Portugal on the Rise

Portugal looks to be experiencing something of a mini-boom this winter, in contrast to the generally rather slack markets in much of the rest of Europe. Interest in both sales and lettings has risen sharply, according to local estate agency Infinito Real. The agency said they took three times as many bookings for viewings in November 2011 than they did in November 2010, and ten times as many in December. Added to that, the holiday rental market in Portugal is healthy, with an increase in tourists visiting the country last summer of up to 45%.

With its long winters, sunny coastline and cheap property, Portugal could be a great place to buy (but don’t forget to make sure you get good overseas buildings insurance to keep yourself protected). But where to buy?

The Algarve or Alentejo

The Algarve is the best known of Portugal’s regions, and the centre of its holiday industry. The Algarve includes some major resorts such as Albufeira, but also plenty of smaller towns and traditional villages. The Algarve is the sunniest place in mainland Europe.

Additionally, Alentejo is just north of the Algarve, but very different. It is sparsely populated, and while it’s not known as a holiday destination, it could be perfect for anyone looking to buy a home off the beaten track.

Lisbon or Coimbra

The Lisbon region has much to offer with its varied landscape which includes both mountain landscapes and elegant beach resorts.

Meanwhile, Coimbra is a lush, green region with historic towns and cities, some great beaches and a small skiing industry in the mountains.

Porto, Madeira or the Azores

Porto is situated in the northern area of Portugal and much of it is unspoilt and popular with tourists looking for outdoor activities such as hiking. It’s also the centre of Portugal’s wine industry.

Madeira is a stunning Atlantic island and has been a favourite of discerning holidaymakers for many years. What it lacks in beaches it more than makes up for in dramatic cliffs and beautiful views.

The Azores, on the other hand, are a collection of volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean. They have their own distinct culture, climate and cuisine, and could be a winner for property investors.

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