Living in Algarve guide

Algarve is one of the places in the world that deserve to be visited at least once by everyone. The region has a beauty that is mystic yet charming. Having been blessed with the most delightful geographical features, the region stands at an edge, and indeed, is one of the best places around the globe. And if you are planning to move to Portugal, certainly living in Algarve is your best option.

Read our detailed guide below about living in Algarve.

About the Algarve

The region is in the south of continental Portugal and makes up the southern coastline of the country. It has an area of about 4,997 km² and extends to the south of Tagus Valley and south of the Liberian Peninsula.

How’s the weather like in Algarve?

Algarve has perfect weather. Climate statistics show that the temperature fluctuates from 25Cº to 40Cº during summers and rarely falls below 0Cº during the winter season.

Beaches

Algarve has literally won awards for its gorgeous beaches along the stunning Atlantic coastline. There’s a good mix of sandy beaches perfect for surfing, touristy beaches stocked with amenities, family-friendly beaches, and practically deserted beaches. The Algarve is Portugal’s prime holiday destination both for locals and expats alike.

Activities

You won’t get bored in the Algarve. From hiking and watersports to theme parks and a huge range of clubs, bars, golf, and even horse-back riding, the Algarve is jam-packed with activities, catering to a variety of tastes.

Why live in the Algarve?

Yes, the Algarve is undeniably a tourist destination, but living in Algarve Portugal is also fantastic. It’s the perfect destination for families, retirees, digital nomads, and young couples alike.

Some key benefits of living in Algarve include:

10-year tax exemption opportunity for international retirees;

10-year tax exemption opportunity for international retirees;

Dozens of opportunities to stay active and make the most of your life.

Dozens of opportunities to stay active and make the most of your life.

High quality of life and a family-friendly location

High quality of life and a family-friendly location

Stunning beaches

Stunning beaches

Living in Algarve: best cities to live

If you’re considering living in Algarve Portugal, it’s important to be aware of the best cities to live in. Some rank at the top of the table.

Faro

As the capital of the Algarve, Faro is an extremely popular place to live. The city is steeped in history and culture; the ancient walls and the stone-paved paths speak for themselves. It is also home to international companies, high-end fashion brands, and a magnet for shopaholics. Faro is also attractive among retirees because the city offers a mix of busy pockets and quiet areas, including calm plazas where you can sip your morning coffee under the sun. Faro’s stunning Ria Formosa Park is also a sight to behold, and many flock here for hiking and leisure walks in nature.

Portimão

Portimão is another interesting choice for expats. It’s a fairly large city, offering up breathtaking sights of the Arade River and Praia Da Rocha beach. The town is packed with high-end resorts, luxury apartments, bars, restaurants, and hip cafes. If you like a thriving town, then Portimao is a solid choice. The most distinct feature of the city is that the architecture is a blend of the old and new, and is considered artsy and fresh among the contemporary eye. The city is colorful and vibrant, and hosts several Sports centers and exhibitions, making the city anything but boring.

Lagos

Considered as one of the best towns in Algarve, Lagos stands out from the herd. The city offers a perfect blend of tradition and contemporary buildings. The sight of sandy beaches and turquoise blue waters on the waterfront soothe the nerves.

The city literally caters to every kind of person. From its waterparks to its exciting hiking spots and fun museums, Lagos is a great choice for living in Algarve. It also happens to have the longest beach in the Algarve, which stretches for 4km.

Tavira

As a former Roman seaport run by the Moors, and famous for its tuna fish and carpet trade, living in Tavira is not what you expect. The town is certainly unique, enjoyed by people who prefer less crowded towns. Packed with cobblestone streets, traditional Portuguese houses and dozens of churches, the tranquility here is palpable. To the south of the city you’ll find protected waterways, bird sanctuaries, and the Natural Park of Ria Formosa.

Buying a house in Algarve

The Algarve region is the best place in Portugal to buy property, with a flourishing real estate market. The area is popular for those wishing to purchase luxury property either as an investment or primary residence.

Buying property in Portugal is a popular way to live in the Algarve. Prices to buy a house are reasonable and vary according to what region you buy a house in. For example:

  • Loulé – € 1.806 m²;
  • Lagos – € 1.738 m²;
  • Albufeira – € 1.613 m²;
  • Tavira – € 1.531 m²;

If you have a young family, maybe a good option would be to go for a typical Portuguese villa. You will find different villas for sale, depending on what you’re seeking. From waterfront facing ones to spacious villas with an outdoor pool and private garden, you will most likely find what you’re looking for.

Another alternative if you don’t want to spend a lot of money is to invest in a Portuguese apartment – typically flat fronted, painted white with balconies and stone floors. Even in the most popular Portuguese spots, these tend to be cheap by British standards.

A condominium is also another property type to consider. They are basically flats in development with shared facilities such as a pool, gym, or clubhouse. Some of the condominiums in Portugal’s exclusive golfing resorts offer concierge services and top-end facilities.

Cost of living in Algarve

While the cost of living is always relative to the person’s unique financial situation, generally speaking, the cost of living in Algarve is quite affordable, particularly when it comes to food, drinks, and utility bills. It’s possible for a couple to live in the Algarve on €800 – €1,200 per month, depending on the spending habits. You can also easily live a life of luxury in the Algarve, racking up a monthly living cost bill of €5,000.

Here’s a rough guideline of what to expect with the cost of living in Algarve:

  • Eating out at a mid-range restaurant costs around €20 per person, with the drink and dessert included in the price.
  • For a weekly grocery shop, expect to pay around €50 for a couple
  • Utilities for a small apartment typically come to €100-150 per month,
  • Monthly rental prices start from around €300 for a basic 1 or 2-bedroom apartment, and there are many apartments in the €400-700 range.

How to retire in Algarve?

To retire in Portugal, the Algarve, you must have either a residence permit or a certificate proving you’re a European Union citizen. Overall, applying for retirement is relatively easy and straightforward.

If you happen to be a non-EU citizen, then you have a number of options including:

  • Applying for the D7 visa
  • Applying for the Golden Visa

D7 visa

Portugal’s D7 visa gives foreign citizens who wish to live in Portugal the right to do so, either as a retiree or a passive income earner. To apply, you must show you have a steady income, either from your pension funds or your own finances. When you get the D7 visa, you’re granted a special tax status for a ten-year income tax break.

For more information on applying, check out our ultimate guide to the Portugal D7 visa by clicking here.

Portugal Golden Visa

The Portugal Golden Visa is an excellent residency by investment program, offering qualifying investors legal residency in exchange for investing in the nation. You can pick from a handful of investment routes, which all lead to the Golden Visa, provided that you meet the program criteria. Options start from €280K, with more and more people investing in investment funds golden visa.

For more information on applying, check out our ultimate guide to the Portugal Golden Visa.

Frequently asked questions about living in Algarve

What is living in Algarve Portugal like?

Living in Algarve is great. From the stunning beaches and long walks along the Atlantic coastline to a flourishing real estate market and investment opportunities, down to a high quality of life that strikes the perfect balance between liveliness and peace and quiet, Algarve is truly one of the best places to live in Europe.

What is the cost of living in Algarve, Portugal?

The cost of living in Algarve, Portugal is relatively affordable, and is of course, dependent on your monthly income. To rent a furnished two-bedroom apartment, it costs around $980, while monthly groceries typically add up to $400 for two people. The best part is, utilities are extremely affordable, with a monthly average utility bill costing around  $240 (gas, water, electricity, internet).

Where do expats live in the Algarve?

The majority of expats live in Tavira, Vilamoura, Lagos, Faro, Albufeira, Alvor and Ferragudo. These towns also happen to attract a large amount of tourists each year, so they can get quite busy during high season. If you’re more into quiet towns, then rural areas of the Algarve are perfect. For example, Silves is a popular destination among retirees, as well as Sagres.

Is living in Algarve good for retirees?

Algarve is the perfect destination for retirees. A combination of endless sunshine, sea, a relaxed pace of living, as well as relatively low living costs mean that the Algarve is the ideal destination for retirees. There’s already a big English and American community settled in the Algarve.