With an impressive 89 Blue Flag beaches, it’s not surprising that the southern coast of Portugal is such a popular place for expats looking for holiday homes, or for a more permanent spot for retirement. But there’s more to the Algarve than just pristine beaches and Atlantic waves. Read on for our guide to the best towns, resorts, and rural villages in the Algarve. Whatever your dream home in Portugal looks like, you’ll find some great inspiration with our tips.
Where to Buy in Western Algarve
Town – Lagos
Buying property in Lagos will give you a true taste of life in Portugal. Although it’s very popular with tourists, it’s retained a good amount of traditional character from its roots as a port and fishing village. There’s a good mix of locals, holidaymakers, and expats. It’s a place which has a distinct chilled vibe thanks to its popularity with surfers and artists.
Resort – Praia da Luz
This resort town with a small but quiet beach is perfect for families and couples looking for a relaxing getaway, but still with all the amenities you need nearby. The community of expats here live in a range of properties, from traditional white stone cottages to well-appointed apartments or luxurious villas overlooking the sea.
Rural – Sagres
Sagres is the windswept western point of the Algarve. If you dream of getting away from it all and waking up to views of rugged countryside and cliffs every day, this small village might be for you. There’s a couple of nice bars and restaurants in the village and you’ll see more visitors arriving in the summer months, but for the most part, you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy the landscape (with a bottle of the eponymous beer in hand!) in quiet solitude.
Where to Buy in Central Algarve
Town – Albufeira
If you’ve ever traveled to the Algarve before, you’ll know about the lively town of Albufeira. Equally popular with families and young partygoers, the town is large enough to give space to all types of visitors. The old town is very pretty, whether you’re strolling through or stopping in one of the many restaurants. You’ll likely stumble upon an event or festival in the streets and squares too, the community atmosphere here is friendly and diverse.
Resort – Vale do Lobo
Vale do Lobo is a great place to invest in property in the Algarve. Only a short drive from Faro airport, you’ll be impressed by this resort’s high-end amenities, luxurious spa, and impressive golf course. Property overlooking the greens are highly sought after by holidaymakers and longer term renters.
Rural – Salir
The beauty of the Algarve is that the serenity of rural life is only ever a short drive away from the popular beaches and lively towns. Salir is perfectly positioned north of Loulé, in the green and tranquil hills. You’ll find a handful of restaurants and shops in the village; the local community comes together for festivals in the pretty main square. Traditional cottages in the village and surrounding area could be the perfect place to start your new life in the Algarve.
Where to Buy in Eastern Algarve
Town – Tavira
One of the prettiest spots in the Algarve is surely the ancient town of Tavira. It’s set on the Gilao river, making for a picturesque setting, especially with the wide Roman bridge crossing from the main square. The town is friendly, with all the shops, bars and restaurants you could need. You can buy traditional cottages on quiet streets or modern build townhouses for a good price to enjoy year round or just for shorter stays. Join the locals on the short ferry ride down the river to the vast, spectacular beach and you’ll never want to leave.
Resort – Cabanas
Next door to Tavira you’ll find Cabanas. It started life as a tiny fishing village on the beach, but there’s been a lot of development here over the years and now you can find a plenty of modern but tasteful apartments and townhouses for regular short-term stays or year round living if you’re looking for a small and quiet community and beachfront living.
Rural – Estoi
A mere 20 minutes drive from Faro airport and you’ll feel like you’re in another world arriving in Estoi, the small village nestled at the base of the Serra do Caldeirão hills. The whitewashed houses and pretty tree-lined squares are a world away from the busy resort towns on the coast. For such a tiny village, Estoi has a lot going for it. The annual festivals here are a real spectacle, and so is the grand pink facade of the Palacio de Estoi’s (once the residence of a wealthy local family, now a glamorous hotel). With a regular farmers market and some welcoming cafe bars, you’ll find everything you need for a quiet life in this sleepy village.
Where Will You Buy Property in the Algarve?
The unique position of the Algarve on the Atlantic coast gives expats interested in moving to Portugal so many options for where to buy property. Whether you love beachside lounging, quiet countryside, smart resorts or bustling towns, you’ll find a property that’s right for you in the Algarve. If you’re ready to take the next steps to starting a new life in the Algarve, download our guide to moving to Portugal.