St Catarina do Fonte do Bispo St Catarina do Fonte do Bispo, Eastern Algarve, Portugal

A sleepy village in the foothills...

See our rental accommodation near Santa Catarina

More commonly known simply as 'St. Catarina', it is a one street town which serves as a base for a large area of the hills to the north. All the essentials are there: a bank with an ATM, a small supermarket, a post office, a newsagents that sells English papers, a chemists, a smattering of cafés and few dogs sleeping in the road.

St Catarina is famous for one thing; tiles. The town sits in a valley of red earth which stretches westwards to São Brás de Alportel and eastwards towards Tavira. The red earth is fashioned into roof and floor tiles in a mainly manual process in many small 'factories' along the valley. The tiles are known as 'St.Catarina tiles' whether they are made in the town itself or closer to São Brás or Tavira. They are ubiquitous in houses in the whole area.

St Catarina is an agricultural centre and people bring olives from the surrounding area to be processed in one of the two town presses. The co-operative olive press actually has a one room museum with old machinery in it and an explanation of the process in English.  On the wall outside is a lovely Salazar-era illustration of marching peasants.

The town comes to life on the last Sunday of every month for the market, where you can buy everything from agricultural machinery to underware, handicrafts to live poultry.  And as in every other small town or village, the square is turned over to the traditional 'festas' on weekend evenings during the summer.

Leave the town to explore the hills immediately to the North, and you will find some of the loveliest landscapes eastoffaro, with wooded hills and hidden valleys, seasonal streams, tiny hamlets and lots of silence.

Facility Comment
foreign language newspapers YES
post office YES
cash machine (ATM) YES
Facility Comment
supermarket YES - small one
chemist / pharmacy YES

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