Portugal matches today’s definition of luxury: authenticity, innovation, and creativity. This is especially true with regards to the investment possibilities in the low-density areas of the country. Investors and the media never tire of “discovering” this part of Portugal that surprises visitors — the off-the-beaten part of the country that provides ample opportunities to invest in property. Indeed, there’s a broad range of opportunities on offer in Portugal’s low-density areas, with more and more investors scrambling to tap into this wealth of opportunity.

One of the reasons for this is because of Portugal’s Residence Permit Program or the Portugal Golden Visa. This is a five-year residency by investment scheme for non-EU nationals, which has become one of the most popular residency by investment schemes in the world since its inception in 2012. Indeed, foreign investments have contributed €4 billion to the Portuguese economy, and recent interest is focusing on the low-density areas of Portugal.

The Portugal Golden Visa Program provides several investment options for investors. However, there are important locations restrictions that apply and the price points vary depending on whether a property sits in a “low density” area of Portugal – one of the key reasons to invest in these areas.

Why invest in Portugal’s low-density area? This guide walks you through the Golden Visa 2022 options, including which areas qualify, and what terms such as “interior areas” and low-density” mean in practice.

Portugal Golden Visa Investment Options

The Portuguese Golden Visa Program for residence by investment is considered one of the best in the world. The program grants a temporary residence permit for non-EU citizens that intend to invest in Portugal. Changes from 1 January 2022 mean that certain location restrictions apply. For a complete overview of the changes, consult this Portugal Golden Visa Changes Guide from our residency and citizenship division, Global Citizen Solutions. 

In line with the 2020 Golden Visa changes, property investment options include:

To be eligible for the Portugal Golden Visa, the following real estate options are available to investors:

  • Buy residential real estate in designated interior areas of Portugal that are worth at least €500,000 (or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project). If the residential property is located in a designated “low density” area, then a 20% discount will apply.
  • Buy commercial real estate anywhere in the country that is worth at least €500,000 (or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project). If the commercial property is located in a designated “low density” area, then a 20% discount will apply.
  • Buy residential and commercial real estate anywhere in the autonomous islands of Madeira and the Azores, worth at least €500,000 (or €350,000 if investing in a rehabilitation project). Note that the entire islands of Madeira and the Azores are classified as high density, so there is no 20% option when investing in the islands.

Which areas are eligible to invest in Portugal with the Golden Visa?

The Portuguese government is looking to nurture investments in the following areas:

The Portuguese authorities have altered the real estate investment routes to account for this, in creating a classification system of what areas you can invest in Portugal. These areas are called “interior” and “low density”. It is important to note that these are very different terms.

Here, we will run over these different terms, to provide you with a clear understanding of each.

Interior areas

Interior areas are areas where you can make a residential real estate investment to qualify for the Portugal Golden Visa.

For commercial real estate, there are no location restrictions in place (i.e. you can invest anywhere in the country as long as the property is classified as “commercial”).

This map highlights Portugal’s interior regions. Note that properties that belong to “interior” Portugal qualify for residential AND commercial real estate investment, although commercial properties can be purchased outside the “interior” parameters (highlighted in blue).

Invest in Portugal interior areas

Low density areas

Low-density areas are defined as territorial units (NUTS III) that have less than 100 inhabitants per square km or a GDP per capita that is less than 75% of the national average. Low-density areas determine whether a 20% discount rate is applicable to your investment or not.

It is very important note that an area can be both interior and high-density. If this is the case, you can purchase residential real estate but no discount will apply.

Low-density areas are shown in light grey below (areas that fall outside the low-density zone are shown in dark grey).

As an example, you will be unable to invest in some parts of the Algarve for the Portugal Golden Visa. Although it is classified as a low-density area, it is not considered a completely interior part of the country. Currently, some areas that are considered as low-density AND interior areas are Ajezur, Odeceixe, and Sagres, where you will be able to buy a residential property or invest in a residential rehabilitation project.

Invest in Portugal low-density areas

Invest in Portugal: Golden Visa real estate options

This map provides an overview of the areas of Portugal that are eligible either for:

Interior and low-density residential real estate

You can buy a residential property that falls under both the categories of a “low-density” and “interior” area in Portugal. Some properties that will qualify for the Golden Visa will even be in areas that have a high-growth potential – such as the Douro Valley, Aljezur, and Peneda Gerês.

Each of these offers excellent, spacious properties that are very good value for money. You will be able to find properties with a private swimming pool and large areas of land for roughly €400K.

Reselling chancesPrices per m2Prices fluctuationTourism industryRenting returnsTourism returns
Peneda GerêsMediumLowLowHighLowHigh
Douro ValleyMediumMediumLowMediumLowMedium

Real estate investment in Portugal’s low-density areas: 280K investment option

For a basic investment of at least 280.000, investors can purchase a property in a low-density area in Portugal and obtain all the benefits of EU residency through the Golden Visa.

To be eligible for the 280.000 investment option and obtain the 20% discount, the applicant must:

Advantages of investing in low-density areas

The €280.000 option is very attractive due to:

Other excellent low-density areas to invest in

Peneda-Gerês, the Douro Valley, and Alentejo are pristine areas popular with tourists.

Gerês is one of the favorite regions for investors due to its dense and wonderful Peneda Gerês National Park. It is an incredible place. The famous waterfalls are paradisiacal and a rarity in Europe.

Classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Douro Region is one of the most acclaimed areas in the world due to its untouched natural landscapes.

Invest in Portugal: Full list of low-density areas

The full list of 165 counties and 72 parishes that are categorized as low-density are outlined below.

Low-density counties in Portugal:
1. Abrantes
2. Aguiar da Beira
3. Alandroal
4. Alcácer do Sol
5. Alcoutim
6. Alfândega da Fé
7. Alijó
8. Aljezur

9. Aljustrel
10. Almeida
11. Almodôvar
12. Alter de Chão
13. Alvaiázere
14. Alvito
15. Ansião
16. Arcos de Valdevez
17. Arganil
18. Armamar
19. Arouca
20. Arraiolos
21. Arronches

22. Avis
23. Baião
24. Barrancos
25. Bej
26. Belmonte
27. Borba
28. Boticas
29. Bragança
30. Cabeceiras de Basto
31. Campo Major
32. Carrazeda de Ansiães
33. Carregal do Sal
34. Castanheira de Pêra
35. Castelo Branco
36. Castela de Vide
37. Castro Daire
38. Castro Marim
39. Castro Verde
40. Celorico da Beira
41. Celorico de Basto
42. Chamusca
43. Chaves
44. Cinfães
45. Constância
46. Coruche
47. Covil
48. Crato
49. Cuba
50. Elvas

51. Estremoz
52. Évora
53. Fafe
54. Ferreira do Alentejo
55. Ferreira do Zêzere
56. Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo
57. Figueiró dos Vinhos
58. Fornos de Algodres
59. Freixo de Espada à Cinta
60. Fronteira
61. Fundão
62. Gavião
63. Góis
64. Gouveia
65. Grândola
66. Guarda
67. Idanha-a-Nova
68. Lamego
69. Lousã
70. Marção
71. Macedo de Cavaleiros
72. Mangualde
73. Manteigas
74. Marvão
75. Meda
76. Melgaço
77. Mértola
78. Mesão Frio
79. Miranda do Corvo
80. Miranda do Douro
81. Mirandela
82. Mogadouro
83. Moimenta da Beira
84. Monção
85. Monchique
86. Mondim de Basto
87. Monforte
8. Montalegre
89. Montemor-o-Novo
90. Mra
91. Mortágua
92. Moura

93. Mourão
94. Murça
95. Nelas
96. Nisa
97. Odemira
98. Oleiros
99. Oliveira de Frades
100. Oliveira o Hospital
101. Ourique
102. Pampilhosa da Serra
103. Paredes de Coura
104. Pedrógão Grande
105. Penacova
106. Penalva do Castelo
107. Penamacor
108. Penedono
109. Penela
110. Pedo da Régua
111. Pinhel
112. Ponte da Barca
113. Ponte de Sor
114. Portalegre
115. Portel
116. Póvoa de Lanhoso
117. Proença-a-Nova
118. Redondo
119. Reguengos de Monsaraz
120. Resende
121. Ribeira de Pena
122. Sabrosa
123. Sabugal
124. Santa Comba Dão
125. Santa Marta de Penaguião
126. Santiago de Cacem
127. São João da Pesqueira
128. São Pedro do Sul
129. Sardoal
130. Sátão
131. Seia
132. Sernancelha
133. Serpa
134. Sertã

135. Server do Vouga
136. Soure
137. Sousel
138. Tábua
139. Tabuaço
140. Tarouca
141. Terras de Bouro
142. Tondela
143. Torre de Moncorvo
144. Trancoso
145. Valpaços
146. Vendas Novas
147. Viana do Alentejo
148. Vidigueira
149. Vieira do Minho
150. Vila do Rei
151. Vila do Bispo
152. Vila Flor
153. Vila Nova da Barquinha
154. Vila Nova de Cerveira
155. Vila Nova de Foz Côa
156. Vila Nova de Paiva
157. Vila Nova de Poiares
158. Vila Pouca de Aguiar
159. Vila Real
160. Vila Velha de Ródão
161. Vila Verde
162. Vila Viçosa
163. Vimioso
164. Vinhais
165. Vouzela

Low-density parishes in Portugal:

União das freguesias de Belazaima do Chão, Castanheiro do Vouga e Agadão
União das freguesias do Préstimo e Macieira de Alcoba
Gouveia (São Simão)

Salvador do Monte
União das freguesias de Aboadela, Sanche e Vázea
União das freguesias de Bustelo, Carneiro e Carvalho de Rei
União das freguesias de Olo e Carnadelo
Vila Chã de Marão
Bouro (Santa Marta)
União das freguesias de Caldelas, Sequeiros e Paranhos
União das freguesias de Vilela, Seramil e Paredes Secas
União das freguesias de Arga (Baixo, Cima, e São João)
União das freguesias de Gondar e Orbacém
Castelo de Paiva
União das freguesias de Arosa e Casteiões
União das freguesias de Querença, Tôr e Benafim
Marco de Canaveses
Várzea, Aliviada e Folhada
União das freguesias de Freixianda, Ribeira do Fárrio e Formigais
União das freguesias de Matas e Cercal
União das freguesias de Rio de Couros e Casal dos Bernados
Ponte de Lima
Ardegão, Freixo e Mato
Associacão de freguesias do Vale do Neiva
Bárrio e Cepões
Beiral do Lima
Cabaços e Fojo Lobal
Cabração e Moreira do Lima
Labrujó, Rendufe, e Vilar do Monte
Navió e Vitorino dos Piães
Porto de Mós
São Bento
União das freguesias de Casével e Vaqueiros
São Marcos da Serra
Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo
União das freguesias de Além da Ribeira e Pedreira
União das freguesias de Casais e Alviobeira
União das freguesias de Serra e Junceira
Vale de Cambra
União das freguesias de Gondomil e Safins
União das freguesias de São Julião e Silva
Viana do Castelo
São Pedro de France
União das freguesias de Barreiros e Cepões

Benefits of the Portugal Golden Visa

Once the temporary permit is granted, investors may:

Get in touch

If you have found your dream property in Portugal, seek help from a specialized property investment firm such as Goldcrest. Experienced professionals guarantee purchase advantages, and work through the requirements, hidden costs, and fine print smoothly and efficiently.

Contact the Goldcrest team to access exclusive information on the property market in Portugal and find out how much you can save on your international investment.

Frequently asked questions about low-density areas in Portugal

What are the low-density areas I can invest in?

The low-density areas of Golden Visa Portugal are divided into two categories: municipalities and parishes. The entire interior of the country is made up of low-density municipalities that can represent good investment opportunities.

How much do I need to invest in a low-density area?

At least €280.000 investment in the rehabilitation of real estate in a low-density area is needed to obtain Portugal’s Golden Visa.

Can I get residency if I invest in real estate in a low-density area?

Yes, if you invest in a low-density area of Portugal and obtain the Portuguese Golden Visa this gives you access to live and work in the country as a resident with all the advantages that are associated with that position.

You can discover more in this exclusive chapter of our new e-book Your Expert Guide to Buying Property in Portugal that you can download for free right now.
Download here
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