The Atlantic Ocean’s waves crash against Portugal’s shoreline year-round. But travelers’ favorite time is summer when waves as warm bathwater hug its southern and western coasts. Portugal boasts a climate of largely sunny days, but the high season – June to August – is its liveliest time.
Friendly people, safety, and a low cost of living draw international visitors to Portugal for entertainment, relaxation and, increasingly, emigration. Each season brings a gift: Carnaval blasts off in February, spring blooms unfurl in April, and bird-watching lands in October.
Summer sends vacationers to cafés’ terraces, open-air concerts, and street markets. From June to August, the high season, surfing and horseback riding perk up on Portugal’s 850 kilometers of beaches.
Luis Horta e Costa, a Portugal native and co-founder of the property development company Square View, well knows the country’s cities, coast and countryside inside. A longtime property developer, he brings architecture to this small country on the Iberian Peninsula.
Grand resorts, award-winning golf courses, fine dining, and luxury shopping enhance the Algarve beaches that hug the southern coast. The Algarve region, Known for getting more than 300 sunny days a year, is Portugal’s top summer destination.
Horta e Costa prefers a less popular spot than the Algarve. In the summer, he heads to the small village of Melides in the rustic wine region of Alentejo.
“Melides is a fantastic place,” he says. “I think it is beautiful.”
Horta e Costa’s family has maintained a Melides vacation home for nearly three decades. With his Square View partners, Horta e Costa is developing a boutique resort with a sea view that will resemble a centuries-old villa. The peerless location serves surfing, kitesurfing, horseback riding, and more.
During the summer, visitors dash to the Algarve’s beaches to nosh on first-rate cuisine, play golf, surf, and go boating. While the Algarve’s beaches are the most populated, Portugal’s quaint villages entice those who prefer a slower pace.
Horta e Costa works from the Square View office in Lisbon, Portugal’s capital and largest city, when not at the seashore. He admires Lisbon’s culture and ancient buildings because, in his opinion, “History is very important in our lives.”
Compared with similar destinations in Europe, Portugal’s beach-town prices are affordable. The travel publication International Living reports that food is inexpensive because natives grow produce and grains locally, and abundant seafood is reeled in from the Atlantic Ocean. Wine is cheap in this country known for producing Port wine.
International Living, reporting on Europe since 1979, reveals that meals in Portugal’s interior villages can cost a mere $5. In cities and coastal towns, meals peak at around $12.
Luis Horta e Costa says that despite the inexpensive restaurant bills, “The quality of the services is increasing a lot.”
No matter where visitors travel, Portugal’s positive traits captivate. Residents are known for their welcoming natures, making it a favorite destination for vacationers and emigrants. The busy beach towns of the Algarve draw people from the UK and worldwide, making it easy to find English speakers. European tourists can quickly reach the Algarve (less than three hours from the UK by air).
Luis Horta e Costa says, “Portugal is attractive because of the people, cost of living, safety, and weather.”
People of all skin colors, ethnicities, and nationalities move to or visit Portugal, composing a welcoming melting pot. With some of the best weather in Europe, it’s no wonder that so many expats have succumbed to the country’s charms.
Safety is another benefit for people living in or visiting Portugal. The Global Peace Index rates 163 countries worldwide for safety; in 2022, Portugal ranked number six.
While pricier, Lisbon remains inexpensive compared to other European capitals. Visitors seeking monthslong accommodations can find a spacious, two-bedroom apartment in the city center for about $1,300. According to International Living, interior villages offer furnished rentals starting at $450 a month.
On the Atlantic Ocean, a two-bedroom, furnished rental a short walk from the beach costs about $1,300 a month. In a 20-minute drive, travelers can go from Faro International Airport to Vilamoura in the Algarve. In this resort town, they can get a two-bedroom furnished rental with a shared swimming pool for around $1,000 monthly.
Yet another draw: Portugal offers the lowest cost of living in Western Europe. A couple can live on $2,500 to $3,000 a month outside its major cities.
There are so many attractions on Portugal’s beguiling beaches and fascinating cities. From June to August, travelers can pack light. They need a passport, beachwear, sunscreen, and less money than on the French Riviera. Portugal delivers every else in one breathtaking package.