The first month in an uninhabited house in Portugal

moving into an old house portugal

The first month in an uninhabited house in Portugal was literally hell, even if that house is situated in a 5 star resort in Portugal.

I must say from the very beginning that the house was not only uninhabited for a short period of 1 or 2 years (so not a long time) but also the house was not renovated. And previous of our purchase the house was rented on Booking to tourists, so all these factors contributed to our “hell”.

What also contributed to this situation was our lack of understanding the situation. My lack really, because Flavius seems to know better than me how the world function. I must have forgotten, being so cozy in our perfect dream apartment in Bucharest how it is to start over in a house that is not picture perfect. But not him. Memory of an elephant!

The reality of a house near the ocean

What you don’t see in the movies and you don’t seem to grasp until you feel it on your own skin, even if you read about it, is the humidity.

Everything is damp. From the curtains to the clothes in the armoire, to the sheets. Oh, the sheets! Cold, damp and smelling like mold. What a joy!

The only thing you can do is to have patience, heat the house daily until the problem slowly disappears, throw away any materials, furniture that can’t be saved and from which you cannot remove the mold scent and hope for the best!

We did buy a new couch, and for this story we have a video here about buying furniture in the Algarve. But we didn’t change the mattresses also. Big, big mistake! Because how you sleep is important and it really impacts your whole experience. So the next on our list is buying new mattresses for the beds, even if we will have to change it all over again when we will renovate the house. If I did that for the beginning, bring myself to invest in that, that first month in hell that I was talking about at the beginning… well it would still be a month in hell, but a smaller hell. 🙂

In the meantime spend your days outside and let the house work. In the “cold days” of winter in Algarve, it’s really cold only inside. The majority of people I talked to said that the best thing to do is live outside during the winter.

What we did

We started to feel a change in the air after about one month of daily living in the house, heating and cleaning and removing old stuff. But even now, after 5 or 6 months of continuous living it’s still not comfortable. A full renovation it’s in order and it’s really the best course of action if you have the budget. Which we don’t, for the moment.

Also, we rented the apartment for the summer, and this also helped a lot. If you have a house that you don’t permanently use, the best way to preserve it is to make sure it’s inhabited. Yes, you will say that tourists break stuff and you don’t feel comfortable that strangers stay in your place. I know, I feel the same. But an uninhabited house, especially an uninhabited house in Portugal and near the ocean, it’s worst than having strangers in your house. At least this is my take on this issue. Of course, after we will renovate it we will not rent it anymore but then we are planning to live more in Portugal so it will be empty for only a short few months.

So this was our experience with the first month in an uninhabited house in Portugal. I can’t wait to hear about your experience and maybe what you did to be more comfortable in your first few months.



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  1. Hi, A L

    Great article. Moisture & mold issues combined within the home can be very dangerous for the respiratory system. Definitely requires careful thought before jumping into a financial housing commitment. I l o v e the sea & ocean ) from a measurable distance but had not considered Winter conditions and the trade offs.
    A fireplace (wood, gas or electric ) may deem worthy an investment ? Here’s to keeping your home dry and comfortable🍷🇵🇹


    1. Hi! A fireplace maybe it would help with the dampness in the room you put the fireplace. Also it looks very nice. 🙂
      But I don’t think it’s good for the actual heating, I don’t know really because I never had one in any of my houses.
      Thank you and let’s drink for dry and comfortable places in Portugal! 🙂

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