Finding Long & Medium Term Rentals in the Algarve

With more than 300 days of sunshine per year, the Algarve is always a very popular place to live for a few weeks, months, or even a lifetime.

Finding somewhere to rent, whether it’s a room or an entire apartment, is always a challenge wherever you decide to live but hopefully this guide will make the process of moving to Portugal that little bit easier.

Where to look for accommodation

Depending on whether you’re looking for a place for a few weeks or a few years, this guide will highlight the best websites and services to look at.

Short-Term Rentals

Because the Algarve is so focused on tourism, there are lots and lots of places where you can find an apartment, house, or villa rental if you’re on planning only staying for a few weeks.

Airbnb

For short-term apartment rentals, Airbnb.com is probably the best all-round site. It includes everything from budget to luxury properties and prices tend to be better than other similar sites.

Booking

Booking.com tends to focus more on hotels than apartments, but it still has plenty of accommodation options in the Algarve including apartments, houses, and villas.

Others

There are plenty of other alternatives to Airbnb including Wimdu, HouseTrip, HomeAway, Owners Direct, and VRBO that you can use to find short-term rental properties.

Medium Term Rentals

Medium-term rentals are usually anything from 1 month to 6 months. Most landlords focus on either short-term vacation rentals or long-term rentals, so finding an affordable place that’s available for a few months can sometimes be challenging.

Airbnb

Although Airbnb.com is mainly meant for short-term rentals, it’s actually possible to rent on a monthly basis as well. Many hosts offer discounted rates if you stay more than 28 days, sometimes 50% or more.

However, even with the discount, rates are often more expensive than the market average. If you’re planning on staying for several months, it’s worth trying to haggle to see if you can bring down the price.

NomadX

NomadX is an accommodation platform that’s primarily aimed at digital nomads and young professionals, but it’s open to anyone. And, most importantly, it usually has quite a few apartments and house that you can rent in different parts of the Algarve.

Read reviews of NomadX, along with a more detailed writeup.

Winter Rentals

If you’re planning on renting during the winter, be sure to read this guide to finding an Algarve winter rental as there are some options that might be available in the winter that wouldn’t be available during the summer.

Long-Term Rentals

Long-term rentals are usually considered to be anything from 6 months or more. The majority of these are advertised through Facebook groups or classifieds websites, but you can also find them advertised in local papers, on supermarket noticeboards, and through word-of-mouth.

Most properties usually come furnished, which can be an issue if you’re planning on bringing your own furniture, and usually don’t come with amenities like wifi unless the property was previously rented to tourists.

Classifieds websites

If you’d prefer to find a private landlord, the main sites where you’ll find properties advertised are olx.pt, idealista, Imovirtual, and sapo.pt.

Listings are likely to be in Portuguese, although you’ll find that many of the people advertising will speak English. This isn’t a guarantee, of course, but it’s fair to say that English is widely spoken on the Algarve.

Facebook groups

Facebook is slowly becoming a classifieds website and there are now a few Facebook groups and pages dedicated to long term accommodation on the Algarve.

Some of the different groups include:

Then, there’s also Facebook Marketplace which is Facebook’s own classifieds section.

It may also be worth joining local Facebook groups and posting to see if anyone knows of any available properties. Towns like Carvoreiro, Albufeira, and Vilamoura all have their own Facebook groups where you’ll regularly see people asking about accommodation.

Supermarket noticeboards

Another place that’s worth looking is the noticeboard in that town’s supermarkets. Almost every Portuguese supermarket will have a noticeboard by the exit where people advertise properties for rent, second-hard cars for sale, and pets that are looking for a home. Despite all of the increases in technology in the past few years, this is still one of the most common way things are advertised in Portugal and especially in the Algarve.

Local expat newspapers

Although the Algarve is slowly becoming more digitalised, a lot of advertising still happens through the print editions of expat newspapers like The Portugal News and Portugal Resident.

The Portugal News does have a PDF version of each edition on its site, but you’ll need to be in Portugal to get a copy of The Portugal Resident.

Estate Agents (realtors)

Some people prefer to rent with a lettings agency rather than with a private landlord. There are two main ways to find properties that are being rented out by professional companies.

The first is simply to drive to the town you want to live in and go speak to the estate agents. It’s much easier and you’re more likely to get a response than sending an email (as many people who try to rent in advance tend to find out).

The second option is to look at the listings on OLX, Idealista, and all of the other classifieds sites as many of these will be from professional property companies.

Renting a room

Renting a room is usually a little easier than renting an apartment as the contract lengths (if you have a contract) are much shorter and landlords are much more flexible.

As with apartments, the majority of rooms are advertised on Facebook groups and Classifieds websites

Facebook Groups

Most Facebook groups are broken down by town e.g. Casas/Quartos para arrendar em Albufeira and Casas/Quartos para arrendar em Faro. It’s also worth looking at Facebook Marketplace.

Classifieds Websites

There are lots of different classifieds websites in Portugal, but 3 of the most popular are:

  • OLX
  • Idealista
  • Imovirtual

Other Sites

Other places to look for a room include accommodation websites like digital nomad accommodation site NomadX and room-specialist website BQuarto.

8 Things to Consider Before Renting in the Algarve

Besides finding a place to live, there are a few things that you should think about when moving to the Algarve.

Where do you want to live?

You want to live on the Algarve, but where? The Algarve is a big place – around 150 km wide – with lots of different towns and villages. There are touristy places like Albufeira, small cities like Faro, surfer hotspots like Sagres and Aljezur, and green, mountainous areas like Monchique.

Have a read through all the different towns on the Algarve to see which is right for you.

If you still don’t know where to go, start by picking a region e.g. the Eastern Algarve, the Central Algarve, and the Western Algarve.

It’s easier to rent in winter

Not only are there lots of summer vacation rentals available to rent off-season, but it’s much easier to find long-term rentals in the Autumn, Winter, and Spring rather than the summer.

The reason for this is that property owners can earn well if they rent their property to tourists so, if a property is sitting empty in February or March, many would rather take the risk of putting it up for rent for the tourist season rather than get a long-term tenant. During the winter months, they’ll be much happier to agree to a long-term lease.

Properties get Cold in the Wintertime

Winters are warmer in the Algarve, however, properties are designed to stay cool in the summer. This means they can get very cold in the winter. Unlike Northern European properties, most don’t have central heating. Some have radiators, but they’re often not very effective.

The ideal Algarve winter property should catch the sun during the day and have a working fireplace. These properties can be hard to find, especially if you’re looking at apartments, but it’s something to think about when considering your future home.

Inland is cheaper

Many of the coastal properties are likely short-term holiday lets, or at least they have the potential to be. The rural Algarve gets very little tourism in comparison, making it a great place to look for affordable rentals. Especially, if you’re planning on renting during the summer months.

You probably won’t use the pool in winter

Although you’ll be extremely grateful of a swimming pool in the summer, you probably won’t use it in the winter unless its heated.

Some apartment blocks won’t even bother maintaining theirs, assuming nobody would want to use it. So, don’t fall in love with a property just because it has a pool as many make the mistake of doing.

A car is often essential

While it is possible to get around the Algarve by public transport, having a car is definitely recommended. Many people think they can live on the Algarve without one, but it’s incredibly difficult. Many towns have very limited public transport connections, and the buses and trains will only take you to other towns rather than to the beaches or areas of natural beauty.

Some towns are better than others for public transport – e.g. Faro, Portimao, and Lagos – so, if you are going to stay here without a car, try and pick one of the better places.

Read: The Algarve Without a Car

Many landlords will allow pets

Finding a pet-friendly rental in Portugal can sometimes be difficult, particularly in bigger cities like Lisbon and Porto, but it’s a lot easier in the Algarve. Just be sure to ask the landlord if it’s okay.

(Note: we now also have guides to renting long term in Lisbon and Porto.)

57 thoughts on “Finding Long & Medium Term Rentals in the Algarve”

  1. Hi, useful article! I’m looking to move long long term to Portugal. My 28 year old lives in Lisbon but I’d be moving with my 13 year old who would much more enjoy being near the sea and where there are good secondary British schools too (cachcais seems very expensive though maybe places nearby that are cheaper… Ideas welcome too!. So looking at Algarve. I would like to rent for a year or two before buying. Have a budget of up to 1,200 euros per month, more if utilities included. Pet friendly (cats) with pool would be ideal. As long as the house is unfurnished, quiet and has gardrn/pool, doesn’t matter if its not bang in the centre of everything. What are the chances of finding something at this budget, 3 bedrooms? Thank James!

    Reply
    • Hi Isabella

      It’s best to look at the websites mentioned in the article (eg OLX) to see if you can find what you’re looking for.

      Maybe best to focus on the schools first so you know which areas to look at.

      Reply
  2. Very informative article, thank you.
    I am searching for an affordable 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment or house, preferably inland of Algarve. I am planning to move to Portugal on the D7 Retirement Visa with my 3 kids, in August 2020.
    Which area do you recommend with good public schools ? The kids are already doing private Portuguese language lessons to prepare them for our relocation.

    Reply
  3. Hello James
    My husband has just retired and I am due to follow in August 2020
    We want to live on the algarve for two to three months in a nice cottage/house from Sept 2020
    We want to be able to be part of a community
    We have visited the algarve a lot and quite fancy Tavira
    There are so many websites it is a bit of a minefield
    Can you offer any advice

    Reply
    • Hi Susan,

      There definitely are a lot of options, but since you only want to rent for 2-3 months that definitely narrows down your options. Most of the sites mentioned above (e.g. olx.pt) are more geared towards long-term rentals (e.g. 6 months or more).

      Short-term rentals are a little harder to come by, but I would start by looking to see if there is anything on Airbnb. You may even be able to negotiate on the price a little since you’re staying there for 2-3 months.

      Reply
  4. That’s very useful, I am planning to move to Portugal next year and was slightly thrown by the suggestion that there are few long-term rentals in the Algarve. This article is more encouraging however. I don’t drive so would rather be close to a town centre.

    Reply
    • Hi Chris,

      Glad it helps. There are definitely a lot of long term rentals in the Algarve. The only thing that can sometimes be difficult is finding a long term rental during the summer season. It’s much easier to find one during the off season.

      Reply
  5. Hi James and…anyone that can help me in my sort of “Mission Impossible” !! 🙂
    I am looking for a cheap apartment, accepted also sharing solution but dipends from a lot of factors, so that I prefer my own little flat…
    The problem is my long list of needings, here the list:
    budget not more than 500€ all inclusive (I have to eat and drink…) for a whole year , I am planning to relocate !!!
    internet connection adsl (fiber the best) because I am a web master and have to work (if landlord want to be paid)
    AC and heating,
    close to sea (more or less 1 km distance)
    peaceful place expecially by night and 365 days per year, that means also during tourism season!
    Note: If someone could cook (fish dishes the best…) I can spend a little more , of course.
    West Algarve (Portimao) preferred, but not necessary !
    Thanks to all guys that can give me an help !!!

    Reply
    • Hi Paolo,

      You’re asking for quite a lot for €500 and, being honest, I’d say it’s impossible. If I got 1 of those things for €500 a month, I would be happy. I think you’ll need to make a lot of compromises.

      Here are some things you need to be aware of:

      – Most long-term rentals aren’t rented on an all-inclusive basis. You might find some, but you’ll rule out a lot of long-term options if you only look for all-inclusive properties.
      – Internet is normally not included in long-term rentals. It’s normally something you have to arrange yourself.
      – AC isn’t very common in Portugal.
      – Heating in Portugal usually means wearing a jacket indoors. Most properties don’t have central heating. (Tip: rural properties often have fireplaces).
      – Close to the sea means it’s going to be expensive. You’re more likely to find a €500 property in the countryside.
      – Peaceful? Maybe. It varies, but if you’re close to the sea you’re probably going to be in a touristy area.
      – You want someone to cook for you as well? Maybe in a homestay, but I doubt you’ll get it in an apartment.

      Reply
  6. thank you James for that.

    For some reason, I couldn’t pay for an advertisement even though I used 2 cards. In the end, I cancelled both cards with the bank. It looks as if the anti-virus software I had was insufficient at that time. When I wrote to you, I was unsure of what exactly was happening.

    Regards.

    Marie

    Reply
  7. Hi James,

    I own a T2 in Albufeira which I would like to rent out for the winter at € 975 per month or best offer.
    The Agent who did the summer rentals tells me that there will be no winter rental as people prepare for these trips a year ago. I have toyed with longterm rental on Idealista and have had 2 enquiries from non-residents Swiss and UK but have also had a mountain of interest from migrant workers who want a 12 month contract. The ideal situation is just to rent the Apartment for 6 months to a non-resident. Idealista permit accurate mapping of the property but don’t seem to permit publishing the name of the complex, a big disadvantage for internet searches generally. I didn’t advertise yet with OLX because, like Sapo, there’s very little content on rentals for Albufeira and I note that the mapping is too general. I intend to keep tweaking the Idealista ad and pay more attention to the supermarket notice boards and Facebook. Can you offer any advice, por favor, on how I can work best with the Agent ie can we work jointly ? Regards. Marie

    Reply
    • Hi Radek,

      The article above contains a list of classifieds websites (like OLX.pt) where properties for rent are listed. A few of the larger agencies like Century 21 are also listed. If you work through that list, you’ll be able to find something but be aware that many people won’t list their homes this early.

      Reply
  8. Hi James!
    This is the beginning of my retirement explorations and I am looking closely at the Algarve. But I don’t know the steps I need to make this move. I live in Las Vegas now and will have a small pension when I retire. What type of visa is needed for a longish visit …say 3-6 months? Over the long term of 20 years or so, would I be better-off buying or renting. Thanks for a great article… I hope to see more in my inbox!
    –Gary

    Reply
    • Hi Gary,

      I’m not an expert on visas, so I would recommend double-checking this information before acting on it.

      The Schengen Visa (the most common visa) covers stays of up to 90 days, but it’s not ideal as you then need to spend another 90 days out of the Schengen area before you can come back in again. A lot of people start off with this visa, but it’s not ideal for long-term living.

      You’ll probably need to apply for a resident visa, which will allow you to stay for up to 5 years. You’ll then need to renew it, or consider becoming a citizen.

      As for buying vs renting, I would probably start off by renting. Once you’re familiar with the Algarve and are certain you want to live here, I would look at the possibility of buying. It’s not essential but, regardless of whether it makes more financial sense to buy or rent, having your own property will probably give you more peace of mind and stability.

      Reply
  9. Hi James!
    My wife just got work in a hotel industry not far from Sintra…I know, it’s not Algarve, never the less maybe you could help me understand something) I don’t want to leave her alone there, but with tourist visa I can stay in Portugal only for 3 months. How do you think, is it possible to find a work there and make some kind of work visa? I have some experience in business development (wholesale and retail industry), my English is not so bad (as I suppose), I am 32 y.o. and have a great desire to change my life.
    I will appreciate the answer and any advise! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Alex,

      It’s really impossible for me to say especially as I don’t know anything about that industry. There are some jobs in Lisbon that are specific to Russian speakers, so it might be a good idea to look at those jobs as well. You’ll have much better luck if you extend your search to Lisbon than focusing just on the area around Sintra.

      Reply
  10. Hi there, your information provided has been very helpful so thank you! My husband and I live in California and plan to visit as much of Portugal as we can within a 3 month period, probably November thru January so a permanent location will more than likely not be something we will do. We both want to be immersed into the Portugal culture by way of being near fishing villages with walking distance to markets to get fresh produce, fish etc.. any suggestions as to locations in the Algarve district or elsewhere where nightly rates are on the lower end and hopefully with ocean views? Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Meridee,

      As you’ll be travelling within the low season, hotel and apartment costs will be much lower than normal.

      A lot of the hotels on the coastal towns will drop their prices in the winter, and usually it’s a case of looking on booking.com or Airbnb to see what’s cheap. You may actually find better bargains in the more touristy places as these will be quite dead in the winter but, if you don’t mind that, it’ll give you a cheap base for exploring the Algarve.

      A lot of the Algarve coast is like this: it revolves around the tourist season, and then people rest during the winter. There are exceptions like Portimão and Faro, which are larger and aren’t completely based on tourism.

      For atmosphere and proximity to the coast, I’d look at Ferragudo and Alvor to begin with. Hopefully, you’ll find something in your price range in one of those two places.

      Reply
    • Shorter-term rentals can be a bit tricky, but aren’t impossible.

      You could:

      A) Contact a short-term rental (from Airbnb etc) and ask them if they’d give you a special price if you booked for 3.5 months. It’s also worth posting in the Algarve accommodation Facebook groups and asking there.
      B) Contact the longer-term rentals and see if they would be willing to rent a little shorter than normal.

      Most people go for A rather than B as a short-term rental is normally better equipped (internet etc).

      Reply
  11. Great article thank you! I’m a 52 year old American of Puerto Rican descent interested in retiring abroad after I turn 55. The Algarve attracts me because of its proximity to Spain and Morocco, and it beauty and affordability. I expect to be living on a modest pension… I’m doing the research now and planning to take a trip to the Algarve this winter maybe late November … do you have any recommendations for which town is a good place to stay for maybe 10 days that would (a) give me a good taste of the lifestyle, (b) is easy for walking as I wouldn’t have a car, and (c) easy to explore other nearby areas? I’m less interested in being on the beach everyday and more interested in really getting a feel of the local culture and the people. Another question I have is there a way I could meet with some expats who already live there ?

    Reply
    • Hi Alex,

      Definitely a good idea to take a trip here and to see if the Algarve is right for you.

      If living close to Spain and Morocco is a major priority, you may want to look at places towards the Eastern side of the Algarve like Faro and Tavira and nearby. The Algarve isn’t a big place and you can get from one side to the other very quickly but, if you’re planning to go into Spain a lot, it may make more sense to live on this side.

      If you do drive, I would definitely recommend renting a car. The Algarve has okay public transport links, but it’s not amazing. If you don’t drive, and based on you wanting to be near Spain, I’d recommend staying in Faro as it has rail links to other towns on the Algarve like Loulé, Portimão, Lagos, Olhão, and Tavira. It’s also a transport hub, so getting buses to other parts of the Algarve will be much easier here.

      As for the expats, there are a couple of ways to meet expats, but joining some of the many Algarve expat Facebook groups is probably the best way to go about it.

      Reply
  12. Hi James
    My wife & i are looking to move to praia da rocha with our young son (5yrs old) this year. I am a painter and decorator & would be looking for work over there. Could you advise me on any websites i could look on for work & that expats may advise work on.
    Any help would be very grateful.
    Brien

    Reply
    • Hi Brien,

      There are a couple of expat websites out there like Angloinfo, Expat.com, and Expat Arrivals. I would also search on Facebook as there are a lot of expat Facebook groups on there, and they’re just as popular as (if not more popular than) the expat websites.

      Reply
  13. Hi James I was wondering how do you go on with medication both me and my husband have life medication how do we get it if we live in Portugal and do we have to take out private medical insurance?

    Reply
  14. Hi james,
    very useful article with plenty of good information for people looking for an accomodation in Algarve.
    I am going to move in Algarve in the next months and I will search my new living house thanks to this info.
    Any further news will be appreciated.
    Thanks. Roberto

    Reply
  15. Hello my name is Binita and work in Vilamoura but I don’t have good accommodation as now I am pregnant so looking for nice cheap place to move near Vilamoura marina .any suggestion?

    Reply
    • Hi Binita,

      The sites mentioned above (Sapo, OLX, etc) will cover accommodation in Vilamoura as well as the rest of the Algarve.

      I imagine that Vilamoura marina is quite an expensive place to rent, as it’s popular with tourists, so you may struggle to find cheap accommodation there.

      Reply
  16. Hello.

    We are from Calgary, AB Canada and are interested in retiring in Algarve.

    Any suggestions where to look for accommodations at 1,000 per month.

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Hi Lori,

      All of the sites mentioned above will cover that price range. €1,000 per month would be more than average in some rural parts of the Algarve, but wouldn’t be too unusual for larger properties or properties nearer the coast.

      Reply
  17. Hi James,me and my husband want to move to Portugal next year and are at a loss as to were to start? I’ve noticed that a lot ago people get visa? How do we do this?and can we get it before we go? Any help would be much appreciated thanks
    Helen graves

    Reply
    • Hi Helen,

      If you’re from a country within the UK (who knows how Brexit will affect the UK on this), you do not need a visa to live and work in Portugal. If you’re from outside the EU, you probably will need a visa. A lot depends on where you’re coming from, and also why you’re moving to Portugal (retiring, working, launching a business, etc).

      Reply
  18. I am 72 retired on a small pention am living in a tent a moment .is there any where where i can share accomadation in return for help around the house.i,m a quified carpenter but can do gardning ,painting cooking .can pay a small monthly rent .

    Davido.

    Reply
    • Hi David,

      I would have a look at sites like WorkAway, which is similar to Wwoofing. They list people who offer accommodation in return for some daily work.

      Other than that, I think you would need to contact places directly. I’m sure there are some places in the Algarve that would need somebody.

      Reply
  19. Hello James. This is Brianna an Salvatore.We just moved here to Faro, and at the moment using an Airbnb while we look for places to live in for the school year. We are now among many of the students here worried about not being able to find a home. At first we were trying to take an entire apartment for ourselves to rent, but now we are at the point where we are looking for rooms. It is truly impossibile here for everyone.We are not only looking in Faro, but also in towns outside. We are running into our last options and we find everything to be hopeless. We have done everything you have said in your article, and we have also spoken with locals directly. Do you have anything else that you might know to help us? Please respond as soon as possible. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Brianna,

      Sorry to hear you’re having such a hard time finding accommodation in Faro. Have you gone through websites like Olx and Sapo? And visited estate agents in Faro as well?

      James

      Reply
  20. Moving for retirement on Long Visas. Paperwork approved yesterday. Hope to move in mid January at the latest. Mother and 2 adults, dog and cat…..need 6 months or more to get tax dis and established before finding a permanent home.
    Any suggestions,
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Randall,

      All of my suggestions are in the blog post above. Airbnb would be the most convenient, while a classifieds site like OLX or even an estate agents would be the cheapest.

      James

      Reply
  21. we stayed at Tranquil Escapes a while back. Its basically lots of cottages and they rent them out long term even in the summer. From €250 per month so it’s good if youre on a budget.

    Cottages / apartments available for long term lets / rentals in Foral in the beautiful Algarve, Portugal (near Albufeira, Guia, Algoz, Paderne, Tunes, Messines).

    http://www.tranquil-escapes.com/

    Reply

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