With at least 5.5m Brits living overseas permanently, and as many as 500,000 spending part of their time abroad, there are pockets of ex-pats all over the world. But there will always be favourites, and Portugal has certainly been in the top five since those emigrating discovered the joys of one of the longest seasons in the Mediterranean. With over 38,000 Britons living in Portugal full-time, and an additional 11,000 living there for part of the year, its charms are easily identified.

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The country has a very local identity: throughout you can see evidence that the Government is proud of the country’s heritage and keen to preserve it. Alongside this, the fresh seafood, laid back atmosphere and double digit temperatures all year round guarantee interest from those rather further north on the European map.

Most of the interest from British buyers has traditionally been in what is termed the golden triangle in the Algarve: Vale Do Lobo, Quinta Do Lago, Vilamoura, Vila Sol, Loule and their surrounding areas. These areas provide everything British sunseekers require, including miles of golden beaches, a good selection of restaurants and plenty of sport to get stuck into, from golf to tennis to horseriding.

For the would-be buyer in the Portuguese Algarve, prices are finally levelling in the more recognised areas, and off-plan developments still offer the best investment proposition, says Mary Mangan from Winkworth Portugal. You can expect prices here to be 15-40% more expensive than in the lesser developed areas to the west and east, where property prices are still increasing and you can expect less development. And even if developers do arrive in less popular areas, points out Mary, there is a policy of controlled development throughout Portugal: low density and building back from the beaches ensure that views remain unspoiled for everyone.

The Silver Coast is another area of the country which has been receiving attention of late as an antidote to the side-effects of major development in the Algarve. The coast north of Lisbon is relatively untouched and everything from the restaurants to the residents feels more typically Portuguese. Less of a seaside oriented place, those after warm seas all year round need not apply: the Atlantic can be chilly, but there are plenty of pools in the area, and the beaches get good sun for at least ten months of the year. Prices in this area are also much lower than further south, and good investment opportunities are easy to find as transport links improve, both from the Algarve and other parts of Europe.

Mary’s top tips say would-be investors should look at buying a golf-course home, and if you want to find an emerging market with guaranteed rental potential look to the western Algarve or the Silver Coast where prices can be half that of prices in the golden triangle itself.

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Portugal Algarve

algarve villa

This superb villa, offering 6 star luxury, is located within the Golden Triangle, in easy reach of golf courses, sports facilities, spas, bars and restaurants. For further information, telephone Unique Living on: +44 (0) 20 8954 3232.

Guide price: ?5,450,000

Praia Del Rey


portugal villa

Villas, town houses and apartments in the European Golf Resort of the Year. For further information, contact Praia Del Ray on + 44 (0)800 977 700.

Guide price: from £200,000

Villa near São Brás de Alportel


portugal villa

Superb quality villa, near São Brás de Alportel in the Algarve, situated on a hilltop in landscaped gardens with an “Infinity” swimming pool, this property is built to very high standards. For further information, telephone +351-289-355964.

Guide price ?1,200,000.