The southern Portuguese region of the Algarve has long been a popular destination to own a holiday home since it was put on the map with the advent of package tourism in the 1960s. Boasting over 300 days of sunshine (Portugal is officially one of the sunniest countries in the world), it boasts mild winters and hot summers, gold-sand beaches and unspoilt villages. Plus, it has the added advantage for British holiday home owners in that English is widely spoken across the region.
Shortly after the development of tourism, a swathe of golf courses sprang up along the Algarve’s dramatic coastline. Thereafter, the region gained a reputation as a first-rate destination for semi-retired or retired professionals who’ve headed south from Britain to improve their handicaps.
Beyond golf: sport and fitness in the Algarve
In the past couple of years, this has begun to shift. The region has doubled down on its efforts to expand its appeal, taking advantage of the excellent climate, with an ever-expanding choice of sports and outdoor activities on offer. “It’s becoming a bit of a game-changer for the Algarve,” says Sean Doyle, who is opening up our new Winkworth Portugal office in central Algarve in the next 12 months.
“The quality of life and easy access from the UK has been long established but with an increasing focus on fitness and well-being, especially among the younger generation of buyers, the average age is starting to fall and we’re seeing much more interest from parents with young families looking to own property in the Algarve.”
Much of the sporting action is focused on the Algarve’s so-called Golden Triangle, says Sean, who has spent 8 years working in property and tourism in the Algarve. “That includes the two big-name resorts of Quinta do Lago and Val do Lobo as well as Vilamoura and Loulé.”
Quinta do Lago’s fitness and training facility, The Campus, is testament to this development. Opened in October 2018, the multi-sports complex offers professional-else training and coaching in areas including tennis and padel, cycling, running, football and triathlon. “Judy Murray is running various tennis clinics there throughout this year, Rio Ferdinand does football camps and others are hosting dance and running camps too,” explains Sean. “It’s having a big impact on successful, millennial-generation, buyers who want a holiday home where they can easily tap into all this activity.”
Further sport initiatives in the Algarve include NFL-level American football coaching at the athletics stadium in Vilamoura, some of whom were hosted by Winkworth Portugal in 2018, which also has a tennis academy as well as golf. The Algarve is perfect for cycling, too. The Volta ao Algarve road race attracts professional teams to train in February with some challenging hill climbs to be done in the Monchique mountain range.
“Five years ago, the Algarve was a very seasonal destination but the development of all this sport has completely changed that,” says Sean. “Added to that, there have been plenty of improvements on a cultural level, too, including enhancing the historic centre of Loulé. Once a sleepy hill town, it’s now buzzing with interesting bars, restaurants and pop ups.”
Next month [June 2019], Winkworth Portugal will start marketing properties in the brand-new Ombria resort that’s being built on a 370-acre plot of gently rolling hills near Loulé. The biggest new development on the Algarve, there will be a Viceroy-branded condo hotel as well as contemporary bespoke villas for sale. “It’s a really exciting development which puts sustainability, the environment and support of nature and local heritage at its heart— a new setting which again will widen the appeal of the Algarve to more buyers.”
Speak to our Winkworth Portugal desk on 020 3941 9800 or view properties for sale in the Algarve.
Properties for sale
Just a few minutes from Lagos, this five-bedroom villa enjoys panoramic views towards the Monchique mountains, an area popular among keen cyclists. €1.995m
A five-bedroom villa in the classical Portuguese style, offering easy access to both Pinta and Gramacho golf courses, is on the market for €900,000
A short walk from Centeannes beach is this three-bedroom villa with a roof terrace enjoying expansive sea views. It’s on the market for €499,995.