Hidden in the undulating landscape of the Barrocal, removed from the madding crowds of some of Portugal’s most popular beach towns, a community of hoteliers are pursuing a quiet shift in the traditional perspective of the Algarve, swapping sand and sea for slowness and simplicity. Leaders of the movement are Marco and Julie Pinto, who were both born to Portuguese parents, and moved here from Paris five years ago to renovate a crumbling old farm. Now also consultants in sustainability and olive-oil-soap producers, they rebuilt it as Casa Brava, an eco B&B with an organic vegetable garden flanked by unbroken thyme fields.
Three former animal stone barns were reimagined as restful rustic retreats filled with repurposed objects sourced from the region’s vintage markets. Sun-speckled terraces – perfect for vegan breakfasts in the morning or a glass of organic wine in the evening – face the biological pool filtered by plants and river stones and trimmed with humming lavender. Nearby is the lively town of Loulé where locals congregate on Saturday for the weekly ritual of gossip, almond tarts and shots of medronho brandy at dive bar O Postigo. The slow life here is alive and well, passed into the hands of new custodians who repurpose ancient rituals in a conscious effort to create an alternative and altogether more sustainable future for the Algarve.