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Discover the rural and unknown Algarve, a (very) good reason to turn your back on the ocean

What if we left for this touristic Portugal without ever setting foot on the beach? Let’s leave the coast and go deeper into the hills. This is an invitation to gain height and cross roads!

Farmhouse of the Palms, a century-old hamlet

First stage of a green route. A second itinerary which consists in resolutely turning your back on the ocean and watching the tightened. And that’s exactly what you’re going to do when you arrive in Faro. You will head due north and climb in a straight line for about fifteen kilometers, to sink into a green and hilly hinterland. There, on the hillside, Farmhouse of the Palms awaits you. An old agricultural property with the appearance of a hamlet. In the past, vines were cultivated there. We will sleep in the old mansion or one of its outbuildings. Here three centuries contemplate us.

For the time being, it is Frank and Véronique who watch over their guests and the history of the place. Before taking up residence here, they visited no fewer than 150 homes. These former Flemish bankers in search of another life arrived on a cold, foggy and rainy day in February – for once in the Algarve – ready to reconsider their dream. Yet despite the grayness and the hundred disappointments, they immediately visualized the whitewashed walls dazzling under the sun, the floor made of handmade terracotta tiles under their feet, the rustle of water in the fountain on the square and their son growing in the open air. They got down to body and soul restoration. A work of patience and passion. But also of respect and requirement. Respect for know-how, for tradition. Almost devotion when you hear Frank talking about his tiles and the constant care he brings to them. Besides, we only dream of one thing: spending our lives on the rooftops and practicing the art of siestas on the terrace at the top of suite 4. Here, an open-air four-poster bed decorated with Andalusian palm blinds braided sets the scene for a South crushed by heat or soft starry nights. From this observation post and from all the common terraces, a sea of ​​hills unfolds, a natural border which, according to Frank, delimits the tourist Algarve from the authentic Algarve. Staying at Farmhouse of the Palms is therefore an immersion in the rural Algarve, the orchard of Portugal. “A region where people continue to work the land like their parents and grandparentsexplains this Nordic couple.

São Brás de Alportel, sleepy town

My hosts at Farmhouse of the Palms had warned: there are no restaurants here. trendy round. And that’s good ! This Algarve against the current is decidedly very pleasant. On the other hand, there are a plethora of villages on the fringes of the tourist hustle and bustle! This is the case of São Brás de Alportel warmly recommended and called ” our little town ”, because a few km from Farmhouse of the Palms. São Brás de Alportel has the quaint charm of a sleepy town. Under its discreet airs it conceals several nuggets. First this costume museum totally unexpected! A delightful 19th century residence, slightly faded and which traces the local history of clothing through its living quarters. A stroll through time.

In the outbuildings, craftsmen are installed, in particular the incredible workshop of Palmas Douradas. Who would have thought to discover in this Algarve on the fringes of the world, a craftsman of this talent? Maria João Gomes takes palm weaving to the level of artistic craftsmanship. Moreover, the Parisian fashion world is not mistaken and regularly courts her when her creations are not present in the parades of fashion week in Lisbon. His lair is full of baskets, hats and decorative pieces. After having lived in France and Spain, Maria João quite naturally returned to her roots, to the weaving that her grandmother taught her here, in the summer. Today she repeats her gestures.

The Roman Way, journey and time travel

Past the church of São Brás de Alportel, a small gently sloping alley turns into a chaotic path paved with large stones. Adobe Stock

Then we will get ready to enter another dimension by taking the Roman Way! And it will probably be the most emotional journey. A journey that summons History. Past the church of São Brás de Alportel, a small gently sloping alley turns into a chaotic path paved with large stones. In a few steps we go from today to Antiquity. Everything is there to suggest immemorial times and the Mediterranean basin. Stone walls line the way. Age-old trees with tormented trunks are embedded in the walls. These are carob trees, these emblematic botanical figures of the local culture. The cartography of an ancient world which persists in our so-called modern world then takes shape at each step. The path continues to descend, passes under the main road, runs through the fields and descends towards the sea. It seems to never end and leads to Eternity. We think of the Italian travel writer Paolo Rumiz on the Via Appia, and we think that like him, we would continue like this at the pace of walking for miles to see where it all takes us.

Vila Monte and other trails

VILA MONTE The entrance to the rooms under the white arcades in the shade of the orange trees of the Vila Monte. Sabine Bouvet / Le Figaro

This leads us to the Vila Monte Farm House, our next stop on the Moncarapacho side! Another stretch of the Roman Way runs along this country resort. When you arrive, you are informed that the shortest way to get to the village remains the Roman Way. We don’t have to be told twice! We then cross this former agricultural estate, a vast orchard and lush oasis whose daily crossing to have breakfast or reach the massage pavilion is a source of enchantment. The rooms are nestled under a row of white arches in an orange grove. In the morning we pick up the fruit that fell in front of our door during the night. Pure abundance! For those who wish to escape from the Garden of Eden, the hotel has developed a program of festivities called “experiences”. Hiking in the hills accompanied by a guide is one. The guide in question is capable of making the stones speak, the smallest leaf. Luís Gonçalves points to Cerro da Cabeça, this mountain is the goal of the day. What could have been a simple walk in the maquis becomes a captivating object lesson.

Hike in the serra and immersion in a biodiversity classified Natura 2000 Network. Sabine Bouvet / Le Figaro

Luís Gonçalves says that ” where you put your feet, there was coral. We are treading on archives say the paleontologists! Here is engraved the history of the planet. All that we see was therefore under the sea. Today the sea is beyond the rolling pines, carob trees, cork oaks and olive trees. We can see the whole coast at 10 km, because we gained height by climbing in this tightened classified Natura 2000 Network (the European network for the protection of sites with natural heritage value), an example of hinterland biodiversity. In full ascent, a ruin arises like a vast reservoir. ” This is where the Romans got their lime because the rock is limestone. This home was still in operation in the 1960s. The Romans also set up a large ceramics production center in the village. Even today Moncarapacho is known for this know-how. And it is no coincidence that the region is called Barrocal, barro means clay and callus for limestone.

Quinta da Lua, green room

Quinta da Lua, pavilion for reading and resting under the antlers. Sabine Bouvet / Le Figaro

Next stage of our migration from West to East parallel to the coast but still set back: Quinta da Lua or the Domaine de la Lune. Twenty years ago Miguel migrated from the north of Portugal to the gentle hinterland of Tavira, not far from the Andalusian border. Attracted by this fertile land, by the moonlit nights that smell of orange blossom, he created well before his time one of the most charming guest houses in Portugal. Today his garden is undoubtedly his greatest pride, in any case the object of all his attention. Orange trees, olive trees, almond trees, fig trees, carob trees, bougainvillea welcome the visitor, like an antechamber of greenery before reaching the immaculate building. Breakfast is served under a jasmine pergola with a sprig of lavender on the table and fruit from the garden on the plate. Pavilions for reading, rest or reverie are installed under the antlers. To frequent Quinta da Lua is to go green, to breathe the Mediterranean vegetation and the sea air just some 6 kilometers away. But also to taste Miguel’s art of living like a life lesson given to the rhythm of the seasons. Quinta da Lua is the kingdom of a Portuguese man in love with a green Algarve whose benefits he continues to cultivate.


Practical notebook

At Quinta da Lua, immersion in a room of greenery. Ana Carvalho

Prepare your trip with the tourist offices of Portugal and the Algarve:

visitportugal.com

visitalgarve.pt

OR SLEEP ?

Farmhouse of the Palms

farmhouseofthepalms.pt, Cerro do Botelho (CxP 508), 8150-027 São Brás de Alportel, Portugal. Such. : +351 964 478 157. From €150 per night.

Vila Monte Farm House

Vila Monte Farm House, Sitio dos, 8700-069 Moncarapacho, Portugal. Such. : +351 289 790 790. From €147 per night. A Design Hotels establishment.

Quinta da Lua

Quinta da Lua, Bernardinheiro 1622-X, 8800-513 Tavira, Portugal. Such. : +351 964 696 417. From €189 per night.

TO VISIT

Museu do TrajeCostume Museum.

R. Dr. José Dias San 61, São Brás de Alportel. museu-sbras.com

SHOPPING

Palmas Douradas

The art of the braided palm, between tradition and high creativity. Museu do Traje, R. Dr. José Dias San 61, São Brás de Alportel. Such. : + 351 914 843 784.

GOOD DINING

In Tavira, Aquasul, a charming Dutch restaurant that has become a must. Aquasul

In Sao Bras de Alportel

Casa da Barreira Claudia, Ana and Rafael have taken over their grandmother’s obsolete coffee shop, which was abandoned for a while and serve a simple and tasty menu of the day.

Largo do Mercado 8 8150, Sao Bras de Alportel, Portugal. Such. : + 351 289 032 383.

In Tavira

Aquasul

In a picturesque alley, the charming restaurant of a Dutch woman who has become a must for its market cuisine and its concentrate ofalegria.

Rua Dr. Augusto da Silva Carvalho 12. Tel. : + 351 281 325 166.

To Mesa

A stride from the Roman bridge, in the central square, the chef João Dias serves a refined version of the Portuguese classics (açorda of cod, revisited poor man’s dish) petiscos style, small dishes to share. Praça Dr. António Padinha nº 21. Tel. : + 351 965 634 247

HIKING WITH

PerNatur and its creator, the guide Luís Gonçalves for a vibrant discovery of the natural heritage. Such. : +351 967 812 999.pernatur.com

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