Villa Vida Nova Directory

This is an Electronic Copy of our Current Villa Directory. Save the link to your PC or smart phone so that you have it to hand or if you prefer a hard copy simply print it out.

Welcome to Monchique and Villa Vida Nova. We hope you have a wonderful relaxing stay here and enjoy the villa as much as we do!

To ensure your maximum enjoyment of staying at Villa Vida Nova we strongly recommend that you and all your party take the time to read this directory so that you all understand how things work and what to do when things don’t! For your convenience we have given as much information as possible to make your stay enjoyable. My apologies if it appears that I may have emphasised some points too much, please be assured that this emphasis is only for the benefit of a tiny minority.

Should you require any assistance  please email me as I can usually solve problems quickly by email. If it is urgent call me  +351 91 906 4376 (8.00am – 8.00pm) 

Emergency number for Fire Department, Police and Ambulance is 112

Check In and Out Time

Check in is not before 4.00 pm on your day of arrival. We need to give the cleaning staff uninterrupted time to clean, sanitize and prepare the villa to tip top condition, however please drop your luggage off whilst you go and have lunch or go and buy provisions. If you find yourselves still too early having done all that then you are welcome to relax at the pool whilst she finishes off.

Check out is latest 10.00 am, sorry, no exceptions. Our staff had at least 6 hours to thoroughly prepare the villa for you and your party and so it is only fair that they need the same time for our next guests. If you have a late flight let me know so that I can make some suggestions for you to maximize the rest of the day.

Smoking, Candles and Fire Risk *********The villa is strictly non-smoking, this includes e-cigarettes/vapes. However smoking and use of e-cigarettes/vapes is permitted outside the villa, please use the ashtrays provided in the BBQ area. Do not dispose of cigarette buts anywhere except in the ashtrays. Failure to observe this will incur a charge to eliminate stale cigarette odours from the villa.

For insurance reasons and the safety of all our guests, candles are forbidden anywhere on the property. Candles are one of the major causes of domestic fires.

Taxis in Monchique

Taxis Ginjeira Martins +351 282 913 157

Jose Pedro Vicente +351 964 041 259

Taxis Antral +351 282 912 171

Taxis Nuno Francisco +351 963 087 831 +351 282 912 554

Gates (very important)

You will find several gates around the property. These must be kept closed at all times to prevent the neighbours dog entering, who is very friendly, but huge and boisterous, and as a male, likes to make his “marks”, often! What's more, there are Javali (wild boar) who sometimes visit the area at night as a group of about a dozen or so, and if they can get into the garden they will make a huge mess and destroy everything, they will leave nothing untouched, literally!

The main driveway gates, you should find these in the closed position, please keep them closed. The electric gate openers have been decommissioned and the hydraulic rams/arms set in the manual mode because if there is a power cut, even for a split second, and there are many of these in Portugal, then the gates will not function correctly without resetting them. Resetting them is a fairly complicated and time consuming procedure and is likely beyond the capabilities or patience of even the most talented technophobes! Having the gates closed and not functioning correctly could be disastrous if you were on the way to the airport for example! The best option therefore has been to return them to manual mode. The gates are secured closed with a single vertical bolt into the hole in the paving. Please do close them whilst you are at the villa and when you go out and when you leave.

Our Housekeeper

Ercilia will visit the property twice per week, Saturdays to change the bed linen and towels and clean through completely and midweek she will change the towels. It is not her responsibility to make your beds, put away clothes, wash dishes, etc. She has worked for us 22 years and is totally trustworthy. She does not speak English so try out your best Portuguese!

Pool Cleaner

The pool cleaner will visit once per week during the daytime to clean the pool. If he arrives whilst you are there please allow him to do his work, he will only be there for about an hour. Cleanliness of the pool and quality of the water is of paramount importance.


The gardeners may visit, again they will try not to disturb you and only needs to spend about 20 minutes in the BBQ garden and the rest of his time will be spent in other parts of the property. If fruit is ripe on the trees please help yourself.


Water plumbed into the house is mains/city water and is very slightly chlorinated, it is safe and pleasant to drink. The borehole/well and water tank across the road is used for irrigation only.


To go on line simply search for networks, find “ZTE_980CE7” and enter the Pass phrase SXX355G8MJ (all the letters are uppercase . The router is the black box sitting on the writing bureau in the lounge. Please do not switch off, unplug or insert any cables into the router as security and other satellite video streaming systems depend on this. Tampering with the system may require a technician call out which will be charged for.

Electronics We have 5 TV's, 3 of them are Smart TV's. 2 Satellite Decoder boxes, 1 DVD player, 1 Portable CD player, 1 stereo CD player and Radio, 1 Bluetooth/MP 3 portable Speaker.

Please be careful and follow the instructions, do not change any settings or remove/switch cables, if a call out is subsequently required to reset the equipment to make it function correctly again, then regrettably the cost of the call out will be deducted from your deposit.


In the villa there are 5 TVs & 2 satellite decoders. The lounge and  dining room TVs both have Meo Satelite decoders. All three bedroom TVs can only show the same channel that is selected on the dining room TV. Each TV has a laminated instruction sheet next to it.

LOUNGE TV Sony Full HD Smart TV with a MEO Satellite decoder and Samsung DVD player connected.

Turn the TV on using the Sony remote by pressing the green power button top right. The screen will show “No Signal........” if a decoder is not switched on yet.


Make sure that HDMI 1 / ARC is selected, on the Sony Remote press the input button top left, toggle and select HDMI 1 /ARC. Then turn on the MEO Satellite Decoder by using the MEO remote and pressing the red button top center, it can take about a minute to load the programs. By default it will show whichever channel was previously selected.

MEO is a local Portuguese Broadcasting company so they are mainly Portuguese speaking Channels but many news and movie channels are English language. To choose channels, on the MEO remote, use the +- toggle centre right. For more detail and upcoming programs press “Guia TV” and then OK. Toggle to make a selection and press OK.

Smart Functions

There are many, the two obvious ones are YouTube and Netflix because there are dedicated shortcut buttons on the Sony remote. Just press either. If you have a Netflix account simply sign in if not sign up. To get back to MEO or UK TV just press Home.

To view and use the other Smart features, press Home > All Apps > and OK (center button) here you will find Amazon, Filmon and others, some are free to watch others require a subscription.

To get out of the Smart function press Home


Make sure that AV is selected on the Sony Remote press the input button top left, toggle and select AV. Then turn on the DVD using the smaller Samsung remote and pressing red power button. Open the DVD drawer by using the top right button and insert your DVD close it using the same button. Use the DVD like any other, select, play, stop, pause, fast forward,etc. When finished with the DVD player, eject your DVD, turn off using the remote or the button on the player. Important: Please switch the TV back to HDMI 2 using the top left button.

DINING ROOM TV Philips full HD Smart TV

This TV is connected to a with a MEO Satellite decoder, whatever channel is selected on this TV will be the default and only channel available in all three bedrooms.

Turn on this TV using the Phillips remote by pressing the top middle red button, twice. The screen will show “No Signal” if the decoder is not on yet.


Make sure that HDMI 2 is selected, on the Philips TV Remote press the sources button, 4th down on the right, toggle and select HDMI 2. Then turn on the MEO Satellite Decoder by using the MEO remote and pressing the red button top center, it can take about a minute to load the programs. By default it will show whichever channel was previously selected.

MEO is a local Portuguese Broadcasting company so they are mainly Portuguese speaking Channels but many news and movie channels are English language. To choose channels, on the MEO remote, use the +- toggle centre right. For more detail and upcoming programs press “Guia TV” and then OK. Toggle to make a selection and press OK.

Smart functions

There are many, the obvious one is Netflix because there is a dedicated shortcut button on the Philips remote. Just press it. If you have a Netflix account simply sign in if not sign up.

To view and use the other Smart features, press the Smart TV button 5th down on the left here you will find YouTube and several free and subscription apps.

To get out of the Smart function press the TV Exit button 5th down on the right.

Upstairs Bedroom, King Suite, (nearest pool) Philips full HD Smart TV

This TV will show whichever Channel is currently chosen on the dining room TV, to watch a different channel then it is necessary to change the channel on the dining room TV.

Turn on this TV using the Phillips remote by pressing the top middle red button, by default it will show whichever channel is selected on the dining room TV.

If there is no picture then on the remote press the Home button middle row 5th button down (house), select “Cable TV”. Then press button 1 on the numeric keypad to select the best quality picture.

Smart functions

There are many, the obvious one is Netflix because there is a dedicated shortcut button on the Philips remote. Just press it. If you have a Netflix account simply sign in if not sign up.

To view and use the other Smart features, press the Smart TV button 5th down on the left here you will find YouTube and several free and subscription apps.

To get out of the Smart function press the TV Exit button 5th down on the right.

Upstairs Bedroom, Queen Suite LG TV (not smart)

This TV will show whichever Channel is currently chosen on the dining room TV, to watch a different channel then it is necessary to change the channel on the dining room TV.

Turn the TV on using the LG remote by pressing green power button, top middle. (the buttons on this remote need pressing firmly and are a bit slow), by default it will show whichever channel is selected on the dining room TV.

If there is no picture then on the remote press the Input button 2nd down on the left, select the top option TV. Then press button 3 on the numeric keypad to select the best quality picture.

Downstairs Bedroom Sharp LCD TV (not Smart)

This TV will show whichever Channel is currently chosen on the dining room TV, to watch a different channel then it is necessary to change the channel on the dining room TV.

To operate the Sharp TV turn it on with the Black and Silver remote using red button top left.

If there is no picture then use the remote press the TV/AV button 7th button down on the left and keep pressing until E-5 Mono/Stereo is reached (there are only 3 possibilities ext 1 and ext 2 are not used), then on the numeric key pad press number 3

Remember, please do not unplug or move any cables in any, TV, Decoders, DVD or Music center, doing so may require calling a technician which will be charged for.

Bluetooth Portable Speaker Anker Sound Core 2

This small but powerful portable speaker comes with a charger with USB cable and a AUX cable to connect an MP3, laptop or tablet. Turn the device on, connect your bluetooth device by simply placing your device close and pairing it, ensure your device has bluetooth on and press the bluetooth button on the the speaker for 2 seconds. Flashing Blue + Pairing Mode, Steady Blue = Connected. Or use the AUX cable to connect a non Bluetooth device. The speaker is good for about 18 hours if fully charged. Hold on/off button for 1 second, white light will show when on. Flashing Red = Low Battery, Steady Red = Charging, Steady White = Fully Charged. Charging time 3 Hours.

Please be considerate of our neighbours and do not play too loud outside.

Please keep the speaker plugged in charging for the next guests.


Very occasionally there can be a power cut, this will be local but never lasts more than a few seconds. It may also be caused by an overload or lightening if there is a storm but it is very simple to rectify. Go to the fuse box in the hallway behind the large brown rug wall hanging. Look at the two switches marked A and B if they both in the up position then the fault is not with the villa but the Local area, it should come back on within the hour, they must be working on the lines. If it does not come back on after an hour or so, call Susana the manager and tell her that both switches are on (UP) and there must be a problem with the Local supply.

If you see the switch marked B down then the fault is at the villa, either a faulty circuit or appliance or more likely an overload. Switch off all appliances then put main switch A “off” to the down position , put B switch back up to “on” position and put main switch A back up to “on” position. This should resolve the problem In both the above cases you will have reset the oven press the + switch (below the clock) for about 8 seconds and release, the oven will now work normally.



For a full load use the program Intensiv 70º. For a smaller load use Eco 50º. Install a detergent tablet in the door and close the flap. Close the door. Press extreme left hand button to turn on the machine and then the relevant program button. It’s very simple but like most dishwashers, plates do need some rinsing off before hand.

Additional notes on use of dishwasher.

If dishes are not being cleaned correctly in the dishwasher it is usually because of the following:

  • Every dishwasher is slightly different and each has a best way of loading for the best results, do not overload, put plates where plates should go, and glasses where glasses should go, etc.

  • It is always a good idea to rinse dishes under cold water before placing them in the washer and don’t let dishes stand in the washer for hours before stating the cycle.

  • Only use dishwasher tablets, do not use any other type of detergent.

  • Items with dried on food should be washed in the sink, first.

  • If thin items such as carving knives are laid flat in the top left shelf they can move through the bars of the tray and prevent the little door with the soap tablet from opening fully and the washing does not get done properly. Similarly a chopping board placed in the lower tray at the left side can also prevent the tablet door opening.

  • Overloading the dishwasher or loading it incorrectly will result in items not being cleaned properly.

  • If items in the bottom tray are stacked too high or a thin item like a spoon or fork is allowed to dangle through the top tray the revolving water sprayer will not revolve correctly and dishes will not be cleaned.

  • When the dishwasher is loaded and the two shelves are pushed in it is good to check that the revolving water sprayer revolves freely.


In the utility room. PLEASE USE ONLY LIQUID DETERGENT or LIQUID PODS Some of the programs take forever, your holiday will be over before the washing is done………so for quickest wash and dry for lightly soiled, delicate or for freshening up items use program 30 min mini wash (11 o'clock position). When this has finished it’s cycle the machine switches off and you can then turn the dial to spin (8 o'clock position). The instructions for other programs are on the top of the machine. There is a clothes dryer under the covered terrace for your use.


Press stop button. Turn dial to desired time setting. Press top right button repeatedly to set desired heat setting, 8.00 is the highest setting with several reducing increments to .80 which is the lowest setting suitable for defrosting.


The villa is strictly no-smoking. Ashtrays are provided by the BBQ so please only smoke in this location and dispose of butts sensibly. Failure to observe this rule may incur a charge to rid the villa of stale cigarette odors.


The fireplace is decommissioned for the summer months and must not be used. The firewood has been treated for beetle and is for show only, do not use this wood on the BBQ, use charcoal. If you feel cold use the air-conditioning heating units, they work very well see below.


The use of candles anywhere inside the villa is strictly forbidden due to insurance clauses. Use as many candles outside as you wish but please be careful with dripping wax, please use caution.


Please close all windows and doors when using these units! Leaving windows open reduces the efficiency drastically. Please only use the units in the room that is being occupied.

There are units in every room and each has a remote control, any one of these remotes can be used to operate any of the units.

Stand in front of the unit with the remote in hand and pointed at the unit. Press the blue “on” button on the remote. On the remote screen on the top line if it shows a “sun” then it is on heat mode if it shows a “snowflake” then it is on cooling mode. If it is on the wrong mode open the flap on the remote and press the top left button repeatedly until the correct emblem appears then close the flap. Point the remote at the unit and adjust the temperature using the two big up/down buttons. Cooling will start almost straight away, sometimes it takes longer if the previous mode was heat. Heating mode always takes about 4 minutes because before it actually starts doing anything it has to go through a checking sequence which takes time. Typically 21º is a comfortable temperature.

Please turn off all the units when leaving the villa or not using the rooms, when you return turn on the unit/s in the rooms that you will occupy, the units are very efficient and cool or heat the rooms very quickly.

Important. Your comfort is of paramount importance to us however excessive and incorrect use, by leaving the air conditioning on all day, or in every room, worse with windows open is completely unnecessary and will use an unacceptable amount of electricity. Electricity is monitored daily by a smart meter and, regrettably, “excessive” use will be charged for.

Central Heating

The installed central heating with radiators is only used in the coldest months of December, January and February and so is decommissioned in the warmer months. The air conditioning units provide more than adequate heating for cooler evenings in shoulder months.

Sun Umbrellas.

Umbrellas can get blown away and break. Over the years we have tried different types, some fixed to the ground, cantilever, others in stands, large and small, it makes little difference, incorrect use or used in windy or breezy conditions they will break.

Warning. Umbrellas should not be used in windy or breezy conditions as they can become dangerous or will break, even a gentle breeze can lift them and break them. Replacements are 100 kms round trip plus gas, plus labour, please bear this in mind.

If Umbrellas blow over or lifted from their bases then stop using them immediately please!

There are two types.

  • Small beach types that can be handled easily and should be placed in either of the two smaller plastic and concrete bases, these can be moved into any location that you find suitable. Be careful the bases are heavy. Or use the rings on the pool fencing.

  • The second type, dark green or beige and 2.5 meters in diameter can be used in the fence or in the larger plastic and concrete bases. They do not tilt and are raised by pulling on the looped cord, Pull on the loop part only, (not on the individual ropes with toggles) until the umbrella is up then make several turns of the loop around the cleat.

Please close all the umbrellas when you are not using them or if you go inside or leave the villa. To close them, uncleat the looped cord and let down slowly. All done!

Remember. Don’t not use umbrellas when it is windy or breezy. Close them when you go inside or leave the villa, as the wind can get up in just a few minutes.


BBQ charcoal and firelighters can be purchased in any supermarket, do not burn any wood in the BBQ, the heat is too intense and the BBQ may be damaged, nor consider using wood from the lounge for the same reason, also, it is for show and has been treated with poison for beetle. When finished with the BBQ place the racks in the highest position to prevent cats from going in there. (See “Cats” below). Try out you BBQ skills and enjoy!

Outside dining.

There is acrylic crockery and mats specifically supplied for using outside and can be found in the cupboard under the window in the kitchen. We strongly advise you to use these for outdoor eating as it is generally a “bare feet” area and is for your own safety and that of other guests.


We do sometimes get uninvited visitors i.e. cats who just love to sleep on the outdoor furniture at night so please, when not in use, upend the sofa and chair cushions and tilt the dining table chairs against the table to stop them sleeping on them. Do this always at night time too! Don’t feed the cats, they do belong to locals in the area and they get fed, if you feed them the problem will be acerbated and will become a nuisance to subsequent guests.

Swimming Pool.

We want you to enjoy the pool to its fullest and so please observe general common sense rules. Children of all ages must be supervised at all times both in the pool and in the garden area which includes the natural spring. For safety reasons no jumping or diving in the pool is permitted. Sitting, walking, standing on either the upper or lower infinity edge is strictly forbidden. No glassware to be taken within 5 meters of the pool please, if a clear glass is broken and some pieces finds its way into the pool it becomes invisible and dangerous.

Pool Lights.

In the evening when dark you may want to turn the pool lights on. This is operated from a switch in the lounge just to the right of the patio door that leads to the garden, (marked). Please ensure that this is switched off before retiring and when the pool is not in use.

Water mine and underground pond.

The Villa has two springs which supply crystal clear water to an underground cave. There are fish, newts, frogs and salamanders that live there, strictly “No Fishing” However give them a handful of breadcrumbs on alternate days, two or three desert spoons full only. If you have Children that cannot swim please do not let them out of your sight when they are outside!


To assist you in the protection of your valuables the villa has a strong box fitted in the wardrobe in the main bedroom. We advise the use of this facility, particularly for cash, credit cards, jewelry, passports, valuables, cameras, etc. You will find the safe open when you arrive.

Safe Operating Instructions

          1. The door should be open, if not, open it by pulling on the handle.

          2. Press the red button on the inside of the door you will hear a beep and the yellow light will be lit on the front of the door.

          3. Using the key pad enter a code of 4-6 numbers followed by “A” (xxxxxA) then repeat it. (The instructions on the safe made by the manufacturer are incorrect)!

          4. Use a number you will never forget, or write it down and keep it somewhere secure, (not in the safe).

          5. After entering your secret code for the 2nd time the green light will come on, you have 3-4 seconds to close the door and turn the knob counter clockwise, the door will lock automatically.

          6. To open. Enter your secret code (xxxxxA) just once this time, the green light will come on, you have 3-4 seconds in which to turn the knob clockwise and open the door.

          7. To close. Repeat 6 just turn the knob counter clockwise.

When you vacate the villa remove your items and leave the door open.

If you forget your code or leave the door closed and locked when you vacate the villa there will be a Euro 50 call out charge deducted from your deposit.

Garbage disposal. Please remove all garbage daily to the green metal container at the top of the lane to prevent unwanted smells, ants or flies. If you forget and drive past that bin you can use any bin you see, they are for use of the general public. There are more near the restaurants including bottle banks (marked Vidro), papers (marked papel) and a third bin for cans and plastic. The green public rubbish bins are emptied daily. Please remove all garbage on your day of departure also. There is an orange crate in the utility room to keep your recyclables until you take them up to special bins.

THINGS TO DO These are just a “few” things, please visit our website here you will find many more and links to their websites so you can learn more about them.

Tourist Information Office. This should be your first port of call on day 1! The tourist information office is in Monchique near the roundabout and above the free underground car park. Here you will find details of all local attractions and importantly, dates and times of local fairs, exhibitions, music festivals and so on, held throughout the year.

Foia is the highest point, at 902m, in the Algarve. On a clear day take a drive from the villa turning left at the top of the road by O Luar restaurant and it is about 5 minutes to the top. There you can enjoy 360º stunning views of the south and west coast and the Alentejo.

Caldas de Monchique is famous for the spa water and is well worth a visit just down the Portimao road from the villa. There is a super café/bar in the centre and if you are there in the morning you can often see the ladies baking the bread with chorizo (sausage) in the bread ovens and you can purchase it freshly made. Take a beautiful shaded walk up from the café, very tranquil. There are also spa/massage facilities you can use in Caldas.

Parque de Mina is a revamped typical Portuguese farmhouse situated on the Portimao road about 10 minutes drive from the villa. It is a half day visit and is interesting to see a typical Portuguese manor house fully furnished and farm including animals and the workings of the farm.

Bird Watching The Algarve is on one of the major bird migratory routes and there are many spectacular places to visit just a short drive away. Here at the villa we have identified over 50 different species to date. Please refer to the bird watching section on our website.

Walking There are no trespass laws in Portugal so if you see a track take it, but observe signs and do not pass through gates or climb fences, then you will be okay.

Golf The nearest golf course is Morgado situated just off the Portimao/Monchique road approximately 20 minutes drive from the villa. It is a relatively new course and has its own Golf Academy.

Motor Racing and Go-Karting The recently opened track situated 15 minutes drive from the villa is open for various motor and bike racing events and there is a large go-kart track open to the public. You can find out about events by going to their website

Zoomarine at Guia An excellent day out which you should not miss based on similar lines as the American Sea Worlds and is, in our opinion, as good. The shows are spaced out during the day so to fully enjoy everything going on get there at 10 am, the first dolphin show usually starts at 10.30 and different shows continue throughout the day at half hour intervals. No need to take a picnic lunch although there are plenty of places to picnic on site but the cafes serve good food for the price. Booking online saves money and avoids queuing. Zoomarine is situated on the EN125 just before Guia, you can´t miss it.

Krazy World Zoo Wonderful place for all the family especially with younger kids, pools, quads, Mini Golf, Petting Farm, Animal Presentations, Follow signs off the Algoz to Sao Bartholemew de Messines Road

Dolphin Watching Also well worth the trip. We have been out a few times and always managed to see a large number of dolphins in their natural habitat. We used Seafaris which can be taken from both Lagos Marina and Portimao, the views to the caves from Lagos are particularly good.

Boat trips to the Caves in Lagos. You can book trips from Lagos marina. Also Porto de Mos just outside Lagos has a number of small fishing boats that will take you round the caves, there are also stairs that you can walk down.

Sand Sculptures Exhibition at Guia is one of the largest in Europe and very impressive. There is a different theme every year. Be warned though, do not go in the middle of a hot summers day, there is very little shelter. Late afternoon/evening is good and it is impressive at night when lit and open until late. The exhibition is clearly marked and is on the Algoz road off the EN125 at Pera.

Aqua Parks There a number of aqua parks in the Algarve, one of the most popular is Slide n Splash at Lagoa.

Lagos Zoo is small but well run and a very pleasant afternoon out, Follow signs as you enter Lagos on the EN125.

Beaches There are too many beautiful beaches in the Algarve to list them all but here are a just a few.

Head to the West Coast if you prefer quieter beaches without developments. Head out on the Marmelete road towards Aljezur and from there you can visit:-.

Arifana for those who enjoy watching the surfers (or indeed surfing yourselves).

Monte de Clerigo close by is excellent for families with young children.

Praia de Odeceixe is also excellent for children and has a number of good beach cafes.

From Aljezur you can also drive south where there are also many lovely beaches plus walkways onto the beach without the high rise developments. O Chaparro restaurant opposite the police station (GNR) in the main village of Odeceixe is excellent value and has fantastic food!

Zambujeira Do Mar is just a bit further north up the coast and is a typical west coast fishing village, there is a safe beach and plenty of restaurants. A few kilometers north of the village is the harbour of Zambujeira Do Mar which is quite spectacular to see from the top of the cliffs, you will need to drive through the fishermen huts to get to the O Sacas restaurant, they do excellent seafood here, well worth a visit. There is also a level Board Walk with access to viewing points along the cliff edge running between the main village and the harbour.

UK's Financial Times travel journalist Paul Richardson describes the West Coast...........

The Algarve’s western seaboard, running from Sagres to Odeceixe, “may be the best preserved 60km of coastline anywhere in southern Europe”, he adds, with beaches like Bordeira, Amado and Arrifana “for connoisseurs of real beaches”.

But none were as “flagrantly fiercely beautiful as Castelejo, a few miles out of Vila do Bispo” - a place for those who crave “primitive wildness ...not massages and Magnums”.Anyone who knows and loves Castelejo, and its neighbour Cordoama, can only agree with Mr Richardson, and say: “Shhhh....This is one of those secrets you don’t want to share”.

If you prefer the busier areas head for Portimao and the South Coast:-

Praia da Rocha is one of the nearest beaches and it is particularly good at the Marina end where you can enjoy the sands and also refreshments in the new restaurants/cafes close by with views of the new marina.

Alvor is a lovely old fishing village and has not been spoiled by high rises buildings. There are a number of excellent beaches in the vicinity and great board walks along the beach and lagoon.

Lagos has a number of very good beaches including Meia Praia and Porto do Mos.


If you are staying longer and want to take some full day trips out then here are some suggestions.

Lisbon is worth a visit and there are many tour operators organising trips there which is the easiest and most relaxing way to see the city.

Sevilla also has many organised trips and is certainly worth a visit. Be warned though that in the peak i.e. July, August, September it is very much hotter than the Algarve, can be in the 40’s

Alentejo this is the province just north of the Algarve, steeped in history with many cathedrals, convents, castles, walled towns, authentic villages and superb gastronomy. Alentejo is also one of the major wine regions in Portugal with many farms and adegas open to the public.


There are many good restaurants in the Monchique area catering not just for tourists but for locals too and therefore the food is generally good quality home type cooking of local grown produce. If you have to wait longer than is usual it’s because the food is cooked often cooked from fresh, no microwaves in Monchique!

O Luar da Foia is one of our favourite restaurants at the top of the hill within walking distance. If you enjoy tasting traditional local food we recommend their signature casseroles of wild boar with chestnuts or plums, black pork cheeks with chestnuts and lamb stew. The servings are huge and it is quite acceptable to order one portion between two. Look for the photograph of David Cameron with our local mayor taken when he stayed here in 2013!

Jardim das Oliveiras is a well known local restaurant serving traditional fare e.g. for starters a platter of local meats including presunto (ham) and chorizo sausage which you cook yourself on your table. They have a vast variety of regional casseroles of locally produced meat and excellent steaks flambéed at the table. The service is good and you may be served a local liquer “on the house” to finish. A high quality restaurant in the medium price range. Turn left into the Foia road and right where you see the sign, the restaurant is a few hundred yards on the right, signposted.

O Castelo Under new ownership since February 2018 Paula used to be the manager at A Rampa restaurant for many years but has now taken the plunge and bought O Castelo and what a fantastic job she has done. The decor is great, plenty of seating inside and outside on the terrace to take in the views. The menu is typical of the region but the standards are well above average and the prices, because she is new are below average. Please support Paula she deserves to do well, don't forget to mention where you are staying. O Castelo is on the EN266 just north of Caldas de Monchique.

A Rampa If you want to try chicken “piri-piri” this is the best situated on the right hand side of the Foia road. Very basic but with fantastic views from the outside terrace.


Foz de Banho is on the Portimao road just past the entrance to Caldas de Monchique. They have good outside terraces and their signature dish is a cataplana cooked in a special dish with pork and prawns, minimum 2 people and because of the quantity a cataplana for two would serve three. Expect to wait a little as it is cooked fresh but is an excellent dish and prices are very modest.

A Charrette in the centre of Monchique, from the square walk up the pedestrianized street, until it levels out , then continue in the same direction up the hill, against oncoming cars, always going up hill and you will find it on the right. It is currently number 1 on TripAdvisor and rightly so. The decor and ambiance is very traditional, service is friendly and efficient. Used by locals so has to be good! Traditional "Monchiquense" dishes, you will love it.

Ochala Tea Room is in the centre of town. At the top of the steps from the square in the centre of Monchique the road forks, take the left fork and the café is just along on the right. Everything is home baked and the carrot cake, cheesecake, scones, bagels and homemade lemonade are excellent.

Café de Vila is in the main square in Monchique and good for snack lunches. In the evenings the bar is a meeting place for the younger crowd.


The villa is in an excellent position for shopping within a short distance. Just a short drive from the villa in Monchique (you will have passed it on your way here), there is a good supermarket Intermarche. They offer an excellent range of fresh fish and meat and a good selection of products. They are open from 8.30 am until 9 pm, 7 days a week.

There are also some small food shops in town including O Padeira (O Corvina), closest to the villa at the bottom of the Foia Road. This shop is very well stocked and fresh fruit and vegetables are mainly locally grown. There is also an excellent butcher opposite the fruit and vegetable market and a number of specialist shops including a black pork specialist just off the main square.

Only 25 minutes drive from the villa there is a shopping mall Aqua Portimao, the largest on the Algarve. It is easily accessible from the villa. Drive towards Portimao pass the turn off for the motorway, pass under the EN125 and the hospital on the right and take the right lane over the tunnel and you come to a roundabout, you will see the shopping centre in front of you. It has all the main chain stores including Primark, H & M, Mango, Foot Locker, Massimo Dutti, Lanidor, Springfield, Mary Paz, plus many more. There are also plenty of fast food restaurants and free parking for 1800 cars. The petrol station is a good place to top up, prices are usually a few centimos less here. Just across the road from Aqua Portimao is another smaller retail park with C & A, Guimaraes, Casa, Sports Zone and more.

A trip to Lisbon (Information kindly supplied by one of our guests)

This takes a little bit of forward planning. You can purchase your tickets on the train but much better to buy them on line as you can select your seat, you can do all this at there is an English translation so its ok to follow. Also you can access the timetables to plan your journey this allows you to chose what kind of train you want to go on either the Pendolino or the slightly slower Ict. Also the station you want to depart from, anyhow this is what we did...

We decided to depart from the station at Santa Clara -Saboia, its about 45 min car ride from the villa heading North. Its a lovely trip driving through the mountains. Our train was the 0759 so it was an early start, this was the slightly quicker train though only by 10-15 mins.

Santa Clara is only a small station, one ticket office, a water tower and two small platforms.

This was early Sunday morning, and the place was deserted, nothing open, nobody about, and so a minor problem occurred…..which platform? We knew the train was going North but there were no clues to as which side it was going to stop. You had to walk across the tracks to get to the other platform, so we thought maybe we should stand in the middle till the train comes!! Yes we thought that was a bit risky too, but at the last minute a young local couple appeared, he was on his way to Lisbon too. Phew! They explained you have to look at the signal lights to see which side it stops on, so we were rescued in the nick of time.

The train was great, clean, very comfortable and quiet, it also had a buffet car. In no time at all, or so it felt like, we were in Lisbon. We got off at Orient, there is a Metro connection here so we felt it was the best place to get off. The metro is fine, you can get day passes for the Metro, bus and tram, or any number of days. We found the best way to get about was by bus or the new trams, the old ones tend to get over full and are pretty unreliable.

We had a good couple of nights in Lisbon, before it was time to return. We got the Metro back to Orient and got the slightly slower train home. It was still a very comfortable return, soon we were back at Santa Clara.

We would recommend this trip to anyone and all for the princely sum of £22 Euros return! Not bad eh.

Serra de Monchique, lesser known scenic drives.

Here is one not to be missed, great views to the coast and the Oudelouca dam. At the Intermarche roundabout at the south end of Monchique take the road to Alferce as you enter this road take the first right, literally 10 meters from the roundabout! Follow this road all the way to the village of Alferce.

Another route to take is the road behind Rouxinol Restaurant at Caldas de Monchique, from the Intermarche roundabout head south in the direction of Portimao. Just before the village of Caldas de Monchique look for the Rouxinol Restaurant turn left here and follow the road that goes behind the restaurant. This road will eventually come t a T junction, right for Silves and Portimao or left to Alferce.