Similarly, the quaint pretty village by the beach may all but shut down in the winter months, leaving you feeling a little isolated.
Have a look at Armação de Pêra or Lagos if you would like to find a busy coastal resort that will still give you some room on the beach in August – or try Burgau in the west for a quieter beach village.
There are many pretty villages in the Algarve that are very appealing – and many are only a short drive away from the beach. Most have basic amenities like a small shop, all will have at least 2 or 3 cafés and probably a couple of restaurants. Remember though that the further away from the coast and tourist resorts that you travel, the less likely it is that the local people will speak anything other than Portuguese, meaning that you will really need to learn the language if you want to fit in. You will also need to be able to drive and own a car if you don’t want to have to rely on patchy local transport – major shops, supermarkets and the beach will all be a drive away. Try Alte or Salir if you would like to experience real village life without being too isolated.
A larger town or village may appeal to you for many reasons – better facilities and amenities will be on your doorstep – including local healthcare, pharmacies, sports and fitness and a wider range of shops, bars and restaurants will all be within walking distance for you. There will also be a larger ‘expat’ community available for you to tap into, with groups and clubs to join. Transport links will also be better, although all roads eventually lead to the A22 motorway or N125 road here in the Algarve. Try Silves, Loulé or Tavira if you would like to find a larger – yet still interesting – town with plenty to keep you occupied.
There are many golf resorts on the Algarve with accommodation available to purchase on the resort. These can be a good investment for the ‘part-time’ dweller – some offer a 1/4 share purchase, which means that you can stay in your ‘home’ for 3 months of the year. Many have a ‘rolling programme’ so that ‘your’ months will change each year – but remember unless you can swop with another owner, you can only visit during ‘your’ months, so if your big 50th birthday is in July next year, but you have been allocated June, you won’t be able to stay in your home to celebrate your big day – something to consider before you sign on the dotted line!
Purpose built resorts – often surrounded by at least one prime golf course – do offer many high quality facilities on site for you to use – do check out the monthly or annual fees and add those to your planned budget though. Full gym and fitness facilities, indoor and outdoor pools – often heated – tennis courts, children’s play areas , landscaped and maintained grounds, and a clubhouse and restaurants can all be on your doorstep. You don’t have to like golf to live there!
For the ultimate in luxury and security, there are a number of private gated communities scattered across the Algarve, where you can rub shoulders with pop stars and footballers, and experience a very different way of life. Luxury properties can be found from 1.5M Euros to 25M Euros, and will ensure that you experience the ultimate in luxurious living in the sunshine. Try the Vale de Lobo area as a starter for prestigious villas.
You could also consider exploring the west coast of the Algarve, with its pretty beach villages, quieter pace of life and stunning coastline. It does get colder there in the winter though. Try Odeceixe if you are keen on surfing!
There are also eco-resorts springing up in the Algarve, with an emphasis on environmental and sustainable living, with many winning awards for design and innovation. Luxury villas are available with minimal running costs that stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter within an estate with an environmental ethos.
For real rural countryside living, you don’t have to travel too far from the coast to discover a peaceful and tranquil existence. Buy a plot of land and have a house built to your own specifications, or find an old dilapidated property to renovate. Expect to contend with a borehole for your water supply – and at best a patchy internet signal .. not recommended if you want to run an online internet-based business!
You will probably be surrounded by orange groves, chickens and a noisy cockerel or two! Head towards the north of the Algarve or the west coast, where the Algarve meets the Alentejo region for some real rural living.
Whether you want to buy an apartment, modern build house, or luxury villa; exploring some basic questions about where you would like to live before you start house-hunting can save you a lot of time. The Algarve has so many properties for sale that you are bound to find what you are looking for.
We can recommend Meravista as a good starting point for an online property portal – click the link here Algarve Directory Meravista site for more information.
Spending time deciding whether you want to live in a town, coastal resort, village, beach or countryside – how far away from basic amenities you are happy to be situated – and what facilities like healthcare, fitness, schooling, shops, restaurants, and public transport are important to you – can all help you to make the right decision and help you to find your dream home in the Algarve sun.
Happy house hunting!
And if you are interested …
Very interesting post and you present a lot of options. We actually are staying in Albufeira for several weeks now with the idea of settling here permanently. It’s a little bit trickier for US citizens to obtain a residential Visa but we’ve thinking this country might be the place to work through all the bureaucracy. Thanks for sharing some great info. Anita
you’re welcome! wishing you all the very best with your plans.
Another very informative piece Alyson and Dave, thanks a lot
Another thing to consider is the ‘barking dog’ situation. Not convinced that anywhere in the Algarve is free from dog noise – it is common practice for the Portuguese dog owner to attach a 2m rope to a dog not long after birth and leave it there until death do them part – slight but only slight exaggeration there. I would recommend renting somewhere before buying to give you an idea of just how many demented dogs there are in your vicinity. We are in the process of renovating an old cottage in the Serra de Caleirao north of Loule/Sao Bras de Alportel – ongoing for 12 years now. Our 17yr old daughter has been schooled in the Portuguese education system – a total lottery – and another consideration if you plan to raise kids here and we have found work in La La Land – aka the Algarve coastal area about an hour away – gas conversion to 1 car has helped enormously there. All things considered – the best thing we ever did was to move here – still loving it every day.
thank you Shelagh – some good points there! not sure there are many places out here that you won’t hear a dog barking or a demented cockerel crowing .. and if you have any tips re schooling – do let us know as that is not something that we have had any personal experience of .. but are often asked about … glad you are still loving it though – as we do too!
It’s a great blog and very informative. Thanks Alyson & Dave. I’ve recently moved from Kathmandu, Nepal, to Lisbon and now considering where to live in Portugal. I’m originally from Bournemouth but my wife is Nepalese and will join me in Portugal in a year or two. I’m now following your blog. I hope it’s okay.
of course it’s ok to follow us! we hope that you find our blog useful – we’ll be posting more very soon after a bit of a break over the summer! best wishes with your plans and hope that you find the right place to live – this is such a beautiful place.
Thanks Alyson & Dave. I’m in Bournemouth right now and chatting to my tenant Philippa who used to live down there in the Algarve. I’ll be looking forward to reading more of your blogs.
Great to find an up to date blog on the Algarve. My wife and I just returned last week from our first two weeks in Portugal, enjoyed it tremendously and were pleasantly surprised by the amount of English spoken, though we had a little Portuguese down for shopping and eating. 40 years ago we lived in Spain and picked grapes in France… Now we are looking at a second trip of a much longer duration to Portugal for a year from now, five months renting in the Algarve to really test the waters for a move from the states… Just learned of the 90 day visa requirement though. I guess we have a lot more to learn as well.
So funny to read about the barking dogs. We stayed at a nice B&B for four nights outside of Silves. We called it the valley of the barking dogs. Unreal experience and we live in Portland, sometimes called dog town. But they have pooper scooper laws here which was another surprise about Lisbon and Silves… they don’t? kind of watch where you step… Anyway, for the barking dogs, we turned on the air conditioner, worth the extra 5 euros a night that they charged, and slept well.
Glad to find this nice blog sharing of experiences and we hope to learn more as we get ready to come back… Algarve seems like a place that has been well discovered but it is our plan to try living there from September to June each year which should give us a less touristy experience…
thanks for taking the time to comment Bill and glad you are finding the blog useful – down here in the Algarve you will find that English is quite widely spoken unless you are in a smaller village … there are so many stray dogs around that it would be hard to enforce a ‘pooper scooper’ law as so many dogs don’t have ‘owners’ !
Algarve is a place where a wide range of different properties are available for sale. You just need to find as per your budget and requirements. By the way, thanks for the interesting post.
thank you – glad you found it useful
Please note – if you are an estate agent – please don’t post links to property for sale on this post .. we don’t allow any third party advertising on our blog – thank you!
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Can anyone suggest a real estate agent speaking French or English in the Algarve area?
many thanks, Ian
we can recommend these guys – they speak several languages and are really nice
Hi, just finished reading through this blog and have found it very interesting. we have been looking for a place in the algarve a while now (no luck so far) but we will in the end. one place we were looking was Tavira , but have ruled that out as the price is way to much for the size of property you can get. we are now looking inland so the towns you mentioned are some where we will have a lo at.
Thanks again and we will let you know how we get on
good luck! it is a beautiful place to live and you are right – properties inland a little way are much cheaper! You could also look at towns like Lagoa which have well priced properties …
Thank you for mentioning Lagoa we have driven through there quite a lot over the year. Mostly to get to the beaches we love, so a very good idea on taking a look
yes it’s a good base to travel around from – lots of lovely beaches less than 10-15 minutes away and plenty of shops, healthcare and activities …
Hi there – Hopefully it’s OK to ask this question here. My wife (50) and I (54) are keen to finally take the step of buying a coastal sunny holiday home in the Algarve (although we’ve never been there, we have friends who highly recommend it, we like Portugal anyway, weather seems reliable and Irish transport links are good). So, it’s a long coastline and in an attempt to narrow things down a bit I wondered what location experts thought might suit us. A first recce is planned for early April and some advice on where to focus our attention would be gratefully received. A few requirements follow:
• Number one requirement is to that we must be able to sit and watch the sunset from own terrace (does this rule out places like Lagos, Albufiera, Olhao, Fuzeta, etc due to coastline facing South East?)
• Reasonable sea view (not a distant glimpse).
• Quiet area but within walking distance to good selection of shops, bars and restaurants (for when the mood takes us). (Does this rule out Faro, Olhao, etc?)
• Prefer to avoid any areas that attract noisy groups of holiday makers although we primarily expect to use it for a winter retreat. How does Albufiera rate in this respect?
• New or modern apartment with lots of light and space.
• Budget of €250,000
• In a few years we expect to retire and to spend several months at a time there – No plans to rent it out.
So far my internet trawling seems to rule out Vilamoura (price) but shows good options in East Algarve. There appears to be good value in Faro but some reviews seem to suggest it might be a bit boring for when we’d like to stroll along a sea side promenade at night time. Tavira looks like a nice mix of old town feel and better property prices but is maybe a bit too sleepy..?
Many thanks – Kev
thank you for your message Kev – that is quite a lot to try and answer for you .. have you seen our Algarve Advice Service – here is the link:
If you are interested please email me and we can go from there …
Hi. That may be a useful opton. I’ll get in touch if I want to take further. Best regards. Kev
no problem – happy to help if I can
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