After you cross the Guadiana river from the Spanish side, you may notice that something is different. To begin with, the time is your watch is now one hour less. And then there is something in the people’s demeanor that has slightly changed: the sometimes a little too extrovert conduct of Spaniards strolling in the street is met on this side of the border with a quieter way of happily going around one’s life. Lunching and dining times have also suddenly come back to what is the accepted norm in Europe. Congratulations, you are now in Portugal, where you have arrived to the towns of Vila Real de Santo Antonio (20,000 inhabitants) or Alcoutim (1,100 inhabitants) via boat service or, most commonly, by the bridge that crosses the river in the Spanish A-49 road. Either Vila Real de Santo Antonio or Alcoutim will most likely be the first town that you encounter on your first day in Algarve. The Algarve has a very varied offer for the property hunter, but it might well be that after sampling all its areas you may finally decide to buy an apartment in Alcoutim or look for a property for sale in Vila Real de San Antonio. Both of them are river villages facing another sister village on the Spanish side of the Guadiana. Alcoutim faces Sanlucar de Guadiana, while Vila Real is in front of the larger and very beautiful town of Ayamonte. If you feel like lunching some tapas, you can always cross to the Spanish side by boat for just a few euros. And this is probably the biggest advantage of looking for a property for sale in Vila Real or Alcoutim: you can head west and sample all the wonderful experiences that Algarve has to offer, but you also drive east and enjoy the beaches in Huelva, the uncanny natural park of Doñana or the cultural wonders of Seville.
You also have the option to decide what kind of Portuguese life you want to carry out in this area. Should you buy a property for sale in Alcoutim, to the north, you will be living in a real Portuguese village community that holds such treasures as a river beach and its own castle from the times of the Portuguese Reconquista. If you prefer to buy a property in Vila Real de Santo Antonio, you will have the advantages of living in a larger town, with a river side marina and some decent sea beaches to the south. This a great town to lead a family oriented and quite life, with recommended local restaurants in which to sample some delicious seafood dishes. There is nothing like finishing a beach day in Vila Real by having a beer and let time slip by while you sit in one of the many terrasses of Praça Marques de Pombal, the undeniable heart of town. Still deciding whether to live your new life in Spain or Portugal? Buy a property for sale in Vila Real and surrounding towns, and enjoy the best of both worlds.
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