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, as we explain on our website. The most economic option is the 280k Euros investment in 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 to invest into the excellent rental and tourism market in Portugal. Options for the short-term like Airbnb have been the focus of investment for many investors from all over the world, including the Portuguese. The industry  made around 400M€ in 2019 only through the Airbnb platform. 


The favorite low-density regions for foreigners are Alentejo, Douro Valley, Algarve and Peneda Gerês. All of them offering incredible prices, with good opportunities in the area of hospitality, outdoor tourism, cultural, rural, and religious 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

Why invest into low-density areas?

Lisbon or Porto are very popular among investors despide the high prices and are considered excellent investments areas. However Portugal is a prime destination for tourism with around 26 million tourists per year. Most of the tourism takes place outside of Lisbon or Porto with even longer stays. The main purpose of this price reduction is to attract investors to less popular areas in the first place, and these locations are by no means undesirable.

 Source: INE (Portuguese National Institute of Statistics) reports 2018/2019

The 280k option is very attractive because of the low investment in relation to the excellent rental returns. And the 280k is also a much more accessible amount than the investments of 500k. Also  in a low-density-area an investor is 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 quite attractive

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 grwoth rates of around 5-7% which is forcasted to even pick up in the next years.


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.

business case low-density golden visa investment

As the required capital to invest in these areas is low, the investors have more freedom regarding their business investments. Away from the crowds, 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 serve them 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 and it seems that people have really discovered Portugal and have warned friends they must be in a little corner of paradise.

With beautiful 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. 


The numbers represent 252,320 rooms, 425,351 beds, and 10,451 bunk beds. 66,087 property owners in Portugal, according to RNAL. Local accommodation broke all records in Portugal in 2019, the sector grew five times more than hotels. According to INE (National Institute of Statistics) of Portugal, the number of overnight stays in local accommodation grew by 15% in 2019, while in hotels the increase was 3.1%.


The value earned by local property owners (such as Airbnb) was € 377 million in 2019, an increase of 20.6% in the year. ALEP (Association of Local Accommodation in Portugal) stated that tourism in Portugal could not have grown so much in recent years had it not been for the beds of local accommodations. After all, there would be no capacity for hotels in Portugal to receive 26 million tourists in just one year.

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 represents, 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 be within 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 a lot more make it one of the most attractive regions of southern Europe. That is the most popular region of Portugal among European expats, visited by a lot of tourists in the summer, the perfect escape from severe winters, contains an unique architecture features. 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, 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. Allows one of the best historical experiences with historic buildings made of typically regional materials such as granite. Its rocky mountains lead to altitudes from where you can see the valleys and rivers. Such 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 medicinal 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 condition. Most of the porperties 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 up-stream is in Spain and flows into the immense North Atlantic Ocean in Porto. From the wine tasting of the immense vineyards that can be seen along the river to the breathtaking landscapes.



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 faithful to ancient times where it is possible to travel back in time. 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 includes high-quality gastronomy, wine, and nature lovers. Tranquility and peace are heard along the route.


In most regions of Douro Valley, houses usually have a Vintage architecture, great views, good sun exposure. Usually 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

Limited by the sea and the mountains in the superb Alentejo, is the region of Aljezur. 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 horizon which is complemented by the breeze and the smell of the sea with the flowers that traverse the region.


Aljezur is located in the “Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina”, being an agricultural village bordering the river Aljezur. In Portugal, gastronomy prevails in all regions of the country. Known for its sweet potato, is one of the best gastronomic festivals in the Algarve. 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 fro 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 280K 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 towns 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 and it is no less. 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.


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


In addition to Paredes de Coura, a Portuguese town of low population density in the north of the country, with a famous summer festival (Vodafone Paredes De Coura).


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

Alto Douro is the region of vineyards and the production of Porto wine. The Alto Douro Wine Region is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and one of the hidden treasure is Vila Nova de Foz Côa. With eight viewpoints to Douro River, it is a relic of rural tourism in Portugal.


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 in cities like Covilhã, in Serra da Estrela, a region with snow, and a ski resort in winter.


In addition, in the  southern region Algarve there are still many cities and towns to be explored. There are opportunities to invest in vacation rental properties (short term) like Airbnb, or even as a family holiday home.

Low-density areas in Portugal

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.


The low-density definition basically applies to all the interior regions in Portugal  and some coastal areas. These areas change constantly and have to be checked at the SEF every 6 month. In many sites for example BAIÃO ist still considered low-density but for the SEF in 2021 it is not valid for low-density golden visa investments. 


Low-denity counties 2021 Portugal Golden Visa: Alto Tamega, Douro, Terras Trás-os-Montes, Viseu  Dão Lafõe
Low-denity counties 2021 Portugal Golden Visa: Beira Baixa, Medio Tejo, Beirras e Serras Estrelas, Alentejo literal
Low-denity counties 2021 Portugal Golden Visa: Baixo Alentejo, Leziria do Tejo, Alto Alentejo, Alentejo central
Low-denity counties 2021 Portugal Golden Visa: Algarve, Região Autonoma dos  Açores

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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