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"The Serra da Monchique is one of the most delightful holiday destinations we have ever stayed in, the superb villa with it's pool, gardens and amazing views just capped it all!" -Tripadvisor
Monchique situated in the Serra da Monchique (Monchique Mountains) is a unique town perched on the saddle between two small mountains, Foia and Picota. Foia being the highest at just over 900 meters above sea level and Picota just short of 800 meters. The summit of each can be reached by car, though the last few hundred meters of Picota require a walk and a scramble. Both have magnificent 360 degree views and on a clear day one can see the light house at Faro if looking in a South Easterly direction or the smoke stacks of the power station at Sines South of Setubal and in a North Westerly direction.
Monchique town itself is quite unique too, the only town in the mountains in the Algarve, which has created a micro population of mountain people that speak a dialect, unofficially called Monchiquense! There is plenty of free parking, including an underground staffed car park which, unofficially, doubles as a motor museum, you must take a tour of the lower level and see a range of ancient cars that locals still drive and cherish. An interesting sign-posted walk through the narrow cobbled streets of the town takes in the parish church with its Manueline doorway and Sacred Art Museum and various other points of interest.
Take a walk up through the cork oaks to the ruins of a 17th century Franciscan convent, great views from here too. Have a look at the beautifully laid out gardens dotted with sculptures in the valley just below the square in Monchique. When taking in the vistas you will undoubtedly see the terracing on the hillsides, a farming method used since Roman times to grow vegetables, oranges, lemons, figs and olives, as well as cork oak trees.
There are also dozens of tracks for walkers in the surrounding countryside, affording wonderful panoramic views down to the coast. Walks to Foia and Picota start at the tourist information office above the under-ground car park, other activities include downhill biking, quad biking and jeep safaris.