Moving to a new country is a complete lifestyle change for UK expats. The Algarve region of Portugal, however, has a large expat community.
The luxury resort of Lobo ValleyThe main markets for are British and Irish expatriates.
The Algarve resort town has been welcoming expats to Portugal for 60 years.
Pedro Reimão, Board Member of Vale do Lobo, said: “It’s important because if you want to spend a lot of time in your second home and plan to retire there, you need to have friends, have a social network.
“People here interact a lot and they eat dinner at each other’s house, they play golf and tennis and go to the beach together.”
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While Portugal offers many of the key things British expats seek, such as safety, good weather and an active lifestyle, a move to the Algarve can also be motivated by the expat community currently residing there.
Pedro said: “There is a large expat community, particularly from the UK but from all over the world, who have their young families with them here.
“It’s no coincidence that we have two international schools around.
He explained: “One of the things we are proud of here is the community, made up of people who only stay for the holidays and then increase their time here, as well as full-time residents.
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“About 10% of our owners stay full-time. The others stay from a few weekends or weeks just for vacation to six months.
“We are unique in our community, with a critical mass of full-time residents and this critical mass of homeowners who come regularly.
A sense of community is important to residents, some having come to the resort since childhood.
Pedro continued: “A particularly active owner in the community here has been coming since he was a child with his father.
“He knows everyone and he has his friends here.
“Most of the people we sell to are people who already know Vale do Lobo to stay with us or have friends here or nearby.”
The expat community in the Algarve can be a strong selling point for Brits looking to relocate, but Pedro is adamant that the community is not island.
He said: “Most people are looking for the local experience and to some extent local expats aren’t necessarily what people travel for.
“I think most people want a balance. We are not a close community.
“It’s an open resort, we don’t even have a gate, we’re seamlessly integrated into the wider local community.
“It happens naturally, our own employees contribute to it, but we also have Portuguese people who own properties here and who have businesses here.
“Most of the owners who live full time in the resort speak Portuguese as they participate in the local community.”