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Portugal: The right choice?

Portugal: The right choice?

Did we make the right choice by moving to Portugal? The decision for my family and I to move to Portugal was not done lightly. The thought of leaving your family behind as well as a country and culture that you know so well can be quite daunting. Nevertheless we persevered with our decision to offer our family a higher quality of life and have not looked back since.
To Do or Not To Do?
Portugal, like many countries, has different locations for you to choose from. Chaves, to start, is a small, densely populated town situated by the River Tâmega in the North of Portugal which is not overly far from the Spanish border. This town in particular is famous with its natives for their spas that  they say can heal many ailments and is definitely on our to do list. If you´re a history lover Chaves boasts some fantastic architecture which dates all the way back to the Roman times and a fort which is a reminder of the war of Independence with Spain. Porto is the second largest city in Portugal and is thought to be a centre of culture and entertainment which would rival the capital, Lisbon. Its historic centre was identified as a world heritage centre by UNESCO.
Being on the Southwestern coast, Lisbon treasures a climate that is warm in the spring and not overly hot in the summer months. Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and generally offers an array of activities or attractions for people to experience. Like many areas, Lisbon offers many remarkable places to eat or to be entertained, there is also many architectural delights. The Alfama, being one of the original parts of Lisbon, survived the earthquake of 1755 which thankfully left many of the old buildings to be admired.
Finally there is the Algarve, this is normally referred to as either the Eastern Algarve, Central Algarve or Western Algarve. Each area is diverse and distinct within its own right. The Eastern Algarve is generalised into everything on the east of Faro. The lifestyle here is rather different to the West or Centre, there is more of a tranquil feel about the place which provides a more relaxed way of life even though the hotel developments are starting to appear more frequently. It is considered a superb place to live if you enjoy the laidback life. The Central/Western Algarve is located between Faro and Sagres featuring some of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal. Albufeira is the main stomping ground in the Algarve and can make sure that you will never be short of activities to do.
The Central Algarve is where my family and I decided to reside. It has many holiday-type developments but due to its vast beaches you can always find somewhere quiet to enjoy the awe-inspiring surroundings. There are lots of sporting activities to take part in as well as many fabulous restaurants which are very family orientated. You can enjoy some of the freshest seafood around as the fishermen go out every morning to ensure this is possible. We discovered a fish market on the frontline of Quarteira, obviously you have to be there at the crack of dawn to get the best of the bunch. Next to this is also a fresh fruit and veg market, us like many people throughout the world have always enjoyed the flavours that come from obtaining and cooking fresh food. Although there are many different markets that you can attend which will cater to all you requirements whether it be fresh meat, fruit or veg and even shellfish! We are not sure on the pronunciation but we found a great fish restaurant called O´Retiro on the beach line between Quarteira and Vilamoura, it is posher than a chiringuito but well worth the extra cents! If you are not a big fish fan then the meats will surely suffice as they are remarkably priced and some of the best places to go out is to the meat restaurants, Argentinian, Tex Mex etc. The fruit of this Region is oranges, everywhere we go there always seems to be a laranjal, which in English is a field or piece of land filled with Orange trees. Be mindful that they are on private property and generally guarded by dogs so there's no chance of  any freebies!
My current home is next to the city of Albufeira which means we get to enjoy the tranquility of living in a private condominium and the proximity of local supermarkets, beaches, restaurants, bars etc at the same time. We made the decision to move from our beloved home in Spain to the Algarve as the quality of life is higher and the people are friendlier. You are greeted with a smile and if you are having difficulties with the language, many of the natives here speak English. In fact most schools now teach English in infant school, it is quickly becoming a second language to them. Even the cinemas are in English, that within itself was a blessing. The language is very similar to Spanish but vastly different at the same time, some words are considered the same and can be said the same. However the pronunciation sounds almost Russian or German. Personally we love it and are very keen to continue learning the lingo!
In the summer months we felt we wanted to be close to any of the attractions such as water parks, zoos, carnivals and many more. Our location is perfect as we are only a 10-15 minutes drive from where we want to be, due to having a beautiful daughter we felt it necessary to ensure we had all the amenities nearby so that she could also experience them. The schools are great, again very friendly and welcoming, which as any parent will understand is a must. The last thing we want is to be leaving our pride and joy in an unsettling or even unhappy environment. Personally we have requested they speak Portuguese to our child as much as possible, if they need to speak English then they will but overall they are very accommodating to our specific needs. Depending on your child's age and what kind of school you are interested in, you may need to do some searching as some can be very expensive whereas others not so much. Portuguese public schools are highly recommended as they are very friendly and provide a good education for everybody, no matter your nationality.
When it comes to health care, tax, insurance, anything that is generally painful to try and arrange, we found that here it was a very simple and efficient process to complete. Bearing in mind that as long as you have all the required documentation then everything is easy, they even speak English in the town halls and doctors! If you do not have the necessary documents then it can slow you down on getting things together but they are more helpful here in terms of where to go and what to do. You are never on your own. If you struggle on where to go we always advise start at the local town hall, they advise which places are best for you. Depending on where you are the closest town hall can vary.

Apple Tree Lane Luxury Villas for sale in the Algarve 

After visiting Portugal on many occasions we always knew where we would want to live, the only concerns and fears we had was where do we look, which real estate agents are going to help us through the process and mainly how efficiently can this  happen? All the fears we had of buying were real, the main one being that we didn’t want to buy a property that we felt was not our home. You know that feeling you have when you walk through the front door? It can be difficult to explain but you feel like you’re meant to be there. There are many different agents that you can go to in Portugal to help you with the buying process, English speaking or Portuguese whichever is preferred. Some even offer French or German! After much deliberation we decided to work with the team at Ideal Homes Portugal, not only were they very friendly and welcoming, they listened to us. When it comes to buying a property you want to work with someone who is going to listen to you and find that one home you have always been looking for. They did this for us. They helped put all our fears and concerns at bay, any questions we had they provided the answers, whether it’s getting help with mortgages,  or even once you have bought a home and are looking to rent to holiday makers, they can help with this too!
After finally purchasing our new home in the Algarve we have always wanted and dreamed of we can now start to move forward and build the life we have always desired, not only for us as adults but even for our children. Overall we found that moving to Portugal was the best decision we ever made and it gave us the opportunity on that fresh start we were always looking for!