The Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal, home to the beautiful coastline with stunning beaches and towns, making it the perfect holiday location. But what about if you are thinking of moving there permanently? What is the Best Place to Live in the Algarve?
Why Choose the Algarve?
The Algarve has long had a wide appeal to expats due to its weather and beautiful, fantasy-like views. There are many places that are perfect for expats to call their new home, each providing a different experience for your new lifestyle. Whether you want to live in a colourful and busy city, or a quiet and secluded beach area, the Algarve can provide you with your dream lifestyle. It is no wonder that the Algarve is home to thousands of expats. Portugal also offers free public healthcare to all permanent residents, making it a popular choice among British expats. With a climate that is similar to that of California, being warm and dry for most of the year, but being quieter and much more affordable, and being the third safest country on Earth, it is no wonder why 100,000 expats have flocked to the Algarve.
What is the Best Place to Live in the Algarve?
Albufeira is a former fishing village and home to the Algarve’s most lively beach resort. It has a population of around 37,000, but when summer hits the population reaches around 300,000 as tourists flood to this area. It has beautiful golden beaches and a lively nightlife potentially making it the best place to live in the Algarve. If you’re looking for somewhere with a little more energy to it, Albufeira is a good option for you.
Although in the non-summer months Albufeira is much quieter, it is still much more lively than other areas of the Algarve. The international airport of Faro is further away, 28 miles away to be exact, so it is more difficult to access than some other places. However, Albufeira has a train station and bus routes that connect straight to the airport. It is central to the Algarve, making it a good location for exploring the other areas of the Algarve. Albufeira is also an extremely cheap place to live, promising that you will save at least 10% on your groceries, and up to 35% less to rent an apartment. So if you want to move to your own little paradise where there’s is a lively atmosphere, Albufeira may be the perfect place for you.
Portimão is a popular area amongst expats due to its close-ish proximity to the beach of Praia da Rocha. It sits slightly in the West of the Algarve, the West of the Algarve is known for being slightly less touristy, making Portimão the best place to Live in the Algarve for those who are looking for a small city to move to. The closest beach is 2km away, so if you’re looking for a beach move, Portimão may not be the best option for you.
Moving to the port city of Portimão offers a range of older buildings as well as many modern apartments. It is more popular amongst Portugese residents rather than expats as it is quite a traditional city that is not as easy on the eye as other areas of the Algarve. It holds 55,000 residents, so although it may not be as obviously beautiful, the area has everything that you will need in order to have a sufficient lifestyle in the Algarve.
It also has great public transport making it easy to get to from all over. Portimão also has its own commercial airport where you can travel to a few destinations within Portugal. However, the closest international airport is in Faro, which is a 50 minute drive away. In Portimão the cost of living is around $1,108
Faro is a much more modern city, being the capital of the Algarve and offers a more affordable option than Portimão. It is slightly quieter than other areas and it is home to the international airport, making travelling here extremely easy. It is also the southernmost city in Portugal. Faro is known for being more for residents, with much fewer tourists traveling here. This makes Faro a much more chilled area that is more traditional and laidback.
It offers the cheapest cost of living in Western Europe, and has easy access to transport internationally and nationally by trains and buses. For around $1600-$2100 a month, you can expect to live a comfortable and happy lifestyle in this beautiful area. Faro is also quite a historical city, featuring the old town and the ancient walls that surround it, as well as some medieval buildings. It is also home to Ria Formosa lagoon, a nature reserve where you can go swimming and kayaking, as well as watching the array of wildlife. The downfall of Faro is that it doesn’t have its own beach within the city, but they are relatively close by. If you are somebody who enjoys a more relaxed lifestyle and are looking for somewhere more authentic to live, then Faro is for you.
Vilamoura is famous for its beautiful marina, casino, and its top of the range golf courses. It has sandy beaches with a host of different types that will fit your needs efficiently and it has a pleasing aesthetic that is known to be home to the super-rich. Faro international airport is within 20km, making it relatively easy to access.
The marina is the true appeal of Vilamoura, also attracting loads of tourists to the beautiful seafront. It also has an attractive nightlife at the marina, with the range of bars and clubs that look out over the marina. If you have a smaller budget, you can get a two-bedroom and two-bathroom apartment on a golf course for around €275,000. Golf apartments are quite a common buy amongst expats due to their facilities including those onsite such as shared pools. Other than that, you can find two-bed villas for around €158,000. If you are looking for a more quiet and relaxed stay, then Vilamoura is likely not for you.
Tavira is full of history, being a former Roman seaport that was once occupied by the Moors. It lies 23 miles away from the international airport of Faro, and has beautiful 18th century streets and churches that make up the traditional image of Portugal. There is plenty of available public transport here and a river that can take you to a beautiful white sand beach. Tavira is relatively quiet and nowhere near as touristy as other areas of the Algarve making it perfect for those who want a more relaxed and quiet lifestyle. However, the cost of living is higher than most of the Algarve, sitting at around $2800.
Carvoeiro is another old fishing village, but it is now a tourist hot spot attracting thousands during the summer months. It is a beautiful area with stunning beaches and it is also host to some Roman ruins. If you are looking for a more quiet, yet sometimes touristy area, then Carvoeiro is perfect as it has a reputation for family holidays and a more quiet nightlife. A downfall of Carvoeiro is that it lies 64km away from the Faro international airport and the public transport to and from the airport is quite poor and requires three different buses.
Loulé is a country town that is as authentic a place in the Algarve as you will find. It sits at the foothills of the Algarve mountains, offering stunning scenery, it is one of the oldest regions in the Algarve and sits just 11 miles away from Faro international airport. It is a more historical city that doesn’t have any beaches, sitting 12km away from the southern coastline. It does have great public transport in order to reach the beach though. If you’re looking for a more quiet and authentic town, then Loulé is the place for you.
Silves is also quite a historical town, home to Silves castle. It is not a coastal town, but this does mean that property prices are cheaper here. It is not a very touristy town and so it offers a quiet lifestyle where you can live out your dream. The beaches aren’t too far away, with the Praia da Marinha being around 14km away which you can access with public transport. Although public transport isn’t the best, it is decent. The international airport of Faro is around 45 minutes away from Silves, and the average cost of living in Silves is $927. Silves is beautiful and doesn’t look overcrowded with high rise buildings and apartments, so if you’re looking for a more historical and traditional town with little tourist involvement, this is the one for you.
Olhão is a short distance away from the Faro international airport. It is a quiet town and is a good place to live if you are looking for cheaper property on the coastline. For €75,000 you may find a two bedroom apartment in Olhão. Olhão is perfect for if you are seeking a coastal town that is quiet and fairly close to Faro international airport.
Sagres has a beautiful coastline and is a popular choice amongst expats, with a growing and welcoming community. It is a small and quiet village with a larger population of expats than locals. The weather here is not one of the things that draws people to the area, it is frequently windy although it is still warm. The location is not that appealing either as it sits almost 116km away from Faro international airport, although this does tend to keep the tourists away. The buildings are low in style so if you prefer the village lifestyle rather than that of a city, Sagres might be perfect for you. The cost of living is also extremely low, with many of the expats here living on budgets of €700 per month.
So, where do you think is the Best Place to Live in the Algarve? I’d love to read your comments below!
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