Last Updated on September 2, 2022 by Victor Queiroz
While Faro is often considered a temporary stop-over destination for tourists while on transit to other cities, staying here for a short while might give you reasons to consider living in Faro permanently.
Faro, the capital of the Algarve region, is a fun place to live with friendly locals and a rather traditional laid-back vibe, different from other cities within the Algarve region. It’s a known fact that the Algarve region is a tourist magnet, and Faro is quite different.
Tourists do not overrun this city even during the busy summer months; you are still likely to meet familiar local faces as you walk down the streets. The golden beaches, beautiful architecture, and the friendly local community make this city in the Algarve extra special. Let’s take a look at what living in the capital of Algarve looks like for an expat.
What is living in Faro like?
Besides being the capital of the Algarve region, Faro is also the biggest city, with over 65,000 inhabitants calling this place home. Despite being the capital city, the architecture is far from the usual high-rise commercial building synonymous with every major European city.
Faro’s architecture is often considered a traditional fisherman’s cottage that represents the traditional values of the local population. The city center has plenty of pedestrian walkways with plenty of cafes and local restaurants along the narrow streets.
Despite being relatively further from the beach compared to the most popular cities in the Algarve, Faro has plenty to offer. There are plenty of modern facilities, including two shopping malls, among other necessary amenities for living comfortably.
Who lives in Faro?
As mentioned earlier, Faro is home to over 65,000 inhabitants. It’s also one of the few cities with a good expat presence, accounting for about 11.6%, as quoted on Portugal Resident.
This number places Faro second after Lisbon when it comes to expat population density. The heavy expat presence and the friendly local population make it relatively easy to settle in. Also, a good number of the population communicates in English, which is another advantage for expats thinking of living in Faro.
Why are expats moving to Faro?
There are so many reasons why expats are flocking to this gem hidden in plain sight. For many people, it might be the promise of good weather all year round or the relatively cheaper cost of living.
In reality, however, the reasons why expats choose to migrate to Faro are quite vast, making it difficult to narrow down to one answer. Nonetheless, here are some of the major reasons why expats love this city enough to call it home.
Faro is beautiful
Although considered the gateway to the Algarve region, Faro is just as beautiful, if not more, than other cities within this region. Faro is also a famous historical city full of historical architecture that is bound to catch your eye. In fact, one of the first things that you need to do once you settle in is to tour that old town of Faro.
The best way to get to know this is on foot; get yourself a good pair of shoes and take a walk along the beautiful narrow cobblestone streets. Many beaches are a short drive from the city center, for instance, Praia de Faro. However, venturing either east or west of the city, you’ll be able to visit some of the most beautiful beaches in the whole of Europe.
Good quality of life
Plenty of sunshine all year round makes it quite worthwhile to live in Faro. Also, there is plenty of fresh produce, including seafood, that you can relish every single day. It’s a known fact that Portuguese nationals are prolific fish eaters; therefore, expect to find a plethora of fish varieties in Faro.
Another aspect that contributes to a good quality of life is the degree of safety. Generally, living in Faro is relatively safe thanks to the extremely low cases of violent crimes. You will be able to live comfortably in Faro without worrying about your safety.
What’s more, Portugal is quite a liberal country and also welcoming to foreigners. So whether you are thinking of moving with a family, retiring, or living as a digital nomad, you will find living in Faro quite worthwhile.
Tax benefits for Expats
Portugal is among the most welcoming countries in the entire of Europe. In fact, the Portuguese government has established exclusive tax incentives to encourage qualified foreign expats to move and settle in Portugal easily.
One of the tax incentives provided for qualified immigrants by the government is the Non-Habitual Residence tax regime. This tax regime offers significant tax incentives to expats who settle in Portugal legally for up to a period of 10 years. This has been a significant factor motivating expats to immigrate to Portugal for the past couple of years.
Another incentive that is also aimed at encouraging foreign investors to Portugal is the Golden Visa program. This program promises foreign investors who invest in certain parts of Portugal Portuguese citizenship after five years.
Find out more about the Golden Visa program: Complete Guide to Golden Visa in Portugal
Buying a property in Faro
The one cost fits all mentality does not apply to the real estate market in Faro. The cost of property varies from region to region. However, when it comes to the cost of real estate, it is worth mentioning that Faro is one of the most expensive places to buy property in Portugal.
This is so because of the heavy tourist and expat community that has significantly increased the demand for accommodation in Faro. However, compared to Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon, Faro’s property is relatively cheaper. Here is the cost of buying property in the different neighborhoods in Faro.
|Municipality||Price per m²|
|Conceição e Estoi||€2,350|
|Santa Bárbara de Nexe||€2,806|
The data above was derived from Idealista (as of September 2022).
Renting a flat in Faro
There is a never-ending demand for housing in the Algarve region. The heavy tourist presence and expat community also cause the cost of renting an apartment to go relatively high. In the Faro area, there are plenty of houses, right from regular townhouses to modern apartments, found in the touristy regions of the city. Nonetheless, the cost of renting an apartment in Faro, according to data provided by Idealista, is €9.7/m².
Is it better to live in Faro or Albufeira?
Both Faro and Albufeira are found in the vast and popular Algarve region. While there is no bad destination between the two, deciding which city to settle in will depend on a few factors. It goes without saying that Albufeira is the most popular city, especially among tourists in the Algarve.
Other than that, Albufeira is also a pretty cool destination to live and experience the Portuguese way of life. In contrast to Faro, Albufeira is quite crowded with a large tourist presence during the summer month. However, both destinations have everything that you would need for your everyday life.
So if you are looking for a fairly quiet place to live, then Faro would be ideal. However, if you enjoy being close to some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe and don’t mind the overcrowding, then Albufeira is excellent.
Is living in Faro better than living in Lisbon?
Who wouldn’t like a piece of the capital of Portugal? This beautiful city has found a way of embracing the modern while still staying true to its traditional heritage. Taking a walk down the streets of Lisbon will quickly show you this delicate balance between the modern and traditional.
Generally, the cost of living in Lisbon is relatively higher than in Faro. This is rightfully so and also expected for any capital city around the world. Faro, however, is almost similar to Lisbon but on a smaller scale. The capital of the Algarve region has every necessity for daily living but at a bargain.
However, where Lisbon beats Faro is the prospect of getting corporate employment. The cosmopolitan city of Lisbon has far more employment opportunities than Faro, making it ideal for expats who are looking for employment.
What is the cost of living in Faro?
Taking Lisbon as the point of reference, the cost of living in Faro is relatively cheaper. However, this in no way means that Faro is the cheapest place in Portugal.
Owing to the fact that Faro is a tourist destination, you can already expect the prices of commodities and services to be higher than other smaller destinations that are not very popular. Nonetheless, here is what to expect if you are considering living in Faro.
|1 bedroom apartment in the city center (rent)||€750|
|3 bedroom apartment in the city center (rent)||€900|
|International private primary school fees 1 year||€7,815|
|Fitness club for 1 adult||€31.67|
|Average monthly salaries after tax||€938.33|
|Three-course meal for 2||€40.00|
Date is from Numbeo (as of September 2022).
Safety living in Faro
Safety plays an important part in your quality of life at any given destination. Fortunately, Faro, like the rest of Portugal, is quite safe. The Global Peace Index ranks Portugal fourth as the safest destination in the world.
Portugal has strict gun ownership laws that have gone a long way in reducing the occurrence of violent crimes significantly. But let’s face it, there is no crime-free destination in the world; therefore, petty crimes in tourist destinations like Faro are to be expected.
You should always keep your personal items like your phone and laptop safe. There are a few pickpocketing and phone snatching cases in the Algarve region.
Access to health care in Faro
Public healthcare in Portugal is facilitated to residents and legal foreign nationals by the SNS (Serviço Nacional de Saúde). In Faro, there are many public hospitals that offer standard healthcare services for the local population and legal foreign nationals at no cost.
Over the years, public hospitals in Faro and the rest of Portugal have made a deliberate effort to ensure that the hospital staff, including doctors and nurses, communicate in English. This has tremendously improved the services provided both to locals and expats.
Also, there are plenty of private hospitals with state-of-the-art equipment perfect for specialized treatment. You will need private healthcare insurance to cover the cost of healthcare in private hospitals.
Work labor in Faro
Unfortunately, employment prospects in Faro are only limited to a few industries that include; tourism and hospitality. Most tourist destinations in Portugal are not the best place to look for employment unless in the hospitality industry.
However, the University of Algarve, located in Faro, also offers employment within this region. You should also keep in mind that Faro is a budding digital nomad destination for remote workers from all over the globe. There is fast internet and plenty of local restaurants with ample provisions for remote workers living in Faro.
Education in Faro
Faro is an important education hub in the southern part of the country. The University of Algarve is one of the biggest institutions of higher learning not only in the Algarve region but also ranks well across Europe.
For foreign nationals looking to move with their families to Faro, the availability of international schools is a major factor. Faro is also home to a variety of international schools providing different curriculums using English as the main language of instruction. They include Nobel International School Algarve, and Vilamoura International School, just to mention a few.
How can a foreigner move to Faro?
Moving and settling in Faro permanently will require you to be aware of how you can legally live in Portugal. For EU residents, you are only required to apply for a registration certificate that is valid for 5 years to live and even work in Faro.
For foreign nationals, on the other hand, you will need to get a Portuguese residency before getting into the country, which becomes invalid as your visa expires. You will need to apply for a residency permit thereafter. Another possible way of moving and possibly living in Portugal as a foreign national is via the Golden Visa program.
First, do your due diligence and know the specific regions that you can get this visa from. Also, according to Portuguese law, you will need to qualify and meet certain requirements to qualify as a foreign investor.
● Read Also: Portugal’s Residence Visas: Types And How To Apply
Is it worth living in Faro?
Living in the heart of the Algarve region is a dream come true for many people. The promise of good weather all year round, relatively lower cost of living and good quality of life are a few reasons Faro is arguably an ideal place to live.
However, it is important to state that moving to a different country is a decision that should be informed by a lot of research and also given plenty of thought. Nonetheless, we cannot run away from the fact that getting a piece of the beautiful region of the Algarve is a bad choice.
Do you need help moving to Faro?
We have already established that living in Faro is one of the best decisions you might make in your life, so are you ready to take the plunge? If you are, be sure to contact our professionals at Viv Europe, who would be more than happy to help you with the immigration process.
Also, consider joining our Facebook Group – All About Portugal for Expats. Ask questions, and the wonderful members of the community will be willing to help. There are numerous people who’ve been through it all, just like you!