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Portugal: Far more than its well-known urban centers

Portugal, the land of discoveries, has become the perfect destination for many investors who want to live and invest in Europe. Located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwest Europe, Portugal borders only Spain. Yet it has an extensive and rich coastal zone alongside the continent and the islands of Madeira and the Azores. Portugal also has a privileged geographical position as the closest European country to the United States and Canada.

One of the five safest countries in the world and second among European Union countries, according to the 2021 Global Peace Index, Portugal also ranks high in human development, educational accessibility, and the creation of attractive alternatives for its new entrepreneurs. Quality of life, a pleasant climate, rich culture and history, and stunning landscapes are some reasons that Portugal has become a sought-after alternative for investors, not only for tourism but also for a new permanent address.

In January 2022, new rules were established for the Portugal Golden Visa, one of the main residency-by-investment programs in Europe. According to these new rules, applicants who choose to invest in real estate to use as their own homes can only purchase residential real estate in the countryside (areas with lower population density). In other words, applicants for the Portugal Golden Visa are not eligible to purchase residences in Lisbon, Porto, and Algarve, although they can purchase property in these areas as commercial investments.

Lisbon, the capital, is an important gateway to Europe. However, Portugal is much more than a simple gateway with three well-known urban centers. The country is full of amazing cities and regions that fulfill a wide variety of purposes, including seeking better educational and job opportunities, making an investment, or even enjoying retirement. Here are just a few of them.

Alentejo

The largest region by area and the fourth most populous in the country, Alentejo is famous for its wineries and its economy grounded in agriculture and wine production. Distinguished by medieval-style villages and classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Alentejo has a stunning landscape with plains surrounded by mountain ranges, attracting many visitors to the region.

Autonomous Region of Madeira

Comprising four islands off the northwest coast of Africa, Madeira is famous for its eponymous wine, natural and wide landscapes, great historical buildings, and golden beaches. As part of the European Union, Madeira is the second richest region in Portugal. Volcanic in origin, with rich soil and high cliffs, the archipelago receives lots of tourists throughout the year attracted by its rich green landscapes and mild temperatures in both winter and summer.

Autonomous Region of the Azores

Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the region features impressive landscapes, fishing villages, and green fields. With an oceanic climate, the archipelago has lagoons at the bottom of extinct volcanoes, including its most famous lagoon, Lagoa das Sete Cidades (“Lagoon of the Seven Cities”), on the island of São Miguel. The main economic activity is raising cattle, but tourism has increased in recent decades and is firmly established in the economy of the region.

North Region

The most populous region in Portugal and the third largest in area, the North Region is made for tourism, and investors are increasingly considering this region as an option for residency. Its oceanic climate means that some cities even get snow in winter. The region is famous for its rich Mediterranean cuisine. Mountains, natural parks, and castles are some reasons that tourism in the North Region is a big draw.

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