In the latest episode of our ongoing 'Five-minute Focus' series, we take a trip down to Portugal's Silver Coast region, an area which is becoming increasingly popular with British buyers. Paula Bennett from the agent Buy Portugal reports...
Where is it?
Portugal's Silver Coast, otherwise known as the Costa de Prata, is one of the treasures of the country. Less than an hour north of the capital city of Lisbon it is a stretch of spectacular coastline that runs for approximately 150km up towards the fishing town of Nazaré. Worlds away from the rush and stress of modern life, the Silver Coast is a second-home destination and lifestyle choice for many buyers in search of “the real Portugal”. A place which offers everything you expect on holiday, except for the crowds...
Fly direct to Lisbon in about two and a half hours, then it’s a pleasant drive (less than 1 hour) along with a good motorway, head north and follow the signs for the A8 Oeste. If driving isn’t an option take a taxi or metro to Sete Rios bus station and hop on an air-conditioned coach for about €9 and enjoy the scenic ride to Caldas da Rainha in about 1 hour 10 minutes. Why not spend a night in the vibrant capital city of Lisbon at the start and finish of your trip?
The Silver Coast has a combination of elements from the Mediterranean and Atlantic climate which means mild winters and hot and dry summers. Winters are mild with average temperatures of 17 degrees. In the summer, cooling Atlantic breezes make for a comfortable 27-degree daytime average. Either way, it enjoys almost 275 days of sunshine a year.
Óbidos – one of Portugal’s picturesque gems. Step back in time in a labyrinth of cobblestoned streets and whitewashed houses and a well-preserved castle within the walls, which are a delight to stroll around. Óbidos knows how to host a good festival. Every year, the castle grounds and public squares are taken over by fun events such as the chocolate festival, medieval fair, opera festival or Christmas village. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to sample some of the town’s local cherry liqueur, ginjinha (or ginja), traditionally served in a small edible chocolate cup.
Foz do Arelho - where Óbidos lagoon encounters the Atlantic ocean. The beach here is a natural wonder. To one side of the large sandy strip is the Atlantic ocean, to the other side are the tranquil waters of the Óbidos lagoon. The warm salty waters of the lagoon are ideal for children and a variety of water sports and are even said to have therapeutic properties.
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Alcobaça – explore the stunning architecture of the monastery, another of the seven wonders of this amazing country.
Berlenga Island – this beautifully unspoilt haven is reachable by boat. Once there you can hike, camp, and explore a fort and lighthouse. It is a natural reserve for the nesting of various species of birds and the preservation of a number of animals.
Aveiro with its two canals is the Venice of Portugal. The cityscape is crisscrossed by canals that you can navigate on painted gondola-style boats known as moliceiros and on the quaysides in the older part of the city are charming art nouveau houses in pastel shades.
Why buy there?
As well as giving more of a flavour of the real Portugal, the Silver Coast has another massive advantage over the Algarve – property prices are typically up to 30 percent lower. The endless stunning beaches feature some of the best views to be had – the coastline remains largely unspoilt, dotted with pretty towns and villages where people speak their own language rather than English.
If you are considering a permanent move to the Silver Coast it would be wise to be within easy reach of Caldas da Rainha. This bustling and vibrant thermal spa town has everything you need: an array of shops and cafés, two hospitals, several banks, pharmacies, butchers, schools, large supermarkets and much more. There ’s a lively colourful flower, fruit and vegetable market in Praça da República six days a week.
What can you buy there?
There are properties to suit most budgets ranging from large country homes and contemporary villas generally priced around €750,000 upwards, family villas with swimming pool from €200,000 to small holiday homes and apartments starting at around €120,000. A five-star golf and beach resort location such as Praia D’El Rey is ideal for a holiday home or rental investment, but also look at the beach and resort locations of Nazaré, São Martinho do Porto and Foz do Arelho or a slightly inland setting such as Alfeizerão, Óbidos or Caldas da Rainha. Here you can still find homes at very sensible prices with beautiful views of the lagoon