“The Portuguese government has long nurtured an agenda to attract global talent to the capital and establish a new tech and start-up hub in Europe – but the pandemic has accelerated a surge of people seeking to move here as work distance has opened up new possibilities,” says Lucy Crook of Fantastic Frank. In addition to its digital nomad visa, Portugal announced this spring that UK passport holders could use the e-passport system for fast entry and the number of purchase requests jumped 24% (according to Rightmove).
To cope with demand, the government has introduced another new policy attracting holiday home buyers away from densely populated areas, such as Lisbon and the Algarve, by offering a 20% discount to buy elsewhere.
That means buyers are dispersing, Crook says. Sintra is the coastal, forested and mountainous province to the west of Lisbon with the resort of the same name in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains.
Devon-born couple Alex Bennett and her husband Dean ended up living full-time on their holiday estate. But it’s more than a rental.
Built in 1931, Quinta Azenhas was one of the region’s premier wineries. On the grounds were three buildings – the main residence, the adega (where the wine was stored) and the Casa no Campo (the country house). This has been restored for guests.
The couple, who ran an advertising agency in London, are halfway through transforming the remaining buildings and gardens to create a community vegetable garden. They also offer wild food retreats, where guests seek out barnacles, mussels and glasswort, and natural skincare workshops (@quinta_azenhas).
“When we arrived the land was overgrown with cane and the house had fallen into disrepair. So far we have completely restored a building and created a greenhouse space. We are growing weaving plants for baskets and have asparagus beds,” explains Alex.
The Sintra region is a hub of contemporary agriculture, zero waste shops and forestry schools, and the landscape of mountains and sea lends itself to extreme sports, with people surfing, climbing, cycling and hiking. hiking.
“And we’re spoiled for choice for restaurants,” says Alex. Vacation home buyers who want to experience the area can book Casa no Campo through bykismet.pt.
The Portuguese golden visa system is one of the most generous in Europe. Non-EU buyers can buy a property for €280,000 (£235,000) and spend just seven days there a year to qualify for residency and travel freely to 188 countries. After five years, the buyer can apply for Portuguese nationality.
The Alentejo region is one of the closest areas to Lisbon which qualifies for the golden visa with a 20% reduction on the amount invested as the area is classified as “low density”.