Updated: March 20, 2023
Less than an hour’s drive south of Lisbon, you will come across Setúbal— a thriving historic town that is at the heart of the country’s rich sardine industry. Its charming alleyways, vibrant markets, and tree-lined boulevards welcome visitors and expats in Portugal with open arms. Consider Setúbal Portugal real estate as this region hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, and has spectacular sweeping views of the glimmering Atlantic — you will be hard-pressed to find a more stunning region if you tried.
Expats in Portugal have come to appreciate Setúbal and you will be able to find a range of properties— many at reasonable prices. In this article, we’ll introduce you to Setúbal and real estate in the region, before delving into some other regions close by that could provide you with the perfect abode. After this, we’ll run over some practical information about the region.
For an overview of everything that you will need to know before you buy, you can see our article here.
An introduction to Setúbal
Setúbal is a bustling working port and major fishing center, boasting a rich history and seafaring heritage. While Setúbal’s raw character as an industrial town may not be to everyone’s taste, there is no disputing the stunning region that the town is located in. From the sublime hills of Serra de Arrábida, to the Tróia Peninsula, you can find a taste of exclusive luxury here. You will be able to find many waterfront properties with breathtaking views.
Setúbal has a unique history. Take the Fortress of São Filipe de Setúbal, built on the orders of Phillip II of Spain (Philip I of Portugal), who personally oversaw the layering of the cornerstone of the new fortification in 1582. The fort once guarded the Sado Estuary and provides wonderful views over the region.
The historic center of Setúbal has narrow streets and large plazas, such as Praça de Bocage and Mosteiro de Jesus, a fine example of late Gothic (Manueline architecture) in Portugal.
Elsewhere the Mercado do Livramento is the best-covered market in Portugal, selling fish straight from the sea, plus fresh fruit and vegetables, and locally made handicrafts and foodstuffs. Head here to see the “authentic” side of Portugal, a good mix of chaos and liveliness.
Indeed, Setúbal is a city that you can easily get caught up in. With nature surrounding you, it is very easy to live an active lifestyle, and with fresh fish, fruits and vegetables, you will enjoy a healthy diet.
Setúbal Portugal real estate
Close to Lisbon, Setúbal Portugal real estate is an excellent option if you are considering being close to the bright lights of Lisbon while also being next to the staggeringly beautiful Serra da Arrábida Natural Park and the many beaches hugging the coastline. The region looks set to increase in popularity in the coming years, making it a good investment.
Setúbal Portugal real estate – types of properties
With villas, apartments, and beach houses, there are many different types of properties to suit your lifestyle.
Setúbal Portugal real estate – prices
Setúbal real estate in Portugal is generally affordable — the average asking price for a villa in 2020 was €1,791/m2. In Sesimbra, this stood at €1,665/m2. Close by, real estate in Tróia, Comporta, and Melides is more high-end and will be more expensive.
Setúbal Portugal real estate – a taste of luxury
If you are looking for more exclusive properties, you will be pleased to know that in Setúbal and in the South West you can find beautiful luxury properties. Many have incredible views of the ocean, private swimming pools, gyms, and security.
In Troia, you may even be able to find a penthouse for sale – what could be more luxurious than delighting in the glow of the sunset, with a glass of rich Douro red wine in hand, all from the quiet calm of your top floor apartment. See our article here on more penthouse locations in Portugal.
Note that Portugal real estate is generally much more affordable than in other countries in Europe. Even luxury properties, although more expensive, will still be relatively affordable in comparison to their counterparts in other countries.
Setúbal Portugal real estate – where to buy
Setúbal is a very good option, but there are also other beautiful areas close by that offer the buyer a little variety – for example those looking for more exclusive properties should look to Tróia, Comporta, and Melides. Here, we have run over some desirable areas in the region.
Although we have already introduced Setúbal, here is a little more information on this historic town, situated on the northern bank of the Sado River estuary. There is a dolphin colony that draws attraction from tourists, who hope to catch a glimpse. Across the river, you will find a true taste of luxury in the form of the Troia Peninsula, with luxury hotels, fine dining restaurants, and golden beaches.
Setúbal was of vital importance to the fishing industry in Portugal in the 20th Century, particularly in processing and exporting sardines. The sardine factories no longer work, but the existing maritime ports keep the city intricately linked to the ocean. Nowadays, tourism is a key part of the economy. There are excellent top-rated hotels and resorts where expats and tourists alike can enjoy relaxing in peace.
Sesimbra is a beach town close to Setúbal that lies in the foothills of Serra da Arrábida. Completely surrounded by natural beauty, you are well-positioned if you enjoy being in nature. Experiencing the unspoiled nature of the Serra da Arrábida Natural Park firsthand is the only way to fully appreciate the beauty of the region. You are also only forty minutes from Lisbon, so you’re easily able to enjoy the delights of the capital. Owning a beach house in Sesimbra is a very good investment, and is popular with both expats and locals.
The Tróia peninsula is one of the most impressive in mainland Portugal, with eighteen beautiful kilometers of breathtaking sandy beaches that open up onto the vast Atlantic Ocean. Tróia is the perfect second home destination for those that are looking for luxury residences that are in the heart of nature.
Tróia is close to Carvalhal beach, which is an increasingly popular holiday spot for the wealthy. With exceptional dining experiences, a casino, and nature on your door spot, Tróia is a top location for those looking for an exclusive postcode in Portugal.
Surrounded by sand dunes and pine trees, Comporta is a special place. The Atlantic is a stone’s throw away and the rice paddies add an Asian influence to the surroundings. Simplicity is probably the best word to describe Comporta and those looking for a place to unwind totally in a luxury villa can relax with a smile on their face.
Close by Comporta, the unique lagoon of Melides is increasing in popularity. Home to unspoiled nature, the local charm still permeates through here and the traditional way of life still passes by. A villa here would be an excellent investment option.
Lifestyle in Setúbal
Although most places in Portugal allow you to live an active lifestyle – not least because of the abundance of sunny days – Setúbal will probably tempt you out of the house even on the coldest winter day. The Serra da Arrábida Natural Park offers some amazing hiking trails, sweeping ocean views, and beaches where you can unwind, relax or swim if you so desire. Although the water can be cold, it is particularly refreshing in the summer months.
Avenida Luísa Todi, the main avenue in Setúbal, has many bars, restaurants, and green spaces where you can read a book, enjoy a café or simply sit and watch the world pass by. Praça de Bocage, the main square is located in the beating heart of the city and is also an excellent spot to relax and unwind. To the east of the city lies Albarquel Urban Park – easy to access from the city, with a beach and fabulous views of the river. For your dose of nature that is close at hand, this is a good option if you do not want to venture further afield.
History lovers will also find much to admire in Setúbal. The Monastery of Jesus, with its unique tiles, served as a monastery of Poor Clare nuns and was one of the first buildings in the Manueline style (the Portuguese late Gothic) and dates as far back as the 1490s. Elsewhere, the Fortress of São Filipe de Setúbal provides excellent views of the river. Setúbal is a great option for expats looking to move to Portugal.
Cuisine in Setúbal
Portuguese food is very good, and Setúbal is no exception. Particularly if you are a fan of seafood and fish dishes, then you have arrived at a good place. Try choco frito – a fried cuttlefish dish that originated in Setúbal. While all the fish dishes will be sublime, the sardines are particularly famous. Alongside the top fish dishes, you also have fresh fruit and salad, local cheeses, and the classic wine Moscatel de Setúbal, an award-winning fortified dessert.
Climate in Setúbal
Setúbal has a typical Mediterranean climate. The summers are hot and dry with temperatures ranging from 81 and 86 °F (27 and 30 °C) in the day and 59 and 63 °F (15 to 17°C) at night.
Winter temperatures range from 59 and 63 °F (15 and 17 °C) in the day and 41–46 °F (5–8 °C) at night. In the summer months, the geographical location of Setúbal provides a breeze from the Atlantic.