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Portugal - Castelo Branco

This district is named after its capital city and is located in the central part of Portugal. There is a total population of the district of nearly 210,000 inhabitants and around 30,000 of these are resident in the city of Castelo Branco. The district has 11 municipalities and is becoming popular with expats as the area is much quieter than some other regions of Portugal.

The climate of the area consists of hot summers where temperatures may reach 30°C and cold winters where temperatures can easily dip below freezing. Snow is not unheard of but is rare. There is more rain during the winter months than the summer.

Those who are looking to retire to the sun will find Castelo Branco ideal during the summer months, but as the winters can be very cold this is not ideal. There are some expats who choose to spend just the summer in the region. Those who do not mind the cold weather will find that there are many benefits to living in the region, including a low cost of living. The tranquillity of some of the areas may be of interest to those who are looking for a more relaxed lifestyle.

If you are looking to start your own business in the tourism industry then you need to be aware that whichever business you have chosen will be seasonal. The cold winters attract few visitors. There are opportunities for those who want to open small bars and restaurants as local custom can be year round, particularly in the city of Castelo Branco, but hotels and B&Bs will only be busy during the summer.

The city of Castelo Branco has several different areas which are ideal for those who are looking to move to the area. Around the cathedral there are large houses which date from the 19th century. These are rarely on the market and are very expensive when they are. Some have been converted into apartments, some of which are available to rent, but demand is high. The older districts of the town offer smaller houses which occasionally come onto the market. Some of these have already been renovated, although some are in need of work. There is little new development in the city centre, although there are some more modern buildings as you move further away. These are also not often on the market as the Portuguese prefer modern property so they are snapped up very quickly.

The surroundings areas are mainly small towns and villages. Properties on offer are usually rustic traditional properties and rural tourism is on the increase, so renting out holiday cottages or opening a small B&B is a good option for those who want to start a business in the area. Property prices are very low, particularly for those properties which need renovation. It is also possible to buy building plots with planning permission at a very low price.

The town of Alcains is another option for those who want to start a business as it is seen as a very commercial area, with large companies making a base there and a strong agricultural industry. Those who have families will find that there are good schools and there is much more in the way of modern housing than in other towns in the district. Making friends in the area is also fairly easy as there are a number of clubs and societies that can be joined for sports and other activities, although members will need to have a good understanding of Portuguese. Property prices in the area are a little lower than the regional average.

The town of Covilha is set in a mountainous area and is close to the country’s only ski resort. This area offers business opportunities in holiday lets and for those who are experienced ski instructors. It should be noted that the work is seasonal. The area has several schools to choose from and the leisure facilities in the area are excellent with theatres and restaurants. Property prices in the area are high around the ski resort, but much lower in the town itself. Apartments are common in the ski resort though the town is mainly houses.

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