A gastronomic tour
Monchique has several restaurants and cafés. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll be right at home on your Monchique holiday as you dive into local specialities where honey is usually an ingredient. Try Bolo de Tacho made with chocolate and honey or Pudim de Mel, a pudding made with eggs and honey.
If you’ve got a savoury palate, meat features heavily on the menu in the Algarve. Try locally made chouriça (spicy sausage) or morcela (black pudding). Feijoada is a hearty bean, bacon, sausage and pork stew. If you prefer fish, Bacalhau (dried salt cod) is as traditional as you can get. Finish your meal with a shot of Medronho, a fiery liqueur made locally.
Nuns and guns
Holidays in Algarve like to offer something different for the discerning holidaymaker, and Monchique mixes it up with a 17th-century convent and a nearby military communications centre. The ruins of Nossa Senhora de Desterro stand on the hillside above the town. It’s an uphill walk but worth it for the views of the surrounding countryside, and the chance to see the biggest magnolia tree in Europe which stands in the convent gardens.
Then, it’s off to Foia, the highest point in the Algarve. Don’t even think about walking as it’s 902 metres high. You’ll need some layers when you get there, as its chilly and windy. It’s here you ‘ll get the best views across the Algarve but also of the unsightly communications installations that mar the landscape.
You don’t have to go far for a spa
About 15 minutes down the road you’ll come to Caldas de Monchique, where the Romans built baths using the natural spring waters thought to have therapeutic properties. The village was restored in 2000 and is now one of the Algarve’s secret tourist treasures.
The village is nestled among towering trees with a cobbled square flanked by attractive 19th-century buildings, including one that looks like a fairytale castle. You can also see the Santa Teresa chapel, next to which are steps leading to a picnic spot beside a stream. Book into the thermal spa for treatments to experience the power of the curative waters.
Get active at the beach
It would be wrong to go on holiday to Algarve and not spend a day at the beach. Only half an hour from Monchique is the resort town of Praia da Rocha, made for fun in the sun. With its lively holiday atmosphere, the resort is packed with golden sands, water sports, bars and restaurants. Top up your tan on the beach or take the family out for a banana boat ride. Grab a jet ski and pound the waves or parasail over the resort and take in the fabulous views.
Thirsty? Stroll over to the main street, Avenida Tomas Cabreira with its themed bars or take a trip to the marina where you’ll find a multitude of restaurants and bars to choose from.
Monchique offers respite from the bustle of the Algarve, yet is ideally situated to get a quick fix of urban delight when the mood takes you. Whatever you expect from your Algarve holiday, you’ll leave this enchanting hilltop town rested, rejuvenated and raring to go.