São Bras de Alportel was once the heart of Portugal’s cork industry and as such is snuggled in an area dotted with cork and pine trees. Although the industry has now relocated, the town’s former wealth is still noticeable in the architecture of its residential and commercial buildings. Alongside the main town square with shops and restaurants, there are numerous shops, bars and restaurants scattered throughout the town. From the 17th century, São Brás became the summer residence of the bishops of the Algarve due to its mild climate. The episcopal palace, built in the 17th and 18th centuries to protect against the heat of summer, was changed constantly in the following centuries. Today, only part of the main building and the Baroque fountain are preserved.
In the Serra de Caldeirão, north of Alportel, there are large natural forests – some owned by the municipality, where cork oaks grow up without human intervention. The cork bark harvested here is considered to be the best in the world and the product of agricultural cork plantations far superior. Therefore, the cork is preferably used for the production of bottle corks for quality wines and champagne.
Property around São Bras de Alportel is a mix of traditionally humble Algarvian Quintas, grander, former merchant houses and some contemporary additions in the outskirts of town. Real estate comes not only in many diverse styles but also in various price ranges with São Bras apartments and Quintas within the cheaper price brackets. Townhouses and villas in São Bras for sale are generally larger and many feature pools so prices are a little higher. Rather low rental income potential.