From property prices to petiscos, the Algarve is the place to be this summer
- Algarve property prices increase for first time since 2008 (Knight Frank)
- Investor interest in Algarve increasing (Ideal Homes Portugal)
- Gourmet ‘Rota do Petisco’ tapas trail sees well over 100 restaurants take part in 2016
Whether it’s good news about property prices or the perfect place to indulge your love of gourmet food, the Algarve is the place to be this summer.
According to Knight Frank’s Inside View Portugal 2016 report, the Algarve recorded its first annual increase in prime prices since 2008 in 2015. Buyers have been enticed back to the area by a combination of its ongoing infrastructure improvements (the main A22 motorway, which runs the length of the Algarve, and the €32m expansion of Faro Airport) and its plentiful tourist attractions (stunning weather, 37 pristine golf courses and well over 100 fabulous beaches – 88 of them with Blue Flags – to name just a few).
Nearly 50 airlines now serve Faro Airport, with passenger numbers jumping by 35% in the decade to 2015. While the area is traditionally popular with British, Irish and German buyers, the pool of those interested in buying property in the Algarve has been widening for several years. Data from Knight Frank shows an increase from buyers of 128 nationalities searching for Algarve property in 2012, to buyers of 147 nationalities searching in 2015.
Despite its increasing property prices, the Algarve remains the best value destination in the world, according to the 2016 Post Office Travel Money World Holiday Costs Barometer. The low cost of food and drink were key factors in Portugal topping the chart. An ice-cold beer usually costs €1 in the less touristy eastern end of the Algarve and excellent wines are available in the supermarket for €4 or €5 per bottle, costing around double that in restaurants. Super strong, delicious coffee costs from €0.70.
Interestingly, given the low prices, Portugal has a rapidly growing reputation for the quality of its food. Already known for its hearty seafood stews and rice dishes, the area is now enjoying a booming reputation as the place to indulge in ‘petiscos’ – the Portuguese equivalent of tapas. This summer will see the Rota do Petisco (Tapas Route) run from May until September, with over 100 restaurants taking part. Visitors can purchase a route passport for €1 (profits go to local charities), then access a huge range of petiscos in participating restaurants along the Algarve. The snacks, which include everything from octopus cakes to yoghurt ice cream with almond sigh and cherry syrup, are available for €3 including a drink. Desserts with liqueur are available for €2.
“The Algarve’s culinary offering has really changed over the last few years,” comments local businessman Chris White, Founding Director of boutique estate agency Ideal Homes Portugal. “What’s great is that the food has remained true to its roots, with strong influences of seafood, black pork, tomato, onion and coriander. But recently there has been a push to elevate Algarvian cuisine from its peasant food origins into something more refined and the results have been outstanding. The Rota do Petisco is perfect for highlighting that.”
Ideal Homes Portugal has observed an increase in those looking for investment property in the Algarve recently, with rising prices adding to the attraction of owning a rental property there. This two bedroom ground floor apartment in Lagos (a town firmly on the Rota do Petisco map) is close to the beach and enjoys its own private garden with built in barbecue as well as a high spec kitchen, Jacuzzi bath, built in sound system and central vacuum. The development also includes a communal swimming pool and Jacuzzi. On the market for €255,000, the property comes with an “excellent rental history” thanks to its superior features, condition and location.
Investors looking for a villa with excellent rental potential towards the eastern end of the Algarve would do well to consider this stunning linked villa in Castro Marim. Just 30 minutes from Faro Airport and less than 10 minutes from Spain, Castro Marim is known for its two beautiful castles, fabulous golf courses and lively mid-summer Medieval festival. Available for €400,000, the front line property is surrounded by a combination of golf course, ocean, nature reserve and the pretty Guardiana river. The villa comes complete with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, two private terraces and pool. The master bedroom benefits from under-floor heating, Jacuzzi bath, dressing room and upper level terrace.