Lisbon and Coast

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The Lisbon Coast is easily accessible all year round from Lisbon’s airport, and has a strong transport network that crosses the country both efficiently and cheaply.

Lisbon
Lisbon has been capital of Portugal since its conquest by the Moors in 1147, and is renowned as a city that ‘has it all’! One of the most charming things about Lisbon is its strong links to the past, with over 20 centuries in history evident in the renovated palaces, magnificent churches and an impressive castle.

One of the oldest quarters of Lisbon is the Alfama, which is one of the few parts of the city that survived the 1755 earthquake – retaining much of the original architecture and ambiance. Nearby are the ancient quarters of Castelo and Mouraria, on the western and northern slopes of the hill that is the home St. George's Castle. At the western point lies Belém, with the Belém tower and the Jerónimos monastery – both masterpieces of Manueline architecture and classified under UNESCO’s International Heritage list. Like Rome, Lisbon is built on seven hills, giving the city plenty of vantage points from which to contemplate the views.

Property in Lisbon offers retirees, second home buyers and investors the best of all possible worlds: from your Lisbon property you can wander the narrow cobbled streets of the city and take in the sights, or head to the coast for a day - or more - at the beach. With springtime temperatures in winter, and summers cooled by a breeze from the Atlantic, what more could you want?

With more EU funding in the pipeline, tourism on the increase and the improvement in the city's facilities is ongoing; many experts expect Lisbon to be the new city investment hot spot. The best locations for investors, are Castello, Baixa, or Rossio and also the Barrio Alto or Old Town.

Lisbon is one of the most attractive inner-city areas in Europe, thanks to its accessibility and affordable prices, and the current EU funding helping to improve Lisbon’s infrastructure. Drains and sewage systems have been modernised, water supplies upgraded, main roads, city streets and pavements all improved, giving it a sense of rebirth and renewal.

Santarém
Santarém, capital of Ribatejo, is well known for its historical past, bullfights and lively agricultural fairs. Nearby Tomar was founded in 1157 by the grand-master of the Order of the Templars, and is celebrated for its castle and the magnificent Convent of Christ.

Cascais
Cascais has grown from a small, traditional fishing port to one of the most popular tourist destinations in Portugal with a really cosmopolitan atmosphere. The main attraction here is the bay, home to small, brightly painted fishing boats and huge luxury yachts and sail boats.

The town is full of lovely homes, picturesque corners with welcoming looking restaurants, cafes and shops, numerous beautiful historic places and gorgeous beaches.

Sintra
Sintra is around 30 minutes’ train ride south of Lisbon and is renowned as one of the poet Byron’s favourite places. Sintra is known for its stunning architecture, and has been classified in the UNESCO World Heritage list – there are a number of spectacular old buildings, including the National Palace, with its beautifully painted rooms and huge pair of conical chimneys,

Lawrence's Hotel in Sintra is reputed to be the oldest in the Iberian Peninsula, and the second oldest in the world. It became well known when Lord Byron moved into the hotel at the beginning of 1809, and it was here that he began writing The Journey of Childe Harold, in which he tells of his experiences of travelling through Europe and describes Sintra as paradise. It is expensive to buy within the city, but prices in the countryside outside the town are fairly reasonable.

Ericeira
Ericeira is a fishing village about 50 km (31 miles) northeast of Lisbon and 25 km (16 miles) from Sintra. From its beginnings as a traditional fishing village, Ericeira has developed enormously in recent times – both has a holiday resort and as a world-renowned surfing destination – whilst still maintain its original charm and atmosphere.

Of particular note is Ribeira d`Ilhas Beach, where one of the World Surfing Championship contests is held every year, and a visit to Ericeira is also an excellent opportunity to try the shellfish and fresh fish dishes, the speciality of the regional cuisine.

Nearby Ribamar is known for its lovely views, and property here is less expensive than the main town.

Estoril
Estoril is an elegant, sophisticated and reasonably expensive city, renowned internationally as an important tourism spot, thanks to upmarket facilities that include a casino, golf courses and a racing track, as well as a busy nightlife.

Once the haunt of exiled royalty and nobility, Estoril has a fairly cosmopolitan buzz and charm that attracts visitors year after year. There are a number of beaches here – many of the best are within close proximity, including Carcavelos, where you can play volleyball, football and there's even a nearby roller skating rink. Carcabelos is also a popular hangout for surfers, so it really does cater to all tastes.

Estoril has two superb golf courses set amongst lovely trees, as well as top class restaurants and Europe's largest casino, with cabaret shows and a nightclub, round off the picture. Estoril is only half an hour's train ride from Lisbon, making it a wonderful place to live or as an investment opportunity if you want to buy to rent.


Mafra
Mafra is well known for its charm and character, and for its blending of history and natural heritage. Here you will find traditional techniques, as well as the tastes and aromas of the past – contracting with modern innovation and an increase in tourist facilities

Mafra is home to the Palace-Convent, built in the 18th century and the largest Portuguese religious monument, and known for its magnificent library, bell tower and basilica.


The Setúbal Peninsula
Setúbal is about 50km south of Lisbon and is today a major port. Situated on the Bay of Setubal at the Sado River’s mouth, the city experiences mild temperatures in the winter and balmy weather in the summer months.

The Castelo São Felipe was built to protect the coast in the late sixteenth century, and parts of the castle have been converted into a luxury pousada or castle guesthouse. Setúbal has a pedestrian section in the old town, especially the streets around Rua A. Castelões, the Museu do Trabalho Michel Giacometti and the Museu de Arquelogica e Etnografia, which houses exhibits that include mosaics and local crafts.

Setúbal is generally alive with activity. Boat trips are a popular excursion - including trips up the River Sado in the traditional vessels once used to transport salt, or watching the bottle-nosed dolphins in the river. The nearby Sado Estuary, located to the east of the city, is home to more than 100 different species of birds, and there are also numerous organised tours for wine-sampling, cycling or walking in the area with full details on all local activities available from the tourist office.

From Setúbal you are within easy reach of the local beaches on the Tróia peninsula, and further west you will find the less touristy beaches of the Parque Natural da Arrábida, including Galapos, Figueirinha and Praia de Albarquel. The park is famous for its varied wildlife: it can be reached by bus from either Setúbal or Sesimbra - a pleasant seaside town popular as an escape from Lisbon. This area is also known for its golf courses, forests and the spring Troia International Film Festival, and is also home to a number of important historic sites dating back to Roman times.

Setúbal is beginning to attract the attention of developers and expats as property in the region is still considered reasonably priced. While it doesn’t offer the cosmopolitan flavour of Lisbon, it does offer a gentler pace of life, and if ‘traditional and lovely’ is what you are after, then this area is well worth a look.

Nazaré
Nazaré, a small town north of Lisbon, is one of the most popular investment destinations, partly because this town still has the traditional characteristics that have always made it so attractive to visitors: fishermen can still be seen wearing checked shirts and black trousers, and their wives seven layers of petticoats: you can watch them mending nets or drying fish on the beach.

Near Nazaré lies the beautiful beach of São Martinho do Porto: its enclosed and safe bay makes it a favourite holiday destination, especially for families with children. Located on a hillside over the sea, the town boasts breathtaking views and has some of the best beaches in Portugal. Just 60 minutes away from Lisbon's international airport and 120 kilometres from Lisbon, Nazaré has easy access to the A8 motorway.


Óbidos
Óbidos is a small town with whitewashed houses brightened up by colourful bougainvilleas. Here you will find a massive towered castle which has been converted into an elegant pousada (hotel).

This area is thought to hold some of the best golf courses in the world, particularly at Praia d'el Rey, with its 18-hole links golf course and villa complex that hosts the 5-star Marriott Hotel; this is thought one of the most beautiful and exclusive resort developments on Portugal’s Silver Coast, the area that stretches from Porto down to Lisbon.

Peniche
Further south, there is the busy fishing town of Peniche, home to some excellent seafood restaurants, a 16th-century fortress and wonderful surfing on its fantastic beach. Just off the coast from here, accessible by ferry, you will find a nature reserve, home to thousands of seabirds, with its clear blue waters ideal for deep-sea fishing and diving.

The opening up of this region by the A8 motorway from Lisbon means you can be sitting with a glass of wine in your hand within an hour’s drive of the bright lights of Lisbon. Money is pouring into the region, but the Portuguese have learned their lessons from Spain, and to a lesser degree the Algarve, and developments are strictly governed and controlled to ensure the beauty of the Silver Coast region is never spoiled. Water sports can be enjoyed from the Peniche recreation centre, including scuba diving and fishing. There are also equestrian centres in Lourinha, Atouguia da Baleia and Rio Maior.

Nearby historic old towns such as Leiria have bargain renovation properties. In the much-loved cobbled centre of the town, arcaded buildings and archways share the streets with the 12th-century church of São Pedro, and a cathedral housing the local archaeological museum and some 17th-century works of art around the altar. These ancient streets, and their central Rodrigues Lobo Square, also house numerous shops selling the crafts for which the local area is famed, particularly glasswork.

The nearby coast boasts typical Atlantic surf and sandy beaches, and the most popular resort here is São Pedro de Moel. This small cliffside town has its own ramparts and ancient quarter alongside all the modern trappings of a holiday resort. There are also the tranquil resorts Figueira da Foz, and Sao Martinho do Porto beach. It is considerably cheaper and less-developed than south and central Portugal but take note that the weather is wetter here.


Further reading for Buying In Portugal

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Viewing Guide

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Hidden Costs

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Legal Matters

Buying a property in Portugal has very different legal requirements to the UK.
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Currency Zone

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