Relocation to Algarve in Portugal: A Complete Guide

What issues do you have to consider before relocating to Portugal? What are the reasons why you should choose to reside in the coastal region of Algarve among all regions in Portugal? Let us answer these questions and discuss various matters relevant to relocating to Portugal.

The pandemic has served as a serious incentive for many people to start thinking about moving to a safer country. To a country with a nice climate, an effective government, high-quality medical services that are successful in combating the coronavirus.

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If you think carefully about the possible country to relocate to, you will not actually find too many options that are worth considering. In any case, Portugal is at the top of all lists of countries that are most comfortable to live in. Moreover, the country has rather liberal immigration legislation. 

Are you interested in considering Portugal as a possible country to relocate to? If you are, you should probably lodge on the Atlantic coast in Algarve, one of the most attractive regions in Portugal. Below we describe Algarve and provide some compelling reasons to prefer this Portuguese region to all others. 

General information about Algarve

The southern coast of Portugal is famous well beyond Europe. It is a place with pristine beaches, an almost perfect climate, high living standards, and rich history. The local people’s culture, the Portuguese cuisine, the affordable prices, and the resort lifestyle attracts many foreigners to Algarve including freelancers working from home and numerous European retirees. People love making Algarve their home.

The region occupies an area of five thousand square kilometers and almost half a million people live there. According to the Pordata statistics, 10% of the population in Algarve are foreigners. The percentage is growing as the popularity of Algarve with immigrants is increasing year after year.  

Advantages of relocating to the coastal region of Algarve

Algarve is famous throughout the world as a perfect place for beach vacations. The region is washed by the Atlantic Ocean in the south and in the west, and the Guadiana River serves as its border in the east.

Algarve is located about three hundred kilometers to the south of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. The relatively short distance and the advanced transportation infrastructure in the country makes it easy to reach one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Here are some other compelling reasons to choose Algarve as a place of residence in Portugal:

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Comparatively low cost of living

Especially if you do not have very much money at your disposal, relocating to Algarve would be a perfect choice. The cost of living there is about 30% lower than in any other part of Western Europe. A retired couple, for example, can live a modest life spending only around 1.1 thousand euros per month. If they can afford spending 1.8 thousand euros per month, they can lead a luxurious lifestyle in Algarve. These figures do not look too high, do they?

Advanced healthcare services

The national healthcare service in Portugal (Servico Nacional de Saude; SNS) comes up to the highest international quality standards. When you acquire legal residence in Algarve, you will gain access to medical services available to local people. The SNS keeps the prices low. Today, medical tourism to the region is on the rise, which contributes to further development of the healthcare industry in Algarve.  

This characteristic of Algarve should make it especially attractive for pensioners, as people advanced in years usually require more medical services. There you can find all sorts of inexpensive medical services from aesthetic surgery to dental services to hip joint replacement.

Comfortable accommodations for any taste in Algarve

If you would like to purchase residential accommodations in Algarve rather than rent a place there, the choice of property to buy is vast indeed. You can find many luxury villas in the region as well as inexpensive semidetached houses. We would be happy to put you through to a real estate agent in Algarve who will advise on the best pieces of property to buy in various price ranges.

Shopping opportunities in Algarve

Shopping therapy is not on the official list of medical services but it can help cure some ailments too! You are going to find multiple shopping centers when you relocate to Algarve. For instance, one of the largest malls in the region called MAR hosts 86 different stores including an IKEA store, 25 restaurants with different national cuisines and an eight-thousand-square-meter recreation area. Local marketplaces offer fresh seafood, vegetables, and fruit.

Comfortable climate in Algarve

The local climate is one of the main reasons why foreigners fall in love with Algarve when they move there. The sun is shining on more than three hundred days per year. The weather is stable for the best part of the year due to the region’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. In Algarve, you will find a lot of sunshine, many warm days, very little rain, and no cold weather at all.

Easy access to other European regions

The international airport in the city of Faro services airlines flying to and from various European cities. The airfares are affordable as the airport services a number of low-cost airlines. You can fly to any destination all year round. 

When you arrive at Faro international airport, you will be pleasantly surprised by the network of highways and railroads connecting the cities and towns in the region. Besides, travelling through Algarve is inexpensive so you can easily explore the territory of the region with time. After you have acquainted yourself with Algarve, you will probably want to see the rest of Portugal and then other European countries. It is going to be as easy as squeezing a lemon when you live in this region of Portugal.

High quality of life

Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world. The local people are friendly and hospitable. The peace and quiet found in Algarve, the safety, the comfort, and the picturesque landscapes make the region a perfect place to live in many respects.

Taxation system flexibility

The legislation of the country allows foreign pensioners and freelancers obtaining income from abroad to pay no personal income taxes or small taxes for the first ten years of residing in Portugal. You only have to apply for non-habitual tax residence in Portugal, which you will qualify for if you live in the country for more than half a year each year.

Purchase/ rent of residential accommodations in Algarve

Some countries offer limited possibilities to foreigners wishing to buy residential accommodations on their territories. Portugal, on the contrary, is very friendly to foreign investors purchasing property in the country. You can easily buy a piece of property in Algarve or otherwise rent a place to stay there.

Purchasing a house or an apartment in Portugal

If you would like to live in a villa on the Atlantic coast or in an apartment in a high-rise building with a beautiful view of the ocean, all you have to do is bring enough money! Buying residential accommodations in Algarve is not a problem at all. The choice of real property is vast and the regulations governing the purchase procedures are simple.

Real estate prices in Algarve

The prices for real property will differ in Algarve depending on the city or town that you choose. The table below lists the prices for real property located in the center of a large city. Please bear in mind that property located in the uptown areas will usually cost less.

CityAverage price per square meter
Faro2,170 €
Albufeira2,463 €
Lagos3,021 €
Tavira2,000 €
Portimao1,800 €

Documents required for purchasing property in Algarve

If you would like to purchase a piece of real property in Algarve, you have to bring your passport or a similar ID. A Portuguese residence card will also do. In addition to that, you will have to acquire a Portuguese fiscal identification number (Número de Identificação Fiscal; NIF) to be able to make the purchase. You can acquire the NIF from the local tax authorities by supplying your passport and proof of residential address in your home country. Besides, you will be well advised to open an account with a Portuguese bank, as this will simplify many payment-related tasks that you will have in Portugal.

Apply for professional assistance when purchasing property in Algarve

When you have found the house or the apartment that you like, you will be better off hiring a local lawyer. The lawyer will check the prospective purchase deal for legality and the property for incumbencies. He or she will also draw up a proper purchase agreement for you that will contain all the necessary articles and describe all the relevant terms and conditions. The lawyer will also explain to you that when signing a preliminary purchase agreement with the property owner, you have to make an initial deposit that will not be returned to you if you later change your mind and decide not to buy the property. The deposit, however, will secure the property for you as the owner cannot sell it to anybody else since he or she has accepted the initial deposit. If the property owner wants to sell the house or the apartment to somebody else, he or she will have to return double the size of the deposit to you.

Final purchase agreement (Escritura)

The final purchase agreement is usually signed 30 to 60 days after the preliminary agreement is made. Both the buyer and the seller or their legal representatives shall sign the Escritura in front of a notary public. If a mortgage is used, a bank representative shall also be present.

Total cost of residential accommodations in Algarve

If you are planning to purchase residential accommodations in Algarve, you have to bear some additional costs in mind too. Apart from the cost of the house or apartment, you will have to cover the following costs:

  • Legal support fees: A fee will be due to the lawyer who will ensure that the purchase deal that you are making is legal and all the documents are in good order.
  • Notary fee: A notary public will have to register the purchase deal and he or she will charge a fee for their services. The fee will often depend on the cost of the property.
  • Property right transfer tax (abbreviated IMT in Portuguese): The tax rate will depend on the cost of the property, its location, and its type (apartment, house, etc.).

Renting property in Algarve

Many foreigners relocating to Algarve sign long-term lease agreements. If you are planning to rent residential accommodations in Portugal, you have to take the following steps:

  • Acquire a fiscal number in Portugal (NIF).
  • Bring an ID (your Portuguese residence card or your home country passport).
  • Pay the rent for one month in advance. Sometimes a security deposit is also required.
  • Sing a rent agreement where the property owner and the tenant’s data are indicated. Besides, the rent terms shall be described such as the conditions of the contract termination, for example.
  • Provide a guarantee (if necessary). A guarantor is usually required when signing a short-term lease agreement.

Best places to live in Algarve

Algarve is a large region and you can choose from several cities, some larger, some smaller. We recommend that you consider the following places in Algarve:

  • Albufeira: The town is located in the southernmost part of Algarve and it is the most popular place among foreign residents of the region. There you will find a combination of the classic Portuguese elegance and modern infrastructure, a great number of historical and cultural monuments, many wonderful beaches, and hot weather all around the year. The local people in Albufeira are extremely friendly to foreigners.
  • Lagos: The town is also very popular with foreign residents in Algarve. It offers various entertainments including noise aqua parks, quiet museums, and picturesque walkways. The beach stretching for four kilometers is the longest beach in Algarve.  
  • Faro: The city is the capital of Algarve and many foreigners choose to reside there. The place has a lot to say about the history and culture of Portugal. Quite a large number of famous people have trodden the stone-paved paths in the past. The city walls have seen a number of battles. Many large international companies have branches and representative offices in Faro. There you will find premium-class restaurants and fashion boutiques. Faro has busy central streets and quiet uptown neighborhoods so everybody can find a comfortable place to stay in the city, youngsters and pensioners alike.
  • Tavira: This place certainly deserves the attention of those you like peace and quiet. Tavira is more like an old Portuguese village with one-story houses, multiple churches, and very few people in the stone-paved streets. There are protected areas in the vicinity such as the waterways, the Ria Formosa national park, and natural reserves perfect for bird watching.
  • Silves: The city has a long history and you will certainly find many places of interest there. Silves is located at the foot of the hills near the Arade River. It is surrounded by lemon and orange gardens and numerous old castles.

Legalizing your stay in Algarve

Requirements to citizens of EU member states

If you are a citizen of a European country, you have to register with the Portuguese authorities when you relocate to Algarve (if you plan to stay there for more than 90 days). Just visit the local City Hall and file an application for residence. A residence permit will be issued to you and it will be valid for five years. The cost of the permit is 14 euros for adults and 7.5 euros for children.

If members of your family are citizens of a non-EU state, they have to apply for legal residence permits when relocating with you to Algarve. If you hold a European passport, obtaining the permits is not going to be a problem.

Requirements to citizens of non-EU states

If you come from a non-EU country, you have to obtain a legal residence permit in Portugal before your tourist visa expires. You can qualify for legal residence in Algarve if you make an investment in the local economy.

Relocating to Algarve with a golden visa to Portugal

A ‘golden visa’ to Portugal is a legal residence permit available to citizens of non-EU countries. It can be acquired in exchange for an investment in real property in the country or in a business venture there. You can also make a fixed term deposit in a Portuguese bank to qualify for the visa. In addition, you can make a non-returnable donation or create a few jobs in Portugal to become eligible for a golden visa.

Foreign nationals appreciate the Portuguese investment immigration program because it provides a fast legal way of acquiring a residence permit in the country. What is more, the golden visa can turn into a Portuguese passport after a few years! If you are planning to relocate to Algarve for good, applying for legal residence in Portugal by investment would be a perfect solution.

Cost of living in Algarve

The cost of living is lower in Algarve in comparison to most other regions of Portugal. A married couple can live on 800-1,200 euros per month in Algarve. Of course, the cost of living will largely depend on your lifestyle.

Rental prices in Algarve

Rental prices are affordable in Algarve especially if you compare them to the prices in other European countries. A one-bedroom apartment can cost as little as 300 euros per month. A three-bedroom apartment will cost from 700 euros per month. Understandably, the rental price will largely depend on the location of the house/ apartment that you choose. Residential accommodations will cost more in popular resort towns and they will cost considerably less in some rural areas. It would be a good idea to sign the rent agreement before the high season starts.

Food prices in Algarve

If you relocate to Algarve, you will have access to super fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, and seafood. You are going to need about 300 euros per month for food products. Below please find the prices for some basic products (according to Numbeo).

Food productPrice
Meat (kg)13 €
Chicken (kg)4.5 €
Eggs (dozen)1.7 €
Milk (one liter)0.6 €
Banana (kg)1.1 €
Apple (kg)1.5 €
Bread (500 gr)1.1 €
Rice (kg)0.95 €
Potatoes (kg)0.85 €
Onions (kg)0.95 €
Local cheese (kg)7 €
Wine (medium quality)5 €

Restaurant prices

A dinner in an inexpensive restaurant will cost you 9 to 10 euros in Algarve. If you dine at a canteen, around 6 euros will be enough. A dinner in a nice restaurant will cost you 25 euros and a dinner in a luxury restaurant will cost 35 euros per person or more.

The costs of utilities and Internet in Algarve

According to Numbeo, basic utilities that include heating, cooling, electricity supply, garbage collection, water supply, and sewage will cost you around 99 euros per month. Internet connection is 40 euros per month. One minute of prepaid telephone conversation is 0.2 euros.

Travel in Algarve

You can use a wide choice of bus and train lines to travel around Algarve and beyond. If you want to be flexible in moving around the place, you can rent a car. The rental prices start at 25 euros per day in the summertime but it can be as low as 10 euros per day in winter.

Most people take the bus in Algarve. The bus ticket valid for one day costs between 3 and 7 euros. Railroad travel is also popular in the region. Taking the train would be an especially good idea for long-distance travel. If you buy the train ticket a week in advance, you can count on a large discount (40% to 50%). The prices are affordable indeed. For instance, a train from Faro to Lisbon will cost you only 12 euros.

Climate in Algarve

Algarve is a resort area with a very warm climate. This is one of the warmest places in Europe where the weather is fine for the best part of the year with some short rain periods. The combination of sunny weather and beautiful landscapes makes Algarve a perfect place to live!

Winters in Algarve

December, January, and February are the coolest months in the year. The average temperature is usually between 9 ° C and 16 ° C. It can fall to 4-6 ° C in the night time.

Summers in Algarve

The time between June and September is the hottest period in Algarve. You should expect very little rain in the summertime in the region. The temperature in June and September is usually above 30 ° C. It can be even hotter in July and August: even though normally it will also be around 30 ° C, sometimes the temperature may rise to 40 ° C.

Expert support to those relocating to Algarve

There are several important tasks that you have to complete if you want to relocate to Algarve. You have to acquire a NIF, open a bank account, find a reliable lawyer, and so on. InternationalWealth experts have vast experience in helping clients to relocate to foreign countries including Portugal and Algarve in particular. We have reliable partners in Portugal who will gladly assist you in moving to Algarve and save you from unnecessary mistakes and expenditures. Our expert support is going to be especially valuable if you are planning to purchase real property in Portugal and apply for a golden visa on these grounds.

Please do not hesitate to contact the InternationalWealth team right now! Click on the Contact us icon above and choose the preferable means of communication!

What is attractive about the region of Algarve in Portugal?

Wonderful beaches, ancient castles, a fantastic national cuisine offering a wide choice of seafood, and inexpensive but very nice local wines attract foreigners to Algarve. For years, the region has been popular especially with citizens of Northern European countries who like to escape from cold winters at home. Another important reason why foreigners relocate to Algarve is the ease of acquiring a golden visa to Portugal, which is a legal residence permit in the country.

Where is Algarve located?

Algarve is located in the south of continental Portugal (the country has island territories too). The region borders on Alentejo in the north, the Atlantic Ocean in the west and south, and Spain in the east. Algarve occupies an area of 5,000 square kilometers and its population is 451,000 people. The region consists of 16 municipalities.

What recreational activities are available in Algarve?

If you prefer an active lifestyle, you will find everything you need in Algarve. In addition to a hundred-kilometer coastline, the region offers golf and lawn tennis facilities as well as boating, horseback riding, biking, and hiking opportunities. The Archeological Museum in Albufeira has artefacts dated back to the period between the stone age and the Mauritian invasion. Take a boat from Portimao to Silves, the former Mauritian capital of Algarve. You will enjoy the sight of lemon and orange gardens on the riverbanks. Take a walk along stone-paved paths and climb the walls of ancient castles. There are many recreational activities that you can engage in when in Algarve.

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