Updated: June 11, 2024


Guarda, a municipality and city nestled in the depths of Central Portugal, offers a glimpse into Portugal’s past, where you’ll find historic towns, unrivaled natural landscapes, and an authentic Portuguese lifestyle.

Here, not much seems to have changed over the years, where locals can be seen meeting for a coffee in the morning and where many Portuguese head throughout the year to get their nature fix.

If you are considering moving to this of the country, this relocation guide for Guarda, Portugal, will provide you with all the essential information that you should know about, from providing you with information on Guarda’s property market to navigating Guarda’s education system and what lifestyle you can expect should you choose to relocate here.

Why Choose Guarda for Your Next Move?

With quaint river beaches, proximity to the Sera da Estrela mountain range, the highest on mainland Portugal, and some of the greatest monuments in the country, such as the Guarda Cathedral and the Fortaleza da Almeira (Almeira Fortress), Guarda holds a special place in the hearts of the Portuguese. Add in a delectable food scene, where the focus is on fresh local produce, and a laid-back lifestyle, and you’ll quickly see that Guarda is a top location for those looking for a quiet place located in the heart of the Portuguese countryside.

The city of Guarda and the surrounding towns also have a rich history and culture and a close-knit community where you’ll find the locals really watch out for one another. It’s certainly worth learning some Portuguese, however, as English is not as widely spoken as it is in other parts of Portugal, such as Lisbon, Porto, the Algarve, and other expat hubs in the country.

Understanding Guarda's Property Market

Guarda’s housing market is very affordable, particularly when compared with other Portuguese cities. In this section, we’ll provide you with an overview of the housing market, including property and rental prices.

GC-ICON-93Property prices

The average asking price for property in Guarda is €689 per square meter, highlighting the affordability of the city and this part of Portugal. Note that this is the asking price, and the sales price can be significantly lower than this or, in rarer situations, higher.

There is an array of property types here, from quaint apartments to spacious countryside homes. You’ll find that your money will stretch much further should you choose to buy a property in Guarda, and there is high potential for capital appreciation as this relatively undiscovered gem looks like it will experience a boost in popularity in the future, with eco-tourism, nature escapes, and spa and wellness centers likely to pick up in the region in the coming years, leading to increased demand.

GC-ICON-61Rent prices

Rental prices in Guarda are reasonable, making it a smart choice to rent before purchasing property so that you can determine which neighborhood or area in Guarda could be a good location to buy and give you time to find the perfect property.

To provide you with some examples of rental costs, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center will cost you around €350 per month. Moving away from the center, the prices decrease. A three-bedroom apartment in the city center costs approximately €650 per month, while outside the center, it will be around €500 per month. As you can see, rental prices are very affordable, and compared to Lisbon, rental prices in Guarda are nearly 270 percent lower. Compared to Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city, rental prices are 63 percent lower, while they are also 60 percent lower than in Faro, the capital of the Algarve in Southern Portugal.

Take a look at our guide to renting in Portugal

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Tips for moving to Guarda, Portugal: Finding the perfect home

Below, we highlight a few tips for finding your dream home in Guarda, whether you are looking for a spacious country home or a modern apartment in the historic city center.

  • Engage a local real estate agent: Collaborate with a reputable agent who knows Guarda well. They can provide insights on the best areas, fair pricing, and upcoming listings. Remember that, in Portugal, real estate agents also work on behalf of the seller and will get a higher commission for a higher sale. Therefore, working with a buyer agent can be a better way to go, as they work solely for the needs of the buyer, ensuring your needs are protected and that there is no conflict of interest.
  • Research neighborhoods thoroughly: Visit potential neighborhoods at different times of the day as a place can have a different atmosphere depending on when you visit, although you’ll find most neighborhoods in Guarda to be very quiet. Check for proximity to amenities like schools, shops, and public transport.
  • Factor in future developments: Look into any planned developments in the area. New projects can enhance property values and improve local facilities, but construction can also cause temporary inconveniences, so bear this in mind when buying.

documents signingIf you are considering moving to this part of Portugal with children, you’ll find many different public and private school options in and around Guarda.

If you are seeking out an international school, however, you may be disappointed, as they tend to be clustered in Lisbon, Porto, and other major cities in the Algarve region. Nonetheless, the public and private schools in Guarda are very good, and your child will likely become bilingual should they go to school in one of the schools in the area.

Some of the top schools in Guarda are Escola Secundária Afonso de Albuquerque, Escola Secundária da Sé, and Escola Profissional da Guarda. These institutions provide quality education across different levels and disciplines. Guarda is also home to excellent higher learning institutes, such as Escola Superior de Saúde and Instituto Politécnico da Guarda.

Working in Guarda

For internationals, you will find that job opportunities are not as easy to find as in Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve. However, Guarda presents the perfect place to work remotely, where you’ll be able to make the most of the country with stunning natural landscapes and be able to enjoy a very peaceful lifestyle.

The Digital Nomad Visa, launched in 2022, is the ticket for remote workers to head to Portugal while working for a foreign employer. Living and working in Guarda offers a chance to achieve a balanced lifestyle, enabling you to spend quality time with your family.

Guarda does provide job opportunities across various sectors, such as tourism, education, healthcare, and technology, supported by a growing economy and a favorable business environment. However, you will likely need to speak Portuguese, as there are relatively few international companies in this part of Portugal.

Business opportunities in Guarda

When it comes to business opportunities, Guarda looks set to see a rise in popularity in the coming years. Tourists and expats are increasingly looking outside the hotspot locations of Lisbon and the Algarve to explore the beauty of the Portuguese countryside and the natural beauty that you can find here. Opportunities include boutique hotels, wellness centers, and eco-tourism ventures that will likely take off in the future, adding value to properties in the region and fostering business opportunities in and around Guarda.

Exploring Guarda's Culture and Lifestyle

Guarda has a rich culture and history, which can be seen in the city itself and the surrounding towns and villages. Should you move to Guarda, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious food, where local cheeses and cured meats are specialties that are sought after across Portugal. Try the renowned queijo da Serra da Estrela (cheese from Serra da Estrela), and you won’t be disappointed. When it comes to restaurants, you’ll find plenty of traditional Portuguese fare at very affordable prices, where the focus is largely on locally produced food cooked well.

In summer, you can enjoy hiking and biking, while in the winter months, there is also the possibility to go skiing close to Serra da Estrela. Everyday life is a pleasure in Guarda, and you should find that you can quickly get to know the locals, although you may need to pick up some Portuguese , because as we mentioned,  English is not as widely spoken here as in larger cities. Locals enjoy spending their time outside, and you’ll regularly see your neighborhoods enjoying a coffee or breakfast outside, relaxing after a long lunch outside, or spending time together by one of the river beaches close to the city. A real community feel permeates through life in Guarda, which may be lost in larger cities, such as Lisbon, or in more touristic areas in Southern Portugal.

Local Attractions of Guarda

The greatest attraction for nature lovers will likely be the jaw-dropping landscapes, such as the Serra da Estrela mountains or the secluded river beaches that can be found in this part of Portugal. However, history enthusiasts living in Guarda will also find several attractions, some of which can be seen below.

Guarda Cathedral: Guarda Cathedral, or Sé da Guarda, stands as a magnificent Gothic structure that was built between 1390 and the mid-16th Century. Its bell tower offers panoramic views of the city, providing visitors with a unique perspective of Guarda’s historical landscape.

Torre de Menagem: This medieval tower forms part of Guarda’s ancient defensive walls. It serves as a testament to the city’s military history, offering visitors insights into its past while providing an intriguing architectural backdrop.

Museums: Guarda’s museums provide fascinating glimpses into the region’s rich cultural and historical heritage. The Museum of Guarda features local art and artifacts, while the Museu do Pão (Bread Museum) celebrates the history of bread-making. These institutions preserve and share the stories and traditions that define Guarda’s identity, inviting visitors to delve into its past and present. Additionally, the Museu do Côa, a celebration of Paleolithic art, is a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

Events and Festivals in Guarda

Guarda has an array of events and festivals that take place throughout the year. From embracing the gastronomy of the region to celebrating the city’s historical past, there is something for everyone. Perhaps the most important aspect of these festivals, however, is that they provide a space for locals to meet and enjoy spending quality time together. Some of the key festivals are shown below.

  • Feira Farta: Held annually in September, this vibrant event in Guarda celebrates the town’s cultural heritage with a showcase of local products, crafts, and gastronomy. It’s a lively gathering that highlights the diversity and richness of the region.
  • Festa da Senhora dos Remédios: Taking place in August, this religious festival in Guarda features processions, music, and traditional dances, honoring the town’s religious heritage. Here you’ll be able to see the essence of the Portuguese lifestyle and how they celebrate in style. 
  • Carnival: Guarda comes alive with color and energy during Carnival in February, with lively parades and street parties filling the town’s streets. It’s a festive time marked by vibrant costumes, music, and a joyful atmosphere that brings people together in revelry.
  • Medieval fair: Guarda’s medieval history takes center stage during the annual Medieval Fair in July, transforming the town center into a lively hub of medieval markets, performances, and reenactments. It’s a captivating journey back in time that immerses visitors in the town’s rich historical legacy.

Getting Around in Guarda

While local bus services are available in Guarda, having a car is much more convenient for making the most of living in the city and exploring the surrounding countryside. Guarda has good road connections, such as the A25, which links Porto and Aveiro with the Spanish border, providing direct access to Madrid. The A23 connects Guarda to Lisbon, and the IP2 allows for quick travel to northern Portugal, including Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, notably Bragança.

From Guarda, you can easily get around Portugal, from discovering the north and the center of the country, while also being able to enjoy the close proximity to Spain.

Guarda is also a city well-served by train links and serves as a strategic hub for storing and transporting goods throughout Europe. Taxis and Uber services are available, though not as extensively as in larger cities.

Healthcare Services in Guarda

Healthcare-in-PortugalIn Guarda, you can access professional assistance quickly at several public healthcare centers and hospitals, including ULS – Unidade de Saúde Local da Guarda and Casa De Saúde Bento Menni.

As a resident of Portugal, you can utilize the SNS (National Health Service) for a minimal fee, and the service is usually very good.

If you prefer private healthcare, there are several options available, though not as many as in larger cities.

For those moving to Portugal from the USA, private healthcare and insurance are notably more affordable than in America.

Final Thoughts: Preparing for Your Move to Guarda

Guarda is a beautiful city in central Portugal, and for nature lovers and those seeking out a quieter retreat, this part of Portugal could be the perfect location.

Moving to a new country can be tricky, particularly if you do not speak the language. The entire process can be time-consuming and stressful and having a helping hand to assist you can prove to be a godsend. One of the trickiest parts of settling down is securing the right property for you.

At Goldcrest, we work with you to ensure you secure the property of your dreams. With properties that you will not find elsewhere on the market and our local insights, we ensure that you secure your ideal property at the best possible price.

Check out our ultimate guide to buying property in Guarda

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Frequently Asked Questions about Moving to Guarda

Housing options in Guarda, Portugal

You will find many housing options in Guarda, Portugal, including apartments, detached houses, and townhouses. There are also many spacious country houses in the surrouding countryside. Both modern and historic properties are available, catering to different budgets and preferences. You’ll find both house and rental prices to be quite affordable in this part of Portugal.

Regarding public transportation in Guarda, Portugal, local buses are the primary way local residents get from A to B. Additionally, taxis and Uber are available for getting around. However, if you plan to relocate to Guarda, having a car is recommended as it will significantly enhance your mobility and convenience.

The education system in Guarda, Portugal, mirrors that of the rest of the country and is generally excellent. The city boasts several good schools and universities, such as the University of Beira Interior, which offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs in different fields. However, it is important to note that there are no international schools in Guarda; these are primarily located in Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve.

There are several healthcare facilities in Guarda, Portugal, including the Sousa Martins Hospital and various other health centers and private clinics, providing comprehensive medical services and specialized care to residents and visitors.

Guarda experiences a temperate Mediterranean climate with warm summers and cool winters. The city is known for its mild weather, with pleasant temperatures throughout most of the year and snowfall in winter, where there are also opportunities to ski.

Yes, Guarda offers various recreational activities and cultural events, including hiking, festivals, museums, and theaters. The city celebrates its rich heritage and vibrant cultural scene with numerous events year-round.

Guarda provides job opportunities across diverse sectors such as tourism, education, healthcare, and technology, supported by its growing economy and favorable business environment. However, proficiency in Portuguese is typically necessary, as international companies are less common in this part of Portugal. If you are working remotely, the Digital Nomad Visa allows you to live in Portugal while working for a foreign employer, making it a viable option for relocating to Portugal. Living and working in Guarda offers the chance to maintain a balanced lifestyle, with ample time to spend with your family.

Portugal is the seventh safest country in the world, according to the 2023 Global Peace Index. Guarda, in particular, is known for its low crime rate and high safety standards.

Guarda provides many amenities and services, such as parks, libraries, sports facilities, public transportation, and waste management, ensuring a high quality of life for its residents.

There are not that many expats in Guarda compared to more popular parts of the country. However, you will find that more expats are moving to this part of Portugal, attracted to the high quality of life and wonderful natural landscapes. The city is welcoming to foreigners, and expats that live here often connect through social groups and local events, where you can easily get to know fellow expats.

Yes, Guarda offers schools suitable for expat families with a range of excellent public and private options. Bear in mind, however, that if you are seeking out an international school, these tend to be clustered in Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve.

Finding a job in Guarda as an expat can be challenging due to language barriers and a smaller job market. However, opportunities exist in sectors like education, tourism, and healthcare, especially for those with specialized skills, although you may need to speak some Portuguese. The Digital Nomad Visa is an attractive option for exapts, whereby they can work remotely for an international company and live in Portugal.

To move to Guarda, Portugal, expats need a valid visa, residence permit, and proof of sufficient income or employment. EU citizens have simpler procedures, while non-EU citizens must navigate more detailed immigration regulations. Popular options for non-EU citizens include the Golden Visa, D7 Visa, and Digital Nomad Visa. Our residency and citizenship division, Global Citizen Solutions, will be able to assist you should you be looking to secure a residency visa in Portugal.