Portugal has so many choices of different environments and opportunities, it can be hard to choose where to live. We thought that we wanted to live in Braga in the north. It's such a beautiful area up there. What worked for us was to come to Portugal at different times of the year, to the different areas that interested us. One of our reasons for choosing Portugal is because I have rheumatoid arthritis. We wanted a year-round comfortable climate but no humidity (like Florida and other US locations) A 2-week visit in February one year helped us decide on the Algarve. We got very lucky in finding our current home. A dedicated & diligent, Real estate agent made all the difference. There is no MLS in Portugal although there are a few sites that list houses from more than one agency. The necessity of checking so many real estate sites can be very tiresome & time-consuming. I have always encouraged people to make a list to give to the Agent so they have it to refer to. That also helps reduce the number of wasted trips to homes that don't meet your requirements. I encourage you to make this list with 3 columns; must have, nice to have, and deal-breakers. We needed a minimum of 3 bedrooms plus office space for me so 4 bedrooms would be great. And the bedrooms had to be large enough for our American furniture. The ocean view was a "nice to have", we just did not want to be overlooking a dump or a quarry or a yard full of barking dogs. With written parameters, the agent was able to do a lot of the leg-work for us.
Although house hunting in Portugal is very different than the US, You can have a select number of agents working for you who do contact other agents and ask questions saving you time & trouble.
Take whatever time you can to look at different areas and the spot that is right for you will become evident. Everyone has different needs & wants. Try out the area and then concentrate there looking for a house. Good luck