The winding road up to Monchique from Portimão or Silves brings the surprise of lush greenery and an oasis of brightly colored villas surrounded by waterways and fruit groves. Picturesque clusters of whitewashed farms create self-sustained hamlets where life goes on as it always has. Steeped in tradition and folklore, Monchique is home to Fóia, the highest peak in the Algarve, as well as the natural Caldas springs that are said to have healing properties. If you’d prefer to cool off with a standard dip, there’s an open-air municipal pool in summer where the public can swim free of charge. In March the town hosts a traditional cured-meats fair to showcase local specialties.


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