Giulia Taiocchi is a 26-year-old from Bergamo, Italy. A year ago, after extended travels in India, Giulia decided to make Sagres, Portugal, her home. She’s a certified yoga instructor and is supporting herself through daily yoga lessons.
“Sagres is the perfect setting for the lifestyle I want to live,” Giulia explains. “This place is beautiful and serene… almost otherworldly…”
Lucia Roca is a 29-year-old from Barcelona, Spain. She, too, was drawn to this region of Portugal by the peaceful, tranquil, healthy environment it offers.
“I decided city life wasn’t for me, so I left a good job in advertising to follow my dreams and my passion for surfing,” Lucia says.
“Diet is really important to me, as well,” Lucia continues. “I believe food is medicine for the body.”
Thirty-six-year-old Nick Mattia is from Sheffield, England. Nick has lived and worked all over the world but decided six years ago to settle in Portugal. A former geography teacher, Nick has also worked in television production, videography, and as a photographer for companies like the Extreme Sports Channel, Showfix.tv, and Spotify.
Two years ago Nick cofounded Coworksurf in Sagres with fellow surfer Joe Sharp. This co-working community and accommodation project aims to facilitate the digital nomad lifestyle around the world.
Choosing Sagres, Portugal, is not just choosing a place to live; it’s choosing a lifestyle.
This is the acknowledged “end of the world,” the most southwestern point of Europe. The sound of the sea is ever-present, and everywhere is the vast deep-blue ocean horizon.
Growing Expat Community
A second defining factor of life in Sagres is the expat community. It’s diverse, welcoming, and growing.
Sagres is both a natural treasure and one of the few regions in Portugal where you see more expats than locals.
Speak with any of these expats, and they’ll tell you a similar story. They came to Sagres for the connection with nature, the relaxed energy all around, and the sense you have living here of leaving your cares behind. People come to Sagres for peace of mind and an escape from the fuss and trouble of today’s world.
Expats here are of all ages. Many have left promising careers in marketing, management, etc., and have made the move from some of the biggest urban areas in Europe and beyond. They’ve chosen to settle in this small village of fishermen with an ancient history of sailing and pirate tales, because, as they’ll put it if you ask, “here you don’t have to care what car you’re driving.”
Unlike the rest of the Algarve coast, the weather isn’t a top draw for Sagres. This point of land surrounded by crashing surf is windy all the time and chilly at night. The sun shines often and there’s little rain, but the sky changes almost every second… from bright rays of light to a dark haze and back again in a blink…
Neither is this the most accessible point in Portugal. The airport at Faro is 115.9 kms away. Expats and retirees who choose Sagres see that as a virtue. They appreciate being removed from the hustle, bustle, and construction taking place elsewhere along this coast. Here in Sagres, development is low-key and very low-density. There are no high-rises, only small typical houses. In every direction you look from any point you’re able to see to the horizon.
Most expats report that they’re living on budgets of 700 to 800 euros per month, including rent of 350 to 400 euros monthly. For that, you’re renting a one- or two-bedroom house in the city center with water, gas, and electricity included.
The city center and Raposeira, a small village near Vila do Bispo about 10 minutes’ drive from Sagres, are the two most popular areas among expats. To find a rental in either place you’ll have to search locally and that search will be a great introduction to life in this part of the world. You’ll find that everyone you speak with will go out of his way to help you find what you’re looking for.
Paradise For Digital Nomads
The employment scene is limited to seasonal hospitality jobs, but that’s not what interests most people who choose to settle in Sagres. A community of digital nomads has emerged here. These expats work on their online businesses part of each day and spend the rest of their time enjoying the natural wonderland all around them.
While historically expats have spent only part of each year in Sagres—typically February through November—and traveled elsewhere in Portugal or Europe or “back home” for December, January, and February, this has begun to change.
Used to be, most restaurants and businesses would close or shorten their opening hours for the winter months. However, this year, every expat I know is staying put through the winter. It seems the destination has evolved thanks to the community that has adopted it.
One barrier living here could be the language… though, again, this is changing. Little English is spoken among the older Portuguese in this part of the country. However, locals aged 40 and younger speak English well, and, of course, the vibrant and expanding expat community communicates in English.