Low living costs in the Algarve attract expat retirees

Published:  15 Jun at 6 PM
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Portugal’s Algarve region has been popular with British expats for decades, but few nowadays realise it’s also a great place for retirement due to its low cost of living.

Retirees searching for a cost of living which won’t break the bank could well be forgiven for not considering the Algarve as they assume an EU member state boasting decent weather and amenities wouldn’t suit their financial needs. For the majority of European destinations, this might well be true, but the Algarve is the exception which proves the rule as it offers an ideal lifestyle at a price more suited to a developing country somewhere in Asia.

Would-be expat retirees researching the region will be surprised to find rental apartments costing as little as 500 euros monthly, and a 700 euro monthly expenditure will buy a larger condo verging on luxury as regards fixtures and fittings. Add an average monthly expenditure of around 800 euros on food, services, meals out, transport and social events, and a more than comfortable retirement can be had for around 1,300 euros a month or even less.

This budget buys the good life without having to make do or scrape for pennies at the end of each month and set in a charming region offering plenty of activities as well as affordable evenings out with friends at local eateries. Even in tourist haunts such as the historic city of Lagos with its lively old town and main square, cafes and restaurants charge sensible prices for good food. The Algarve’s weather is rarely too hot or too cold, meaning electricity bills aren’t overloaded by aircon and heating appliances, and many properties come with fireplaces to take the slight chill off winter mornings and evenings.

Internet, phone and TV services are usually bundled into one payment of around 75 euros monthly, and your electricity bill, including aircon if it’s a must-have, will be around the same. Budgeting for food, including meals out when cooking is too much of a chore, can be done at around 200 euros a month, with avoiding the obviously tourist-aimed eateries cutting it down still further. Outdoor activities such as exploring historic towns and wandering in the countryside or along the Atlantic beaches cost nothing, and ancient castles, museums and the like charge just three euros for admission.

If you’ve a home to sell in the UK, buying a property in the Algarve cuts your monthly expenses by whatever a rental would cost as well as giving security and the feeling you’re there to stay. Homes are relatively inexpensive, meaning you should be able to purchase and still have a nest egg to fall back on. Perhaps the only problem with moving to Portugal is that the language is one of the hardest in the world to learn, but English is widely spoken and your mangled efforts will be appreciated by the locals!
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