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Why is the Algarve one of the best locations in Europe for Expats?

by Helaine Brownhill on December 4, 2018

Portugal is home to more than 100,000 resident expats. Here are just a few reasons why the Algarve is a “must live” location.

Great weather! Along its Algarve coast, this country enjoys one of the most stable climates in the world and 3,300 hours of sunshine per year, meaning more sunny days than almost anywhere else in Europe. As a result, the Algarve has a long standing reputation as a top summer destination among sunseekers and a top winter retreat for those looking to escape Northern Europe’s coldest months. The Algarve has no bad weather months, but it does have a winter. January and February can be cold enough that you’ll want a coat. The best months can be September and October, when the summer crowds have gone but the weather and sea temperature are still ideal.

Safety. Portugal ranks as the fourth safest country in the world. Violent crime is rare, and petty crime is limited to street crime during the busy tourist season. As well, this country has managed to keep itself separate from the immigration crisis that is playing out in other parts of Europe.

Excellent infrastructure. Portugal has enjoyed important infrastructure investments in recent years, specifically to do with the country’s road network and airports. As a result, this is an increasingly easy region to get around and also a great base for exploring all of Europe and North Africa.

Health Care. International standard health care is available for a very low cost. Medical tourism is a growing industry, in particular for cosmetic, hip replacement, and dental specialties.

Golf. The Algarve region alone boasts 42 courses in less than 100 miles and is recognized as a top golfing destination in continental Europe and the world.

Great beaches! The Algarve’s 130 miles of Atlantic coastline are punctuated by jagged rock formations, lagoons, and extensive sandy beaches, many awarded coveted Blue Flags from the European Blue Flag Association. The water off these shores is azure, and the cliff-top vistas are spectacular. Most beaches have lifeguards during the summer season.

Affordable cost of living. Outside Lisbon, the cost of living in Portugal is among the lowest in Western Europe, on average 30% lower than in any other country of the region. A couple could live comfortably in this country beyond its capital on a budget of as little as 1,500 euros per month. With a budget of 2,000 euros per month or more, you could enjoy a fully appointed lifestyle in this heart of the Old World. Add 20% if you’d like to live in Lisbon or nearby Cascais.

The language. Thanks to decades of British influence, English is widely spoken. Living here, you could get by without learning to speak Portuguese… though any effort to learn the local language is a show of respect and appreciated.

Healthy living. The Portuguese are the biggest fish eaters per capita in Europe, and fresh fish of great variety is available in the ever present daily markets. With so much sunshine in this part of the world there is an abundance of fresh produce, also available in the local markets. Meantime, pollution rates are low, and streets, towns, and beaches are kept clean and litter free.

Retirement (and sometimes other) income is not taxed. Recent legislation allows resident foreign retirees to receive pension income in the country tax-free. The law also provides for reduced taxation on wages, intellectual property, interest, dividends, and capital gains under certain circumstances.

Property market. Real estate in certain regions of Portugal is among the most affordable in Europe. Outside Lisbon, Cascais, and Porto, for example, Portuguese real estate has one of the most favorable price-to-rent ratios (a measure of the profitability of owning a house) and price-to-income ratios (a measure of affordability) in the region. What that means is that housing is cheaper to buy and property investors can make more money from rentals than in many other European countries.

Activities. Here, in one of the sunniest countries in Europe, you’ll also never lack for activities… you can enjoy the best the Old World has to offer, from medieval towns and fishing villages to open-air markets, local wine, and some of Europe’s best sandy beaches. This is a land of cobblestoned streets and whitewashed houses with lace-patterned chimneys surrounded by fig, olive, almond, and carob trees.

If you are now keen to consider living in the Algarve, search for you dream property by visiting our listings page.


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