What makes the Algarve to be the dream destination to make the most of your retirement or to buy a holiday home?
What key criteria should you consider before moving to the other side of the globe?
In 2017 CNBC released their Overseas Retirement Index and guess who was on pole position? They considered the Algarve the newest tax haven that has Europe’s best beaches, golf courses, some of Europe’s friendliest folk and one of Western Europe’s lowest cost of living. In this article we compiled for you a list of 10 reasons that will put the Algarve in your list of favorites.
1. THE BEAUTY AND DIVERSITY OF THE ALGARVE
Acknowledged as Europe’s best kept secret, the Algarve is one of the world’s most beautiful provinces and a truly captivating region for its landscape diversity. Located in the south of Portugal, the coastline spans over 200 kilometres and boasts some of Europe’s cleanest and picturesque sandy beaches.1 The architecture of the whitewashed houses, with their brightly-coloured mouldings and remarkably beautiful chimneys, the church belfries and the museums, all reveal particular memories of the ancestors of the Algarve people and help to make this such a special destination.
Wherever you look, the green of the mountains and the blue from the sea will always be with you thanks to its location between the Atlantic coastline and the Serra Algarvia. A stroll through the tangled web of narrow streets, alleys and steps to be found away from the coast is the best way of getting to know this last part of the region.
But you can also easily lose yourself in the vastness of the coastal strip. Here the backdrop is composed of beautiful beaches, from where you can admire the rocky coastline and the playful shadows they cast on the sand.
As you travel across the Algarve, amidst its hills and plains filled with places of great ecological interest, rich in biodiversity and ecosystems, you will feel as though you are passing through an area full of different traditions.
It is very likely that you’ll feel much more comfortable living in a country where you can communicate in English. In Portugal you will find that most people speak English (at least some basic), and with quite a good accent! You will find a highly skilled workforce fluent in English.
According to the latest English Proficiency Index (EF EPI)2, Portugal shows a “high English proficiency”. In fact, in Portugal English is not only learned in school, but also through television and films, which are not dubbed but subtitled. It is for this reason that Portugal has more English speakers than any other country in Southern Europe.
That might be one of the most important criteria when choosing a country to live in. Did you know that Portugal is the 4th safest country in the world out of a total of 163 countries with one of the lowest crime rates? According to the ranking Global Peace Index 20183, Portugal shows a “very high state of peace” – in front of all its southern neighbour. Furthermore, it is now well known that the Portuguese people are very welcoming and friendly. Believe us, it makes the difference.
The Algarve is characterized by short and mild winters with averages of 15ºC and long hot summers with temperatures around 30ºC. With over 3130 hours sunshine a year and Mediterranean-like weather, the Algarve is the European champion of the sun and thus a perfect place to live all year round.
5. LOCATION FACTOR – No man is an island.
Be aware that Faro Airport connects the Algarve to most European cities with direct daily flights and with an average distance of less than 3,5 hours. This factor conveys great security before the move and ensures that you will be able, at any time, to see your family or move around for business purposes.
6. SPORTS FACILITIES for an ACTIVE LIFE
The Algarve is known as one of Europe’s best golfing destinations. Considered World’s Best Golf Destination for many years, the Algarve and its incredible golf facilities will surprise those who are passionate for this sport. Within the vicinity of our office there are 13 golf courses, which are considered the best of the Algarve. Here keen golfers can enjoy a great golfing experience.
A wide range of other sports is also available – from walking and sightseeing excursions, mountain biking and quad biking to powerboat championships, karting, car rallies, motocross events, sailing, surfing (check our article about Sagres, considered one of the best surfing spots in Europe, by professionals and amateurs alike), tennis, horse riding, kayaking, kite surfing, rock climbing and wakeboarding and many, many more.
Whether you’re playing golf on lush green courses of the awarded European Golf Destination (International Association of the Golf Tour Operators) or enjoying some physical exercise at some of the region’s excellent facilities, whether you’re on the coast or perhaps up in the hills, where, after the winter and even before the first signs of spring, the land is covered in a pinkish white blanket, produced by the blossom of the almond-trees scattered across the horizon.
If you are looking for a place to live a longer and healthier life, the Algarve may be your no. 1 choice. Apart from the way we sleep, exercise, spend time outdoors, have fun, manage our stress and connect with others, the food we eat is perhaps the single most important influence on health.
In the Algarve you will find year-round sun and bright skies to lift your mood, bustling local markets and restaurants to source healthy seasonal foods. You will discover that the aromas and flavours of the traditional Algarve cuisine will pull you back time and time again. The menu may consist of the best fish and shellfish, with such dishes as caldeirada de peixe (fish-stew) or cataplana de amêijoas (clams steamed in a copper pan), or you can enjoy the traditional mountain food such as home raised meat and vegetables.
The range of choices will also include the famous regional delicacies, such as figs, almonds, carobs and the brandy made from the locally grown medronho (arbutus-berry), distilled up in the hills in old copper stills.
8. COST OF LIVING – GOOD VALUE FOR MONEY
The Algarve is one of the most affordable destinations on the Old Continent. In 2018, the Post Office Travel Money declared the Algarve the second cheapest of 44 European destinations.
This is why the abundance of immigrants from the UK, France, Holland and even Sweden and Finland decide to move to the Algarve in order to exponentially increase their quality of life. From child care & schooling, to gym memberships, health insurance, cinema tickets to surf lessons or 3 course set meals at an “average” restaurant, differences in prices are notable.
9. SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC STABILITY
The stability of a country is a sine qua non for anyone wishing to invest abroad. Choosing a safe country on a social, political and economic level is one of the main guarantees to make a secure investment. According to Marsh – the global independent leader in risk management – Portugal has a low operational, political and economic risk index4 that puts it in the category of stable countries.
10. FISCAL INCENTIVE
Non-Habitual Resident Regime
Based on a favourable tax regime, it is intended to attract to Portugal non-resident citizens, professionals qualified for activities with high added value, as well as individuals with a high net worth or purchasing power. This attraction is based on the application of the exemption method as the preferred method of elimination of international judicial double taxation of foreign source and application of a special rate of 20% (mitigated and proportional taxation) to certain incomes. Click here to read all about the NHR Regime
- IRS rate of 20% on category A and B income received in Portugal
- Tax free foreign-source income
- The non-resident will benefit from this regime during 10 years
Favourable Investment Environment
- A tax exemption for gifts and inheritance tax to spouse, descendents or ascendants. Inheritances or gifts to other individuals will be either not taxable, due to generous territoriality rules, or subject to a flat 10% stamp tax
- No wealth tax and free remittance of funds either to Portugal or abroad. Nil taxation on dividends with proper planning, or, otherwise, a 25% withholding flat rate will apply. Tax credit for international double taxation may be available
- Beneficial treatment for pensions and other life insurance products (including unit-linked) may further significantly reduce the effective tax burden on capital invested
- Portuguese companies may take advantage of EU non-discrimination rules and EU directives on mergers, dividends, interest and royalties, as well as Portuguese double-tax treaties
- Portugal has signed 65 double-tax treaties, 56 of which are in force, more than 50 investment protection agreements, and 15 tax information exchange agreements – most of which are already in force, e.g. Bermuda, Cayman and Gibraltar, and several social security agreements offering interesting tax planning opportunities in a tax-friendly environment.
Golden Visa Permit – Applicable to foreigners who are not citizens of the European Union
Legal provisions provide the possibility for those who pursue investment activities in Portugal to apply for a Residence Permit, for example, those who transfer capital, create jobs or acquire Real Estate. The holders of a Golden Residence Permit for the purposes of investment activity have the right to family regrouping, and may gain access to a permanent residence permit, as well as to Portuguese citizenship in accordance with the current legal provisions. Click here to read all about the Golden Visa Permit
- A type of visa which allows entering and staying in Portugal for a period of 5 year, increasing the actual period to 90 days for non-residents
- Allows to circulate freely and without restrictions in the ‘Schengen area’
- A new type of permanent residence permit, which can be requested at the end of the visa
- Does not entail a minimum period of residence in Portugal of 183 days for its renovation (the beneficiary can keep his tax address out of the country)
- The holder may request the family regrouping
1 The Algarve was elected several time the Europe’s leading Beach Destination by the World Travel Awards.
2 English Proficiency Index EF EPI (2017), “EF English Proficiency Index – Third Edition”. Webpage consulted on the 19th of September 2018, <http://www.ef.edu.pt/epi/>.
3 Institute for Economics & Peace (2018), Global Peace Index 2018, <http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uploads/2018/06/Global-Peace-Index-2018-2.pdf>