Monchique is a small town located in the
mountain range of Serra de Monchique in the northern Algarve region of Portugal.
The views from Monchique are breathtaking,
with houses tumbling down the hills, surrounded by vibrant green fields. The town is known for
having the best “medronho”, a local spirit made from the fruit of the arbutus
tree that grows in the region.
Monchique was once a large textile producer, nowadays, it’s tourism and crafts that help grow the local economy. There are craft shops dotted around the centre of the town where you can buy handmade items like wicker baskets, wooden spoons and the traditional scissor chairs, which some say were invented by the Romans.
Besides the shops, it’s worth visiting the
church of Monchique which dates back to the 16th century and the Miradouro de
São Sebastião, a small viewpoint overlooking the town.
The weather in Monchique is much cooler than the coastal towns of the Algarve, especially if you’re up in the mountains.
Set at 902 metres above sea level, Fóia is the
highest peak in the Serra de Monchique mountain range and in the whole Algarve. From here, you can
capture the views from Monchique all to way to Cabo São Vicente on the west coast and
Faro in the east. You can also stop at the Picota viewpoint which
is 774 metres high and offers incredible views of the southern coastline.
The mountains of Monchique provide the perfect setting for activities such as hiking, mountain biking and bird watching. You will find an organic spirulina farm and for those looking to relax should visit Caldas de Monchique, a spa town famous for its natural springs with temperatures reaching 32ºC. It has the only thermal spa in the Algarve. The spring waters have medicinal properties and have been used for treatments since ancient times. Monchique water is readily available and available for most supermarkets across the region.
Nearby, there is Parque
da Mina, a theme park set in an old farm where you can learn more about mine
work, visit a medronho distillery and feed the animals. There are many aguardente de medronho distilleries across this area. Agua ardente translates to firewater. The medronho berries are harvested in the autumn.
The gastronomy of Monchique is based on a lot of pork dishes and homemade sausages like “farinheira”. Honey is also an essential ingredient of Monchique’s cuisine and is used in most of the local cakes and desserts. You can usually find these products at Feira da Terra which takes place every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month in the centre of Monchique.
Other popular events in Monchique include the Feira dos Enchidos Tradicionais, a traditional fair held in March dedicated to cured sausages, Feira do Presunto in July which promotes the cured ham from Monchique and a crafts fair on the 1st weekend of September named Artechique.
We have put together a very reasonably priced Monchique wellness vacation which includes accommodation and plenty of activities for 7 nights where you will be staying at the wonderful 5 star Monchique Resort and Spa hotel.
Explore this region by following our Monchique tour.