Casa Brava

Interview: Joana Jervell
Photos: Alex Reyto

Moved by the desire to embrace a healthier, more balanced and responsible lifestyle, they decided to leave Paris and set up permanently in the Algarve. We are speaking of the couple Julie and Marco, the smiling faces behind Casa Brava, a surprising sustainable project worth getting to know.

For those who don’t know Casa Brava, what can you tell us about the project?

Our project initially emerged from our desire for more control over our lives; over what we eat, drink, wear, breathe, our environmental impact… After seeking our own solutions, we decided to launch our project, which is based on three axes: a range of artisan, natural, ecological and vegan cosmetics; a B&B here on our farm where we promote a slower and more responsible style of tourism far from the crowds on the coast; and an organic vegetable garden in which we grow our own food.

Why did you choose the Algarve?

We fell in love with the Algarve the first time we visited it in 2008, and since then we have always believed we would live here one day. Our dream became a reality as a result of events while living in Paris. These showed us we needed to change our lifestyle, leave the city and find somewhere calmer and with a slower pace of life, in the countryside close to Loulé, which is a lovely region far from the bustle of a major European capital.

What is the main goal of this as an integrated project?

Our goal is to achieve a truly healthy lifestyle, with a clear desire to get back to basics in complete harmony with nature, human beings and animals.

We are looking to differentiate our approach to tourism by adopting measures that have been welcomed by visitors. We created a natural rainwater swimming pool that is filtered by aquatic plants without the need for any chemical products to be added to the water. Our breakfasts are mostly organic, vegan and homemade. We do not need energy-wasting air conditioning and have instead installed sunscreens and lots of shaded areas. We make our range of toiletries available. Because the Algarve has a dry climate, we have no grass (which requires a lot of water) and have instead local vegetation that is naturally adapted to our environment. And we make maximum use of filtered domestic wastewater to irrigate the vegetable garden. These are just some of the steps we have taken.

What is the philosophy behind your 100% vegan range of cosmetics? And what should we know about the ingredients?

We are both vegan, so we do not use animal products.

We have developed a holistic concept that is inspired by ancient traditions, based on the excellence of local products and always respecting our surroundings.

Portugal produces some of the best olive oil in the world, which enables us to produce high-quality products without exploiting animals like donkeys or bees. We employ a cold-press process, an ancient method that allows us to retain all the properties of the biological raw materials we use. We also source most of our raw materials locally.

Our packaging is minimal and made of recycled paper. Our product lines do not use plastics, synthetic or toxic products, colourings or palm oil.

How extensive is your product range? Where can you get it?

We currently have a range of eight natural soaps available in traditional and miniature sizes, with the latter suitable for use in hotels or as wedding or Christening gifts, for example. We also have a range of bathroom and homeware accessories, including wooden and homemade stone soap dishes, candles, organic cotton tote bags, etc.

These can be purchased from our online store ( and our network of partner shops throughout the country.

The focus on the relationship between people and nature, healthy lifestyles and sustainability are just some of your concerns. To what extent does this project seek to appeal to this awareness?

Yes, and this should be a concern for us all. It only seems logical to say we need nature to nurture us, but what we have done to our planet up till now has not been very reassuring… Nobody is perfect, but if each of us makes a small change we can minimise our environmental impact.

We cannot leave it up to our children to solve the environmental problem. What kind of future do we want to give them? This is the most important question, one we were asking long before the birth of our child in 2019. As Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

We welcome visitors from all over the world to our house and our shop, which enables us to share information and experiences every day, helping us evolve together in order to achieve greater environmental awareness. We stay in touch with many of our visitors, who tell us about some of the changes they made to their lives, whether it be the creation of mini allotments in the cities, taking up some basic ecological practices or adopting a healthier diet… It is all incredible and makes us very proud!

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