The global pandemic has given us all pause to think about our lives and revaluate our priorities. It’s always easier to stay where you are, do what you’ve always done and know what you’ve always known, but starting a new life in a new country can be one of the most energising things you’ll ever do. The local Portuguese jokingly refer to the Algarve as ‘the California of Europe’, because so many stars have bought property there, but it’s not just the rich and famous who are buying real estate in Portugal, foreign buyers now make up 20% of the property market. So, why is this corner of Europe exerting such a magnetic attraction?
You can’t put a price on waking up to a blue sky every day. The south of Portugal has around 300 days of sunshine a year, it never gets too hot, and it never gets too cold. If you were designing a climate for happiness, this would be it.
Safe, friendly and relaxed
Portugal is rated as the third safest country in the world. The locals recognise the importance of foreign investment in their country, and they are friendly and welcoming. Portuguese culture is one of festivals and a celebration of the pleasures of living; there is a slower pace of life here, time for conversation and relaxation.
Low cost of living and housing
Portugal has one of the lowest costs of living in Europe and despite a year-on-year increase in property prices its real estate remains very affordable. Lisbon and the Algarve are the most expensive areas of the country but there are many beautiful towns and cities where property remains very cheap. According to the Imovirtual real estate platform, the average price of houses in the ancient city of Beja, as of March 2021, was just 139,562 euros.
The world’s number one beach destination
The 2020 World Travel Awards, which polls industry professionals and consumers, identified the 100 beaches of the Algarve as the best beach destination in the world. When you consider the competition for that title, that’s quite an accolade. Portugal has a thousand miles of coastline and although most tourists head for the stunning beaches of the Algarve, the Atlantic coast of the country also has its share of outstanding beaches, including Nazare’s Praia do Norte, which holds records for some of the biggest waves in the world and is an essential surfing destination.
The Portuguese government has gone out of its way to encourage foreign investment, both at corporate level and by making it easy for foreign citizens to settle in the country. As well as tax incentives, the government offers a ‘Golden Visa’ scheme entitling those who invest in property in excess of 500,000 euros, residency rights.
A rich cultural heritage
Once a great empire, Portugal has a rich cultural heritage which is manifest in the stunning architecture of its towns and cities, its outstanding collections of art and its vibrant contemporary arts scene.