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Sao Bras de Alportel

Our B&B Algarve is situated near São Brás de Alportel. São Brás de Alportel is a popular place because of its central location in the heart of the Algarve and of its beautiful rural setting at the foot of the hills (the Serra de Caldeirão). Within 25 minutes driving distance there are several beaches and towns like Faro (airport!), Loulé and Tavira. Spain and Sevilla are in good reach for a one day trip.

 

History

Sao Bras de Alportel was a settlement in Roman times and later inhabited by the Moors. The famous Moorish poet Ibn Ammar was born here in the 12th century. In the 17th century it was a popular summer residence of the bishops of the Algarve. Not so strange because here they could escape the heat of the city during the hot summer months. From this time the Episcopal Palace remains, but it is no longer in use. It is well worth a visit.

In the 19th century the city was the intersection of routes between Loulé and Faro to Tavira and Almodover. Partly because of the climate and convenient location, the city was  a hangout for artists and other creative people in the 70s of the 20th century. This is still noticeable in the active cultural life of the local Camara. There is a good main road that takes you to Lisbon or Sevilla in 3 hours.

The original richness of the city Sao Bras is based on the fact that it was the biggest cork -producing center in Portugal and even the world. Over the years , the cork industry has moved to the center and the north of Portugal. Economically, Sao Bras has now shifted its focus to tourism and crafts. It explains why so many artisan-made brooms and brushes of palm leaves are sold here. Many stonemasons who produce fine art such as hand -crafted tiles and bricks have settled here.

Atmosphere

Sao Bras de Alportel is a mix of old and new, with both typical Algarve low white houses and grand merchant  houses from its rich past, now complemented by modern apartments. The church of the town was rebuilt after the earthquake in 1755 and enlarged in the 19th century. The cemetery offers fantastic views of the sea and surrounding countryside. The church is located in the older part of the city with typical narrow, cobbled streets. Houses, shops and cafes are next to each other in all of the town. In the center there are plenty of shops and supermarkets, banks, restaurants and cafes. A delight is relishing the morning sun on the terrace of Cafe da Villa in the central shopping area, while enjoying  a fresh bolo (cake) and a galao (cafe latte).

 

Museum

António Bentes Cultural Center was once the home of a muleteer who made his fortune trading in cork. The museum shows the typical costumes worn in the 19th and 20th centuries in the Algarve. The museum building is a good example of the architecture of that period.

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