This fast growing but pleasant market town is located in the fertile ‘Barrocal’ area of Eastern Algarve, between the coastal plain and the inland hills. The town has a laid back, inviting atmosphere and all the shops and amenities necessary to be a focus for the expatriate community which has settled in the picturesque surrounding countryside. Among a varied handful of restaurants is the ever-popular ‘chicken piri-piri’ eatery on the eastern road out of town. Also nearby is the São Brás museum, its well presented displays chronicling the town’s former status as the biggest cork producing commercial centre in Portugal. All around, narrow country lanes wind through a gentle landscape of farmsteads, traditional homes and renovated country villas.
Several rural towns and villages in this area have become a focus for expatriate communities. Santa Barbara de Nexe is the longest established, a charming village on a ridge of verdant hills affording spectacular views over the coastal plain to the ocean. For over 30 years this has attracted foreign property buyers, and nowadays many comfortable country villas nestle on its wooded hillsides.
Also in the Barrocal area is Estoi, a small tradtional town but full of surprises. The once derelict Estoi palace and gardens has been completely renovated and is now a magnificent ‘Pousada’ hotel. Just a few minutes away, the ruins at Milreu offer the best preserved Roman site in the Algarve.
To the east of São Brás is Moncarapacho, an agricultural town with still thriving activities and traditions, and yet again a popular hub for a burgeoning community of foreign property owners.
Despite its unspoiled traditional ambience, the region around São Brás de Alportel is well located for all manner of amenities and attractions. Within thirty minutes one can reach Faro, for modern shopping centres and entertainment; Olhão and Fuzetta, for shuttle boats to the pristine beaches of the Ria Formosa islands and Tavira for its historic charms.