Digest: Scouting Portugal’s “Undiscovered” Beach Towns

In this week’s digest:

  • Incredible Discoveries from My Scouts on the Road
  • The Hidden Beach Towns of Northern Portugal
  • An Idyllic Country Retreat for €587 a Month
  • Your Questions Answered on Portugal’s New Short-Term Rental Rules

There’s no better feeling in life than when you have incredibly high expectations…and yet somehow they are still exceeded.

This is what my scouts tell me it feels like to be in northern Portugal…

Right now, two of my Real Estate Trend Alert team members—my scout Ciaran Madden and our RETA photographer/videographer Alan Kennedy—have boots on the ground there.

They went with lofty expectations…

After all, my team and I have scouted this region before. We know all about the incredible food…the stunning beaches…the charming culture-rich Old Towns…the glistening riverfronts…

And yet, each time we return, it still manages to surprise and delight.

Viana do Castelo is one of a number of cities in northern Portugal that have immense potential. My scouts have boots on the ground in this region right now…digging deep on the best opportunities.

The towns and cities here are becoming more upmarket and more vibrant…there are more top-class restaurants and cafés…better facilities and infrastructure…new high-end residential communities…

Yet, this stunning region still feels undiscovered.

Ciaran and Alan tell me that all the towns and cities they’ve visited feel calm and relaxed. There are no hordes of tourists…no long lines to visit attractions. The restaurants and cafés have a wonderful buzz, but it’s easy to get a table. The beaches are serene and welcoming. There are no madding crowds. It’s all so…livable.

This is very different to the immensely popular regions to the south…

The capital of Lisbon has undergone a massive wave of gentrification. So has the country’s second city of Porto…both are mobbed with tourists virtually year-round. Down on the south coast, the Algarve region is similarly seeing huge volumes of visitors throughout the year, and it has a large and growing community of full-time expats. This popularity is reflected in the high price tags for real estate.

But in amazing towns and cities to the north of Porto, you can still find amazing real estate at jaw-dropping prices.

Let me clear: That. Is. Going. To. Change.

On the left is a sheltered riverside beach…on the right a wind-swept Atlantic one. You’ll find all manner of glorious soft-sand beaches in northern Portugal. And often you’ll have them all to yourself…even in mid- to late June.

More people will discover the north. Prices will rise.

So my RETA group is doing what it does best…get out ahead by putting boots on the ground to find the best opportunities before the mainstream catches on.

All this week in Your Overseas Dream Home, I’ve been sharing Ciaran’s reports from the road.

These dispatches are just the beginning…when he gets back home, we’ll be putting all of Ciaran’s findings, plus the videos and photos that Alan has been shooting, into an in-depth report for RETA members.

In this report, Ciaran will reveal the best opportunities he’s discovered…he’ll take you on walk-throughs of properties…you’ll get the contact details of the agents he met with…and you’ll get my analysis on all of it.

(This report will be for RETA members only, so if you’re not yet a member, and are interested in Portugal, or indeed, just really amazing real estate investment opportunities, you can sign up here.)

Today, here’s a rundown of Ciaran and Alan’s reports from the road as well an answer to a reader question on the ever-evolving short-term situation in Portugal.

Alan (left) and Ciaran have boots on the ground…this is how you get out ahead and uncover the best opportunities…

The Hidden Beach Towns of Northern Portugal

After landing in Porto last weekend, Ciaran and Alan began by scouting the coast immediately north of Portugal’s second city of Porto.

They homed in on the hidden beach towns there…including the charming town of Esposende. With a population of just 10,000, this town appears to be popular with the more affluent set. This has all the hallmarks of an up-and-coming destination (you’ll see million-dollar homes here), yet it remains “hidden” to the millions of tourists who flock to Portugal each year.

Esposende’s palm tree-lined boardwalk has a cycle track that leads all the way to the town’s wind-swept Atlantic beach.

Ciaran and Alan also checked out a smaller beach town here, Apulia. With its charming old town of white-washed churches, red-tile roof houses, and quaint pastry shops, this is a place that has similarly been overlooked…but has much to offer…

You can read Ciaran’s full dispatch about these hidden beach towns here.

True Beachfront Condos Without the Million-Dollar Price Tag

One of the big discoveries Ciaran has made while scouting this coast, is the incredible value real estate on offer for properties by the beach.

These are true beachfront condos for a fraction of the price you might imagine. Condos that you’d pay millions for in somewhere like California, you can get here for price tags like €250,000 or even less. And I’m not talking properties with just a sliver of a sea view. I’m taking about condos with views like this…

This is the view from the terrace of one of the beachfront listings Ciaran sent me from the road in northern Portugal. See more about this and other listings he found, here.

It’s like stepping back in time to four or five years ago before Portugal’s real estate boom happened. And it means that NOW is the time to get in. It’s an opportunity to buy truly ground-floor Portugal prices and before the masses arrive.

As he’s been on the road, Ciaran has been sending me lots of incredible listings including this one…and I’ve shared then with you here. What he’s found has me even more excited about this stretch of coastline.

An Idyllic Retreat Country Retreat in Portugal

Not all the opportunities in northern Portugal sit by the beach…

Head a short distance back inland into Portugal’s lush pastoral landscapes, and you’ll find even more astonishing bargains.

Bargains like a large rural retreat on almost half an acre of land just 10 minutes’ drive from one of Portugal’s most charming cities for just €200,000…

Imagine…get a 30-year mortgage at 3% interest (these are available to foreign buyers in Portugal) and you could own a home like this for only €587 per month. Incredible.

As well as talking to local real estate agents as he makes his way up Portugal’s north coast, Ciaran has also been chatting with expats he comes across…to get the full story on living and owning here. And earlier in the week he chanced upon an American in the beautiful, culture-rich city of Viana do Castelo.

Not only did Erik fill Ciaran in on some of the history of the city (the bridge into the city was designed by Gustave Eiffel, the engineer behind the Eiffel Tower), but he also gave him an insider tip on getting to the best beaches in the area…it’s a tip you won’t find much about on the internet!

Viana do Castelo’s church of Santa Luzia sits atop the town with stunning views of the coastline and the town below.

Erik, much like me, doesn’t believe in letting his money sit idle in banks. Ever since retiring to this part of Portugal in 2017, he’s been investing it in real estate.

He bought a condo, then a shuttered supermarket that he has converted into apartments…and now he’s helping his partner renovate a rural property on the outskirts of Viana. That property is the one on half an acre I mentioned earlier. The one that cost just €200,000.

Erik took Ciaran on a tour of this incredible property…read Ciaran’s full story on his insightful encounter with Erik here.

As I say, the opportunities my team are uncovering on this scouting trip are exceeding our lofty expectations.

The full details are coming very soon in a comprehensive scouting report for RETA members. This will include images, maps, listings, video walkthroughs of homes, contact information for agents, an important update on new short-term rental rules in Portugal, and much more.

(Not a RETA member? You can sign up here.)

Questions and Feedback

Have a question or comment? Share it here. Here’s one I got from an Overseas Dream Home reader…

David V. asks: Hi Ronan and team. Thanks for all the coverage on Portugal, especially the freeze on short-term rental permits. What time period defines long term versus short term in this case?

Ronan says: Hi David, this is a very good question…and a very timely one because the situation on the ground has just recently changed once again. The “freeze” appears to be over…

First, to answer your question, short term is a period of less than 30 days.

Now to update you on this ever-evolving situation…

At the end of last year, the Portuguese government introduced new short-term rental restrictions.  In Portugal laws, short-term rental properties classed as Alojamento Local, or “local accommodation,” including guesthouses of under 10 rooms, hostels and Airbnb-style properties are required to have a license to operate. Under the new rules, new licenses were not going to be issued for these kinds of properties in high-density areas (Portugal’s cities, coastline and the Algarve) until 2030.

The goal of the regulations was to bring more properties onto the long-term rental market. Due to the country’s recent popularity among foreigners, prices have risen and locals have been priced out of the market.

But now the situation has changed once again…

In March, Portugal got a new government, which has rescinded these new rules. It has placed the decision on whether new AL licenses can be granted into the hands of local administrations. That means that it once again should possible to get new AL licenses if the local government decides to issue them.

These new rules have just come into effect in the past several weeks. So this is an evolving  situation. Right now, I’m digging into the new rules and implications and I’ll include the full details in the upcoming comprehensive scouting report on northern Portugal for RETA members.


Ronan McMahon, Founder, Overseas Dream Home & Real Estate Trend Alert

P.S. If you have a question or any feedback, I’d love to hear it. Perhaps you have a suggestion about where you’d like us to scout next…or maybe you have a question for me about buying in Portugal. Let me know here.

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