Updated: Jul 3, 2021
I'm talking property here, of course. Land. If you wanted to escape the proverbial Rat Race, put on big rubber boots, and create a rural homestead in pursuit of a simpler, quieter, more sustainable life, and you were also on a budget, what could you buy in Central Portugal for $150,000 CDN or less? For reference, that's approximately 102,000 Euros and $122,000 USD as of this writing. The answer, of course, is often "quite a bit." Here are a few highlights I found this morning on idealista and Pure Portugal while browsing around Castelo Branco district. The links to their listings will stop working once these properties are de-listed, but the bit of information about each along with the photos provide a kind of snapshot of what is available. I will likely add more examples to this post as time goes on and as I stumble across really good ones, including from other districts, such as Santarém.
88,600 € - Alcaide, Fundão - about 7 hectares - stone house ruin of 80 m² to rebuild - electricity, and good water (2 wells, cistern, 2 springs, and dam of 5,400 m²). A well-established and tended farm with cherries, apples, pears, figs, olive, and grape vines. Undulating land with terracing and what looks like very extensive and tidy cultivation. At 17 acres, this farm would require a lot of work at a fairly competent level. Assuming you are a jack-of-all-trades with the wide spectrum of skills required to run an operation like this one, I'd say this is a very attractive piece of land. The drawback, and it's a big one, is the lack of a currently livable house. It's either a yurt or a caravan to live in while you renovate the house and learn the local agricultural ropes. I'd recommend you talk to Joseph over at Farmer For Fun, as he and his family are running a successful cherry farm in the same rough area; he's a friendly guy with lots of practical, local information. Oh, and the scenery is gorgeous and definitively Shire-like, a 10/10 on the Hobbit scale.
€69,500 - Covilhã - "Quinta de São Domingos de Baixo" - 6 hectares - 56 m2 stone house to rebuild and enlarge, plus a possible 250 m2 build - terraces with cherry trees, plus fig, olive, oaks, and other fruit/nut trees - natural water sources - pine/mimosa woods - amazing views - Parque Fluvial de Belmonte (a river beach) is close by.
Here is a view of the property from above, outlined in red:
I love the mix of cultivated, scrubby/rocky, and wooded. Those woods are a mix of pine and mimosa, however, both very flammable species, which is a cause for concern. It's tough, because I have a real soft spot for the woods and having a forest on the property really appeals to me. The good news is that this forest is part of a larger localized pocket of forest, just 12 hectares, surrounded on all sides by emptier land that would help as a fire break. The entire lot is on a bit of a slope, meaning all of those open areas should have that spectacular view. It looks like an interesting and varied piece of land that I would very much like to walk around on. Definitely a yurt/caravan set up with a solar array, as the closest power is around 600 m away, a distance I believe you have to pay for if you want power to extend to your border.
Added June 26, 2021
60,000 € - Enxames, Fundão - 47,600 m² plot - 36 m² built - 2 bdrm, 1 bathrm. That's just over 11.5 acres, which is a goodly chunk for this price. The finished multi-room house is small and the interior very dated, but the walls and ceilings look in decent shape (although probably just painted, so hard to say from the pics alone). The roof appears to be in good condition and it looks like the windows are double paned. The small size will probably make it easier to heat in the winter; very much a traditional Portuguese stone farmhouse with thick walls, small windows, and a wood stove for heat. There aren't many photos, but what we see of the land suggests it slopes and is partially cleared and partially wooded. It's definitely interesting and worth consideration as a potential spot to plant a yurt for some extra living space, lay out a solar array, start a no-dig garden, and work online remotely. There are some red flags, though, the biggest being the phrase "in need of works and for own water and electricity," suggesting that the property does not have its own water supply. That's a big problem in this part of the world, particularly in an area that looks fairly forested, or at least bordering on forests; I would want a serious assessment of the property's water and also fire risk. The electricity situation is also a little mysterious, as there are electrical lights on in some of the photos. Lots of potential, though, if the water issue could be handled. There are 3 other structures to rebuild, and outbuildings. There's a bit of a vista, and Fundão is a particularly beautiful and fertile landscape. Definitely worth a walk-around. The photo heading this post is also of this property, btw.
€88,500 - Idanha-a-Nova - 4.77 hectares - water sources - olive trees and many varieties of fruit trees, as well as cork oaks - fully fenced for grazing - pastures - views - boulders - small stone farmhouse to renovate - electricity 200 m away - good mobile coverage. The farmhouse is multi-roomed with good-looking stone walls and a probably iffy roof. Like most traditional stone buildings, this one is very short and would greatly benefit having the walls raised a few feet when you are replacing the roof. See the amazing work of Bee and Theo on their abandoned barn for an in-depth view of this process - The Indie Projects. The fields and pastures look tended, and the trees cared-for. Plenty of interesting boulders, which is always a plus for me. As for location, Idanha-a-Nova is a lovely part of this district with good water features.
Added June 27, 2021
€82,500 - Penamacor - 4.5 hectares - 2 wells - stone ruin to rebuild - orange, apple, oak, pine, eucalyptus - electricity 600 m away - good access - some good views - stone walled. I like the look of this place, but it strikes me that it would require a lot of work for proper fire management. The stone walls are nice, and it sounds like they define the boundary - useful for grazing. Lots of boulders and rocky areas.
Added June 29, 2021