Monchique is a small village located in the south at 455 meters above sea level in the Algarve hills and is also known as the “Sintra of the Algarve” or the “Garden of the Algarve”. If you want to visit Monchique, a good place to start is by walking through the narrow streets of the village, taking in the white-washed homes with their typical Algarvian chimneys, while stopping in handicraft shops to discover the best that this region has to offer.
The town has a rich history dating back to the Roman era. The Romans were attracted to the area because of its natural hot springs. The Moors also occupied the area for several centuries and left their mark on the town’s architecture and culture. In the 16th century, the town was destroyed by the earthquake but was later rebuilt. Today, Monchique is known for its natural beauty, hot springs, and traditional handicrafts.
Ready to romance
The climate in Monchique is generally warm and temperate, but it is sometimes possible to see fog (something that is unusual in the rest of the Algarve). However, if you are lucky enough to visit Monchique when the weather is fine, you can enjoy the stunning views.
Monchique, with its charm, is a great place to visit with the family but also to have a romantic date while looking at the landscape that includes excellent sea views. With all it has to offer, Monchique could easily be the next Algarve hotspot. There is no other place where you can relax like this and only half an hour's drive from the beach.
Events going on
In this regard, there are some events to keep an eye out for. To increase the number of visitors, the council has promoted a new event called "Vamos à Vila" which will take place between 27 and 28 May in the town of Monchique. "Vamos à Vila" means "Let's go to the village" and aims to increase the popularity of the village in the neighbourhood.
The aim is to highlight the authenticity associated with local products and let it speak for itself and draw attention to rural life, focusing on local identity and community traditions. "The idea is that people visit the county for its essence and local feel, getting to know a genuine and differentiating area, which is Monchique," says the municipality about the upcoming event.
Apart from this cultural event, you may be wondering what to do in this village. Firstly, the village is just one of the attractions Monchique has to offer.
The main one I would recommend is the top of the mountain, which is called Foia. This is the highest point in the Algarve, from where you can see, on clear days, a large part of the Algarve and the Atlantic Ocean. It is accessible by road from the village of Monchique and is 902 metres above sea level.
Caldas de Monchique
Caldas de Monchique is a spa town in the Algarve region of Portugal. It is known for its natural thermal springs and its picturesque surroundings. In addition to strolling around the little village, there is something you cannot miss: the thermal springs.
I had been meaning to visit the spa for a long time, but only recently decided to give it a go. The spa is situated inside a hotel. Hotel guests have special rates, but everyone can use them as well. If you are not staying, they charge 15 euros per person to use the thermal pools, the sauna and the Turkish bath.
My experience was very pleasant. It is a good opportunity to relax and enjoy the healing properties of the mineral water. If you wish, they also offer massages and other wellness treatments.
Parque da Mina
Parque da Mina is a historical and cultural park that showcases the traditional life of the region, where you can learn while also having some fun with your family or friends.
One of the main attractions is a century-old house that is furnished with antique objects and shows how a wealthy family lived in the 18th century. They also have a farm with different animals and space of illusion with a mirror maze. In addition, it is possible to take a walk on the nature trail that leads to a viewpoint and a suspended bridge.
While you can always opt for a nice picnic, there are also plenty of restaurant options to choose from on a trip to Monchique. In this respect, the type of food you will find is a little different from what we are used to seeing in other parts of the Algarve.
Unlike traditional seaside destinations, in Monchique you don't see any fish dishes, but meat. Sausages such as chorizo, “farinheira”, “assadura à Monchique”, and wild boar become more common as you climb the mountainside.
However, if you're not too keen to try these traditional dishes, chicken piri piri is also on several menus in Monchique's restaurants. And what about vegetarians? Well, at first glance, Monchique may not be suitable for those on this diet, but there are also some options in some restaurants - just do a little more research.
All in all, it is a place worth visiting when looking for a different day out in the Algarve.
Paula Martins is a fully qualified journalist, who finds writing a means of self-expression. She studied Journalism and Communication at University of Coimbra and recently Law in the Algarve. Press card: 8252