Whether it’s a fulltime family residence, a second home for occasional use or a luxurious pad to spend long, relaxing summers in, plenty of celebrities have chosen Portugal as their favourite sun-kissed destination in which to purchase property.
Gisele Bundchen and husband Tom Brady, Princess Eugenie and hfamily and George Clooney have both secured homes there recently. They join the likes of Madonna, Cindy Crawford, John Malkovich, Monica Bellucci, Sir Cliff Richard, Scarlet Johansson, Ronan Keating, Michael Fassbender, Eric Cantona, Bonnie Tyler, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Philippe Starck, Christian Louboutin and Ronaldo (celebrity royalty in his own right in Portugal!). Philip Schofield is also known to spend his summers in Portugal, entertaining various celebrity guests at his Algarve holiday home.
So, what makes Portugal such a celebrity hotspot? Seven reasons, actually…
The exclusivity and luxury that Portugal can offer is certainly one reason. From hotels to beach resorts to premium villas, Portugal has plenty of accommodation options to woo those who like to experience the finer things in life. There’s certainly something to be said for a home that involves evenings spent sipping cocktails on a near-deserted beach, as the sunset turns the sky shades of red, orange, pink and purple that most of us can only dream of!
The Algarve’s stunning Palmares Ocean Living & Golf, owned and managed by Kronos Homes, is certainly testament to this. The resort is home to fine dining restaurant Al Sud, which garnered its first Michelin Star just seven months after it opened. The restaurant’s terrace overlooks the Bay of Lagos, with room for just 24 diners. Chef Louis Anjos serves up Algarve-inspired flavours, delivering his own unique take on the region’s most celebrated ingredients.
Celebrity and a desire for privacy often go hand-in-hand, which is another reason that Portugal is so popular with the glitterati. According to World Population Review, the UK ranks 49th in the world for population density, with 282 people per square kilometre. Portugal, on the other hand, ranks 102nd, with just 110 people per square kilometre. Quieter and less crowded, it offers a haven away from the paparazzi and the constant requests for selfies.
This desire for privacy is catered for in many of the country’s upscale resorts. At Palmares Ocean Living & Golf, for example, every home has been designed with privacy and serenity in mind. Villas designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning RCR Arquitectes are available from €3.4 million. The turnkey, four-bedroom/four-bathroom golf-front and ocean-view homes with private pools forge an exceptional harmony between residential accommodation, golf and the ocean. The low-density construction, at just 5.7%, involves strict parameters to protect the sea views, including building implementation zones and height limits. This ensures that each home benefits individually from the beauty of the natural setting.
3. Rest and relaxation
Portugal’s idyllic scenery and laidback lifestyle are the ideal way to let your mind and body unwind. The heat of the Algarve certainly precludes doing anything fast during the summer months, while chilled beach clubs and gently lapping, aquamarine waves on the golden sands of tiny cove beaches invite relaxation.
“Portugal is a wonderful place to slow your pace down – something those with hectic celebrity schedules certainly need from time to time. You can feel the relaxation as soon as you arrive. There’s something about standing in the sun, with the ocean before you, that commands attention. You have to stop and let your senses free.”
Alda Filipe, Sales and Marketing Director, Kronos Homes
4. Fiscal benefits
For high earners, buying a home in Portugal and/or becoming a resident of the country can make sound financial sense. Portugal has plenty of incentives to tempt wealthy foreigners, from golden visas linked to real estate (and other) investment to tax schemes specifically designed to attracted expats, including the potential to pay no capital gains tax when selling UK property while resident in Portugal. The fact that property prices are significantly lower than they are in the UK further adds to Portugal’s financial attractions.
5. Easy access
For celebrities who have to fit quick breaks around their work schedules, Portugal’s proximity to the UK is another tick. Both Lisbon airport and the Algarve’s Faro airport can be reached from London in under three hours. For those buying property in the Algarve, Lisbon is also easily accessible by road, making designer shopping trips easy for those looking for a spot of retail therapy.
Portugal’s long border with Spain also opens up access to the neighbouring Iberian country. From the Algarve, Seville is less than two hours away; perfect for heady nights of Flamenco and delectable tapas.
From Faro airport, a range of European destinations are just a short hop away, while Lisbon opens up access to the United States, South America, Africa and the Middle East, as well as all over Europe.
6. Family fun
When it comes to enjoying family downtime, Portugal is the perfect place. It’s not referred to as the California of Europe without good reason.
With a 155-kilometre coastline, the Algarve has plenty of beach-space for even the most privacy-conscious celebrities and their offspring to enjoy days by the ocean. The region is also packed with entertainment options for youngsters, from high-energy waterparks to marine theme parks. For more sedate days out, a number of islands off the Algarve coastline are ideal for family visits, while private boat tours along the coast provide plenty of dolphin- and whale-spotting opportunities.
7. Outdoor living
For celebrities whose job it is to keep in shape, Portugal also offers an outstanding array of fitness activities. Those who enjoy spending time on the water can surf, paddleboard, kitesurf, windsurf, wakeboard, scuba dive and much more. And for celebrities who prefer to work out on land, Portugal’s climate – particularly in the Algarve – means that outdoor exercise can be a year-round activity.
This is something that has been incorporated into the outdoor lifestyle on offer at the Algarve’s Amendoeira Golf Resort, where owners of the development’s plush apartments and luxury villas have access to a huge range of on-site fitness facilities. There are two large outdoor swimming pools, a kilometre-long jogging track, six tennis courts, two padel courts, a fully equipped gym, two five-a-side football pitches and a FIFA-standard natural grass football field. The golf facilities that give the resort its name include two prized 18-hole golf courses, Portugal’s only illuminated nine-hole golf course, a driving range, a putting green and a golf academy. Plenty to keep even the most fitness-focused celebrity happy.
Of course, outdoor living is about more than keeping fit. Dining al fresco is an intrinsic part of life in Portugal, whether it’s a few simple sardines grilled over the coals and served with a thick wedge of local bread or a lavish feast that blurs afternoon into evening and beyond. All accompanied with a selection of Portugal’s outstanding wines, naturally.
“The outdoor lifestyle in Portugal is a huge part of why so many people fall in love with the country – particularly with the Algarve, which has more than 300 days of sunshine per year. It all feeds into that pervasive sense of relaxation and freedom that Portugal delivers. It’s a hit with celebrities and non-celebrities alike.”
Alda Filipe, Sales and Marketing Director, Kronos Homes