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East Algarve OR West Andalusia

Over two weeks we are comparing at the attractions of the neighbouring regions of the East Algarve and West Andalusia for overseas property investors.

Last week we looked at West Andalusia, this week we turn to the East Algarve.

East Algarve

British overseas property invests are attracted to the East Algarve for its low-key beach resorts, a traditional lifestyle and value for money.

It’s somewhere Portuguese families from Lisbon and Porto like to holiday, without having to rub shoulders with the crowds of foreigners that fill the larger, more international resorts further west.

The East Algarve is all about local. Local culture, local food, and local prices. While the area has expanded over recent years, the ban on building high-rise apartments in the Ria Formosa nature reserve area has helped it retain a natural charm.

Faro airport is the main gateway to the area: it is 25 minutes from Tavira and 40 minutes from the bridge over the Guadiana river and the Spanish border.

East Algarve Destinations

Vila Real de Santo António, located on the banks of the Guadiana, is a traditional white town that’s predominantly residential, centred around a lovely big square.

Angela Worrall at Ideal Homes Portugal commented: ‘It’s especially nice at Christmas when they have markets. And you can get the small ferry across the river to Ayamonte on the Spanish side. People don’t realise how different the two countries are. As soon as you get over the border you know you’re in Spain. It is nice to go just for a change.’

Given the easy access over the border, it’s not unusual for boat owners in the Algarve to use marinas on the Spanish side, where mooring fees are typically cheaper.

Next to Vila Real is Monte Gordo, a small, touristy beach resort with a collection of complexes, but for more picturesque options head west a few kilometres. Part of the old town of Vila Nova de Cacela, Manta Rota is a lovely beach village with 22 kilometres of direct access to Blue Flag beaches and good facilities, including restaurants.

In the Tavira area, there are the two fishing villages of Cabanas and Santa Luzia, the latter being well known for its octopus dishes.

Closer to Olhão is Fuseta, one of few places in the area where you can walk straight on to a beach without having to get a boat across the lagoon. While Tavira is a lovely old town, suited to year-round living.

East Algarve Property

While still cheaper than the long-established Western Algarve, the East Algarve is starting to see property prices catch up.

Villas located five-to-ten minutes from the beach are especially popular with buyers relocating there, with prices starting from about €300,000. The equivalents further west might be €400,000.

For a two-bedroom apartment near to the beach, budget from €160,000 to €220,000, depending on whether it is a resale or a new-build. Townhouses are typically between €250,000 and €300,000, depending on location.

Better value can still be found slightly inland. For example, in Vila Nova de Cacela, you can find apartments or villas for slightly lower prices. On average, it’s €130,000 – €190,000 for two-bed apartments and between €200,000 and €500,000 for villas, depending on location and whether it comes with land or a pool.

East Algarve Rental Returns

As in all of Portugal, holiday lets in the East Algarve must by law have a rental licence (known as an alojamento local or AL). To be granted an AL, properties must meet certain health and safety standards.

For maximum occupancy, buy as close to the beach as possible. In one of the beach resorts, such as Manta Rota, Altura, Monte Gordo or Cabanas, you should expect good rentals from June to September.

If the property is well equipped for the winter, for example, it has wi-fi, access to foreign TV channels and air-con with a heating function then the out-of-season longer-term bookings are also good. Tavira is very popular for rentals at any time of the year.

The southern Iberian coast is forever popular, so whichever you choose out of the East Algarve or West Andalusia you are sure of a great experience.

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