Low density Portugal

The 280k low-density golden visa option

The Portuguese Golden Visa Program for residence by investment is considered one of the best in the world. For the third consecutive year, Portugal was announced as the country with the most attractive investment program. The Portugal Golden Visa Program has several investment options, which we explain in detail on our website. The most economic option is the 280k Euros investment that comprises the rehabilitation of real estate in low-density areas. These areas are not the same as the interior regions that are valid with the beginning of 2022.  


Most investors are not only looking for a second home, but also want to invest into the excellent rental and tourism market in Portugal. Portugal is currently one of the real estate markets with the highest international demand. Options for the short-term like Airbnb have been the focus of investment for many investors from all over the world. The industry  made around 400M€ in 2019 only through the Airbnb platform. 


Favorite low-density regions for tourists are Alentejo, Douro Valley, Algarve and Peneda Gerês. All of them offer incredible prices, with good opportunities in tourism.


The 280k EUR option to get the Portuguese Golden Visa is only available in low-density areas. These areas are designated according to the region's population. If the area has less than 100 inhabitants per 1000 square meters, it is considered a less densely populated area. Another criterion is the gross domestic product per capita, which qualifies a region as an area of lower density if it is below 75% of the average GDP.


Advantages low-density areas Portugal Golden Visa

Is investing in low-density areas profitable? Yes!

Buying real estate in low-density is a major trend among local and Euopean investors. The markets are still extremely cheap compared ot the cities or other European countries. At the same the demand for short term touristic renting increased strongly in the last three years. This lead to good and steady value appreciation growth rates of around 5-7% which is forecasted to even pick up in the next years.


The 280k option is very attractive because of the low investment in relation to the excellent rental returns. The required amount is also a much more accessible than the investments for example of 500k.  Investors are also likely to find much bigger and better properties with 2-3 unit to rent out to tourists. One unit can make around 12.000 EUR per year which makes the business case with several units very attractive


Having a property with 2 renting units gives you a net capital growth rate per year of 9.2% based on a conservative simulation (60 Euros per day, 55% occupation rate). You can simulate taxes and business cases for real estate investments on our site.

low density and internal regions guide Portugal

As the required capital to invest in these areas is low, the investors have more flexibility regarding their business investments. Away from the crowded beaches, these low-density areas of Portugal are great for new beginnings. The cities in the interior of Portugal are becoming increasingly popular with students and as the young population grows in these cities, the need and the opportunity to rent intensify. New investors can easily take advantage of this demand. See the real estate trends 2021 in Portugal.


Tourism in Portugal has grown every year before the corona crisis and it seems that people have really discovered Portugal. With beautiful river beaches, mountain regions, ski resorts, many green areas, tourism has stood out as an important sector in the Portuguese economy.


The tourists who most visit Portugal are Spanish, British, and French. Visitors with high purchasing power, older age, willing to spend money to have an unforgettable vacation.

Local accommodation in Portugal has been growing every year. Options like Airbnb have been the focus of investment for many Portuguese and foreigners who bought a property in Portugal.


With the increase in tourism in Portugal, the sector's numbers have grown considerably, representing 8.7% of Portugal's GDP. The properties registered in the National Register of Local Accommodation (RNAL), which are managed by the Portugal Tourism agency (Turismo de Portugal) are surprising. Currently, in 2020 there are 109,627 local accommodations in Portugal. 


Where to invest?

Tourism low-density in Portugal

Many regions such as Alentejo, Douro Valley, and Peneda Gerês are popular with tourists and offer great investment prices.  Local accommodation represent, at the moment, 48.2% of the total touristic accommodations and is still in need of more and new options. Rural tourism represents 83.6% of it and is still increasing according to INE (National Institute of Statistics). Recently also many parts of the Algarve were added to the low-density areas.

When investing in the interior regions of the 280K Golden Visa program, we believe that some of the most profitable routes to create new businesses may in the inland areas such as Alentejo, Douro Valley, and Gerês. These areas offer a greater opportunity to work in hospitality, outdoor tourism (such as walking cycling, hiking, mountain biking, rafting) or cultural and religious tourism. 


Rural, natural and religious tourism are not the only possible business. Portugal’s countryside is full of opportunities in agriculture, commerce and more. The more people are attracted the more structure is needed in all service businesses. While prices/m2 has increased by 15% in urban areas during the last year, it has increased by 10% in the interior areas. In Lisbon, Porto, and Algarve a square meter can cost 1.606 €/m2 on average, but in low-density areas such as the north and Alentejo the average costs is 603 €/m2.  

Why Algarve?

Algarve Portugal low-density

For most investors a dream is becoming true. Some areas in the Algarve are now suitable for the Low-Density route. If you are looking for incredible profits in the high season, Algarve is the place for you to invest. Algarve has the best weather of Europe during all seasons. The warm waters of the Mediterranean sea, amazing beaches and many other activities make it one of the most attractive regions of southern Europe. It is the most popular region of Portugal among European expats, visited by a lot of tourists in the summer, but also the perfect escape from severe winters. It is the ideal place for your holiday home or to invest and receive great returns.


The best strategy is to invest in apartments if you would like to keep the investments as low as possible. This means you invest 150-200k into one or two older apartments and renovate with a budget the ads up to the 280k threshold. You can also buy a house but in this case it is recommendable to go for the 400k low-density threshold because good houses will be more around 500k than 300k. 

Why Peneda Gerês?

Peneda Gerês low-density Portugal

Just 100 km from Grande Porto, Gerês is a region where Nature is astonishing, between rest and adventure, various activities take place like walks, team building, canoeing and more. Gerês is one of the preferred regions of tourists due to its dense and wonderful Peneda Gerês National Park. This amazing place allows locals and tourists great tranquility and privacy.  The famous waterfalls take people to paradisiacal places protected from the human hand.


Peneda Geres Low density

The lack of modernization in some villages and places is somehow liberating. The rocky mountains lead to altitudes from where you can see the valleys and rivers and offer a great experience of freedom out of the daily life of the city. The romantic, liberating and adventurous place are perfect for all ages due to its extensive and vast set of opportunities. The Gerês hot springs are also very popular to try to treat health problems. Their thermal waters are perfect for relaxation at a higher level.

In Peneda Gerês, houses are normally big, with good sun exposure, granite-clad walls, rustic architecture. Usually it has swimming pool, fireplace, garden, are detached with good privacy, and with 280K is possible to find over 160m2 properties in good conditions for renovations. Most of the properties can be spilt up in several units. Small units are excellent for renting as most clients are couples that spent most of their time in the nature.


Why Douro Valley?

Douro valley low-denity Portugal Golden Visa

Classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Douro Region in the Centro-North of the country is one of the most acclaimed areas in the world due to the grandiose and beautiful valleys. It complements one of the most extensive rivers in Portugal. It’s origin is in Spain and the Douro flows into the North Atlantic Ocean close to Porto. From the wine tasting of the immense vineyards you can enjoy the  breathtaking landscapes and views.

Dorou valley low density

The Douro Region is very popular for its historic sites and typically northern properties that allow you to observe the natural beauty. Several cities and villages along with the Douro Region which, despite the increase in tourism, remain intact and authentic. It is possible to travel along to Douro River by train or countless cruises that can be taken to a breathtaking viewpoints, mystical churches and many stories to explore. Tours in the Douro region include high-quality gastronomy, wine, and nature lovers. 


In most regions of Douro Valley, houses usually have a Vintage architecture, great views, good sun exposure. The have garden, fireplace, and are often located in quiet areas. The 280K investment would be more than enough for 120m2 houses in need of some renovation.


The Douro valley is visited mainly by couples and groups with higher economic and intellectual background. Besides the famous wine tastings tourists look for hiking and water sports activities.

Why Aljezur

Aljezur low-density Portugal

The region of Aljezur is surrounded by the sea and the mountains in the superb Alentejo. Known for its cliffs and hills that allow you to find peace and tranquility with stunning views in idyllic locations. The sound of the sea hitting the rocks is much sought after by travelers. They pass by looking at the horizon which is complemented by the breeze and the smell of the sea.


Aljezur is located in the “Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina”, being an agricultural village bordering the river Aljezur. In Aljezur we can find many places that are dedicated to traditional activities such as surfing, fishing, cattle treatment, but also many tourists who seek the pleasure of gastronomy, the Algarve temperature, and natural beauty. Sought by sea, sun and beach lovers, activities for all ages are possible. 

In Aljezur like in the most of the Alentejo region houses have a typical local architecture. The perfect investment in this areas is a sigle house with garden for touristic renting. Usually houses have only a ground floor, not high, adobo-coated walls which is very good for thermal isolation. In general houses are big, with very good sun exposure, garden, fireplace, Alentejano style wood-oven, and 320K would be enough for a 160m2 property in need of some renovation. 


The typical clients in these areas are families from Europe or young couple that would like to appreciate the water sport opportunities.

Why Alcácer do Sal?

South of Lisbon is located one of the main growth markets for real estate in Portugal. The region is called Comporta and is the investment target for many international buyers. Is is famous for its fantastic beach and nature landscape. Land for construction is limited and the region borders the peninsula Tróia which is an elite vacation spot.


Prices for a normal isolated house can easily reach 1.000.000 Euros and more in Comporta. The Comporta region is part of a county that is called "Alcácer do Sal". The main city of the county has the same name. The city is located 20 minutes from the Comporta beaches and directly at a beautiful riverside. The "Alcácer do Sal" region is still considered low-density and will in 2021 also profit from the rapid price development in Comporta. It is a fantastic holiday region and close to cities like Lisbon and Setúbal. That is why it makes a lot of sense to invest in the Alcácer do Sal.

Other regions that are also attractive

The interior of Portugal is where Portuguese people keep their traditions alive, preserving almost untouched villages, and where the country's great production of food, Portuguese wines, and olive oil take place.


The Alentejo region is an important rural tourism hub in Portugal. The Alentejo wineries are famous all over the world and export their wines abroad. With many award-winning wines, the farms are an attraction for tourists that visit Portugal. Portugal is a country with many farms and with local production of cheeses, salami, sausages and lots of cold cuts. The production of food, such as fruits and vegetables also comes from the interior of the country.


Évora, in the Alentejo, is a historic city with a preserved Roman temple and still with plenty of space and opportunities to grow.


The Alentejo is one of the warmest regions in Portugal and has great opportunities for rural tourism, with beautiful scenery and charming typical architecture.


Another incredible low-density place in Portugal is Ferreira do Zêzere, in the Center region, in the province of Ribatejo, with stunning landscapes and the charming village of Dornes (Vila de Dornes) that enchants visitors looking for remote places to do rural tourism and an important historic place for the Templars.


There are investment opportunities also in cities like Covilhã, in Serra da Estrela, a region with snow, and a ski resort in winter.


Low-density areas in Portugal

NUTS 3 Golden Visa

The new rules for the golden visa application in Portugal were made to focus the investments in real estate in low density areas. Low density areas are determined by the so called "NUTS 3 regions". The low-density regions are define to have less than 100 inhabitants per square kilometre or a per capita GDP of less than 75% of the national average.



However, the SEF has not always interpreted the Law in the same way and that does not make life easy for those who submit Golden Visa requests, nor for those who (in advance of them) request information from the SEF about the property they intend to buy, because the SEF's information is always vague.


As it happens, a decision was recently taken by a higher court (whose decision can be read in full at: http://www.dgsi.pt/jtca.nsf/170589492546a7fb802575c3004c6d7d/45dcdcace81dd46880258656005cc204?OpenDocument


A higher court recently decided in a trial that if the property is located in the NUTS III zone, which is for exemple the entire Algarve, the SEF should accept the Golden Visa application. The court's decision referred specifically to the case of Vilamoura, and the court found that given the statistical data, the Algarve as a whole has 88.4 (April 2021)  inhabitants per km2, thus fulfilling one of the mandatory requirements for the low density golden Visa.


In the latest advice sent by the SEF, it states that it is prudent to request a declaration from the Camara Municipal of the area where the property is located, stating that it is located in a low density zone (NUTSIII) for Golden Visa purposes. This should be done by your lawyer when the due the "due diligence" on the property. 

Why work with Pearls of Portugal?

Golden Visa Developer Pearls of Portugal

Pearls of Portugal

CEO Frederik Pohl

CEo Frederik Pohl

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