The Algarve has a reputation for being a friendly, safe and scenic place to call home. Depending on where you decide to live, the effect of tourism means that there may be some English, French and Spanish spoken as well as native Portuguese.
The temperate Mediterranean climate presents the seasons, but without too much emphasis on the extremes. This means 3,000 hours or 300 days of sunshine a year and average high temperatures around 30ºC in the summer, and up to 16ºC in the winter in the winter.
The Algarve is also slightly drier than the rest of Portugal, and any rain will generally fall somewhere between November and March.
The highlight of Living in the Algarve is the coastline, focused on around 200km of golden sandy beaches, towering cliffs, iconic sheltered coves and rich sandstone that add even more warmth to beautiful sunsets.
This is a pristine stretch of coastline, with clean sand, clear water and 88 beaches proudly raising the Blue Flag. Extra character is found in the many fascinating geological formations at locations such as Nau dos Corvos, where the weathered and wave-beaten rocks form a half submerged shipwreck, and Praia dos Tres Irmaos with its arches.
The Atlantic takes on a slightly different character around Sagres, which signals a stretch of coast that will feature on any surfer’s list of destinations. The truly giant waves roll in further up the west coast, but beaches such as Praia dos Salgados offers a good combination of good waves with warmer waters.
Food is a key part of living in the Algarve, with a diet based on fresh fish and high quality ingredients served in beautiful settings. Of course, the tourism industry and overseas population drives a fast food culture and dishes ‘from home’ as well as modern international cuisine to a Michelin-Star level.
But the Algarve tenaciously holds onto its traditions, and you’re never far from an authentic beachfront restaurant or bar serving oysters, squid or grilled sardines delivered fresh from the fishing boat.
Rice dishes and rich casseroles are also menu regulars, while rich history oozes from dishes like Chicken Piri Piri, a spicy dish using chillies that were first imported to Portugal from Mozambique.
Like any tourist Mecca, the Algarve is set up to deliver fun for all, from chilling out on the beach or around the pool to whooping it up at theme parks like Zoomarine Algarve, exploring natural wonders like Ría Formosa, playing golf at one of the Algarve’s 42 courses or dancing the night away.
Residents can exploit the tourist facilities and join in the fun at resorts such as Vilamoura, the biggest marina in the country with its buzzing waterfront and endless facilities for pursuits such as golf, tennis, horse riding, shooting, fishing, gambling and even taking flying lessons.
Residents also have the time to enjoy the local traditions that remain proudly on show and explore the more rural and undiscovered areas, old towns, historic artifacts and architecture that is on offer throughout the region.