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Located in the hills north of Faro, Sao Bras offers a taste of typical Portuguese country living, attracting visitors with its beautiful landscapes and laid-back lifestyle. A traditional market town, Sao Bras is also famous for producing corks used in some of the finest wines of the world as well as its delicious almond confectionary.
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With such a large coastline it’s no surprise the Algarve is a great place for all kinds of fish and seafood, with restaurants commonly serving fresh sardines, bream, cod, monkfish and tuna. Another famous dish of the Algarve is chicken piri-piri great for a relaxed atmosphere! Most dishes will be served with served with boiled potatoes and vegetables or salad.
Sao Bras is typically Portugese and offers a few quiet bars and restaurants for you to enjoy. Those seeking a more lively evening are not far from Faro
Rio Formosa Nature Reserve
The 170 square kilometres of saltwater lagoons, islands and marshes of the Ria Formosa estuary is a breathtakingly beautiful area, teeming with migrating birds, dozens of species of fish and unique flora and fauna. Less than half an hour’s drive away, the reserve’s easily accessible pathways and boardwalks make this a fabulous place for walking, cycling and birdwatching and there are numerous guided boat trips on offer. You can even hire a kayak and paddle your way around the canals and lagoons. Viewing points and bird hides are strategically placed to make the most of the views and to spot rare birds in their natural habitat. You could spend several days here but be sure to include at least one visit during your stay.
With more churches than hotels, the unspoilt riverside town of Tavira is one of the Algarve’s best kept secrets, exuding authentic Portuguese charm. History abounds in its colourful architectural details, with decorative features from Renaissance to Baroque, Moorish to Gothic. The fishing port is a hive of activity and it’s a wonderful place to wander around at leisure. Pop into the former water tower that’s been turned into a camara obscura, reflecting a fascinating 360° tour of the town on a horizontal screen.
Housed in the former mansion of a 19th century wealthy cork industrialist is a large collection of traditional Portuguese clothing and dolls as well as tools, carts and everyday household objects. The servants’ quarters, stables, barn, workshop and tool storage area are all open to visitors and offer a fascinating insight into the lives of those living and working in the era.
The pretty church of Sao Bras de Alportel has parts dating from the 16th century with later Baroque style sections added in the 18th century. The lovely Chapel of Senhor dos Passos boasts rich carvings, artworks and statues and the main chapel houses a unique baptismal font and beautiful paintings depicting the Holy Trinity. There are also fantastic views of the countryside and out to sea from here.
As cork production has gradually moved to the centre and north of Portugal, towns like Sao Bras have had to develop new businesses, mainly connected to tourism. The photographic prints on display at the gallery here are simply stunning, many of sights and panoramas you’ll have seen during your stay but with a colourful twist for added drama.
You’re bound to regard the humble cork with far greater admiration after a visit to a working cork factory, located on an industrial estate just south east of Sao Bras. With a highly knowledgeable guide to talk you through the growing and production process as well as demonstrating how cork can be used in many different end products besides wine bottles, this is an increasingly popular excursion and well worth including during your stay in the area.
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