Updated: April 2, 2024


Nestled along the stunning coast of Southern Portugal, the Algarve is renowned for its captivating coastal charm. The region enjoys over 300 days of sunshine annually and a sublime Mediterranean climate. The natural beauty and luxury coastal lifestyle attract Portuguese nationals, tourists, and expats from across the globe with its unique local culture and cuisine and incredible beaches – from the stunning Praia da Rocha near Portimão to the peaceful Praia da Ilha de Tavira.

Plus, thanks to the Algarve’s proximity to Portugal’s capital of Lisbon, which is just about a 2.5-hour trip away, and its very own international airport in the region’s capital, Faro, expat communities have grown over the past few years.

In addition to all the perks of coastal living on the Iberian Peninsula, the Algarve region is home to an excellent selection of international schools that are well-suited for expats in the area. All these factors make the Algarve one of Portugal’s best places for expat families. In this article, we will guide you through the best areas to live in and the best international schools in the Algarve.

Life in the Algarve

In 2023, the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK reported that the foreign resident population in Portugal increased to just under 800,000 foreign residents. Many expats choose the Algarve region for the calm coastal lifestyle and the local schools, especially international schools that offer globally recognized curricula.

Before we take a closer look at the international schools in Algarve, Portugal, let’s explore a few of the best areas to live in where you can get settled and prepare your children to become top-tier local students at the best international school for them.


Faro is the capital city of the Algarve region and offers residents and visitors the perfect blend of busy streets and peaceful areas where you can live with your family. Faro is also home to the Aspire International School. This prestigious educational institute offers high-quality education from kindergarten level to secondary school level based on the British international curriculum.


Lagos is a famous town in the Western Algarve. It is known for its vibrant city life, stunning beaches, and popular tourist attractions like the Ponta da Piedade rock formations. Lagos is also the historic center of the Portuguese Age of Discovery. Lagos is also home to the Nobel Algarve British International School, which offers the English national curriculum, Portuguese national curriculum, and International Baccalaureate curriculum from early year levels to secondary school students.


Famous for its historic architecture and modern lifestyle, Albufeira is the perfect Algarvian city for families to relocate to. Albufeira offers fantastic beaches and a fun outdoor coastal lifestyle. The charming town is also conveniently situated near the Vilamoura International School in Loulé, Portugal. Known as one of the best international schools in Portugal, Vilamoura International School offers the Cambridge curriculum to preschool, primary school, and secondary school learners. The international school also offers multilingual education that includes Portuguese, English, French, and Russian.

Discover more about international schools in Portugal

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Best International Schools in the Algarve

There are several high-quality international schools in Portugal. In the Algarve region, areas like Lagos, Lagoa, Loulé, and Albufeira have various international schools where you can admit your children for educational purposes. This section will provide you with a list of the best international schools in the Algarve.

Nederlands Onderwijs Algarve Portugal

Nederlands-Onderwijs-Algarve-PortugalOne of the best international schools in Portugal, Nederlands Onderwijs Algarve Portugal, follows a Dutch curriculum and offers students both primary and secondary school.

The curriculum is based of Dutch education practices alongside the Portuguese national curriculum.

They also provide Portuguese language lessons, lessons in Dutch, and English lessons in a supportive environment.

Aljezur International School

If you have children aged between 10 and 18, the Aljezur International School is the perfect match for your child.

Situated in Aljezur, in the Western Algarve, this is among the most prominent international schools that offer secondary school education to children aged between 10 and 18, based on the British curriculum and using innovative teaching methods adapted to Portugal’s culture and lifestyle.

The annual tuition fees for this British international school start at €6,900 in 2024.

Colégio Santiago Internacional

IPS-CascaisThe Colégio Santiago Internacional is a co-educational school in the Algarve region that offers a bilingual medium of instruction in English and Portuguese.

The school provides both primary and secondary education and follows a British curriculum.

The annual tuition fees in 2024 for this school range from €4,620 to €7,260.

Eden Montessori International School

School-3Suppose your children are between the ages of three and nine years old.

In that case, Eden Montessori International School is one of the international schools in Portugal that offers authentic Montessori education in the Algarve region.

English and Portuguese are the languages of instruction provided by this school.

The annual tuition fees for this school are between €6,340 and €9,090.

Algarve International School

Algarve International School, also known as Aspire International School and one of the best international schools in Portugal, provides international education to expat children in the Algarve region. English is the preferred medium of instruction in this school.

This international school offers high-quality education based on the British international curriculum, from kindergarten to primary school and secondary school. Like other international schools, this Algarve International School offers GCSEs and A-levels for international students.

Greene's College Oxford

international schoolsWith campuses in Estoril and Lisbon, Greene’s College Oxford is an international preparatory school offering full-time and part-time courses to students. Like most international schools, it offers the International Baccalaureate program.

Greene’s College Oxford inspires a spirit of lifelong learning in students, allowing them the flexibility to reach their academic goals and achieve an IB Diploma in a time frame and environment that best suits their lifestyle. Greene’s College Oxford also offers Hotel Management and Hospitality diplomas and online schooling for young athletes.

Take a look at our guide to buying property in Algarve, Portugal

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The Standard Grading System in Portugal

The Portuguese education system ranks 24th in the 2023 Best Countries for Education Report produced by the US News and World Report, BAV Group, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

However, it is essential to note that families moving to Portugal can expect to find a different grading system from their home country for primary, secondary, and higher education.

The basic public education school program in Portugal is simple: 

  • Public and private preschools: Ages 3 to 6
  • Primary education: Ages 6 to 15
  • Upper secondary school: Ages 15 to 18

For basic schooling (grades one to nine), a five-point scoring system is used, with 50 percent being the lowest grade to pass: 

  • 90-100 percent – Muito bom – Very good
  • 70-89 percent – Bom – Good
  • 50-69 percent – Suficiente – Satisfactory
  • 20-49 percent – Insuficiente – Unsatisfactory
  • 0-19 percent – Mal – Fail

For secondary education (grades 10-12) and higher education, a 20-point grading system is used: 

  • 17.5-20 – Excelente – Excellent
  • 15.5-17.4 – Muito bom – Very good
  • 13.5-15.4- Bom – Good
  • 9.5-13.4 – Suficiente – Satisfactory
  • 3.5-9.5 – Insuficiente – Unsatisfactory
  • 0-3.4 – Mal – Fail

Grading systems are very different when comparing the Portuguese grading system to American schools and other countries’ grading systems. The Portuguese education system works with this grading scale; decimals from 0.5 and higher are rounded up to the closest whole number — for instance, 9.5 becomes a 10, making 9.5 the minimum grade to pass.

Admission requirements for private and international schools in Portugal

Whether you are looking for German Schools, American international schools, or British international schools, it is essential to bear in mind that private and international schools in Portugal can sometimes have strict admission processes. It would help if you considered this carefully, in addition to the education system and the international schools’ cost, location, and foreign language tuition.

You will typically need to provide the following documents. However, it is best to contact the school you are enrolling you child in to check if they require any specific or alternative documents listed here: 

  • School enrollment form (available from the school’s website) 
  • ID cards for the parents and child 
  • Three passport photos of the student and their sponsor of education (encarregado de educação) 
  • Proof of residence 
  • Previous school records and reports 
  • Medical certificates and the child’s immunization records (Boletim de vacinas) 
  • Proof of payment of the application fee 
  • Language tests, if applicable 

How to Find the Best International School

Finding international schools in Portugal is easier if you commit to research and seek assistance from expat groups and forums. If you have colleagues, family members, or acquaintances who are expats living in the Algarve and who have children enrolled in an international school, ask for advice based on their experience and for tips to make moving to Portugal as seamless as possible.

Many international schools have an online presence through school websites and social media accounts, making it easy to begin your search by simply searching terms like “British international schools in Portugal,”. Once you browse your options and make a short list, you should also check out the online reviews and forums on the international school.

Goldcrest: How We Can Help You 

Goldcrest is a buyer’s agent that is based in Lisbon. We provide expert, impartial advice on real estate investments and how to buy property in Portugal. From scouting out the perfect property through to property acquisition, we have you covered throughout the process.

If you are looking to purchase property in Portugal, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our team of skilled experts is available to solve all your real estate doubts, helping you with the property search and offering insightful expertise and strategic advice.

Why choose Goldcrest?

  • Local knowledge: With offices located across Portugal, our presence nationwide allows us to assist you personally across the country.
  • Independent service: As an independent buying agent, we do not represent any development or project. Our service is entirely tailored toward each individual client, providing you with everything you need to secure the perfect property at the best possible price. As an impartial advisor on the market, we work solely on behalf of our client and provide a service tailored to your needs and requirements.
  • Streamlined process: Our real estate agents speak English and Portuguese, and our service is completely focused on providing you with a hassle-free buying experience, saving you time.
  • Experienced team: Our expert real estate team has a vast local knowledge of the Portuguese property market. We have cutting-edge technology and metasearch tools at your disposal to provide full market coverage, ensuring the best investment choices and negotiated prices.
  • Network of partners: Lawyers, property management services, builders, architects, designers, and landscape gardeners, again saving you time and hassle by providing you with trusted experts in their field of work.

Frequently Asked Questions About International Schools in the Algarve

How many international schools are in the Algarve?

There are 12 international schools in the Algarve region

No, you must pay a yearly fee for your ward’s education in international schools across Portugal. Bear in mind that the tuition fees will vary based on the school you choose to enroll you children in.

Since the cost of living in Portugal is lower compared to other European countries, the cost of education is also affordable for international students.

The average class size of international schools in the Algarve region is around 20-25 pupils. Most schools have highly qualified teachers and offer extracurricular activities and teaching facilities in small groups.

According to the latest cost comparison by Numbeo, in 2024, Portugal international schools cost €9,341.67 per annum. Annual tuition fees at British schools like Aljezur International School start at €6,900 in 2024.