Monchique Village

Monchique: The Prettiest Mountain Village In The Algarve

Monchique lies nestled in between two tall hills, Foia with a height of 902 meters above sea level and Picota with a height of 774 meters above sea level. The 10,000 inhabitants of this town have managed to stay as close to their roots as possible despite growing tourism.

Here the atmosphere is still rustic, and cobble stoned streets and tiny doorways are pretty much part of the townscape. The 17th century, dilapidated Franciscan monastery – Nossa Senhora de Desterro (Our Lady of Exile) – overlooks Monchique Portugal region and gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy panoramic sights over its immensely lush Algarve countryside.

A dense and wooded mountain range – Serra de Monchique – separates the Algarve and the Alentejo, two of Portugal’s regions. The journey to and from Monchique Portugal region is a source of spectacular vistas and completely different from the most visited Algarve known for its coastline.

As with most areas in the region, the houses in this mountain village are whitewashed and have color bands around their windows as well as door, though the chimneys or ‘saia’ are different from the houses found on the coast.

The main square is an attractive part of the town with paved areas filled with trees, water features like a water wheel from Moorish times, and benches to sit and relax. In Monchique Portugal area, it’s all about winding down, relaxing, and just moving around with a relaxed pace in order to appreciate the natural beauty and spectacular views that surround visitors. Helping one get in the ‘spirit’ of things is the locally made strong brew – ‘Medronho’ – an extract from arbutus/strawberry tree. Cakes and desserts made from the local honey can be tried at several cafes and pastry outlets in the town.

Monchique Algarve’s economy is heavily dependent on two trades – handicrafts and tourism. Scissor Chairs, made locally, are popular and an ideal gift to take back home. Also locally produced knitwear, cane items, pottery, sculptures and local tiles are sold at reasonable prices. Also, visitors may find that handmade shoes, freshly produced honey or soap are good gift items to pick.

A parish church with “Manueline” doorway that can be reached by walking through the narrow cobblestone lanes is a good place to visit. The ‘Sacred Art Museum’ is another point of interest as are the many serene walking tracks that surround the hill station, while each provides enviable views of the coastline.

Near Santa Teresa’s Chapel at one end of Monchique there are steps leading into a wooded forest clearing. This place has a stream running along and there are stone benches and tables, making it a perfect spot for picnic or a ‘de-stress’ spot.

Mostly known for its natural spring waters sourced from the hulls and bottled at the nearby spa village – Caldas de Monchique – this sleepy mountain town is full of cafes, shops, local handicraft stores, art galleries, etc.

Finally, on a clear day, a visit to the highest hill in the Monchique Algarve region – Foia – will lead to discovering amazing sights of the surroundings, that may range from Cape St. Vincent to Faro and, sometimes, farther away.

Tags: , , ,

Popular Places