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BUYING PROPERTY IN PORTUGAL
Despite being a relatively small nation in Europe, with barely 10 million inhabitants, Portugal has always been a big draw for visitors from the UK.
There are no less than 100 beaches all washed by the Atlantic Ocean, many ideal for families with long stretches of golden sand, little rock pools and hidden coves, as well as bars, restaurants and other facilities close at hand.
Going inland, the scenery varies considerably. In January and February, for example, youíll be treated to a white wash of almond blossom shading the many varieties of wild orchids, whilst July is the time to enjoy freshly picked cherries, strawberries and melons Ö each month brings something new and equally delicious.
Away from the immediate coastline are the foothills leading up to the highest point, Foia, above the unspoilt village of Monchique. This mountainous area is well known for the layers of Roman terraces with granite stone walls that provide the stream of local vegetables found on sale in the local market.
The Algarve has a colourful history, having been fought over by the Phoenicians, Romans and Moors, and having suffered a huge earthquake in 1755 destroying many towns and the vast majority of historical buildings. The influences though are still there for all to see.
Golf, Golf and More Golf!
When one thinks of the Algarve, itís either the magnificent beaches or resplendent golf courses that spring to mind and in Quinta do Lago, you have the largest golfing resort in Europe boasting a total of 72 holes within four courses rated among the top 25 in Europe (Golf World 1997) and having hosted no less than seven Portuguese Opens to its credit. The Ria Formosa and Quinta do Lago courses, the outstanding San Lorenzo course and the Pinheiros Altos course all have first class driving ranges, putting greens, pro shops and clubhouses with bar and restaurant.
In fact, once in the Algarve, the golf buggy will become almost as regular a sight as the car! Almost 2 million people go there on holiday every year and about 200,000 actually own properties in Portugal, mostly on the Algarve. They are attracted by a combination of excellent weather, cheap living costs compared with many other parts of Europe and superb leisure facilities, particularly for golfers.