I’ve Fallen In Love…with the Algarve.

Ok, I didn’t mean to. And I wasn’t even trying to. I was minding my own business, no that’s not completely true. I actually was trying to get away. I had decided to move north for the summer. Then, something happened. I started seeing higher prices in the areas of Lisbon, or its burbs, where I wanted to live. And I didn’t want to settle for less than the type of living situation I have now. A modern place. Near the beach. Walking distance to most every amenity. Close to public transport. Yes, I don’t notice the humidity, if I ever did (except on my hair). But that seems like a small price to pay for staying in what I believe to be the best part of Portugal. To be fair, I have not been all over Portugal yet. But, based on what I know of the major cities in the country, they don’t have everything I have here. It’s official. I’m in love with the Algarve.

Ok, sure, every area has its downfalls. Here it is the humidity (which I loathe), and the heat and crowds of the summer. But I see those issues as a way to encourage me to travel elsewhere and continue my goal of visiting all of Europe…Northern Europe at this time of year.

Originally, I thought Lisbon would be a great location for 6 months. That was before I lived in the Algarve. Now, I love my runs on the beach or pier. I’ve made friends in the area. And I’ve started to frequent some places that treat you like a local when you come in. Sure, maybe I’ve been swindled by these kind people, not yet understanding that most Portuguese would treat me the same way, even in Lisbon. But I think it’s more a matter of a small town atmosphere vs. a major metropolitan area and how people do get to know you more easily. And speaking of small town atmosphere, I guess I’ve missed the more open spaces, compared to my last European haunt, Madrid. So maybe the Algarve is my change of pace, instead of Lisbon.

While I live in an area of many high-rise apartment buildings, there is still plenty of room to roam. That may not always be the case, in the beach area, as tourism and thus, expats moving to Portugal, continue to grow. But the Lisbon area is historical. And while that makes for amazing sites and museums, it also reminds me that the devastation of 1755 could happen again, given the seemingly endless string of natural disasters occurring with alarming frequency in the world today.

I’m happy to be an American in this area. While I don’t know of all of them in the Algarve, I know there are fewer of us in this area. To help those settling here, some of us are working to put together our support. It’s important that you help those that come after you. And remember what you wished someone else would have helped you with. Or what someone did help you with. And complete that circle.

I still want to visit other areas. My next Portuguese venture is the Porto area and the Atlantic coast. I am hearing such great things that I want to experience it for myself. I’m pretty sure the winter weather will prohibit me from living there, but summers may beckon. There is plenty of this small country I still need to explore and I can’t wait to do so. But suffice it to say that as of now, the Algarve will continue to be my Portuguese hangout.

So if you are seriously looking at Portugal, give me a shout if you need help deciding where might be the best fit for you. With my ever-growing network, we can certainly help you find the area that speaks to you. And maybe even have a great time doing research for you!

Your Takeaway –  Try not to make too many assumptions before making a permanent decison about where you might want to hang your hat in Portugal. I always advise to rent first, get a feel for different areas and then decide. Even if you’ve visited several times, your circumstances may change, as they often do when making such a big move. Give yourself the flexibility to change your mind and take advantage of the area that really will be your piece of paradise!

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