The Best Places to Buy in Portugal

I’m in Mazamitla, a quaint town about 80 miles south of Guadalajara, Mexico.

I’ve come for a little R&R and to scout the local real estate scene.

This charming mountain town is sometimes called the “Switzerland of Mexico.” It’s a nickname that makes perfect sense when you explore the area. Mazamitla is more rustic than the luxurious ski towns you’ll find in Switzerland, but it has a distinctly alpine feel.

The town is around 8,000 feet above sea level, set amid the Sierra del Tigre mountain range. This high elevation means it’s warm during the day and cool at night. Pine forests dot the hills here, with chalet-like cabins nestled between the trees. I stayed in one of these cabins in the woods on my first few nights in Mazamitla. Here’s what it looked like…

The cabin where I stayed in Mazamitla, a quaint mountain town about 80 miles south of Guadalajara in Mexico.

The cabin where I stayed in Mazamitla, a quaint mountain town about 80 miles south of Guadalajara in Mexico.

Already, I’ve done some digging on the local real estate scene here and I’ve spotted a bunch of new A-frame homes, as well as lots of nice listings in the $150,000 to $350,000 range. And later today, I’m going to scout a hotel with cabins for sale.

I’ll share the full details on those in tomorrow’s Overseas Dream Home.

For today, though, I want to switch gears a bit and talk about Portugal…

On Sunday, I got a message from one of my contacts who was traveling to Portugal’s southern Algarve region. When they arrived at the Algarve’s main gateway, Faro International Airport, they encountered chaos.

Thousands of passengers were waiting to pass through passport control at Faro. It took my contact about two and a half hours to get through. Media reports said some travelers were waiting for three and a half hours or more.

The airport blamed the chaos on a lack of staff and problems with their e-Gate system, which grants automatic entry to passengers from certain countries. But there’s also another cause for this travel chaos: the Algarve’s exploding popularity.

I’ve been scouting Portugal’s southern Algarve region since 2002. And over those two-plus decades, I’ve tracked developments closely as this region has hit a whole new level.

The Algarve has long been a popular vacation spot for northern Europeans, but now it’s evolved into a major destination for retirees, young families, digital nomads, and the footloose, work-from-anywhere crowd.

I predicted this would happen…

Portugal’s southern Algarve region boasts soaring cliffs, stunning beaches, and 300 days of sunshine a year.

I’ve spent many years heading down to the Algarve in search of opportunities for members of my Real Estate Trend Alert group. And it’s been a wildly successful venture. Our Algarve opportunities have played out remarkably well. Here’s a brief sample…

  • In December 2019, RETA members could buy in a community called Santa Maria from €310,500. According to one of my Algarve contacts, two-bed condos available to RETA members for €390,000 now list for €550,000—a boost of €160,000.
  • I recommended condos in a community called Adega in 2020. RETA members could get penthouses here for the incredible price of €480,000. I hear those now list for around €1 million…meaning they’ve doubled in price.
  • In 2021, we had a RETA deal in the luxury community of Dona Maria. One RETA member purchased a penthouse there for €1.1 million. That was recently listed at double that—€2.2 million.
  • RETA members could also buy two-bed condos in Dona Maria from €575,000. One of my contacts says these would currently list for about €850,000—an uplift of €275,000.

These were incredible deals. If you got in, you did extremely well. And you now have vast crowds of people arriving to rent your real estate, as the recent airport chaos demonstrates.

But finding stellar deals in the Algarve has become more challenging as prices have risen. My team and I will keep looking and of course RETA members will be the first to hear if I find a RETA-grade deal…but we’re also on the hunt for the “next places” in Portugal.

The charming town of Lagos is a major draw for tourists, retirees, and the work-from-anywhere crowd. I’ve brought some killer deals here to members of my Real Estate Trend Alert group.

In recent years, as the Algarve got busier, and gentrification swept through Lisbon, people have been looking for quieter havens in Portugal away from the crowds.

I was one of them…

Several years back, I bought my condo on Portugal’s Silver Coast, a roughly 90-mile stretch of western Atlantic coast between Lisbon and Porto. The Silver Coast has it all—beautiful Atlantic beaches, incredible weather, exceptional golf courses, and excellent food.

My Silver Coast condo sits on this stunning stretch of Atlantic beach.

Go back several years and this coast was little known outside of Portugal. Now, the resales market here is going from strength to strength. My condo cost me €300,000. Last year, a local agent wanted to list it for €450,000 (but I’m not selling).

As prices rise on the Silver Coast, this leads to the question of where people will go next in Portugal.

The answer is clear—northern Portugal.

In northern Portugal, you’ll find the same incredible food…the same stunning soft-sand beaches…the same rich history and culture—basically, all the quintessential elements that make Portugal so appealing.

And that includes the weather…

I predict the “next places” in Portugal will be in the north, such as the historic city of Braga and the charming town of Caminha on the country’s northern border with Spain.

The weather in the north of the country is excellent, generally hovering between 60 and 80 F for most of the year. This temperate environment will have amazing appeal as we see a shift in climate preferences.

As newsfeeds every summer highlight unbearable temperatures and wildfires burning right across Europe and North America, there is a growing appetite for milder-climate destinations.

The next generation of migrations want the sun, but they’ll also want temperatures and a landscape that are conducive to being active and being outdoors.

Northern Portugal offers this…and so much more.

Plus, head to the right markets there and it’s like stepping in a time machine in terms of real estate prices. As though the global real estate boom of the last several years never happened.

So, here’s a breakdown of three emerging destinations in northern Portugal…and the kinds of listings you’ll see there.

Porto’s best-kept secret

Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city and a major tourist destination. Visitors come from all over the world to wander its maze of steep, cobblestoned streets…gaze at the ornate, tiled facades of its historic buildings…or lounge with a coffee on its historic Ribeira waterfront (a UNESCO World Heritage site), watching the port barges bopping in the Douro.

Several years ago, I recommended Porto opportunities to members of my Real Estate Trend Alert group. But as in Lisbon, gentrification has since swept through the city and it now feels maxed out. The opportunity has passed here for now.

But there are still potential opportunities in Porto’s sister city…just across the water.

Porto’s historic port area, as seen from across the river in Gaia.

Vila Nova de Gaia sits on the south bank of the Douro River, while Porto sits on the north. The two cities are so close—separated by only the river—that many tourists assume Gaia is part of Porto.

Most foreign visitors spend little time in Gaia, except to visit the region’s famed port cellars, which are located on the Gaia side of the river. But Gaia has so much else to offer…

The Douro River flows between Porto and its smaller sister city, Vila Nova de Gaia.

To the south along the coast, Gaia has 16 miles of spectacular Atlantic beaches, with an expansive boardwalk that runs alongside most of them with excellent restaurants and cafés. This coastline is Porto’s best-kept secret. Gaia also has an upscale marina area on the river, as well as outstanding dining, shopping, and entertainment options.

Despite the proximity of the two cities, prices along the coast of Gaia are very affordable compared to those in Porto. In the main coastal town on the Porto side of river, called Foz do Douro, you can expect to pay €500,000 or more for an ocean-view condo. But in Gaia, you’ll find ocean-view condos for a fraction of this…

The Senhor da Pedra Chapel sits near the shore on one of Gaia’s many stunning Atlantic beaches.

On the Gaia side of the river, just back from the point where the Douro River meets the Atlantic, new communities and a hotel are flying up on the site of a former cod-processing plant in an elevated piece of land with privileged views out over the ocean and river. These will offer the most breathtaking river/ocean views. And you’ll be only 15 minutes’ drive from the center of Porto.

Penthouses in these communities are selling pre-construction for well over €1 million, but you’ll also find two-bed condos with ocean views such as this one listed from around €370,000.

Several blocks back from the beach, you’ll find older, dated apartments in the €150,000 to €300,000 range. This two-bed apartment is on the market for €160,000.

Gaia has some of the best-value city beach condos anywhere, particularly with this setting and its proximity to a historic city like Porto.

I’m hugely positive on the new communities on the site of the former cod-processing plant overlooking the mouth of the Douro and the Atlantic. This is a truly privileged position, offering out-of-this-world views. I believe ocean/river-view condos in these communities will do very well.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean prices will skyrocket all along the rest of Gaia’s coast. It’s still an open question as to whether vacationers and the digital nomad crowd will come to Gaia in big numbers, even as Porto gets maxed out. But this is a destination to keep on your radar.

The “Next Porto”

Braga, roughly a 45-minute drive northeast of Porto, is one of Portugal’s oldest cities.

Founded more than 2,000 years ago in the Roman era as Bracara Augusta, it’s a major religious center, famed for its dozens of churches in Romanesque, baroque, and neoclassical architectural styles.

Wander Braga’s circular, mostly pedestrianized historic center and you’ll rarely walk down a cobblestoned street or alley without ending up in plaza…looking at a church.

And yet, despite this abundance of history and religious traditions, Braga feels youthful and vibrant. This is a university town and major economic center. Around 40% of its population is under 30. Chic bars and restaurants occupy many of its centuries-old buildings.

Factor in its Mediterranean climate and its largely flat Old Town, and the result is a place that’s both livable and distinct.

The beautiful Praca da Republica square lies at the center of the historic city of Braga.

Braga is often referred to as “the next Porto.” This term implies this historic city is the next target of Portugal’s relentless wave of gentrification. Braga is certainly experiencing a transformation—cranes hover in the skies and you’ll find buildings undergoing restoration work on almost every street corner. However, prices remain notably cheaper than in Porto.

For instance, this rejuvenated historic building in the center of Porto has prices in the mid-to-high-€5,000-per-square-meter range for small units.

Compare this to Braga, where you’ll find new studios in the sub-€200,000 range located in the historic center. Here’s one listed preconstruction for €165,000. That’s about €2,800 per square meter (or €260 per square foot).

That said, prices are rising quickly in Braga. You’ll still find the occasional home in the Old Town on the market, like this quirky, narrow four-bed listed for €290,000. But as in Porto and Lisbon before it, central and historic homes are being snapped up so they can be converted into rentals and commercial spaces.

There’s still lots of room for price growth in Braga, though. Demand for real estate here will increase and values will continue to rise as a result. I’m extremely confident on the future of this historic city…

Idyllic Small-Town Living

I count the small charming town of Caminha among my best recent discoveries. That’s why I placed it second on my list of the best places in the world to buy real estate in 2024. (Check out the full list here.)

Torre do Relogio, a 13th-century clocktower, is located at one end of Caminha’s delightful town square.

Separated from Spain by only a river, Caminha is surrounded by rolling hills, lush forests, bucolic countryside, and soft sand beaches. Its Old Town is centred on an enchanting cobblestoned plaza where cafés and restaurants circle a 16th century stone fountain.

Two blocks from the plaza, a promenade runs along the Minho River, leading to forested campgrounds and Camarido Beach. Only 10 minutes away by car is Moledo, a stunning strip of Atlantic beach.

The soft-sand Atlantic beach at Moledo is just 10 minutes’ drive south of Caminha.

Caminha’s location is second to none. You’re on the river, near the ocean…you can even be in Vigo, the historic Spanish city, in about an hour. Porto’s international airport is about a similar distance south.

This town feels undiscovered (for the moment)…and real estate prices there reflect that.

In the post-COVID era, Caminha is exactly the kind of destination people have been flocking to. A place with plenty of space, where you can live a relaxing outdoor lifestyle. Stroll the beach, swim, surf, and hike every day in a coastal climate…

And you have this beautiful, charming town—a place with excellent restaurants, well-maintained architecture, nice bars and cafés…everything you need to live an incredible lifestyle.

The wealthier visitors and second-home owners from Northern Europe and North America aren’t coming yet. I believe they will…and when they do they’ll drive prices higher. Much higher…

Caminha is a big discovery. I predict this small town has a very bright future.


Ronan McMahon, Overseas Real Estate Expert

P.S. A reminder: in tomorrow’s Overseas Dream Home, I’ll be sharing my discoveries in Mazamitla, including the three-bed cabin below. It’s on the market for around $180,000. Full details tomorrow.

Your Daily Dream Home

L’Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy


This townhouse is located in the village of Introdacqua, in the heart of Italy’s Peligna Valley. It’s just four miles away from the historic town of Sulmona, famed for its medieval jousting competitions.

On the first floor of the house, you’ll find a living room with a fireplace, kitchen and utility room.

The second floor has two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a balcony.

There’s also an external courtyard with a woodshed.

Click here to find out more

Remember, we don’t make money from any listing shared here in the Your Daily Dream Home section. We have no dog in the fight. We’re just sharing cool properties we’ve found.

I haven’t visited this property or done due diligence on it. If you’re interested in the listing, you should hire an attorney and do your own due diligence.

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