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Portugal - Bragança

The district of Bragança is located in the north east of Portugal. It is named after the capital city of the region but has several other important urban areas such as Macedo de Cavaleiros and Mirandela. The area has its own language – known as Leonese – although this is only really used in some of the smaller villages by the older residents. The city of Bragança has a total of 21,000 inhabitants. The area is attracting expats due to the laid back lifestyle and its position off the tourist track, although more people each year are discovering the area.

The climate of Bragança is very mild and average temperatures in winter are around 10°C, although they have been recorded far below freezing. Summer temperatures can be as high as 29°C. There is very little rain in summer although the winter months can see three times as much. Snow is common during winter and cold spells can last for weeks at a time.

The district and city of Bragança are fairly isolated, so it is ideal for those who are looking for a very quiet retirement, but not so much for those who want to have a busy social life. The city is a long distance from busy urban areas such as Lisbon. Many people are choosing to leave the area for more densely populated regions, which means that the cost of living and property prices are low in the region.

The area is not ideal for those who want to start a tourism related business, although there are opportunities as the city is beginning to see more tourists each year. A small hotel or B&B is ideal, although the influx of visitors will be seasonal. There are more opportunities for those who want to establish a service based business, as this gives the chance for year round work, for example those with a trade such as plumbing will find that work is steady. There are fewer opportunities for small businesses in the smaller towns as custom is not so great.

The region of Braganca has numerous towns and villages that are filled with old stone houses. Many of these towns are untouched by modern life. Any one of these towns is ideal for those who want to experience traditional Portuguese living, but many of these towns and villages are home to properties that require renovation. Prices for these are relatively low and if a good renovation is carried out the price of the property can rise by five or six times the purchase price.

The town of Braganca is set on a plateau close to the Spanish border. Many of the buildings are several centuries old. Property prices in the area vary, but not wildly. There is a demand for properties in this area and expats are becoming interested in the area, particularly those who are looking to retire. The town has a popular Jewish quarter that was founded in the 15th century. Most of the properties in the city are older properties, some with courtyards. It is possible to find apartments as some of the older buildings have been converted into apartment blocks. The town has some good schools and many children from the outlying villages travel into the city for their education.

There are several villages in the area which are attractive to newcomers to the area. The village of Vinhais commands good views of the national park which it neighbours. Some of the village properties are rented out as holiday lets to those who enjoy activity holidays such as horse riding and mountain biking, so there are opportunities in this area for those who want their own business.

The town of Miranda do Douro is on the Spanish border and is popular with expats who want to spend time in both countries. Properties are mainly older buildings although many have been renovated to a high standard. Property prices are quite high here although on a par with the regional average. This is due in part to the demand and in part to the location. The area is ideal for those who are looking for a quiet retirement. Leisure facilities consist mainly of restaurants and shops and the nightlife is limited.

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