The Algarve has long been a favourite among Brits. Our love affair spans more than 40 years; back to the days when Portuguese entrepreneur Andre Jordon founded the Quinta do Lago property scheme in the region.
Located in the south of Portugal, the sunny Algarve is packed with some of the country’s finest beaches and is essentially considered to be Europe’s premier golfing destination, with an array of first-class courses to choose from. This has traditionally attracted overseas property buyers, driving property prices in the region beyond the national average.
The most desirable and expensive place to own property is typically in and around the Golden Triangle in Central Algarve, a popular celebrity haunt, where home prices can cost tens of millions of pounds.
However, since the A22 trans-Algarve motorway was built in the 1990s, a growing number of residential developments and infrastructural improvements have been made to the west and the east of the region, easily accessible from Faro airport.
Located in the heart of the country, the Portuguese capital of Lisbon has undergone a spectacular change in the past 15 years, with elegant shops, charming hotels and fashionable restaurants opening up in and around the city centre. Trams trundle over the streets where the warm stone houses tumble down to winding cobbled alleys draped in bougainvillea. Tables spill out of tiny bars and restaurants, and life takes place in the open air.
Lapa, Principe Real, Bairro Alto, and the Parque da Nacoes are among the most popular places to buy property in Lisbon.
Head west from Lisbon in the heat of summer, with the smell of the ocean in your nostrils, and you come to Cascais, a bustling seaside resort. Its three beaches glow gold in the sunset as the bars start to pulse. There’s a glossy marina here, and surfers love the shore just north of here.
Just 30 minutes north of Lisbon is the Silver Coast, which has grown in popularity in recent years. The medieval walled village of Obidos is enchanting and now it’s easy to get to, too, since the new motorway linking Lisbon and Porto was opened. The coastline is popular with lovers of watersports and the summer temperatures are not as high as further south.
A university city with centuries of pedigree, Coimbra is both charming and lively. The historic streets echo with the haunting melodies of the fado as night settles into every crevice of the ancient walls. The university moved here from Lisbon in 1537 and its magnificent library is well worth a visit. During term-time, the students add a vibrancy to the city, although they also drive up property prices to a certain extent.
Portugal’s second city is a romantic mix of colourful houses, narrow lanes and stairways zigzagging up the hills. It’s the birthplace of port, and the wine cellars along the banks of the Douro, which are open daily for tastings. Its airport has won European awards for standards of service.
This spa resort has been popular since Roman times. Its location in the north of the country is near the border with Spain and the mountains around it, mean the temperatures don’t get too high in the summer. Although winters can be cold, there is rarely any snow. The thermal springs produce some of the hottest bicarbonate waters in Europe.
These volcanic islands are spectacularly rugged, yet green, a blip of comforting colour in a wide expanse of ocean. This far-flung archipelago can be found 850 miles to the west of Portugal. The islands attract tourists; whale-watchers and dolphin-followers, divers and water-sportsters. Hikers and geologists alike can strike out up the 7,713ft Mount Pico, descend into one of the world’s longest lava tubes and peek into a caldera. The cost of living is low here and there are opportunities for
Madeira is the largest and most popular of all the Portuguese islands, and offers a pleasurable, year-round subtropical climate, a range of five-star leisure facilities and hotels. Not to mention a wonderfully lush and tropical landscape. It’s 620 miles from Europe and 310 from Africa.
The island has long been a popular second-home destination, particularly with the Brits and Germans, and was a special holiday retreat for former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.
Some of the most popular areas to buy property in Funchal include tourist areas such as Lido and Praia Formosa, while the Palheiro Estate, located on the outskirts of the city, is also well-liked.
The idyllic island of Porto Santo, which lies 40 miles northeast of Madeira, remains untouched by mass tourism. Porto Santo’s property market is far more in its infancy compared to Madeira, and as a consequence property prices tend to be a lot cheaper.