The Best Choice For Living, Retiring, And Investing On Portugal’s Algarve Coast
“Of the many towns and villages along Portugal’s Algarve coast, Carvoeiro is the nicest.”
That’s how the property agent we met with yesterday afternoon began the conversation. You could be tempted to dismiss her position on Carvoeiro, discounting it as propaganda meant to help promote the town where this agent makes her living selling real estate. Except this agent is an expat herself, originally from Romania, who chose not only Portugal’s southern coast, but Carvoeiro specifically, when she decided to relocate and reinvent her life.
“I traveled all over Southern Europe and all along the coast of the Algarve, considering many different options for where to move,” she explained. “I chose Carvoeiro because it has a homey feel.
“Carvoeiro is nothing like Albufeira to the east, with its high-rises and packaged tours. In Albufeira, the tourists are rowdy. They drink too much… they get into fights with each other. We have none of that in Carvoeiro. Life is much quieter and calmer here. We have nightclubs, too, and great restaurants. You can go out at night and have a good time, but you don’t have to worry about anyone causing any trouble. It’s safe here… peaceful.”
Low-rise Carvoeiro is a destination for all ages. Families with young children play on the beach, older couples hold hands as they meander through the small town center, and young ladies take the sun topless, as is the custom in this part of the world. But for that last segment of the demographic, you could imagine this a Euro-Mayberry by the beach.
Albufeira to the east is this coast’s party town. Lagos to the west is a walled city with some of its original Roman walls and fort intact. I like history and old buildings, so, if I were looking for a place to live on this coast, Lagos would tempt me. In the center’s old-town heart, you can find aged apartments with tall, shuttered windows and classic-style moldings and other finishings. These are in limited supply, and property agents aren’t interested in talking about them. You’d need to seek them out on your own, on the ground. The reward would be a little piece of history in one of the most historically important regions of Europe and the world.
For, in the Middle Ages, this region was believed to be the end of the world. Specifically, the town of Sagres, a bit to the west, situated on the point of this wedge of earth, was highlighted on ancient maps as the Promonturium Sacrum… the end of the known world, beyond whose sheer cliffs lie only the uncertainties of the ocean.
Six-hundred years ago, bold men from this cape conceived and constructed sailing vessels that, they hoped, would allow them to face the open Atlantic and navigate successfully toward the unknown. Henry the Navigator built a fortress here that is worth a look today.
All things considered, though, I agree with the property agent we spent time with yesterday afternoon. While I’m personally drawn to the centuries-old buildings of central Lagos and while other towns along this coast, including Sagres, are worth visiting, Carvoeiro is the most sensible choice for where to spend your time and money.
Specifically, Carvoeiro would be the place to buy an apartment for rental. Property prices are higher in Carvoeiro than in Lagos and other nearby towns, but rental prices and occupancy rates are higher, too. Peak season is June through September, and you should have no trouble keeping an apartment rented during those four months. One apartment we looked at, priced at 165,000 euros, would rent for 1,000 euros per month in season, meaning you could achieve a reasonable return renting those four months only. You could have use of the place the other eight months of the year yourself if you wanted.
Or you could continue to rent it out. We’ve been assured there’s rental demand here outside the summer season, thanks to the many golf courses, which attract golfers year-round.
Lief and I are off now for more property viewing. I’ll pick up here tomorrow…
Continue Reading: Readers Planning To Retire To Algarve, Portugal