Last Updated on Friday, 31 July 2015 15:06
Written by Site Administrator
Most people looking for property outside of the Algarve, along Portugal's Silver Coast or inland central Portugal are doing so because they want to experience and live in 'Real' Portugal. Does this sound like you? You don't want to be in the hustle and bustle or the Algarve
or the cold hills of the North.
These are not touristic articles but pages of information about the real, pure, Portugal. About towns and cities and what they each have to offer residents. About Hospitals and Health centres, schools and colleges; what are the local specialities and customs, and where they are in relation to other towns, cities and regions. Each article has information about transport links, geography and lots more.
We are still writing these articles so please bookmark this page and come back soon to find out more about pure Portugal.
Let's start with some basic information about Portugal for anyone considering buying property in Portugal.
Portugal is known worldwide for its’ golden beaches and extensive Golf Courses in the Algarve
, but the country has so much more to offer.
Geography of Portugal
Mainland Portugal covers 89,015 km² and has a population of 10,555, 853 (2011 census). It is in the south-west of Europe in the Iberian Peninsula and is the westernmost country in Europe.
The Portuguese Republic, (República Portuguesa) has 7 Regions, 5 on the mainland North
, plus the autonomous island regions of Madeira and the Azores.
The coast of Portugal is surrounded by sandy beaches, most notably on the Algarve and the Silver Coast. Heading from North to South in the interior you will find how much variety there is, first the mountainous North converges into the fertile Douro Valley, famous for it's Port production.
The central region has mountains and large reservoirs / lakes, with the landscape gradually getting lower as you head south. The Alentejo is famed for is flat, fertile agricultural plains and vineyards. As you get closer to the southern Alentejo you find a range of hills that travel from Spain to the Atlantic Coast, and then you drop down into the Algarve, which is mostly sandy, south coast beaches.
A Brief History of Portugal
Portugal has a long, chequered history with its borders changing as far back as prehistoric times. It was integrated into the Roman Republic and then overthrown by the Moors in the 8th century.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Portuguese pioneered sea travel; this time is known as the Age of Discovery. Portugal established a global empire (the first official global Empire in history) including conquests in Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America; they became one the world’s major political, economic and military powers and also the longest lived of the European colonial empires.
The Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 cost the Portuguese a lot, financially, as all the major cities had to be re-built. The Portuguese Empire was also greatly reduced following the independence of Brazil, in the 19th century.
The 1910 Revolution saw the royal family deposed and the establishment of the First Portuguese Republic. This was superseded by the dictatorship of Salazar which continued until The Carnation Revolution of 1974.
Living in Portugal
Portugal is a developed country with much of the Tourism in the Algarve, in the south of the country, although the Silver Coast in the Central Portugal
Region and Northern
regions are becoming more popular.
In all regions, away from the tourist areas, you can be ‘whisked’ back to the old days where everyone speaks to their neighbours and the young as well as the old have traditional values. Family is very important to the Portuguese and most Sundays the extended family will gather for a big family meal.
There are many very different areas for such a small country, which means that whatever you are looking for you will find it here. If you are looking for the Expat life in the popular Algarve Golf Resorts then Albufeira, Portimao or Lagos might be for you. But from that end of the scale Portugal has every step along the way to living in the interior of central Portugal. For example Arganil or Gois in the foothills of the Serra de Estrela mountains, where you can still buy a piece of land or a ruin for a few thousand euros and live ‘off grid’ producing your own electric and food in a sustainable way, in some of the most beautiful lands in Europe.
Portugal is a very peaceful country, which generally manages to stay out of major world conflicts. It is a member of the European Union and the United Nations, as well as a founding member of the Latin Union, the Organization of Ibero-American States, OECD, NATO, Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the Eurozone and the Schengen Agreement.
The Portuguese Economy
The currency is the Euro (€).
It is well reported that Portugal is currently in economic crisis but so are many developed countries. Portugal elected a new government in 2011 and they are tackling the economic problems with the help of financial assistance from the EU and IMF. Portugual successfully exited the 'Bail Out' in May 2014 and its economy is starting to show signs of growth.
Property prices were subdued up to mid 2014, but now in 2015 they are starting to rise. With the strong GBP in early 2015 there has been an upturn in the property market. 2015 is good time to be looking at buying property in Portugal. Whether you are planning to buy a holiday home, investment property or looking to re-locate you should look very seriously at Portugal.
Health and Schools
Portugal has a State Health system that entitles all ‘residents’ to basic healthcare. Although in some areas there is a shortage of family doctors, you will still get medical treatment at your local Health Centre when you need it.
There is a good schools system here, where education
is now compulsory for age 6 to 18, and many new schools have been built in recent years. There are universities in most big cities and colleges in all major towns. In the Algarve and around Lisbon and Porto you will also find International Schools that teach in English or other languages.