"Former centre of the cork industry" São Brás de Alportel by Willettsworld

São Brás de Alportel Travel Guide: 6 reviews and 36 photos

Located about 13km (8 miles) east of Loulé, this small town was a settlement in Roman times and later inhabited by the Moors. It was also a popular retreat for the bishops of the Algarve - somewhere for them to escape from the heat of the city during the hot summer months and during the 17th century an Episcopal palace was built for their use. Originally the wealth of the town was from cork production - it was the biggest cork producing centre in Portugal - and in 1914 it was made a municipality due to the economic importance of the area. Unfortunately, over the years, the cork production industry has moved to the centre and north of Portugal, leaving São Brás more reliant on tourism and crafts. A relic from the cork era that is worthy of a visit is the Museu do Trajo do Algarve which was built by a wealthy cork merchant when the town was undeveloped and populated by little more than half a dozen narrow lanes with modest homes. Not only does the museum focus on the cork industry with many rural exhibits such as traditional carts, tools, a video presentation (in Portuguese) on cork production plus information and photos but it also has an ethnographic area inside the house which exhibits Algarvian costumes, textiles and everyday objects as well as a recreated kitchen.

  • Last visit to São Brás de Alportel: Sep 2010
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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