Braga District – Where to Live in Portugal – Expats Portugal Community Forum
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Braga District

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Posts: 25
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Topic starter
(@jane55)
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Joined: 5 months ago

Good morning all.... We are probably only 10% of our way on this administrative journey of retiring to Portugal but we still do not know exactly where to live. Some of your experiences would help enormously.. We are going to be making several trips in the coming couple of months and shall be definitely basing ourselves in the North - my husband has been to Braga twice now and loved it.. Most of the relocation topics concentrate on the south and Algarve (understandably so). We want a house in the country with a little land (half to one acre) and have a reasonable budget.. Any thoughts or experiences of particular towns in this area that are really worth seeking out and maybe staying for a while whilst looking?  So far this forum has been invaluable, so thanks to all. 

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Posts: 251
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(@antonio_f)
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Joined: 8 months ago

It all depends on your preferences: plain areas, hills or mountains, bigger, smaller towns or even villages (cheaper), closer to the ocean or more inland (cheaper), etc. Defining that will make it easier for the members to give you the best advises. 

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Community Member
(@jane55)
Joined: 5 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 25

@antonio_f Yes of course - I should have been more specific.. my 'wants' list is huge!!! I like hills/mountains around me but don't want to live at the top of one; I want a pleasant climate but not the searing heat of the south; as my passion is gardening I would like a little rain but not too much; I need the peace and solitude of the countryside with many trees around (but not in a forest as I am terrified of wild fires) and would love to be able to walk into a small village or town; absolutely no passing traffic but don't want to feel too isolated; I love the ocean but do not want the crowds that come with it; an hour or so drive from Porto Airport would be ideal, 30 min drive to a large city; and views - must have views (nice ones that is!!) ...... sorry, sounding a bit 'diva-ish'!! We lived in the countryside of Normandy for ten years and it has focused my mind on what I want/need and don't want.. thanks again for your response.

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VIP Member
(@x-camone)
Joined: 12 years ago

Noble Member
Posts: 2369

@jane55 You could do a lot worse than look at the Ponte de Lima / Ponte da Barca / Arcos de Valdevez area. There are probably others that would also suit but I know that area very well and it seems to fit the bill on pretty much everything.

It'd put you within easy reach of the Peneda-Gerês National Park, as well as the coast and for bigger cities you've got Viana do Castelo or Braga to choose from at a half hour or so's drive depending on exactly where you live and the route chosen. There are some good fast roads as well as the more scenic routes. Also not too far from there to drive into Galiza for day trips or longer if you fancy a change of scene. Porto airport is about an hour or so's drive from Ponte de Lima and an hour and 20 from Ponte de Barca or Arcos.

The only thing it won't satisfy from your wish list is the summer heat. It's actually frequently hotter and more sultry in atmosphere during the day than further south - something that can only really be alleviated by being closer to the coast.

Other than that, you've a fair bit of choice with regard to exact location depending on your tastes and you ought to be able to find plenty which matches your description. Ideal for gardening, as well.

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Community Member
(@jane55)
Joined: 5 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 25

@x-camone thanks so much for your really informative response.. Just been googling and - yes, that area looks beautiful... I have now earmarked it on my map... now to get to grips with this whole language thing!!!!

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 Ralf
Premium Member
(@ralf)
Joined: 1 year ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 180

@jane55 Your wishlist is very similar to mine. VERY. Forests don't scare me, however. I will risk a forest fire if the property was right. One thing I want that isn't on your list is a small creek or river bordering the property. Those are tough to find. We may end up being neighbors! Good luck.

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Posts: 251
Community Member
(@antonio_f)
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Joined: 8 months ago

You can also look at the area between Aveiro, Albergaria-a-Velha, Oliveira de Azeméis and Ovar (central Portugal), all less than an hour (by car) to Porto Airport (Aeroporto Sá Carneiro). There are towns, vilas (small towns) and villages, not far from the ocean. Even though it's a forest area, you can find areas with less or no forest. The temperature is milder than the south, with occasional high heat days. There are some forum members that live in Central Portugal (even though I don't know if in this region) that can tell you more about it.

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Posts: 23
 Coop
Community Member
(@coop)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 year ago

Well, I'm living in Braga myself. I've only been here since October, though. But the weather has been very pleasant to me. (I tend to like cooler temperatures.)

It's also a very walkable city, which was a very pleasant surprise. So walkable, in fact, that I haven't had the need to buy a car here.

Another pleasant surprise has been the quality of the private health care here.

Outside of Braga, I have noticed that Guimaraes is also a very, very nice place. It's smaller than Braga and more spaced out, so I'd say that a car is more necessary there than in Braga itself. On the other had, it also has a lot more open, green space as a result.

Also, both have rail lines into Porto itself, so you can hop on the train and spend a day in Porto without actually having to drive in.

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Posts: 25
Community Member
Topic starter
(@jane55)
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Joined: 5 months ago

Thanks to everybody for their really helpful replies... much appreciated 

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