Excellent education is a top priority for expats! Here are some of the best international schools in the Algarve.

Last Updated on November 15, 2023 by Maryam Siddiqui

Right from the expansive coastline with beautiful beaches to nice golf clubs, you can see why this particular region is an expat magnet. However, while all that is nice to have, other basic family needs are important, especially if you intend to raise a family. One of those basic needs is education. Fortunately, there are plenty of international schools in the Algarve where your children can get a good education.

So which international schools should you take your children to while in the Algarve? Why should you choose international schools rather than public schools as an expat living in the Algarve? Here’s a breakdown of the top international schools in the region that should help you narrow down your options. Stick around to find out more!

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What are the best international schools in the Algarve?

While there are plenty of international schools to choose from in the Algarve region, you can always count on the quality of education in most of these institutions. However, just to mention a few, here are our top 7 international schools in the Algarve region.

  1. Nobel International School Algarve – Lagoa
  2. Aljezur International School
  3. Eden Montessori International School – Albufeira
  4. Algarve International School
  5. Vale Verde International School – Luz
  6. Colégio Santiago Internacional – Tavira
  7. Eupheus International School Algarve

The choice of your international school should be informed by the type of curriculum available in a particular school. It’s also important for you to consider the primary language of instruction used in the school. You’ll find plenty of extracurricular activities that your children will participate in and enjoy outside of the class as well. 

International schools in the western Algarve

The western Algarve region has some of the best international schools you can find. Here’s a breakdown of some of the best schools in this region.

Nobel International School Algarve

The Nobel International School Algarve provides an education that’s steered to provide your children with the skill necessary to navigate the 21st century. This school strives to provide an ideal environment where learners can study and also explore their individual talents. The  Nobel International School Algarve was founded in the year 1972 and is the largest international school in southern Portugal. 

This school provides an education that goes beyond the classroom; children are encouraged and given skills that are aimed at providing solutions to today’s problems.

  • Curriculum: English & Portuguese Curriculum
  • Language of Instruction: English 
  • Tuition Fee (per annum): between €4,884 to €16,720
  • Other available languages: French, Portuguese, Spanish, German
  • Age range: 3 to 18 years
  • Extra Curricular: Arts Club, Drama & Talents, Sports & Dance, Science

Aljezur International School

Looking for a school that provides a comprehensive approach to education?  Aljezur International School is a good choice. Founded in the year 2010, Aljezur International School has continually been at the forefront of providing education that includes values of sustainability and also the responsibility to the environment. 

Children in this school get the privilege to provide care to an organic garden and also rear a few farm animals just to take part in the food production process. Essentially, teaching is done in small groups, making it possible for the teachers to give individual attention to every student. 

  • Curriculum: British
  • Language of Instruction: English 
  • Tuition Fee (per annum): From €6,300 
  • Other available languages: English as a second language
  • Age range: 10 to 18 years
  • Extra Curricular: Sports, crafts and maths club, science and music

Vale Verde International School

Vale Verde International School is a school focused primarily on providing academic excellence to students. It provides the type of education that enhances the student’s ability and skills to integrate into society as productive individuals. 

Vale Verde International School is well known as the best school for providing top-tier education in science subjects like physics, biology, and chemistry. What’s more, advancement in technology has really changed the teaching method in this particular school. 

  • Curriculum: British
  • Language of Instruction: English and Portuguese
  • Tuition Fee (per annum): Between €6,100 to €11.050
  • Other available languages: English lessons for nonfluent students
  • Age range: 5 to 18 years
  • Extra Curricular: Sports, crafts, science and music, and maths club
science-experiments-in-international-schools-in-the-algarve

Barlavento International Primary School

Barlavento International Primary School works on the mantra of creating a collaborative system between the parent, school, and community, all to the benefit of the student. 

The primary goal of this school is to provide an environment that creates room for creativity, breeds self-confidence, and also allows learners to research and explore. 

Their cocurricular activities are not limited to sports only; there are drama clubs and other creative fields where your children can explore their talents. 

  • Curriculum: British
  • Language of Instruction: English 
  • Tuition Fee (per annum): From €6,000
  • Other available languages: Portuguese lessons for non-natives
  • Age range: 5 to 10 years
  • Extra Curricular: Sports hall, sports pitch, and play area facilities

Eden Montessori International School

Eden Montessori International School is a unique school in Albufeira that offers Montessori education in Portuguese and English. In fact, it is the first of its kind to open in Portugal. This school is quite different from the average international school, from the curriculum to the school’s values. 

Eden Montessori International School operates on a system that offers the learners freedom of choice within the limits of the curriculum. The students are encouraged to celebrate their individual and also shared talents by giving back to the community. 

  • Curriculum: Montessori
  • Language of Instruction: English and Portuguese 
  • Other available languages: French, Portuguese, and English
  • Age range: 3 to 9 years
  • Extra Curricular: Piano, Dance, and Yoga

International schools in the eastern Algarve

While most of the popular international schools are concentrated in the western Algarve, the eastern region is not left behind either. There are several good schools that you can choose from as an expat living in the Algarve. Here are a few options that should help get you started.

Vilamoura International School

The Vilamoura International School is one of the most prestigious institutions that provide pre-primary, primary school, and also secondary school education. It’s also among the few schools that provide both the local Portuguese curriculum and also the international British curriculum. 

The main focus of this school is to promote quality foreign education in Portugal by encouraging learning different languages from an early age. Vilamoura International School provides an education that is focused on innovation and research of information and translating it into new knowledge.

  • Curriculum: Portuguese and British
  • Language of Instruction: Portuguese and English 
  • Tuition Fee (per annum): Between €5,720 to €10,820
  • Other available languages: French and Russian
  • Age range: 3 to 18 years
  • Extra Curricular: Art, dance, sports, drama, and music

Colégio Santiago Internacional

This is an independent open admission school found in Tavira. The level of education in Colégio Santiago Internacional is at par with other international schools in Portugal and Europe. This institution’s approach to education is focused on enlightening the child as a whole. 

This involves engaging the learners in academic activities as well as fostering values of integrity and honesty that will transform them into reliable members of society. 

The education system challenges the students and also provides them with an opportunity to discover their own strengths and abilities.

  • Curriculum: British
  • Language of Instruction: Portuguese and English 
  • Tuition Fee (per annum): Between $4,556 to $6,957
  • Other available languages: French & Spanish
  • Age range: 5 to 18 years
  • Extra Curricular: Drama, cooking, Zumba, and music

Eupheus International School

Despite opening only a couple of years ago, Eupheus International School is pushing the envelope as far as incorporating technology in education. This school boasts of using modern Apple computers and individual iPads, all in an effort to provide the learners with the best education at par with current-day problems. 

This international school provides education up to the lower secondary school level. Eupheus International School operates on the principles of providing a safe environment where learners are able to experience different learning strategies that ultimately lead to educational excellence.

  • Curriculum: British
  • Language of Instruction: English 
  • Tuition Fee (per annum): Between €6,000 to €13,000
  • Other available languages: Special programs for beginners in a new language
  • Age range: 3 to 14 years
  • Extra Curricular: Sports activities

When does the school year start in Portugal?

The schooling period and hours in Portugal are different from one region to another. The same is true when comparing public to private or even international schools. In fact, international schools often follow their own school calendars. Nonetheless, the common academic calendar for most schools in Portugal starts in September and runs mid to late June. 

In between the school calendar are several breaks that are common to every school. Essentially there are four major breaks within one academic year in Portugal which are:

  • Christmas break in December 
  • Carnival break between late February and early March 
  • Easter break in April 
  • Summer break taken between June and September 

In addition to the aforementioned school holidays, there are other days within the academic calendars when school-going children get a day off. Such breaks might be because of national holidays or local holidays. Some institutions like Nobel International School Algarve publish such information on their website. 

There are plenty of activities to do during such holidays in the Algarve. Depending on the season, families go down to the beautiful beaches, enjoy their time in golf clubs or even on hiking trails; there’s so much that you can explore. 

Why choose these schools over the public Portuguese system?

One of the questions that expats moving with their children to Portugal have to contend with is whether to enroll their kids in public or international schools in the Algarve. Public education in Portugal is great; it’s completely free to nationals and residents with a residence permit. 

So why choose international schools over public schools? Well, the major challenge when it comes to public schools is the language of instruction. 

Public schools in Portugal, including in the Algarve, teach using Portuguese, which can be a huge challenge for expats who don’t understand the language. While you can enroll your children to study in Portuguese, you must realize that the local language is relatively difficult and might take a lot of time before the children master it. 

story-time-for-kids-in-school

International schools, on the other hand, use English as their main language of instruction. Another advantage that international schools in the Algarve have over public schools is facilities and also extra-curricular activities. 

International schools like the Eupheus International School use modern state-of-the-art technology in teaching and learning, which is not the case in public schools. Additionally, international schools put more focus on co-curricular activities purposely to encourage holistic growth for the children.

What about pursuing higher education in the Algarve?

Other than international schools in the Algarve, this region also provides excellent opportunities to qualified and interested individuals to further their higher education. There are several well-known universities and mid-level colleges in this region, the University of Algarve being the most popular one. 

It’s a well-known fact that the quality of education in Portugal is good; this speaks to the fact that plenty of international students choose to study in the top universities in Portugal for quality and affordable education. 

Do you need help bringing your family to the Algarve?

When it comes to education in the Algarve region, it is clear that international schools in the Algarve are the best options for expats. There are plenty of institutions that provide education in different languages of instruction. 

So are you ready to move to Portugal? Do you need help bringing your family right to the Algarve? Well, fret not! Viv Europe is here to help, right from visa application to getting settled in Portugal; we’d love to help you every step of the way.

Also, consider joining our Facebook Group – All About Portugal For Expats and interact with expats who have settled successfully in Portugal and specifically in the Algarve region.

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