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The Algarve, Portugal

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Portugal's Algarve Region

This Old World region on the Atlantic Ocean is the best place in the world to retire that nobody’s talking about. The Algarve, Portugal has been named the best retirement spot for 3 years in a row.

This is a land of cobblestoned streets and whitewashed houses. With lace-patterned chimneys, surrounded everywhere by fig, olive, almond, and carob trees. The Algarve also offers great weather, with 3,300 hours of sunshine per year. So, more sunny days than almost anywhere else in Europe.

The Algarve’s 100 miles of Atlantic coastline is full of jagged rock formations, lagoons… and extensive sandy beaches. Many awarded coveted Blue Flags from the European Blue Flag Association. Also, the region boasts 42 golf courses in less than 100 miles. It’s generally recognized as a top golfing destination in continental Europe… and the world.

The Algarve has a reputation as a top summer destination among European sun-seekers. Also, as a top winter retreat for those looking to escape Northern Europe’s coldest months. Health care is international-standard in this part of the world. Hence medical tourism is a growing industry.

Expats In The Algarve, Portugal: A Retirement Haven

Portugal’s Algarve is home to more than 100,000 resident foreign retirees. Algarve is a safe region, with very little crime and a laid-back lifestyle for expatriates. This destination caters to families and retirees. Due to the wide variety of cultural, nature-based, sporting, gastronomic, and other activities.

Algarve is the chosen retirement destination for more than 100,000 resident expats from around the world. Because it has Europe’s best beaches, best golf courses, and one of the friendliest folk.

You could join the many expats who gather for tennis at the Carvoeiro tennis club. Carvoeiro also has a well-stocked book exchange to trade in books they have read for new titles. Many retired expatriates become involved in local community or charity work… there is no shortage of opportunities to contribute to society and make a real impact. While also help you integrate faster into local culture.

Making friends is easy, both with the locals and the expatriates.

To speak English is common in the country. Because of Portugal’s strong historic and cultural links with England. This is true throughout the entire country. But especially in the Algarve, Portugal… making this an ideal retirement spot.

Eastern Algarve

The central Algarve, between Faro and Lagos has become popular in the last few years. Yet, eastern Algarve remains unspoiled, and all the better for it. Prices are lower and the life here is more traditional and authentic.

While not as lively as the central Algarve, it is ideal for anyone who enjoys the simple pleasures of good food. Also fantastic scenery and a relaxed pace of life. Artists and small business owners love it here. They have been opening boutique businesses such as hotels, restaurants and craft stores.

Prices have been increasing. But are still well behind what you would pay in the more developed regions to the west.


This fishing port is close to Faro, about 10 minutes by car or train. It has become a favorite haunt of creative types and bohemians. This is a small town of approximately 40,000. What was once a quiet fishing village is now the busiest fishing port in the Algarve.

Needless to say, the fresh fish is delicious. Hence why there are some excellent, traditional, Portuguese fish restaurants.

As in Spain, people have a deep respect for the importance of lunch hours. Lunch time is between 1 pm and 3 pm. Keep a close eye on your watch as you will not get served outside these times. Head down to the Ria Formosa for a stunning view across the marshes while you enjoy your meal.

Look up restaurants in Portugal here.

Olhao is a short boat ride away from the Islands of Culatra  Armona and Farol. The islands have plenty of natural beauty. All with different birds wading along the shore as well as tide pools to explore. The water can be chilly, but is perfect for cooling off after time spent under the hot sun.

Olhao has a famous market which is only open on Saturdays. Located near to the harbor you will find fresh fruit and vegetables, local meats, cheeses… and alcohol alongside the ever present seafood. It’s a great way to take in Portuguese life. As well as a way to eat cheap, local, produce which will help your waistline and your bank balance.

If fresh seafood and produce is your thing, Olhao in Algarve, Portugal, will be meet your retirement standards.


Tavira is an historic town which bridges both banks of the River Gilao. The town dates back to pre-Roman times. Architectural influences include Islamic and Phoenician alongside Roman and traditional Portuguese.

The whitewashed buildings from these different styles give the town a unique feel. Once you step away from the waterfront, where fishermen sell their catch and boats come and go… the feel of the town is slow and sleepy.

Tavira castle tower provides a panoramic view across the town and is a great place to take photos. The anchor graveyard on Barril Beach is a tribute to the regions fishing history. It makes for an unusual and eerie photo opportunity.

Tavira has lots of churches to visit. This includes the medieval Church of Carmo and the Church of Santiago. Which was built on the site of an ancient mosque. The historic center was rebuilt after a huge earthquake in 1755.

The architecture here is different to a lot of the surrounding areas. If all this seems to be right on your lane, this town in Algarve, Portugal, is where your retirement could take place.

Evenings revolve around good food and good drink. Fine Cataplana restaurants serve Portuguese specialty seafood and rice dish. The Portuguese cook this in a copper pan. The local wine is an excellent and very inexpensive accompaniment.

Vila Real De Santo Antonio

Vila Real de Santo Antonio is one of Portugal’s earliest examples of urban planning. Built after an earthquake in 1755. It also decimated the central square in Tavira.

Santo Antonio has long been strategically important to the Portuguese. This is because the river it is built on serves as the border with Spain. The two countries have not always had the best relationship. Hence why strong fortresses in Santo Antonio were essential.

The town is especially popular with Portuguese tourists. And often overlooked by British and other European and American travelers. River cruises which sail up and down the Guadiana are a popular way of spending a few hours. You can find plenty of boats for hire. Each with different package deals to best suit the experience you are looking for. Most journeys involve stops along the way at quiet villages where you can grab an ice cream or cold drink.

The most striking building is the Farol de Vila Real de Santo Antonia. Built in 1923, it is still functioning today. Visitors can climb the stairs (or take the lift) to the summit on a Wednesday afternoon. From there you’ll get to see a spectacular view across the bay and sparkling sea.

Vila Real de Santo Antonia has some pristine blue flag beaches and. Praia Verde and Praia de Monte Gordo are the pick of them. The water here is much warmer than in other parts of Portugal. Because it’s close enough receive the warmer waters flowing from the Mediterranean.

Both beaches have lifeguards throughout the summer months as well as other amenities. Such as beach chairs and nearby restaurants and bathrooms. This place in Algarve, Portugal, is the perfect place for retirement.

Read more: Real Estate In Portugal

Climate In The Algarve

The Algarve has the best climate in Europe, meaning the most days of sun, and it also gains from prevailing winds. Between the water and the wind, this region is never unbearably hot and rarely humid.

Temperatures range between about 60°F and 90°F with humidity hovering around 80%. There are no hot or cold months here, but January and February are the coolest, July and August the warmest.


Lagoa is an artistic hub. It’s home to a musical academy, a cultural academy, and an arts center. Also, Portugal’s principal foreign newspaper, The Portugal News. The musical academy has an active orchestra with musicians ages 8 to 65.

Throughout the year there are open-air jazz and classical concerts, most free. Experience jazz at Lagoa’s Sitio das Fontes and local youth concerts at the Lagoa Auditorium. The Arade Congress Centre is the place to come for special events. From a motorcar launch to a performance by the Russian ballet… or the finals of the World Dance Championships.

Cost Of Living In The Algarve

The Algarve, Portugal, is the best retirement option in Western Europe for the retiree on a budget. The cost of living in Portugal is among the lowest in Western Europe. On average 30% lower than in any other country on the Continent. A retired couple could live in Algarve modestly on a budget of as little as 1,099 euros per month. With a budget of 1,780 euros per month or more, you could enjoy an appointed lifestyle in the heart of Old Europe.

Read more: Health Care In Portugal

Apartment or House Ownership Budget (for a couple)

Expense ItemCostNotes
MortgageN/ANot included here as too variable.
HOA Fees€ 67-100800 euros to 1,200 euros average per year.
Property Taxes€ 42 500 euros average per year.
Electricity € 100
Gas€ 50For cooking and hot water
Logs for Fire€ 50
Internet and Cable tv € 55Package with internet and calls
Cell Phone€ 35
Groceries€ 320-400 Basic items for couple.
Entertainment€ 398 Eating out twice a week at a mid-range, local restaurant 40 per couple per meal out

Drinks twice a week at a nearby watering hole (beer: 1.50 euros; glass of wine: 2.50 euros; bottle of wine: 12 euros)

Movie theater trip twice a month (tickets: 3.50 euros per person)
Medical Appointment € 4.50-75Basic clinic/GP visit using National Centro de Saude: 4.50 euros (3.50 euros for prescription)

Private appointment without insurance: 50 to 75 euros
Household Help € 300 Two five-hour visits, twice a week monthly (paid at 7.50 euros per hour)
Gym Membership€ 50 Once a week visit.
House Insurance€ 40 480 average per year.
Total € 1,786-1,970

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

Penny-Pincher’s Budgets (for a couple, bare minimum costs)

Rent€ 400 Cheapest part of town (still desirable), most basic rental.
Public Transportation€ 40 Bus ticket: 4 to 5 euros; monthly pass: 40 euros.
Gas€ 35-40 For cooking and hot water.
Electricity€ 65 More if using heating or air conditioning
Water€ 30
Cable/Phone/Internet bundle € 78 TVMucho annual subscription. Wi-Fi but no cable; internet TV only.
Entertainment € 204 Two “prato do dia” lunches for two per week; walking in the park or beach are free.
Food € 70
TOTAL€942 Monthly expenses for a couple.

Map of The Algarve, Portugal

Get Your Free​ ​​Portugal Report Today!

​Learn more about ​​PORTUGAL ​​​and other countries in our free, daily Overseas Opportunity Letter​​​​​​​​​. Simply enter your email address below and we’ll send you our FREE REPORT: ​​Portugal — The World’s Number #1 Retirement Haven

FREE REPORT – The Algarve, Portugal—The World’s Number #1 Retirement Haven

Learn more about PORTUGAL and other countries in our free, daily Overseas Opportunity Letter. Simply enter your email address below and we’ll send you your FREE report!