Monchique is a unique area of the Algarve, located inland and referring to the towns, villages and countryside of the largest mountain of the Algarve.
You can see the Monchique mountain from most of the central and western Algarve, as it dominates the skyline towards the north, and to get to the base of the mountain is only a short drive from Portimão where it is well signposted both from the A22 and from the EN125.
The road that winds up the hill is small and narrow but this is not a route that you want to be taking at speed anyway, as the views as you travel are stunning and worth taking the time to admire.
There are lots of things to do in Monchique with a few “must sees” for anyone keen to get a real feel for the area.
Monchique is a fantastic place to be able to try out some outdoor pursuits in this stunning area. If you are feeling energetic then there are walking experiences, downhill cycling adventures or the chance to head off road on your mountain bike to explore the forest. If you would rather take things at a slower pace, then a Segway tour of the area is ideal or alternatively a jeep safari tour from the mountains to the coast will allow you to explore lots of the mountain without having to work up a sweat.
One location that you need to include on your Monchique itinerary is a trip to the very top and to the peak of Foia, the highest point on the mountain and in the Algarve and the best place for amazing panoramic views of the entire region below.
From Foia you can see all the way down to the Atlantic and can pick out various destinations including the Autodromo do Algarve motor park which sits near to the base of the mountain and is home to one of the latest and most challenging race tracks in the Algarve.
From Foia you can take in the sights, enjoy a coffee, pick up some souvenirs and then join an organised bike tour down to the bottom.
The main town of Monchique itself is also a highlight on the mountain and is home to quaint cobbled streets, a local market and various festivals and fairs throughout the year. Here you can also view some beautiful pieces of artwork in local galleries including the Galeria de St. António and the Núcleo de Ate Sacra de Monchique.
No trip to Monchique would be complete without trying some of the local delicacies including the special sausages that are made here, the local honey or the “medronho” fire water, made from a berry similar to the strawberry and sure to see your eyes watering a little!
Further down the mountain there is the historic spa village of Caldas de Monchique. This town has been popular with people coming to take the waters since Roman times and used to be a favourite of the Portuguese royal family. Now anyone can book in for a treatment in the modern thermal spa which uses the famous Monchique waters to create specialist treatments including water massages and jet showers.
This village is also a beautiful place to explore, with some unique architecture and features and while you are here, remember to bring an empty water bottle to take home some of the water for yourself.
There are lots of things to do in Monchique and if you want to explore the forests and paths of the hills, why not take part in a guided tour of the area to be able to really experience Monchique and all it has to offer.