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São Brás de Alportel

The town of Sao Bras de Alportel is quiet and peaceful and lies just over 20 km north of Faro. It was once an affluent town in the days when it was the busy cork producing capital of Portugal. That was many years ago now. Today life is more tranquil, but you can still see around you the trappings of wealth in some of the larger houses, with intricate stonework and decorated in tiles.

Things to do in São Brás de Alportel Let’s be honest, there’s not a huge amount to do here. It is certainly not the place to stay if you have children who demand constant activities to keep them amused. It is more suited to those of you who want to get away from it all and disappear back in time, in a traditional Algarve village. If you like walking, eating good food and want a bit of history, then you’ll like the place. If you want more from your holiday, as long as you have a car, then rest of the Algarve is waiting for you.

Many people come to this part of the Algarve for walking tours and holidays. Basing yourself in São Brás, you are ideally positioned for walking in the Barrocal region. This region consists of the plains, which lie between the Atlantic Ocean and the hills to the north. It is a barren region mainly populated by traditional farmers living in their small, isolated hamlets.

In the town, there are a few sites of historical value worth visiting. The first is the Church at Sao Bras de Alportel. Dating back to the 15th Century, it was destroyed in the earthquake of 1755, after which it was rebuilt. Not the most exciting church in the world, but the Chapel of Senhor dos Passos is worth visiting to see its carvings, paintings and statues. If churches aren’t your thing, you can at least enjoy the great views here, of the surrounding countryside to the north and the sea to the south.

Then there’s the Episcopal Palace, the former summer residence of bishops and built in the 17th Century. For a taste of more recent history, then visit the António Bentes Cultural Centre which houses the Algarvean Costume Ethnographic Museum. Guided tours are available if you want to get the most out of it.

The museum has typical 19th/20th Century Algarvean costumes. There is also an exhibition of farm implements and a number of old vehicles, from wagons to carriages. It is open weekdays, although closed for lunch and only open afternoons at the weekend. Rua Dr Jose Dias Sancho 61 8150 Sao Bras de Alportel If you’re here at the right time of year there are a couple of Festivals to be enjoyed.

The first is at Easter, where people come from all over and there is an Easter Day parade.

The second is the Festival of the Mountains (Feira da Serra), which takes place each year at the end of July, with food and drink, music, dancing and displays of local crafts and horsemanship.

There are a couple of markets to visit; the Gipsy Market on the 3rd Sunday of the month and a weekly market each Saturday. Restaurants in Sao Bras de Alportel If you like food, then São Brás will not disappoint. It has a large number of restaurants in a relatively small area.

The food is good and you certainly won’t baulk at the price (particularly if you have had meals at some of the coastal resorts). While fish and seafood are readily available, being in the country, you’ll find more meat on the menu, particularly chicken and kid.

The area is well known its almonds, so you’ll find specialities such as almond cakes and almond sweets.

There are a small number of Pousadas in the Algarve. One of them is here; the Sao Bras Pousada, with 33 rooms, a swimming pool and a tennis court. This was the first one to be built in the Algarve, although it looks relatively modern, so not as pretty as some.

There is a restaurant here which is quite good, but there are so many more in the surrounding area, you’re spoilt for choice. It is actually about 2km from the town, so you’ll really need a car. For more information about this hotel please click the Sao Bras Pousada link. Useful Information Distance from Faro: 22 km Tourist Information Office R. Dr. Evaristo Sousa Gago, 1 8150 São Brás Contact Tel: 289 842 211 The above information was provided by