Terrific views over Monchique Mountin. 

Places to visit in the Algarve, Portugal

 Monchique 

Monchique, Algarve from Algarve Retreats LtdLocated approximately 25kms north of Portimao, Monchique is the main town of the Serra da Monchique mountain range. Still a small market town nestling high in the hills, Monchique offers visitors a different perspective on the Algarve from the busier coastal areas.

Main square in Monchique, Algarve from ALgarve Retreats LtdMonchique is famous for the natural spring water which flows from the hills and through the town where it is bottled at nearby Caldas de Monchique and sold throughout the Algarve.  The springs also feed the water fountains that are a feature of the main square - Largo dos Choroes - in the town. Cafes, shops and art galleries surround the square, selling local crafts and produce including the local spirit Medronho made by distilling the fermented fruits of the strawberry tree. Monchique, Algarve from Algarve retreats LtdFree tastings are often available but beware as this can be very strong.  The main square is also the perfect place to relax with a drink or a meal and watch the world go by.

A walk through the narrow cobbled streets will take you to the parish church decorated with ornate 16th century carvings and a remarkable Manueline doorway.  One of the side chapels fMonchique, Algarve from Algarve Retreats Ltdeatures a facade of Azulejos depicting St Michael.  A steep walk out of the town are the 1632 ruins of a Franciscan convent, Nossa Senhora do Desterro. This roofless building has terrific views over Monchique and the surrounding woodland.

The steep road to Foia, 8kms from Monchique, is well known for it's restaurants serving chicken Piri-Piri, with Foia itself being the highest peak in the Serra range at 900m.  The panoramic views from the summit take in much of the Algarve including Lagos and Portimao.  It is well worth taking a drive out of Monchique further into the woodland of the mountain range and stopping at one of the many viewing points where the views look out over the terraced hillsides of the Serra range. Cork oaks, Eucalyptus and pines cover the hills and many varieties of flora can be found here.