Expats have been moving to the Algarve for decades for the abundance of warm sunshine, the top-class seafood and the slower pace of life. Located on the southern coast of Portugal, rich valleys and picturesque beaches have made this region an especially popular choice for retirees, as well as those looking to ditch the rat race for a more relaxed lifestyle.
Living in the Algarve as an expat
Life in the Algarve runs at a slower pace. Its pleasant climate and beautiful natural scenery allow residents to enjoy a wonderful and varied outdoors lifestyle. There are thousands of foreigners in the area, as well as plenty of locals, some of whom can be very traditional in their beliefs. Expats who make the effort to integrate with their local community and learn the language are usually welcomed with open arms, though.
That being said, expats moving to the Algarve should be cautioned about the scarcity of work opportunties in the region, especially for those who don't speak Portuguese. Some degree of culture shock is also likely, especially when it comes to the glacial pace at which life is lived. The other downside to be aware of is that the Algarve, particularly the central area, gets extremely busy in July and August. Residents often comment that it feels like a completely different place at these peak times.
Expat families and children
World-class private hospitals and international schools suitable for expats and their kids are scattered around the region, and state options exist too. It should be noted that the public institutions are comparable to the facilities offered by other European countries, and can be inconsistent in quality. Whether or not an expat is eligible to use these facilities depends on their personal situation and where they're moving from, so thorough research is always required.
Cost of living in the Algarve
One of the main benefits of living in the Algarve is its reasonable cost of living, especially when compared to other European destinations and large Portuguese cities like Lisbon. Accommodation is reasonably priced, as is transport. Getting around the region is straightforward and inexpensive, facilitated by the abundance of low-cost airlines that fly in from other European destinations.
Climate in the Algarve
The Algarve's Mediterranean climate is easily one of its best attributes, and the area's gorgeous landscape and glittering beaches offer the perfect environment to enjoy the abundance of sunshine. Mild winters and warm summers offer pleasant conditions year round.
Life in the Algarve can feel like an endless holiday at times. While the novelty may eventually wear off, there's no denying that the beauty of the area is a fantastic balm to the ups and downs of everyday life.
"I love the markets, the fresh vegetables and how nice and laid-back the people are." Read more of Sarah's expat experience in the Algarve.
Are you an expat living in The Algarve?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to The Algarve. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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