Expat Guide to Living in Algarve, Portugal

Whether you’ve already been living in the Algarve in Portugal for a while or are planning to move here, there are a few things you should know about this province. Known for its incredible climate, pristine beaches, rich history, and high quality of life, the Algarve in Portugal is a great place to live for foreigners. Read on to find out how to integrate into the expat community and the most successful places to settle down.

Where Is the Algarve? 

If you’re looking to live in a place with long summers, sunny weather, and never-ending beaches, the Algarve is a wonderful place to consider. The southernmost province of Portugal, the Algarve boasts a unique blend of Middle Eastern/North African and European culture, architecture, and food. The historical province is home to 438,406 people with an increased percentage of expats.

Faro is the capital of the Algarve and is home to international airports. While the Algarve’s economy is mainly based on agriculture, tourism remains a massive industry. Many people who visited the Algarve at least once dream of moving to this coveted destination.

Is the Algarve an ideal place to live?

Known as a breathtaking holiday destination, the Algarve is also an ideal place to live and enjoy retirement. The Algarve offers tons of opportunities for expats, including:

1. Cost of living

The Algarve has a cost of living that’s 30 percent lower than the majority of other countries in Western Europe. It’s an ideal place for young people and elders alike. If you have a very restricted retirement budget, consider moving to the Algarve. 

There are many financial services and expertise that can help you find the best foreign exchange experts as well as mortgage and tax advisors. The Non-Habitual Residency program lets you obtain your foreign pension tax-free for 10 years and create a financially secure retirement. 

The cost of living is impressive. For instance, an average couple can freely live on €800 to €1,200 monthly, albeit it depends on person to person. If you have up to €1,500, you can count on luxurious life.

2. Excellent healthcare

The national healthcare system of Portugal, or Servico Nacional de Saude (SNS) adheres to the international healthcare system. Apart from residents, expats can enjoy a variety of top-quality healthcare services at affordable costs. 

Medical tourism also keeps thriving, attracting more and more people annually. However, only Portuguese residents have access to public healthcare facilities. Expats have to turn to private healthcare facilities.

3. Quality of life

The Algarve is a safe and peaceful place to live. The crime rate is very low, according to Numbeo. Although it’s stated that the crime rate has elevated over the past 3 years, the majority of crime types remain rated moderate or low.

Locals are extremely hospitable and friendly and you’ll never feel alone there. Besides safety, the Algarve offers a variety of facilities and overall high quality of life. There are many sites to visit in the area, which are famous for their Roman or Islamic heritage. Plus, you’ll have unlimited access to some of the most amazing beaches in the world.

4. Weather

Are you looking to move to a place where the sun shines for up to 300 days? The Algarve has a stable climate with Mediterranean and Atlantic influences, providing more sunshine regardless of the season. The temperatures reach the mid-30s in summer and decrease to 20s in autumn and to 13 degrees in winter.

5. Real estate possibilities

The Algarve provides tons of real estate options for expats trying to purchase a property. From small and affordable townhouses to incredibly luxurious villas, real estate options are endless – even if you have a limited budget. A real estate agent will help you find your dream home.

6. Easy access to Europe and Schengen countries

There are flights to Faro available from the majority of European cities. Low-cost national carriers and airlines are available throughout the year. Moreover, you’ll be astonished by a great road system, which connects the central urban regions. You can easily visit European tourist destinations during your stay in the Algarve due to top-notch transportation facilities and relatively low costs.

7. English-speaking community

English is widely spoken in the Algarve. Expats who know English claim that it helps during the adjustment period. However, learning Portuguese is also critical for expats. The English-speaking community will help you learn more about the province and even receive residency faster.

How to gain residency and where to live

It’s easy to receive residency through property investment that the Portugal Golden Visa program provides. If property investment isn’t for you, you can consider a D7 visa or an investment fund.

The Algarve has a large British expat community. The popular expat destinations are Lagos, Faro, Portimao, Castro Marim, and Tavira. Albufeira is an ideal place for those trying to set up a business. It’s a lot easier to find other expats in the big cities rather than smaller ones. There are little to no expats in rural towns, albeit those places are wonderful.

Buying vs. Renting options

The Algarve has fairly simple purchase and rental regulations. Rental agreements help expats try out several towns before purchasing a home. Rental agreements are divided into the open end or fixed term. There are a couple of the most common pitfalls you should consider, though. Some properties have no official deeds or the absence of clauses in the purchase agreement.

Based on the Portuguese law of subrogation, any property debt passes over to a new homeowner and becomes their responsibility. The last thing you want to deal with as an expat is paying off someone else’s debts. Find a government-registered estate agent that speaks your language so that you could avoid any possible pitfalls. 

Health and travel insurance

Living as an expat in Algarve is very safe. But you never know when you will need health insurance or travel insurance. We recommend checking out SafetyWing for great travel insurance at reasonable prices for expats.

The final word

The mix of breathtaking beaches, high temperatures, and sun make the Algarve charm for expats. Although there are some cons to living in the Algarve, you can avoid them and enjoy an authentic way of living. In general, the province is safe to start a family and an affordable place for a happy retirement. 

One of the sunniest places in Europe, the Algarve makes an ideal place for families with kids. It also one of the cheapest places to live, despite restricted job opportunities.