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Retirement in the Algarve - Everything you need to know to live in this region

Retirement is like a long vacation in the Algarve!


If you want, this statement is not far from reality. Retirement is a long-awaited and significant step in the life of any worker. It's the moment when professional life comes to an end, and we start dictating the time in the way that is most favourable to us. In retirement, we put into practice the plans matured over the years and think about leaving the comfort zone and perhaps moving to another country.


If over the years, as a worker, you have wished to spend your retirement away from your own home, this article will help you understand which is the best place to retire in the Algarve and the steps you should take to do so.



Where is the best place to buy a property in Portugal? Buying a house in Portugal is a significant choice for those who want to spend their days simply with the sun shining through the window, a divine gastronomy, fresh products in any market, friendly people and cosmopolitan cities full of life bubbling over with novelties, culture and technology. We have the privilege of being in a corner of Europe, where the sea surrounds the entire western coast of the country and an interior with landscapes so disparate that can present from snow-capped mountains to plains covered with extensive fields of sunflowers. Portugal is a small country in the south of Europe and everything in it is beautiful.


If you plan to live in a mild climate all year round, where you can contemplate the sun at least 300 days a year, the Algarve is the answer! This region has it all: sea, mountains, cityscapes and an interior, named Barrocal Algarvio where tradition is still important. Any destination in Portugal would be an excellent choice, but it is in the Algarve that buying a property could feel like a year-round holiday. The region has been highlighted for several years as being one of the top destinations to spend retirement in. Who says so is International Living, in an article that lists the ten best places to retire. Several parameters are evaluated, such as the value of the real estate, benefits, residence visas or the health system of each country. You can access the original article here.


If you have already spent your holidays in the Algarve region, you know that the beaches have a characteristic golden tone that contrasts with the turquoise blue of the sea. The beauty of the beaches and their safety has been honoured several times in the Best Beach Destination in Europe travel website, and for 2021 it’s are already part of the category "Beaches to visit in 2021". As it is one of the most promising places in Europe, any real estate investment in this area is a won deal. To live or simply invest in a property for seasonal rental, the Algarve offers all the necessary and safe conditions to apply your money.



Is it better to buy an apartment or a villa? Everything will depend on the budget available for the house purchase, along with the number of elements in your household. Therefore, the number of people will determine the number of bedrooms you might need in the house as well as the space needed in the common areas.  In the Algarve, there are several spacious and well-located flats and suitable villas for small families. The best thing to do when in doubt is to contact a real estate professional. You will be assisted in finding the ideal house and dealing with all the necessary bureaucracy to finalise the purchase. You can always count on Casas do Barlavento, as we have a vast experience of over 15 years in the real estate market and in accompanying the real estate investments of those who live abroad.



Where to live in the Algarve? That is the burning question! We know how difficult it may be to answer it, but we will do our best to leave you without any doubts. The Algarve has sixteen counties of pure beauty, each with its virtues and characteristics that will make you fall in love and never want to live anywhere else. The region is crossed by the highway - Via Do Infante, which connects Lagos to Vila Real de Santo António. In a short time, it is possible to cross the region from one end to the other, which makes it easy to move between towns. If you prefer to visit the north of Portugal, it will only take you forty minutes by plane. In Faro, there is an airport with national and international connections. Each city has a public transport system so that you can leave your car parked and move between parishes and in the city itself. Mobility will never be a problem in this region, even if you decide that the right place to live is outside a large urban centre.


Any city in the Algarve is a great place to live in and have an active life during retirement. We have put together some suggestions from the western part of the Algarve, where more expats decide to live. Start the search for your dream house:


Lagos – It is a multicultural city with about 31 thousand inhabitants divided into four parishes. Lagos is a bustling city, full of contagious energy for all age groups. It is in the centre that the description of a vibrant city becomes clear, where concerts, dance and theatre take place almost spontaneously in the Praça Gil Eanes. The city has several award-winning beaches, of which the best known are D. Ana beach and Meia Praia beach for its long stretch of sand, great for families with children. The city has a strong connection to the history of Portugal, as it was the base for Infante D. Henrique's naval school, the driving force behind the world's discoveries. The typical gastronomy, rich in recipes linked to the sea, is present in several restaurants in the city.

Lagos is also known for its resorts with privileged locations where it is possible to buy a flat and live as if you were on holiday all year round. Learn more about this option that each year wins more and more interested parties. Find out more here.

Luz village is a parish much cherished by tourists for its tranquillity with idyllic landscapes over the sea.  Many expats have left their country for this part of Lagos. The simple life becomes noticeable as you walk along the waterfront near the famous Luz beach. The church, the municipal market and the houses are the picturesque setting for several families who live in the village all year round. Here you'll find several fragments that link tradition with luxury tourism, present in the Luz resorts. The Luz village has all amenities such as supermarkets, post office, banks, school and is a 10 minute away drive from Lagos city centre. Find your house in this paradise named "Luz" (light) here.


Photo by Frank Nurnberger- Unsplash


Portimão – Discover one of the busiest and most promising urban centres in the Algarve. With one of the world's best-known beaches, Rocha beach, Portimão focuses on sea and tourism. In the city centre, there are cultural spaces, such as the TEMPO theatre or the Portimão museum, which has several temporary and permanent exhibitions about the history of the canning food industry.

The bars and discos are very popular with people of all ages, and most of these establishments are concentrated near Rocha beach. In the same place, you will find a casino and viewpoints over the extensive sandy beach. Find your property in the area of Rocha beach, or if you prefer, in a quieter area of the city with all amenities near your home. See all the properties here.


Alvor is a small parish belonging to Portimão, with strong ties to the sea through its fishermen and shellfish gatherers. Ria de Alvor surrounds the village, a natural reserve with migratory, endemic species and sprawling wooden walkways. In this small village lives a large expat community, mainly British, German and Dutch in full harmony with the local people. Don't be surprised if in the middle of the street you hear a "Bom dia" (good morning) from someone you don't know as you can reciprocate and easily win lifelong friends. Alvor beach has a long stretch of sand and calm sea with several beach bars spread over its six kilometres. Fall in love with this charismatic village and discover its real estate opportunities here.


Photo by Tania Mousinho - Unsplash


Lagoa – It is one of the growing counties in nature tourism, with a strong tradition in the wine industry. In this area, look forward to afternoons savouring the best wines matured by the Algarve sun or long walks on the Sete Vales Suspensos walkways, overlooking a vast expanse of sea. Crafts and culture, in general, are present in the four parishes of Lagoa, in the Algarve. Here you will never lack in things to experience, be it exhibitions of emerging artists or established artists, as well as activities in the pottery of Porches. Golf is one of the sports that mark this city for having excellent courses where anyone can enjoy quality time to practice the Algarve’s king sport.


This county has one of the most sought-after parishes by Britons, known as the village of Carvoeiro. A beautiful village with whitewashed walls and Moorish style lacy chimneys, representing the heritage of our ancestors. The village centre is energetic and faces the sea. Close to Carvoeiro is the famous Benagil cave known for its majesty, thanks to the rock formations that form a kind of chimney. Fall in love with this town and with its properties for sale here.


Photo by Diana.grytsku – Freepik


Where do most expats live in the Algarve? From west to east, expats are everywhere in the Algarve. The only preference most noted is the proximity to the sea. This is a criterion that is easily solved in this region, as even those who prefer the quietness of the countryside can have the best of both worlds, with a house in a rural area and the sea just a few metres away.


One of the areas where one notices a higher incidence of expat housing is in the Western Algarve, where the cities of Lagos, Portimão, Lagoa, Albufeira, among others, are located. Barlavento is privileged by the exuberant natural beauty of the mountains, the countryside and of course, the beach. There are more traditional areas, such as the villages and towns in the interior where a few ancient traditions remain, such as making medronho brandy in an alembic, handicrafts in wickerwork, or the Monchique "scissor chairs", a legacy still preserved and left by the Romans. In addition to the quality of life in the interior, there is the coastline with its more touristy beaches, and other lesser-known beaches where nature is still intact, and the turquoise blue colour highlights the unspoilt beauty of this region. To get to know some cities in detail, read the article "Discover the Western Algarve living".


How much money do I need to retire in Portugal? Living in Portugal has a low cost of living and property is considered to be cheaper compared to other countries in Europe. It is estimated that living in Portugal has a 36% reduction in costs compared to the cost of living in the UK and 40% fewer costs when compared to the USA.

If your goal is to buy a property until July 2021, you will be able to do so through Gold Visas throughout the entire area of Portugal. After July, property purchases through Gold Visas will only be accessible to those who want to invest in the country’s interior. The minimum investment in this modality is 500 thousand euros and is also included in the residence permit in Portugal. Investing in houses in the Algarve is highly recommended, as it is an asset that will surely grow so that in the future you can sell, or who knows, maybe leave the house to future generations of your family.

The average day-to-day costs are relatively lower than in other countries of the European Union. Here are some examples of common expenses:

  • A meal in a mid-range restaurant for two people, with starters, main course, dessert and a bottle of good wine can cost around €70.
  • If you are an exercise lover and can't do without two classes a week at the gym, the price could be around €40 a month.
  • Grocery shopping is essential, and there is no way around it. The cost could be around €250 a month. After living in Portugal for some time, you will realise that the weekly markets have fresh, tasty and sometimes cheaper products than the supermarkets.



A retired couple with 20,000 euros per year will be able to have an easy life in Portugal. For other values such as transport or the monthly cost of a house, see the article "Living in Portugal - Cost of living".


How can I get permanent residence in Portugal? Before you decide to buy your dream house in Portugal, you should understand how you can get a permanent residence visa. As previously stated, the Golden Visas will change in July 2021, so if you want to invest near the Algarve coastline and receive a residence permit, you will not be able to do so after that date through these visas. There is another alternative, not so well known, which will facilitate permanent residence in Portugal. The D7 visas already existed before the Golden Visas, however, they have not yet gained the importance they should have. They are particularly simple to obtain by providing a guarantee of reasonable and constant income, while also providing a guarantee of accommodation in your own or rented home. Once accepted, you will be taxed 10% of your income. After gathering all the documentation, you can start your visa application through the online form, here.


Make your dream of buying a house in the Algarve come true! Live the best years of your retirement in a place where the sun shines 300 days a year.


Casas do Barlavento will be happy to be part of this new stage.