Sao Bras de Alportel, Faro, Portugal
- Superbly Simple
- A property that meets our exacting standards, with everything you need, nothing you don’t, and above all thoughtfully designed.
- A standalone house with a pool
- At land’s end, on the water’s edge
A milky vertical canvas filled sparingly with soft modern art and effortless contemporary furnishings, this 1930s-era trading house stands is the fourth in a series by Portuguese architects Atelier Rua.
A milky vertical canvas filled sparingly with soft modern art and effortless contemporary furnishings, this former trading house stands in the shadow of a 16th-century cathedral, the primary draw to this quiet Algarve town graciously untouched by tourism. The fourth property in The Addresses collection by Atelier Rua, the architectural collective passionate about adapting buildings with stories into history-infused modern getaways, this former merchant’s quarters, circa 1937, provides a vivid example of the firm’s expertise at gentle remodeling.
In classic Algarve style, the home wends across several levels, each newly whitewashed outside, and soothingly matte and vaulted inside. Furnishings curve organically within the unadorned ecru volumes, and the home exudes an understated elegance that invites slowing down. A central patio hides a plunge pool and a deeply pillowed, striped sun bed, plus an intimate roof deck peers over the village’s russet rooftops, a vivid church belfry and several sentinel chimneys.
The award-winning minimalist architects of Atelier Rua know a thing or two about taking heritage properties to the next level, creating spaces that maintain an intensely personal ambiance, touched by nostalgia and combined with careful curation and luxuries more typically found in boutique hotels. Their series of homes now includes Casa Um, Casa Dois, Casa Três and Casa Quatro, each home recounting its own tale of a bygone era interpreted through a modern lens—places where materials, locations and local flavor give the properties their new raisons d’être.
A little-known village in southern Portugal’s busy Algarve region, Sāo Brás de Alportel offers a serene escape to simpler times. The town’s main draw is its 16th-century cathedral, and Casa Quatro is one of the village’s oldest buildings, set in the church’s shadow. A member of Portugal’s network of CittaSlow, the Slow Living Organization’s initiative of towns “where the living is good,” the vivid white, red-tile-roofed town spreads out in a valley at the base of the Serra do Caldeirāo. Born of the cork trade, the village is a stop on the region’s Cork Route, a circuit through the groves of undulating cork oak trees where you can discover the tree’s unique characteristics. An ethnographic museum in town exhibits local clothes and traditional costumes of the Algarve, and walkers, cyclists and more serious hikers will find a marked 20-kilometer mountain biking track, a valley walking route, and access to the empty forested hills that make up the Serra do Caldeirāo. This is a rural local area with similarly modest neighboring hamlets nearby, including Malhão, Vale da Corte, Soalheira, and Sāo Romāo, a handful of family-operated cafes and restaurants serving typical Portuguese country fare, and a classic picnic area along the Fonte Férrea spring.
Sāo Brás de Alportel, Faro, Algarve, Portugal. Nearest airport: Faro (25 minutes)
BEST TIME TO VISIT: April to October
Here’s what you can expect during your stay:
- Fully equipped