Algarve Expat Guide

Useful information on living as an expat in the Algarve

Welcome to our Algarve Expat Guide! Whether you are already living here or are planning to move to Portugal in the future, you'll find plenty of very useful information here. From info on local markets, to financial advisors, schools, home services, UK TV and satellite systems, pools and pool maintenance and more.

Need information on D7 visas, on schools and healthcare, on tax in Portugal and popular places to live?
Check our MOVING TO PORTUGAL guide

NIF - Número de Identificação Fiscal
One of the very first steps to take when moving to Portugal is to get a NIF - your Portuguese tax identity number. You need a NIF to rent or buy property, for example, to open a bank account, register at a health centre, set up a phone or wi-fi contract, as well for tax purposes. All residents and non-residents can have a NIF. However non-residents require a fiscal representative (resident in Portugal) to complete the process.
You can apply for a NIF at your local Finaças office or apply using online services.

Opening a Bank Account in Portugal
In order to request a visa, or complete a property transaction, you will need to have a Portuguese bank account. An account can be opened in person of course, at the bank of your choice. However, it is also possible to open a bank account from anywhere in the world using online services.

Financial Advice, Planning & Pensions in Algarve
Get advice and insights on how to manage your money affairs in Portugal. Find out about possible tax breaks such as NHR - non-habitual residency, what your rights and obligations are and get help from those expert in making the transition to life in Portugal as smooth as possible.

  • Portugal Tax Calendar 2023 - month by month summary of important tax dates.
  • Find Financial Services in the Algarve. and find expert help to deal with Algarve bureaucracy. There is a wealth of expertise available to you to help you find out about the Non-Habitual Residency programme (which can allow you to recieve your foreign pension tax free) and other ways in which you can save money on tax and build a financially secure retirement in the Algarve.
  • Blevins Franks can provide some expert insight and they have published a useful tax guide for expats living in Portugal, which can be downloaded for free.
  • Check out this information on Portugal tax with articles from the experts at All Finance Matters on subjects such as capital gains tax, the NHR scheme and a guide to setting up business in Portugal.

Gaining Residency in Portugal
There are advantages to residency in Portugal (see the tax information above) and residency is not just available to EU citizens. You can obtain residency in Portugal through property investment - the Portugal Golden Visa programme, or by apply for a D7 visa where no property investment is required.

As an expat living in the Algarve, or if you are planning to move here with your family, your children's education is an important concern. There are both private and public schools available.

Public schools in Portugal start with kindergarden from 3 - 4 years of age, then primary school (years 1 - 4), then middle school (years 5 and 6), then junior high school (years 7 - 9) and high school (year 10 - 12).

Private schools are fee-paying schools, frequently offer international curriculums and prepare students to continue their education abroad.

Home Services
  • Find professional services in air conditioning, landscaping, artificial and synthetic grass installation, home security, TV and satellite systems, including reliable UK TV solutions. Make your new life in the Algarve as comfortable as possible.
Find Home Services in the Algarve.

Internet Services
Fast and reliable internet is a must, not just for leisure, but for work. As more and more people opt to work remotely, with many Digital Nomads choosing to make the Algarve their home, it's good to know that speedy internet services exist.
International chains such as Aldi and Lidl are present in the Algarve, as well as national brands Continente, Pingo Doce and Jumbo where you can find great fresh produce and some international produce too. UK brands such as Iceland are present too, focusing on UK products.
  • Intermarché is a great option if you are looking for both fresh, local products and a international brands - you can find a great choice of products at the Intermarché in Carvoeiro and in Monchique.

Pool Services
For private use or for a holiday rental property, the swimming pool is an essential component. Find the best people to install a new swimming pool, renovate an old pool, to heat and maintain an efficient pool or to fit an energy saving pool cover.
In addition or instead of a pool you could opt to have a hot tub installed or even a sauna.
  • Algarve Hot Tubs are the expert on installing quality hot tubs (indoor and outdoor) saunas and swim spas.

Property Services
Finding the right real estate agent can make buying property in the Algarve easy and enjoyable, with no nasty surprises along the way. They can also tell you about some of the best places to live in the Algarve.
Estate agents in the region will tend to specialize in a particular location. For example, ONE Select Properties have over 30 years of experience in the luxury property market in the Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo area. Vendici Properties is also a hyper-local real estate agency, whose indepth knowledge is of great advantage to their clients
The Algarve Property Agency not only offers property buying and selling services, but also excellent design and decor services in partnership with its sister company Gibson Design.

Ideal Home Portugal works across the region, as well as in the Lisbon area. A very active and client-focused agency, they not only help buy and sell property, but have a great series of videos explaining how the whole process works in Portugal, Q & A sessions with a local lawyer, comparisons on life in the USA compared to Portugal and more on their YouTube channel.

Find Property Services in the Algarve.

Builders and Construction
New builds or renovation projects, traditional or modern in design, finding a professional, reliable and high standard builder is vital. Mestre Construtivo not only provides quality building services, they do so with an eye to design, eco-efficiency and with full respect for artisanal skill.
Heating and Cooling
The wonderful weather in the Algarve is one of the big attractions for expats. However, when at home, you want optimal comfort - not too hot, not too cold.
  • Euro Cooling and Air Con Algarve have a range of traditional and renewable heating and cooling solutions for your home, to keep them comfortable and damp free, even when you're absent.

Property Management and Rentals
If you do not live all year round in the Algarve you may need a property management company to take care of your home, pay the bills and deal with any unexpected issues on your behalf. These are just some of the services that a property management company can provide.

Local Deals and Airport Transfers
Moving to the Algarve often results in a rise in your popularity - you'll have lots of people coming to visit you!

Removal, Transport and Delivery - from Pets to Houses
Whether you're moving to or from the Algarve, making a local move or relocating to Portugal, and need transport for your wordly goods, you'll find a professional and efficient transport service available.
  • Removals to Portugal is a long established removals company operating across the Algarve, Portugal and the rest of the world. They can transport from small 1kg parcels to massive 24 tonnes operations and they have an excellent reputation.

And of course, if you are moving, you won't want to leave your four-legged friends behind.
  • Euro Pet Transport offers transport services for dogs and cats between Portugal, the UK, Spain and France. Transported in DEFRA compliant vehicles the animals are never left alone before being safely delivered to their destination.

Language Schools in Algarve
Want to learn Portuguese? Get information on Education and Language Schools in the Algarve. Special mention for the fabulous Crash Courses in Portuguese at Faust Language School - and intensive 40 hour, 2 week course for those looking to get a fast-track handle on Portuguese. Plus they offer courses to prepare you for the CIPLE-Exam - a requirement for attaining Portuguese citizenship.

Driving in Portugal
Detailed and practical information on driving in Portugal - tips on toll roads, exchanging your driving licence and buying a car in Portugal, as well as sugestions for the top scenic driving routes in the Algarve.
Registering your residency in Portugal
If you live in Portugal for more than 6 months of the year, you should obtain a residency certificate from your local Town Hall. After living here for 5 years, you should apply to SEF, the Immigration and Borders Service, for permanent residency.

With the UK leaving the EU, if you intend to live permanently in Portugal, and want to benefit from the advantages of living here, it is very important to obtain your residençia in order to be properly integrated and registered.

For more information you can contact the British Vice Consulate in Portimão on (+351) 282 490 750 or via email
Address:Edificio A Fabrica, Avenida Guanare, 8501-915 Portimão

In the Algarve you can opt for private healthcare or, if you have registered your Residency in Portugal, you are entitled to join the state healthcare scheme (SNS), which provides a high standard of healthcare - on a par with that offered by the NHS in the UK.

There is a growing number of private healthcare providers in the Algarve offering a wide range of general and specialist health services, such as primary healthcare provider The Orange Medical Centre in Albufeira.

Finding work
If you are not yet ready for retirement, it is wise to have work sourced before you relocate. Europe Language Jobs is a great resource for jobs in Portugal for expats.

Sports and Activities 
Whether you're resident here, or just visiting, the Algarve is the perfect location to keep active and maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are many great walks, hiking and biking trails, and a wealth of sports and activities to suit all ages and abilities. Whether you're a pro athlete or just looking to keep fit, you will find plenty of sports facilities and organised events all year round in the Algarve.
  • The Campus at Quinta do Lago is a superb sports facility, offering tennis, padel and biking, as well as an exceptional high performance centre, equipped for both elite athletes and enthusiastic amateurs. The Campus also hosts an outstanding programme of activities and summer camps for adults and juniors, including junior golf camps, rugby camps with professionals such as Brian O'Driscoll, soccer camps led by the likes of Rio Ferdinand and tennis camps run by first class coaches.
  • In Vale do Lobo, you can find Algarve Tennis and Fitness Club (ATF), an excellent tennis, padel and sports facility, offering expert tennis coaching, a range of fitness classes and holistic activities and treatments such as acupuncture. It's a great facility for all the family, with a fun and relaxed kids club, fun sports, social tournaments, dance classes and kids parties. ATF is also home to Algarve Foot Golf  yes, as the name suggests, it's a combination of football and golf, and it's tremendous fun for all ages.
  • The prestigious, five star Vale do Lobo Resort has plenty to offer those looking to keep active. Aside from championship golf courses, the Resort has its own gym and Royal Spa, as well as a Tennis Academy, where you can play both tennis and padel, or even opt for a Tennis Holiday with top level coaching by the resident pros.
  • If golf is your game, you've come to the right place - in the Algarve you are never far away from a golf course. Pestana Golf has five top class courses between Vilamoura and Alvor, and offers excellent Golf Resort Holidays, perfect for golfers, family breaks and groups. Oh, and if you're visiting and don't want the hassle of travelling with your golf clubs, check out, where you can rent top of the range golf clubs from the best brands.

Expats with Pets - Home and Pet Sitting
Living as an expat with pets in the Algarve raises the questions of what to do with your pets when you travel? Finding reliable home and pet sitting services can be tricky. Dog Hotel Algarve, also known as Hotel do Cão, is located between Portimão and Monchique and offers boarding for dogs, training, grooming and transport services for your four legged friends. Spacious and modern, this is doggy heaven. Next door is the Cat Hotel Algarve, for your feline friends. Iron Dog Algarve in Quarteira, is a dog hotel as well as a training school which can help with obedience, bahavioral issues and socialization.

More Useful Information for Expats in the Algarve