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19, oct 22 | Reading: 12 min.

Retirement in Portugal: what you need to know | Casas do Barlavento

Experience the golden years like no other, and make the Algarve your retirement home.


Retirement is one of the most anticipated and meaningful steps in the life of any worker. It is the moment when the professional path comes to an end, and we begin to determine our own time. To retire peacefully, plans that have matured over time must be implemented, and you may also need to step outside of your comfort zone.


If you agree with everything written so far, read on to find out how to retire in Portugal. We have answered 5 questions about retirement in Portugal.


illustrative image from the article - Retirement in Portugal: what you need to know. A retired man swings to hit a golf ball.

Photo by Centre for Ageing Better – Pexels



  1. Is Portugal a good country for retirement?

If you have ever thought about retiring in another country, you should know that Portugal is one of the top 5 best countries for retirement. From 2021 to 2022, Portugal managed to climb a place on the podium and is currently ranked 4th in the Annual Global Retirement Index 2022. This award has been given to Portugal for several years now, always in the top 10. Countries are rated based on a variety of criteria, including real estate value, social benefits, residence visas, and healthcare systems.


Portugal is a small European country with a mild climate for much of the year. The Algarve, the southernmost region, guarantees a pleasant climate all year round. Temperatures rise in the summer, attracting a large number of tourists to the region's numerous beaches. These beaches have won several awards, including "Best Beach Destination in Europe" at the World Travel Awards.


The Algarve is a particularly touristy region, popular with Europeans, but most visitors come from the UK. Every year, several families travel to the south of Portugal to enjoy the simple life, while others leave their home country to settle permanently in the Algarve. Besides the beautiful beaches, the Algarve also has less populated areas in the hills and the Barrocal region. These areas are far from the tourist centres, and therefore the tranquillity, the green landscapes, and the quality of life are the most sought-after characteristics of those who want to live here.


The best thing about living in Portugal, or more precisely in the Algarve, is the people. Since the 60s and 70s, the Algarve has attracted tourists from all over the world. As tourism is one of the most important economic sectors in the region, the people of the Algarve know how to welcome their visitors. In recent years, the number of non-habitual residents living in the Algarve has increased, making the region even more multicultural.


Portugal is a small country in size but huge in charm. If you spend your retirement travelling, you can observe the differences from region to region. Living in Portugal means constantly discovering new places, colours, scents, and tastes. For convenience, there are motorway and railway connections throughout the country. In Lisbon, Porto, the islands and the Algarve, you can travel abroad via international airports or make shorter journeys between cities. A trip from the Algarve to the north of Portugal takes only 40 minutes by plane.


Illustrative image from the article - Spending your retirement in Portugal: what you need to know. Alvor beach at the end of the day, with mist covering the beach and a lifeguard hut on the right.

Photo by Petro Ferdeshli – Pexels



  1. What is the best city to retire in Portugal?

There are many cities to live in Portugal, but if you want to spend your retirement in an Algarve city, this is the best option. The tranquil setting brings with it the heavenly notion of spending the best years of your life by the sea while sunbathing.


Do you want to know where you should spend your golden years? We present you with some Western Algarve cities:


  • Lagos

    It is a multicultural city of 33,514 thousand inhabitants divided into four municipalities. Lagos is a vibrant city full of energy that welcomes different age groups. In the historic city centre, the description of a vibrant city is clear. Gil Eanes Square hosts concerts, dance events and spontaneous theatre performances. The city also has several award-winning beaches, of which D. Ana and Meia Praia beach are the most famous. Both have extensive sandy beaches and are ideal places for families. The town has a long history linked to the time of overseas discoveries. It was also home to the naval school of Infant D. Henrique, the driving force behind Portuguese discoveries around the world. Gastronomy is rich in quality products and favours local and fresh products such as fish and seafood caught off the coast.


Lagos is also known for its seaside resorts. It is already possible to buy an apartment and spend the entire year on holiday in these pleasure resorts that cater to our visitors. This option is becoming increasingly popular, especially for people of retirement age, as it allows one to have an apartment in a privileged location with round-the-clock security and access to various facilities such as swimming pools, restaurants, gyms and spas. To learn more about this option, read the article "The best resorts to live in" or check out the latest Algarve resort properties for sale in our portfolio.


Illustrative image from the article - Spending your retirement in Portugal: what you need to know. Lighthouse of Ponta da Piedade in Lagos, Algarve.

Photo by Jakob Schlothane – Pexels



  • Portimão

    Discover one of the Algarve's liveliest and most promising urban centres. Praia da Rocha, one of the world's most famous beaches, is located on the city's coast. The Portimão marina, located next to this beach, is home to boats and sailing ships worldwide. In the city centre is the cultural centre TEMPO, dedicated to music and theatre, and the award-winning Museum of Portimão, housed in an old canning factory. This century-old institution has rooms for temporary exhibitions by various artists and a room with a permanent exhibition about the canning and dried fruit industry.


The nightlife is famous, inviting everyone from young people to pensioners to enjoy themselves in the bars by the sea. Praia da Rocha is one of the most influential nightlife areas, with a casino, some viewpoints, and quality restaurants, including one with a Michelin star.


Portimão is a diverse city with lively places and quieter spots, offering those who want to live in the Algarve the chance to enjoy the best of both worlds. Follow the latest properties for sale in Portimão in our portfolio.


an illustrative image of the article - Retirement in Portugal: what you need to know. The image shows a restaurant on the beach of Praia da Rocha on the right, a wooden walkway in the centre, and a viewpoint on the left.

Photo by Alleksana – Pexels



  • Aljezur

    One of the most peaceful places in the Algarve, lies between the region's magnificent beaches and the two mountain ranges of the Western Algarve, the Espinhaço de Cão and the Monchique mountains. The beaches are very popular with surfers who travel to this place from all over the world. Beachgoers seek out the long sandy beaches with their unspoilt, almost deserted landscapes. Sporting activities are unavoidable in this municipality due to the beaches mentioned above and the landscape's indigenous vegetation. Cycling or hiking and breathing in the fresh air are great leisure activities to spend your retirement in a relaxed way.


Buying a house in Aljezur is a good investment! Whether for living or investing in local accommodation, this is one of the most promising places to do so. Here you can live to the fullest all year round as the cost of living is low. If you want to invest in holiday accommodation, this area is busy all year round. Contact us through our website and discover the best homes in this county.


Illustrative image from the article - Spending your retirement in Portugal: what you need to know. A man surfs a wave at the end of the day.

Photo by Bert Christiaens – Pexels



The western Algarve is privileged by the lush natural beauty of the mountains, the countryside and, of course, the beach. There are more traditional areas than others, such as the inland villages and towns, where old traditions are still preserved. If you are interested in customs and traditions, you should know that here the "aguardente de medronho", the wicker baskets and the scissors chairs of Monchique are made by hand. In addition to the quality of life in the interior, there is the coast with its internationally renowned beaches and other lesser-known beaches, where nature is still intact, and the turquoise blue colour underlines the beauty of this region. Living in the Algarve is an energising experience for those who want to make the most of their retirement.


  1. What activities are available in the Algarve for retirees?

The activities are endless, and there is always something to do or visit. Here are some suggestions for activities that can and should be done in retirement in the Algarve:

  • Hiking

    As previously stated, the region has both inland and coastal areas with lush green landscapes. Hiking is a must-do activity in Costa Vicentina. There are well-marked circular hiking trails, and their GPS routes are available. Consult the map and get to know Carrapateira by walking along the sea and through breathtaking scenery. Hike and enjoy the beauty of living in the Algarve!
  • Birdwatching

    It is an activity that moves millions of people, and in Autumn, there are many who want to be in Sagres to observe the migratory birds. The passage of the birds through the skies of Vila do Bispo gave rise to a festival dedicated to birdwatching. Although local birds can be seen all year, several species pass through Sagres on their way to Africa. Learn about the Sagres Birdwatching Festival's dates and locations.


  • Golf

    In the Algarve, golf is the sport of kings! The region has high-quality courses that host various tournaments and golfers who never miss an opportunity to visit the Algarve. Due to the mild climate, it is possible to play this sport all year round in the company of friends or family. Find out where you can practise your shots on golf courses considered the best in Europe. Get to know them here.


Illustrative image from the article - Retirement in Portugal: what you need to know. A retired couple goes for a walk in the countryside.

Photo by Wedding Dreamz – Unsplash



We believe that the advantages of living in Portugal presented so far are more than enough to encourage you to spend your retirement in this country, but we want to answer two more questions:


  1. How to buy a property to live in Portugal?

Before you start looking for "houses in Portugal", you should know how the process of moving to the country works. First of all, you need a visa to live in Portugal. Do you know which visa is best for pensioners? Until 2021, the Golden Visa was the most common visa to apply for, but since January 1st 2022, the rules for issuing these visas have changed. It is now more difficult to invest with this visa in coastal cities, in Lisbon and Porto. However, there are some ways to invest in the Algarve, which we explain in this article. As an alternative to the Gold Visa, there is the D7 Visa, which most people are not aware of, but which is very effective for those who want to spend their retirement in Portugal. Here you will find all the information you need on how to apply for the D7 Visa.


Buying a property in Portugal can be quite easy if you do not need a bank loan.


  • The first step is to find out which city meets the requirements you consider essential for living in the Algarve or Portugal.


  • The second step is to determine what type of house you are looking for: an apartment or a villa. In Portugal, it is common to find the following designations "T2" or "T3" in the descriptions of houses for sale to indicate the number of bedrooms in the property. If you prefer to search on your own, the task may not be easy. Casas do Barlavento always recommends that you use a professional real estate agent. Companies close to the area of interest to buy a house have better knowledge and get better values in the properties you are looking for. Always do a thorough search for companies in the area, and if you need help in the Western Algarve, Casas do Barlavento will always be happy to help.


  • A home visit is the third step. If you are still in your home country, you can do virtual tours through the Casas do Barlavento website. Ask the real estate agent everything about the property, including the area around the house, such as access to public transport, markets, banks, the post office, and whether there is a playground or even schools nearby.



  • Once you have decided on your future home, put together the documents required for the transaction. At this point, you are assured of the real estate agent's help, leaving you the chance and thus making a quick and informed purchase.


  • Finally, your signature is required on the house deed. At this stage, the buyer, seller, and, if a bank loan is requested, a bank representative, are present. If you are applying for a bank loan to purchase the property, you must pay a deposit of 10% of the total purchase price.



  1. Do you know how to find the ideal apartment or villa?

This question is easy to answer! When looking for the ideal area for your retirement in the Algarve, you should contact a real estate agency that operates in the desired area. Do not hesitate to contact Casas do Barlavento. We operate in the Western Algarve and have been in the market for almost 20 years, helping families realise their dream of living in the Algarve.


Contact us, and spend the golden days in a paradise called Algarve!