Monchique – Highlights
Top attractions in Monchique:
• Beautiful nature and mountains
• Health resorts and geothermal springs
• Spectacular views from mountain peak of Fóia
Monchique – General information
Monchique is a municipality in the Algarve with around 7000 inhabitants, and a density of 18 inhabitants per square kilometer. The small town of Monchique is situated on the Monchique mountain and is surrounded by ample vegetation. The town can be reached via small roads, going up the mountain. It is a nice village, with many 18th and 19th century houses. In the past this small village lived from agriculture, the production of charcoal, the manufacture of wooden barrels and the production of medronho, a traditional Portuguese alcoholic liqueur made from the fruits of the Arbutus tree. Nowadays, the region of Monchique is famous for its handycrafts: wooden chairs, wickerwork, cork articles, lacework, etcetera.
Monchique is famous for its beautiful nature, being surrounded by the mountains of Serra de Monchique. The highest point is the mountain peak of Fóia. The town is also famous for its health resorts and geothermal springs, with Caldas de Monchique as the spa capital of the Algarve.
Monchique – What to see
Many people visit the area to take long walks or for mountain biking. You can start by taking a walk through the village. It is a quiet and relaxed place. The central square has a friendly atmosphere with fountains and flowers. You can visit the Parish Church. Admire the beautiful portal in the manueline style (16th century). Here you can see ropes and knots, the typical nautical motives of the time of the discoveries. Inside you can see polychrome decorative tiles. Some are carved woodwork and a statue of Our Lady (18th century). You can walk up to the ruins of the Franciscan monastery, which was built in 1632. From there you can enjoy a beautiful view.
Fóia is the highest point of the Algarve (902 metres). You can reach the the peak of Fóia by foot, by mountainbike or by jeep. On a clear day, walking around the Fóia peak gives you splendid panoramic views. Between Monchique and Fóia you can find some of the most beautiful landscapes of the Algarve. We recommend you lunch at one of the various restaurants that you find along the road.
Caldas de Monchique
The Caldas de Monchique is a famous spa and is situated near the village. It is one of the most beautiful points of the region and it is absolutely the best water of the Algarve. In the past, the Romans discovered the healing properties of this mountain spring water. The warm spa water has a temperature of around 31 degrees Celsius when it streams downwards from the mountain. It is said that the water is very healthy for the human body. The water is used for relaxation, but also for the treatment of rheumatism and some illnesses of the respiratory tract. Here you can relax and admire the beautiful nature. A famous resort is the Villa Termal das Caldas de Monchique Spa resort, where you can also enjoy mineral water pools, peaceful gardens, massages and body treatments.
Nowhere else in the Algarve can you find such a luxuriant vegetation. You can find mimosa trees, pine trees, cork oaks, orange trees, eucalyptus and chestnut trees, as well as many flowers and shrubs, rosemary, heath, oleander, arbutus and rock roses.
There are several local specialties that you should give a try. As an appetizer, try the delicious smoked ham ‘prezunto’ or the famous ‘enchidos’, several types of sausages. Other specialties are ‘frango na púcara’ (chicken in the earthen pan) and the ‘assadura’ (small slices of grilled pork spiced with garlic, lemon juice and olive oil). Some restaurants specialize in piri piri chicken. Also make sure to taste the delicious almond sweets. To finish your meal, drink a ‘medronho’, the typical firewater from the region.
Monchique – Secret tips
The best way to visit the area is by car. Make sure you have a full gas tank, because there are not many gas stations around.
From the village of Monchique you can walk to the two highest mountain peaks of Serra de Monchique. This walking track provides phenomenal views of the nature.
Fóia is one of the coldest areas of the Algarve. When you go to Fóia, make sure you bring some warm clothes with you. It can be quite cold or windy high up the mountain.