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Where To Live In Portugal

"where to live in portugal"There are some great places to live in Portugal, all of which have their own unique character and attractions.

Here is more information about the different places that you could live in Portugal:


Chaves is a small town situated by the River Tâmega in the north of Portugal and not far from the border with Spain. It has a population of around 45,000 and many of the villages that are situated around the town are extremely poor but the people who live there are renowned for their friendliness.

Chaves is famous for it’s many spa’s and they are said to cure many ailments and the warm temperature attract people from all over the country to sample their delights.

There is some great architecture which dates back to Roman times and a fort which is a reminder of the war of Independence with Spain.


Porto is the second largest city in Portugal and has its own airport. It is situated in the estuary of the Douro River in northern Portugal and is considered to be a centre of culture and entertainment which rivals the capital, Lisbon.

There are many attractions to see such at the cathedral and a few years ago it’s historic centre was recognised as a world heritage centre by UNESCO.

Many people will be aware of Porto thanks to its ever popular port industry and this is an industry that continues to flourish with thousands of tourists visiting the grand cellars each year.

The new easy links to the rest of Portugal and to Europe as a whole thanks to new airline routes with cheaper fares has made Porto a more appealing choice to many people now looking to relocate to Portugal and although prices in this area may be less than in other parts of Portugal this is still a major city and prices are reflected with this.


Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and is situated on the South Western Coast. It boasts a climate which is warm in the spring and not too hot in the Summer and offers something for everyone such is the diverse array of attractions.

There are plenty of wonderful places to eat and to be entertained as well as many architectural delights. The Alfama is one of the oldest parts of Lisbon and as it largely survived the earthquake of 1755 many of the old buildings can still be admired.

Being the capital of Portugal Lisbon is full of political, cultural and historical elements which has made it one of the most popular places in Europe to enjoy a short city break.

Many people travel to Lisbon to enjoy international football matches thanks to its two teams of Benfica and Sporting while it also has two large venues that attract international music stars to Portugal.

With several shopping centres in the centre of the city and on the outskirts as well as the beautiful calçada streets many shoppers come to Lisbon to spend their money on traditional goods as well as high street brands and the shopping area of the city also has a good selection of bars and restaurants.

For nightlife many people head straight to the Bairro Alto are of Lisbon to find the largest selection of bars and nightclubs, many with a cosmopolitan feel associated with a European capital city.


Silver Coast

The Silver Coast in Portugal stretches more or less from Lisbon to Figueira da Foz and is fast becoming not only a popular holiday destination with foreign tourists but also an attractive place to move to primarily thanks to its proximity to the capital of Portugal, Lisbon.

Unlike the Algarve the Silver Coast is not nearly so busy with tourists throughout the year although it has long been a hot spot for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Lisbon for the weekend.

However, like the Algarve the Silver Coast is blessed with mile upon mile of golden beaches with lots of quaint little towns and villages dotted about the place.

Being on the coast the seafood restaurants in this area are well worth making an outing to while the quiet pace of life suits many looking to escape from the rest of the world.

There are many beautiful places to either visit or move to in this area with estate agents now specialising in this area of Portugal as it gains in popularity.

One of the most impressive places to visit in the area has to be the World heritage town of Alcobaça complete with its abbey that dominates that town or if you enjoy history then Caldas da Rainha – literally translated as the “Queen’s Baths” is a great day out to see the worlds oldest thermal hospital.

As well as many small and beautiful destinations in this area there are also the hot spots that have built a strong reputations for themselves in their own right including the wonderful Cascais that has transformed from an old fishing village into a buzzing cosmopolitan resort.  Cascais used to be the choice of royalty in the nineteenth century but today it is more popular with the jet set and beautiful people of Lisbon who descend in mass during the summer months.

Estoril is also very busy in the summer months with people coming to enjoy the vibrant nightlife as well as the local race track while for a slower pace of life many look to the lush green landscapes of Sintra complete with the palaces and luxurious buildings and the best place for a horse drawn carriage ride from the centre of the town.

Although the Silver Coast is still largely undiscovered by foreigners looking for holidays and permanent homes the continued popularity of the area with those from Lisbon keeps property prices high especially in Cascais but there are still many bargains to be had if you search around the small villages and towns in this beautiful area.

"sagres"Western Algarve 

The Western Algarve can be found between Portimão and Sagres and consists of some of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal.  This area of the Algarve has a more wild feel to it with far less development than the Central area of the Algarve and attracts foreign property owners who are more in touch with nature and want to blend in with the local people of the area.

The largest city in the Western Algarve has to be Lagos, a vibrant, historical city that is busy all through the year with visitors from all over the world.  There is a large population of Australian residents and visitors with many saying that this part of the Algarve is the closest to Australia in the whole of Europe thanks to the laid back lifestyle, huge sandy beaches and of course the surfing!

As you move further along the coast the developments become fewer and farther between but there is still a good amount of golf courses and top class resorts and hotels in the area to keep it popular with tourists.

One of the largest British expat communities in the area can by found in Praia da Luz, a pretty little town that has grown way beyond its imposing cliff face.

The Costa Vincentina national park stretches across most of the Western Algarve from Luz all the way to Sagres and this protected area is of great natural beauty and is a magnet to nature lovers, photographers and walkers.

All along the coast there are many small towns and villages packed with historical landmarks including the church in Vila do Bispo which is said to have been visited by the knights Templar.

Sagres is the most Westerly point of the Algarve, Portugal and Europe and is a tourist hotspot as people come to stand at the end of Europe but the little town itself has remained traditional with only a few foreign residents.

The Western Algarve is the raw and wild side of the Algarve with both the coastal and inland areas proving increasingly popular as destinations for anyone looking to live in Portugal.

"albufeira"Central Algarve

The Central Algarve can be found between Faro and Portimão and is generally seen as the main area for tourism in the Algarve thanks to its well established resorts, hotels and also many popular villa holiday destinations.

Albufeira is the main resort in the Algarve and you can guarantee that you will never be short of things to do in this area and the weather is usually glorious throughout most of the year.

In the Central Algarve you will also find the marina resort town of Vilamoura, popular with golfers, footballers and sailors while there is also the renowned Golden Triangle area that attracts high end investors looking to purchase their own piece of paradise.

But in the Central Algarve there are still many smaller resorts such as Alvor and Carvoeiro that have more of a family feel with their traditional cobbled streets and fishing boats on the beach.

In the summer months the central Algarve is packed full of people from all over Europe as well as from other parts of Portugal who are all looking to enjoy the best that the Algarve has to offer and you don’t have to travel far in this area to find some of the best hotels, golf courses and attractions that the whole of Portugal has to offer.

Because this area is very much focused on the tourism trade you may find that many of the resorts seems to shut up and close their doors in the winter months and while many bars and restaurants may be closed during these months in this area you will still be able to find life if you know where the local people go.

The Central Algarve has many holiday type developments but due to its vast beaches there is always somewhere quiet that you can find to enjoy the fabulous surroundings. There are also lots of sporting activities that you can take part in as well as many beautiful restaurants which are very family orientated.

The beauty of the Central Algarve is that this area has grown organically and although there are some very busy destinations there are still plenty of small fishing towns and quaint resorts dotted along the coast.

This region of the Algarve also has a huge variety when it comes to budget with a choice of multi million euro villas in the golden triangle area of Vale do Lobo, Quinta do Lago and Almancil, while there are also much cheaper areas such as Armação de Pêra that may be more appealing to those with a smaller budget.

"tavira"Eastern Algarve

The Eastern Algarve is situated to the east of Faro and runs from the capital of the Algarve to the border with Spain at Vila Real de Santo António. For anyone who has travelled along the Algarve you will have noticed that this region is very different to the rest of the Algarve, mainly because it has not yet been developed so intensely.

There is a tranquil feel about the Eastern Algarve as this is a place that you will find that the tourism seems to blend in with the local activities almost effortlessly. There seems to be a relaxed way of life here and although hotel developments are starting to appear more frequently there is something very special about this place and it is considered to be a wonderful place to live if it is your intention to take a very much slower pace of life.

The main focus of the Eastern Algarve continues to be Tavira, a beautiful city located along the River Gilão with a Roman bridge that sits proudly in the centre of the city.

Tavira is steeped in history with churches, ruins and archaeological digs all available to visit while the traditional pace of life with the fishermen and local tradesmen seems to continue without the influence of tourism.

Much of the Eastern Algarve is rural and anyone looking for their own rural retreat would be wise to explore this area full of small picturesque villages, especially further inland where you will be lucky to spot another foreigner.

The Eastern Algarve is naturally extremely beautiful and the national park on the Ria Formosa is full of wildlife, fishermen and breathtaking views while the historical beauty of Castro Marim further along the coast draws thousands of visitors each year, especially during the times of the medieval fairs held int he castle walls.

On the border of Portugal and Spain you have Vila Real de Santo António, a town that has been built following the grid structure making it seem more similar to the city streets in America than the haphazard lanes more usually associated with Portugal.  This is a place full of street coffee shops and hundreds of shops catering to the Spanish visitors who hop over the border for their linens and towels.

The Eastern Algarve is largely seen as being undiscovered by many moving to Portugal but there are some amazing towns and cities all along this beautiful stretch that make it well worth while turning East when leaving Faro airport.

We live in Silves which is in the central part of the Algarve and is a very beautiful peaceful place. The best part is that we have to remind ourselves that we live here and are not just on an extended holiday!

Like with any country the more popular parts are obviously more expensive but on a whole Portugal is rather cheap even if you enjoy the luxuries in life. The Algarve is more expensive to live in than the north and west of Portugal but it is worth every single euro that you spend on it.

We made the choice to travel down to the Algarve from England in a caravan bought on eBay as we weren’t sure exactly where we wanted to live. By doing it like this we could sample the different areas until we had made the right choice for us. We wanted to be located in the central parts of the Algarve as it is a lot more central and is suited more to the younger resident. Compared to an area like the East Algarve which is full of the over 50′s.

In the summer months we felt a need to be nearer to the attractions i.e. waterparks, nice beaches, local zoo and carnivals. So this location couldn’t be any more perfect for me and my family. Even though we wanted to be in the thick of it we also wanted to experience local culture therefore we went with Silves. It is still 15 minutes drive from the beach and extremely pretty.

In this world we are all different and what might suit one person another will hate. So its totally up to you to make a thorough decision about where is right for you. This website is here to help you make an informed choice but the decision is still your own.

Have a good luck around the other sections on this website for even more up to date living in the sun information. We can’t wait to hear your own stories of your life living in Portugal.