Why choose a Vila Real de Santo António property?
Are you thinking of investing in a Vila Real de Santo António property? Then you have come to the right place. Occupying Portugal’s south-eastern corner, just across the Guadiana river from Spain, Vila Real de Santo António was founded after the earthquake of 1755 and remains a thriving, typical Portuguese city. Situated next to the Guadiana river, Vila Real de Santo António is a city and municipality of the Eastern Algarve. It is bordered to the west by the municipality of Tavira and to the north, by Castro Marim. It is linked to Spain, via the Guadiana International Bridge and also by ferry, to the Spanish town of Ayamonte. It is still a busy border town, with much international movement of goods and the bridge has served to reduce much of the congestion in the city.
Since the decline of the fishing industry, the economy of the region now depends largely on revenue from visitors. Although located on the Atlantic Ocean, being closer to the Mediterranean, it offers a milder climate than the central and western areas of the Algarve and its long stretches of clean, sandy beaches attract both national and international visitors. The town of Monte Gordo offers all the facilities of a busy resort with many hotels, bars and a casino. Vila Real de Santo António property owners can enjoy all of this and more.
Much of the region comprises saltmarsh and wetland areas, which attract many varieties of both native and migratory birds. The Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António Marsh Natural Reserve was established in 1975 and was the first nature reserve on the Portuguese mainland. The easternmost parts of the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve are also located in this municipality. Both reserves provide habitats and breeding grounds for many species of birds, fish and reptiles. The rest of the region is mainly woodland, scrub and agricultural land.
The area still supports some fishing-related industry, mainly tuna and sardine fisheries, but most employment opportunities are now tourism-related, with many inhabitants commuting to Spain for work.
Vila Real de Santo António is linked to the rest of the Algarve via bus and rail services, being the eastern terminus of the railway from Lagos, via Faro. From Faro, there are connections to high-speed train links to Lisbon and other parts of the country. The International airport at Faro operates flights to many European cities, as well as to Lisbon, from where you can access flights to most large international cities.
There is also easy access to the region’s A22 motorway from here, with all the amenities of Faro being about a half-hour’s drive away.
Golfing and leisure activities
Golf lovers will find themselves very well-served by the facilities in the region – there are several quality golf courses in the region, most notably those at Benamor, Castro Marim, Monte Rei, Quinta do Vale and Colina Verde. A little further afield you will find the prestigious Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago courses, as well as other high quality courses at Sao Lourenço, Salgados and many more. Many of these courses include residential areas, offering many luxurious villas and apartments for sale.
Water sports, cycling, horse-riding and fishing trips are also available in the coastal areas, and for the thrill-seekers, the zip wire across the Guadiana offers a memorable experience!
Out and about in Vila Real de Santo António
A boat trip up the Guadiana will take you to the small town of Alcoutim, with its hilltop castles and luxury hillside villas. And the little village of Cacela Velha offers a restaurant with an upstairs terrace, giving panoramic views across the beaches of Manta Rota and Monte Gordo to Vila Real, with a backdrop of lush green countryside.
Vila Real de Santo António property is served by the usual selection of shops and restaurants, but a boat trip across the Guadiana to Ayamonte, in Spain, offers a different shopping or dining experience. And a weekend trip to Gibraltar should satisfy even the most discerning shopper!
Faro is only around a half an hour’s drive away, with its shopping malls, cinemas and restaurants and, if you are looking for something extra special, you could try one of the Michelin-starred restaurants in the region. Of these, two have been awarded two-star status – Ocean in Armaçao de Pêra / Porches and the restaurant at the Vila Joya resort, in Gale, near Albufeira. Another four have one star – Gusto, Henrique Leis, Sao Gabriel in Almancil and Willie’s in Vilamoura.
The Centro Médico Internacional offers general medical care, out-patient care, dental surgery and also specialises in physiotherapy and rehabilitation.
There are excellent Portuguese schools in the area and the International School is about one hour’s drive away in Lagoa.
Overall, Vila Real de Santo António is a relaxed but thriving town, offering the ideal situation for a second home, especially if you are looking for a quiet and peaceful life. Unlike much of the Algarve, the region is also quite flat, so it is well-suited to those who enjoy walking and also to people with restricted mobility. And, depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for Portugal’s residency and tax incentives, particularly if you have Non-Habitual Residency (NHR) status or qualify for a Golden Visa. Investing in a Vila Real de Santo António property will give you these benefits and many, many more.
Hero Picture by Jose A. via Flickr