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The Algarve - Why buy here?

An introduction by David Oxendale.

Portugal, a country of around 11 million folk is steeped in history. Famed for it’s worldwide empire, seafaring discoveries, spirit of adventure and passionate people, Portugal today is a country of contrasts. From the bustling cities of Oporto and Lisbon to the villages in the Alentejo, it’s the friendly, welcoming people of Portugal that sets this country apart from its peers.

The Algarve, in the south of Portugal was famed for it’s agricultural and fishing industries, but surprisingly little was known of the Region until tourists begun to arrive in the 1960’s.

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When the era of air travel begun, the tourists came to the Algarve with good reason. The region boasts 160km of some of the finest beaches and coastlines in Europe and is bathed in 300 days of sunshine each year. Even in winter months, many towns cater for a more mature audience, where golfing, walking and cycling are popular pastimes. Compared to it’s Iberian neighbours, the Algarve (on the whole) hasn’t been commercialised and desecrated by towering hotels and apartments. Incredibly, from many tiny beaches even in August, you’d hardly believe you were in one of Europe’s top five holiday destinations.

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With the advent of the A22 / E01 motorway, visitors can now travel the length of the Algarve in little more than two hours, meaning that the Central Algarve is a maximum of 45 minutes from Faro Airport with it’s international connections, and day trips to rugged Sagres in the west or relaxed Tavira and Castro Marim on the borders of Spain are a quick and very easy drive; even in peak season.

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For those looking for city life, fast and frequent ‘pendolino’ trains operate from stations across the central Algarve, with a journey time to Lisbon in less than 2h30m.

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Following the banking crisis of 2008, the region and the wider country is now in recovery and is vehemently looking forward to a brighter future. High speed internet connections are now commonplace across The Algarve and the mobile telephone network is truly world-class, allowing you to stay as well connected as you want to be.

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The region is also home to a huge variety of shops, from independent corner stores to giant hypermarkets. In the central Algarve, you’re never too far away from fresh fruit, amazing freshly caught fish or delicious tasty sweet delicacies such as Pastel de Nata. Whichever you choose for breakfast, lunch or dinner, you’ll find costs of living less expensive than in most northern european countries and dining out with a good house wine is actually a regular occurrence rather than an exception.

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From experience, buying and selling property in the Algarve is not dissimilar to the UK and other northern European markets, and actually the Portuguese systems operate in an ‘all connected’ environment, so once your home is registered to you, your absolutely know it’s yours!

Finding Cerro Novo was a big plus for us and emigrating to the Algarve was made much easier by the contacts provided by the team in their offices. Whilst learning the language, and taking on the challenges of living in a new country can be daunting, the communities of the central Algarve are welcoming. We’re trying to learn a few words and regularly challenge our Portuguese neighbours not to make it easy by speaking in English, but it’s good to know people aren’t too far away who can understand you!

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My thoughts are simple; whether you’re buying for short breaks, family holidays or for an investment, you should talk to your agent about your expectations for now and the future and that will help them find you the perfect property and in the perfect location to fit your needs.

Funnily enough, we started by buying a great apartment, with lush gardens and a pool with large windows, but after our first summer, we quickly understood why traditional Portuguese houses have smaller windows and less rooms focused on then setting summer sun! Buy to the lifestyle you’re likely to want now and well into the future and you’ll not go far wrong.

We’ve loved our journey to a new life in the sun and hope that we’ll be living and working in this paradise for many more years, and that next time you read an article from myself or see us on Channel 4’s ‘A Place in the Sun’, we’ll be able to speak more of the language and have further integrated ourselves into this fascinating and welcoming country.

Best wishes on one of the most exciting journeys of your life!

David