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Portugal - Braga

The Braga district of Portugal is named after the city of Braga. It is situated in the northwest of the country and its immediate neighbours are the districts of Viana do Castelo to the north, Porto in the south and Vila Real in the east. The district has a total population of just over 800,000 people and consists of a total of 14 municipalities. The city of Braga is thought to be the oldest city in Portugal and has a history that dates back to Roman times. This northern part of the country is becoming increasingly popular with expats due to the laid back lifestyle and lower cost of living.

The climate is much milder than southern regions, with average temperatures in summer of around 24°C and 12°C in winter. Snow is not unheard of during the winter months, but rainfall is not very heavy at any time of the year, although there is more in winter.

The city of Braga has much to offer those who are looking to retire. It has all the facilities that are needed for everyday life as well as reasonably priced properties. The city has a steady stream of tourists, although it is not as busy as other tourist areas. Those who are looking for somewhere quieter may want to consider one of the small towns in the surrounding areas, which offer a more traditional Portuguese way of life.

If you are looking to start a small business then the city of Braga is the best place in the district to start. Shops, small hotels and trades all have the chance of doing well there. Those who wish to open a bar or restaurant need to choose their location carefully and ensure that it has a broad appeal to be sure of the custom. There is an organisation called British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce which can off a range of advice on starting and establishing a small business in the area.

The city of Braga has an old quarter which dates back many centuries but properties in this area do not come onto the market very often. The area around the university is the best for those who are looking for an apartment as there are many purpose built apartment blocks in the area. These are relatively modern buildings and the prices are low in this area. Many people rent properties in this part of the city but those who buy usually do so to rent out to students or other tenants, so this provide as business opportunity for those who are looking for one. Some of the apartments in the area are very large, with three or more bedrooms. Higher prices are paid for these, but the rental potential is also much higher.

The city also offers a lot in the way of modern housing developments. Houses are usually detached with a minimum of 3 bedrooms and have gardens and garages. Prices will vary depending upon the part of town, the local amenities and the condition of the property, although the prices are considered to be high for the region. Most of the modern houses are in good repair and usually sell very quickly as the local Portuguese prefer to have modern homes than older properties. There are several housing developments that have good transport links into the centre of the city for those who work there and there are good schools in these areas.

These areas are better for those who want to work in Portugal and those who want to retire to the country generally opt for properties in more tranquil areas. As with all rural areas, there are properties available to renovate or that have already been renovated but it is much cheaper to buy a run-down building and organise the work yourself. These properties are also ideal if you want to have a decent amount of land and some of these parcels of land have olive groves, orchards or have already been used as a smallholding. The area is already home to a number of expats who have chosen to live a quieter life in the Portuguese countryside. The downside is that there is little in the way of amenities and most rural residents face a drive of at least a few miles for the nearest shops.

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